Managing stress in the workplace.

Stop drop the phone, move away from your desk and take a break.

Does your lunch break consist of downing a coffee on the go and shovelling in as much food as you can whilst at your desk still working? Is your email inbox never-ending and you feel like you can never catch up? We understand that working through your dinner may be common around the workplace and that you feel guilty for taking time out of your day, when you have so much to do.

But, stop right there – you NEED a break.

In 2016/2017 alone, 26,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, resulting in 12.5 million working days being lost.  Additionally, skipping your lunch break to keep up with the workload can not only negatively impact your metabolism and nutrition, but can also lead to other health complications and reduced productivity.

It has even been proven that taking time out and taking your full break entitlements can increase productivity and help you get through those `never ending ` tasks more effectively. At the end of the day, the most important thing is your own health, if you are run down and stressed every single day this is going to take its toll on your body and mind.

Furthermore, it doesn’t end at just skipping your dinner break; we understand that employees are even guilty of carrying work stress home. Regularly completing extra work related jobs when they walk through their front door and therefore never fully switching off.

Carrying work stress home can lead to things like sleep deprivation which is associated with reduced cognitive performance. So, although you may feel like you are helping yourself by skipping breaks and continuing to work at home, this is having a negative impact and not really helping you in any way at all.

The root cause of stress is personal; whether it is work related or for other reasons, we understand that not everyone is content, calm and relaxed 24/7. Everyone may be telling you to “chill out” or “just calm down” but that’s making you worse and really isn’t that easy to do. It is ok to be stressed, in fact it’s pretty normal, but there are many affordable and easy things you can do to reduce this stress and manage it effectively

Firstly, as an employer, to help reduce the stress on your employees you could:

Ensure they have a manageable workload –

Help your employees to organise and prioritise their work in a manageable way. As a result, their tasks for the  day   may become less daunting.

breakEnsure that all employees take their full lunch break and stop working-

We don’t want to see them with one hand on the phone and another gripping a sandwich. Stop, drop everything and move away from your screen it’s called a break for a reason

Take a break from the screen

Try and create tasks for your employees related to their role that gives them a break from the computer screen.

Such as filing, printing, organising documents etc

Conduct regular performance reviews,

 There is undoubtedly a strong link between managerial communication and higher productivity levels at work. By constructing regular performance reviews with your employees can boost their mood and reduce any stress that may be linked to their performance at work.

Although sometimes you may blame your managers for the amount of stress you are under, it is not completely up to them to manage your stress and how you deal with your day-to-day business.

Here are some easy and affordable tips you could follow:

Try and be as active as you can –

We all know that exercise can help deal with stress, but we understand that being active in the office is hard. You mainly sit at your desk all day and occasionally take two or three steps to the printer. Try going for a quick walk, stepping outside on your break and instead of emailing people, walk to their office and have a conversation with them.

Connect with people –

A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way. By gaining advice from other people, you may just find the solution you need. The worst thing you can do is feel alone and bottle everything up, as this can be one of the main catalysts for stress in the workplace.

Have some `me time` 

The UK alone work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we don’t often spend enough time doing things we really enjoy. Make a change, make sure you try and make room for a bit of `me time`, whether this is socialising, relaxing, enjoying a hobby or doing some exercise. This can take your mind of work-related tasks that may be causing you stress and can help you return to these tasks when needed with a calmer approach.

Be selfish –

Although this may be odd to promote selfishness, we think it is important to be selfish with your time every now and again. If you are spending your time completing tasks that aren’t associated to your role, then this is only going to lead to more stress and work for you. Think what I need to do today and put that first!

Use a planner/to-do list that can guide you through the day-

Plan your week ahead of each day so you know what you have to deal with when it comes to it. Throughout the day, simply ticking off the tasks you have completed can not only give you some satisfaction but help you become more organised. Finally, make sure your tasks are realistic and achievable for you within the time limits you have been given.

