How to Reduce Tech-Related Stress for Customers and Employees

How to Reduce Tech-Related Stress for Customers and Employees

Your ability to become a successful company of the future depends on developing a cultural mindset that is focused on creating value for the people inside and outside the organization. The myth that technology drives digital transformation has been an ongoing fairy tale because while technology is an important factor, there is another element to the equation that creates a strong dependency on the first — the people.

Technology in most ways has a positive effect on business operations, especially in the automation of admin processes that come with communication with customers. While artificial intelligence is getting to know your customers by analyzing their wants and needs, it also means collecting huge amounts of customer insights. Some other digital tools such as chatbots are being used to interact with customers instead of a customer service agent and in some exceptional cases, this works just fine.

The belief that these digital tools can improve customer engagement like a miracle is just an illusion however, despite offering an effective and efficient way to speak to large audiences. The reality is that these technologies are greatly designed to replicate some sort of friendliness but are simply not able to offer the much-needed level of human connection customers need.

Covid-19 has been a wake-up call for businesses and has aggressively fast forwarded digital adoptions in working practices that most companies were not ready to take on. They were forced to send employees home who had to deal with the implementation and usage of new digital tools, something that should have progressively happened years ago.

According to research carried out by Mckinsey, it would have taken businesses more than a year to implement the level of remote working that was enforced as a result of the crisis. Despite the advantages of the nature of these digital technologies, the sudden change led to huge gaps of acceptance among the workforce and this is because employees have different needs, challenges and technical proficiency.

Employees and customers are often slow to adapt to new ways of doing things so now it’s time to ask yourself: What can I do to reduce the tech stress of my customers and employees and make their lives easier? I suggest two main things to consider:

1. Focus on the people.

Digitalization has many different positive aspects, but the more digital your business becomes the less human touch it can provide. Customers today expect more human interactions and less automated interactions. The role of new tech should make the life of your employees easier and ultimately highly complement their tasks so that they can focus on the emotional side of customer relationships.

The rush for easily monetizable consumer automated interactions makes it clear for customers that a brand is not authentically engaging with them. A Harvard Business Review study shows that companies are becoming increasingly impersonal by automating as many customer touchpoints as possible. In a highly digitalised world the human factor in customer experience gives your business a distinct competitive edge. The latest technology gets prioritised too often over authentic customer engagement.

First and foremost you should create an authentic and trusted customer relationship and then with the consent of your customers, use the technology available (predictive analytics and machine learning) to personalise the interactions with them. Not the other way around.

2. Reassess your digital initiatives.

As you’ve been experimenting with a huge number of virtual operations and interactions since before the pandemic started, you now have the opportunity to assess which technologies are extremely needed and which are not. The world of business is changing, some things will go back to previous ways, while others will remain changed forever.

You might think that using many different business tools to automate and improve processes will skyrocket productivity. However, switching between too many apps has some side effects such as lower productivity, higher costs and lack of collaboration in teams, to name a few. Developing a digital state of mind requires you to engage, educate and provide continuous support to your employees.

Low employee stress levels and making sure their experience remains positive throughout are as important as deciding which new technology to adopt. Digital transformation should have your people at the core because your people will be those who will make a successful transformation happen.

As I’m writing my book on customer-centricity, I find it imperative that companies find the right balance between the use of technology and human interactions. The challenge of the future is not whether artificial intelligence will replace people’s jobs but rather how to create a business culture in which technology and employees are able to walk hand-in-hand to provide human-driven customer experiences.

Ilenia Vidili

 

By: Ilenia Vidili / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

 

Source: How to Reduce Tech-Related Stress for Customers and Employees

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Need Help Managing The End Of The Year Stress?

It’s both an exciting time of the year with holidays approaching and a stressful time of the year with all you are trying to accomplish. Add on some crazy weather issues and that further complicates things. So, how can you better manage everything and keep your sanity?

Reality Check. First, recognize that you won’t get it all done exactly as you imagined, and let yourself say “that’s okay.” We often have extremely high expectations for what we think we can accomplish during this time of the year. Perhaps we need to make our goals a little more realistic. That doesn’t mean you have to drop your enthusiasm; just do a reality check. See how much time is left and what is actually manageable. Readjust your goals to be more realistic.

