Marketing Work-Life Balance in Your Business

One of the single best things you can do for your employees is create an environment that encourages work and life balance. This will increase the happiness, health and productivity for your employees, making your business more efficient. Companies that gain a reputation for this balance tend to enjoy higher employee retention rates, and draw a valuable pool of candidates for new job openings.

Employees need time to spend time with family, focus on their personal health, and have opportunities to pursue hobbies. This environment starts at the top. As the employer, follow this guide to promote a healthy work-life balance for your team.

Ask your employees what they need

You can’t create an effective plan if you don’t know what works for your employees. Ask your team to fill out a survey that covers various balance-related factors, including hours worked, flexible scheduling, support for working parents, interest in remote work, etc. This will help you identify which areas your company needs to improve, so you can focus on implementing solutions for problems that actually affect your employees.

Set communication standards

Nowadays, everyone brings their work home. Encourage your employees to “unplug” from work emails when they get home or after a certain time. As the boss, you need to follow this rule personally as well. An employee who receives a late-night email from you is likely to feel an obligation to respond. Use a tool like Boomerang to draft after-hours emails that are sent the following day.

Allow flexible hours

Create a schedule that gives your employees opportunities to work when it is most convenient for them. There are several ways to do this:

  • Provide a weekly hour requirement, but allow them to space the time out however they choose (10 hours on Tuesday but 6 on Wednesday, etc.)
  • An hour range, such as 35-40 hours per week
  • No requirement, as long as the necessary work gets done.

Consult the survey you completed with your team to discover what works best for them. This allows employees to easily attend appointments, children’s performances, or take a visiting friend to lunch. This relieves a lot of stress from counting sick hours, or asking permission for every small absence.

allow telecommuting if appropriate

Create a remote working option

If possible, allow employees to work from home 1-2 days a week, such as on Fridays. This can be particularly desirable for those who are taking care of children or elderly parents in their home. Of course, this does not work for all businesses, but it could be worth experimenting with. Some employees may find they are more productive while at home, eliminating distractions from chatting co-workers or small menial tasks.

Sponsor office events

Putting on office-wide events that allows employees to bring their families or significant others helps build a connection between home and work. Picnics, outings to bowling alleys or fairs, or seasonal parties are great ways to provide social events for employees. This after-hours bonding time will strengthen your team and build excitement for your business.

Promote Health

Encourage healthy living in your employees with onsite gyms or discounted gym memberships. Encourage a weekly office-wide yoga class, or cater a healthy lunch (i.e. not pizza!) during the next company meeting. Participate in a 5k as an office, and provide rewards for the most miles run during training. Employees will appreciate that you honor their health as much as they do.

Lead by example

Your employers will only give themselves as much of a break as you do. Therefore, show them the power of a great work/life balance. If you want employees to utilize flexible hours, make sure you leave the office by 5pm once a week. Share your hobby with your employees, or encourage a long lunch break. Create a supportive environment and you’ll have a company that people will be dying to work for!

Holiday Safety Tips Protect your home and your wallet!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not only synonymous with holiday shopping deals; they are also prone to identity theft and high risk of theft. It is important to remember these basic Christmas safety tips and ways for staying safe around the holidays while you are doing your holiday shopping in stores or online. While you might have your eyes set on snagging the next big deal in the store, burglars are looking for ways to break in while you are away and distracted from the home. Similarly, online thieves are out in full force ready to capitalize on the millions of online shoppers who are submitting their private credit card information. Whether you do your shopping online or in the stores, it is important to remember these basic Christmas safety tips to protect yourself against holiday season.

Christmas Safety Tips for Black Friday

While you are out standing in line for the stores to open at dawn or home late trying to scoop up every deal on Black Friday remember to keep in mind these basic Christmas safety tips.

  • Lock everything:This seems obvious, but more often than you would expect a burglar gets into a house just because something was left open or unlocked, especially with houseguests visiting who may not have keys.
  • Secure valuables:Never leave anything of value out in plain sight. If you have not already done so, now may be a good time to consider placing any jewelry, extra cash, or other valuables in a safe deposit box or even a secure hidden safe within the house. Nothing should ever be visible from any window and the master bedroom is the first room any intruder will check for valuables.
  • Control your social status:Though you might be tempted to broadcast to the world about how excited you are for your holiday travels or Black Friday shopping sprees, resist the urge to broadcast to the whole world that you are not going to be home. Many people cannot seem to wait to let everyone on Facebook or Twitter know that they are about to leave and this is a dangerous thing to share.
  • Leave the light on: Not the most eco-friendly advice, but the more it looks like someone is home, the less likely that someone will try to intrude on your home. Keep the lights on, the Christmas lights lit, and the television on. Anything to signal potential robbers that someone is home. The home automation and smartphone interactive management tools available from many security systems today allows for you to turn your off and on the lights throughout the day and night to keep up appearances that someone is home.
  • Activate your alarm system:Again, while it may seem obvious, your mind is distracted and you could be in a rush to get out the door. Do not forget to arm your security system – this simple step will go a long way to protect your home.

