Author: Harry Beck

How COVID-19 Has Permanently Changed Businesses

COVID-19 has affected the world tremendously. It came and caused a disruption in not only in one country, but globally. It started from China and has affected the entire world within just a few months. This pandemic brought an economic recession with it as well, and countries that were flourishing a few months prior to it are now facing a tremendous fallout in their economy, which can easily take up to five to six years to fall back in place.

Apart from that, this makes us realize how a pandemic like coronavirus has changed our lives forever. In order to minimize the cases, people are advised to follow strict SOPs, which involve staying at home most of the time and isolating themselves. Schools have been closed, dining in is no longer allowed in restaurants, retail shopping has been minimized, and theatres have been closed for indefinite periods of time too. Some tend to believe that these are just temporary precautions, while some believe that this will be the new normal, including wearing masks, avoiding human contact, and practicing social distancing.

All of this makes us wonder, how will businesses operate now? The businesses affected most are in the retail, food, entertainment, travel, and the education industries. Coronavirus is a shock to our world, and our economies were not ready for it. It is safe to say that the lives we had before the virus were completely different. Even when the curve will flatten, we will not just bounce back to our old lives; instead some changes brought by the pandemic are here to stay and will be the new normal.

Let us now see how coronavirus has changed businesses permanently:

Working from Home

To avoid human contact and to help stop the spread of the virus, organizations all around the world have started operating from home. Working from home has become the new normal, and it is here to stay. Before working remotely was a choice but now it has become a necessity.

It might have its own set of disadvantages, but employees and the employers need to learn such new competencies to cater to this lifestyle. Organizations now have to invest more and more on online platforms for making communication and collaboration easy and feasible.

Organizations have now realized, thanks to the pandemic, that employees can be equally productive at home, which is a much cost-effective method of running a business. Working from home enables social distancing and is one thing which will be practiced for a long time into the future.

Online Shopping

Social distancing is the key. Now every business which required human contact or required people to gather together all at once will be changed for good. Similar is the case with store shopping. It is safe to say that store shopping is now being replaced with online shopping, as it promotes social distancing. Ecommerce has been popular for a while now, but the increase in online shopping on sites like Amazon makes it harder for smaller retail stores to survive. That’s why Facebook is introducing Facebook Shop, an app through the Commerce Manager tool.

Less Dining In

All those working and operating in the food industry know that things have changed. Any food business which does not have good delivery services will be doomed, as dining in will be reduced, and delivery services will hit new heights. So apps like Uber Eats will flourish, while local businesses that don’t offer delivery or take-out services will likely die.

Schools and Universities

Similarly, the education industry has been seeing some changes too. Physical classes are now being shifted to virtual classes where students use platforms like Skype or Zoom to take online classes.

Change is never easy but let us face it, our lives will not just bounce back to how they were. COVID-19 has brought some rapid changes in our lifestyles, and these changes are here to stay.

Is a No Gossip Policy Legal in the Workplace?

Have you been a sufferer of gossiping and wondered “Is a no gossip policy legal?” Gossip can have several meanings. To a few, it alludes spiteful discussions about someone’s life in their absence. Some think of it as simply false stories, while according to others, it can incorporate honest comments with a negative slant. Many people consider gossip to be any discussion of an individual’s or organization’s matters, regardless of whether they are work-related or personal, harmless or hostile.

Gossiping at Workplace is a No-No

Gossiping at the workplace is a common problem faced by the employer and employees these days. It is a type of casual or informal correspondence among employees concentrated on the private, individual, and delicate issues of others.

Gossiping at the workplace is considered negative worldwide, since it can present lies and offensive statements that can disturb the working environment and cause issues in personal and workplace relationships. Although workplace gossip does not necessarily have to be entirely negative, Peter Vajda, who is an expert in human development, has declared gossiping at work as cruel because it tends to hurt or attack other’s feelings.

How Can Gossiping at Work Be Dangerous?

