Now, more than ever, people are finding themselves stuck at home with the possibility of sitting at a desk or staring at a computer all day. About 4.7 million people in the U.S. alone were already working from home before the COVID-19 pandemic started. Now, remote working has become the norm for millions more.
If you’re in school - including university - you might also be spending more time in front of a computer than usual. Even if you’re just tired of ‘social distancing’ and you’re trying to feel more connected, you might find yourself staring at a screen more often than not these days.
Unfortunately, sitting in front of a computer all day isn’t necessarily good for your health. It can cause problems with both your physical and mental health if you don’t take some precautionary steps to take care of yourself.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of those steps and how you can protect your mind and body if you’re spending more time on the computer than you’re used to.
Pay Attention to Your Posture
If you’re sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time, you might have a tendency to slouch, look down at your screen, lean back too far, etc. If you’re going to be in one spot for a while, it’s important to pay attention to your posture.
One of the best things you can do is to make sure your computer is at eye level so you don’t have to strain your neck to look down. An ergonomic chair can also help you to sit upright and avoid injuring your back.
How can you tell if you don’t have the correct/healthy posture while you’re working or using the computer? You’ll feel it. Your back and neck might start to ache or feel stiff, you may have a hard time sleeping at night because you’re uncomfortable, and you might actually be in pain when you wake up each morning with stiff muscles.
Correcting your posture when you’re sitting for hours at a time can help to alleviate that pain and reduce your risk of negative long-term effects.
Get Up and Get Moving
Another way to keep your body healthy when you’re in front of a computer all day is to take frequent breaks. Not only is it good for your mental health, but it will give you the opportunity to stretch, get your blood flowing, and relax.
If you have the time, try to get outside for a break at least once during the day. There are many health benefits to simply being out in nature, including:
- It boosts your energy and fights fatigue
- It can reduce stress
- It can mitigate pain
- You will boost your immune system
- It can trigger creativity/inspiration
Even if you can’t get outside each day, be sure not to pass on the breaks. Make sure you stand up, walk around, and stretch as much as possible. Try to avoid using other electronic devices, like your phone, while you’re on your break. Instead, talk to someone in your home, read a book for a few minutes, or play with a pet. Anything that will keep you distracted from your computer will help you to get the most out of every break you take.
If you have a hard time reminding yourself to get up and move, you might want to invest in a standing desk. Not only will it force you to move throughout the day but you will have much better posture.
Blink More Often
You probably don’t think about how often you blink in any given moment. But, if you’re starting to notice things like headaches or eye pain after a long day in front of the computer, it could be because your eyes are drying out. Staring at a screen can actually cause you to blink three times less than you normally would. So, make a conscious effort to blink more, and your eyes will be more comfortable.
Additionally, make sure you aren’t sitting too close to the screen. If you do, you might cause eye strain which can lead to some pain and discomfort.
If you wear glasses, it might be time to consider a new brand. Some glasses are specifically designed for people who spend a lot of time in front of a computer. The lenses help to block out the “blue light” that emanates from screens, causing less strain on your eyes. Talk to your doctor about those lenses if you’ve been noticing some irritation with your eyes or problems with your vision.
You probably already know the importance of getting enough water each day. But, it’s especially important if you’re staying in virtually the same spot. Not only will drinking enough water help to give you more energy and improve your focus, but it will also force you to get up and move.
The more water you drink, the more often you will have to get up and take a bathroom break. That might sound a little tedious or even annoying at first. But, if you have a hard time tearing yourself away from your screen, having to go to the bathroom is a great excuse that you can’t ignore.
Do a Detox
We’ve talked before about the benefits of doing a social media detox, even for just a short period of time. But, sometimes that isn’t enough. If you’re feeling burnt out from being in front of the computer, it could be time to step away from screens completely - at least, for a while.
If you’re in front of a computer for work, it can be worth it to your mental and physical health to take a personal day and step away from the screen. Spend as much time outside as possible, or doing activities that have nothing to do with electronics.
Even if you can’t afford to take a full detox, make sure that you’re filling your time away from your computer with things that don’t involve technology. So, don’t immediately go from your computer to your phone or tablet. Take the time to do things you love away from screens. By the time you do have to sit in front of a computer again, you’ll feel refreshed, more energetic, and ready to get back to work.
