Whether you own your own business or have a key role in a company, your health and wellbeing is central to your success at work. Large companies and corporations have support systems in place to ensure employee wellbeing, but smaller companies may not. If you’re a new business or a start-up, and it’s just you and the cat in your office space, you’ll need to ensure you’re taking care of you as well as your clients.
So, how can you look after yourself AND look after your business?
Develop your resilience
It’s often said you need a tough skin to survive in business. It’s actually more that you need an elastic skin, one that lets you bounce back from setbacks and days when nothing seems to go right. Being resilient is a skill you can develop through taking small steps to reduce the stress of a given situation and your emotional reaction to it. These steps include:
- Having someone to talk through problems with. Seek out colleagues and mentors at work to discuss issues with in person, or online via company intranets or similar. If you are a sole business owner/employee, find a friend who can offer a different perspective (and preferably isn’t your Mom!).
- Do just one thing at a time. Many of us have been sold the dream of effective multitasking. Work that matters to you deserves your full attention. So, switch off your phone, quit the email app, and concentrate on just one thing. You’ll achieve so much more in a much shorter time than ‘butterflying’ between tasks.
Look after your own wellbeing
Many large companies and organisations offer a package of benefits to encourage healthier living and a better work/life balance, from gym memberships to nutritional advice. There’s a reason for this: happy employees are more productive and more engaged. They are also much nicer people to work with every day! So if your company offers these kinds of benefits, make sure you make full use of them. If you’re a small business owner, take steps to make yourself that happy, healthy employee!
- Make time to eat healthily, exercise regularly and get a good night’s sleep. All of these actions involve setting aside time to do them properly, from buying the right foods to committing to an exercise class or sports team. Quality sleep is also crucial, allowing you to process the day’s events and fully relax.
- Take regular breaks that involve physical activity. This is especially important if you spend a lot of your time sitting in front of a screen, or doing repetitive tasks. Just standing up, having a stretch and walking around the office will help improve your blood flow, get your adrenaline flowing, and allow your eyes to shift their focal length. If you can go outside, all the better. Even a short break will allow you to return to your work mentally refreshed and with more energy.
- Make time too to be with family and friends, and to do things you enjoy. If it’s all work and no play in your life, you need to reset your work/life balance to include those you love and the things that relax you and make you happy. Note we said “make time”; it’s a conscious decision you need to make to switch off from work and flip into life mode!
- Ensure you can have some quiet moments just for yourself. This could be as simple as 15 minutes in your own back yard enjoying coffee in the spring sunshine. The important part is to not have an aim or a goal for those 15 minutes; give your brain a break and let it wander where it will!
Manage your time effectively
All of the above ideas involve effective time management. This is something that almost every business person struggles with at some point. There are lots of solutions out there to help, including some great apps. You need to find the one that suits your way of working, whether it’s dividing your day into 15 minute blocks in a notepad, or setting up a scheduling app that acts as a ‘to-do’ list, a diary and a project management tool.
Here’s the secret to successful time management apps; take time out to find the best for you! Devote time to setting it up and integrating it into your working day. This may take some time, but that time spent will soon be recouped in a better, smarter way of working that’s proactive, not reactive.
You’ll find an excellent list of time management apps at Lifehack
Credit where credit’s due
Give yourself some praise for a job well done. In big companies, there is usually some form of recognition and reward system in place, from a simple shout-out to major financial incentives for high achievers. It’s not just a method of motivation, it’s a way of recognising individual employee talents and encouraging better practice and future co-creation.
If you’re both boss and employee, make time to sit back and recognise your own achievements. Reflect on why it worked, how it worked and how it makes you feel. Give yourself a reward, (you’re worth it!), and you’ll feel motivated to go for the next challenge with more energy and confidence.
Looking for more ideas?
Why not come and talk through work-life balance techniques with fellow business people at our regular business networking events?
Or browse through our Business Directory to find a local business who might be able to help you, from nutritionists to yoga instructors.