Workplace gossiping can turn out to be fairly dangerous if the teller of the gossip has a prominent significance over the recipient of the gossip. Some common dangers of gossiping at the workplace are given out below.

·       It can damage the company’s culture.

·       It may oppose the formal communication of the organization.

·       It may create a feeling of resentment among employees.

·       The productivity of the company may be hampered.

Is a No Gossip Policy Legal in the Workplace?

To answer the question is a no gossip policy legal, it is not possible to ban it entirely! According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), forbidding gossiping in the workplace is an idea that might seem unenforceable. The reason for it being impossible is that there are many topics in an organization that are not related to work on which an employee is allowed to talk. This may incorporate pay, working hours, or working conditions. Thus, an employer who tries to stop his workers to discuss these things may be violating Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act that defines the rights of the workers.

How to Avoid Gossiping in the Workplace

Although gossiping at work cannot be totally prohibited, managers can play a great role in reducing it. They can set an example by not taking part in it and shutting it out on different occasions. Some other ways to avoid it are given out below.

·       Highlight the importance of respecting others’ personal life.

·       Communicate regularly with your employees to minimize gossiping.

·       Be available to your employees all the time.

·       Give out specific guidelines to avoid gossiping at work in the company handbook.

·       Survey your employees regularly.

Now that you have got the answer to your question, “Is a no gossip policy legal?,” you should know that you cannot completely ban gossiping in your workplace, but you can definitely try to avoid it as much as possible.

What are the Signs of Speech Anxiety?

It would not come as a surprise that speaking in public (also known as glossophobia) is the biggest fear for a large number of people. Many of us experience some degree of anxiety when we need to talk before a gathering. This speech anxiety can go from a little sentiment to an almost dreadful attack on the nerves.

The levels of anxiety can be different for different people. A few speakers will report almost no nervousness while talking; whereas others will admit that they are horrified at the idea of talking out in public. Jerry Seinfeld once jokingly said that a normal person would rather prefer being in the casket instead of giving the eulogy. This explains how much people fear talking in front of a gathering.

Causes of Speech Anxiety

Each person has their own reasons when it comes to the causes of speech anxiety. They may fear speaking in public due to any traumatic past event that they had to face when they were young or simply because of a lack of confidence. Thus, any of the reasons may lead to speech anxiety.

Sometimes, you wouldn’t even know that a person is suffering from this disorder because you would never hear them speaking in public. This is why you closely need to observe a person to know what are the signs of speech anxiety to help them overcome this fear.

The Signs Of Speech Anxiety

Do you want to know what are the signs of speech anxiety? The signs of speech anxiety may vary according to different people. Generally speaking, a person facing this form of anxiety may feel shattered and devastated because of low self-esteem. They might even start sweating profusely because of all the nervousness. As a result, these people may completely avoid speaking in public gatherings or even attending them!

We have classified the signs of speech anxiety in three broad categories below.

Physical Signs

A person might face several physical symptoms while speaking in public, such as nausea, excessive sweating, trembling, increased heartbeat, shortness of breathing, tightening of muscles, and dry mouth. These symptoms occur due to the adrenalin rush in the body making it even more difficult for them to speak in public.

Verbal Signs

The verbal symptoms faced during speech anxiety can get very difficult to control. They can even occur due to some of the physical symptoms as well. For example, trembling would lead to a squeaky voice. The voice of the person may reflect nervousness, stuttering, or they may start speaking fast just to end the whole dreadful presentation or interaction.

Non-Verbal Signs

A person suffering from speech anxiety disorder would reflect multiple non-verbal signs if we look carefully. The occurrence of these signs makes it more difficult for them to address large gatherings. Some common signs include avoiding eye contact, frequent pacing, and fidgeting.

Now that we have found out what are the signs of speech anxiety, we need to look closely for these signs in people around us. If we identify anyone facing them, we should do our best to boost up their morale to help them gain the confidence to speak in public.

Natural Remedies for Restless Sleep

Sleep is an important part of every human being’s life. Many people are facing the issue of restless sleep due to mental or physical health problems. This can be really harmful to one’s health, and they can face more medical unless they get proper sleep. The following are some natural remedies for restless sleep which can help you overcome this.

