Interior meeting room in modern space office

Redesign your Office as a ‘Third Place’

By Jeff Dewing CEO of Cloudfm

As a young lad I was fortunate enough to always feel a sense of community and belonging everywhere I went, whether this was seeing my local neighbour at the youth centre or my parents’ friends at the library, there were communal spaces available.

Unfortunately, due to austerity and budget cuts, physical community spaces have been lost and digital communities have taken precedence. Nevertheless, physical spaces will always be necessary, as preserving communities can improve people’s lives.

 

Given only 21% of employees are engaged at work and the increasing levels of stress among staff, I decided to revamp my office space into a collaborative hub that could be used whenever necessary by my team. I think that business leaders have a responsibility to rebuild community hubs where they can, and this is why:

 

We are losing our ‘third places’

Through the years, I’ve witnessed the steady deterioration of the so-called ‘third places.’ These are spaces where people go to unwind, different from their homes (referred to as first places) or their workplaces (second places). Third places provide a space to connect with the local community, often at no personal cost.

The defunding of places like youth centres by the government has had a damaging effect on our communities and we shouldn’t underestimate its repercussions. With the rising cost of living and the ongoing aftershocks of the pandemic, employee well-being is being put to the test. This is not only a moral issue but a financial one as well, with low engagement costing the global economy a staggering $7.8 trillion.

Business leaders have an opportunity and a duty to make a genuine difference in employee wellbeing. In my experience, redesigning my office space with emotional well-being and collaboration in mind has delivered excellent results and is something all business leaders should consider.

 

It’s time to rethink our office spaces

Not only do physical community hubs provide a dedicated space for employees to collaborate, but they also provide a place for employees to take a break from work and interact with their peers in a more relaxed setting. This can help to reduce stress levels and create a positive work environment.

Additionally, physical community hubs can help to build a sense of belonging and connection among employees. This can lead to greater involvement and engagement, resulting in improved productivity and higher morale.

The design of an office space varies depending on the type of business it is used for. It’s essential to consider the specific needs of your industry when designing the layout. Nevertheless, there are some key elements that should be taken into account regardless of the business.

With hybrid working becoming the new standard, it has become more vital than ever to foster meaningful interactions between colleagues. To do this, offices should be redesigned with the intention of promoting collaboration and communication. They should have comfortable areas with couches, TVs and refreshments such as tea and coffee. Additionally, it should be a place where employees can make memories and have fun that cannot be replicated working from home. This could include activities like darts, Xbox gaming and karaoke nights, which can provide a break from the day-to-day and help to ease the financial strain of socialising in the current cost of living crisis.

Opening the office 24/7 to our staff has been hugely beneficial. We’ve used it for after-work events and even for a weekend daycare for coffee catchups. Our team is more connected than ever and we have re-energized a feeling of togetherness in the area. Kids who would not have been able to meet each other are getting together on weekends and my staff can meet their colleagues’ friends when appropriate. I urge other business leaders to think of your office as a third place for your team.

Five Ways to Take Your Company to the Next Level

When you are a leader of a large corporation, the pressure is on you to deliver. The success of the business falls squarely on the shoulders of leadership. There are benefits and drawbacks to this kind of responsibility, but one of the best things about the consolidation of leadership is that if it’s you, you can make big decisions to take the company to the next level. If it fails, you will face the consequences but if you succeed you receive the praise. When you are trying to take the business you are leading to the next level, below are five ways to take your company to the next level.

Focus on Equity

There is a lot of talk about equality these days, but often the wider conversation isn’t about equality—it’s about equity. Here is a quick example of equity in the workplace. If one part of your business isn’t as successful as the rest is, elevating that part of the business could make a huge difference. You need every part of the company to perform at its optimal level. It isn’t just about racial and sexuality diversity, it’s about the ability of every aspect of the company performing at its most productive level.

