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10 Things To Help Manage Your Work-Life Balance When Pregnant

10 Things To Help Manage Your Work-Life Balance When Pregnant

Pregnancy is like a bitter gourd in the sense that it’s a dichotomy— it’s healthy for you, but bitter to taste. Being pregnant is an experience that inspires a rollercoaster of emotions and life changes, and if you’re already pregnant, you might have already started to feel several biological, physiological and physiological changes within yourself. The hormonal changes lead to issues like nausea, mood swings, fatigue, etc., which can be exacerbated if you have a family to look after and older children to take care of. If you’re a working mother or a single parent, then your responsibilities skyrocket even further.

How do you manage home, kids, and work while dealing with mood swings, depression and pregnancy-induced body pain? It’s not easy to do so, but the good news is that there are ways of enjoying your work, life and pregnancy all together.

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Here are 10 things that help relieve stress while pregnant:

  1. Start with a healthy diet. Food cravings, an increase in appetite and bingeing sessions will all become part of your life for the next nine months, so the key to alleviating many problems is in maintaining a healthy diet. Eat fresh vegetables, salads and fruits as snacks rather than indulging in high calorie finger foods like french fries, chips or junk food.  Doing this is important to keep yourself from gaining extra pounds, which will make you lethargic and may contribute to a sedentary lifestyle post-pregnancy.
  2. Please, make a point of exercising every day, even if only for 20 to 30 minutes. Keeping active will raise your spirits and also keep your blood flowing, which helps to nourish your growing baby. To help motivate you, consider joining a prenatal exercise class so you get a chance to meet and socialise with other moms-to-be.
  3. Open up to your boss and colleagues—let other employees know that you are expecting so they are conscious about your fragile emotional state, and can speak with you in a way that doesn’t add to your depression, or trigger mood swings. Keep your boss updated about your health from time to time if you feel you need to get some of your workload transferred, and to establish that you might need some breaks without having to explain about your whereabouts.
  4. If you have the option of working from home, then keep your employer informed about the situation so that you can take occasional breaks from the office, and relieve some workplace pressures by working from the comfort of your own home.
  5. Think about your post-pregnancy options well ahead of time and submit a proposal about them to your boss. Be clear about whether you want to return to the same full-time job after your maternity leave, or if you would consider a part-time job instead. Inquire as to whether a work-from-home option would be possible as well, if that appeals to you. Planning beforehand always helps, as you would be aware of your job options in advance, thus alleviating later stress. While planning your post-maternity work options, don’t forget to discuss your maternity leave with your boss, and keep your family informed about the process and decisions being made.
  6. Try to stop worrying and micro-managing, both at work and on the home front. You should understand the importance of staying calm and happy during your gestation period, and realise that it’s  really okay if your house isn’t tidy in every corner. Don’t stress yourself unnecessarily about petty issues at the office either: stay away from office politics and gossip, especially if it’s directly or indirectly related to you and your work. Take active steps to manage stress as it comes up, and learn to say no.
  7. Help your children understand the situation so that they can lend you a helping hand when it’s needed. This is an opportunity to encourage their independence and self reliance: encourage them to finish off their school activities/studies on their own, and let them serve themselves at mealtime and get ready for school on their own in the mornings. You can also ask them to tidy up their own rooms or help you a little with laundry and light housework.
  8. Ask your partner or spouse to spend more time at home than usual. Let him share some domestic work, and also assist you with cooking for the family. Most importantly, make him realise that you need constant love and emotional support at this time.
  9. Make it a rule that one meal serves all, and that there is to be no fighting about food preferences in regard to wanting something else. Meal-planning discussions can happen on weekends to keep everyone happy, and will keep you from getting stressed out.
  10. Backache, sleeping disorders, leg swelling, and mood swings will often be out of your control, but the amount of stress you’ll experience is mostly in your own hands. Keep in mind that a great way to alleviate some stress is by focusing on cheerful activities that also keep you active, such as shopping for your maternity clothes, as well as gifts and clothes for your newborn, and decorating the nursery.

Pregnancy is a beautiful feeling for any woman, so try to enjoy every bit of it. Best of luck to you: you will soon be a dear mummy to a beautiful new baby.

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Featured photo credit: Beautiful pregnant woman at home via Shutterstock

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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