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Work Life Balance

3 Ways To Make Flexi-time Work For Your Business

When it comes to the perfect work life balance – flexi-time may be an option for you to consider.

Sacha Matulovich

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In today’s fast moving and high-pressure world of work, it is near impossible to maintain a modicum of balance. For entrepreneurs and employees at startups and SMMEs, working 12-hour days and over weekends is often par for the course.

This leaves little to no time for family members, partners, and relaxing activities outside of work. And as we have seen, the consequences of such a relentless routine can be disastrous: ill health, broken families, burnout, etc.

Fortunately, however, new technology tools and platforms are now giving frazzled workers more options. Armed with smart devices and mobile connectivity, many employees can – in theory – work from anywhere, at anytime.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 5 Secrets to Achieving and Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Indeed, the concept of telecommuting and working partly from home is being widely embraced by forward-thinking managers and employers – who are increasingly realising that happy staff members are high performing staff members.

As a manager, and also as someone who has relied on working remotely in order to support a family, I believe that telecommuting can be highly beneficial for both the employee and the employer. Provided, of course, that it is done right.

In my view, entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to explore this route can benefit from a few key insights…

Don’t be Afraid of Data

In order to work remotely, employees need the right tools. They should be equipped with a tablet, a smartphone, and mobile data.

For a startup or SMME, it can be hugely demanding and risky to attempt to provide and micro manage the devices and the data.

I have found that it makes more sense to have staff buy their own devices and data (on contract), and hence take ownership of their tools. At month end, employees can forward the invoice to be reimbursed.

Naturally, every employee should be allocated a certain amount of data, and the employer will only be responsible for that amount every month.

This way, employers are protected from bill shocks/abuse – while still empowering employees with the all-important mobile connectivity.

Put Metrics in Place

It is critical to put agreed upon metrics in place upfront. As an employer or employee, good metrics will set you free, so to speak. For example, sales reps should have a specific sales pipeline/targets to meet every month.

For customer service reps, a satisfaction index or survey can be an effective way to monitor and track performance.

This is where cloud-based applications and software can play a major role – and companies should explore all the various options that will enable both employers and employees to have a comprehensive, real-time view of productivity and performance.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Richard Branson on Parenting and Work-Life Balance

Flexible But Firm

While it can be a mutually beneficial arrangement, telecommuting has to be something that is reserved for employees who have demonstrated that they can approach it responsibly and take ownership.

If an employee starts demanding the right to work remotely, particularly if that employee has yet to prove himself, this should set off some alarm bells.

As an employer, you also need to be firm. If a staff member fails to deliver/perform even once, be wary of extending a free rein the next time.

Sacha Matulovich is the sales and marketing director of Connection Telecom and CEO of FatBudgie. While deploying a call centre division in his business, Sacha discovered the FatBudgie Cloud PBX and realised the potential of this product for the South African SMME market. Sacha made an investment into FatBudgie and took up the role of CEO. Connection Telecom acquired FatBudgie in 2014. Sacha is respected as an energetic marketer with a customer-centric approach. He heads up sales and marketing for Connection Telecom and remains CEO of the FatBudgie business.

Work Life Balance

4 Ways Sleeping Naked Makes You Healthier and Wealthier

What if I told you in just ten seconds a day, you can sleep better, make more money, reduce stress and lose weight?

Travis Bradberry

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Sleeping naked can improve your sleep habits and income earning capacity, while reducing stress and helping you to lose weight. All you have to do is take off your clothes. While there are countless strategies floating around out there to help you improve in these areas, none is as simple — and many are less effective — as stripping down before you go to sleep.

Since only 8% of people sleep naked, almost everyone can discover the benefits of sleeping in the buff. This may sound far-fetched, but hear me out before you throw those cozy flannel pyjamas on.

1. You sleep better naked

We’ve always known that quality sleep is good for your brain, but recent research from the University of Rochester demonstrates exactly how so. The study found that when you sleep your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. The catch here is that your brain can only adequately remove these toxic proteins when you have sufficient quality sleep.

When you don’t get high quality, deep sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc and ultimately impairing your ability to think. This slows your ability to process information and problem solve, kills your creativity and increases your emotional reactivity.

Related: 7 Motivational Habits That Drive Millionaires

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam found that lowering your skin temperature increases the depth of your sleep and reduces the number of times you wake up at night. Stripping down to your birthday suit is a great way to lower your skin temperature without changing the temperature of the room.

2. Sleeping naked reduces stress

We all know that prolonged stress is bad news. It suppresses your immune system and increases your risk of heart disease, depression and obesity, in addition to decreasing your cognitive performance. Stress throws your cortisol levels out of whack. Proper rest helps to restore normal cortisol levels, which improves your stress level, regardless of what’s happening around you. As described in the section above, sleeping naked will help you to get a better night’s sleep.

3. Sleeping naked is healthier

Sleeping naked has a slew of health benefits, including helping you to lose weight. A study conducted by the US National Institutes of Health found that keeping yourself cool while you sleep speeds the body’s metabolism because your body creates more brown fat to keep you warm. Brown fat produces heat by burning calories (300 times more heat than any organ in the body), and this boosts your metabolism all day long to help you lose weight.