Cultivate Culture

When a company becomes large, the culture begins to degrade. Take a lesson from Google. Company culture matters. Company culture is one of the most important components of a truly great business. When the staff is cohesive, you will be more successful. The work will be easier because employees will be on the same page. It’s worth spending the time and effort on creating a comprehensive culture within the company—no matter how large. It’s worth spending time with both the people who are close to you and the ones you don’t know. Understanding the dynamics of each individual team will help you in the long run.

Overhead vs Profit

You already know this, but the relationship between overhead and profit is instrumental to the success of any company. How many employees do you have? Do you need all of them? What team isn’t performing? Can some of the company work from home? What about establishing a partial work-from-home program? You could also move from your current offices to a smaller property. Send some people home to work. Thin the herd.

Lower production costs if you can but try to skimp on the quality. Are you a primarily digital business? Thinking about new ways to make money could provide profit to warrant the overhead that you currently have. This is a balance you are surely familiar with. When you are trying to take your business to the next level returning to this mindset will prove fruitful.

Innovate, Innovate, Innovate

The odds are, you are leading a company that deals in technology or something adjacent to it. In these businesses, there are few things more valuable than innovation. Innovating is what changes the game for a lot of companies. If you are lacking innovation in your business—whether you are in tech or not—investing in people and technologies that can elevate your business is typically worth it.

Pivot into a New Direction, Diversify

If you have new ideas about how to take your business into a new, more profitable direction, you should begin testing these ideas. You don’t need to go all in at once, but you should start testing various products, services, and ideas. When you are at the helm of a large corporation, it’s important to identify when things aren’t working as well as they used to. Sometimes it’s merely a matter of size. You don’t need to turn180 degrees. Instead, you can diversify. Look at the data. What’s working? Turn slightly in that direction.

Leading a large company isn’t easy. It requires a lot of work. It requires steadfast diligence, a vision for the future, and an understanding of who and what you are dealing with. Whether you are in technology, finance, or something else, there are plenty of ways to take your company to the next level. It all depends on the overhead, the profit, the culture, and the outlook. If you can balance all these things, further growth and success may be around the corner.

Business Trends To Look Out For In 2023

Businesses have experienced a lot over the last year – 2022 presented many economic challenges and the new year provides the opportunity to learn, grow and bounce back.

Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, we’ve listed the predicted business trends for the coming year that you should look out for.

Fintech and the potential of blockchain

The fintech phenomenon is progressing rapidly, with brand-new finance apps becoming available on a daily basis. Managing your money digitally is now seen as the way forward, allowing you to easily budget, save and process payments with just a few taps.

However, the arrival of blockchain technology is set to revolutionise various areas of finance, as well as transport, entertainment and healthcare industries.

With both advancements combined, blockchain technology can help to transform financial processes within fintech law firms, banks and other organisations. Using a fintech ecosystem, transactions will no longer need an external source present, making them capable of completing payments instantly.

Global economic downturn

With forecasts predicting that global growth will start to slow in 2023, businesses are aware of rising inflation and are learning how to deal with this to prepare for the coming months. This unfortunately means lower job opportunities and in certain cases, this will also mean job losses.

Organisations will have to think on their feet, making quick yet lasting decisions on the future of their business. Ultimately, businesses will be reviewing budgets, reassessing financial stability and growth forecasts, and in other cases, offer greater recognition to employees who may be suffering as a result of rising costs.

The rise of Artificial Intelligence

The introduction of Artificial Intelligence has already seen many manual jobs taken over. It’s said that this technology could start to provide challenges for a number of professions, disrupting high-skilled areas.

With the economy in turmoil, businesses now more than ever are looking to increase efficiency and reduce costs where possible. AI can be used amongst a number of professions, performing various tasks such as reviewing contracts, conducting research and drafting documents.

AI models are continuing to become more advance over time. They are trained on large amounts of data and can read human handwriting.