Try and remember there is a solution to any problem –

It may be hard to calm down sometimes, when everything gets on top of you, but remaining passive and thinking “I can’t do this” is only going to make things worse. Take your tasks one step at a time, try and have regular breaks and stay focused on the end goal.

Try and get a good night’s sleep –

Do you regularly lie in bed counting sheep? Thinking “I need to do this tomorrow”? We understand that it is hard to switch off and many of us struggle with this. It is crucial to give your mind some time out and concentrate on getting a good night’s sleep as this really can reduce stress and help you return to work the next day refreshed.

Don’t see failure as failing –

Stress can come through negative thoughts and the feeling of failure impacting confidence and Take a step back and look at what happened with a positive mindset, maybe this time you made some choices that didn’t work out, at least now you know what to do next time. Failure is a choice, challenge your mindset, push yourself and look at the positive outcome instead of focusing on the negatives. Just remember you have not failed until you quit trying!

The power of Networking.

You may have heard the word “networking” being thrown around and not really known what the sales reps and other employees are up to when they go “networking”.

But actually, statistics show that 85% of jobs are actually filled through networking and that 41% of professionals have expressed they want to network more frequently, but simply don’t have the free time to do so.

So first of all let’s start with what networking actually is…

The definition of networking is – interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. Although it does sound quite simple and you may think all you have to do is shake a few hands and exchange a few business cards, but this is wrong. Networking can be challenging and takes dedication, but the results you can achieve from it are long-lasting and rewarding on both a personal and business level.

So what happens at networking…

There are many different networking groups across the country, some with just a handful of members and some with hundreds of members. Therefore, somewhere out there is the perfect networking group that will help you flourish and grow successfully. Also, every group networks differently; from networking over breakfast, to enjoying a Rogan Josh at ‘curry clubs’, to evening networking and even formal balls. There is no wrong way of networking and everyone has a different aim, you just need to find yours.

However, traditional networking session starts with a group of individuals, from all different industries and professions who are practically strangers to each other stood in one room. Now believe me we do understand why this can be daunting for most people, but as the group grows, members start to bond and relax together and  the huge advantages from networking begin to show. Now you may walk in to the room and be stood next to a builder, a dog groomer and a florist and think to yourself how these people can help me?

Well, let’s say you are working in the printing & marketing industry and the builder stood to your left has come to the networking event today in hope to advertise his business, you can help. The florist stood to your right is showing off her latest bouquet arrangements but explaining that her iPhone really doesn’t do her flowers justice, you can also help, with professional photography to enhance and bring out the best in her pictures.

Also, have you ever thought that the same florist you could supply photography too may have a huge advertising company as one of her main suppliers. Therefore, by building up this exact relationship can evidently lead to more future opportunities.

Evidently, a main factor in networking is being open to opportunities, sharing your resources and learning new skills and knowledge from individuals in a completely different industry to yourself. Not everybody’s aim at a networking event is to sell sell sell, talk about themselves all session and take away the most business cards to cold call later that day. Making genuine friends and letting people get to know you on a personal level is an important aspect of networking and can lead to real genuine recommendations in business. At the end of the day, the saying goes “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know” which is very true in business.

To make this blog that little bit more relatable, we decided to sit down with our sales reps that regularly attend networking sessions. Jane Rojas is a BNI Vista member and attends her BNI Vista networking session every Tuesday morning, bright and early.  As well as this, Ross attends BNI Infinity regularly every Friday morning. They both describe networking in three words; relationships, trust and vision and Ross goes with” Givers Always Gain”

Jane and Ross both agree that networking for them personally is the support they receive from what feels like an extended sales team and business partners. They both enjoy meeting a group of likeminded people that all want to help, as this gives them a sense of belonging and value.

Why you should start networking.

