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Positive Leaders Support Their Employees’ Mental Health

 

Having to navigate through the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on employees’ mental health. As a result, an increasing number of employees are experiencing anxiety, depression, and burnout. These mental health experiences differ according to race, economic opportunity, job type, parenting and caregiving responsibilities, and other variables.

As a manager, you need to support your employees as they face new stressors, safety concerns, and economic upheaval. The following strategies can help.

Implement these three tips to provide support for your employees’ mental health.


1. Share Your Mental Health Experiences

Because almost everyone experiences mental health concerns, openly discussing personal experiences helps to destigmatize getting help when needed. This is especially helpful when leaders share their mental health concerns and how they manage them.

Talk with your team about how you manage stress at work. If you go to a therapist, take medication, or receive professional help in another manner, let your team know. This helps normalize the discussion of mental health concerns. It also encourages your employees to get help when needed.

If you work from home, let your team know whether your kids have interrupted your video meetings or your coworkers have seen glimpses of your home. Sharing your challenges helps you appear human, relatable, and brave. This type of authentic leadership cultivates trust among your team. It also promotes employee engagement and performance.

2. Model Healthy Behaviors

Show your team that the prioritization of self-care is important. This includes setting and enforcing boundaries.

Let your employees know what you are doing to maintain your well-being. This may include taking a walk after lunch, engaging in a therapy appointment, or enjoying a staycation.

Emphasize that taking care of yourself helps prevent you from burning out. Your employees are likely to follow your example.

3. Provide Flexibility

Your needs and your employees’ needs will change as circumstances continue to change. Be sure to check in regularly with your employees. This is especially important during transitions.

Talk with your employees about any issues that come up. This may involve stressors such as finding childcare or feeling the need to work at all hours. Help problem-solve when needed.

Reiterate the norms and practices that support mental health. They include setting and enforcing boundaries and work hours.

You may want to include examples of how you modified your own work schedule to accommodate your personal needs. This might include changing your work hours to fit in childcare responsibilities.

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Easy Ways to Boost Motivation in the Workplace

 

Like anyone else, your employees will have days where they lack the motivation to complete their tasks. Although this is completely normal, it can become a problem if they consistently become disengaged. You need your team to remain as productive as possible to continue to reach company goals. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to encourage your team members to remain engaged and continue to perform their best.

Implement these simple tips to maintain motivation and productivity among your team.


Maintain a Positive Work Environment

It is easier for your team members to stay productive when they feel happy. Maintaining a positive work environment promotes a better work experience and stronger relationships. These are significant factors in employee motivation, engagement, productivity, and success.

Create Employee Goals

Work with your team members to establish short-term goals. Include attainable objectives and clear measurements for success. This helps your employees stay on track, see the progress they make, and understand how their efforts impact the company. Be sure to celebrate each team member’s achievements along the way.

Recognize Employee Contributions

Your team members need to know their efforts and results are being noticed. This encourages them to continue to perform their best. Recognition also improves employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention. Be sure you publicly and privately point out specific actions each employee took, what they accomplished, and how it benefitted the organization. Also, provide bonuses, raises, or promotions when appropriate.

Encourage Regular Breaks

Your team members need time to rest throughout the workday. Remind them to step away from their desks to stretch, meditate, or talk with coworkers who are on break. Also, emphasize the importance of taking a full hour for lunch. Promote healthy eating, walking, reading, and other relaxing habits. Taking time to disengage increases focus, concentration, and engagement in tasks. This helps your employees come back refreshed and ready to produce.

Promote Paid Time Off

Remind your team members how important it is to use all of their vacation days every year. Spending time away from the office promotes physical and mental wellness. Your employees need to create memories by engaging in enjoyable activities with their families and friends. The more time your employees take for rest and relaxation, the less likely they are to experience burnout.

Enforce Staying Home When Ill

Encourage your team members to stay home when they are sick. Your employees cannot perform their best when they do not feel well. Also, coming to the office and spreading germs is not beneficial for anyone. Ask that your team members finish the tasks they can from home while getting plenty of rest. The sooner they fully recover, the sooner they can return to the office and resume their duties.

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Happy Employees Are More Productive

 

As a manager, are you aware of the link between your employees’ happiness and their productivity levels? Studies show that happy employees work harder, collaborate better, and accomplish more in less time than unhappy employees. As a result, you should do what you can to encourage high levels of happiness among your team.

Learn how employee happiness levels impact productivity and what you can do to increase both.


Elevated Performance

The University of Warwick conducted a study where participants were given either 10-minute comedy videos to watch or drinks and snacks to consume to help them feel happy. The control group received nothing. The participants then were given tasks to complete.