With the increased demand for efficiency and automation, AI technology can handle high volumes of work in short amounts of time, appearing the more viable option than their human counterparts. By removing human stress and high pressure, why wouldn’t businesses want to use this advanced alternative to get the job done?

Sustainability

The need for more sustainable businesses continues to grow. Many organisations are investing more into their sustainability strategy, as it’s known as one of the biggest incentives to change consumer behaviour.

Global warming is a key issue affecting every nation around the world and so companies who take a conscious approach in their operations to address this will be able to gain more credibility.

Consumers are looking for affordable yet sustainable options, so it’s time to embracing change and become transparent with customers in order to progress in our ever-changing world.

6 Tips on Bringing Digital Outdoors  with Digital Out-Of-Home Advertising  

If you’re looking for an effective, cost-efficient way to get your message out there and grow brand recognition, then digital outdoor advertising may be the answer. Digital outdoor advertising combines the effectiveness of traditional billboards with the convenience and flexibility of digital media. 

Gone are the days when you must rely on a poster in a bus shelter or shop window to  advertise your brand. As brands increasingly move to digital marketing, more companies are discovering the potential of Digital Out-Of-Home Advertising (DOOH).  This technology uses digital signage networks to display ads using digital billboards and other outdoor locations.

But how do you maximize this type of marketing? 

1. Make Your Digital Display Stand Out 

It’s important to design your digital out-of-home advertising to be eye-catching and  stand out in the environment. Be creative by designing digital advertisements that can  use colours, shapes or other details that will draw attention. There’s no doubt that if  you create a unique and attractive advertisement, people will take notice and it will  grab the attention of potential customers. 

2. Make It Relevant 

You should also utilise digital format in public spaces to create videos, animations or  interactive elements that are engaging and relevant to the target audience to capture  their interest quickly as they walk by. 

For example, digital signs can be used in a variety of places such as grocery stores,  health clubs, and more. 

3. Personalisation 

Incorporate data from other marketing channels and customer insights from previous  campaigns into your ad design to create personalised content that resonates with  viewers and encourages them to take a desired action. 

4. Keep It Simple 

Keep digital advertising messages succinct so that viewers can easily read important  information about your product or service within seconds of passing by an  advertisement placed outdoors. 

5. Audience Demographics

Strategically choose placements for digital out-of-home ads depending on the target  audience, so that it is seen by people who are most likely interested in what you have  to offer or have already interacted with your brand before. 

6. Measure Results 

Track the performance of your digital out-of-home campaigns by measuring metrics  such as impressions, click-through rates, and conversions. This will help you understand which placements are working best for your brand and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Benefits of DOOH Advertising

Digital outdoor advertising has many benefits. These include higher visibility than traditional forms of OOH media, increased engagement by capturing people’s attention through interactive experiences, dynamic display capabilities allowing you to customise your message quickly and easily and greater control over targeting audiences who have been identified as potential customers through data collection  tools. 

You only have to look at the success of the BBC’s outdoor advertising campaigns to  understand the impact of these forms of advertising to grab people’s attention. 

Additionally, digital billboards can be updated remotely, reducing setup time and making it easier to adjust campaigns on the go while also saving money by using one screen instead of many traditional signs. 

By following these tips, you can make the most of your digital out-of-home advertising campaigns and reach a wider audience. With the right strategy, you can create an impactful campaign that will help your brand stand out from the competition. 

Backtesting & Simulation: The Keys To Investing

Backtesting is a powerful way of investigating the effectiveness of your investment strategies without actually risking your capital. While you can’t directly earn money through backtesting, you’ll have better chances of making a profit in the future.

In one study, 50% of analysts and traders used backtesting as an investment technique. While this study was conducted on a small number of users, it still shows the benefits to using this method.

Simulation and backtesting are one of the many techniques to help you be a better player in the world of investing. Take a look at the points in this article to see whether backtesting is something you should spend time doing and implementing with your personal trading strategies.

