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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

A lined, yellow note that says 'learn how to say no' on a red background

 

Being a people pleaser may seem like a positive trait, but it can also come with downsides. People pleasers often have trouble saying “no,” and as a result, end up doing more than they have the time or capacity for.

 

Although it’s valuable to help your co-workers and employees when they need it, it isn’t worth going beyond your personal limits until you’re left with little energy to focus on your own tasks. Learning to say no when you need to can be difficult when you’re a people-pleaser, but there are ways you can start setting more boundaries in the workplace.

 


 

Try some of these tips below.

 

1. Be polite but firm

If someone approaches you with a task that you know you won’t be able to do, you don’t need to immediately resort to giving a defensive or harsh “no” as a response to make the other person back down. Be polite but make it clear to the person you’re speaking with that your answer is firm and does not leave any unnecessary room for debate.

 

When in doubt, keep it simple and to the point. A basic “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to do that right now,” is typically the perfect way to approach a request that you don’t want or have the time to take on. Most people will be able to understand and respect your decision if you’re clear and unshakable from the start.

 

2. Don’t always feel the need to justify your “no”

It can be challenging for people-pleasers to not immediately resort to giving longwinded justifications when they turn down a request at work. Although it can be helpful to provide context to some queries that are brought to your attention, specifically for larger, more complicated tasks, it isn’t always necessary.

 

For smaller requests specifically, don’t go out of your way to give a long list of excuses as to why you can’t do something. Sometimes, a straightforward “no” is all you need to put a personal boundary in place at work.

 

3. Prioritize time for yourself

If you notice that you’re starting to feel exceedingly overwhelmed and are finding it difficult to manage your day-to-day tasks, consider prioritizing time for yourself. You’re more prone to end up in uncomfortable situations or feeling burnt out at work when you’re not focusing on your own needs and putting your co-workers’ desires ahead your own.

 

If you take the time to focus on your mental health and overall wellbeing, you will likely feel more capable and confident to tackle the requests that come your way. Saying “no” won’t feel as difficult or guilt-inducing, and you may want to freely say “yes” more often if you can manage your time more effectively.

 

4. Take time to think about it

It can be an easy habit to slip into when you want to keep everyone around you happy and pleased with your work performance but saying “yes” immediately to every person who asks you to do something is not always a smart move. And the same can be said for saying “no” right away to certain requests as well.

 

There’s no harm in taking some time to think about what’s being asked of you. Ask yourself some questions, especially if what the person is requesting isn’t a simple task:

  • Do I really have the proper amount of time to dedicate to this?
  • Is this going to take time away from my own to-do list?
  • Am I doing this because I genuinely want to, or because saying “no” would make me feel guilty?
  • Does this person genuinely need my help and is just asking for a favour, or are they taking advantage of my willingness to assist them?

If you make a point to ask yourself these questions when someone wants you to do something for them, it will help you reach a reasonable conclusion that won’t leave you regretting your answer later. So, the next time a co-worker comes to you with a request, consider responding with something like this: “I will think about it and get back to you by the end of the day.”

 

5. Acknowledge the other side

As you learn how to say “no” more, don’t forget to remain as empathetic and compassionate as possible. You don’t want to needlessly step on any toes and negatively impact your workplace relationships unintentionally. Acknowledge the other person’s perspective and try to express that you understand where they’re coming from.

 

While this step is not necessary for every instance of saying “no,” it can be helpful for specific situations where a kinder approach is needed. Even something as simple as stating “I know that this is not the answer you were hoping for” can help lessen the potential blow of turning down the task that’s being asked.

 

6. Adjust your own expectations

Sometimes, even if you do everything “right” and approach these situations with nuance and graciousness, people may still respond negatively. It is important to recognize that many people will not always react positively when they hear ‘no’ and it may have nothing to do with you at all. Try not to look too much into an unfavorable response from a help-seeker or take it personally. More often than not, they’re likely just frustrated, and their reaction has little to do with you at all.

 

It’s far more constructive and beneficial to set any needed boundaries instead of going against your limits to appease others out of fear that they won’t like you. Handling rejection is a part of life, especially at work, and you can’t always control how people react to it, even if you do everything you can to lessen the blow from the refusal.

 

7. Practice as much as you can

You won’t be able to turn down requests well if you don’t get yourself used to doing it. Even if it seems silly, take the time to practice saying “no” out loud. Try talking out hypothetical scenarios to yourself behind closed doors, or even work on it with a friend or trusted colleague.

 

This can help you work on your tone and your initial reaction. After all, like most other communication skills, learning to say no needs practice and can be refined over time if you do your best to improve it.

 

8. Compromise or propose an alternative

Although this option is not always a necessary, it can be useful to offer a compromise or propose an alternative instead of ending a proposal with a simple “no.” Ask the person if there are other small ways you can be helpful in that specific situation, suggest a brainstorming session with them later, or mention a better time they could approach you with the request.

 

If you offer someone a lifeline, it will convey an attitude that indicates you still care about them and their needs, while not completely giving in and letting go of your own boundaries.

 

9. Be authentic and honest

Most people can tell if you’re forcing out a fake response or coming up with a lie on the spot to get out of something you don’t want to do. While you don’t always owe someone a detailed response when you’re not able to do a task for them, it can be a polite courtesy to give a brief explanation as to why you are not able to help that person out.

 

It can be useful for them as much as it is for you. They may gain a perspective they had never considered before, which may positively affect how they approach you with similar requests in the future. Sincerity is far more likely to guide a situation to an agreeable conclusion than dishonesty.

 

10. Recognize your limits

Similarly to the importance of prioritizing time for yourself, it’s essential to recognize your personal limits. Consider saying “yes” to one or two people for smaller tasks but turn down any additional requests you receive that week or people coming to you with larger projects that you know you won’t have time for if you agree to do them.

 

Once you begin to acknowledge your own limitations instead of instinctively taking on every request that’s brought to you, you will be able to properly recognize when you’re able to help others without sacrificing your health or performance in the process.

 


 

Remember:

 

Do:

  1. Be polite and offer alternatives when the situation requires it.
  2. Critically think about if you have the time and/or the mental bandwidth to dedicate to the request that’s being asked of you.
  3. Practice saying no out loud – it will eventually become easier the more you do it.

Don’t:

  1. Be rude or use a hesitant tone when you respond.
  2. Feel the need to lie or give excessive, drawn-out excuses that are insincere.
  3. Tiptoe around your true feelings in order to keep the other person happy. Stand your ground while being honest and respectful.

 

Conclusion:

Saying “no” can be a hard thing to do for people who are used to taking on every request – no matter what the consequences are for their personal limits and schedules. If you start to apply these tips, turning down help-seekers won’t be so difficult when you need to prioritize yourself.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Man working on a laptop outside

 

Over the course of the pandemic, people across the globe had to adjust to working from home. As we transition back to more normal business operations, companies are now starting to adopt a hybrid working model for their employees.