Change others’ expectations. In addition to altering your own expectations, talk to your colleagues or supervisors to see if you can make some changes in their expectations for what can be accomplished at the end of the year. Chances are they are feeling just as stressed. Do you really need all those meetings at this time? Can the timelines for some projects be extended? Even if you are only able to change a few things, this can have a powerful impact on reducing your stress and maybe even theirs.

Chunk it into bits. One of the biggest stressors we face is the size of what we have to accomplish – whether it is finishing up work projects, getting all of our presents ready in advance, or cleaning our entire house for holiday company. Sometimes just viewing these massive lists we have created can be overwhelming.

If possible, break those large projects into smaller ones. Sometimes we only have 30 minutes here or there and we think we can’t get our big project done then. Which is true – we can’t. But, if we can break it into parts, we might get some of the smaller parts done during those shorter time periods. That can still help us feel a sense of accomplishment, and that we are not being overwhelmed.

Don’t forget your own self-care. We have the tendency to put all of our projects and others ahead of us during the end of the year mad rush to get it all done. Don’t do this. Make sure you still find time to exercise, get plenty of sleep, and engage in some activities for your own sanity (e.g., mindfulness, meditation, prayer, etc.). You need to keep up your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being during this time, probably more than at any other time of the year.  Try to do something fun each day – this gives you added joy.

Take advantage of forced slow times. Maybe you are stuck in traffic on the highway or circling a parking lot to find a spot at the shopping mall or waiting in a long line at a store, or on hold on the phone. These are forced slow downs imposed on you. Instead of giving in to the temptation to get angry and frustrated, use these opportunities to do other things.

Each year, we know these things are going to occur, and yet we always seem surprised and frustrated by their existence (as if they just popped up). Be prepared. Bring other things to do while waiting in line or on the phone or as you are circling the parking lot. Maybe listening to relaxing music is just the thing that can keep your blood pressure from rising even higher.

Volunteer. It may seem counterintuitive to volunteer when we have so much on our own plates. But, this is the season to volunteer and help those less fortunate than us. While we may be very busy, sometimes just taking a little time to give back to others helps us to put things into perspective and remember how much we do have. It also helps us to remember the “reason for the season.”

The end of the year comes with celebrating various holidays and welcoming in a brand new year. It should be a time of joy and yet; it often comes with the stress of having too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Following some of these tips might just help you get your energy back and enjoy this holiday time and ringing in the New Year!

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I am the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business (VSB), and serve as the chief executive, academic and fiscal officer. VSB has more than 150 faculty and staff and 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in VSB’s top-ranked programs. I am a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist with more than 25 years of experience consulting with private- and public-sector organizations. I wrote a weekly career coach column and answered reader questions in a monthly online chat for The Washington Post. I have served as an executive coach for several decades and developed the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Programs for UMD’s Executive M.B.A. program and the Executive M.B.A. at the University of Tennessee. I earned my Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Akron, Ohio and my B.A. in psychology from Loyola University in Maryland.

Source: Need Help Managing The End Of The Year Stress?

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Sign up for our WellCast newsletter for more of the love, lolz and happy! http://goo.gl/GTLhb Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.? Most people have experienced mild workplace stress at some point in their careers, and it’s not doing them any favors. Stress contributes to higher blood pressure and lower self esteem. This week we’ve got a three-step system to combating office stress and keeping you healthy and sane. Check out some other awesome episodes of WellCast: 1. Coming Out http://goo.gl/amysN 2. Coping With Grief http://goo.gl/aD4OH 3. How to Break the Ice http://goo.gl/CmS8O 4. Dealing With Rejection http://goo.gl/f3Pw5 5. Party Survival Guide for Introverts http://goo.gl/WYZVe ABOUT WELLCAST: In this twice-a-week show, we explore the physical, mental and emotional paths to wellness. With an emphasis on education, the show addresses both the latest trends and long-standing practices of wellness—everything from the efficacy of the gratitude experiment to the importance of sunshine and vitamin D. Follow along as your host, Kate, guides you through a bi-weekly journaling exercises that helps you apply what you’ve learned. The ultimate goal: one year, one show, one journal, one collective journey to wellness. Like us on Facebook! http://goo.gl/0DHVJ Follow us on Twitter! http://goo.gl/Ylcv6 Find us on Google+ http://goo.gl/ylCVT Follow us on Tumblr! http://goo.gl/Ds3TB Follow us on Instagram! http://goo.gl/q3IUC Follow us on Pinterest! http://goo.gl/lNhu2