Backtesting explained

Backtesting and simulation are some of the ways of risk parity that help mitigate losses in the future. Many traders rely on using paper trading, using real-time data to present users with potential loss or profit of a trade.

While similar in the end goal, simulating a trade, backtesting utilizes historical data to reconstruct trades of your choice. The reason behind employing this technique is simple – it allows traders to make future predictions.

To confirm whether your trading model is effective, spend time backtesting different trades and stocks. The execution of a backtest can be challenging, depending on how efficient you want this test to be.

An ideal backtesting practice requires a wide variety of representative stocks. You will receive better results if you include data on liquidated or bankrupt companies. Without using such examples for your backtesting practice, you won’t get objective results.

Simulation explained

Similar to backtesting, simulations are also replicas of trades. You don’t risk any money in simulations, but they will give you an insight into what would happen with your money if you make a certain trade.

By using vast amounts of data, simulations predict how a certain trade would play out by inserting and changing particular variables. According to these variables, simulation offers a range of outcomes that might happen.

Many platforms offer free simulations, which allow you to test out specific trades without risking any money. However, the limitation of simulation is that it won’t give you actual experience, and some of them have quite limited features.

For example, a free simulator won’t allow you to trade penny stocks and trades might not be performed instantly but rather with a delay. You will be able to test out some of the common trades, such as equity trades, options trades, and short sells.

Manual vs. Automated backtesting

If you’ve decided that backtesting is the method that you want to apply for your trades, you probably contemplate which way of backtesting is more efficient. Automated backtesting requires running a script or using an online solution to perform backtesting.

On the other hand, manual backtesting requires studying data and then placing trades manually. This is usually performed through a spreadsheet. Automated backtesting has a speed advantage, while you can learn much more about trading through manual experimentation.

Importance of backtesting and simulation

Every trader will need to spend time in the trading world before he refines his trading techniques. Some people will spend a large amount of money in the process, while others can take a more careful and strategic approach.

Instead of risking your money, backtesting and simulation will help you improve your methods before taking any risks. Anyone can use these methods to improve their trading strategy, but there are certain tools and data that institutional traders and people in finance have access to.

Even though backtesting and simulation will help you practice your trading, even the methods themselves will require you to practice them before you have an in-depth understanding of trading.

Backtesting and simulation are important but not essential

You can learn a lot about your trading methods by implementing backtesting or simulation before performing trades. However, many traders with decades of experience haven’t been using such methods, and they are just as successful.

These methods are only a tool that can help you improve your techniques, yet they aren’t critical for every trader. Remember that minimizing the risk of losing money is always the goal of every trader, but even with these techniques, it can never be zero.

You shouldn’t limit yourself to only using simulation and backtesting to make your trades. It’s still crucial to follow the situations on the market, financial news, and high-authority figures in the world of trading.

How To Dispose Of Your Corporate IT Assets Correctly And Safely

At Concept Management both your business security and the environment matter to us and we are passionate about helping our corporate clients and CEO’s to recycle and dispose of their company’s computer ware responsibly. Proper disposal of computers is important for several reasons including keeping your used computer hard drive content private and releasing the recycling potential from your devices. The potential for recycling raw materials in computer hardware is vast and contributes to us collectively reducing the negative impacts of tech waste in the UK.

As CEO or manager of your business, I’m sure you’d agree that computers are an integral part of the modern world. They are electrical devices that work by processing information and data. The likely hood is you are reading this from your own computer, tablet device, phone, or maybe even a wearable tech so you may know about some of the many other things computers are good for. Besides surfing the internet, on a computer, you can type documents, create spreadsheets, make images, edit film or music and even play games. Computers are made all over the world and there are major brands such as Apple, PC, Windows, and Lenovo that make vast ranges of computers internationally.

