Social media has become a significant part of our everyday lives. It allows us to stay in touch with friends and family, keep up with current events, express ourselves, and more. But despite all its benefits, social media can also have a negative impact on our mental health.
What kind of influence does social media have?
Whether you’re new to social media or have been using it for a while, you’ve probably heard a lot about its potential negative impact on mental health.
For example, social media provides numerous ways to compare yourself to others. People tend to present flawless versions of their lives on social media. Virtually, they can showcase their greatest accomplishments and carefully curated photos. When others believe their lives aren’t as perfect as those of their “friends,” it can lead to feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Social media can also contribute to the development of addictive behaviors. Spending too much time scrolling through social media feeds can interfere with daily activities and responsibilities, leading to sleep disruption, decreased productivity, and increased stress levels. Additionally, the constant need for validation and attention from likes, comments, and followers can lead to an unhealthy obsession with one’s online presence.
Despite these undesirable effects, there are ways to reduce the negative impacts of social media on our mental health. Here are a few suggestions:
- Set boundaries. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media each day and avoid checking your accounts before bedtime to prevent disrupted sleep patterns.
- Be mindful of your content. Consider the impact your posts may have on others and avoid sharing content that could be hurtful or triggering.
- Take breaks. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or stressed, step away from social media for a while and engage in other activities.
- Connect with friends and family in real life. Spending time with loved ones can help counteract the negative effects of social media and improve your overall mental health.
The flip side – social media’s positive effects
Despite the common perception that social media only negatively affects our mental health, it can actually have positive effects when used appropriately. Let’s take a closer look at how social media can enhance our mental well-being.
#1. Connection and Support
One of the most significant benefits of social media is its ability to connect us with others. Social media provides opportunities to maintain relationships with friends and family, form connections with individuals who share our interests and passions and even join online groups and forums that offer encouragement and support. For those who are facing mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, or stress, this sense of connection and support can be of great benefit.
#2. Raising Awareness and Breaking Stigma
Social media continues to play a significant role in raising awareness about mental health and reducing stigma. Individuals and organizations are using social media to make discussions about mental health more common and acceptable by sharing personal experiences, information, and resources. As a result, more people are seeking help and support for their mental health needs, along with more open and accepting conversations about mental health.
Bell Canada’s annual campaign, Bell Let’s Talk, is one of the most well-known, and it aims to raise mental health awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
#3. Access to Resources and Information
Social media offers convenient access to a wealth of information and resources related to mental health. From educational content such as articles and videos to online therapy and support groups, the internet is full of resources that can help enhance our mental well-being. With a few clicks, we can access information, support, and resources that can aid in improving our understanding and management of our mental health. Organizations like London’s MLHU have been able to get important health updates out to masses of people, as we saw during the pandemic.
#4. Creative Outlet
Finally, social media can provide a creative outlet for people who wish to express themselves. Through platforms such as writing, photography, and art, social media lets us share our interests and hobbies with the world. This can especially benefit those coping with mental health challenges since it offers a distraction from negative thoughts and a positive means of expression.
Over to you
While social media can be a powerful tool for connecting and self-expression, we must be aware of its potential impact on our mental health. We can minimize the negative effects of social media while reaping the benefits by setting boundaries, being mindful of our content, and seeking real-life connections.
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger
“Despite the fact that they’re paid in another way, everybody has to really feel appreciated.” – Roger Staubach
In today’s workplace, many employees have one main requirement that’s higher on their lists than compensation; they want to be appreciated. They would like appreciation from their managers, supervisors, business owners, and perhaps even their customers.
What does it mean to feel appreciated at work?
It can be lonely at the top, and owners and management can occasionally feel worn out, fatigued, and overwhelmed. They also crave appreciation! It may be tough to show appreciation to others on your team if you do not feel respected as an owner, CEO, or manager. You want your employees to recognize the sacrifices you make to manage the business as you provide them with job security and flexible lifestyle options. At the same time, you hope your customers recognize and appreciate the excellent customer service they receive. It’s a vicious cycle.
In not-for-profit organizations for example, the front-line staff, especially the Executive Director, desire recognition. But the volunteer board members, who regularly put in excruciating hours, want the staff to recognize THEM. Sometimes, both sides end up feeling disregarded and misunderstood. What is supposed to be a win-win situation may end up being everything but.
Why is it important to make your people feel valued?
There may not be a one-size-fits-all strategy for ensuring that everyone (including the “boss”) feels valued; however, there are many benefits to feeling appreciated. Here are a few of them:
- Feeling appreciated at work can help enhance productivity.