5 Natural Remedies for Restless Sleep

1.  Exercise

You must engage yourself doing exercises for at least 20 minutes a day to keep yourself physically fit. This can also boost your energy level and keep your mind active. People who exercise daily face fewer symptoms of restless sleep, anxiety, depression, or stress. Exercise is one of the best natural remedies for restless sleep. This remedy can be easily followed by people having sleep disorders to have a good night’s rest. Choose the right time of exercise that suits your body.

2.  Try Warm Water Bath

After a long tiring day, your body needs some relaxation, and giving yourself a warm water bath will help you in sleeping well. It will induce sleep and relax your mind. According to a study people who take a warm water bath are less likely to have insomnia and can sleep well.

3.  Drink 

Drinking doesn’t mean you drink alcohol; you should try drinking milk with honey as this will calm your mind and help you rest. Milk is another great natural remedy to cure your restless sleep disorder. It helps you in sleeping quickly. If you don’t like drinking milk at bedtime, you can try green tea, passionflower tea, herbal tea, or chamomile tea as well. Refrain from coffee, as the caffeine can do the opposite of inducing sleep and keep you awake. Also be sure to stay hydrated with enough water.

4.  Massage

If you are feeling anxiety, depression, or stress you should try to give your body a massage before sleeping. This activity of yours can help you deal with any kind of pain and gives your mind relaxation. Treating sore muscles after a tiring day can help you to sleep properly. You can do it by yourself with a massager or go to a professional for it. If your skin is sensitive, consult the doctor before using any massage oils. You’ll notice a great change in your sleep after taking a massage.

5.  Comfortable Environment

This is an important part that many people tend to overlook. Make sure the sleeping environment is relaxing and comfortable. Turn off any lights or lamps that may be left on. Set the room temperature at a moderate level and use comfortable pillows and an eye mask. These small things can affect your sleep and help you rest a lot better.

Sleep is crucial to live a healthy and fun-filled life without any stress and worries. These natural remedies for restless sleep can help you with your sleeping disorder.In addition, proper nutrition is important in keeping you healthy. Professional Supplement Center is a store that provides high-quality supplements that help you sleep better and maintain a healthy mood. You can try Terry Naturally’s AnxioCalm to get relief from pain, anxiety, depression, nervousness, and stress by calming your body and mind.

Best Online Office Supplies for Your Home

Are you planning to set up a home office? Well, that surely will be something really exciting. This is because you will need to search for some best online office supplies. And as there are different ideas and styles, you must be looking for something new, trendy, and unique. You’ll require a desk, chair, and a computer to set up a home office from scratch.

The most amazing thing about these best online office supplies is that they make working, planning, and organizing your space easy for you. Here are some of the coolest and best online office supplies to make working from home interesting for you.

4 Best Online Office Supplies

Memo Notebook

Your desk definitely requires a memo notebook as an instant solution. This is because noting down important points will always be a part of your work. So you need an organizer that will help you document the important information and then accomplish the tasks accordingly. You never know when an idea will pop into your mind. So a memo notebook will always be your best friend. It is small in size and handy enough to even carry with you every time.

Twist Ballpoint Pen by Faber Castle Ondoro

It is definitely true that a Faber Castle Ondoro pen is an expensive one, but you will never regret working with it. This is because handwritten work will always be important no matter how advanced the technology is. This gorgeously designed and a high quality pen will always help you create notes or write an official letter in the most presentable way.

Desktop Plant

Having planters on your office desk is a great way to re-energize your mind and to always give a fresh environment. So to make your desk look neat, a desktop plant is the best solution. You can even feel energized with the pleasant presence of the planter in the room.

Artist’s Sketchbook by Leda

Sometimes a notebook does not serve enough for accomplishing your business activities. You can always get an Artist’s Sketchbook by Leda Art Supply. This sketchbook is designed in a way that has a more professional look and can be perfectly used by a creative designer. It is flat and water resistant. So here is no need for wasting pages on pages to show something while sketching. You can simply use Leda for expressing your ideas through sketches using the water paint feature.