Our sales reps would encourage people to start networking to expand their reach, get recognised and enjoy the benefits of growing your business through recommendations. We all know that in business it is a great feeling being recommended by somebody, or even just receiving a positive review. These two things give us a sense of pride and achievement that our hard work is paying off, comparing this to networking, you are surrounded by a group of people that make it their mission to recommend you. Additionally, by regularly attending networking events this helps get your face known in the community, providing you with a great source of connections that can really open the door to talking to highly influential people in the future.

Still nervous about networking?

Here are our tips.

Still nervous about networking? Here are our tips.

  • Always have an idea about how you are going to introduce yourself to people, know how to talk about your company and services confidently. Practise with employees, friends and family and gain advice from others to enable you to be more prepared and less nervous.
  • Remember to have a supply of business cards easily to hand; this can be a great way of introducing yourself and an ice breaker for conversation.
  • Remember no matter how successful or prestigious some members may be, they will always value and appreciate a new connection, and for most of them is why they are here. You could offer them genuine help on their next project, so never put yourself down.
  • Finally enjoy it, make sure to smile and think positive about the whole experience

The power of networking

Networking is a great skill to have as an employee, by regularly attending events you’re likely to meet and come across some familiar faces. In time they will begin to recognise you and this allows you to build strong relationships over time. By pushing yourself to approach new people at a networking event and strike conversation with them can help build up your confidence. The more you do it, the more you’ll grow in confidence, which can be hugely beneficial within business and day to day life. In return this can make you a better business-minded person and feel more confident in making those connections with individuals you may need.  Our sales reps explain that networking has given them a whole world of opportunities, connecting and building relationships with members from other networking chapter across the country and even the world, the power of networking is huge and connects likeminded business people all over the globe.

At Media Village we have made great connections with suppliers through BNI, we did not have a supplier that gave the level of customer service and at such reasonable oprice as Stitch-It. After building this relationship with Stitch-It we now sell a lot of branding clothing, also through the power of networking we came across our Food Stylist Sophie through BNi, we wouldnt be able to do Food Photography as succesfully as we do now without Sophie.

On a personal note for the sales reps,  BNI is a great knowledge resource with   fourty knowledgeable friends in the room every Friday, this means you always have good advice on hand no matter the question.

Futhermore, on a financial level Ross informs us that with a predicted revenue for the year at £17,000, twelve new customers for the business from just Ross’s group alone and with the membership only costing £1000 for the year, it is a no brainer whether networking helps the business financially.

Tell your untold story

An impressive overhead photo no doubt grabs some attention, however aerial photography and video has greatly advanced from photography masts to the introduction of drones. Drones are everywhere; delivering parcels, filming movies, being used in medicine and even helping to sell properties

Whatever industry you are in, drone footage can help you in some way. For example, if you own a golf course, an impressive overhead drone video can highlight the  breathtaking view of your grounds from hole one right through to hole eighteen

Some of the most successful companies in the UK are incorporating drones  into their business strategy and benefiting hugely from their outstanding results. It goes without saying that drones are an excellent tool for capturing elevated videos that tell your story in a creative way people can’t ignore. Whatever the footage may be, from a holiday rental property to the education sector; this illustrates to  potential customers how your product or services benefits them in a new and refreshing way.

The first country to manufacture drones was Israel. 

 

We understand that standing out from the crowd can be difficult, with 3.010 billion users online and an average of 6,000 tweets being posted each second, using a drone makes your marketing content an immersive and engaging experience, which in return certainly makes you stand out! As a result, statistics show that 64% of buyers want to purchase a product or service after viewing an impressive video.

So, while the weather is nice and summer is finally here, why not take this opportunity to record some impressive drone footage that captures your business in a whole new and exciting light.

Members of the Media Village team have completed the CAA certification for commercial drone photography; this involved a three day course consisting of a written and verbal examination.

This has opened up more creative opportunities for Media Village, as we now have the ability to offer drone services alongside our other creative services to all our customers. The drone work we have completed so far has presented many businesses in a modern, professional way and made them stand out creatively within their industries.