 

More and more people are not only working from home or at the office, but from other locations as well. Enter: the third workplace. Remote work has seen a boom in popularity in places like cafes and coffee houses. Although a common choice for people who are accustomed to remote work, the third workplace has seen a big boom in popularity lately.

 

Here’s why it’s important for companies to know more about them and the potential they hold.

 

What is a third workplace?

Third workplaces are locations where people go to work that are not their physical office or their home. A third workplace can pretty much be anything but is most commonly a coffee shop, hotel, or co-working space.

 

With remote work becoming more commonplace, third workplaces have turned into ideal spots for people who may not need to go into their office but also don’t want to work from home. A spot like a coffee house offers the hustle and bustle of people and relaxed interaction, with a controlled environment to get work done–and the bonus of accessible caffeine on hand if you desire it.

 

Because of their popularity, business owners have the potential to seize a possible opportunity for additional income with third workplaces. In small towns and rural areas especially, more people will be looking for spots away from their own homes to get their work done during the day. Here is where you come in.

 

What do you need to set up a workplace?

A new line of income could be created for a small business with any space that can be rented out and adapted into an area for people to work. You want to create an environment that’s desirable for people to go to for their daily tasks. Many workers would rather travel to a third workplace instead of staying at home because they crave a change in scenery, desire more interaction and interpersonal connections, wish to stay connected with the local community, or simply require a controlled environment to focus on the work they need to complete for the day.

 

Luckily, setting up a third workplace does not need to be too complicated and you don’t need an overabundance of supplies in order to get started. Think about the basic needs of the average worker, and what helps people concentrate and be productive.

 

Some items and assets to consider:

  • Comfortable seating
  • Desks or sturdy tables
  • Wifi
  • Unobtrusive lighting that isn’t too bright (no one likes working under harsh, fluorescent lights if they can help it)

 

Most of the elements associated with a third workplace are negotiable. You can draw inspiration from other popular spots that people like to go to do their work, but the most important thing is that the essentials are in place for people to take advantage of. Most individuals won’t be hung up on the minor details and will be more focused on the overall space and their ability to work on what they need to get done.

 

Even if other co-working spaces exist in your area, you can turn your third workplace into your own. Make it reflective of your personality and figure out what kind of vibe you want to go for. Different people prefer different working environments. Some may like noisy coffee shops, and formal business locations, while others may enjoy a quiet library or a homey, relaxed spot. Figure out what theme resonates with you the most and go from there.

 

It’s not just about leisure

Although they’re often looked at as a leisurely place to escape from work and home, third workplaces aren’t just about relaxation. They’re also about productivity. A blend of the office and home without all the typical distractions that make those locations more difficult to work in.

 

A neutral third workplace is whatever you desire it to be. A spot where people don’t have to worry about taking calls around their screaming kids or overhear their coworkers in the middle of other distracting calls while they’re trying to get a project completed. Third workplaces could quickly become the sanctuary people need to be more efficient with their work during the day.

 

The future of hybrid work

The pandemic certainly taught many companies that it is possible to function successfully as a business with employees follow a remote or hybrid model of work. What was once a trendy new term and special incentive or perk for select workplaces is now quickly evolving into a new normal for many companies.

 

Hybrid work is now more than just a trending term. It’s indicative of a larger shift that’s happening with the way people approach work, the most efficient way people want to reach productivity goals and increase employee satisfaction in the process. To highlight the monumental scale of this trend, 65 percent of companies now want a hybrid working model moving forward.

 

It’s crucial for businesses to consider what this model of work will mean for their company and employees in the future.

 

The benefits of a hybrid work model

The 2020s saw a large number of employees show preference to remote work options, and many want to keep them in place. The middle-ground approach of a hybrid working model offers the benefits of both in-person and remote work, while keeping both sides of the employer-employee relationship happy.

 

There are also added benefits to this work choice as well. Employees are typically more satisfied when they are given the freedom to choose where they work. From an employer standpoint, companies save on costs when hybrid work models result in lower turnover rates, and office expenses are lessened as a result.

 

Hybrid working models can also address a critical problem that was seen during the pandemic: isolation. Employees are still given the choice to work away from the office, but there is also a social component that allows for group collaboration and discussion with face-to-face interactions that aren’t through a Zoom call or over a cubicle wall.

 

Potential issues with third workplaces

Although there are many benefits to a hybrid working model and the concept of third workplaces, they aren’t without their downsides as well.

 

Hybrid work and third workplaces open the possibility for security holes in organizations. It also presents the issue of working from personal devices instead of using company software. Many businesses are still not at a place where they can properly handle this problem effectively. The question stands, how can you provide access to confidential information to employees working in remote locations who are using personal devices?

 

Many employees also hold the expectation that they will be doing work at third workplaces from their own devices instead of company owned computers, which presents a set of challenges for the business-side of operations attempting to tackle the hybrid working model.

 

Conclusion

With hybrid working models becoming the new normal for organizations, it’s a smart decision to investigate the value of investing in a third workplace to gain an additional income. As well, they hold a lot of potential benefits for your employees if used correctly and can drastically increase worker satisfaction.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Woman looking at invoices

 

One of the most fundamental administrative tasks small businesses need to place extra emphasis on is invoicing. It’s an essential business item that can ensure healthy cash flow if they’re managed and organized correctly.

 

Invoicing can be an overwhelming process if it’s not approached correctly and effectively. The more clients you have, the easier it can become to lose track of who’s paying which invoice, and which person is behind on their payments. As well, if you’re making your invoices manually with a large client base, there’s greater margin for errors and lack of consistency.

 

Luckily, optimizing invoicing for small businesses doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming when you apply the right approach.

 

What is invoicing?

If your business is centered around clients and services, then invoicing is a large part of necessary operations and successful company management. Invoices are records of services or items provided to customers, and act as a method for them to pay you for what is being charged.

 

Invoices are different from receipts as they are legal documents used to request payment from consumers. There are associated agreed-upon conditions, such as a due date for payment.

 

Don’t know how to prepare professional invoices or where to get started? Read the tips below to help you optimize this essential process.

 

1. Follow-up on payments

Ideally, your clients will be prompt and follow-up on their required payments immediately. However, there will be times when invoices slip through the cracks and customers may need to be reminded to pay their owed amounts. When this happens, it’s important to take on the responsibility of communicating with customers about their unpaid invoices.

 

It’s not rude or unprofessional to remind people when their invoices are almost due. In fact, it’s a necessary business courtesy and it ensures that you’re holding your clients accountable for the money that is owed to you. You can do this periodically by sending out a brief, yet polite reminder that their invoice due date is approaching.

 

Not only can this help keep recent invoices fresh in the mind of your customers who may have simply forgotten about their upcoming payments, it can also mitigate potential cash flow issues and help with keeping you organised by knowing which clients still owe you payments.

