Using Holiday Breaks to Your Advantage

“Vacations are important because they not only replenish the mind, they also reduce the physical effects of stress on the body,”

– Kathleen Potempa, University of Michigan School of Nursing Professor.

As the holiday season approaches, so does, for most of the American populace, mandated time off work. This is a vital time to unplug from work and spend time with loved ones. Studies show that general time off and even paid time off is ultimately beneficial for business, stating that over 90% of surveyed businesses with paid time off reported positive or no noticeable change in overall productivity. But how can you maximize your time off without over-complicating and stressing about it?

It’s important first to understand that these times should be used to unplug from work and mentally relax as much as possible. This may mean detaching from phone and email, or at least designating work communication to certain brief times of the day. Allowing distance from business can translate to a refreshed mental state and general energy replenishment. Having this state of mind can allow a better opportunity for creativity, and possibly spark new ideas that you would not have otherwise. And though the goal is to detach briefly from work, these new inspirations may help you in business further down the road.

Having this time off also allows one to focus on other things. For some, this may be a new skill or area of study. Unburdened with day to day business responsibility, you may feel more comfortable refining a skill not totally essential to your career, or even trying out something completely new. Having new experiences in this ‘vacation’ headspace takes yourself outside of the normal mental patterns and helps refresh the body and mind.

The physical refreshment that comes along with vacation, whether it be additional sleep, more time to exercise, or even less movement all together, is important, but the psychological effects of vacation are just as or possibly more crucial. It’s for this reason, as contradictory as it sounds, that it is fine to not worry about checking any boxes during break, even if they are boxes focused on relaxation. Detach from a business mindset, relax, try new things, enjoy time with friends and family, and ultimately your work will be all the better for it.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

Protecting Your Business’s Data and Privacy

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it.”

– Stephane Nappo, Global Chief Information Security Officer & 2018 Global CISO of the Year

Managing information within one’s business is foundational for basic operation. The knowledge and data gathered internally and externally guides the possible direction and profits to be achieved on a business level. With the inarguable pervasiveness of modern technology in the business world, cybersecurity and data management is as important now as it has ever been.

There are many methods and provisional techniques to combat cyber-attacks and breaches of security. One of the first and most necessary methods of data protection operates on the human level: the education of employees on matters of security and privacy. It is essential that all employees and business partners are made aware of potential cyber threats and preventive measures against said threats. Having this understanding, allows them to not only implement these preventative measures when problems arise, but also identify when there is a possible breach as early as possible.

Luckily, each employee does not need the programming expertise required to directly combat a cyber threat. Many applications and services exist to suppress malware, data breach, and other harmful cyber threats. On top of this, many businesses have begun to employ dedicated cyber security departments and/or contractors. It is important to be aware of possible threats, so that these services can be quickly notified before the problem becomes widespread.

It is crucial that these potential breaches of security are not underestimated nor taken lightly. Often times, cyber-attacks can do more than just infect one’s own personal computer, but rather latch onto the network and gain access to a business whole wealth of private information. Attacks such as these can have an effect not only on those internally, but also all clientele and outside associates in communication with the affected business. Threats such as these are why multiple levels of cyber security are put in place as well as a serious effort to educate and practice cyber responsibility.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

Communicating Internally in the Modern Age

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”

-Bill Gates

It is clear that the birth of the internet and modern technology revolutionized the market and how businesses operate. However, we tend to focus on certain “flashy” technologies that improve distribution and certain efficiencies. However, modern technology has infiltrated almost every aspect of business including areas fundamental to success, chiefly among them, communication.

The speed and ease of access of the internet has made the distribution of information endlessly more efficient. This sort of efficiency is always evolving. It may not be enough anymore to just rely on e-mail; more and more companies are beginning to use a variety of applications to improve communication both internally and externally. Applications like Slack and Facebook Workplace provide business focused instant messaging for employees to communicate internally with more immediacy. Social Media apps such as Twitter and Facebook are being embraced more and more by businesses who have strayed away from the typical press release and have begun communicating externally primarily on these platforms.

Another measure companies are taking is to focus on mobile technology. All of the previously mentioned applications have mobile apps compatible with nearly every smart device. And with the widespread usage of smartphones, many companies don’t even have to worry about providing employees with sufficient communication devices. This allows businesses to be more spread out and not depend on a central location where everyone is available to meet at an inflexible time.

Improvements in technology have also played a large part in helping businesses better communicate with their clientele. Invaluable feedback tools, such as product/service reviews and online surveys, have made businesses to be more aware of the effects and reception of their output. Knowing this information allows for more focused future innovation and greater awareness of the market at large, creating less of a disconnect between the two parties.

Communication is key when it comes to operating an efficient and impactful business. Those who realize this are better prepared to understand and ultimately reach their goals. Technology and general innovation shouldn’t be something to fear or disregard. Embracing the innovations of the modern age allows companies, at the very least, access to the same tools as their competitors. How they use those tools will define future successes.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

How to Identify and Combat Burnout

“The most entrepreneurial trait there is: the ability to persist.”

– Steve Chou

The term burnout seems to be an increasingly common word used to describe exhaustion and detachment when it comes to one’s daily work life. The fact of the matter is, burnout can affect those who aren’t even initially aware of its presence. This is true for those who are so locked in with constant repetitive day to day functions, and those who don’t take the time to analyze their nagging struggles. But burnout is a very real thing that is becoming more and more common for working people today. Luckily there is a myriad of things that can be done to combat this sort of exhaustion.

For starters, one’s personal health and sleep routine should be looked at in relation to burnout. Adequate sleep (7-9 hours for most adults) is huge when fighting stress, fatigue, and general burnout. Sleeping gives our bodies and minds time to reset and replenish in order to take on the next day’s tasks. Coupled with sleep should be general health and exercise. It may seem odd to add exercise into routine to fight a lack of energy, but studies show that regular exercise actually boosts your overall energy and productivity levels.

Burnout for some people has more to do with the monotony of their daily routine rather than the actual amount of work they are tasked with completing. For situations such as these, it may be beneficial to look at one’s daily schedule from a new viewpoint and see what sort of variations could be applied. For instance, it could feel refreshing to change the order or setting of certain tasks if possible. Along these same lines, an increased social effort can also help alleviate burnout. This doesn’t just mean being more social outside of business hours but seeing if there are more opportunities for social interaction throughout the workday. Adding a human element to work can help with the feeling of detachment or isolation, which often leads to burnout.

At the end of the day, monotony cannot always be avoided, and burnout can happen with even the best efforts. When it does occur, it is important to always have a good view of the larger picture. Having long term goals and a common understanding with those you work with can provide you with the energy and inspiration needed to overcome any temporary burnout.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization