Too Many Meetings: How to Meet With Intention and Purpose

Meetings are an important and necessary part of working in a team environment. But if you find yourself staring at the calendar and gritting your teeth at the number of meetings scheduled, you have crossed over into the realm of “too many meetings.”

In the US, 55 million meetings are held every week. Of these meetings, 71% are considered unproductive. And on top of it all, Zoom fatigue is a thing, which is burnout from having too many virtual meetings.

Meet with intention and purpose, and gain time back in your day with these tips.

Come into meetings with an agenda

Agendas help establish the goals and objectives of the meeting. If you can’t think of any goals or objectives, chances are it’s a meeting you can cancel. Prepare the agenda a few days in advance and send it to the participants, so they have a chance to look it over and prepare any questions, thoughts, or materials for the conversation.

Schedule shorter meetings

If you’ve scheduled a 30-minute meeting and covered all you needed to talk about in 15 minutes, there’s no law saying you must sit around twiddling your thumbs for the remaining 15 minutes. Once you’re finished, end the meeting early. Experiment with making meetings under 20 minutes—enough time to cover your agenda but short enough to maintain attention and not interfere too much with your team’s schedule.

Make meeting attendance optional

Meetings need to have value to those attending. When scheduling a meeting, ensure that only the people who need to be there are there. Otherwise, discussions could get too far off track or people attending are wasting their time in irrelevant conversations. Any team members who don’t need to be at the meeting should be told that the meeting is optional, and if necessary, you can send out notes to people who don’t attend.

Encourage scheduling “meeting-free” times

When people have blocks of uninterrupted time to complete tasks, they are at their most productive. Encourage your employees to schedule “no meeting” times on their calendars. Multitasking is a myth; our brains cannot focus on more than one task at a time. Having meeting-free times and blocks of uninterrupted time to focus on tasks helps employees get more done; which, in turn, helps your business and your employees’ mental health.

Embrace asynchronicity

When a meeting is synchronous, it means everyone needs to be at the meeting at the same time—examples are in-person, over the phone, and Zoom meetings. But what if you have a team that spans multiple time zones, or even multiple countries? In this case, try the opposite and embrace asynchronicity.

Asynchronous meetings take place solely through communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams. These kinds of meetings allow people to communicate on their schedule, ask questions, and absorb information at their own pace.

Transition daily huddle meetings to electronic tools

Often, companies hold short sprints or daily meetings. These meetings are usually reserved for checking in with employees and how they’re doing with their goals or projects. Try this experiment: set up a channel in your Slack or Teams channel as a “daily meeting” channel. Send a message, such as: “@everyone, what is on your agenda today?” Or you can include a “daily agenda” section in your project management software that asks team members the same question.

These electronic interactions can save time. If employees have a question, they can drop you a message instead of scheduling a block of meeting time with you.

Use other methods of presentation

 Consider if the information you need to talk about can be presented to your colleagues differently, such as via video, PowerPoint, or email. If so, either make a video or PowerPoint or send your colleagues an email with the information that would have been covered in the meeting.

Make meetings intentional

Meetings enable collaboration, creativity, and innovation and foster company culture. But having too many meetings can cost time and money for you, your employees, and your business, creating more problems than benefits. Give all of your meetings intention and purpose and help your team gain back the time you need.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

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Balancing Generational Differences in the Workplace

The workplace is experiencing one of its biggest shifts as multiple generations come together in the workforce. Workplace formalities and dynamics are changing, and now we’re left asking ourselves how to best work together.

Understanding the similarities and differences in generational values and characteristics and the best practices for managing multi-generational teams encourages teamwork, shared respect, and positive communication in your organization.

Learn how Gen X and Baby Boomers, who hold the majority of leadership roles, can best lead and work with the workforce’s majority–Millennials.

Generational values and characteristics

Team members can tackle generational tension by building awareness around generational differences and recognizing their similarities and human needs. Learning the differences in values, characteristics, communication styles, and work styles can reveal the workplace views and expectations, leading to better communication and teamwork.

Baby Boomers

  • Characteristics: Competitive, disciplined, involved, and optimistic. They faced higher competition for jobs because of the rise in population, leading to a generation of determined workers who take pride in their careers. They fostered a youth culture that embraced reinvention, teamwork, and self-actualization.
  • Values: Personal growth, team involvement, strong work ethic, and making a difference. They are not afraid to question everything and care about equal rights and opportunities.
  • Communication and management styles: Team-oriented. Prefer face-to-face interactions, respect the chain of command, and expect leadership’s direction.

Gen X

  • Characteristics: Fiercely independent, flexible, pragmatic, resourceful, entrepreneurial, and transparent. They grew up without the intense supervision Millennials had and learned that “if you want something done right, you’d better do it yourself.”
  • Values: Personal growth, education, and a work-life balance. They are independent thinkers who see life as their full-time job and their job as their part-time gig.
  • Communication and management styles: Task-oriented, individually motivated, informal, independent, respond to direction and prefer email and direct communication.