 

2. Include all necessary information

Invoices should be appropriately detailed and include all necessary information that customers will need:

  • Invoice date
  • Invoice number
  • Billing period
  • Your business’ name and billing address
  • Your customer’s name and address
  • Payment terms and the due date
  • Your bank information
  • Your contact information
  • Taxes, fees, and discounts

 

Additionally, you can add HST numbers, client reference numbers and purchase order information. If your operating name is different from the name of your corporation, you must not that information on your invoice as well.

 

If you have a very complicated business setup, it helps to run the invoice past your accountant or bookkeeper to make sure that it contains all the information you need.

 

3. Provide clear descriptions

You don’t want there to be any misunderstandings or confusion surrounding charges on an invoice, which is why you want to make sure that each charge has a clear and detailed description. There should be a breakdown of charges on the invoice that allows clients to see the exact list of what they are buying, and the costs associated with them.

Providing detail with this level of clarity will not only improve the overall accuracy of your invoices, but also prove to your customers that your business is honest, transparent, and reliable. Clear descriptions will encourage clients to pay on time and also help you when referring to past invoices to find charges or handle disputes.

 

4. Send out invoices in a timely manner

Don’t delay when you’re sending out business invoices. You want to keep your cash flow consistent, and a large part of achieving this is by forwarding invoices to your clients as soon as a project has been completed.

 

Doing so will give people time to look through invoices thoroughly and understand the payment timeline and requirements. As well, sending invoices out early takes away the possibility of forgetting them until the last minute and increases the likelihood that your clients will pay you on time without needed a reminder.

 

There are third party services available where they can pay you your receivables up front to help with cashflow, but these services do take a percentage of the invoice as a fee. This percentage may seem small, but it can make of break some companies, so it’s best to setup a system that lets you get your payments as smoothly as possible.

 

5. Implement accessible payment options

Your business should offer as many options as possible for your clients to pay their invoices. You don’t want there to be any unnecessary barriers standing in the way of payments–such as the absence of common ways to pay–so it’s important to make the process easy and accessible. Clients should find paying their owed amounts convenient rather than difficult.

 

Customers appreciate business flexibility when it comes to payment methods and will likely have their information saved with their option of choice, which will make the process of paying their required invoices quicker and more reliable.

 

6. Automate invoicing

Too much time can be wasted on drafting the appropriately detailed invoice drafts, and manual invoicing systems can be prone to errors. Operational efficiency can be improved by using modern invoicing software, which can be far more reliable and be a huge time saver.

 

Streamlining this tedious and repetitive task will help you put that energy into other areas of your business and invoicing software also enables you to back up your invoices on a cloud, so you can view and track them anywhere at any time.

 

7. Manage payment terms ahead of time

You need to make sure your clients have a clear and comprehensive understanding of payment terms long before their invoices are due. This also means that your company’s terms should be visibly listed on invoices themselves as well.

 

This is especially helpful when laying out late payment fees and can help you avoid any confusion and uncomfortable back-and-forth with customers.

 

8. Add a personal note

A small, but impactful way to connect with your customers can be leaving a personal note along with their sent invoices thanking them for their business and encouraging them to contact you if they have any questions or concerns.

 

This is also an excellent time to ask for a referral if the client is pleased with the work and you delivered the project on time.

 

9. Number your invoices

Numbering your invoices can help you avoid the headache of looking through past invoices without a reference code to refer to. You should be making sure that every invoice has a number so that it’s easy to find if you need to look at it later to track payments. Invoicing software makes this simple to do, so that shouldn’t be difficult to remember.

 

10. Keep in touch with clients and be polite

Consistent communication with clients can make all the difference in making sure they’re paying you on time and keeping on top of their invoices. Customers are more likely to attend to an invoice if they’ve been having pleasant back and forth with a supplier. It adds more personality to interactions and increases the likelihood of payment consistency by keeping your company name top of mind.

 

11. Charge interest on late payments

Dealing with late payments is never going to be an easy or comfortable experience, but it’s necessary to have a concrete plan in place for clients who don’t pay their invoices on time. Late invoice fees should be clearly outlined in your business’ terms and conditions so customers are aware of what they will have to pay if they leave their invoices late.

 

Late fees don’t need to be large, but it should be listed on the original quote. It’s not out of line to follow through with this, in fact, it’s professional when a client doesn’t meet your agreed upon terms.

 

12. Have an organizational system in place

Like all aspects of business ownership, organization is key. You can’t operate an efficient company if you’re not able to quickly locate necessary files and records when needed.

 

All your invoices should be stored in a centralized location and backed up on a cloud. This is essential when it comes to tax purposes, bookkeeping, and keeping on top of your own records. It should be collective knowledge at your business as to where your invoices are stored, and every person should be using the same location.

 

13. Send invoices to the right people

This may seem like an obvious point, but it can be surprisingly easy to send an invoice to the wrong person, which can cause unnecessary delays with payments. Sometimes, it may not be the actual client who is handling the payment, it may be an accountant who’s handling their bookkeeping, or a parent or friend who paid for the charged good as a gift for the customer.

 

With consistent communication about payment terms from the start, you should be able to find out who will be paying the invoice and save you the added effort of jumping back and forth between people who aren’t going to be providing your business with the owed payment.

 

You can save a lot of time and confusion by drafting a quick questionnaire that you give to all clients during the onboarding process which asks for email address of person who handles payables, what payment method they prefer, who to call if a payment isn’t received on time, etc.

 

Conclusion

As you’ve likely learned by now, invoicing is a crucial aspect of operating a successful business. Don’t look at invoicing as annoying paperwork–it’s vital to the long-term health of your company since the way you manage invoices directly impacts your cashflow.

 

Invoicing doesn’t have to be a complicated, overly involved process. It just needs to be clearly detailed and routinely managed to avoid any errors and mitigate late or missed payments as much as possible. Your clients will certainly appreciate it in the long run, and it will help them develop a definitive understanding of your business’ practices, expectations, and terms when it comes to invoice fees and payments.

 

If you apply the tips, you were given above, and make sure you consistently prioritize effective and organized invoicing for your clients, your business will be better off for it.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Business man looking exhausted in front of his computer

 

Operating a business is far from easy, and it can take a huge toll on your mental and physical health. Especially with the disruptions brought on by the pandemic, business owners are facing more challenges than they ever have before.

 

These factors may be causing you increased levels of exhaustion and stress. Without even realizing it, you could be starting to suffer from work-related burnout. Not only can burnout take a physical and mental toll on the person dealing with it, but burnout can also affect the business itself.

 

It’s important to recognize the signs of burnout and implement ways to not only deal with it if you notice it’s affecting your life but to also prevent it from happening to begin with when you can.

 

Here are some signs that you may be struggling with burnout:

 

1. You feel constantly overwhelmed

It’s normal to go through varying periods of your work life where things may feel more overwhelming than usual. However, if you notice that you’re constantly feeling swamped with no relief, then you may have a problem that needs to be addressed.

 

You shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks and operations. Your daily to-do list shouldn’t feel like a daunting, impossible burden. If you notice that everything at work is starting to feel like a chore, then it may be necessary to take a step back and evaluate why you’re feeling so weighed down by work.

