Just To Let You Know…

Just to let you know, you may see some new posts written by other authors from time to time in the future. Please know that these posts will continue to reflect the character of this site as well as bringing perspectives other than my own to this blog. I’m sure you’ll find them as informative and enjoyable as the ones I have written and will continue to write.

And again, thanks for reading! 🙂

Welcome All!

Columbia Gorge. Hi Everyone! Welcome to my site and blog! Here I’ll be talking about all kinds of things, many based on my own experiences.

Things such as, how I moved from one state to another and what I did to make it more successful, what I’ve gotten from the different jobs I’ve tried, what I’ve learned about selling items at flea markets, and tips about using some of the features on computers, such as Windows Live Photo Gallery, and other things as well.

If you like what you see here, stay informed of new posts by following this blog! There’s an e-mail address field and “Follow” button on the column to the right.  And let others know, too!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Me at Chanticleer Point and Vista House. 9/18/2015

Your Business May Be Your Baby, But Are You Too Close To Give It What It Needs?

It’s easy to become blind when you’re too close to something. Parents experience this all the time. Their children grow, but they still seem them as babies. Writers experience this, too. Many have to set pieces aside for upwards of six months before the can spot errors. These are typical issues, and we all miss what’s in front of us from time to time.

The trouble is, this harmless habit can become an issue when it comes to business. As with a child, you’ve been with your business from day one. You’ve watched it grow, and you’ve probably spent every day with it since conception. That’s a lovely thing, but it can also lead to blindness where it matters. The needs of your company change as it grows just as much as the needs of a child do. If you don’t spot that, you could fast find yourself struggling.

This matter gets worse when you consider that most of us are blind to our blindness. If you recognized there was an issue, there wouldn’t be one. Hence why, in some cases, it can be best to bring an outside eye into proceedings. This may be a long-term outsourced service or a one-off helping hand. Either way, let’s consider the reasons this could help.

You won’t see what you need when you’re too close

A parent may miss the fact their child needs new clothes because they’re too close. And, a business owner may miss the fact they need to alter operations for the same reason. Either way, an outside eye could help. School teachers may point out the need for replacement shoes. And, an outside company could point out your need for a shift in business. If your current tech isn’t working, an IT consulting company could be the answer for finding workable alternatives. If your office decor isn’t promoting productivity, an interior decorating company could solve the problem. You get the idea. By letting outside companies in, you can iron issues you weren’t even aware of.

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You won’t want to kill your darlings

William Faulkner stated that a writer must kill their darlings. That advice stands when it comes to business. We all have team members who mean a lot, even if they don’t bring much to operations. We all have ways of working we take comfort from, even if they aren’t great for productivity. And, for obvious reasons, you’ll want to keep your employees and comfortable ways of working. But, when you come down to it, these are the darlings Faulkner meant. With these things in place, your company will fail to achieve greatness. The trouble is, if it’s left to you, you may never have the strength to kill them. Hence why it’s worth bringing in outside HR and IT departments who can kill darlings for you. Or, at least strongly advise you to let them do so. It’ll hurt, but your business will forever be better for it. And that’s what this whole thing is about.

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Get The Kitchen You’ve Always Wanted

Do you feel like your kitchen needs some attention at the moment? Would you like to renovate your cooking and food preparation space to ensure it looks fantastic and functions as it should? Then you’ve come to the right place today because this in-depth article will help to draw your attention towards some of the ways in which you could achieve that goal. Use this post as the starting point for your research, and continue looking for more suggestions once you leave this site. That is the best way to guarantee you leave no stone unturned and use your budget to its full potential. When all’s said and done; you’re going to feel pretty annoyed if you overlook something vital and run out of money before you realize. So, read this article and include the tips in your plan!

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Let some natural light into the space

There are a couple of ways in which you could increase the amount of natural light in your kitchen space. It all depends on how much you’re willing to spend, and the size and shape of your home. In most instances, it is sensible to consider knocking some of the exterior wall away and installing some patio doors. That is an excellent move because it should ensure you get lots of sun rays coming into your kitchen, and you can also open the doors when you’re cooking to prevent smoke or unwanted smells. Of course, you need to get in touch with professionals if you want patio doors because installation on your own could become quite dangerous. Still, the job should not break the bank, and there are plenty of experts in your hometown you could call.