- If you receive praise for your efforts, you will likely feel more productive in your position and be able to do more.
- You will cultivate a sense of belonging, which boosts your mood as well as the morale of your company.
- Feeling appreciated will help motivate you to achieve your own goals while boosting your confidence and that of your employees and customers.
How can managers help their staff feel appreciated?
Several years ago, Karen, the CEO of Mind Your Own Business, was on a “recognition team” at a previous job. As a gesture of gratitude to the workers, this team decided to bring donuts to work every Friday. She was surprised by the overwhelming number of folks who were offended because they were on a diet or couldn’t eat a donut for some other reason and felt excluded from the “appreciation.” Next, they tried including more people by ordering pizza for lunch. Once again, there was pushback; not everyone ate pizza, or they didn’t like the toppings, hated cheese, were lactose intolerant, or had scheduled that Friday off as a vacation day and missed “being appreciated.” It’s impossible to please everyone all the time. They eventually gave up, and the whole recognition team approach fizzled.
So, how can you make sure that your staff members feel valued and heard? Leaders and managers are both accountable for this. Giving employees meaningful experiences is a terrific place to start. Here are some ideas to consider:
#1. Create and manage a recognition program that is open to all staff.
Recognize your staff’s accomplishments and hard work to ensure they feel appreciated for their efforts. Begin by asking your people what kind of recognition they most want.
#2. Celebrate work achievements.
Celebrating professional development and career accomplishments is key. A new opportunity or achievement, such as a promotion or new skill development, or recognizing weekly wins, such as finishing a challenging project or getting a new client, are just a few of the many reasons to celebrate! These events will energize and motivate your people.
#3. Provide opportunities for learning, development, and growth.
Encourage your staff to stay and thrive inside your company. Allow them to learn new things and build new talents that will help them advance.
#4. Set aside time for your team.
Spending time with your people will help you build trust and connections with them. Seek to understand their ambitions and what they want to achieve in their jobs by getting to know them on a personal level. This will help them feel heard and respected as individuals.
#5. Show your appreciation by hosting company events.
Events are a great opportunity to show your people how much you appreciate them. Company events also allow staff to network, strengthen relationships, be recognized, and recognize others. Consider giving your team company swag as an additional way to show your appreciation.
#6. Keep a finger on the pulse of your organization.
Asking for feedback from your staff is a fantastic way to demonstrate that you value their thoughts and contributions, and it gives them a feeling of purpose, which builds a positive business culture. It is critical to provide a safe atmosphere for feedback, then acknowledge and act on it. Your approaches and tools should be consistent with your culture.
Over to you
As you can see, there are numerous advantages to having happy employees who feel appreciated and have a sense of belonging. Create significant moments that your people will never forget. Both your staff and the company will gain immensely in the long term!
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger
There is little doubt that the pandemic has left nearly everyone in a state of restlessness. Every day seems to bring new concerns, both in our personal and professional lives. We are navigating through difficult times, which include health concerns, rising costs, and other factors. All of this has many people re-examining their lives and changing their priorities.
One of the most significant changes companies have experienced in the past several months involves the loss of talent. Business owners worldwide are now dealing with the pandemic’s repercussions as their once loyal staff began to re-evaluate their careers and leave in record numbers. Economists in the USA first coined the phrase “The Great Resignation,” and it’s a fitting description.
Majorities of USA workers who quit a job in 2021 say low pay (63%), no opportunities for advancement (63%), and feeling disrespected at work (57%) were reasons why they quit, according to Pew Research Centre survey results from earlier this year. (Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/09/majority-of-workers-who-quit-a-job-in-2021-cite-low-pay-no-opportunities-for-advancement-feeling-disrespected/).
Employers should prepare for a surge of resignations from Canadian workers
Until the beginning of this year, Canada had not experienced the Great Resignation in the same way that America did. However, what caused a staggering number of Americans to quit their jobs appears to be in motion in Canada. The majority of people who are voluntarily leaving their jobs falls into one of two categories:
- Workers on the front line
The pandemic’s added stress and hardship reignited the belief that these workers deserve better working conditions. Their reaction stems from how they believe they have been treated by employers and/or clients.
- Work-from-home professionals
Over the past two years, employees have proven they can be just as productive working outside the office. As a result, many have chosen to quit their jobs rather than return to their offices. Employees are increasingly choosing to work for organizations that offer hybrid or remote working arrangements after the pandemic gave them a taste of working from home.