When in doubt, think like a robber. How would they get in? Does it look like someone is home? Where are your valuables? Use common sense, remember these easy home security tips, and ensure your possessions will be safe from harm while you are out doing your Christmas shopping, traveling, or partying.

Christmas Safety Tips for Cyber Monday

Ready to get a great online deal or get your credit card compromised. Approximately 7% of all United States adults have their personal identities stolen or otherwise misused and the average financial loss per person is around $3,500. Do not let this happen to you while doing your online Christmas shopping on Cyber Monday by investing in identity protection software. Trust us, it’s well worth it! You have insurance for your car, health, home so why not have it to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft too. The cyber risks are growing daily and you have worked too hard to have your money and identity stolen.

There are several identity theft protection services available that range in their coverage of protection of your personal information. Whether you are looking for a service that will lock down every aspect of your life tighter than Fort Knox or whether you are looking for a service to protect your social security number, there are identity protection services to meet your needs. Look at reviews on the service and pick for the best to keep you safe, during the holidays and every day.

We wish you a safe and Happy Holiday Season!

What does “I Do” really mean in partnering?

Today many people know these common words when they make a commitment to each other in marriage, but do they truly mean it. The same holds true when Solution Providers marry their organization to a major OEM. Do we really understand the “give and take” that is required to be a good match, the work that is required on both sides to ensure success.

Too many times Solution Providers are eager to take the benefit but not engage properly. This lack of partner sales with no commitment to train technical and sales people becomes a factor on how the relationship progresses. OEM’s are patient, just like a good spouse, willing to work through details that are not clear – but in the end, the SP must step up to the plate and represent the relationship properly.

As the economy continues to rebound OEM partners want to engage with Solution Partners.  The OEM’s have cut their resources just like the rest of industry and are looking for a few good partners that will go deeper in the relationship to have joint marketing, sales calls showing strength between their brand and the local SP resource.

So will you say “I Do” to your partners and engage or will you continue on a path that provides no benefit to your organization. Only your team can control the destiny of partnering with OEM’s. Commitment counts and like any marriage pays great dividends – what are you waiting for, this counseling session is over!

Innovation replicated?

Several years ago I had the distinct pleasure of going to the Computer Hall of Fame and witness so many great innovations from the early days of computing to the present.  During my visit, I was able to listen to the great minds speaking on innovation – Guys like Steve Wosniak (Apple), Dan Bricklin (VisiCalc) and several other innovators that shaped the industry.

This week we got a look at Apple’s latest introduction, the iPad.  Surely this is not the same innovation that Steve Wosniak envisioned when he shrunk the 5 1/4″ floppy down to the 3 1/2″!  I remember how he described working  in the dark basement under one of those bench lamps that has a magnifier with a light around it.  Steve Jobs kept encouraging him to keep going and Apple innovation began – A new form factor computer with a miniaturized floppy!  Truly a highlight in my career being one of a limited few to witness this induction!

Flash forward to the iPod Touch and iPhone, truly a market mover/disruptor in the handheld digital market!

Now we have the overgrown iPod touch – the iPad!  Take the iPod Touch, stretch it with a bigger screen and shazam you have an iPad!  Makes one wonder how we keep replicating and changing the form factor to compete for where we believe the market is moving.  Will the iPad  erode sales of other readers like the Kindle, will it find a home in education?  What effect will it have on NetBook’s and Tablet computing……..oh thats right the iSlate is almost here!

You have to hand it to Apple, they are the masters at marketing and form factor – Innovation Replicated!

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Pete is a great strategist, trainer, coach and speaker. Over the past few years he has shared his insights and expertise to the ChannelPro audience and we are grateful for it. He excels at getting organizations to think, act and perform better – driving business value and improving corporate culture at the same time.

- Michael Siggins – ChannelPro Network, VP and Publisher

Pete is a no nonsense guy that puts his experience to work. He has been a huge asset to a number of HTG members in sales and marketing areas. He gets stuff done.

His approach is disciplined and that is what makes it work. No fancy tactics, just good old basic blocking and tackling which is what assures success. He has been a great partner to HTG and our members!

- Arlin Sorenson, CEO and Founder of Heartland Companies

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