The end of the year tends to bring on feelings of nostalgia and reflection in all areas of life. People make personal resolutions to lose weight and set professional goals meant to ultimately improve quality of life. Sole proprietors and small business owners often sit down with a calculator and crunch numbers to find ways to save money and increase revenue in the coming year. While cutting costs on utilities, using smarter marketing techniques and improving efficiency are definite money savers, there are some intangible factors, like stress, that affect bottom line too.
Workers that feel happy on the job have 31 percent higher productivity and 300 percent more creativity. Reducing the stress of employees, beginning with yourself, is a vital component to better business results. Make it one of your small business New Year’s resolutions. Here are a four ways to make it happen:
- Sleep more.
If you already get 10 hours of sleep every night, you can disregard this point. Most likely, however, you are running on much less rest than that. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one-third of working adults in the U.S. get less than six hours of sleep at night. It is not just blue-collar positions that suffer this sleep deprivation; 27 percent of workers in the insurance and financial industries are in the six-hours-or-less club. Lack of sleep costs an average of $2,280 in lost productivity per worker every year. Insist on enough rest for your employees, starting at the top.
- Take a vacation.
If you own a business, you may not have official days off each year. If you took a look at your calendar, you would likely discover that it was very rare to take even one day completely off work – let alone a week or two. Expedia.com reports that only 38 percent of Americans take all of their earned vacation time. On average, U.S. workers take just 14 of 18 days. What’s more – 71 percent of baby boomers, 49 percent of Generation X-ers and 38 percent of Generation Y-ers work during vacation days. Do yourself a favor and schedule your vacation days well in advance and then stick to them. If you simply cannot break away from your laptop, tablet or smartphone – set a timer and “clock out” when your prescribed work time has been met.
You do not have to be a marathoner or bodybuilder to incorporate some exercise in your life. Just 20 to 30 minutes each day of moderate activity, like walking, can make a big impact in your mood, health and professional productivity. The University of Bristol found that 74 percent of people who exercised during lunch break or before work better managed their workload and improved time management. You can do this too by buying exercise equipment, joining a gym, or simply taking a walk outside. However you do it, make sure to find simple ways to get away from work for the sake of your own health and mental well-being, and the results will show in your bottom line.
- Spend time with loved ones.
While digital culture has pushed us to communicate more than ever, it has reduced in-person interaction. From 2000 to 2005, people interviewed for a University of Southern California report said that they spent an average of 26 hours per month with family. That number fell to just 18 hours in 2008. A contributor to this may be that more people are now telecommuting employees who are working harder while working from home. While working from home may seem like more time for family, sitting in the same room as a spouse or children while working is not the same thing as spending quality time together. While a career is a large part of identity, especially to entrepreneurs, it should always take a backseat to the relationships with family and friends.
Whatever your personal or professional goals for the coming year, take care of yourself first. A business can only be as successful as its leadership, so invest time in keeping that asset healthy and happy.
About the Author: Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com is the largest Chamber of Commerce online.