 

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Replace your cooker and fridge

Your cooker and fridge are the two most used items in your functional kitchen, and so it makes sense to replace them during your renovation job. Make sure you remember that old fridges contain harmful gasses, and so you need to dispose of them correctly to ensure you don’t damage the environment or get into trouble. With that in mind, it makes sense to call professionals and pay them to take the item away. If you need to find the best deal on a new fridge or cooker, make sure you search online because it is possible to get whatever you need at knockdown prices. Ensure you get the installation people to hook your stove up because you don’t want to mess around with gas unless you know what you’re doing. Your kitchen will begin to look better almost instantly!

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Install some luxury countertops

There are lots of ways in which you could add something special to your kitchen, but the most sensible involves replacing the countertops. If you need to keep costs down; you can replace the countertops without replacing the entire units. However, you might want to sand them down and add a fresh coat of something. Search online for the most beautiful countertops you can find, take some measurements, and then get in touch with your chosen brand. Let them know the sizes you require, and those people should come back to you with a quote. Again, you’re going to need professional help when it comes to installing the countertops because granite and marble are both heavy stones.

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Consider the latest tech

Lots of people renovating their kitchens this year will choose to take a look at some of the latest technology. New gadgets reach the market every day, and so there are lots of things you could purchase for your cooking space. For instance, lots of people have blenders and smoothie makers these days. They can help to ensure your family always has access to fresh fruit drinks among other things. However, you might like to go a step further and invest in remote dimmer switches, intelligent cooking tools, and more. Search Google for something like “latest kitchen tech,” and then take a look at some of the products and websites listed on the first page. You are sure to see something that tickles your fancy.

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Lay some new flooring tiles

Lots of people argue about the best flooring solution for kitchens. We can all agree that carper is not a wise move. It will become greasy and dirty in a matter of days, and it is going to make the entire room smell of cooking 24/7. With that in mind, you might be tempted to consider laminate flooring. However, with so many temperature changes in the space every day, there is a reasonable chance the wood will warp or become damaged by condensation at some point. Thus, the best option on the table is always to lay some new flooring tiles. You can get them online or from your local kitchen specialist, and that solution should last for many years if you clean the tiles and keep them in excellent condition.

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Paint in light and bright colors

When it comes to choosing colors for your kitchen, make sure you avoid deep and dark shades because they will not work in your favor. You need to make sure your cooking space looks as clean, bright, and open as possible. So, think about light yellows, greys, blues, and greens for the best outcomes. Also, make sure you purchase the correct type of paint for the job. When you visit your local home store; they should have a section for kitchen paint. Get that because anything else could begin to deteriorate within only a few months due to the adverse conditions in your kitchen. However, paint specifically made for the job should last many years if you manage to convince the kids to keep their dirty hands off the walls. Of course, those of you who don’t like the idea of messing around with paint can call professional decorators and ask them to undertake the job on your behalf.

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Create some hidden storage

You always need a lot of storage in your kitchen, and so you probably have lots of drawers and cupboards. However, you might also choose to create some hidden storage space where you can keep even more utensils and essentials. How you go about achieving that goal is down to you. However, lots of people choose to build breakfast bars or something similar. They are perfect for storage because they sit in the middle of the room and every side is exposed. So, you could add some extra drawers or cupboards where people put their knees when eating at the table. Nobody will notice, and you can keep a lot more stuff in your kitchen without making it look untidy or messy.

Cut a serving hatch

Many years ago, people who built houses used to include a serving hatch in the wall between the kitchen and the lounge. That made it easy for the person cooking the food to deliver it to their family without having to remove their apron or walk into a different room. Those serving hatches are making a comeback at the moment, and lots of people are cutting them in the walls of their homes today. Perhaps that is something you would like to try? It would stop the kids coming into the kitchen every two minutes to ask whether or not their dinner is ready, and it will also ensure you can serve piping hot meals without risking dropping them on your hallway carpets during transit. The job should only take a couple of hours, and anyone can do it with the correct tools.

