“Blue” Monday Turns into a “Blue” Week

Many HR professionals describe the 3rd Monday in January as the gloomiest day of the year.  The January slump seems to be in place and it takes more than a day to get over it.  Typically productivity in most office situations slows down in December.  That tends to run over into January. Top that with WFH strategies and increasing feelings of isolation and anxiety by employees – the time to ensure a proactive approach to counteract this Blue Monday is now.

Provide a psychological boost for employees check and have face time with all people that you manage.  Schedule it in now and start connecting today. Implement wholistic wellbeing programs to counteract feelings of anxiety, loneliness, depression, and isolation.

Clearly it is a matter of taking a different approach from the usual day-to-day operations.  What have you tried in your business that has worked?

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant, info@effectiveplacement.com

Are you Helping Your Employees WFH?

Following are some key suggestions to provide the best possible assistance to those employees that are WFH:

  • Have an EAP service in place as the overall picture for employees experiencing stress and financial hardship continues to rise.
  • Appreciate and thank your employees frequently and reach out to touch base with each individual consistently.
  • Give up trying to micromanage – it is destructive to you and the employee.
  • Another aspect to give up is putting a positive spin on the current situation and circumstance. Allow your employees to vent safely – build the trust factor with each person.

What other strategies have you utilized to assist those employees that are WFH?

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant, info@effectiveplacement.com

7 Leadership Qualities – Which Ones are your Strong Suits?

Top 7 qualities of those on the cutting edge of leadership in business that come to mind are:

  • Confidence – You need confidence meaning that you give off a vibe of assured expectation, and self-reliance as you are in a position of having to make crucial decisions that will likely be far from popular.  Belief in yourself and the outcome you are creating is essential to leadership.
  • Transparency – Engaging people requires that you make visible all of the parts of the process being undertaken.  Leaving parts out of the equation does not serve the longer-term process and costs you as a leader in terms of trust.  It may also diminish your value in the eyes of the people you are leading.
  • Integrity – The people that work for you and with you have a good sense of who you are and of the core characteristics you possess.  A lack of considering the wholeness or soundness of your decisions puts you in danger of not having integrity.  Take the time to consult with others that work for you before making a decision.  Being unpopular is something you are able to recover from.  Being known as lacking in integrity may not be.
  • Inspiration – Inspiring those around requires that you yourself be inspired by the work you are engaged in.  As a leader it is incumbent that you inspire those around you by your words and actions.  By being inspired you set the tone for others to be open to inspiration. That may lead to potential new ways of looking at or doing things.
  • Passion – The drive to see a project or initiative through to completion needs to be filled with that strong enthusiasm known as passion to get through it.  As with any process there are delays, communication mishaps, and missed steps that require correction.  Passion adds the fuel to correct the mishaps and achieve the desired completion.
  • Innovation – Looking at the big picture and seeing it from a different perspective is the hallmark of innovation.  As a leader you have the ability to change the scope and direction of the work you are involved with by taking a different point of view and implementing changes that enhance the product or service delivery.
  • Patience – Calm self-possession while unfolding a project or initiative is essential.  A lack of patience usually sets a whole gamut of factors into play that cause unnecessary upheaval and delay.  Having patience and generating excitement are necessary to having a relatively calm process.  Every leader knows that high drama is disruptive and unnecessary.  As a leader being calm and displaying patience is truly a virtue.

Which of the above leadership qualities do you possess?  My wheelhouse needs support in the innovation and patience areas.  The good news is that as a leader I am a work in progress and with each project I have the opportunity to hone and improve my skillset.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant, info@effectiveplacement.com

Support Local – Retail Stores

Online shopping is wonderful and most people have some level of engagement with it. Bricks and Mortar Retail Stores – especially those selling speciality or one of a kind retail products need our support now to stay in business.

Check out the local retail shops on Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon, or in the Cathedral area of Regina. Support a local bookstore – or a Crystal and Rock Shop. Buy that one-of-a kind piece of jewellery from a local craftsperson. Check out the craft beer facility or local distillery in your area. Step out of your comfort zone and buy that unique and personal gift for someone.

Check out local online listings for small retails in your area and then take the action to purchase something from them.

Supporting local is crucial right now and you are encouraged to do your part.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant – info@effectiveplacement.com.

Support Local – Personal Services

Supporting providers of personal services is of key importance right now. Your barber, hair stylist, registered massage therapist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, acupuncturist, osteopath, and the many other types of personal services that you have or would like to utilize are counting your support.

This is especially so for those who are still working. As for those that are not – it may be time to purchase a personal service for that friend or family member who has lost their job.

For a listing of various service providers check the provincial associations for practitioners who live in your area. Many of the services mentioned such as registered massage therapists or chiropractors may be covered in part through your benefit plan at work or through supplemental benefit plans that you may have purchased.

Supporting local is crucial right now and you are encouraged to do your part.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant – Change & Transition, info@effectiveplacement.com.

Support Local

Wherever you may live the importance of supporting local is essential. Small business drives the economic growth of every sector. Keeping local businesses alive and ensuring that local people retain their jobs is of vital importance.

For the next several weeks I will be highlighting local businesses to support in the area of Canada that I live in.

Gravelbourg Mustard is a Canadian Gourmet that is produced in Saskatchewan. It can be found in several local locations. For listing check out their website at https://gravelbourgmustard.ca/find-us.

Splendor Garden Organics produces a variety of herbs and rubs in Saskatchewan. For locations check out https://splendorgarden.com/store-locations/.

Three Farmers produce a line of sustainable products including Camelina Oils, and a variety of roasted vegetable products in Saskatchewan. For locations to buy their products check http://threefarmers.ca/locations.

With your support these businesses will continue to thrive and employ local people.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant – Change & Transition, info@effectiveplacement.com.

Essential Skills are Soft Skills in Action

The skills most in demand in the area of work are conflict management, critical thinking, dependability, priority management, problem solving, or creative thinking. Employers need people who communicate that means answering emails and messages, and who are able to think outside of the issue that means able to use their creativity to solve a problem or a situation.

Employers also need people who have a high degree of emotional intelligence that means the maturity to address and manage a situation staying present to the circumstance and staying calm. Along with maturity being approachable, flexible, and able to work within a team environment harmoniously are also part of the essential skills package. Mastery of these skills enables a person to engage and influence others. 

The people who have these essential soft skills are able to lead with confidence. They know when to take action and when to slow things down until the timing for a change or process is more fully aligned.

Essential skills include a willingness to learn and engage in business behavior that mirrors truthfulness.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant – Change & Transition, info@effectiveplacement.com.

Managing Distractions – Allows for Fulfillment

Maybe distraction is a symptom and not the issue itself. What causes a person to use technology i.e. their smart phone to check their Social Media accounts 10 times or more during a day? The likely causes are related to fear, anxiety, stress, or some other trigger that has an individual want to escape from the discomfort being felt.

When I am feeling uncomfortable, I tend to find a way to distract myself from what is really going on for me. I may not want to devote the time to finish writing an article or a report. I may be worried the material is not good enough so I start surfing You Tube videos or get lost in Instagram posts.

Identifying internal triggers such as boredom, stress or worry is the first step to ensuring you remain focused the tasks at hand. It also means that you need to find ways to make those tasks workable. Stay at what you really do not like for a period of 10 minutes. That leads to a longer time frame.

When I address the feeling behind the distraction, I am able to become focused again. It also means that that I have regular breaks from my phone, email, and social media.  What methods do you use to address distraction?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

Addressing Mental Health

The emphasis is on the individual to maintain her or his own mental health. In this era of working remotely from home the cost to the well being of individuals has been high. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Canada did collaborate on a survey back in May 2020 focusing on the impact of working alone and in isolation was having on individuals.

More than 20 % of respondents indicated feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Over 24 % of respondents indicated that their consumption of alcohol had increased significantly. A further 20 % indicated they were feeling depressed.

The survey results are almost 5 months old now. With increasing media attention on the uncertainty of the future it would be interesting to have a follow-up study to determine the changes to the indicators at this point in time.

Tips on CAMH website for well being include breathing, exercising and being kind.

The question to be asked is what steps are employers taking to assist workers with feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.