small business

Your Work

“I’m stressed”. It’s a phrase we hear daily. But do we fully appreciate how stress impacts us, and our teams? Most importantly, do we know how to help?The demands of a career can sometimes feel overwhelming. Especially if, through no fault of your own, expectations feel unrealistic. Left unchecked, stress can take its toll on your health, relationships and state of mind – eventually leading to burnout.But how do you tell the difference? If constant stress has led you to feel helpless, exhausted, or completely disillusioned, you may be experiencing burnout. When you’re burnt out, problems seem insurmountable. Everything looks bleak, and it’s often challenging to muster the energy to care, let alone do something about your situation. Unhappiness and detachment caused by burnout can threaten jobs, relationships and health.The good news is that burnout can be overcome. There are many practical things you can do to regain balance and start to feel positive and hopeful again. Positive steps for everyoneOverwhelmed by your workload? Approach your manager or trusted HR representative to review priorities and deadlines. Prioritise face-to-face social contact with supportive people. Make time to disconnect from technology each day. Move your body frequently – don't sit for over an hour. Prioritise laughter and recreational activities. Reduce your consumption of alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine. Get plenty of restful sleep so you feel your best.What to do if a colleagues or team member appears burnt outTake time to listen in a non-judgemental way. Show that you care and do what you can to resolve the core problems in a way that preserves your colleague’s dignity. Visit www.headsup.org.au to explore the business cost of not tackling this important area of employee wellbeing and to pick up their tips for businesses. Heads Up will help you establish a work culture that supports balance, emotional health and mental health. Consider stressors you can remove:a. Workload: Review the staff member’s workload. Is it realistic? Review deadlines and priorities and facilitate the redistribution of work. b. Encourage the taking of leave. Avoid contacting colleagues when they’re away. A genuine break is vital for their emotional wellbeing.Help your colleague or team member access relevant and free professional services, like those offered by MindSpot. Encourage them to consult their GP.Where to turn if you’re the one feeling stressed or burnt outSpeak with a trusted colleague. Contact a helpline:Beyond Blue offers excellent phone and online support. Complete their easy anxiety and depression checklist. MindSpot offers a helpline and 100% FREE, Federal Government-funded courses that achieve excellent outcomes for people with anxiety, burnout or depression. HeadsUp has a great conversation planner to help you plan how to raise your concerns with your manager.Follow up with your GP, psychologist or social worker.Know that you’re not alone. At any given time, 1 in 5 Australians in the workplace experience anxiety, stress, burnout or another mental health condition.

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Life

Owner of Greg Tilden Auto Body Repairs, Scott explains how Port Macquarie's auto bodyworks businesses go about sharing customers, resources and know-how.

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Life

Owner of IGA X-Press in Forest Lake, Queensland, Shyam has always enjoyed the company of people, just as he loves getting involved in the local community.

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Life

As a small business owner, Matt puts his success down to investing in developing quality relationships, establishing values and being community-minded.

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eye strain
Your Work

Australians are famed for active lifestyles and a love of the outdoors, but with an increasing number of the population working inside office environments, traditional levels of physical activity during the working day are reducing. How can a workforce stay healthy in balance of a sedentary life?We now have a generation of workers who sit for 8 hours or more working on computers. According to a recent study in The Australian, “The professions, with 2.7 million people, are by far the biggest occupational group in Australia. Along with 1.6 million managers, they have steadily been increasing their share of the Australian workforce over the past 20 years, rising from 27 per cent to 34 per cent of the total.”There is a difficulty with identifying associated health risks for white collar workers as they are not as pronounced or obvious as those working in trades, industry or agriculture. It can be very easy to ignore the warning signs but there is now the medical evidence to suggest that the health risks posed to 34% of the Australian workforce are numerous.AGL is committed to ensuring all health risks in the workplace are removed or minimised for our people and our customers as much as possible so we asked our own Health Safety and Environment experts to provide some tips on general office wellbeing for those doing sedentary work:Prolonged sitting According to the Department of Health, “56% of Australian adults are either inactive or have low levels of physical activity - that is more than 9.5 million adults.” Being sedentary for prolonged periods (e.g. sitting at your desk or work station) can have a negative impact on your spine, organs and muscles. Ensure that you stretch regularly and take walks (opt for the stairs instead of escalators whenever possible) and remain as active as possible throughout the day to counteract this.Bad posture Ensure that you are sitting with your back straight (and supported), arms close to your sides with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Arrange items on your desk so you don’t have to strain your back or neck to reach them. Also try not to leave your hand resting on your mouse while you look at the monitor.Last year, The Washington Post published ‘The Health Hazards of Sitting’ which illustrated in effective clarity the internal dangers that bad posture and other poor habits exacerbate.Storage of bags Falls in the office are one of the most common Loss Time Injuries (LTIs) for white collar workers and casually stowed bags and bag straps play a particular dangerous role in these injuries. Be vigilant around your own desk area, tucking in any bag straps that could catch on your feet (ideally your bag should sit on your desk if possible). Please also be mindful of pushed out chairs and open desk drawers in your pod or office space.Eye strainEvidence suggests that you won’t permanently damage your eye sight staring at a pixelated screen(s) for many hours at a time. However, it is good practise to take regular breaks from the computer and relieve your eyes by using them in a natural manner.To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes experts recommend that you look away from your screen at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Some eye specialists call this the "20-20-20 rule." Looking into the distance relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye and helps reduce fatigue.DehydrationIt is recommended that an adult should consume at least 6-8 glasses of water per day to stay hydrated, especially during the summer months. Hydration is a proven factor in productivity at work and drinking just a litre of water can increase your cortisol levels which the body produces naturally to reduce stress.Learn how to strike a better work-life balance as a small business owner.