Set Up a Routine
If you were working in a traditional office setting or going to school in-person, you would have to have some sort of routine in place. That would likely include waking up around the same time each day, getting ready, and going to work.
Your nighttime routine would be something similar, and you would probably end up going to sleep at about the same time each evening.
People who work from home or don’t have a regular work/school schedule might find themselves drifting away from any kind of stable routine. Unfortunately, that can lead to a variety of problems. You might find yourself working late at night to play “catch up” because you slept in. Or, you might have to finish an assignment while the rest of your family is enjoying their evening.
Not having a routine can throw off your work-life balance. That leads to burnout, extra stress, and can even contribute to anxiety or depression.
One of the biggest challenges people face when they’re on a computer all day is staying productive. Setting up a routine for yourself will help you to get things accomplished on the computer during the day, so you can still maintain some balance in your life.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough rest each night should absolutely be a part of that routine you’ve set up for yourself. Aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night in order to feel alert and full of energy the next day.
Sleep is more important than most people realize. It is necessary for everything from muscle repair to cognitive response. If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain will start to be more “sluggish” and your response times won’t be what they should. You might have trouble focusing or concentrating on one thing for a long time.
Unfortunately, spending all day in front of a screen can actually impact the amount of healthy sleep you get. So, be sure to step away from your screen for at least an hour before you decide to go to bed at night. If you try to go to sleep just after sitting in front of the computer, it can take some time for your mind to “shut down” and your eyes to adjust.
If you find yourself in front of a computer screen more than ever lately, you’re not alone. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make your mental and emotional health a top priority. Keep these tips in mind to stay healthy, whether you’re working, connecting with others, or taking classes online. You’ll feel so much better by taking these precautionary steps, and you may even find that you can do more on your computer because it’s easier to focus and stay energized.
This is a contributed post
Image by Unsplash
Whether you run a restaurant, catering service, or a food eCommerce, you need an effective marketing strategy online. Word of mouth only goes so far, and nowadays, potential customers will go to the internet first for whatever product or service they’re looking for, including food. If you boost your online presence you’ll, therefore, be able to draw in more business. You’ll also develop more or a name for yourself and boost brand recognition. Here are a few handy tips on how to market your food business online.
Focus on your branding
Whether you have your own restaurant or run a successful business from home, you need to focus on your branding. This is especially important online. You need to create consistent branding that fits in with your image and tone of voice. Think about your target audience and create buyer personas. Focus your branding around the personality of your typical customer, this includes the language and visual content you use. This will help you be able to relate to your niche.
Social media targeting
Social media is a great tool. Choose the platform that is most likely to be used by your niche and advertise your business. This way you’ll be able to target the right people. Keep an eye on your advertising and social media campaigns to see what works best. With social media monitoring, you’ll be able to improve your marketing strategy. It’s very useful in the food and beverage industry.
Work with influencers
If you would like further support on social media you could also work with influencers. These are people your customers will trust that can endorse your product. It’s important to choose the right influencer to suit your business, however. Here are some more tips on how to work with influencers. The more important links and connections you create, the more legitimate your business will appear online.
Network with other businesses
You can also network with other businesses in the Food Services industry. Reach out to other small or local businesses and share links and promotional material online. This way you’ll create a fair exchange and you help each other to grow your businesses. You can even exchange services or work together in the local community. This is a great way to save money and promote your business at the same time. If your business is just starting, you will definitely benefit from relationships such as these, and you can network on easily on social media.
Write a blog
If you want to market your business online, you could also write engaging food blog posts. These will have two purposes. The first is creating engaging and informative content that will entice your readers and the second is that it will boost your SEO. Include relevant keywords in your blog that potential customers might search for Google when they’re looking for a food business similar to yours. This will help your site get to the top of the search engine results pages and boost your credibility.
This is a contributed post
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay
Launching a small business is much easier today than it used to be. The internet is a flexible environment where entrepreneurs of all sizes can bring their dreams to life.
However, just because there’s a lower barrier to entry for would-be business owners, doesn’t mean that all companies will be successful.
According to research from the Small Business Administration, only around half of all new businesses will survive their first five years.
Some studies report even bleaker statistics, saying that many businesses fail before reaching the end of their first year.