 

2. You’re always tired

Even with a full night's rest, you still feel exhausted. Basic tasks and routines tire you out, and you’re not able to get through the day without yawning excessively and thinking about collapsing onto your bed when you get home.

 

Being tired sometimes is natural, but consistently feeling like you didn’t get any sleep is not.

 

3. You can’t sleep

Alternatively, you may not be able to get much, if any, proper sleep at all. Going to bed just results in restless tossing and turning, and you can’t shut your brain off when you try to settle down for some sleep. If you’re relying on medication to fall asleep, then that’s a red flag that may indicate you’re starting to get burnt out.

 

4. You have consistent brain fog

You’re starting to forget basic things–names, dates, contact information. Sometimes, you may forget a point mid-sentence or what you’re about to do just before you’re going to begin a task. Brain fog can be the result of residual and consistent lack of sleep and tiredness and can be a sure-fire way to indicate that you’re burning out.

 

5. You’re always working, even when you’re not supposed to be

Even when other people have packed up and gone home for the day, you’re still at the office. When you leave, you’re still doing work at home. You put off basic needs and your own personal enjoyments for the sake of work.

 

While there may be times when you need to get caught up on work outside of typical operating hours, it’s not healthy to always be “on” when you’re not supposed to be doing business tasks.

 

6. You take your frustrations out on your staff or colleagues

Regular irritability that transfers over to your staff members is indicative of a larger issue. It creates a tension filled work environment which results in poor work product, and high turnover due to terrible morale.

 

You can’t expect your team to come up with creative solutions if they are too afraid to speak up when you are around. If you’re feeling consistently annoyed and you’re lashing out at your team as a result, then burnout may be the culprit.

 

7. You’re not socializing as much as you used to

Pulling away from your typical friend group, cancelling social plans, and choosing instead to work or go home and prepare for more work, is not something that should be taken lightly if you’re used to socializing regularly.

 

8. You’ve developed health issues

Increased stress, lack of sleep, and ignoring your physical and mental wellbeing can result in health issues. Burnout can exacerbate these problems and cause random and otherwise avoidable health concerns. If you’ve started developing issues that are cause for concern, it might be time to look at your recent work habits.

 

9. You’re cynical

No one is optimistic 100 percent of the time, but it isn’t healthy to feel cynical more often than not. Being pessimistic can have a negative effect on your employees, and may cloud your ability to recognize the good work that’s being done.

 

Focusing on the negative can be productive in addressing issues that need to be fixed, but it should not be the only thing you’re able to dedicate your attention to.

 

10. Your performance is slipping

If you’re regularly tired, dealing with brain fog, and overwhelmed, it would be a natural conclusion to say your work performance is probably slipping. You won’t be able to perform to the same standard if you’re constantly pushing yourself past your personal limits.

 

Although it may seem like you’re working hard for the sake of your business, you’re doing your company no favours if you’re sacrificing your wellbeing in the process.

 


 

If you feel like you’re dealing with burnout or just want to know how you can effectively avoid it as much as possible, read these tips below.

 

1. Prioritize self-care

Self-care will look different for every person, but it’s an essential concept to practice, especially for business owners who are more prone to stress and exhaustion. Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated or filled with dozens of things you need to do. Start with a simple, manageable routine that helps you take care of your basic needs while also showing yourself some much needed–and required–kindness.

 

For example, before going to bed, read a book you enjoy for half an hour. Unwind with a relaxing bath once a week (or more, depending on the kind of week you’re having). Instead of squeezing as much work as possible into an evening, set it aside to tackle the next day and go to sleep a bit earlier. If you get more rest, wake up with enough time to sit and enjoy your coffee without having to rush to get to work.

 

Self-care should be about prioritizing yourself and what your mind and body need, even if it’s just a few blocks of time that you set aside throughout the day to take it easy.

 

2. Disconnect when you can

As difficult as this can be in a very digitally-focused world where people are glued to their phones 24/7, you should do your best to limit your screen time outside of work. Set your phone aside and focus on your personal routines when you’re home at the end of a workday.

 

Don’t mindlessly scroll or check on emails before bed. Take time to step away from the constant messages and online tasks that can wait until work hours. Your sleep schedule will be much better off if you’re not stuck to your phone until the second before you go to bed.

 

3. Surround yourself with a strong network

A strong support system can be incredibly beneficial to your mental health. Try to keep the people who are best for your wellbeing in your inner circle, and don’t engage with those who don’t help you when you need it and drag you down when you’re already tired.

 

4. Make your sleep count

It can be difficult for busy business owners to take their sleep seriously, but it’s one of the most essential aspects of our overall health that should never be ignored. Make a personal rule to set aside work a few hours before you go to sleep, and do not bring your work into bed with you. Your bed should be for sleeping and not associated with last-minute emails.

 

Aim for 8 hours of sleep as much as you can and do your best to prioritize your sleep routine as consistently as possible.

 

5. Get active

Physical activity has been proven to have a list of positive benefits on your health and well-being. Even something as simple as going out for a short walk before or after you’re done work (or even on your lunch break) can do wonders for your health and mindset.

 

6. Set aside time to do the things you enjoy

It’s easy to get lost in work–to the point where you no longer allow yourself to have the time to do the things you enjoy. People need hobbies and pastimes to look forward to, so it’s necessary to remember to allow yourself to do what makes you happy when you’re finished work for the day. Make a point of setting aside time in your schedule to do the activities you like.

 

7. Set professional boundaries

Do your employees often message you questions and concerns after work hours? Do you reach out to them about things that could likely wait until the next day? If you answered yes, then it may be time to set some professional boundaries for your team and yourself.

 

Your phone shouldn’t be filled with messages and alerts when you’re home at the end of the day. If it’s not an emergency, it can wait. You need to give yourself time to step away from your phone so you don’t become irritable and overwhelmed with constant messages from your employees. Everyone needs breaks, especially business owners who already have a lot to deal with.

 

8. Explore mindfulness

Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are all positive examples of mindfulness exercises that you can try. Being mindful means being present in the moment. You’re not thinking about tomorrow, you’re not worrying about something in the past, you just are.

 

9. Take a step back from unnecessary job stressors

If you find yourself tackling unnecessary tasks that could otherwise be delegated to another employee and you’re becoming stressed because of it, then you may need to reevaluate your work strategy. There’s no harm in redistributing daily to-do’s that give you stress if you don’t need to be the one to do them. You have a team for a reason, make sure you’re leaning on them (within reason) if you’re starting to become overwhelmed.

 

10. Ask for help when you need it

Much like the point above, there’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. Whether that’s seeking therapy if you think your stress is becoming too much for you to handle or asking your coworkers to lend a hand when you have a lot on your plate. Don’t be afraid to seek out help to make your work life more manageable.

 

Off-loading your hosting, business website, and digital marketing to a third party like REM can take a huge amount of stress off of your daily to-do list.