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Collaboration tools
Your Work

Collaboration & social responsibility are tipped to play an important role among businesses seeking to outperform the competition. Learn about its many benefits.

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work life balance kayak recreation
Your Work

It can sometimes feel completely out of reach, but having work-life balance should be at the top of every small business owner's “to do” list. Here are a few realistic ways to help get the right balance working in your favour.When there’s a never-ending list of urgent tasks crying for your attention, it can be easy for a business owner or entrepreneur to bump maintaining a good work-life balance to the backburner. But when you run a small business, the way you juggle your time can impact you plus everything and everyone else you work with.Work-life balance starts with learning good time management. One method involves grouping together the things you need to do into "time buckets", and then making sure that each these groups – or "buckets" – gets filled each week.You can have as many buckets as you’d like, but these are the three big ones. Bucket #1 – Downtime Running a business takes a lot out of you physically, mentally and emotionally. Try running on empty and you’re bound to burn out and crash, so always set aside time to rest, recover and reboot. Tips to fill the downtime bucket include:Take regular breaks during the day – step outside and get some fresh air, think about things other than work, and refuel with good nutritious food. Download a meditation app and set aside some quiet time every day – even 10 minutes can make a difference in giving your busy mind a break so you can collect your thoughts, get perspective and think clearly. Switch off from work – resist checking emails and your phone at least an hour before bed to give your mind time to shut down. Get some sleep – at least seven to eight hours a night is vital for your health and wellbeing. Block out that time every night without fail.Bucket #2 – The things you love Unfortunately, this is the area that many people let slip first, particularly during busy work times. So try not to neglect it too often as it can leave you feeling isolated, unhappy and resentful that your business is taking over your life. Tips for filling this bucket include:Control how much you let your work seep in – and know that if you let it slip during a busy time, you haven’t failed. Just refocus and try again. Regularly stop and take time out from your business for the things that light you up, whatever that happens to be. It’s important for your mental health. Remember to take care of your relationships with your partner, children, family and friends, and be brave and reach out to them whenever you need a helping hand.Bucket #3 – Work time Spending time on the "guts" of your business – working to service your clients and keep things ticking over – can be enough to keep you busy always. But there’s more to running a small business than that, and things you need to find time to get through.Try to break up work into batches, work with more purpose and watch your productivity soar. Some tips:Set aside time each week to work on the big picture stuff, such as your strategies and goals plus ways to better manage your business. Block out time for those small administrative tasks. Getting a small job out the way can be done faster when you focus. Consider your inbox: give yourself two time-limited sessions a day to check and respond to emails so you don't spend all day in there. Make a separate space in the house for when you need to work from home. That way you can leave work behind and focus on the rest of your life whenever you’re not at your desk or in the study.In order to better facilitate work life balance for our people, AGL has extended the amount of purchased leave available to employees from 2 weeks to 6. This enables AGL employees to extend their total leave entitlement from 4 to 10 weeks per annum, with leader approval. Working parents receive additional support when managing the challenges of providing childcare during the school holidays.An engaged, happy workforce significantly helps delivers a better experience for customers.Get some further peace of mind with suggestions for improving energy efficiency in your workplace.

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