So what are you waiting for now? Get these best online office supplies for your home office and make your work as much productive as you can. 

What are the 5 Functions of Nonverbal Communication in the Workplace?

We all know that communication is extremely important for us to survive in this world. No matter if the communication is verbal or nonverbal, it will always be essential for us to express our feelings and ideas with each other. We do not realize this, but 93% of our communication is actually nonverbal. And 55% of that is considered to be through facial expressions, gestures, and posture. Even our voice is a part of nonverbal communication. You can now imagine the importance of nonverbal communication.

There is no doubt that nonverbal communication has made it highly convenient for us to deliver our ideas and thoughts more accurately. So if you are wondering what are the 5 functions of a nonverbal communication, make sure to read this article in detail.

We are sure you might be a little confused about what are the 5 functions of a nonverbal communication. This is because nonverbal communication is definitely a lot more than just expressions, feelings, thoughts, ideas, etc. If you talk about nonverbal communication in the workplace, then it really helps to express ideas in a presentable way. So let’s discuss 5 functions of nonverbal communication.

5 Functions of Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal Reinforcement

Reinforcement is a function of nonverbal communication. It tells the frequency or the amount of redundancy made to the behavior that precedes to a situation. For instance, a simple thank you from a child brings a smile on a parent’s face. Or whenever you say a “Hi” or a “Bye,” you automatically raise your hand to make an action. Even when you dislike anything you eat, you will immediately make a facial expression. So reinforcement is actually your gestures, expressions, and the movement of your body that is influenced through a verbal communication.

Nonverbal Substitution

A nonverbal substitution substitutes the message that has to be delivered verbally. This means that it is mostly the facial expression or the body movement that helps to deliver the message and the feelings. So if you want to say “Hi,” you will just wave your hand without actually speaking. Or you can just give a smile to the person. So it is all about body movements and facial expressions that express the nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal Contradiction

When a message that you want to convey is contradicted through actions, it is called a nonverbal communication. This means that the listener negates your message through a nonverbal communication. For instance, if you asked a person how he or she is feeling, and he/she replies by just looking down and shrugging his shoulders. One can easily tell that he or she is not feeling well.

Nonverbal Accentuation

Your tone of voice is also a function of nonverbal communication. So if any verbal message is delivered by speaking in an accent, then this is nonverbal accentuation. For example, you speak in a loud tone with wide open eyes. This highlights the intensity of the message.

Nonverbal Repetition

Nonverbal repetition means to repeat the verbal communication to highlight the strength in the message.

We are sure your stress about knowing about what the 5 functions of nonverbal communication has released. You can now follow these functions in your workplace and deliver your ideas in a more presentable way.

Healthy Alternatives to Energy Drinks

If you are a regular user of energy drinks, then you definitely need to reconsider them! Although energy drinks do claim to give you an energy booster, the effects are short-lived, and they will leave you feeling more exhausted than before. There are many healthy alternatives which you can use instead of an energy drink. Let’s take a look at some of them below.

5 Healthy Alternatives to Energy Drinks

1. Protein Shakes

One of the common reasons for weariness and exhaustion is the absence of protein in your diet. You can use a top-notch protein shake instead of energy drinks, as it can help your body in meeting its nutritional requirements. However, your body will not get its required nutrient intake just by simply mixing a protein powder into a shake. Carbohydrates are required for this purpose. Proteins convert these carbohydrates into energy, which can be then consumed by our body. For a long-lasting energy boost, you can include organic products, such as wheat germ and fruits to your shake with 10 grams of protein from a powder.

2. Green Tea

Green tea contains less caffeine than a proportional volume of coffee, while giving numerous medical advantages including less danger of cancer and heart diseases. This is what makes green tea a healthy substitute to energy drinks. Apart from this, green tea also improves mental health and performance. Also, these organic teas taste much better and have a lot of low levels of pesticides.