4 Tips on How to Make Board Meetings Less Stressful and More Productive, From an Actual Board Member and CEO

For far too many CEOs, board meetings are a cause of stress. They send their teams in a frenzy pulling together materials, there are late-night fire drills of prep sessions, and the meetings feel like one big show-and-tell.

We can all agree that boards are incredibly important: According to a 2019 survey, 94 percent of private companies report increased revenue after putting a board in place. In my experience–both leading meetings as a CEO and attending as a board member and investor–your time together is a tremendous opportunity to dig into your toughest problems as a business.

Here are my top learnings on how to make your board meetings as productive as possible.

1. Have the right people around the table.

The outcome of any meeting is based on who’s in the room. Just like choosing investors, you should think of your board members as serious, long-term partners. You need to vet them and ensure that the people around the table have meaningful and diverse perspectives. For example, my board at LearnVest included a fintech visionary who built and sold his company for almost a billion dollars and a seasoned investor who’s backed internet changing companies like Facebook.

Having board members with directly applicable experience matters. As I always say, if you were going to hike Kilimanjaro, you’d want to talk to people who have been-there, done-that. You’d ask them when to go, what to pack, and their best advice for getting to the top.

As you assemble your board, make sure that you’re building a diverse team–the typical board has a median of only 1.5 women. Ensure diversity in all ways–gender, age, experience, expertise, and beyond. Doing so enables a mix of perspectives that will make for better discussions and smarter business decisions.

Ultimately, your board is an extension of your core team. Get to know them the way you would any senior leader at your company.

2. Focus 95 percent of the time on the tough stuff.

Plain and simple, start the meeting with your worst problems. Dive right into whatever challenge is truly keeping you up at night, and do so at the top of the meeting while everyone is fresh.

Remember: A “good” meeting doesn’t mean you make yourself and your company look like everything is working perfectly. In a growing company, that’ll never be the case. That said, a board meeting is also not the time to unveil surprises. If the problems are especially difficult, be sure to communicate with everyone in advance, giving ample time to process the issues, and then use the meeting for problem-solving. The more transparent you are as a leader, the more your board will trust you. That may mean revealing that a new product launch didn’t go as planned, or that your new senior hire is creating tension. When you treat them like they’re in the weeds with you, they’ll be that much more helpful in getting the work done.

At the end of the day, the board is there to work for you. They’re also owners in the company and want you and the business to succeed.

3. Be prepared and prepare others.

Your time together in a board meeting is limited, so your prep work counts. There are a few simple things that I consider must-dos:

  • First, establish your board meeting dates at the beginning of the year. This ensures that the meetings get on everyone’s (very busy) calendars far in advance and increases the likelihood of everyone attending in person.
  • Second, share these board dates with your senior leadership team. Regardless of whether they’ll actually be in the room presenting, you’ll likely tap them to put briefing materials together. Advance warning will help them carve out enough time to do so.
  • Third, send briefing materials to the entire board a few days in advance of the meeting. Give everyone time to digest and sit with the information. Set the expectation that the board comes to the table ready to roll up their sleeves and work–not to simply watch the CEO present each slide. This is crucial to avoiding blindsiding the board.

4. Assign homework.

The board is there to support the CEO and help the company. So leverage them. Give the board meaningful tasks: Can they make a helpful intro? Close an important hire? I’ve been asked to do all sorts of things, like going with a CEO to scout the company’s next location before they signed a new lease.

Your board should help you throughout the entire year. Company challenges will never align perfectly to your scheduled board meetings. Ask for that extra white-boarding session, and whenever you send an update over email, highlight your clear asks in yellow. It’s simple, but it works.

Here’s to board meetings that make your company that much stronger, more productive, and sustainable.