The results of the study showed that the happier participants were 12% more productive than the control group. The participants who increased their happiness levels before completing the tasks performed at a higher, more accurate level than the participants who did not.

These results demonstrate that having a positive frame of mind elevates work performance. Happier employees are more likely to show up each day and give their best efforts. They also are less likely to experience high levels of stress or burnout.

Increased Efficiency

The University of Oxford conducted a study that tracked call-to-sale conversions, attendance, and customer satisfaction for call center employees at a British multinational telecommunications firm over a 6-month period. The employees self-reported their level of happiness each week.

The results showed that the happy employees were proven to be 13% more productive than the unhappy employees. The happy employees worked faster, made more call-to-sale conversions per hour worked, and more closely adhered to their workflow schedule than the unhappy employees.

These results demonstrate that employees with a positive emotional state can finish more work in the same amount of time than employees with a negative emotional state. This means you should do what you can to promote happiness among your employees.

Steps to Increase Happiness

You can take action to increase the levels of happiness among your team members. For instance, model professional behavior at all times. The more you interact with others in a respectful manner, the more likely your team members are to follow your example. Also, provide fair compensation. Your team members deserve to be rewarded for their contributions and results. Additionally, give constructive feedback in real-time. Your team members need to know what they are doing well, which areas they need to do better in, and specific ways to improve their performance. Plus, acknowledge your team members’ accomplishments with bonuses, raises, and promotions. This motivates them to continue to perform their best and accomplish business goals.

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Set Your Team Up for Success in 2022

 

Setting team goals helps your employees feel more invested in reaching company objectives. Because your team members play a part in creating the goals, they are able to develop their skills as they work toward common objectives. Collaborating along the way, refining the action plan, attaining the goals, and celebrating successes promote engagement and a sense of accomplishment throughout the process.

Use the following guidelines to help your IT team set goals for 2022.

Tie Team Goals to Company Objectives

Meet with your supervisor to discuss what the business priorities and performance expectations are for your team. Use this information to align your team goals with what leadership wants to see happen over the next 12 months. This will serve as a foundation for the action plan your team creates.

Use the SMART Format

Create team goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-driven (SMART). The more specific your goals, the more focused your team’s efforts will be. This helps measure your progress and create actionable plans to increase the likelihood of success. Be sure you divide the bigger goals into smaller, more manageable milestones that your team can monitor. Also, provide the necessary resources, skill training, and deadlines to reach the milestones. This helps with productivity, efficiency, and time management.

Help Your Team as Needed

Consistently check-in to ensure your team members are fulfilling their responsibilities and meeting their milestones. This may involve scheduling regular one-on-one meetings to discuss the goals and address any questions or concerns. Be sure to find out where your team members are in reaching their milestones. Also, provide feedback, advice, and individual training as needed. Encourage your team members to hold themselves and each other accountable for getting everything done on time. Their actions affect the individual and collective success of the team.

Follow Up

When a deadline passes, talk with your team about whether they achieved their milestone or goal. If they did, point out how their individual efforts contributed to the success of the company. Also, talk about what worked well, what did not, and how it could be improved for next time. Celebrate your team’s successes through recognition during a meeting, a gift from the company, or a team lunch. Or, if your employees still are working to reach a goal, help them update the action plan, milestones, and deadlines. Encourage your team to continue moving forward in the process.

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How to Stay Focused at Work

 

Whether you are working remotely or at the office, it can be hard to maintain focus throughout the day. The increasing use of technology is making it more difficult for the brain to concentrate on one task at a time. Fortunately, with the right mindset and practice, you can train your mind to stay present longer.

Use these tips to improve your focus throughout the workday.

Reduce Distractions

Take away everything you can that interrupts your thought process. This includes turning off your email and text notifications, closing your social media pages, and shutting your office door. Clarify that unless there is an emergency, you are not to be disturbed during work time. You need your environment to be as quiet as possible to be productive.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Create a list of your most important work for the day. Rank each item by its level of importance. This lets you focus first on what absolutely has to get done. Set a timeframe to accomplish each task. Completing one item at a time lets you feel less stressed about what you need to accomplish later.

Focus on One Task

Direct your attention to one item at a time. The brain is not designed to multitask. Moving from one focal area to another takes time to adjust. Doing this in rapid succession results in greater errors and poorer quality of work. Instead, fully complete one task before moving to another. You will more efficiently complete it and feel motivated to move to the next item.

Train Your Mind

Engage in brain training activities that improve your cognitive abilities. Two excellent examples are meditation and yoga. Instructing your mind to be more disciplined helps you pay attention to the work you need to complete each day.

Take Regular Breaks

Schedule time throughout each day to rest and recharge. Your brain needs time to disengage. This is especially important if you are stuck on a task and need time to think through a solution. Leave your work area to take a walk, read a book, or listen to music. During your lunch hour, eat healthy foods, talk with coworkers in the breakroom, or connect with your family. Come back ready to tackle the rest of your work for the day.