There could be 30,000 drones overhead in the U.S. by 2020, reports the Washington Times.

Finally, drones are expanding the scope of what’s possible to capture on camera, the angles you can reach and the views you can show to your customers. By working closely with our creative studio, our CAA certified pilots create photography and video that depicts your company at its best. Our multi-talented team can provide storyboards, editing, copywriting and voiceovers. The end product is footage of unrivalled quality that will maximise your marketing reach and potential.

So what are you waiting for?

Brand Guidelines

Brand Guidelines-what are they

and why do I need them?

From the clothes we wear, to the food we eat and even the cars we drive home in, everything is a brand! It is almost impossible to go even just a few hours without coming across a brand of some sort. The truth is we are constantly surrounded by brands and marketing, therefore whatever your product or service is, there are bound to be lots of competitors fighting for your customer’s attention daily.

You may have spent a lot of time crafting your website, updating your marketing material and reciting your company values, but the main question is – have you at any point considered your brand guidelines?

If the answer to this question is no or even ‘what are brand guidelines?’, then you are certainly in the right place. But not to worry it is never too late to develop brand guidelines and recognising that you need them is the perfect incentive to start creating them.

So what are brand guidelines and what do they include?

To sum up brand guidelines briefly, they are a set of elements and tools that work together to create a cohesive, consistent message to send out from your branding.

Brand guidelines include:

  • Colour palette
  • Typography
  • Logo design
  • Imagery
  • Brand tone – tone of voice/image/captions

Everything from the way your logo looks, the colour palette you use, your typography and even the way your content is written, can be planned and defined in a way to make sure it is consistent. Without a set of brand guidelines, companies often lose key elements which are integral to the brand. These elements could be the use of logos, set colour palettes, how and when to use imagery and also the company’s tone of voice.

Think about the way you talk to your boss, the CEO or a potential customer, although you remain the same person, the way you communicate changes based on the person you are talking to. Your brand tone of voice needs to combine your brand personality and values with consideration on how it talks to your target audience.

So you may be wondering, why are they so important? why do I care?

It doesn’t matter if you have 5 people in your business or 50, brand guidelines are critical to helping any brand work. We understand that you may have created your brand and you confidently feel like you know everything about it. However, what about a new employee? Will they perceive and maintain your brand in the same way you do?

This leads us to reason number one…

1. Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to getting the best out of your branding, so why not have a set of guidelines in place to help maintain your brand image? A consistent tone of voice and a consistent brand identity not only helps keep a business on message, but allows it to be more immediately recognisable.

This brings us to reason number two…

2.Helping to maintain a professional image

Elements of your branding such as consistent colours, logos and typography, whether online or offline help to maintain a constant professional image for your brand.

Therefore, brand guidelines provide you with the tools to do this successfully…

3. Providing tools and guidance

Your brand guidelines aren’t just about setting rules though. They’re about providing you and anyone else sending out a message from your brand with the tools to keep your branding consistent. The elements included in your brand guidelines work together to create a cohesive message and those elements are the tools you need to create moving messages and iconic marketing communications.

 

This may all seem a lot to take in and you may be thinking where do I start, but this blog is simply just to explain the importance brand guidelines you should have in your business strategy.

So where can we help?

At Media Village, we not only work within brand guidelines supplied by our customers, but we also help to produce them. We spend time with our customers to ensure they understand each section and we answer any questions they may have.

We can follow this discussion by producing high quality designs to communicate these brand guidelines effectively.

If you need any help or have any further questions about brand guidelines, contact us on 01254 300000 and we will be more than happy to help.

Engagement.

6 easy ways to increase engagement by using print and design.

With disengaged employees being four times more likely to leave their companies than an engaged employee, every company or educational facility wants their staff or pupils to be motivated and engaged in the workplace. Engagement can be the key to reducing staff turnover, boosting employee engagement and increasing morale.

It’s no secret that a highly engaged workforce will help a business project the right ethos as well as increasing turnover and profit levels.

