An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away – Does This Work for Employees?

You have probably heard the apple a day saying. Originating from a Welsh proverb, and reworded by Benjamin Franklin, it’s been around for almost two centuries. So, is there any truth in it and can it work for your employees?

The truth is that there is no medical evidence to suggest that an apple a day results in fewer visits to the doctor. However, eating fruit can form part of a healthy diet which can, in turn, lead to healthier employees. Ask any expert in

Corporate Business Solutions and they will tell you that a healthy workforce is a valuable asset to any business.

Why is a healthy workforce important?

So why is it so important to have healthy employees? There are actually several benefits to be had.

Reduction in sick absence 

An obvious advantage of having employees who are healthy is that they are less likely to be absent due to sickness. This means that if you promote the health of your employees, they are likely to be in work more often, thereby protecting the productivity levels of your business.

Enhanced business performance 

Just because people are in work does not mean that they have an optimum level of health. They could be overtired or suffering from stress. This has an adverse effect on their performance levels. Therefore, taking action to improve the overall health of your workforce helps to improve personal performance and the performance of the business as a whole.

Improved employee engagement 

When people see that their employer is interested in their health and well-being they feel as though they are valued. This means that if you pay attention to the health of the people who work for you, they are more likely to engage with you and be motivated to work towards the ongoing success of the business.

How to keep your workforce healthy

While there is no way to guarantee that your employees will remain healthy, there are things that you can do which make it more likely to happen.

  • Make healthy food available to all employees. Many businesses provide vending machines which contain snacks such as candy and chips. Employees may get a short-term energy boost from eating these items, but they are not healthy in the long term. It makes sense to provide easy access to a selection of fruit instead. While apples may not keep the doctor away, they can help.
  • Encourage employees to exercise. This is an essential aspect of helping to protect the health of your workforce. Employees should be encouraged to move their limbs regularly while seated at their desks. They should also be encouraged to move away from their desks during their lunch break and go for a walk or a run.
  • Provide furniture that is supportive. This type of furniture helps to protect the joints and muscles of employees, making chronic pain issues less likely.

You can see that while giving your employees an apple a day may not keep the doctor away, providing a healthy workplace can make a real difference.

5 Operational Issues That Corporate Business Solutions Can Assist With

If you are running a business your aim is for it to grow and thrive. Over time, you are likely to experience operational issues that can have an adverse effect on growth and success if you let them.

This is when you start to look at Corporate Business Solutions Reviews to find the expert help that you need. So, what are some of the operational issues that your business may encounter and the solutions that you can be assisted with?

The meaning of an operational issue

In order to understand the effect that an operational issue can have on your business, you need to know what operational issues are. In short, this type of issue can have an adverse effect on the profits of a business.

This is because these issues can hamper the execution of business strategy, drain resources and reduce growth. You can see why it’s important to know about these issues and get help when necessary. With this in mind, here are five of the main operational issues your business may encounter.

Management of overheads

Overheads are an important consideration for any business. If they are not managed effectively, they can seriously diminish profitability. There are many reasons why overheads can cause problems, such as an overspend by the business. If this happens to your business, you need to examine your expenditure and remove any unnecessary spending. For instance, you may be able to use video calling instead of paying for business travel.

Monitoring of employee performance

If you fail to monitor employee performance effectively, you also fail to optimize the performance of your business. This is why you need to have a series of KPIs in place; at a business level and an individual level. These KPIs enable performance to be measured accurately and fairly. Initiating an efficient performance appraisal system also helps to alleviate issues with the monitoring of employee performance.

Compliance with regulatory requirements

It can be easy for any business to miss out on knowledge of rules and regulations; especially in a world where technology is advancing all the time. Doing so can be costly, both financially and reputationally. This is because if a business does not comply with regulatory requirements it can be fined and it’s standing with customers can be damaged. One of the easiest ways for a business to avoid this issue is to get help from experts.

