8 Easy Ways to Encourage Introverted Employees to Engage

Show respect, be considerate, and encourage participation

Your more introverted team members willSometimes it’s like working with Eeyore.

You are trying your best to be friendly to that introverted coworker..to include him or her in teambuilding activities, to invite him to lunch, or to consider her opinion on projects.  But no matter what you try, they seem to prefer working alone, and can come across as moody. Why bother?  Before you throw in the towel, try these tips:

Consider his/her personality. Some people are just naturally more cautious, private and contemplative. This doesn’t mean they are a full-fledge Eeyore. They simply aren’t going to jump into activities right away and don’t mind–in fact even enjoy–being loners. Be careful about demanding they participate in all team initiatives with the same enthusiasm your outgoing team members will display.

Use variety. Don’t always default to high energy team building activities or require full participation all the time. Keep some initiatives low-key. For example, try this activity using a puzzle.

Talk one-on-one. When you can, spend some time with this team member in private and ask his or her advice or feedback on a project.

Avoid praising publicly. Some quieter team members hate to be publicly praised. Find what works for them–a thank you note or gift card left on their desk is appreciated more than having to get up in front of a crowd to accept a bouquet of flowers.

Don’t put him on the spot. You might think it is best to ask them, “Drew, what do you think of this?” but this may backfire on you. Again, talk privately, as in, “Drew, I think you may have a good idea about what we talked about at the meeting earlier. What do you think?”

Establish some expectations. While you don’t want to alienate these folks, don’t let them control your efforts either. From time to time, there will be required events for the entire team and as a leader, you may have to be firm about expecting participation.

Be considerate of personal time. Some employees are resistant to activities that cut into “their” time even if most perceive it will be fun. For example, I know of people who didn’t care to do an overnight retreat even though it was at a great location and costs were covered.  Since you don’t know the personal life of all your employees, avoid making “off time” events required. In turn, you may talk with the employee about an agreement that if you don’t require them to attend off hours functions, you would like to see their full participation in activities/initiatives that do fall within their normal work time.

Be sensitive to workloads. Some team building activities/meetings are seen as an unnecessary interruptions to an already heavy workload. Don’t add more stress by ill-timed meetings. There are other ways to show appreciation and build teamwork during especially heavy seasons.

In the end, as the leader, you will have to determine if this employee’s resistance is something you can work with or not. Being a team player is important, but having some grace with your employees is, too.

Is Your Computer Clean?

A guest post with a helpful cleaning calendar

Today we welcome a guest post from Rick Talaver of SingleHop. Thanks Rick for submitting helpful content for my readers.

When was the last time you cleaned your computer. A week ago? A month ago? A year ago? For some people just the prospect of cleaning out their computer can be exhausting. They wait until their files are impossible to find, or worse – their computer becomes virtually unusable due to the extra glut of old files. If you’re one of those people, never fear! Here is an easy, 5-step guide to keeping your computer clutter free:

Delete

  • First and foremost, remove applications from your desktop that you never use.
  • Do a quick scan of your desktop and get rid of those programs. Not only are they taking up space where you can see it, but they’re also slowing down your computer by using hard drive space.

Organize

  • Create an easy-to-use system to organize your computer’s folders and stick to it!
  • Use the system to organize everything from your downloads, to your pictures, to your documents.
  • Make sure this system is easy for you to use. The easier it is for you to organize, the easier it’ll be for you to stick with it.

Protect

  • Make sure your virus scan products are up-to-date.  If your computer is not secure, anyone could gain remote access to your files or the data that you submit or store on your system, like credit card information.
  • Confirm that all of your current applications and programs are up-to-date to prevent hackers from exposing old security loopholes and, if necessary, invest in additional virus protection.

Back-up

  • Regular file backups prevent you from losing all of your important files in the event that your computer crashes, saving not only your most valuable files but also the time it’ll take to restore your computer once it’s fixed.
    • Make sure your backup plan follows the three cardinal backup rules: backup securely, redundantly, and reliably.
    • External hard drives are tried-and-true options in terms of redundancy and security, but have the risk to malfunction or break over time, which makes them a less reliable option.
    • An option like a hosted private cloud covers all of the cardinal backup rules. As a bonus, cloud storage is also incredibly accessible, allowing you to add, edit and access all of your important files from any computer.

Prioritize

  • Finally, prioritize what’s important by deleting files you know you’ll never access again, keeping files you use regularly on your hard drive, and uploading those files you need to save, but not necessarily access on a daily basis, to the storage option you chose.

All of these steps are covered in SingleHop’s three week “Clean Computer Calendar” with easy day-by-day steps (see above.)A  SingleHop is a cloud computing company that focuses on complete security of your data and wants to help you accomplish your organizational goals.  Each week on the calendar is paired with a theme and has questions to compliment your organization efforts.  If you want to declutter your computer and declutter your mind, this is a great guide to follow.

Pointers for Professionals: Tips for preparing for a trip

Getting ready at work before you take your vacation

Relax

Some of you are looking forward to a vacation that’s coming soon.

Others of you can’t wait to go on another one.

Whenever your next trip happens to be, it takes some work–at work–to properly plan to take a vacation.  Here are some tips from professionals like you!

Jessica Broadstreet of Triad Virtual Assisting   makes sure all her deadlines have been met and looks into what may be coming up to see if she can make a jump start. She also sets her email to respond with when she will return and if she plans on checking her emails etc. Connect with Jessica.

Meredith Jones (@thismeredithj) of MeredithJ.com shares that since she does client work, she makes sure her clients have plenty of prior notice that she will be going on vacation. While I do handle some work while on vacation, she makes sure that she completes any project work before she leaves.  Connect with Meredith.

Lori Schofer  (@LoriSchofer) of Level UP Now Coaching advises to delegate everything you can well in advance of your vacation. Be sure the major responsibilities are covered and communicate that to your boss.  Connect with Lori.

And a few from yours truly:

  • Since my tasks are established in Outlook and assigned to certain days (whether standalone or recurring) I can look ahead for days I’ll be gone and try to do some things that I could work on ahead of time. I love to return to a zero task list that picks up with the day I’m back to work.
  • Consider what tasks could simply be suspended altogether while you are gone. There are some things (i.e. office supply ordering) that don’t really have to be done EVERY week.
  • Try to truly unplug–or at least be hard to reach. Being a little less available may help coworkers and bosses stand on their own feet while you’re gone for a few days. Sometimes our penchant for checking in is really a cover for the security of feeling irreplaceable (or wanting to feel indispensible.) Life–and work–will go on while you’re out!

Also, you may want to check out this great post, The Go-to Strategies to Prepare Yourself the Week Before Vacation.

Whether you have a trip coming soon, or are already planning your next vacation, I hope it’s refreshing and restorative.

Thanks again to our contributors to this collaborative post. Pointers for Professionals will be on hiatus now until the fall. Watch for your opportunity to contribute again later this year!

Now you: What’s your best tip for preparing at work before going on a vacation?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

10 Tips to Help You Need Less Sick Time

Take care of yourself!

Cough. Sore throat. Low-grade fever. Should you go to work?

Let’s face it. Nearly everyone gets sick here and there and needs to take a sick day from their job (or allow themselves a low-key day if they run a business from home.)

But there are things you can do to boost your immune system to reduce the need for sick time in the first place. Here are a few tips, many of which have been working for me. (Please note…I am not a medical professional so please always consider your unique makeup, advice from your health care provider, etc. before adopting a regimen.)

Sleep and rest. Find out what you need in terms of hours per night and block off that time more nights than not. Take a day off each week from your regular routine of “rush rush get things done” and take a nap if you can. The world will survive.

Consider using essential oils. I use oils from a variety of manufacturers. I diffuse some in the bedroom at night and we also apply topically. There is lots of information on this…research for yourself. (I don’t sell them directly, but have added some of my favorites to my Amazon store.)

Eat an 80/20 diet (as in 80% whole foods and 20% processed, not 80% fast food and 20% dessert.) Unless you are ultra-disciplined, you probably can’t avoid processed foods altogether. It actually seems to work better for me to have some processed foods once in a while. But over time my diet has become more and more whole food based and I haven’t seemed to get sick much. I’m a regular subscriber to Blue Apron boxes, which allows me to get more whole foods into my diet. (If you are interested in a free box, contact me.)

Drink a lot of water. Start carrying water everywhere you go and sip throughout the day. My son gave me a fantastic flask for my birthday.  This is the BEST flask I’ve ever carried. It amazes me how the water stays cold all day even if it’s been sitting in a hot vehicle. It’s my go-to flask to keep by my bed at night so I have refreshing water to drink when I first get up, and to leave in the car to sip on throughout the day. (Interested? It’s in the Amazon store too.)

Consider taking supplements. I’m becoming more of a believer in getting your vitamins from food first, but I’ve taken some sort of supplements for years as well. Find what works for you…it may take some experimenting, but it can cooperate with a healthy eating plan.

Get probiotics in. I take a probiotic supplement every night before going to bed, plus use Kefif and Greek yogurt regularly. Studies have shown the value of good “gut bacteria” and I don’t seem to get sick very much since doing starting this regimen.

Exercise. Right now, I track steps daily and find that this is a good way to get in exercise rather than having formal, intensive workout plans. I’m also trying to stand more often during the day. Exercise has lots of benefits, including boosting your mood and immune system.

Develop a thankful and generous spirit. Sometimes I’m around people who have an “Eeyore” mentality and don’t even realize it. Their words, body language, and expressions give off a spirit of frustration, sadness, etc. I’m not discounting emotional issues that need to be dealt with. But in general, if we realize how very much we have, instead of what we feel entitled to, we can become happier, and possibly healthier.

Feed your spiritual life. Spend time to build your faith and realize life is much bigger than just about you. A widened perspective can energize us to diminish focus on not feeling so well.

Get help–and take that sick day–when you need it. Whether it be medical, emotional, or educational help or coaching to help you go forward positively–realize when it may be time to bring in a professional.  For example, I’m on the board for Life In Abundance that offers biblical-based counseling and coaching. I also provide services as a virtual assistant/consultant to help you stay on track with projects and business plans and alleviate some of your stress! And, if you feel sick, take a sick day!

A few healthy habits can help toward building your immune system and perhaps reduce the number of sick days you need to take. And employers, the following infographic from Sure Payroll shows YOU why it’s wise to offer paid sick time to your team.

Now you: What steps do you take to keep your immune system stronger?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.