3. Yerba Mate

Yerba mate originates from the holly tree. While the preparation process is similar to that of any normal tea, numerous specialists have concluded that it is considerably more beneficial than them. Apart from the caffeine, it also has antioxidants and other substances, which when put together, make it a superb choice for a healthy energy booster. You can brew the mate just as strong as a coffee, but unlike a coffee, it is not addictive.

4. Energy Capsules

Energy capsules are another alternative which you can take instead of energy drinks. They contain non-glandular ingredients which are important for your adrenal health and also help in reducing stress. Professional Supplement Center is an online store that provides high quality vitamins and energy supplement capsules.

One of their top products is ExcitaPlus by NeuroScience, which you can use instead of energy drinks as it provides adrenal and energy support extra strength which your body needs and helps your mind in tackling stress and be more focused.

5. Water

One of the main reasons due to which we feel drop in our energy is dehydration. It is because when we are dehydrated, the metabolic reactions in our body starts to slow down which makes us feel more tired and exhausted. This is why you need to keep your body hydrated by drinking a lot of water!

Although energy drinks do provide you with a much-needed energy boost that you are looking for, they contain many harmful ingredients such as caffeine and carbohydrates. This is why you need to switch yourself to these healthy alternatives.

How to Change Your Picture on Zoom

If there is a winner throughout the COVID pandemic, video conferencing tool Zoom must be a worthy contender. This company has boomed over the last few months and has seen a massive surge in profits compared to only a year ago. There is a lot you can do to personalise your Zoom experience, right from changing the video conference icons, to changing the backdrop of your picture.

Steps to Change Your Zoom Photo

You can change or add a profile picture on Zoom very easily. First launch the Zoom application and then click on your icon that has your initials under the heading Change My Picture.

Once the Zoom web portal is launched in your browser you can log in and view your profile. The existing video conferencing icons are just grey shaded outlines so click on change under your icon. You can then upload your desired picture as a replacement.  Adjust the position if necessary and then click save.

Now when you initiate a Zoom meeting or when you are invited to attend a Zoom meeting, your profile picture will automatically stand out among the other video conferencing icons.

Change Your Zoom Background

You can also change your backdrop by creating a virtual background picture. This is great if you want to maintain privacy but may not be suitable for all occasions.

First sign into your Zoom account and then click on Settings. There is an option that gives you a wide choice of virtual backgrounds or you can also choose your own from your own images.

Using your own image is not quite as easy as you may have to resize it so using the Zoom stock images is undoubtedly the easiest option and there are some great choices too. If you fancy calling from the edge of space, the desert or from a well-known landmark, such as the Taj Mahal, you can do it very easily.

Click on Add Image and save. Now you will be video conferencing from apparently anywhere in the world. This option is extremely quick and easy to do and can be cancelled by simply clicking on NONE in the virtual background settings.

For most people Zoom is providing a means of keeping in touch with friends and family. However this video conferencing tool was designed primarily for business use and it is hard to remember that only a few months ago most of us had never heard of it.

Once the COVID crisis has passed, it seems likely that Zoom will continue to shine so updating your profile and video conferencing icons is a good idea for the future.

It seems likely that a lot of businesses will be using Zoom more than ever so you could find that interviews and other important events will be carried out on Zoom in the future. This means it is important to consider your profile picture as a smart career move, although maybe you should leave the outer space backdrop for your friends.

Networking Ideas for Small Groups during the COVID-19 Quarantine

According to so-called networking experts, there are three “Ps” that are important in any sort of networking, and these are people, people, and more people.  Although this type of categorization is just plain annoying, there is of course truth in it.  So when it comes to thinking up networking ideas for small groups it is important to remember that behind every event, it is the people that matter more than the content of the meeting. Whatever activity you choose is likely ok as long as everyone is engaged with it.

What is Networking?