In addition to the metabolic effects of sleeping in the buff, removing your clothes improves blood circulation, which is good for your heart and muscles. The quality sleep you’ll enjoy also increases the release of growth hormone and melatonin, both of which have anti-ageing benefits.

Related: 10 Things Successful People Tell Themselves Every Day

4. Sleeping naked builds confidence

Confidence doesn’t just feel good; it’s the pillar of success. It pushes you to try new things, take on challenges and persevere in the face of adversity. A University of Melbourne study found that confident people earn higher wages and get promoted more often than their less confident counterparts. Sleeping naked makes you more comfortable in your own skin. As your comfort with your body increases, so does your self-esteem and confidence.

Bringing It All Together 

The benefits of sleeping naked are many — so many that you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

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Work Life Balance

Even If You Work Hard And Love What You Do, You’re Still At Risk Of Burning Out

And no, it can’t be be resolved by blowing off some steam or meditating for 30 minutes.

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When we’re deeply immersed in our work, we’re often committed to a goal and a quality standard and making progress accordingly. This is what people mean when they talk about “engagement.” Is the person not only working hard, but truly invested in what they’re doing?

Naturally, however, working hard can result in stress, which can lead to burnout, even if a person is extremely passionate about their work. A recent study from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence found that nearly one in five people are both highly engaged with their work and experiencing exhaustion and burnout.

The researchers conducted an online survey to suss out the conflicting emotions this group feels toward their jobs – these individuals are interested in their work, but they’re also frustrated and stressed out by it. They’re stressed out to the extent that they think more about leaving their current jobs than people who aren’t engaged with their work do.

Related: How To Go From Burnout To Breakthrough

In other words, there’s such a thing as too much engagement. So what can we do to make sure workers don’t get too wrapped up in their work? The answer isn’t workplace programs that involve nutrition or meditation, the researchers warn.

“While we know that chronic stress is not good for employees, company wellness initiatives are not the primary way to respond to that stress,” study lead Julia Moeller writes in Harvard Business Review. “Our data suggests that while wellness initiatives can be helpful, a much bigger lever is the work itself.”

The researchers break down the factors that determine a worker’s experience into two categories: Resources and demands. If a worker has tangible resources such as time, money and equipment at their disposal, as well as intangibles such as empathy or even friendship from their team, they’ll be better off. They’ll also benefit from rewards and recognition for the work they do.

But if all of this is coupled with an environment that doesn’t demand that they work or think too hard – one that fosters work-life balance and doesn’t involve goals so lofty they’re impossible to achieve – most workers with this set of circumstances will thrive.

Related: What I Wish I Knew About Avoiding Burnout As An Entrepreneur

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Work Life Balance

Want More Productive Employees? It’s Time To Get Physical, Together

Exercising with your employees can help to keep them productive, energised and motivated, while strengthening your team both physically and mentally

Belinda Mountain

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There’s a growing awareness that health is a huge contributor to people’s productivity at work, both in terms of mental health and physical health.

But getting employees to exercise in their own time, using their own motivation, can be challenging. How then, do we get them off their office chairs and get their heart rates going, in a fun and inspirational way? Doing it together may be the key.

Five Benefits to Team Exercise:

1. Motivation

If you’re running a race alone, it can be very easy to simply stop, because all you’re letting down is yourself. But if you’ve got a team mate cheering you on from the other side, waiting for you to pass them that baton, you’ll be that much more motivated to carry on.

Related: Is There A Link Between Physical And Financial Wellness?

The same applies to a game of volleyball, ten pin bowling or even a group obstacle course. The Fedhealth IMPI challenge has a corporate race over a distance of 10 – 12km, which includes 18 obstacles that will be hugely motivating to everyone competing. This event is held throughout the country from early April, featuring a variety of obstacles that foster teamwork and build morale.

2. Level Playing Field

In a corporate situation it can become very much an “us and them” scenario, where management sits in their ivory towers and is far removed from the day-to-day running of the business, and the people who perform these tasks.

Group exercise makes everyone equal: placing them on a level playing field where they can converse, get to know each other and work together.

It’s a case of: leave your job titles and organograms in the office, get on your tackies and have some fun! Tiffini Wissing, Fedhealth member and founder of Cool Kids’ Cabs agrees, saying:  “I love obstacle courses…I even took my entire team at the office which included 30 ladies from management, our cleaners and our drivers to do one!”.

3. Leadership

You’ll be amazed by how a different context can bring out qualities in people you may have never expected.

Related: Why You Should Be Swopping Your Lunch Meetings For Spinning Class

They may be quiet as a mouse around the board room table, but put people in a challenging physical situation, such as having to get 10 people over a three metre high wall, and you could see new leaders emerging.

Team sports and activities can highlight people’s attributes in a surprising way, and help you learn more about the individuals who make up your company.

4. Empowering

Getting people to try new things is one way of showing them their true potential, and this can extend into their careers too. If they achieve a task that they formerly thought impossible, like running 2km through the mud, or wading through a river holding on to a rope, they are highly likely to take this mindset into the office.

Tiffini says: “My staff absolutely loved it and hated me for it simultaneously! It was so empowering for so many of them who never in a million years thought they’d be able to do anything like it.”

There’s no doubt that getting your staff members to team up and complete a fun activity together has multiple health benefits.

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