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Think about your choice of lighting

Lighting is everything in your kitchen, and so you need to think long and hard about your approach. Painting the walls in light colors helps to keep your space looking as large and fresh as possible. However, your approach to lighting will determine whether or not you pull off that goal. Lots of people choose strip lighting for their kitchens because that solution helps to ensure an even spread across the room. However, you can also get spotlights than tend to work well. All the final decisions are down to you. Just make sure you take a decent look at the market and ensure you leave no stone unturned. Adding some under-cupboard lights is also wise because that can help to ensure your kitchen looks fantastic and you can prepare snacks on the side without using the main light.

You should now have some excellent ideas that will help you to get the kitchen you always wanted. Regardless of whether you plan to remain in the house for many years or you want to sell it at some point in the future, renovating your kitchen is always sensible. It will add value to the property and make it more appealing to buyers. So, you shouldn’t struggle when it comes to getting some decent offers. Improving the kitchen if you don’t want to relocate is vital because you will feel happier when you have a home that caters to your every need and looks fantastic. Good luck!

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Driving When Depressed: Should We Do It?

Picture from Pxhere

It’s not something we consider until we’re in the very midst of it, when we’re feeling depressed, we don’t particularly want to do much, but life dictates that we carry out certain duties. This means, if we live a bit far out into the sticks, driving is our only option. But, should we drive when we are depressed?

What If You’re Taking Medication?

It depends on many variables, such as the severity of depression, as well as the strength of your medication. But it’s always important to keep an eye on if the medication has any effects on you while driving. Certain antidepressants can slow down your reaction times, and so, you have to take it on a case by case basis. But if you are able to function, and it doesn’t have a major impact on your ability to drive, or to drive well, then it is your prerogative.

What If Duties Override Your Own Frame Of Mind?

A lot of people feel that, even though they’re depressed, their ability to push through and to continue functioning overrides a lot of their negative emotions. It depends on your own frame of mind, but when you are piling duty after duty upon yourself, it’s at this point where you are driving down the freeway in the middle of the night, feeling exhausted  and lacking in focus, is where depression can creep up on you in a major way. The fact is, a split second is all it takes for us to get involved in an accident or an accident attorney to get involved, and the legal proceedings can swallow up our entire life. It’s important to keep ourselves busy if that is good for our frame of mind, but when it comes to operating a vehicle, there is a subtle point where it can be too much for you. This is why it’s important for you to…

Trust Your Instincts

You know if you’re not up to driving, but if there are pressures placed upon you, such as if you’re the only driver in your household, it can go one of two ways, a good way or a bad one! This is why you need to gauge the situation and come up with your own coping methods to ensure that you are focused behind the wheel. Sometimes, the challenge of getting behind the wheel when we’re not up to it can snap us out of this depression because we have something else to focus on. But this is something that may only work for mild depression and anxiety. Being depressed means that you can’t always trust your instincts. If the idea of driving at that moment in time is a scary proposition, then very simply, don’t do it!

A lot of people drive when they are depressed, but it depends on the severity of the depression, and what you are feeling up to at that moment in time. It is important to get out and about, but there are going to be times when you don’t feel like driving at all, even though the situation dictates that you must. And this is why it’s important not just to take your own considerations into account, but also if you’re going to be driving other people too.

 

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Can Your Country Car Make It In The Big City?

A new environment is always a challenge for a driver and their car. No change can be quite as disruptive as making the move from a rural environment to the city. If you want to make sure you can handle those urban roads and all that traffic, here are a few tips you need to keep in mind.

Photo by Burst

The right car matters

Your country car might not be the best fit for the city, unfortunately. One of the biggest differences is how quickly it becomes apparent you need to fit into tighter spots. A small car might be worth the investment, but you also need to look at which cars have better fuel conservation in the city as opposed to on the highway. Parking in the tight confines of the city streets can be a nightmare, too, so it’s worth looking at lists like cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/best-self-parking-cars to find the features that can help you navigate a little more nimbly.

