Mental Health and Stress Awareness in Small Business

Did you know that May 10 – 16th is Mental Health Awareness week?  April was also Stress Awareness Month.  We therefore felt it was a good time to share our tips to keep your mental health in check and your stress at bay whilst running a small business.

I think we can all agree that the pandemic has raised levels of anxiety, uncertainty and added stress to our lives, so what have we learnt over the past 12 months or so?

Life Hacks for Reducing Stress

The beauty of using a Virtual Assistant is that they can help take the stress out of your business.  Here are our top tips:

  • Make sure you have a good Virtual Office setup. You have probably been working at home for a good part of the last 12 months, and if this is going to be a permanent fixture then make sure you are set up correctly.  A virtual assistant can help you research and set up the best software for your virtual meetings, team management, messaging and CRM.
  • Have a designated workspace. Set up a space you can work in without being disturbed, sometimes tricky when working from home, but if you can close yourself off for a concentrated period you’ll get more done.
  • Telephone Answering service. If you are continuously interrupted by calls or simply want your business to appear more professional then companies such as Moneypenny and Office Answers will answer the phone for you.
  • Online Accounting programmes. Take the plunge and set up an online, cloud-based accounting system, the sooner you do it the easier the setup and you and your VA can work on your finance administration anytime, anywhere.

Read more tips in our article Reduce Stress with Red Desk’s Life Hacks.

 

Managing your Workload

We’ve found that during lockdown we have become masters juggling, prioritising and managing our workloads whilst working from home AND become home schooling teachers.

Don’t let the volume of work overwhelm you or keep you up at night, with our simple plan:

  • Plan, divide and prioritise. By setting aside the first part of your day for planning, you will have a clear idea of what needs to be done. You can then break down the tasks into manageable chunks.  Finally, as we know running a small business, things change all the time so identify which tasks are a priority and make sure you dedicate time to getting these done.
  • Turn off notifications and step away from the internet. We know this is a bold statement but just “checking your email” or social media because an alert has just come through can distract you from your task in hand. Block out time to reply to emails, socialise on Facebook or surf the internet.  You won’t be kicking yourself for that lost half an hour.

 For more ideas, read our article Managing your Workload.

 

How to Take Breaks

If your business day is manic, it is really important to take breaks.  We know it sounds simple but a break will give you breathing space, energy and time to regroup and focus on the next task ahead.

  • Go for a walk, a change of scenery and some fresh air is fantastic! If you can’t leave the office then a coffee or lunch break will help you switch off.
  • Manage expectations – what hours are you working? When are you going to respond to messages? Make sure clients know if you will be replying after hours or on the weekend. The last thing you want is phone calls at all hours.

Our article on How to Take a Break Whilst Working From Home gives you extra tips too on factoring “me time” and time off for a holiday!

 

Social Media & Mental Health

We recently covered how to keep your mental health in check whilst working in social media.  Many of our tips can be adapted to other small businesses:

  • Time Zones – let your customers know when you are open, answering calls & emails. This means customers overseas can’t expect you to answer their email at 3am.
  • Negative Feedback – there’s nothing like a disgruntled customer. Deal with the issue swiftly and politely, the sooner things are addressed the less likely the issue is to escalate.
  • Learn to say NO – this can perhaps be the hardest thing to do whilst running a small business but perhaps the best. If it doesn’t feel right then say no.  It could be rushing into a supplier contract for a special discount or stocking a certain product.  You know your business best so just say no!

You can read our other tips here – How to Keep Your Mental Health in Check Whilst Working in Social Media.

 

So, in short, being organised, setting aside time for yourself and learning to say no can keep stress at bay and do wonders for your mental health. What’s your top tip?

 

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