Networking is all about making and maintaining relationships, and in this time of social isolation it is important to have social interaction whether in a work based scenario or amongst friends.  We have all been forced into Zoom calls and lengthy video chats, and it can be difficult to cope with if everyone just sits there and stares at the screen.  Yet something too complicated does not always suit the online format.

If you are working from home and running an online work meeting or seminar, you should always start with an icebreaker. Ask each participant their name and how they are feeling before moving onto the work part of the meeting and that way everyone will feel engaged. This sounds good sense and good manners because it is only polite to introduce people and to put them at their ease.

According to so-called experts in this, you can try asking more off the wall interesting questions too such as  “What is the one thing you are secretly pleased that you don’t have to do now that you are socially distancing?” Or apparently even annoying questions such as, “What will I eat today?” or similar.

In all honesty, asking a work colleague what anybody should eat sounds like a special kind of hell, but one small consolation must be that at least with an online work meeting, you don’t actually have to remain in the same room as these peers.

More Tips

Once the meeting is up and running, you can increase the misery by insisting that everyone takes part in group activities. These would be fun amongst friends but not always appropriate for work colleagues.

One example of networking ideas for small groups that we found described as a fun and playful icebreaker for Zoom is called Sketch Your Neighbour. You draw the person in the next Zoom box to you and then show the picture to the group.

Networking ideas for small groups do not have to be work related. Many small friendship groups and families have taken to online quizzing, like a duck to water. Having virtual drinks together – recreating the bar or pub atmosphere from your own home can be fun. And don’t forget the ever popular Zoom Kitchen Disco. It might seem weird to dance about in your kitchen in front of a panel of faces, but when we all look back to 2020 and the COVID crisis, this is exactly the type of activity we will remember.

Tips for Working Remotely

Working remotely can bring many challenges, especially when you are not used to it.  Many people struggle with maintaining a healthy work life balance when working from home, because the distinctions between the working day and home life can become increasingly blurred.

For the employer it is only good news. It seems we work for far longer and far harder when we work remotely,  so although it is unlikely to negatively impact our job, the downside is that many people report increased stress levels and other mental and physical health problems when working from home. 

Tips for Working Remotely

  • Keep to regular hours. These do not have to be the same as your office hours, but if you set regular hours you will be less tempted to work for longer than usual and be able to switch off once your working day is over.
  • Set up a designated work office to avoid distractions. That way, you can be out of reach of other commitments and unlikely to start domestic chores while you are in work mode. Moving a desk into the spare room or your shed for example is a great way to separate work from home.
  • Take regular breaks. Setting a timer can help you do this and you can use the time to take a work, stretch, meditate or whatever helps your stress levels decompress.
  • Avoid distractions of texts, phone calls or social media messages.  Deal with these once you have finished your work, or you will find that your time is eaten up during the day.

As well as taking these steps to manage your workload from home, you should not neglect your workplace environment. As well as ensuring that you have the correct office furniture or at least a table and chair at the correct height, you can customise your workplace by bringing aromatherapy into your daily life in order to keep you calm and focused.

Try Aromatherapy to Relax in Your Home Office

Aura Cacia is a U.S. company that provides a range of professional grade health supplements and essential oils that are proven to reduce stress and to increase a calming atmosphere. Aura Cacia also produces an aromatherapy USB diffuser which plugs into a computer port and uses a quiet fan to diffuse essential oils. 

Essential oils are a fantastic way of creating a fresh and calming atmosphere that will help you keep your stress levels down and your productivity levels up. Choose energizing light fragrances for the working day such as cedar wood, various mint fragrances, lemongrass, or tea tree oil rather than heavier night time essential oils such as patchouli.

Aura Cacia provides a range of quality essential oils, and there is also a company called Aetos that provide a great selection too. We particularly liked eucalyptus and grapefruit, two essential oils with an energising yet calming effect.

Both these brands are compatible for use in the Aura Cacia diffuser.

Working remotely can be a great experience if you handle it correctly. And you will  find that once you have found the right fragrance for your workspace, it will not only help you remain calm and focus, it will help you to manage your work-life balance if you can smell the difference!