Pre-empt your road rage

Congestion, bad habits, roadworks and all kinds of obstacles are a lot more common and pronounced in the city. It’s no wonder people lose their temper more often on the roads there. Road rage is a real issue, but there are steps you can take to fight it. Find a podcast that helps you stay in a chill mood, even when dealing with an oaf of a driver. Set out ten to twenty minutes earlier than you need to, so you don’t feel the stress of being late, too.

Avoid the dangers of rush hour

All the added noise and the greater volume of traffic on the road can make the city seem more dangerous but, in reality, stats show that more crashes happen in rural areas. That’s not to say you should expect accidents and have help like attorneyguss.com/services/lake-charles-car-accident-lawyer at the ready. However, you can avoid the most dangerous and stressful time on the road by trying to avoid driving at rush hour as much as possible.

Get used to sharing the road with a lot more people

There will be more buses, more cars, and more bicycles on the road than you have ever experienced before. Defensive driving lessons can teach you to be a lot more aware and mindful of your surroundings, so you can more quickly accommodate to potential threats and extricate yourself from risky situations.

Know your place

Parking can be an absolute nightmare in the city. When you figure out where you need to go, find a few spots in advance so that you’re left wandering the road aimlessly. Apps like parkme.com/ can be a lifesaver for just that purpose. You can not only find parking
spots, but you can even see which are available at the moment.

It might take a while to get used to the habits and challenges of city driving, but it’s worth taking that time to fully address the new risks you face instead of simply waiting to get used to it. Complacency is always a dangerous thing to take on the road with you.

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10 Things You Can Swap For A Sensationally Sustainable Sleep Space

Everywhere you go in life, there are people trying to make things better for the planet and for those who inhabit it. There are some out there who don’t go out of their way to be overly green because they don’t believe that they’re going to make any kind of a difference. They also believe that being eco-friendly in the home means that speciality products need to be purchased. It is, however, not difficult to make excellent swaps to be eco-friendly without breaking the bank and without putting yourself too much out of what you’re already used to. Being greener in your home takes patience, education and breaking bad habits that you have. For example, you may install a recycling bin in your kitchen to help you to manage your waste without having to really think about it.

Everything that we throw out from the kitchen ends up back in our food; it’s cyclical. The amount of trash that we are expected to throw away is already alarming and if you consider that this is not an individual issue, that’s a lot of garbage to consider. One day, this could be catastrophic. The thing is, turning your home into a haven of green space can be done gradually room by room. Start with the kitchen with managing your waste and work your way to the roof with the installation of solar panels to help you to reduce your electricity bills. Taking steps toward tweaking every room in your house is exactly how you can make small steps toward a more efficient, eco-friendly life. The best thing is that your transition into a better lifestyle can make you feel better as a person especially with all the new hacks and products coming out to help your lifestyle change positively.

One of the rooms in the house that you can change to be more sustainable is – surprisingly – the bedroom. We spend a third of our lives asleep, so it makes total sense that we should want to start there for a healthy and comfortable sleep space. With the ten tips below, you should be able to cultivate the most sensationally sustainable sleep space possible.

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Organic Bedding.

A bed made of organic materials can be an expense that you may not have planned for or even considered. It’s also something that can be rather high when you’re not expecting to spend any money. So, to compensate for this, you could invest a little cash in organic pillows and mattresses. The coverlet and the duvet that you use can be in the best organic material that you can find. These can give you a healthy and safe environment to sleep on without breathing in any chemicals. You could start with the use of an organic mattress topper first, if you’re worried about spending out too much in one go.

Natural Sheets.

Having the right mattress is important, but having natural sheets made of organic cotton is something that you should never skimp out on. All you have to do to know whether you’ve made the right choice on your sheets is whether there is a Fairtrade label on the tag. The conventional cotton options still use pesticides, but if you choose products that are Fairtrade, you can be safe in the knowledge that the creators were treated fairly with the planet in mind.

Eco-friendly Curtains.