Risks to cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a risk that every business needs to be alert to. If you do not pay attention to the cybersecurity of your business, you could face exposure to hacking and data leaks. This can leave your business at risk of financial issues and can lead to distrust from customers and potential customers. Solutions to cybersecurity issues need to be all-encompassing and implemented through all parts of the business.

Employing the right people

There is no doubt that employing the wrong people can be destructive to any business. This is because employees are one of the most important mechanisms when it comes to securing business success. Issues that can occur when the wrong people are engaged to lude:

 

  • Clashes of personal ambition with the ethos of the business.
  • Lack of relevant knowledge and skills.
  • Loss of team structure and effectiveness.

All of these problems can damage the performance and profitability of a business.

In order to ensure that the right people are hired, your business needs to build job descriptions and people profiles that are directly related to the ethos and strategy of the business and to the requirements of each role.

If any of these issues are experienced by your business, you can implement the relevant solutions, with assistance from corporate business solutions specialists when necessary.

3 Tips for Finishing Out the Year Strong

As we move through the second half of the year, you’ve probably begun to turn your attention towards your productivity and revenue goals for the year to see if you are on target. If you’re like most business owners, you could always use a little extra support when it comes to finishing the year strong.  The following field-tested tips will fit that need with precision, with each tip providing insight into an issue or method you can use to optimize your success.

When it comes to staying on track with for your goals, you need not go at it alone, though. Corporate Business Solutions consultants are ready and waiting to meet with you to create a personalized management plan that meets your business’ short- and long-term goals.

Tip #1 – Look at Your Last “To Do” List

Though it may sound obvious, your efforts towards planning should include a full review of your goals. During the course of such a review, you can check off any goals that you have been successfully met as well as make modifications to ongoing goals that reflect their current priority status.

If a previously completed goal has fallen by the wayside, don’t be afraid to add it back in for next year’s “to do” list. This can help emphasize its overall importance, as well as provide a stepping stone for making that company-wide goal or milestone a permeant feature.

Tip #2 – Use SMART Goals

There’s an old saying that the best way to eat an elephant is “one bit at a time.” While you need not go to such carnivorous ends to achieve your goals, you should use a goal-setting method that helps you incrementally break down your goals into easy-to-monitor criteria. SMART goals are just one method of accomplishing this standard.

“SMART” goals are those that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. When creating a new line item for next year’s “to do” list, ask yourself, “Is this goal specific? Is this goal measurable?” and so forth. If not, take time to further pare down your goal until you are able to communicate its qualitative and quantitative components with precision.

Tip #3 – Identify Systematic Problems and Solutions

Finally, while looking at the company-wide “to do” list, take some time to determine if any system-wide barriers to efficient operations stand in your and your employee’s path. Though these hurdles can appear on a variety of fronts, they most often prevent employees from completing their assigned tasks in a timely fashion or communicating with one another with a respectable degree of clarity.

Many companies resolve these systematic problems by implementing new tools to supplement their existing capabilities. App-based messaging programs such as Slack, for example, have helped many small and large businesses streamline their team-based internal communications. Even non-communications problems can be solved by looking at the root cause of the barrier and then implementing a purpose-built tool or plan that helps eliminate that barrier substantially.

Onboarding New Employees with the Teaching EDGE

Onboarding new employees can be a challenge, especially if you expect that they’ll need extensive training using your business’ equipment or require extensive support to slot into your company’s workflow. Regardless of the skill or system, you need to teach to your new employee, you can do so using a method promoted in the Scouting program known as the “Teaching EDGE.”

This four-step cycle is designed to incrementally guide an individual from a position of deficit understanding to a position of fully independent operation. Using this Teaching EDGE can certainly take the edge off of both large and small training scenarios. For additional insights into managing your business, consider checking out CBS-CBS.com and their portfolio of informative consulting services.

E – Explain

Before your new employee ever picks up a tool or receives any projects, you (or a relevant manager) should work one-on-one with the new employee to fully explain what is expected of them with regards to this specific task. After explaining these expectations in detail, you should physically walk through every step in the relevant process. During this walkthrough, be sure to go slowly and make all of your actions deliberately geared towards the stated outcome.