By: Alexa von Tobel Founder and managing partner, Inspired Capital@alexavontobel

Source: 4 Tips on How to Make Board Meetings Less Stressful and More Productive, From an Actual Board Member and CEO

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Being a Board member in a community or condo association is hard work. Listening and working with residents to help resolve their issues or present their ideas can also be stressful. Our guest coach this episode is Board Certified psychiatrist, Dr. Mehra, who will coach us on how to deal with stressful and difficult board meetings and conversations. Have an issue or question for the Condo Coaches? Email us at help@thecondocoaches.com, or visit us at http://thecondocoaches.com. The Condo Coaches is hosted by a team of volunteers across the State of Florida with legal, educational, and informational resources that assist board members and residents living under a condominium or homeowner’s association. The goal of the program is to help associations run effectively, efficiently, and on budget while helping residents who live in these communities address common concerns and resolve any issues with the Board of Directors. Each week The Condo Coaches offer helpful tips and advice on everyday problems, electing volunteer board members and learning the do’s and don’ts of living in a community association. Website: TheCondoCoaches.com Email: help@thecondocoaches.com Phone: 813.331.5415 Facebook: facebook.com/thecondocoaches

8 Simple Steps to Relieve Stress

Stress is never good for you or your health. But with almost 54% of the Americans, stress has become part of their lives. It can be stress from work, family or could be of dealing with financial issues. Whatever the cause of stress, it isn’t good for your health.

Here are 8 simple steps to relieve stress from your everyday life.

Understand the Source of Stress

When it comes to stress, it’s surprising that most people don’t even realize they are stressed. Common indications of stress include tense muscles, clenched jaws, and hands or a feeling of cramps in your stomach. Other telling symptoms are frustrations and anger.

Whenever you feel stressed, find out the reason for your stress. One of the most common stress factors includes financial problems. Enlist help. Talk to a financial advisor. They will help you guide you out of your financial situation. For instance, they will guide you on how to deal with debt collectors effectively.

Other sources of stress could be your workplace or family issues. Find out how you can deal with them. Don’t leave everything to time. Try to find solutions for your issues. This will help you use your energy is a positive way, which can also be a great stress buster.

Practice Deep Breathing Techniques

When you are stressed, your body starts releasing stress hormones. When you feel an increase in heart beat and your breathing get quicker, sit down and practice deep breathing. Deep breathing activates your nervous system which in turn will help your body to relax.

Start by focusing on your breathing. Take a deep breath. Breathe through your nose. Fill up your lungs with air. Slowly release the breath through your mouth. Practice for 10x times. Bring down your breathing rate. Feel your body relaxing.

Exercise

One reason for the increase in stress for many people is the decrease in physical activity. Your body needs physical stress, to give the brain some rest to relieve itself of all the mental stress.

When you exercise, your body releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain killers and help your body in combating stress. The release of these hormones also improves your sleep quality, thus improving mood and reducing stress.

Some forms of exercise you can try out are walking, running, yoga, dancing, swimming etc.

Use Your Senses

Sensory experience can help you deal with stress is an effective manner. When you employ the use of your five senses, you become more aware of your surroundings which help you relieve stress in a calming manner. Here’s how you can employ the use each of each sense to relieve stress:

Sight: Close your eyes and imagine your happy place. It could be your childhood home or just a beautiful place you went to recently. Another way to use your sight is to go outdoors. Go to a park or a scenic place. Talk a walk around. You can also put flowers in your home to enlighten it.

Hearing: Listen to some calming, good music. You can also turn on some background classical music to help you relax.

Smell: Light candles or burn essential oils. Some good calming scents you can try are Lavender, Germanium, Neroli, Rose, and Sandalwood.

Touch: Relax your muscles and body with a good massage. Get a professional masseur to unknot the tensions in your muscles. Give your spouse or partner a good kiss. Hug your children closely. Taking a warm bath or resting under a warm blanket will also do the trick.

Taste: Mindless eating can add inches to your waistline. That can also be a source of constant stress for most people. Whenever you eat, enjoy the entire experience. Take small bites and savor the flavor with each bite. Enjoy your favorite snack or meal. Give it time. Some stress relieving foods you can try out are dark chocolate, citrus foods and foods containing omega 3 fatty acids. You can also try drinking calming, herbal teas.