It’s realistic to anticipate an increase in the number of Canadians who decide to change occupations in the upcoming year, though perhaps not at the same rate as in the USA. According to the most recent business outlook survey from the Bank of Canada, “several businesses expect labour shortages to negatively impact their plans. Many firms reported offering higher wages when competing with other businesses to recruit workers.” (Source: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2022/07/business-outlook-survey-second-quarter-of-2022/).
How to avoid ‘The Great Resignation’ at your business
As with any other business issue, we must first try to understand why our staff wants to quit or change jobs. Here are some approaches that a business facing a loss of talent may wish to consider:
- Two-way communication is perhaps the most critical aspect of retaining and attracting new talent. Ask your people what is important to them and remember to listen carefully.
- Understanding and supporting your staff’s priorities is critical for developing new work arrangements, allowing for flexible work schedules, and encouraging work-life balance.
- Provide your people with all the tools they need to succeed in their work.
- Workplace flexibility is a must to attract and retain talent. It is becoming increasingly clear that flexible working has irreversibly changed the workplace, and there is no going back.
- Mutual trust is essential for successful flexible working. Remember that you hired your staff based on their skills; as a result, you should have confidence in them to perform their duties efficiently without needing to see them at a desk each day.
Real-life examples of those who made the leap
At this point, many of us have either considered leaving our current jobs or know someone who has. Leaving a job is never easy, but sometimes you know it’s the right thing to do. We recently interviewed some people who resigned from their jobs and asked them 2 questions. Each provided personal insights into why they left their jobs and what their employers could have done differently to change their decisions. We’ve chosen 3 to share:
What made you decide to quit your job? My choice to quit was due to my mental health. My job was negatively affecting my relationships with my coworkers, family, and my home life. I couldn’t continue to work in an environment where I didn’t feel that my boundaries for my personal health were being respected.
Is there anything that would have made you stay? The only thing that could have made me stay would have been a complete change in attitude from my boss and a commitment to respect my decisions. I’m not sure I would have been able to stay since there was already damage done and promises of change were never carried out.
What made you decide to quit your job? I wanted to quit my job because I wanted to travel for longer than my vacation would allow.
Is there anything that would have made you stay? I don’t think my employer could have done anything to get me to stay. If they offered me a leave of absence, I would have taken it and still been employed there. No realistic raise would have changed my mind. My employer had a fair compensation package. My priorities were elsewhere.
What made you decide to quit your job? I started feeling like I was losing my happiness and personality. I felt like I was going inward as a human. Work was just a routine and nothing more.
Is there anything that would have made you stay? If my employer had trained me properly and kept their promises that they made when hiring me.
Over to you
Regardless of why you are thinking of leaving your current job (or have already done so), it’s good to know you are not alone. Take time to figure out what is most important to you, such as your family, supporting your health, taking time to travel, etc. Chances are, there is an employer who needs someone with your skill set on their team and is prepared to collaborate with you to make it a win-win situation.
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger
We have talked about a healthy work-life balance, but what about staying healthy at work? Mental and physical health at work are important factors to staying motivated and engaged with your business, peers and clients. Keeping your employees motivated and engaged with their work is a leader’s responsibility. Here are 8 tips to help you stay healthy at work.
1. Keep the Metaphorical Door Open
When it comes to health, employees may feel uncomfortable sharing their woes at work. By allowing an open-door policy and listening to concerns with empathy and without judgment, you will encourage more honest dialogue.
2. Make a To-Do List
Having a list set out for your day will help you stay focused, reduce stress, and offer a little dopamine boost when you check off that completed task. Smaller, manageable goals will keep you from getting overwhelmed too quickly. Our team uses Trello for our daily to-dos, and we have found it to be a valuable tool. https://bit.ly/30ZrbVk
3. Keep Your Workspace Clean and Organized
Whether you’re in an office or at home, less clutter will result in less stress. Having something small (like a family photo, or favourite mug) that makes you smile will also contribute to keeping your spirits up. Keeping your workspace dust-free and sanitized regularly will reduce your risk of catching viruses – even if you’re not sharing your space.
4. Take Stretch Breaks
Physically, your body is not meant to sit for 7 straight hours. Taking regular breaks to stand up, walk around, and stretch will benefit your heart health, and overall muscle health! Taking a break from your computer will decrease eye strain as well.
5. Set Yourself Up for Success – Ergonomically
Having the proper chair and desk set up will decrease potential for repetitive strains and poor posture resulting in back and neck pain. Occupational Therapists can help you determine which chair is best for your situation, or you can opt for a sit/stand desk which will allow you to adjust the height of your desk.