At this stage, the new employee will not engage the new skill on their own. Instead, they will watch while you perform the task to gain a broad understanding of the bigger picture.

D- Demonstrate

Continuing on from the “Explain” stage, this next stage is focused on demonstrating the proper methodology behind completing the desired task, as well as explaining the underlying rationale for those actions. To this extent, you’ll repeat the previously completed process while breaking down each step in language familiar to the new employee. This step should also include an emphasis on intricacies that would not otherwise be obvious to the new employee.

By this time, new employees may possess (or should be prompted for) questions. Answer these questions fully and on their terms. While the new employee won’t work hands-on at this stage, they should be empowered to retain as much information regarding the skill’s successful completion as possible.

G – Guide 

After watching both a broad and in-depth implementation of the desired skill, the new employee is ready to begin attempting the new skill in a low-stakes scenario. As the teacher, you may walk your new employee through the steps on the first several cycles before allowing them to complete the task from memory.

Some mistakes are bound to happen, which is perfectly normal. Reassure your new employee and provide input to support their fundamental understanding of the task. At this stage, the new employee should grow in confidence and be able to complete the desired task with some auxiliary support.

E – Enable

Finally, it is time for you, the teacher, to step away and allow the new employee to apply their new skill in a live or realistic scenario. In other words, it is time for the new employee to act on their own and take responsibility for reinforcing their own mastery.

Some mistakes may still occur at this stage, which is okay. Remember that learning a new skill should be treated as cyclical, requiring occasional reinforcement in order to provide your new employee with an opportunity for skill mastery.

3 Tips for Harnessing Social Media to Meet your Business Goals

Regardless of your professional field, gaining new clients and building your revenue is likely at the core of your business planning efforts. While these plans should always be well-aligned with trends in your specific industry, nearly all business large and small can benefit from harnessing the raw communications potential of contemporary social media platforms.

Like the Yellow Pages of yesteryear, social media is where many consumers today turn to in order to ascertain key business information. It is up to you to meet your clients where they are and create a robust social media presence that meets their expectations.

While the following tips for harnessing social media resources will start you down the path towards success, Corporate Business Solutions reviews will help you further solidify these digital gains.

Tip #1 – Identify Your Audience(s)

First and foremost, you’ll need to know your audience before you can ever hope of reaching out to them on social media. While this may broadly include folks working in or in need of services from your specific industry, you should further pare down your audience based upon specific demographics (such as hierarchical position in a company and geographic region).

In all likelihood, you will end up establishing several “target audiences.” This is perfectly normal and can actually help you draw in clients and customers from several different entry points. For example, a bakery may maintain a social media profile that targets both regular bread-seeking customers as well as potential partners (such as a coffee shop) that could sell their products at a commercial level.

Tip #2 – Choose the Right Channels

With your target audiences in mind, you should begin to select social media platforms that are demographically tailored to engage those audiences with precision. Simply put, not all social media platforms are designed to reach every audience, so these selections may be the difference between striking it rich with your audience and wasting your resources on a fruitless digital venture.

Facebook remains the best social media platform for reaching a broad audience and advertising, though its impact on younger audiences is greatly waning today. Meanwhile, LinkedIn remains a great option for networking with other industry professionals and publicizing your business’ services. Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube each respectively hold potential as well when it comes to digitally communicate with your target audiences.

Tip #3 – Engage and Respond

Unlike other communication platforms of the past, social media revolves around the core concept of “engagement.” When you make a post on a social media platform, your audience can immediately respond (both positively or negatively) to your content through verbal and iconographical indicators. This can change how much visibility and productive reception your business receives online as a whole. Often, social media platforms will include analytical tools to help you make heads or tails of your platform-specific engagement.

Engagement isn’t a one-way street, though. When an audience member engages your social media presence, you can respond with feedback based upon their identified needs. Regardless of the feedback’s content, you should always maintain a professional demeanor in order to project the best possible digital brand voice for your physical business.