The windows are the eyes of the bedroom and when you’re making your window dressing choices, you should do what you can to pick curtains that are eco-friendly – like your bedding. They may cost that little bit more, but the way that you hang curtains and dressing on the windows can also have an effect on the energy expenditure of your house. Curtains at the window keep the heat locked in, so you should do whatever you can to ensure that this is the case. Organic curtains are the way forward.

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Sustainable Flooring.

If you are choosing to renovate the entire bedroom, you should think about replacing the flooring in the home. You could choose to be quirky with your choices, going for cork or bamboo as light and sustainable flooring options. There are even recycled floors in the way of metal, glass, and rubber which are continuing to gain popularity at the moment. Of course, you may not be able to afford to replace the flooring in your bedroom, especially if the flooring that is in there is already quite new. Don’t make swaps just for the sake of swapping; make a point of the right choice when you have the money and the indication to replace the floor.

Paint.

The fastest way to change the look of your bedroom is to give the walls a lick of paint. A lot of people love to give the whole house a freshen up every few years, and if you look at the label and find Zero-VOC when you choose the next colour, you’ll know that the seal is intact enough not to release any chemicals when you open the pot. Paint is a toxic substance, so it can help to know that you’re not adding anything toxic to the world around you.

Furniture.

It feels like a good idea to head to a chain store and make a huge purchase of furniture at a knock-down price. However, those furniture packs that you buy may carry a far heavier burden than the delivery cost! Sustainable furniture means knowing who has made your furniture in the same way that it means knowing who makes your sustainable clothing. Checking out antique stores and second-hand stores can help you to find the best options for you at a better price than buying brand new sustainable furniture, especially as brand-new furniture carries a far higher price tag.

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Home Made Cleaning Products

As mentioned earlier, you spend a third of your life in your bedroom. Having a space that is clean and tidy is so important and not just for your physical health, but your mental health, too. There are plenty of tips on the internet out there, though, that can give you cleaning hacks and products that don’t include harsh chemicals for you to breathe in throughout the night. You can have a squeaky-clean sleep space without impacting your health while you rest.

Nature.

The best thing that you can add to your bedroom to make it as green as possible is – of course – nature. Tall plants or vases of fresh flowers can be natural air purifiers for your bedroom. Walking into the bedroom and breathing in the nature around you and feeling calm as you do so is a great way to enhance your sleep. There’s no need for plug-in air purifiers when you have nature’s air purifiers to do the job for you. It’s so easy to take care of plants, too, just check out this indoor house plant guide to find out how.

Thrifty Décor

The rest of your bedroom needs to be filled a little; there’s nothing worse than walls full of blank space in the bedroom. Vintage bedroom items and works of art can be found in second-hand and thrift stores. There are fantastic vintage sellers on eBay and Facebook Marketplace if you don’t have anything in the stores local to you. Décor can include rugs, artwork, wall murals and mini tapestries, so get your creative hat on!

Lighting

Lastly, you need to consider the lighting in your bedroom in a big way. The bulbs in your lamps and main ceiling light may be a total drain on your electric supply and the energy that you use, so think about switching to LED lights. These use a lot less energy than others and you can find them in all shapes and sizes. You should also consider keeping curtains open throughout the day for natural light. Bedrooms should be soft in the light in them as they are a place of sleep and rest, which means needing as much darkness as possible.

You can see by the ten tips above that you won’t have to take much time starting out on the most sensationally sustainable suggestions for your bedroom. Your bedroom can be the eco haven you have so desperately wanted to have and it doesn’t have to be too expensive to get you there. The smaller change that you make for your room can help you to inspire the bigger changes that you implement throughout the rest of the house, too, so that you can have a home that is increasingly green.

The more you change about your home, the healthier it will be as time moves forward. You can be the change that starts in the bedroom, just take it one step at a time. Apply a budget to your house, too, because once you get started with making green swaps, you’re going to find it hard to stop!

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Pros & Cons of Starting a Construction Company

Before you think about starting up any business idea, it is a good idea to weigh up all the pros and cons which are involved. After all, without doing this, you could end up embarking down a path which is simply not right for you. In this blog post, we are going to be looking at the pluses and minuses involved in starting a construction company. Hopefully, by the end, you will have a much better idea of whether or not this is the type of venture which is right for you.