Figuring out how to avoid problems as a small business owner means learning about the most common reasons that small businesses fail and discovering what you can do to prevent those issues.
Here are a few insights to get you started.
Poor management is more of a problem for your business than you’d think. If you don’t have the right management skills to keep your team members motivated and moving in the right direction, you’ll struggle to accomplish much.
To avoid leadership problems, stop and think about how you inspire your team and help them achieve their goals.
Are you supportive when your employees need extra help? Can you provide the guidance that your team members need, or is your door always closed? Do you invest in the tools that your staff need to do their best work?
It might be worth investing in some leadership training to help you and the other supervisors in your team come out on top. There are plenty of courses out there that teach people how to master leadership in a way that boosts employee satisfaction and productivity.
Lack of Sales
Before you do anything in your company, make sure to plan exactly how you’re going to make a profit.
Start by evaluating your marketplace and choosing your target audience. You’ll need a complete buyer persona that describes the person most likely to respond to your business model and strategy.
Once you know who your target customer is, you can start building a strategy that addresses those people’s needs and expectations.
It’s also worth analyzing your competition from time to time too. Knowing who your competitors are will help you figure out where you need to strengthen your strategies to compete on a bigger scale.
There are few things more critical to any business than sales. You need to be constantly generating income if you want your organization to succeed.
Without a solid financial foundation, you won’t be able to sustain your current operations, and neither will you be able to grow over time.
Refusal to pivot
It’s important to have a plan that you can stick with as a business owner. This will prevent you from going on track whenever a new trend emerges in your industry.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should stick to one strategy no matter what.
Sometimes, trends in your landscape will come and go. But knowing how to keep track of what’s happening in your marketplace will make it easier to see what really affects your customers and your chances of sales.
It’s important to avoid getting so deeply entrenched in your plan for success that you fail to recognize when your strategies aren’t working.
Keep checking your marketing and sales methods to ensure that you’re moving in the right direction to suit the needs of your target audience. Reporting tools and marketing software will help you see which of your efforts are yielding the best results.
If you notice something that indicates you need to change track for a while, be ready to pivot.
Remember that the business world is always changing. Knowing how to change with it will improve your professional profile, and help your company to thrive.
There’s a lot more planning involved in running a successful company than most people realize. A business plan forces you to think more carefully about what you want to accomplish as a growing brand, for instance.
With your business plan, you can define your Unique Value Proposition and encourage investors to take notice of your business.
Planning out your marketing campaigns before you invest too heavily in them can help you spot any gaps in your strategy. This means that you don’t over-spend on an idea that may not generate results in the long-term.
Sadly, you can’t plan and prepare for every disaster that might strike your business. You can, however, set your business up for faster recovery and cushion unexpected losses at least a bit.
One of the essential documents you’ll need to create for your company is a disaster recovery plan. No matter what kind of business you run, there’s always a risk that something could go wrong.
Having a disaster recovery plan ensures that you can respond quickly to issues like lost data or damaged tools. This means that you can spring into action faster before losing too many customers.
Finally, business owners often underestimate just how valuable their marketing campaigns are. Remember, there are hundreds of thousands of other businesses out there. Many of those companies will be competing to attract the same audience as you.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and earn the right sales, you need a marketing strategy.
Start by identifying what kind of marketing efforts are going to resonate best with your target audience. You could conduct polls so that you can add more information to your user personas.
Also, track the results of your promotional efforts so you can see which works best.
Remember to have a list of critical metrics in place that you need to keep an eye on too.
For instance, what’s your return on investment for different marketing strategies? Do you know how much budget you have to spend in each area, and how much reach you get from each platform?
Don’t Become Another Failed Business
There are many amazing opportunities available today for ambitious entrepreneurs.
However, the path to success is littered with challenges to overcome.
Making sure that you’re properly prepared can help you avoid some of the mistakes mentioned above.
Contributed post by Ashely Wilson
Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.
Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us. In some ways, entrepreneurs have had it easier than many. You might have always worked from home, you might be safe, away from the risks of infection, and if you’ve had to move things around to take care of family or home school your children, it might have been easier than it would have been if you were an employee.