  • Characteristics: Natural networkers, friendly, and connected because they grew up with technology. They learned early on that “teamwork makes the dream work” and desire an environment where they can collaborate, problem solve and innovate with others. While they can be highly tolerant, optimistic, and adaptive to change, don’t be surprised by their impatience and competitiveness!
  • Values: Success, rewarding work, and close relationships. They value efficiency, speed, and timeliness and expect to move up the ladder quickly. They are environmentally conscious and eager to bring change to their organization.
  • Communication and management styles: Prefer leaders who coach rather than direct and enjoy continuous feedback. Their collaborative mindset helps them work well in teams, but they are easily annoyed by micromanagement. Similar to Gen Xers, they work hard for a work-life balance. They prefer online, text messaging, and social media communication.

More alike than you think

All the generations are similar in certain ways. How can they not be when people pass down history, values, skills, and knowledge to their children and mentees? The similarities help teams share a common ground and foster empathy:

  • The values that matter most: Family, integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness.
  • Desire to be respected and important: Employees want to be heard, seen, and recognized for their contributions. They want to know they are not easily replaced and make a meaningful impact.
  • Trustworthy leaders: People want to trust and connect with their leaders. Without it, relationships falter, productivity is lost, and communication stops.
  • Loyalty: If someone works hard for the company, they expect the leaders to invest back in them. It’s a two-way street!
  • Desire to learn: People are willing to acquire new skills to do a good job and further their development.
  • Feedback: It’s important to know how they are doing comparatively – are they meeting or exceeding expectations?

Best practices for leading Millennials

Recognizing what makes each generation unique is the first step to cultivating a team that can work together in diversity. The second step is to create a work environment where everyone can thrive. Here are common practices and tips for effectively managing the Millennial generation:

Create opportunities for collaboration: Millennials crave a collaborative work environment and constantly reinvent what collaboration looks like with new technologies. As a manager, create opportunities for Millennials to work collaboratively. From the beginning of a project, be clear about when and how often you intend for everyone to collaborate.

Impactful feedback: Millennials gravitate more towards informal, frequent check-ins, and their morale and performance take a hit when they don’t receive quick, transparent feedback.

Motivating Millennials: Money doesn’t motivate this generation in the same way as others. They are driven by their close relationships and team interactions, and are known to blur the line between work and personal life. Helping them find their squad or “work family” is a point of retention for this generation. Also, understand their unique curiosity. If a Millennial asks you why something is done a certain way, they don’t intend to be disrespectful. They genuinely want to understand. Answering their questions motivates them to continue learning and understanding the organization.

Here are some additional suggestions to help you manage a Millennial:

  • Independent Gen Xers often get annoyed by Millennials’ constant need for feedback and recognition. Defuse the conflict by setting clear parameters about when, where, and how often they can and should check in for feedback.
  • Focus on your common values, such as transparency and efficiency, and use your different qualities to balance each other.
  • Millennials take feedback differently, and “no-nonsense,” direct communication styles are often misconstrued as a lack of support. When giving feedback, try to inspire Millennials and soften the blunt messaging.

Embrace the differences

Leaders must lead and develop their teams to achieve the company’s vision and aspirations. A great way to do this is by learning to lead and manage people from different generations based on their values, work styles, and characteristics. Once you recognize how different generations function, you can lead a diverse company that works great together and knows how to get the job done.


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Grow Your Company by Helping Employees Grow Their Careers

Employee turnover is a scary thing for business owners. According to Gallup, it can cost an organization between one-half to twice the amount of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. So, it makes sense that employers are naturally reluctant to discuss an employee’s career aspirations since it might mean they’ll eventually want to leave for a new job. However, this is a mistake.

It’s common knowledge that employee engagement directly affects retention rates. And while employers can do a lot to keep employees engaged, like showing them appreciation, giving them autonomy, and offering flexible schedules, a big piece is missing.

Nine out of ten times, if you ask an employee whether they’d be working for you if they were a billionaire, they’d say no. It’s not because they don’t like their job or even because they’re not fulfilled, but because people have jobs to create stability in their lives, grow their wealth, support their families, and pursue their interests. And none of this is a bad thing—in fact, it’s about as natural as it gets. While finding satisfaction, fulfillment, and value in a job is equally important, it’s only half the story.

The value in facing the whole truth

If business owners and leaders embrace the fact their employees have aspirations that could eventually lead them away from their organization, they open the door to building mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationships.