 

Conclusion

Burnout is incredibly common for business owners, so it’s important to recognize the signs and address them head-on before it gets worse if you notice you’re starting to experience it. Use these tips to help you the next time you start to feel overwhelmed and remember you’re not alone.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Woman drawing a sketch

 

Chances are, your reaction to hearing about the concept of sketchnoting is going to either focus on the presumed time that’s involved with it or your lack of artistic skills. In actuality, project managers and business owners can greatly benefit from sketchnoting if it’s implemented correctly, so don’t turn your nose up at it just yet!

 

This post will aim to teach you the ins and outs of sketchnoting, the ways it can be used for your business, and how you can get started.

 


 

What is sketchnoting?

First things first: what is sketchnoting? Simply put, it’s visual notetaking. It doesn’t require a lot, or really, any artistic skill, and it can be a huge time saver when implemented correctly.

 

The act of sktechnoting–expressing your ideas visually–can be a combination of doodles, specific colour palettes, drawings, structural elements, and text. These can be as detailed or as simple as you like, and there is endless potential for the structure and overall design.

 

The goal of sketchnoting is not for you to create an artistic masterpiece. Rather, it is a method for you to visualize concepts you want to memorize, understand, explain more simply, or communicate to other people more effectively.

 

Focus your energy on simple symbols that can translate metaphoric, more complex meanings. For example, using a lightbulb to represent a new idea.

 

Visual note-taking is also a more effective strategy for many individuals to retain information. In the same way, physically writing out notes is better for our memories than typing out text digitally. People who doodle their ideas have been proven to recall more information than those who do not.

 

Sketchnoting can be adapted in countless different ways to suit the needs of the subject matter at hand. It’s eye-catching, creative, unique, and a way to engage a variety of different people while encouraging cross-collaboration as well.

 

Now that you know what sketchnoting is, here are some of the ways you can use it in your business strategy.

 

What can sketchnoting be used for?

 

1. To document conferences

For long conferences that cover a lot of different concepts and information, sketchnoting can come in very handy to ensure participants (and yourself) properly understand the material that’s being presented.

 

You can use visual notes to summarize conference info or incorporate the method of graphic recording, which is a process that endeavours to make points engaging, easy to comprehend, and memorable.

 

If you’re leading a conference, you can use sketchnoting to make sense of your own points. Alternatively, if you and your team are attending a conference together, you can collectively turn your written notes into a collaborative sketchnote project in your meeting afterwards. This way, people can effectively summarize what was learned in an easily digestible format that makes reviewing the content manageable and fun.

 

2. To create marketing strategies

Sketchnoting can extend outside of your team meetings and conferences into your company’s marketing strategy as well. More and more businesses are looking for ways to draw in consumers with innovative techniques and fresh strategies.

 

Be creative and don’t limit yourself to perfectly kerned fonts and rows and rows of neat text. Hand drawn newsletters, for example, are unique and interesting. There are countless ways to make individually crafted marketing materials feel personal and particular to your business, and you’re certain to stand out if you break away from the typical marketing approach that most companies lean towards.

 

3. To push engagement in business meetings

Similar to documenting conferences, sketchnoting can be incredibly effective for optimizing engagement in business meetings. It can be easy for people to lose focus and slack on participation when it’s required if the material at hand isn’t naturally engaging or particularly exciting.

 

This can be mitigated with the use of visual notetaking and illustrative presentations. Not only will your team be more likely to remember the information that’s being provided to them, but they’ll also be encouraged to participate when the material is more visually appealing and less dense.

 

4. To brainstorm

Sketchnoting can be an excellent tool for brainstorming. For people who benefit from visual learning especially, creating a mind map of ideas is very beneficial for synthesizing and remembering important information. Avoid relying on large blocks of text, and instead, focus on using symbols and diagrams to represent concepts.

 

5. To build project storyboards

When you think of storyboarding, you might think of something like PowerPoint, which is not the same. PowerPoint is a linear authoring/development tool, while design is not linear. Prototyping a concept through a visual storyboard can be incredibly useful when planning out larger, more involved projects that require assessment and approval.

 

As well, you can visually draft the timeline and scope of a project that’s a work in progress. Visually speaking, storyboards don’t need to be too complicated or excessively detailed. It’s more important to lay out the ideas that need to be translated to your intended audience.

 

6. To document task lists

Instead of a generic, written-out to-do list, try developing a visual goal list for your team instead.  Sketch out what needs to be done that day, week, month, etc. and make it visually appealing. Allow for tasks to be checked off as they’re completed by different members, and make it accessible for the office to see and look at when they require a reminder about what still needs to be accomplished.

 

7. To explain existing ideas

Take existing ideas that have already been presented in meetings, company materials, etc. and present them through sketchnoting. Breaking a concept down into the simplest format possible so others can understand it even further, is an effective way to ensure information is properly reaching everyone who needs to learn and retain it.

 

How to get started

Luckily, you don’t need many tools to get started with sketchnoting. When you begin, some suggestions for materials to start with include:

  • Blank paper
  • Whiteboard
  • Flipchart
  • Notepad
  • Black pens (that don’t smudge)
  • Multi-coloured markers
  • Brush pens (great tools for experimenting with different font styles)

 

There are many places you can go to for sketchnoting inspiration. Some reliable examples are:

  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Sketchnote Army
  • Google

 

Conclusion

By now, you’ve likely learned that sketchnoting is less about having artistic talent and is more focused on effective communication and synthesizing information. Sketchnoting can be a wonderful tool for business owners and project managers to enhance their workplace strategies and meeting notes.

 

Running a business can be difficult and most owners feel like they are being pulled in a thousand different directions. Trust REM to design a beautiful, user-friendly business website that will engage and convert visitors into customers; so you can focus on other important matters.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Man between two arrows pointing opposite directions

 

The biggest downfall of many small businesses is something that married couples often aren’t properly prepared for: divorce. Divorce is stressful enough on its own, without having to worry about a shared business on top of it.

 

Therefore, couples who manage businesses should have a plan in place in case divorce ever occurs, and if you’re already going through this process and don’t know where to start, consider the tips below.

 

1. Seriously consider a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement

If your business is already in the picture before you’re planning on getting married, investigate a pre-nuptial agreement. If you’re married already, consider a post-nuptial agreement to work out the details of what would happen to your business should you divorce. Consulting a lawyer and having this information clearly laid out in case of a separation is a smart safety net to have.

 

Written agreements signed by yourself, and spouse can help you both avoid unnecessary added struggles and ensure that each party has some secure financial protection in relation to your business should you decide to ever separate.

 

It may seem like an awkward or unneeded conversation to bring up (discussing divorce while you’re married is never comfortable or romantic), but it’s a wise move to make when nothing in the future is ever completely certain–and you don’t want your business to suffer because you didn’t draw up a proper plan that works for both of you.

 

2. Seek legal advice

When in doubt, seek legal advice. Even a free consultation with a family lawyer can help point you in the right direction with the steps you need to take to ensure the health of your business is maintained and prioritized while you’re going through the process of divorcing your partner.