Unplug from the World

When most people feel stressed, they turn to media. They watch TV or scroll through their cell phones mindlessly. The idea is to switch off the stress by focusing on something else. But research concludes that the use of media including smart phones actually increases stress levels.

Unplug from the world and media. Even if you don’t feel stressed on a particular day, don’t let media entertain you. Turn off the TV for the rest of the day. Go without using the Wi-Fi on your cell phone for a day. Turn off your cell phone when you get home. If you can’t do it daily, do it at least three or four times in a week.

Get Together with Family and Friends

The right way to forget about your stress is by spending time with family and friends. Plan an outdoor picnic together. Laugh and smile together. Discuss your problems. Be each other’s support system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

When you spend time with your loved ones, your body releases oxytocin. Oxytocin is a natural stress reliever. This is especially true for women and children.

Source: 8 Simple Steps to Relieve Stress

The misery is real: A third of the world is stressed, worried and in pain, Gallup report finds

Image result for STRESSED PEOPLE

About a third of people worldwide were stressed, worried and in pain last year, and more than half of Americans feel pressure and strain. That’s according to the 2019 Global Emotions Report, Gallup’s annual snapshot of the world’s emotional state.

Chad, a North African country beset by violence, was the most negative country in the world last year, the report found, and Paraguay and Panama led a host of Latin American countries atop the list of most positive countries.

The USA? Well, we’re more stressed than almost anybody.

Most Americans (55%) recall feeling stressed during much of the day in 2018. That’s more than all but three other countries, including top-ranking Greece (59%), which has led the world in stress since 2012.

Nearly half of Americans felt worried (45%) and more than a fifth (22%) felt angry, they told Gallup – both up from 2017. Americans’ stress increased, too, topping the global average by 20 percentage points.

“Even as their economy roared, more Americans were stressed, angry and worried last year than they have been at most points during the past decade,” Julie Ray, a Gallup editor, wrote in a summary report.

A country where 66% feel pain

Americans were more stressed than residents of Chad, the world’s saddest and most pain-stricken population. Fifty-one percent of Chadians report stress last year, along with 54% reporting sadness. Two-thirds there felt worried, and 66% felt physical pain.

“The country’s overall score at least partly reflects the violence, displacement and the collapse of basic services in parts of Chad that have affected thousands of families,” Gallup says in an analysis, noting seven out of 10 residents struggled to afford food that year.

West African nations of Niger and Sierra Leone follow Chad in Gallup’s report, which ranks each nation based on resident responses to phone and face-to-face interviews with about 1,000 adults worldwide. Iraq and Iran follow, respectively, in the top five.

A vaccine drive in the village of Agang in the Ouaddai highlands region of eastern Chad, bordering west Sudan on March 25, 2019.

Latin American countries are the most positive. But why?

A train of Latin American countries leads the most-positive list. Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador follow top-ranked Paraguay and Panama in a tie. All of the top 10 most-positive nations are Latin American save one: Indonesia.

“I think it’s not a coincidence,” says Ricardo Ainslie, a Mexican-born psychologist and a director at the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas-Austin. “Latin Americans tend to be so family-focused that I think that provides a sense of ‘Whatever happens, I’ve always got this. (Family) is always my bedrock.’ ”

Indeed, Gallup notes its scores strongly relate, in part, the presence of social networks, and Latin American nations prevail on its positive list “year after year.”

The Gutierrez family, diplaced by floods, prepare for breakfast in a temporary shelter in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, April 5, 2019.

Gallup posed questions to residents of more than 140 countries for the lists, asking about the positive (“Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?”) and the negative (“How about sadness?”).

A family focus in top-ranked Paraguay bleeds into day-to-day culture, says Barbara Ganson, a Florida Atlantic University professor and editor of “Contemporary Paraguay: Politics, Society, and the Environment.”

Paraguayans typically work from 7 to 11 a.m., she says, before returning home for lunch and relaxation with family. They finish work from 3 to 7 p.m.

“Family-work balance is very different from what we experience here in the United States and in many other countries,” Ganson says.

Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The misery is real: A third of the world is stressed, worried and in pain, Gallup report finds

Source: The misery is real: A third of the world is stressed, worried and in pain, Gallup report finds

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