Engaged people go above and beyond what is expected of them because they feel like they are valued and have a purpose each day. They feel part of the company and want to help it achieve its goals and are conscious of how the company is perceived within the industry.

However, we completely understand that not everybody jumps out of bed on a Monday morning, and some days you need a bit of motivation to get you through. It can be easy to lose engagement when focusing on replying to emails, answering phone calls and working through your day to day tasks, which can sometimes be quite stressful.

So why not start with these six easy ways to increase engagement with the help of print and design…

1.Visuals/ Posters in the workplace

It is scientifically proven that we are psychologically wired to respond more immediately and emotively to visual communications. Although being distracted at work may be considered a bad thing, if you make the object of your employees’ distraction an inspiring poster that motivates them to carry on, then, as a result, this can boost productivity.

 

Furthermore, adding visually pleasing posters and designs to your walls can brighten up the working area and deliver a certain message to your employees every day. By simply asking your employees what inspires and motivates them, you can consider designing motivational posters at a low cost as a way to motivate your staff. Using memorable, visual print and design in your working environment can deliver your key message and company values at just the right time and in the right place.

We understand that everybody learns differently and also everybody has different things that        motivate them in life. However, some pupils/staff may be visual learners and need well-designed, vibrant posters around the office or classroom to increase their motivation and learning. As a result of this, we have worked with many schools, colleges and educational establishments over the years to bring their working environments to life with the help of print and design.

2. Branding in the workplace

Using branding around the workplace building can make people feel proud and want to be involved with the company’s growth and success.

Branding can be incorporated into your working environment in a number of ways, and using the company logo and other parts of your brand is a great way to convey the identity of the business throughout your building and inspire your staff/pupils.

 

However, it doesn’t have to be just your company logo or name, if you want something more quirky we can use motivational quotes or images that you feel represent the company. We can consider words and phrases that you feel describe your core values or certain messages that you know inspire your pupils to keep going.

Another option is branded work clothing, when your employees wear you brand every day they hold a sense of pride towards your company. By personalising your employees’ work uniform, you are not only gaining exposure for your brand but also improving your employees’ commitment towards the business.

3.Newsletters

Employee newsletters keep everybody ‘in the loop’, knowing the inside company news and feeling part of the team. We can produce newsletters for your company, internal newsletters for your employees, or external newsletters for your customers. We believe that companies can use internal newsletters as an opportunity to reinforce the tone of the positive working environment and even include tips on outside related topics, such as healthy eating. By including topics such as `healthy tips for your employees’, this can be helpful to show that the company values the health of its employees.

4. Whiteboards/ notice boards

Employee feedback and suggestions are a great way of communicating with staff; notice boards/whiteboards are a great idea to give your employees the chance to do this. These whiteboards can be used for many different purposes such as idea boards, project boards, to celebrate achievements, social events and even daily trivia questions within the office.

We can offer bespoke branded notice and project boards which allow everyone to keep up-to-date and have a platform to express their opinions.

5. Surveys

Surveys give your employees a chance to voice their opinions about anything they need too. Although some of this may not be nice to hear sometimes, it is always important to adapt your environment to make sure your employees are completely happy. We can produce professional surveys for you that highlight questions you should be asking your employees; to make sure they are content in the workplace. For example, asking employees what you could have in the office that would motivate them could help you in the future to adapt their workplace.

Additionally, designing surveys to target pupils can be a great way to give them an opportunity to speak up about any queries or topics that may want to discuss privately.

6. Wall graphics/ floor vinyls

Bright and engaging wall graphics can help improve mood and retention within the office/learning environment.

Whether you design your lunch room to energise workers on breaks, or decorate your conference room to boost team creativity during meetings, you can use positive visuals and design to make your work space a place for creativity and innovation to foster.

Give your employees/pupils something visually pleasing, something to change your normal four walls that they may be bored of looking at every single day.