In other ways, life might have been far more difficult. You may have struggled to keep your business going. You might have lost customers, and so money, and you might have had to find new suppliers and providers. Working from home, without being able to see your team might have been tricky, and juggling everything while worrying about your health and wellbeing might have seemed impossible.
If you are feeling burnt out, you aren’t alone. This year has been harder than most, so here’s a look at some ways to cope with pandemic burnout.
Take a Break
If you haven’t had a day off since march, you certainly aren’t alone. Many of us haven’t felt able to step away from our businesses for more than a few hours since all of this started. But, you need a break. Your business will suffer more if you are too tired to give it your best. Take at least one day off, and rest whenever you can.
Get Some Help
If you are struggling to take care of your staff from home, get help with HR and Payroll from hris systems you could also hire freelancers for specific tasks, or a VA to give yourself a break.
If you work alone, even asking a family member to help out around the house can give you a bit more time during the day.
Celebrate Your Successes
After such a stressful time it can be hard to see any positives. But, if your business is still going, you have done fantastically well, and you are sure to have learned an awful lot about your business and yourself in the process.
Take Care of Yourself
The last thing that you want right now is to be ill. Practicing social distancing is a great start, but you should also make sure you get plenty of rest, you eat well and you exercise, to give your immune system all of the support that it needs.
Understand Your Stressors
Often the best way to avoid stress is to understand what it is that is stressing you out. Learn more about your triggers and you’ll have a better chance of avoiding them.
Accept Your Limitations
You can’t do it all. This might not be the best time to push yourself hard. Accept your limitations, and prioritize what you can do.
Unfortunately, the only thing that we know right now, is that we don’t know what is going to happen in the coming weeks and months. We’re still surrounded by uncertainty, and while in many ways, life is carrying on, who knows what restrictions and changes we may yet face? Stop your burnout in its tracks, and you’ll be fine!
This is a contributed post
Image by Comfreak from Pixabay
Many companies have had business disrupted by Covid-19 this year. As a result, they have had to adapt their ways in order to keep making revenue. While some businesses have managed to adapt successfully, others have made costly mistakes. Here are some of the mistakes your business doesn’t want to be making during Covid-19.
Raising your prices
To help cover the costs of covid-19, some businesses have responded by hiking up their prices. It makes sense to try and earn some extra money this way (it’s certainly easier than trying to sell more products), but consider the impact that it may have on you current loyal customers. Those that are already financially struggling due the impact of the virus could see this as an extra kick in the teeth – which could have a negative impact on your customer satisfaction. If your competitors choose not to raise their prices, you could see a lot of your customers abandoning your service to try out that offered by competitors. Try to focus on reducing costs and finding new income streams rather than upping your prices.
Cutting back on marketing
When considering cutbacks, you should avoid cutting back on marketing. In fact, now is the time to spend more money on marketing. With less people mingling, you’ll find it harder to attract customers via old-fashioned word of mouth – which means that you have to advertise and promote your brand yourself. Cut back on marketing, and you could see a dramatic reduction in the amount of new customers you receive. Unless you really don’t want to attract new customers at this moment in time, refrain from cutting back.
Investing in offline marketing
Now is not the time for offline marketing tactics. With social distancing laws in place, marketing events are generally not feasible. Meanwhile, billboards and posters are less likely to get spotted due to less crowds on the street. You’re much better off pouring your time, energy and money into digital marketing during Covid-19. Strategies such as social media marketing, SEO and email marketing are likely to have a much bigger impact given that people are spending more time indoors and more time on digital devices. Allow yourself to get creative when pursuing digital marketing strategies.
Arranging in-person meetings
In-person meetings are also not practical in a pandemic. This could be a team meeting with employees or a meeting with clients. Unless the task can only be carried out as a group in person, you may as well conduct the meeting via video call or phone call – or you could simply have an email exchange. Some clients may be put off if you insist on having an in-person meeting. Some employees may also feel that you are putting them in unnecessary danger and could possibly sue. If you do have to arrange large meetings in person, make sure that everyone has PPE.
Reducing staff, but not reducing the workload
As a way of saving costs, some companies have furloughed or even laid off staff members. This can sometimes be a necessary cut back, however you need to be sure that the workload is also cut back. If you demand the same workload from your remaining employees, they will likely struggle to get it all done. You need to have a team that’s large enough to take on all the day-to-day roles. If employees are having to take on responsibilities on top of their existing responsibilities, they’ll get overly stressed and likely hand in their notice. This is something that you definitely don’t want to happen.