6. Drink Water
This is a life hack that is always good advice. Drinking water throughout the day will keep you hydrated and productive. According to WebMD, that mid-afternoon slump many feel may be due to dehydration! If you struggle with remembering to drink water at work, keep a water bottle on your desk and set an alarm to remind yourself it’s time to hydrate!
7. Leave Work at Work
We talk a lot about a healthy work-life balance in our previous blog “Tips for a Healthy Work-Life Balance”. As a business owner, leaving work at work may seem impossible. Our work tends to be 24/7. Allow your employees to leave work at work by not contacting them outside of working hours. For yourself, be sure to set out some time that you can just sit and relax. Build in some unplugged time!
8. Consider Adding a Benefits Plan
Finally, if it is feasible for you to do so, consider adding a benefits plan or health fund for your employees. If they’re able to access affordable care (like dental, prescriptions and vision care), this will help them take care of themselves. There are many great plans out there that are available to small businesses.
We all know that money cannot buy good health and wellness!
Running a business can be difficult, time-consuming, tiring, and a never-ending balancing act. On the other hand, it should also be rewarding, enjoyable, challenging and fun. Finding the proper balance is essential as a business owner. Since every business is unique, what works for you may not work for others. However, there are basic ways to help create a healthy balance for yourself and your staff.
My vision for my company was to help my employees achieve work-life balance through flexibility with the workflow schedule and a focus on the importance of personal lives, whether they involve children, pets, hobbies, caring for elderly parents or other personal commitments that are important. That doesn’t mean the service suffers, it means that we’re not all stressed out and worrying about job security when our pet is ill, our family members need help, or a child becomes ill and daycare falls through.
Here are three of the ways we strive to create a healthy work-life balance at MYOB:
#1 Incorporating Flex Schedules
For some individuals, balancing work and personal life might be especially challenging. To assist, we provide flexible work schedules, which boosts productivity, efficiency, and overall employee satisfaction. In most cases, flexible work schedules benefit both the business and the staff.
Flex schedules include split shifts throughout the day or sliding shifts which may start at different times or days. Employees and/or contractors with flexible work schedules have the choice of completing tasks when they are most productive, which may be outside of conventional working hours. Since COVID-19, all staff are now working remotely, which means they can work from home or may use flex space at Innovation Works – as long as they keep in touch. This works through effective communication. For example, we communicate via our Trello workboards online, email, and one-to-one conversations via phone or zoom. Communication within our team has always been important, but remote working has made it critically important.
#2 Cross-training our Staff
I have long believed that cross-training should be viewed as a disaster recovery strategy for a business owner. As I mentioned above, things happen – a contractor goes on vacation, an employee goes on maternity leave, someone has a family emergency, etc. Rather than panic, we have at least one other person trained in at least one area within each facet of our business. With back-up staff for each function on hand at all times, it’s easy to ask someone else to jump in to handle the work when another person is unavailable and not have to worry about spur-of-the-moment training. This is a definite win-win for all involved – the business owner, the staff members, and most importantly, the clients.
#3 Creating and Respecting Boundaries
When employees need to book time off for any reason – mental health, physical health, vacation or otherwise – I believe it is important to respect their time off by not contacting them when they are not working. Respecting this boundary allows employees to fully focus on themselves or loved ones so that when they return, they are ready to be fully invested in their work.
Another way to support staff is by offering an open-door policy for employees to come to you with concerns – especially surrounding health – without judgement. When employees feel comfortable and supported speaking up about any appointments they need to book time off for, or mental and physical health needs, they will experience less stress. Less stress is both important for an employee’s work-life balance and it also contributes to talent retention for your business.
Finally, celebrate and check in with your staff. At MYOB we celebrate our staff’s milestones. For example, a maternity leave is a time for joy for a new parent and is not treated as an inconvenience to the business. When staff are ill, we show we care by checking in with them. We do not do this to find out when they’ll be returning, but because we care about how they are doing. Be genuine in your care for your employees and they will return that care for you and your business.
What does work-life balance mean to you?
We believe that developing a work-life balance has helped us focus on and improve our own health and well-being, in addition to increasing our overall productivity. All staff are encouraged to be mindful of their own health to avoid becoming overly stressed and to prevent burnout. For example, I understand that scheduling a day off for self-care might be needed from time to time.
As a small business owner, you may be so focused on your business that you’re not aware of the stress around you with your staff or how your own stress is affecting your family relationships and personal life. If this sounds like you and you’re seeking more balance in your life by delegating and outsourcing, then we have a suggestion for you. Outsourcing will lighten your load. We bring our team with skill and experience in the areas of bookkeeping, social media management and website design to your business so we can help you mind your own business better! Call or visit us online – we’re here to help!