 

3. Transfer business assets into a living trust

Another option to protect your small business during a divorce is to transfer your business assets into a living trust. Creating a living trust essentially places ownership of your business to a third-party trustee, while you can still maintain control and earn money from it. However, if your divorce your spouse, the business cannot be divided because you don’t own it. Always pursue legal assistance when considering a living trust to make sure the process is done correctly.

 

4. Location matters

The city or province where your business is located may have different regulations surrounding asset division during divorces than the region you file your divorce. Therefore, it’s important to understand how your business ownership, assets, and income would be interpreted by a judge in your area to properly protect it. 

 

5. Understand the difference between separate and marital property

Another factor to consider in your marriage and in the event of a divorce, is the difference between separate and marital property. Although it varies depending on where you’re located, separate property is generally including property that is owned before marriage, inheritance received by one partner, or gifts received by one partner from a third party.

 

However, separate property like a small business that was owned before the married occurred, can easily become marital property if there is no strict management and careful protection in place before the wedding. When property is mixed–like a joint bank account for example–it will almost certainly become marital property.

 

Conclusion:

The dissolution of a marriage is a challenging process. Emotions will be raw, and your personal life will be in turmoil so it’s necessary to have a secure plan in place that works for you and your partner when you share and own a small business. It’s far better to plan for a situation that may never happen than to struggle without a proper course of action when you’re forced to deal with it unprepared.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Man holding a bucket full of cleaning supplies

 

Spring is just around the corner. The new season has a lot of opportunities for more growth, organization, fresh starts, improved mindsets, and better productivity.

 

Spring cleaning doesn’t need to only apply to your home. Giving your business a springtime refresh can be beneficial for a multitude of reasons.

 


 

Here are seven ways you can spring clean your small business.

 

1. Buff up your customer relations

You never want to let the customer relations side of your business fall to the back burner too much, but having more relaxed and complacent periods can happen when you’re particularly busy. Now it’s time to prioritize a thorough overhaul of your consumer operations.

  • Go through those customer-lists. Look through the information you have about your clients. Are there addresses up-to-date? Have any of them moved, changed phone numbers or emails? Make note of when you last heard from specific customers and move forward with updating any information if you have access to the correct details.
  • Put out a satisfaction survey. You should always be looking for more opportunities to grow and improve your business, and what better way to do that than by receiving feedback from one of your most important sources? Take this chance to check in on them and see how happy they are with your services.

 

2. Tidy up your website

Take a critical and thorough look at your website. Any problems that you’ve made note of over the past year that have managed to fall through the cracks, address them head-on. It can be easier to push these issues to the back of your mind when there are more pressing matters and problems to focus on, but your website should take top priority. It is a reflection of who you are as a business and is likely the first impression most of your clients will have when choosing who to do their commerce with. Assess whether or not your website perfectly aligns with your brand, services, and mission. Perhaps you need to update your logo, colours or mission statement. Maybe your product list or contact information needs to be updated. There are likely ways that you could also improve your website’s accessibility for visiting users and expand the scope of what your site currently offers. So while you’re fixing those little issues, take advantage of this time to look for ways you can improve what you already have in the process.

 

Talk to REM about getting a thorough Website and SEO Audit to find out what needs to be fixed first.

 

3. Purge your email inbox

It’s incredibly easy to let emails pile up in your inbox and it can be a daunting task to tackle if you’ve been putting it off for awhile (we’ve all been there). This is your sign to set aside the time to sit down and do it. Although it can be time-consuming, it will be worth it when you’ve finally completed it. Go through your spam folder, delete old emails and organize important ones into specific folders. Unsubscribe from any unnecessary newsletters and generic emails. Look over your contact list, add names to emails, and update it accordingly. Do you want to change your email signature or your contact photo? Now is the time to do it. Any little task surrounding email organization should be prioritized and completed now. As tedious as it may seem, dedicating the proper focus to getting these smaller and often overlooked points on your to-do list done will benefit you in the long-run. 

 

4. De-clutter your desk

An organized desk can do wonders for your personal productivity, work mindset, and your overall mood. Your workspace is where you’re likely spending the majority of your time, whether you’re working at the office, at home, or between both. The desk where you tackle your daily tasks and projects can say a lot about you, and the state of its organization and cleanliness likely has an impact on your on your wellbeing and desire to work. So wipe off that keyboard, put out a plant or two, tidy up your loose files and papers, and remove any unnecessary clutter. Try to make your desk layout simple with few distractions, but it should have personal touches that make it desirable for you to sit down and work there. Whether that’s a few framed photos or some subtle desk decor, turn that space into your own and one you can be proud of.

 

5. Check-in with your employees

Employee satisfaction should always be a priority to make sure your business can run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Checking in with the people who help run and manage your business can provide you with different perspectives that you may not have considered before. You see operations from one side, they see it from another. Actively listen to any feedback, notes of improvement or concerns they may have.

 

6. Take a close look at your data

Pouring over your business’ data can be a very effective way to find gaps or weaker spots that are in need of improvement. Really knowing what’s behind your data and how to engage with it more critically and efficiently can be incredibly helpful for your small business. Keep tabs on what you’re selling, look at peak times and demographics for website users, get to know your clients and their buying habits with customer insights, and look into real-time updates on how your business is doing sale-by-sale.

 

7. Clean your office space

It’s very likely that the office you work in has not been held to the same standard of cleanliness and organization that was once there before the pandemic. Fluctuations with in-person work have probably resulted in some office tasks being shifted to the bottom of everyone’s to-do lists. Tackle the literal part of spring cleaning and bring your office the deep clean and de-clutter it needs. Toss out trash, go through any overlooked mess, vacuum, and sanitize surfaces and high-traffic areas. Similar to your personal desk, your office should be an inviting space for your employees to come to work in.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Business woman wearing a white blouse and brown skirt

 

With spring right around the corner, it’s time to freshen up your wardrobe and step into a new season with style.

 

Your workwear should evolve as you move from winter into spring – you want to keep up-to-date with current fashion trends and adapt to the warmer weather while still staying fashionable.

 

The pandemic has shifted the way many of us approach workwear styling. As we changeover from the matching loungewear sets we’ve been living in while working from home into more work-appropriate and professional business wear, it’s important to keep some styling tips in mind.

 

Even if you’re still not going into the office every single day, that doesn’t mean you can’t look stylish and professional for your Zoom meetings and video conferences.

 

Transition your business attire into spring with these fresh looks and styles.

 


 

Here are some tips and tricks to get you started:

 

1. Load up on layers

Layering your business looks is essential for spring, especially if you’re going to work in-person and need to travel to get there. Choosing water-wicking materials, carrying a change of shoes in your work bag, and opting for trench coats, light jackets, and loose sweaters (that you can take off and put back on when the temperature fluctuates) can make a world of difference when navigating the unpredictable spring season weather.

 

2. Take opportunities to dress-up and wear clothes you feel good in

After navigating a pandemic for nearly three years, it’s long overdue for many of us to shift back into more formal and chic outfits for work. Spring can be a great time for new beginnings and opportunities – which can include diversifying your weekly fashion picks. Pull out your dresses, iron your skirts, and dust off your heels. Putting time and care into the outfits you choose for work and adding that little bit of extra effort into your clothing choices can not only boost your confidence, but your productivity as well. A win for you and your workplace.

 

3. Incorporate conventional classics into your wardrobe

While you don’t necessarily need to build a capsule wardrobe in order to remain both practical and fashionable, it is worthwhile to invest in some conventional classics that won’t go out of style. Some worthwhile staples to include in your spring wardrobe:

  • A crisp, white poplin shirt. Button-downs are especially trendy right now, but they’re a versatile staple that can be styled in dozens of different ways to suit a variety of outfits and can be dressed-up or dressed-down depending on your workwear needs.
  • Tailored trousers. A straight-legged, relaxed-fit pair of neutral-toned trousers can elevate any basic outfit from blah to timeless. Opting for a camel or brown coloured set of pleated pants that are fitted at the waist and looser on the legs can match pretty much match any outfit combination you can think of.
  • Comfortable black heels. Finding the perfect black heels can elevate any outfit from forgettable and boring to chic and timeless. The right height and width of the heel can make all of the difference, and you want to choose a pair that is both comfortable and durable for potentially long work days at the office or for meetings with clients.
  • A fitted coat. Every woman should have a fitted coat in their closet that can be worn over their outfits for work. When choosing this simple staple, you should opt for a coat that isn’t too form-fitting and can be worn over layers.
  • A structured blazer. A working woman’s necessity, a structured blazer can take your professional business attire to a whole new level. High-quality options that fit your shape and provide a flattering silhouette are best. Bright blazers are an excellent choice for spring, but if you want to invest in a blazer that can be worn from season to season and still remain timeless, steer towards more neutral shades. 
  • The basic white tee. Don’t underestimate the power of a plain white t-shirt. The beauty of this wardrobe essential is that it can be combined with any outfit combination. Look for high-quality options that are made with thicker fabric, with a looser fit. Tucked into trousers, worn under blazers and sweaters, the combinations are endless.
  • A classic sleeveless sweater. Knit vests are a minimalist option for those who want to look chic but stay comfortable. Not as warm as a traditional long-sleeved sweater, and easily layer-able, this option is perfect for spring.

 

4. Learn how to subtly accessorize

You don’t need to go overboard with accessories in order to properly pull and outfit together. Now that it’s spring, it’s your chance to accessorize without heavy winter-wear getting in the way. Minimalist, chunky (but not too chunky) gold hoops are perfect for styling with basically any outfit while remaining professional and not overdone. Go for jewelry staples that aren’t ostentatious or distracting, like gold or silver bangles and cuff bracelets, and earrings with a hint of colour to pull your outfit together. Finding the perfect timeless watch to wear with your every day work look or investing in sophisticated bands for your smart watch can make you appear more put-together.

 

Spring brings more rain, but hopefully more sun along with it. Going to and from the office means adapting to the changing weather, so it’s important that you’re properly accessorized. Look for a practical, yet versatile umbrella to protect yourself from those April showers, and classic black sunglasses for brighter workdays.

 

Brands everywhere have embraced and integrated face masks into their clothing collections. With so many different options now, look into colour-cooridinating your mask with your outfit.

 

Your spring workbag doesn’t have to sacrifice style for functionality or vice versa. Cross-body belt bags have seen a huge rise in popularity this year. They’re practical, understated, and perfect for on-the-go travel. Over the shoulder, durable bags that are just the right size for all of your office essentials are also a subtle way to introduce colour into your outfits.

 

5. Don’t be afraid to add pops of colour

You don’t need to go over-the-top in order to add some colour to your spring wardrobe. Spring can be a time to bring out softer, subtle pastels and bolder pieces that don’t suit the autumn and winter months.

 

If you’re feeling more adventurous, but still want to remain professional, learn about colour blocking. Colouring blocking can be a fun and flattering way to dress if you find what palettes and tones work best for you. 

 

6. Keep it fresh and profesh’ – virtually

Many of us have fallen into fashion slumps during the pandemic. But with spring on the horizon, you can start integrating small changes into your everyday workwear that can go a long way. Even if you’re working from your home office, you can still present professional and stylish looks that will make the coworkers on your conference calls envious of your outfit choices.

 

Chic and sensible blue light glasses to not only protect your eyes from staring at a screen all day but to pull your outfit together, are a small, yet noticeable way to elevate your look. Styling your hair in a sleek bun with an oversized scrunchie, choosing collared blouses with light detailing that are noticeable but not distracting, and matching sets that aren’t too casual, are all great options for working from home that aren’t unprofessional.

 

7. Stay up-to-date with trends and build your own style inspiration

You can choose timeless pieces for your spring wardrobe while also dressing to fit current fashion trends. Turn to Pinterest, TikTok, and fashion websites to follow what looks are in style and discover what suits you best. 

 

8. Refresh your wardrobe 

It’s very likely that many of us who are returning to work in-person have neglected to update their current wardrobes since the beginning of the pandemic. There are likely clothing pieces that no longer fit you properly, aren’t in style, you don’t like or they’re simply worn out that you could donate or get rid of. Spring is the perfect time to refresh and clean out your wardrobe so you can make note of what clothes you’re in need of and rediscover the pieces you haven’t worn in ages.

 

9. Know how to properly dress for a “business casual” environment

It can be tricky to navigate the realm of business casual attire. It’s important to have some understanding of what your workplace expects in terms of a dress code. Some offices may be more relaxed in terms of their standards for dressing, and for example, be comfortable with employees wearing jeans on Fridays. Others may have stricter standards.

 

Knits, ankle pants, chiffon blouses, blazers over t-shirts, are all examples of business casual outfit possibilities. Looking towards options that could be easily dressed-up or dressed-down with minor changes like adding or removing a blazer, are a good place to start.

 

10. Find the right footwear

Going from slippers and socks to heels and boots can feel a bit daunting, but we have you covered.

 

Opt for wet-weather footwear to go to and from work. You don’t have to choose between functionality and fashionability when you’re choosing water-resistant shoes. Chelsea boots are understated and can match with practically any outfit, while keeping your feet dry.

 

Loafers and clogs are other trendy footwear choices that are perfect for an office look while remaining practical and comfortable for spring.

 

If you’re looking to make your outfit more chic and formal, pull out a pair of strappy heels.

 


 

Your post-pandemic, return-to-work spring wardrobe doesn’t need to be overly high-maintenance and complicated. Stick to the basics, add pops of colour, and shift into spring with a sophisticated business style.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Happy, young woman working from home

 

It’s been quite some time now that some companies have offered their employees the ability to telecommute, but what does that actually mean? What are the pros and cons? If you choose to offer this “perk” up, how do you make sure you’re ready for it? In this blog we’ll summarize all of the above with the help of noobpreneur.com

 

What is Telecommuting?

Telecommuting is an employment arrangement in which the employee works outside of the employer's office. Often this means working from home or at a location close to home, such as a coffee shop, library, or co-working space. (source)

 


 

Pros of Telecommuting

 

Noobpreneur.com [SR3] has compiled a list of pros and cons of telecommuting that we though we’d share:

 

1. Cost Saving

Smaller offices, not so many parking spaces, less milk etc. There are many costs associated with employees that can reduce when they spend part or all of the week at home.

 

2. Retention

Offering a talented employee the option to telecommute will stop them looking for another job if they ever need to relocate and make changes due to family considerations.

 

3. Job Satisfaction

A recent study found that those who telecommute are more satisfied with their jobs than those who spend 40 hours a week in the office.

 

4. Less Stress Causing Improved Performance

Employees who worked from home reported feeling less stress due to the fact they were no longer exposed to commuting or office politics.

 


 

Cons of Telecommuting

 

1. Collaboration Becomes More Difficult

Some of the best ideas get sparked off during a chat with a colleague at the watercooler or following a casual conversation at your desk. It is incredibly difficult to replicate impromptu moments like these on IM or over the phone.

 

2. Awareness & Culture Disconnect

There is something incredibly immersive about the work environment. You can learn a lot about your job and the company just by being present, listening to the conversations that go on around you and watching other people at their work. The telecommuter is not part of this environment and will often find themselves one step behind, potentially causing them to feel as though they are not part of the team.

 

3. Hard to Manage

Whether it is keeping up to date with where a telecommuter is at on a current project or checking productivity and time management, it can be incredibly difficult to monitor the progress of someone who is not frequently present.

 


 

Employee Compatibility

 

Telecommuting is not for everyone, and as an employer it’s incredibly important to ensure that if you are offering up the ability to telecommute, you must ensure that your employees are compatible with this form of working.

 

Noobpreneur.com has provided benchmark questions that employers should ask when deciding whether or not an employee is capable of telecommuting:

 

Can the employee communicate well through written channels?

IM and e-mail are normally the primary method of contact for most telecommuters. People who are notorious for blunt or abrasive email communication or silly IM chats may not be the best candidates.

 

Is the employee well disciplined, organised and are they proven to work well independently?

It is much harder to supervise those who work from home and so you need to have confidence that they will get on with the job.

 

Does the employee have suitable reasons for wanting to work from home?

Most employees want to telecommute due to family commitments or the need to be in a specific location but here will always be those who will see it as an excuse to take things easy.

 

Will the employee cope with the isolation?

Despite your best attempts to make your telecommuters feel as though they are part of the team there is a chance that they may feel a little cut off socially. Employees who thrive on the team dynamic may struggle to adapt to the quietness of home working.

 

There are a lot of factors that you should consider prior implementing telecommuting at your company, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you do decide to move forward keep in mind there should be a trial period to see how employees and you adjust. There should also be periods of time throughout the week that everyone is to be present – this helps boost employee morale and allows you the required in person time that is needed to carry out elements of the job of an employer and employee. Finally, it’s incredibly important to set expectations for those telecommuting and ensure they are met.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Young woman managing her small business with a laptop

 

There is no doubt that the pandemic really turned everyone’s lives upside down, but one the groups of individuals that took the brunt of the pain were professional women. The retail, foodservice and hospitality industries are predominantly made up of female employees with COVID-19 forcing restrictions on these industries, more women were forced to function on a significantly decreased income.

 

In addition to restrictions in the industries mentioned above, the move to online learning for children and students required parents to be at home and adjust their lifestyle to take on more roles and responsibilities when it came to educating their children.

 

According to Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC):

“The federal government has provided more than $52 billion in emergency relief support including programs for businesses but in many cases, the size and structure of women’s businesses made them ineligible. Statistics Canada confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has been highest on those with under 20 employees and in service sectors.”

 

Although women have struggled significantly throughout the pandemic, they have perpetuated a movement silently and are showing resilience and growth. With more women staying home and creating ways to make an income, we’re seeing a significant growth in women entrepreneurs, and this is a great thing.

 

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy spearheaded by the federal government agrees as well:

“The full and equal participation of women in the economy is not just the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do.

 

Studies show that by advancing gender equality and women's participation in the economy, Canada could add up to $150 billion in GDP. Only 16% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are owned by women, and the Government of Canada is working to change that.
 

The government is advancing women's economic empowerment with the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a more than $6-billion investment that aims to increase women-owned businesses' access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.”

 


 

With the Federal Government rallying to aid women entrepreneurs, you’ll find there are a lot of resources available to you to help in all stages of starting your small business. I came across a fantastic list of resources from Unlimited Mississauga’s website:

 

 

Resources for Women Entrepreneurs

 

Women Entrepreneurship – Pandemic | Resources, funding & support

  • COVID-19 – Resources for Women Entrepreneurs in Canada – wekh.ca

  • Government of Canada to Invest $100M to support women impacted by the pandemic  – canada.ca

  • Economic Insights | Women-owned Enterprises in Canada – www.150.statcan.gc.ca

 

Women Entrepreneurship Strategy

The Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) to help women grow their business through access to financing, talent, networks and expertise.

www.ic.gc.ca

 

Women in Business Guides

The Government of Canada provides guides for women entrepreneurs to start, manage and grow their business; including financing, business planning, support groups, regulations and taxation, and inspirational stories.

 

Grants, Financing and Funding For Business Women

The Government of Canada provides links to resources for women entrepreneurs to access funding to capitalize on opportunities, diversify markets and grow on a global scale.

 

Business Women in International Trade

The Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) program of the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) helps open doors and opportunities for Canadian women-owned businesses to successfully expand into global markets. BWIT offers women-focused trade missions, funding and financing, exporting advice and support and international contacts and opportunities.

 

Export help for Canadian Women

www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca

 

Business Women in Technology

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) offers the BDC Capital’s Women in Technology (WIT) Venture Fund, helping support and grow great women leaders in tech and in venture, including offering direct investments, hosting international trade missions, networking and workshop events, and more.  In the first year of investments, the fund almost tripled to $200 million, making it the largest venture fund of its kind. In addition to the WIT Fund, BDC committed to supporting women entrepreneurs and has earmarked $1.4 billion in lending for women-led businesses by 2021.

 

Women in Technology (WIT) Funding – bdc.ca

 

The CanWIT (Women in Tech) Group is a GLOBAL Forum for women professionals to connect with peers, share knowledge, promote research, collaborate and seek suggestions and advice on career advancement and business growth in the high-growth technology sector.

 

CanWIT (Women in Tech) networking group – cata.ca

 


 

As you start to build your strategy, and are looking for ways to promote your services, feel free to contact REM Web Solutions, we can help you design, build, and market your products and services digitally – through website design, digital marketing and so much more!

 

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