Micromanaging remote employees
Many companies have allowed employees to work from home. While this has helped to keep people socially distanced, it has made team communication a little harder. Less trusting employees may feel that they have to keep communicating with employees to check that they are still on target. This style of remote micromanaging could be stressing out your employees and may be something that you want to limit. So long as employees are meeting targets and deadlines, there’s no need to keep checking up on them. Your employees are likely to be more productive if you’re not constantly trying to have conversations with them.
Not supervising remote employees at all
While you shouldn’t micromanage remote employees, you also don’t want to ignore them completely. Some of your employees may realise that they’re not being monitored and may take advantage of this. This could result in corners being cut and certain work not being done. Using some form of software for tracking employee activity will allow you to see how far projects are coming along without having to constantly chase up employees via phone or email. There are lots of software solutions out there that can do this.
Ignoring the pandemic altogether
The worst thing you can do is ignore the entire pandemic and try to continue on as usual. You’ll likely get into legal trouble and it could negatively affect your reputation. For instance, if you run a restaurant and decide to put absolutely no measures in place, you can expect a lot of customers to not feel safe and some may report you to the police (especially if there’s no attempts to abide by social distancing rules or supply hand soap). Employees may even leave if they feel that you are not taking the virus and their health seriously.
If you want your business to keep making money through the remainder of Covid-19, you need to make the right changes to your business model. Anything that involves or inspires social gatherings cannot go underway. If you choose to take on a remote workforce, you need to understand how to manage them without micromanaging or being too relaxed. You also need to resist increasing your prices, instead finding other ways to recover from the costs.
Image: Pexels. CCO Licensed.
This is a contributed post
Byran Weiner, CEO of Comscore, once said that ‘social marketing eliminates the middlemen, providing brands the unique opportunity to have a direct relationship with their customers.’ So how can you nurture and build those relationships? What does it take to improve your online presence in 2020?
1. Present yourself as human
In 2020 people like brands who appear as human and authentic. They don’t want corporations with no relatability or personality. When you’re posting content on social media, keep it down to earth, fun and transparent. It could be in the form of memes, TikTok videos, or articles that showcase your values.
2. Live stream
Live streaming on social media is an excellent way to improve your reach, increase engagement and connect with new audiences. Facebook Live and YouTube Live are a great place to start streaming. According to Vimeo, ‘ live streaming is going to be a $70.5 billion industry by 2021.’ They also reported that ‘48% of consumers have shared a brand video on their social media profile.’ Live Streaming allows you to speak to your audience about a topic that means something to you. You might prefer to demonstrate a new product.
3. Analytics tools
If you want to improve your successes on social media, you’ve got to have some way of analysing your performance. There are plenty of social analytics tools out there which can help you to do that.
Google Analytics: GA is a great tool which can help you to monitor your social media campaigns and track your social ROI.
Snaplytics: Snaplytics is an analytics tool for Instagram Stories and Snapchat specifically. Here you can view various metrics and see where your engagement peaks and or decreases.
Using the right data you can improve your campaigns and get your business noticed online.
4. Creative content
Above all, your content has got to be creative to boost your online presence. With lots of similar brands in competition, it’s important to set yourself apart from the rest. So how can you make your Instagram photographs stand out?
Aerial photography: Using drones can allow you to get some seriously stunning and original photographs! For more information about drones take a look at www.drdrone.ca. Perhaps a member of your team fancies a go at taking a few drone shots? If not, you can always hire a photographer!
When it comes to writing your blog posts, you need to provide content that brings something different to the table. If you’re short on ideas, you can use ‘Answer the Public’ to search for the more obscure questions that people are asking online!
5. Customer Generated Content
People love customer-generated content because it’s authentic. It’s not always about heavily photoshopped images, but real people using your products and having a good time! CG content is inexpensive, and many customers will produce it naturally (and then tag your biz)! Employee generated content is similarly effective to improve your credibility and extend your reach. Of course, you need to set your employees guidelines about what they can and cannot say while using your social account. (Without instructions, EG content can fast lead to a social media scandal)!
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels
This is a contributed post