Are Your Employees Stressed? 5 Ways to Reduce Stress and Boost Productivity

Did you know that stress in the workplace costs companies around the United States to lose $30 billion a year in lost workdays? For any size of the business, that is a significant hit to your profits. A small business, though, the amount of money lost from stressed employees could be detrimental to the bottom line.

Trying to be productive while stressed is one of the hardest things to do. Stress causes us to lose focus on the task at hand, affect our mental wellbeing and can cause physical symptoms as well.

To prevent your employees from being stressed while working, Corporate Business Solutions has five ways that you can keep your workplace stress-free and boost productivity.

Have Open Communication at All Times

Lots of employee stress comes from not having enough communication with their manager. One of the everyday stressors for staff members is their boss.

Luckily, you can do something about that. Evaluate your management skills and see if that’s what is contributing to the stress. Keep your door open for communicating with your team at all times. If someone is having issues, he or she should feel comfortable enough to discuss the problem with you.

Offer Mental Health Days

Although the purpose of reducing stress is to keep your employees productive, there will be times that the only way to do this is by giving stressed employees time off, with pay. If someone needs a break but worries about not getting paid, it won’t solve anything.

Offer mental health days to your staff. These days should be for when someone is highly stressed due to work or personal related matters. It will allow them to relax and ease their mind before coming back to work.

Have an Outlet Room

If you get highly stressed, it’s nice to have somewhere you can go to get all that built-up frustration out. You can offer that in your office by having an outlet room. Think of it as a break room, but for getting rid of stress.

Have things like a ping pong table, dartboard, basketball hoop, and other board games that will relax their minds and help ease up on the everyday stressors of work.

Have a Take Your Dog to Work Day

It’s common for people to have dogs nowadays, and rightfully so. Pets offer so many health benefits to us, as long as you don’t have any allergies to them. They can help reduce your stress and make you feel happier.

Have a day where employees can bring their dogs to work. Before doing this, check to ensure everyone is okay with this idea, as not everyone is a dog lover. Incorporating this into your week, though, can help create a more comfortable work environment that is less stressful and more productive.

Have a Workout Place

If it’s feasible for your office, have somewhere that employees can get in a quick workout. Physical exercise is a great way to reduce stress and keep you healthy.

Having a spot to workout doesn’t necessarily mean you need a full gym in the office. It could be a meditation spot, an area for yoga and stretching, or having a treadmill for a quick run.

6 Tips to Establish a Successful Freelancing Business

More and more people are looking at the world of freelancing as their career path, and understandably so. Freelancing is something entirely different from a regular day job.

As a freelancing, you’re your own business. You’re the boss, employee, bookkeeper, HR department, administration, and even the maintenance crew to clean up your desk. In other words, you’re everything that makes up a business.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of freelancing – being your own boss, building your schedule, and working from basically anywhere in the world – then you need to establish a successful business. With these six tips from CBS-CBS.com, you’ll get off to a good start.

Know Your Focus

Although some work better than others, you can freelance in just about any line of work. Part of being successful, though, is to master in one field and stick with it. Trying to do too many things at one time will only make your life challenging. Plus, you want to develop your skills, and having one focus will help you do that.

Be a Master at Scheduling

One of the most essential points to stress for freelancers is that you have to be organized. It’s next to impossible to be successful if you cannot organize your day. Since you don’t have anyone checking in on you and ensuring you stay on task, it’s up to you to create your schedule and stick to it.

Actually Work

Although this seems obvious, if you’ve never freelanced before, you’ll soon realize why this point is here. It’s so easy to get distracted by everything around you that you end up falling behind in work. Make a note of doing a set amount of work every day to stay on top of everything.

Prioritize

Just as scheduling is an essential skill for freelancers, so to is prioritizing. As you become more successful, you’ll have multiple clients with multiple projects on the go. You have to juggle everything and ensure that you hand every assignment in on time.

Learning how to prioritize will help you with your success. Make a list of what you need to do for the week. Base it off what is the most important to what can wait. You wouldn’t want to spend hours on a project due next week when you have an assignment for tomorrow that you haven’t started yet.