By uncovering your employees’ aspirations, you create an opening for them to explore themselves and for you to discover their strengths and desires. You gain insight into what lights them up and gets them excited, and align their role to fit with their personal goals. Consider how engaged and energized each of your employees would be if they felt they were actively moving towards their dreams while working within your company.

When you participate in your employees’ personal goals, you can create an open dialog with them that builds trust, loyalty, and stability.

  • You can identify when opportunities come along that would spark the interest of specific employees.
  • You can provide learning and development opportunities that align with the individual goals of team members.
  • You can maintain a better handle on if employees have their needs met within their roles and make informed adjustments to their annual plans.
  • You can build relationships with employees that last beyond their time with your company and provide value long after they’ve moved on.

Creating value for everyone

Engaging employees personally, empowers them to reach their fullest potential while demonstrating that your company is committed to their overall success. This can lead to employees coming full circle, leaving for a time, and returning to your company later in their careers. It will positively impact your employer brand, and create employees who feel excited, empowered, and supported by their organization—all while positioning your company as an employer of choice.

The best way to build solid and long-lasting relationships is through trust, openness, and mutual support. By embracing employees’ personal goals and providing them with opportunities to pursue them, you will create a team that’s as dedicated as you.


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Cultivate a Culture of Peer Recognition

Employee recognition is essential – true, but what about peer recognition?

Too many organizations rely on recognition to flow downwards, trusting their managers will see their employees’ accomplishments and voice appreciation. When leaders are the only ones practicing recognition, there’s a lot of great work that goes unnoticed. If appreciation is the most important job element for employees, why leave it to only the leaders? Peer recognition allows appreciation and gratitude to flow in all directions – across departments and locations, and even upwards.

Start cultivating a culture of peer recognition by understanding the importance, benefits, and tips to facilitate recognition in your organization.

Importance of peer recognition

There’s no need to abandon traditional top-down recognition – employees value appreciation from leadership. Instead, complement it with peer recognition because this newer, more collaborative approach has different benefits that help individuals and organizations thrive. The most common benefits are that peer recognition:

Strengthens teams and relationships

When people rely on top-down recognition, it creates a competitive environment. On the other hand, peer acknowledgment fosters a sense of team spirit and cooperation that increases the probability of a constructive team culture by 2.5x! The shared gratitude sets a positive attitude for the company culture, encouraging everyone to work together and achieve company goals.

Improves confidence and self-esteem

When employees receive feedback from a fellow team member, it holds an increased level of validation and pride. They recognize their worth and impact, boosting confidence and self-esteem in later projects. Public recognition also allows leaders to see what they may have been missing and enhance the value of each of their employees’ skills and abilities. The cycle of positivity sustains confidence and produces high-performance teams.

Increases positive emotions and well-being

Peer recognition and gratitude are regularly associated with happiness. So it makes sense that it’s one of the simplest ways to make employees happy, optimistic, and satisfied at work.

The positive emotions affect people’s work lives and also enhance their well-being because happiness increases health. You’ll notice employees have better physical health, sleep better, and feel less stressed.

These benefits help organizations thrive because employees become more engaged, productive, present, and efficient. Most importantly, peer recognition leads to satisfaction and can help reduce employee turnover, as 75% of people say that recognition makes them want to stay at their current job longer.

Create a culture of peer recognition

Companies need to cultivate a culture that values and encourages employees to practice peer recognition if they want to experience the benefits. First, consider setting guidelines for giving praise and then implement a peer recognition program that reflects these guidelines. This could be a platform, such as Slack or Teams, specifically designed to assist peers with giving and receiving recognition or feedback.

Companies can also encourage employees to recognize others through LinkedIn endorsements. Let’s say a team works well together; they can go to each other’s profiles and validate the skills listed by “endorsing,” writing a recommendation, or using the “Celebrate an occasion” option when creating a new post. These are quick and simple steps that show appreciation and can help an employee in their career path.

Leaders should also engage in the peer recognition program’s celebrations because they provide important validation and show that the company cares when they’re involved. Leaders’ involvement is a great way to remind team members of the value and impact they can make when they recognize their peers.

Tips to apply

Recognition and appreciation don’t come easily to everyone. Some people may be “recognition champions,” while others need to be coached on how to give recognition effectively. You can help guide your team by sharing and modeling these best practices for giving recognition:

Timely: One golden rule for recognition is to share appreciation as soon as possible. Effective recognizers don’t sit on it for weeks; they observe and congratulate others right away. Praising someone in the moment is powerful because it shows that you’re paying attention and care.

Genuine: Adding scheduled recognition to your calendar becomes a transaction or chore. Recognition should be authentically earned and given, not something to check off your to-do list. Genuine gratitude makes sharing more effortless, and people will notice your sincerity. 