Maintain Adequate Sleep

Be sure to get enough deep sleep every night. This helps you remain in your best physical and mental state. You stay alert, engaged, and productive.

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How to Create a Positive Team Culture

 

As an IT manager, you understand the importance of teamwork. When your team members communicate and collaborate well, they are better able to do their work. However, blending employees with different talents and personalities can result in challenges. This is one reason why having a strong team culture is necessary.

Follow these 6 guidelines to build a desirable team culture.

1. Define Your Team Culture

Talk with your team about what your culture should look like. This is important because your employees’ actions, interactions, and attitudes impact the effectiveness of your success. For instance, your team culture may be defined by having a positive mindset both inside and outside the office. This creates a strong team synergy that minimizes conflict and increases success. Everyone performs better when they work as a cohesive group. Different ideas lead to solutions for problems. Shared visions let your team see the future.

2. Learn from Other Successful Teams

Explore how teams with proven track records communicate, collaborate, and solve problems. For instance, incorporate ideas from companies like Google, Southwest Airlines, and Zappos to develop your teambuilding procedures. These companies are among the most successful in engagement, productivity, and goal attainment.

3. Encourage Collaboration

Instill in your team culture the importance of collaboration. Use your enthusiasm, self-discipline, and strengths to serve as a guide for teamwork. For instance, trust your team members to make hard decisions when you are away. Encourage them to discuss how you would handle a situation and carry out an appropriate plan of action.

4. Emphasize Your Company Mission and Core Values

Work with your team to create a list of team values based on your company’s mission and core values. Include in the discussion what everyone’s most important personal values are. Find out whether the same values impact their professional success and whether they would look for these values when hiring employees. Also, talk about what your team would not tolerate in the workplace. Use their answers to set team standards for job performance, customer service, and related issues.

5. Clarify Your Expectations

Explain to your team what you expect from them all of the time. Examples include honesty, accountability, commitment, conflict resolution, and pride in top performance. If your expectations are not being met, privately talk with the employee about the issue. Find out what it causing the problem and how you can help. If the employee does not want to set goals for improvement, assume responsibility, or respond to feedback, they may need to find another source of employment.

6. Continue to Build Your Team Culture

Use positive reinforcement to maintain your team culture. For instance, provide real-time feedback and coaching to help your employees maintain professional growth. Also, encourage your team to get involved in local charity events. Plus, organize employee family activities one weekend per month.

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3 Tips to Keep Remote Employees Productive without Micromanaging

Many businesses didn’t choose to go remote in 2020: it became the only suitable option overnight. As a result, there was no time to prepare a remote management plan or brush up on new skills.

If you have micromanaging tendencies, then you may have found them stretched during the past year. But micromanaging is just as counterproductive out of the office as it is when you’re co-located. Micromanaging leads to poor morale, a lack of confidence, and stress, which all contribute to lower productivity and higher turnover.

How do you make sure employees remain productive without getting in your own way? Use these tips for remote management inspiration.

Use Team Management Software

Clear, measurable goals are the ticket to productivity. When you have a good team and a crystal clear deliverable, you can almost count on it getting done.

To help you avoid micromanaging a project — even one with a defined goal — use goal tracking systems, like team management software. The right software enables you to see where your team is at a glance, which cuts down on wondering, emails, and unnecessary Zoom calls. 

Software also makes teamwork more transparent, so members of each team can see where their colleagues are and collaborate easier. There are plenty of options out there, from enterprise systems to freemiums like Asana. Just be sure to choose the right one for your team’s needs and get them onboarded so they can hit the ground running.

Provide a Daily or Weekly Focus

If you find yourself wondering what your team is up to, then your team may not have a focus. Make life simpler for everyone by pulling out a daily or weekly focus for each goal and communicate it with the whole group. Make the focus clear and ensure it ties into the overarching effort.

Using this method not only helps you stay on top of what’s happening in the short-term, but it helps keep employees on track even when other projects may be calling their name.

Tip: Weekly focuses tend to work best for longer projects or sprints. If there’s a pressing project or need, you might use a daily goal.

Build Relationships Based on Trust

No system or method can save you from micromanaging if trust isn’t the foundation of your working relationships. You have to earn trust, and it takes hard work. However, it is the best way to avoid relying on harmful management tools and boost productivity overall.

Remember: you set the standard for behavior. So if you want to earn trust, you need to give it. Check out this research from the Kellog School of Management on what it means to build trust and build a stronger remote organization.

Is the missing piece of your productivity puzzle a new employee?

RightStone can help you build the remote team you need to exceed your goals in 2021. Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone360 process.


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