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Pro: Size of the Industry

Thanks to an ever-growing population in western countries and buildings which are ageing and crumbling, there is a big demand for construction companies to come along and build the structures which people are looking for. This means that the opportunities are out there if you are able to establish a strong brand and business model. Of course, with so much competition, this could prove to be a challenge. But we will look into this more later.

Con: Price of Startup

Unlike many web-based businesses which you can start for little or no cost, this is certainly not the case if you are hoping to launch a construction firm. Not only do you have to pay for the vast array of expensive equipment out there, you also have to pay for some specialist employees as well. Not only this, you also have the various insurance liabilities which you need to fulfil.

Pro: Different to the Community

One of the greatest things about starting up a construction business is that you can make a genuine difference to the community. Whether this is building homes for families or some much-needed infrastructure such as hospitals, schools etc. Not only this, it is also a high-energy and fast-moving field in which you can work closely with partner organisations such as the Freo Group. If you are interested in starting a business which makes a genuine difference to the world around you, look no further than construction.

Con: Sense of Risk

First of all, since you are investing so much money in the first place, there is bound to be a high level of risk involved in starting up your construction company. As well as this, your workers will be operating in a dangerous environment, and you need to make sure that you have put in place all of the proper safety measures. Even if you have, you could find yourself coming up against all sorts of legal issues. Ultimately, construction is a field in which you need to be willing to accept a high degree of risk.

Obviously, this article only gives you a very brief overview of the industry and its main pros and cons, but hopefully, you feel a little more confident to say whether or not it is the type of business which you may be interested in starting one day.

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It’s The Small Things You Do That Will Motivate Your Employees

 

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Your employees are not mindless drones, turning up to work each day to keep your company running like clockwork. They are not just the means to an end to build your companies profits. If you treat them as such, they are going to stop caring about what it is they do. They are going to stop caring about your business. And they are going to stop caring about you! In short, they are going to lose motivation, and possibly damage your business as a consequence, through shoddy work and idle gossip about your attitude towards them.

Therefore, you need to be a better boss. You need to care for them more. And by doing so, you will motivate them into being a better employee for you. Now, you could do this by offering a raise in their pay packet or taking them out for expensive meals using your business profits, but such grand gestures are not always needed. You see, it’s the small things you do that will motivate your employees.

It’s about….

Treating them as individuals, remembering their names, and recognising their achievements. It’s about smiling at them and saying hello when they pass you in the corridor. It’s about saying ‘well done’ when they have done something worthwhile. It’s about saying ‘thank you’ to show you are happy with their service to your company. And it’s about letting them know that you see them, not as an ID number, but as a human being who is worthy of praise and recognition.

Inspiring them through your example, passing down your knowledge to your coworkers through the ethos presented by Steve Trautman. It’s about rolling up your sleeves to let your staff know that you aren’t afraid of getting your hands dirty. It’s about showing respect and kindness in the way you respond to your employees and with others. It’s about doing anything that will convince your employees that you are a good and worthy boss, with the respect they gain for you giving them the impetus to be better people themselves, in all aspects of their lives.

Having a sense of fun in the workplace, finding ways make your employees enjoy their day, rather than see it as a 9 to 5 grind. It’s about making time for banter around the drinks fountain. It’s about sending your staff the occasional funny email. It’s about improving their break room to help them let off steam. And it’s about showing your staff that you’re not always Mr. Serious Business, as you have a human (and funny) side too.

Showing you care for them, on a day-to-day basis. It’s about having conversations with them that go beyond work duties. It’s about knowing areas in which they are struggling and trying to help them. It’s about listening to them when they come to you with a problem or a suggestion. It’s about having an holistic approach to your employee’s wellbeing. It’s about being a good and kindly boss who has a heart of compassion, and not a heart of stone.

It’s the small things you do that will motivate your employees, and we have given you a snapshot of what you could be doing today. Let us know if you have any further ideas, through your experience as an employer or an employee. Take care, and thanks for reading!

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