Supporting your team during times of stress

leadership during stressful times

Stressful times – whether it’s a worldwide pandemic like COVID-19, or some other reason – can be tough on a small business. And as the leader, you may be feeling additional pressure. How can you be there for your team and support them, while making sure you’re also doing okay?

To us, leadership in times of stress must start from a place of empathy. We’re all feeling upside-down these days, and we can’t expect to meet the same standards we did before. This applies to you as a small business leader, as well as each one of your employees. Take greater care to engage with your team and make sure you’re giving them the support they need – both for their career and for their emotional wellbeing. Now more than ever, your team needs to see that you’re truly a leader who they want to follow.

And be sure to protect your own emotional health! Here are some ways to deal with stress in uncertain times.

Entrepreneur also had some great thoughts on this topic recently. For example:

Employees need you to understand their anxieties, frustrations, and pain points to be able to support them before expecting them to perform at their fullest potential. Leaders must prioritize connections and meet their people where they are rather than where you want them to be. This is how you build trust and prepare employees to handle a pandemic or similar crisis.

If you’re wondering how to support your time during the current pandemic, take heart – you’re not alone! Entrepreneurs across Canada and around the world are going through the same thing. Check out Entrepreneur’s article: How Leaders Nurture Emotional Well-Being During Times of Crisis.


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7 healthy tips for the workplace

healthy-tips-for-the-workplaceAccording to Health & Safety Ontario:

Unhealthy lifestyle practices … contribute to absenteeism, health insurance claims, presenteeism, short- and long-term disability, depression, and accidents. While these habits may be ones that the employee brings to the workplace, work-related stress can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and may in fact encourage unhealthy habits.

Reducing stressors and encouraging healthy habits in the workplace is not a trivial concern. Taking actions to create a healthy workplace can mean less lost revenue due to absenteeism, fewer accidents, and lower worker’s compensation costs. Not to mention, employees are more likely to stay more engaged and productive when they feel respected and taken care of.

So, how can you create a healthier environment? Here are seven healthy ideas for the workplace:

  1. Instead of pizza and pop at your next lunch meeting or presentation, have healthier options on offer such as sandwiches, fruit, and flavoured water. If you offer snacks on a regular basis, ensure you have healthier options there as well.
  2. Ensure that employees have ergonomic workstations, including proper chairs and computer monitors at the correct height. Some workplaces even use standing desks. For suggestions, check out the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’s website.
  3. Look for ways to offer flexible working schedules for employees, to reduce the stress of long commute times or not being able to attend to important personal business.
  4. Offer incentives and deals to encourage physical fitness to your employees. This can be a discount on gym memberships, a monthly yoga class, or team charity cycling events.
  5. Check in with your employees regularly to make sure they are maintaining a healthy workload. Avoid piling work on someone without making sure it makes sense first.
  6. Offer opportunities for continual learning and training so employees can upgrade their skills and feel a sense of ownership over their careers.
  7. Foster a culture that doesn’t expect “presenteeism” – working while sick. Ensure that your policies around sick days are fair, and employees have a chance to seek medical attention without feeling guilty.

Still not convinced? According to Health & Safety Ontario, for every dollar Canada Life Insurance spent on its fitness program, they saved $3.43. Sounds like a good investment to us!

Do you have any corporate wellness tips you’d like to share?

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

Here are some of the small business blog posts we found and enjoyed this week. Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy!

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Four office exercises for healthy entrepreneurs

Do you spend most of your workday sitting in a chair looking at a computer? If so, you may notice you don’t feel so great at the end of the day. The good news is, you don’t need to run a 5k on your lunch hour in order to stay healthy!

Why should I worry about exercise at work?

Aside from the everyday benefits of lowering high blood pressure, managing weight, and preventing a variety of health problems, exercise improves mood and reduces stress. For you and your business, this is important. Absenteeism due to stress has gone up 316% since 1995. And according to a 2011 study, absenteeism resulted in a loss for Canadian businesses of $16.6 billion.


Try these four exercises from the comfort of your own workstation – it can go miles in relieving the stress that entrepreneurship can bring, and that can only benefit you and your small business. (Note: Please check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.)

1) Shoulder shrug

Relieve your tense neck and shoulders with this simple exercise. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears, hold for a few seconds, and slowly lower your shoulders back down. Repeat two to three times.

2) Forearm and wrist stretch

All those who spend their days typing will love this one. Sit with your elbows out and your palms pressed together in front of your chest. Slowly move your wrists down towards your desk until you feel a gentle stretch. Repeat three to five times.

3) Lower back stretch

This stretch can be done from your chair, but if your chair has wheels, make sure you don’t go zooming backwards! Slide forward a bit in your seat and grip the back of one of your thighs. Slowly lift this leg toward you, while keeping your back straight and stationary. Stretch as far as is comfortable for a few seconds, then slowly release and repeat with the other leg.

4) Ankle and calf stretch

Invigorate your tired ankles and calves. Sitting in your chair, lift one leg straight out in front of you, and point your toes up and down. Repeat with the other leg.

What are your favourite ways to sneak exercise in to your workday?

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