Advertise Yourself

People won’t know who you are at the start. It’s up to you to advertise yourself and get the word of your skills out in public. You can do that by having a social media account dedicated to your freelancing, setting up ads, and by having a portfolio website.

Your portfolio is a way to showcase who you are, what your skills are, your previous work, and what you want to focus on. You can use this to send to potential clients to gain their trust and earn their business.

Persevere

It won’t be easy; there’s no other way to put it. Freelancing is a challenging field to get started in. However, once you establish yourself and get going, you’ll enjoy the rewards of this lifestyle. So, persevere through the difficult times at the start and don’t give up.

How to Set Up an Effective and Successful Meeting

Although they aren’t always the most fun thing you can do at work, having regular meetings with your office is a productive way to ensure everyone is on the same page. Meetings are often an underrated tool that management can use to work with their team.

Having a successful meeting comes from how you set it up. Simply telling your staff to gather in the board room for a meeting and preparing nothing in advance won’t get you very far. It would help if you got in the habit of doing some prep work.

To help you hold successful and effective meetings, Corporate Business Solutions Reviews has six tips.

Give Advance Warning

Especially if you want people to engage with you and have something to say, you should give the attendees advance warning. This also allows them to adjust their schedule so that they can fit the meeting in.

Provide a Written Agenda

Part of giving your staff a warning for the meeting is to provide them with an agenda. When they have the main points you plan to talk about, again, they can plan ahead of time and come more prepared. When everyone in attendance is prepared, you’re likely to have a more engaging meeting.

Stay On Time and On Task

Meetings frustrate people because they tend to be long, dragged out, and end up going off task. If that happens, people leave feeling like they’ve (or you) wasted their time. That is not the sign of a productive meeting.

Manage the clock as you guide the meeting. If you said it’s only going to be 10 minutes, make sure you stick to that. If you have points brought up that are off topic, make a physical note of them and mention you will follow up with either them personally or the group after, but that you need to stick to the agenda. Make sure that you show the team you are making a note of the topic, so they know you’re taking it seriously.

Use Visuals If Necessary

Not every meeting requires visuals. If you’re making a PowerPoint for the sake of having something to look like, you’re probably doing more work for yourself and wasting your time. However, if you need to prove a point with charts, then make a straight-to-the-point presentation not to distract people.

Encourage Note Taking (and Take Notes Yourself)

Note-taking is an essential skill to learn and master. Our minds can only remember so much, and if there were an important point brought up at the start of the meeting, you’d want to remember that later. Encourage the attendees to take notes by providing them with a notepad and pen.

Even though you’re conducting the meeting, you should also take notes yourself. If you want to encourage discussion, then you should jot down what your employees mention.

Follow Up is Key

No matter how prepared you are and how engaging the meeting was, you’re likely going to lose an employee or two at some point. It happens. That is why, following up with the attendees is critical.

Send out an email to the attendees and anyone who couldn’t make it. Include any points brought up from the group and any points that you tabled for later. Again, make it brief and straight-to-the-point. Include if you want to do a follow-up meeting on something important.

Your Guide to Handling a Business Lawsuit

As you start up and grow your business, the last thing on your mind is to be dealt with a lawsuit. It’s something that every business owner knows can happen, but it’s not something you want to go through.

A business lawsuit can come from many circumstances – from an employee, a customer, or possibly another company. Lawsuits cost company’s lots of money and can quickly become overwhelming to the point of feeling like it’s the end of your business. However, it’s all in how you handle the lawsuit and maneuver through each step.

Whether you’re currently going through a business lawsuit or want to prepare just in case, Corporate Business Solutions Reviews has a guide to deal with the situation.

Hire an Attorney

First things first, fire yourself an attorney that works with business lawsuits. You won’t want to go through this on your own. Once you receive the papers, take them straight to your attorney to go through them and develop a plan.