Specific: A simple note saying, “Great job on that project!” can make a person smile. What if you were more specific and said how they did a great job? You’ll put a smile on their face for days! A helpful tip is to connect their success with why it matters to you, the team, and the organization. The more specific, the more impactful the message will be.

Public: Peer recognition is best when done publicly. You can do this within a department, team, or across the company. The public spotlight turns the moment into a heartfelt experience of gratitude and encourages others to hop on the bandwagon. It also helps leaders be aware of the great work they can’t see every day and shows others what the company values, inspiring them to do the same.

Help people and company culture thrive

Leaders cannot do and see everything, especially when the company is growing and expanding. This makes it even more important to emphasize peer recognition in their company cultures. Recognition is not only your responsibility—it’s a gift to share and encourage throughout an organization.

When companies practice peer recognition, everyone is more aware of the great work around them. Feedback starts to flow freely throughout the organization, and the atmosphere of gratitude and appreciation creates a transformation. People begin giving themselves wholeheartedly, freely, and cheerfully.

Consider finding ways to weave recognition into the fabric of your organization and be ready to see a snowball of benefits that help individuals and the organization thrive!


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Why (and How) You Should Care About Employee Health

The month of May, deemed Global Employee Health and Fitness Month (GEHFM), is a time to observe how the benefits of health and a healthy workplace make a difference in employers’ and employees’ lives. Employees in good health, both physically and mentally, are more likely to give their all to their organization. When employees have health-related issues, and nothing is done to help them, it affects their lives and costs businesses money. An estimated $530 billion a year, in fact.

The good news is that improving employee health is not an impossible feat. It’s quite possible! Show your employees you care about their health and wellbeing with these tips you can implement in your workplace.

Give employees autonomy

Research done by McKinsey Quarterly shows that the higher someone’s rank is in a company, the lower the instances of health issues such as stress and cardiovascular disease.

Why? The higher the rank, the lower the stress and chances for illness.

But why?

Even though these high-ranked employees faced many demands in their job, they enjoyed more control over their tasks, how they did them, and when.

This kind of autonomy needs to apply to all your employees. Instead of looking over their shoulders and being a helicopter, give your employees control over their tasks. You can still provide priorities and task deadlines but let them choose what tasks to work on during their day—and how they do them.

Encourage physical activity

A sedentary lifestyle at home and work can lead to health-related issues such as back pain, which 8 out of 10 people experience at some point in their life. Encourage your employees to get up and move during the day—taking a walk, stretching at their desks, and doing yoga are all good options. If your office is onsite, provide workstations with ergonomic chairs and standing desks. If your employees work remotely, consider giving them a stipend that they can use to make their at-home workstation ergonomic.

Help avoid digital eyestrain

Thirteen hours. That is how much time the average person spends daily in front of a digital screen (computer, phone, television), including both personal and work screen time, according to the Screen Time Report. In the same report, 71% of employers estimate their employees spend three or more hours staring at a screen—and 10% estimate their employees spend ten or more hours staring at a screen.

Your employees are locked in to some kind of screen during most of their day, so encourage them to give their eyes a rest by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a break and stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Give a shoulder to cry on

Having social support—family and friends you can count on—directly affects health. The same is true for workplace support. Having a competitive culture that pits people against one another weakens social support. Also, having a transactional culture, where people feel like they’re just a number instead of a valued employee, further weakens that support.

Let your employees know that you and their fellow employees have their back and make your company culture one of support and empathy. This lets them know they can trust one another and leads to happier employees.

Don’t make people choose

Life is a trade-off between work and family commitments. Parents have school and sports commitments for their children; people have aging relatives they might need to take to doctor’s appointments. But for many people, these are stress-inducing events because they feel forced to choose between one or the other—work or family.

Make sure your employees know that family and other personal commitments are a part of life. Give them flexible schedules so they don’t miss out on important moments or appointments—because when people feel happy and fulfilled at home, it will reflect in their work.

Encourage employees to actually end the day


Multiple studies show that the number of hours worked does not necessarily equate to productivity. Once the workday is done, encourage your employees to clock out and enjoy their evenings and weekends with their friends and family. If your employees work remotely, encourage them to do the same and to log off their computers when the workday is done.

Invest in your employees’ health

When you show that you care about the health and wellbeing of your employees, they will notice. Give them access to health insurance, health and wellness programs, annual health screenings, and health education with practical, straightforward advice that your employees can put into practice. By providing these, you give employees the chance to take charge of their health.

Try “office recess”

Remember recess as a kid? It was a time to play, recharge, and have fun. Office recess is the same concept, where you encourage employees to “take a recess”—to pause and do something for themselves. This gives employees a mid-day energy boost and gets them started on the path to relaxation.

Be healthy, be happy

Employee health is a good investment. When you take the time to make sure they are healthy and happy—both physically and mentally—they will remember it and give their all for you. Use this month to spend time considering how you can make positive, forward-thinking changes to your company that promotes the health and wellbeing of your employees. Even small changes can make a difference. As you work to make these improvements, empowering employees to make healthy decisions for themselves, your culture, productivity, and internal relationships will improve—along with employee health.


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Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace

70% of people will experience imposter syndrome – the gut-wrenching feeling of self-doubt and belief that they are not as competent as others believe them to be despite their experience, education, and accomplishments. They feel like a fraud and await the moment they are “caught” or found out. Even when others praise their talents, they still cannot shake their feelings and write off achievements as “dumb luck.”

People will pressure themselves to work harder and strive for perfection to avoid getting caught as an imposter. What if, instead of coping with imposter syndrome, people learned how to put an end to it?

Take the first step in ending imposter syndrome (IS) in the workplace by understanding the types of IS and implementing strategies to help others overcome the phenomenon.

Five types of imposter syndrome

IS is not “one size fits all”—it can appear in several interconnected ways. The five most common types are:

  1. The perfectionist: Perfectionists are never satisfied. They always believe they can be better and do better. Since perfection isn’t always realistic, they start fixating on their mistakes rather than their strengths. Even minor errors reinforce their belief that they’re putting on a facade.
  2. The superhero: These people link competence to success and commonly feel inadequate. So, what do they do? Push themselves to the limit. All the hard work and effort still do not resolve their feelings of “imposterism.”
  3. The expert: Experts always underestimate their expertise. Since they are never satisfied with their level of intelligence, they want to learn everything there is to know on a topic. These people may devote more time to a task because they spent too much time on their quest to “know it all.”
  4. The natural genius: These individuals pick up new skills with little effort and believe they should understand new information and processes right away. Their belief that competency equates to picking things up naturally makes them feel like a fraud when they face an obstacle.
  5. The soloist: These people are very individualistic. Their self-worth stems from productivity, and they tend to see asking for help as a sign of weakness. In their eyes, if they can’t succeed solo, they’re unworthy. If they accept help, they’re showing others they’re phony or inadequate.

 Do any of these sound like you or someone you know?

Overcome imposter syndrome head-on

Both leaders and team members can experience imposter syndrome and the negative feelings that impact their work and environment. Fortunately, you can implement strategies to help overcome IS.

Share your feelings

Talking to someone about your distress can help you get outside context on the situation. Maybe you’ll find someone you can overcome IS with as you share strategies and challenges you encounter.

Build connections

Avoid the urge to do everything solo. Turn to your peers to create a network of mutual support, and you’ll find your network can offer guidance, validate your strengths, and encourage your growth efforts.

Assess your abilities

Make a realistic assessment of your abilities in social and performance situations. Write down your accomplishments and skills, then compare that with your self-assessment (what you think about yourself). You’ll find that the realistic assessment of yourself is the one that shines!

Challenge your doubts

Ask yourself, “Are my thoughts rational?” Does it make sense to believe that you are a fraud, given everything you know is true about yourself? When IS feelings emerge, consider whether the facts support your beliefs.

Avoid a “comparison competition”

Whenever you compare yourself to others in social situations, it can turn into a “comparison competition” where you will find issues that fuel feelings of inadequacy. Everyone has unique abilities. You are where you are because someone recognized your talents and your potential.

Be a mentor and help others

It’s hard to encourage someone to see their unique talent, achievement, and creativity when it doesn’t align with their self-perceptions. Here are several strategies for mentorship that can help:

  • Normalize imposter feelings: If someone confesses feelings of IS, welcome them to the club! Feeling like a fraud at times is normal. Remind them it’s okay to say “I don’t know” and ask for help.
  • Be relatable: Go a step further and share your imposter stories (if you have them). It goes a long way for a mentee to discover that their mentor has also tackled the feelings of IS and pushed through.
  • Positive affirmation goes a long way: Affirm and encourage your employees. The key here is to affirm the individual as a human being by acknowledging their inherent worth and then affirm them as professionals. Persistently call out their achievements and celebrate them.
  • Counteract stereotype threats: Stereotype threats are when a person feels at risk of conforming to negative stereotypes about their race or gender. Marginalization can make people feel like imposters, regardless of how self-assured, smart, and confident they are. These feelings can be mitigated by reminding the mentee that their role is not affected by race or gender and never will be.
  • Give and take credit when deserved: People with IS are more likely to attribute their success to luck or give credit to someone else. You may even notice them downplaying their talent and achievement. If you find someone doing this, give them the recognition they deserve and explain why!

Be who you’re meant to be

If you’re in the 70% of people with IS, remember your accomplishments are not a product of dumb luck or efforts to maintain the “illusion” of your success. Genuinely recognize and acknowledge where you are today, not how you think you got there. That was all you!

Don’t stop your journey there. You can always become an excellent leader and mentor who helps others overcome their IS feelings. With warmth, affirmation, and patience, you can help your team members see themselves through your eyes!


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Recognize Employee Stress—and Help Them Manage It

Stress seems like a way of life, whether it’s positive (preparing to move to a new house), negative (dealing with a chronic illness), or work-related. Eighty percent of Americans deal with some form of work-related stress—and half of those workers say they need help learning to manage it. This affects not only workers but managers too, as 68% of managers reported moderate or high levels of stress.

National Stress Awareness Month, which takes place in April, encourages people to recognize what stress is and how to manage it. A company culture that encourages employees and employers to talk about and manage stress is key to everyone’s wellbeing, but only 17.6% of workers say they have a culture that encourages them to open up and talk about it. 

Weaving stress management into your company culture shouldn’t only be because of National Stress Awareness Month. It should always be a priority to help with employee retention, as well as overall wellness and organizational strength. Here are some ways to include it into your company’s culture and daily routine.

Recognize the signs

Stress can cost U.S. businesses the health and wellbeing of their employees, as well as time and money—$300 billion a year annually, in fact. As an employer, you need to spot and recognize the signs, such as:

  • Decreased productivity and quality of work
  • Work/life imbalance
  • Poor physical and mental health
  • Low morale and motivation
  • Impacted workplace relationships

It’s also important to recognize when employees are putting too much pressure on themselves, whether it’s real or self-imposed. When you recognize the signs and see frazzled, stressed employees, pull them aside and take time to listen to their concerns. You can help them with decreased productivity, for instance, by easing up on deadlines and giving them permission to prioritize projects.

Check in when necessary

Along with recognizing the signs, it’s essential to check in and get as much information as possible about what causes your employees to feel stress at work. Be prepared to also intervene, where necessary, and manage certain stressors—for example, when a project is pulled off track for any reason and you see people start to get stressed, sit down with them and brainstorm how to get it back on track.

Give them time—and space

Stress can’t be completely avoided. But you can ensure your employees have some time and space to step away from work for a bit and destress. In an office space, this can include providing things like:

  • A small room designated as a nap/lounge area
  • Outdoor benches/gardens
  • More extended vacations or PTO
  • Encouraged breaks
  • Strong boundaries around work hours/ hours of availability

Also, whether you’re in an office or offer remote work, consider including No Meeting Days into the schedule. Encourage employees to block off time on their calendars to focus on their tasks and keep from getting bogged down or overwhelmed by many meetings. Giving employees time and space to themselves lets them reset, refocus, and recharge.

Encourage workplace wellness

Exercise and healthy living are some of the best stress-busters out there. Exercise improves mood by releasing happy calming hormones called endorphins and eating healthy helps people feel more energetic and at their best because, as they say, you are what you eat.

If you work on-site, this could mean having office yoga days, walking breaks, and offering healthy snacks in the break room. If your company is remote, this could mean providing employees with benefits like access to health and wellness apps. When employees know you’re looking out for their health and wellbeing, it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Provide advice and opportunities for counseling

Almost half of U.S. workers say they need to learn to manage stress better. Teach your employees how to better manage stress by providing on-site or distance counseling/training or setting time aside for your employees to get together with you or their coworkers to brainstorm stress management techniques. Just providing the option for them to talk prepares your employees for whatever may come their way.

(Don’t) feel the pressure

More and more people are feeling the pressure and experiencing high levels of stress. Helping your employees manage stress in the workplace lets them identify triggers and gives them the right tools to protect their health and keep them calm—no matter when, or where, stress might hit.


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The Consequences of Ineffective Business Communication

When did communication become a transaction rather than an interaction?

Communication should be a shared understanding between sender and receiver, and over time, some people seem to have lost their way. Instead of creating a mutual understanding to drive desired outcomes, too many people fire off messages regardless of how they may be received.

Also, advanced technology and the shift from in-person to hybrid work environments play a significant part in the disconnect between communication and successful outcomes. Ready for the scary part? U.S. businesses lose $1.2 trillion every year to unsuccessful communication practices!

Recognizing the consequences of ineffective communication and learning effective communication tools and practices helps leaders keep their top talent and ensures their business continues to grow.

The challenges of poor communication

Grammarly surveyed 251 business leaders and 1,001 knowledge workers in the US to find out what is getting in the way of collaboration and productivity.

What was the root problem? Ineffective communication!

The majority of knowledge workers (86%) reported spending half their workweek (20 hours!) experiencing communication issues, including:

  • Not receiving timely responses from others
  • Communicating clearly, so receivers understand the message
  • Understanding messages received
  • Keeping up with the frequency of communication
  • Identifying the proper tone to use in messages
  • Choosing the right platform or tool for communication
  • Difficulty understanding next steps or responsibilities

Business leaders believe that they and their teams spend too much time and energy resolving miscommunications every week. By spending too much time on miscommunications, business leaders shuffle around to manage negative consequences instead of helping their team pave a path forward and work together.

Consequences of ineffective communication

Where does all the lost time go?

It’s spent resolving communication issues, addressing mistakes caused by misunderstandings, and following up on unmet deadlines and deliverables. Activities like these can take up to 19% of your team’s workweek. However, the time is lost, not free. Businesses risk losing as much as $47.37 per employee each day due to poor business communication–that’s $12,506 per employee a year!

The price only skyrockets when you consider that the time lost could have been put to use in more productive areas. Instead of closing new deals and enhancing the client experience, leaders find themselves losing business from unmet deadlines and unsatisfied clients.

These consequences are interconnected and can make you feel like you’re in a negative feedback loop. Imagine you are finally back on track and starting a new project. What if you have difficulty understanding your next steps or responsibilities due to poor communication? You’re back to stage one: resolving communication issues and trying to understand what to do next!

Quit resolving problems and start implementing solutions

Organizations need to proactively manage ineffective communications and implement practices to increase the amount of time spent communicating effectively. Try these strategies to get your team on the same page:

  1. Consider your tone and timing: What you are saying and how you say it is important. Create a culture around communication, set guidelines to nurture empathy and emotional intelligence, and build awareness of tone and timing. Once you do this, you’ll help your company and team members communicate better.
  2. Curate and clarify communication channels: There are various ways to communicate internally. To do this, define the purpose of each channel so your team can quickly identify the most appropriate channel for their message. When you strategically organize your tech tools, teams streamline and enable better communication.
  3. Understand your audience: Everyone has a different kind of communication style. If you have a coworker who needs a lot of information, communicate with more detail and instruction. If another person experiences information overload often, be clear and concise in your messaging.
  4. Be attentive: Someone may seem like they’re listening, but listening and paying attention are not the same thing. Often, people overlook this simple tip, but it’s all about actively listening and staying attentive when interacting with others.
  5. Be clear: Clarity is the most critical part of effective communication. While speaking or writing, be clear about what you want to convey. However, there’s always the possibility someone will still not understand, so encourage your team to ask questions to ensure shared understanding.
  6. Empower those in the middle: Your middle managers are the messengers throughout your organization, so empower them with effective communication strategies. This will equip them to deliver consistent messages and provide answers to any emerging questions or needs. Also, hold regular meetings to provide updates or information they can share with their teams. When your managers are in the know, you’ll notice more consistency and less misinformation.

Lead effectively

Business communication is the backbone of your company’s ability to innovate, collaborate, perform, and achieve successful outcomes. It is an exchange that takes up a lot of time and energy from your team’s workweek; therefore, it’s essential to have solid communication!

When you practice and implement effective communication in your company, you are not merely cleaning up processes and removing friction. You become a leader that can manage the present, handle the unpredictable, and sustain a talented team that will help you pave a path to a brighter future.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by bowie15

Show Some Appreciation on Employee Appreciation Day (and Beyond)

You have an awesome team that works hard and exemplifies your company values day after day and year after year. But in the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind, it can be easy to forget to show your employees the appreciation they deserve.

Employee Appreciation Day, which falls on the first Friday of every March, is an opportunity for managers, employers, leadership, and human resources to remember the importance of appreciating their employees. Studies have shown that appreciation builds trust, boosts productivity, and decreases turnover—after all, who doesn’t like to feel appreciated?

Below are some great ways to engage in the appreciation of your employees, showing them how much you care.

Touch base with your employees often

Treating your employees like items to check off on a to-do list might be easier for your productivity, but it does not make them feel appreciated. Take time to talk with your employees, whether it’s something as simple as saying “Good morning” or asking “How are you?”, writing a thank you note, talking to them in a quick Zoom call, or by setting aside some one-on-one time to check in with how projects, or life, is going. Building relationships by intentionally seeking out time to connect is a great way to make employees feel seen and appreciated.

Treat your team to fun activities

If your team is still working from home, you can host a virtual picnic, happy hour, or team lunch/dinner. You can also do a little team bonding by playing virtual online games together or doing a virtual karaoke session. 

Give meaningful feedback

Have you ever been told “great job!” without any explanation as to why you did a great job? While it may feel good, it’s not all that helpful. Telling your employees “great job!” is all well and good, but make sure to give meaningful feedback they can glean concrete information from. When talking with your employees, take time to address their professional development, what they’re doing well, and where they need to improve. Engaging in a conversation about their growth shows them you want them to succeed on a personal level.

Offer extra time off

Did your employees work extra hard and go above and beyond on a project or campaign? Reward them with a few extra days off or even a whole week off! They will appreciate the spare time to rest, recharge, and spend time with their friends and loved ones.

