5 Ways to Improve Your Energy Levels on the Job

According to the American Psychological Association, 66% of men and women revealed that work significantly impacts their stress levels. Roughly 25% of employees view their jobs as the top source of stress in their lives.

If you’re experiencing constant stress on-the-job, you may feel your energy levels drain before you set foot in the building. Fortunately, there are several proven remedies that you can use to boost energy levels at work, without chugging an entire pot of coffee:

  1. Let natural sunlight in. In the morning, your body will adjust best to the rude awakening if you’re exposed to natural sunlight as your alarm goes off. It may help to sleep with your blinds partially open so that your brain naturally slows down melatonin production and generates adrenaline in the early morning hours.
  2. Start the morning right. Carb loading isn’t the way to boost energy at work, unless you plan to run a marathon from 9 to 5. Instead, eat a breakfast rich in protein that will improve energy and mental focus. Protein contains an amino acid called tyrosine that helps to stimulate brain chemicals like norepinephrine and dopamine; protein also keeps you fuller for longer so that you’re less likely to reach for an unhealthy midmorning snack.
  3. Cut down on your commute. A lengthy commute is enough to add stress to anyone’s day. If at all possible, move closer to your office to cut down on unnecessary time spent in traffic. You may also want to consider asking to telecommute part-time or full-time to bring your job to you. If these options aren’t possible, make the most of a commute by listening to relaxing music and meditating on the train.
  4. Clean up your desk. A messy desk can be a source of stress; set aside 15 minutes at the beginning of the day to clean and organize documents in your office. Whenever possible, scan documents to save to your computer and recycle physical copies to conserve space.
  5. Take a walk at lunch. A 20 minute walk around the block during your lunch break will boost levels of serotonin and dopamine to improve energy when you return to the office. Even better, escaping from the office during your lunch hour will provide you with the mental break you need to recharge your batteries and refresh before returning to an important project.
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Why It’s Important to Take All of Your Vacation Days This Year

Have you ever heard of the phrase “vacation deprivation” before? According to a recent survey from Expedia, Americans are leading the pack by taking fewer vacation days than the majority of workers in most countries. The primary reason is because Americans are allotted fewer vacation days than other countries, and they also – gasp! – leave an average of two days unused per year.

Vacation Days in the US versus the Rest of the World

In the US, it is expected that you will be awarded close to 10 vacation days as a benefit in your full-time job. Yet compared to the rest of the world, the US workforce may be overworked and underappreciated. And we appear to be contributing to the problem.

Countries with the most vacation days earned (at close to 30 days) include:

  • Germany
  • France
  • Spain
  • Brazil

Other contenders with well over 20 vacation days earned per year include Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The only countries lower on the totem pole than the US in terms of vacation days are South Korea and Taiwan.

Some European countries don’t leave any vacation days unused, making a break from work a top priority for the purpose of balance and mental refreshment. These countries include the UK, Spain, France, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

So what can we learn from our global friends that value vacation far more than the American culture?

The Benefits of Taking Vacation Each Year

While your annual vacation may be something that you look forward to all year long as the opportunity to sit back, sip on a beer, and relax on the beach, taking allotted vacation time can benefit an employer as much as an employee.

In a 2010 survey from Right Management, it revealed that 66% of employees did not use all of their allotted paid vacation within the past year. This included all levels of staff, as well as upper management. Many employees felt that they should skip out on a much-needed vacation because of the state of the economy and competitive conditions on-the-job.

However, skipping vacation altogether is counterproductive. It can quickly lead to employee burnout to affect the overall productivity of a company.

If that’s not reason enough to convince you to go on vacation, here are several other benefits to consider of taking time off from the daily grind:

  • Improve mental health.
  • Reinforce relationships.
  • Lengthen your lifespan.
  • Boost creativity.
  • Increase productivity.
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3 Etiquette Tips for Entertaining Colleagues at Home

If the idea of entertaining colleagues in your own home has you shaking in your boots, you’re certainly not alone. It can be a daunting task to host a gathering like a cocktail party or dinner party for coworkers, especially if you are trying to make a good impression on superiors in your company.

You can simplify the process with these user-friendly entertaining tips to set the scene when hosting business associates in your home:

  1. Start with an invitation. If you’re hosting a formal work-related gathering, take the time to print and send out professional invitations instead of using email or social media. A more casual cocktail party or gathering may merit a Facebook invite or Evite.The invitation should include all relevant details about time, date, and location, as well as required attire. A dinner party may call for formal business attire or business casual clothing; a cocktail party will warrant cocktail attire, like party dresses and suits.
  2. Hire a caterer. If you don’t consider yourself to be a professional chef, you may want to get rid of the headache of cooking altogether by hiring a catering company to do the hard work for you. You can take care of drinks by setting up a keg or wine bar, where guests can pour themselves a beverage.In many cases, simple is best when it comes to impressive entertaining. There’s no need to splurge on the cost of a bartender when you can set up a wine and beer bar yourself at a fraction of the price.
  3. Set out name tags. When you’re entertaining in your home, it should be a relaxing, intimate affair. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all business colleagues will know one another well, if at all.Cut out the awkward process of introductions by asking all guests to put on a name tag at the door. This will make it easier for coworkers to remember one another’s names and get to know new people at a dinner party or cocktail event. Nametags also help to easily identify spouses and dates without having to worry about meet-and-greets.

As the host or hostess of an event, it’s your job to get the party started. You can use the tips above to set a welcoming scene when entertaining and encourage conversation by mixing and mingling with all guests at your party. After a few drinks, coworkers will be more likely to relax and enjoy themselves as they network in a stress-free setting.

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What Leadership Skills Do You Need to Start Your Own Insurance Agency?

If you’re ready to go it alone and start your own insurance agency, there’s much more to the process than filing paperwork, hiring an accountant, and employing new staff members. If you haven’t caught on by now, you’re about to enter a rigorous on-the-job training process that will force you to become a leader of your own business.

The question at hand is: Do you have what it takes?

Leadership Is a Never-Ending Process

The type of leader you become will determine the ultimate success of your new business. You can start by assessing your current status as a leader to determine what action may need to be taken to improve areas of weakness.

At this time, it’s important to be open to criticism and honest self-assessment. If you want to grow both personally and professionally, you must be willing to learn new skills and potentially consult an outsider for help in the form of a mentor, life coach, or leadership seminar.

5 Critical Leadership Traits for a Business Owner

As you open your business for the first time, there are several categories of leadership skills that will provide the framework for your role as a business owner:

  1. Goal Setting
  2. Business Planning
  3. Communication
  4. Relationships
  5. Employee Support

Even if you feel that you possess most of these skills already, you may find some areas lacking as you scratch the surface. First and foremost, it’s critical to have a clear idea of your goals for your new insurance agency. You can begin by Vipon review determining where you want your company to be in the next one, three, and five years.

Long-term goals work hand-in-hand with daily business planning. You must be able to assess what needs to get done in your business for the day and organize these tasks accordingly using time management. These same traits can be passed on to your employees with open and honest communication.

And, yes, your communication style does matter. As employees learn to trust and value your opinion, you’ll be able to build long-term relationships with your staff and clients. This brings us directly to the underlying framework of employee support, where you are solely responsible for rewarding employees for their efforts.

Rewards can come in the form of praise, cash bonuses, or paid time off. The point is that if you want your staff to continue working for you year after year, they have to know that they are appreciated and will be rewarded for a job well done.

Although the above leadership principles may seem simple, they’re difficult to implement in the heat of the moment on the job. Practice makes perfect, coupled with professionalism, to make you a standout leader in your agency.

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