When you go through the lawsuit with your attorney, you’ll check for any discrepancies in the lawsuit to ensure it is accurate and for the right person. After that, you and your attorney will start to draw up a plan of action.

Do Not Communicate the Lawsuit With the Plaintiff

The person who files the lawsuit, it is best to not to communicate with them about the lawsuit. Anything said about the lawsuit could get used against either of you. That doesn’t mean you have to cut all forms of communication off with the person filing the lawsuit. However, it’s best to clearly state that you will not be talking about the lawsuit.

Control Your Emotions

If you’re handed a lawsuit, it can bring out all sorts of emotions. From anger, frustration, sadness, and confusion. As you continue through the steps of the lawsuit and gathering all the necessary information, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything and all the questions bound to come.

Staying in close contact with your attorney will help keep your emotions in check and how to handle all conversations. Discussing and answering questions based off of emotions often lead to costly mistakes. Remember, things that you say can come back and get used against you during the lawsuit.

Gather All the Necessary Documents

You’ll want to gather as much information as possible to help you throughout the lawsuit. Your attorney will guide you and inform you of what you all need to gather. Information related to the lawsuit could include emails, notes, recordings, and even visuals. Make sure to keep everything and not throw away any information.

Have Patience

Patience is vital during a lawsuit. A lawsuit can last for months, even years before it even gets to a trial, let alone a settlement. Set realistic expectations for the length of the process and the outcome. In many circumstances, time is on the side of the defendant during a lawsuit.

 

A lawsuit is not something that anyone wants to go through, but it is something that many businesses face regularly. By staying calm, taking your time, and being realistic about the situation, you can overcome a lawsuit and learn from the process.

Need a Confidentiality Agreement? 4 Tips to Help You Design One

Many businesses require employees to sign a confidentiality agreement. Those companies have important information about the business itself, clients, other employees, and anything else related to the company that needs to remain safe. The confidentiality agreement binds the employee to respect the information and privacy of those involved.

Drafting up a confidentiality agreement should take time to ensure that all avenues of the company are covered. If there is any part of your business and information surrounding your business that could be detrimental if put in the wrong hands, you’ll want to cover it in the agreement.

Because of the importance of a confidentiality agreement, Corporate Business Solutions has four tips to help you draft one for your company.

Identify Parties Involved

In your confidentiality agreement, it should be made clear who the parties are that are involved. When stating the parties, you are referring to the company (or yourself) and the person who is signing the agreement. Have a spot for the person to sign his or her name, along with a statement that states the person would be referred to as the recipient.

The Confidential Information

Have a section dedicated to the confidential information. First, determine what confidential means in the agreement. You’ll want to cover all grounds, including anything written or verbally spoken.

The tricky part of identifying what is confidential is that for you drafting the agreement, you want to keep things more general as to cover as much information as you need. The purpose is to avoid any loopholes that could end you up in trouble. However, for the person signing the agreement, will likely want things specifically lined out so to know what is and isn’t covered under the confidentiality agreement.

Is There a Timeframe?

The timeline of a confidentiality agreement is another tricky aspect. If there is no timeline stated, it’s difficult to determine how long the recipient must follow the agreement. Depending on the type of business you have and what the agreement is covering, it’s a good idea to specify a timeline. Is it for as long as the person is working there, or does the agreement stay true for a few years even after the employee is no longer with the company?

If you’re creating a confidentiality agreement for a trade or service that is specific to your company, you can have the timeline infinite. For example, if your business has a particular technique that you provide clients, your employees would sign a confidentiality agreement that states the employee cannot provide that technique to another company or for their own benefit.

Add Any Exclusions

Many confidentiality agreements will include exclusions. These exclusions would when the agreement doesn’t uphold, and the confidential agreement can be shared. If you know of any circumstances in which exclusion is valid, it’s important to note it in the agreement.

It’s important that the confidentiality agreement covers all aspects of your business, information and anything else that is deemed necessary. Without an agreement, there is nothing stopping employees from sharing what they know through work. Signing these agreements is a way to uphold the obligation of the employee to keep all information safe and secure.