Create and build a culture around appreciation

Appreciation is the most impactful when it is already built in your company culture and it’s an expectation, instead of an afterthought. Consider offering opportunities for growth and advancement, like regular training courses, opportunities for mentorship, and employee recognition programs that offer perks for participation. When employees are offered opportunities to learn and grow, they will give their best selves to your company. 

Be flexible

No, we’re not telling you to be able to touch your shoulder with your foot. We mean flexible in the sense of allowing your employees to have time to take breaks whenever needed, giving them a no-meetings day, letting them log off early, or letting them choose what days they want to work during the week. Employees who are empowered to manage their own time will be more engaged and productive.

Celebrate life milestones

You don’t have to make everything all about work! Celebrate whenever significant events happen—like the birth of a child or the addition of a new furry friend, like a dog or cat. You can also celebrate the little things, like holidays, birthdays, or work anniversaries. Work can be a place of community, where everyone shares in each other’s successes.

Give thanks to your employees every day of the year

While there is a day set aside to specifically celebrate employees, don’t keep silent the remaining 364 days of the year. Your team is there every day for you, working hard and supporting you and your company goals and values. Show them just how much you appreciate them, and in return, you will have a well-rounded company and a coveted culture.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes







The Power of “I Don’t Know”

When we’re kids, asking questions comes naturally to us. Anyone who’s ever met a toddler would recognize the endless “Why, why, why” anywhere. But somewhere along the way, many of us begin to censor our questions. The reasons change for us as we grow:

  • We become afraid.
  • We don’t want to look stupid in front of our friends.
  • We don’t want to appear like we don’t know how to do our jobs.
  • We’re don’t want to look incompetent.

This is a habit that builds up slowly over time. It’s related directly to insecurity, which can be challenging to face. And for those of us who have a hard time admitting to others that we don’t know, it can be hard to admit to ourselves when we’re avoiding the truth.

Holding back hurts more than it helps

When we hold in the fact that we don’t know, we do things like nod along when we’re really lost in meetings. Or we say we’re fine to start on a project before we have all the information we need. These reactions will eventually compound on themselves, making it even more difficult to do our jobs. Think about it:

  1. You say you understand a request before you do.
  2. You start working on it with only a partial understanding of the desired outcome.
  3. You flounder, spend way too much time trying to come up with a result that makes sense.
  4. You eventually hand it back to your team only to have it handed back to you, and the whole process starts over again.

The desire to react in a way that shows your competence is extremely human and very normal. However, when we allow this reaction to begin working its way into how we navigate our jobs, it has the exact opposite effect we want it to have.

When we are too afraid to ask questions, we limit ourselves to the tools we already have. We remove any possibility of gaining more understanding, cutting ourselves off from learning and development, stagnating our growth.

You’ve got the power

Saying “I don’t know” does not make you weak. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Learning to say “I don’t know” actually gives you power!

  • It provides an opportunity for you to develop relationships with your colleagues, creating space for collaboration and connection.
  • It empowers your teammates to ask the questions they might be holding back.
  • It encourages deeper critical thinking and more intentional decision-making.
  • It challenges your team to fill in the gaps, define foggy reasoning, and find more effective solutions.
  • It gives you a chance to learn and grow.

If you find yourself constantly reaching for an answer, even when there isn’t one, then you may want to evaluate your motives. Are you trying to position yourself as a leader? Are you attempting to look competent and knowledgeable? Are you worried your job will be in jeopardy if you reveal you don’t have the answer to something?

If any of these ring true, then consider two things:

  • Are you in a toxic workplace that discourages people from asking for help? Will your job really be affected if you ask questions? Are your colleagues going to stop trusting you if you say you don’t know something? If so, it’s time to find a better, healthier workplace.
  • If the above doesn’t seem right, it may be time to have a conversation with yourself. Ask yourself why you’re motivated to fill in the blank when you don’t have a real answer. Dig into what’s driving you. Find out what you’re afraid of and face it.

No such thing as a foolish question

Next time you feel yourself searching for an answer that isn’t there, or suppressing a question that’s arising, take a moment to pause and consider. Is your question foolish? Probably not. Try taking a risk and asking, then pay attention to what happens afterward.

Did the sky fall? Did you lose your job? Or did your team member light up and give a great answer that started a lively discussion? Did you get what you needed?

Do you feel more empowered now that you have an answer?

You deserve to feel secure in your knowledge and in what you bring to the table. Each of us comes with our strengths, and you have yours. Asking questions is a part of life, and it doesn’t detract from who we are or how capable we are of getting the job done. It does the opposite. It’s a part of growth. And it’s a crucial part of allowing yourself to be human, happy, and successful.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by vadymvdrobot