When computers age they can become slower and less reliable. This can cause problems if a computer is relied upon heavily for work or personal use. As your computer ages, it may become unfit for purpose, and you may therefore seek an upgrade. Here at Concept Management, we care deeply about giving our clients the power of choice that this stage. It is important that you dispose of your computer and hard drive safely and correctly. Safe recycling or disposal of computer equipment is very important for both security and the environment. Whether you are needing to take care of personal or business computer disposal and recycling, we have some key information to help you do it well.

Where recycling is not possible, responsible computer equipment disposal is also crucial as it can affect the environment and disposal services in the UK if you don’t correctly follow WEEE legislation and guidance. Along with your computer itself, we also offer responsible recycling and disposal of other hardware including your keyboard, mouse, cables, monitors, laptops, and external storage drives.

We offer a full range of services in corporate computer and IT equipment disposal where business recycling is at the center and disposal is kept to the minimum. Where we can recycle, we will, as reusing precious raw materials in newer models is a great way to reduce the amount we mine the earth’s resources. Working ethically and ecologically is a priority for us as we want our customers to benefit from updating their technology in the most environmentally friendly way possible. We have fully trained and vetted staff who can assist you or your business with meeting your computer ware disposal needs which surpass the WEEE Directive.

If you do need to completely start again with your business computer equipment, we recommend that you use an expert service you can trust to ensure that your computer is effectively cleaned of any sensitive data before it is disposed of. Concept Management offers an ethically and efficiently minded service with onsite destruction of physical kit, hard drive erasure, and other options for your obsolete computer ware at our HQ site.

The tech industry and culture is moving at a faster and faster rate and the demand for rapid renewal of devices is becoming a world waste issue. Where possible, reusing precious raw materials from older computers and devices and repurposing them in new ones is key in closing the production cycle. Disposing of your business’s electronic waste without proper content erasure or approved disposal methods is dangerous and illegal. But, at Concept Management we encourage our customers to go one step further than following the regulatory computer disposal guidelines as we offer a comprehensive and pioneering recycling service.

With highly trained staff, schooled in the practical and ethical issues around safe data sanitizing processes, we can confidently offer you a safe and hassle-free computer disposal service. So, whether you need information on the process of how to destroy your hard drive from your computer before recycling it or simply would like a quote for the job you need doing we are happy to help. You can rely on our expertise and experience for all of your computer recycling and data disposal needs.

There are so many advantages to choosing to recycle your computer. From Macs to PCs, we want to have the opportunity to reuse the precious elements found in your old model and repurpose them again and again. Entrusting your computer to an accredited service provider such as Concept Management is also a way to avoid harsh and toxic chemicals being released into the environment and polluting our treasured planet. We work beyond the WEEE directive standards which means you have the added benefit of being assured that your data and hardware are being dealt with properly. Improper disposal of computers can leave both you and the environment vulnerable, so we take every step to make your experience with us, is safe. We work with each customer, to offer a bespoke service for the needs of your job and offer our expert advice all the way, so you can make informed choices about your computer recycling and disposal options.

 At Concept Management, we work to be leaders in the responsible and ecologically focused approach to computer recycling and disposal. Our HQ is based in Manchester and due to the substantial demand and our ability to meet it, we have a large team of brilliant staff that offer a 24-hour-a-day service during the 5-day working week. We have the know how that we believe will make a difference as we progress as a nation into greener ways of managing our old technology. First and foremost, we care about protecting our client’s security and helping them to do their bit in taking care of the environment with regard to their computer recycling and disposal needs.

high angle view of multiracial young business people working with computers and documents in open space office

How to Retain your Best Talent During the Cost of Living Crisis

By Ollie Russell, UK Head of Sales at Employment Hero

The post-pandemic worker shortage does not appear to be going anywhere.

In November 2022, 13.3% of businesses surveyed by the Office for National Statistics reported experiencing a shortage of workers. With many people deciding to change careers or exit the workforce entirely, experienced employees who you can trust are more valuable than ever.

And yet these same employees are finding it very tough due to rising costs. This kind of pressure could make it far easier for a competitor to “poach” your best employees – loyalty only stretches so far when you’re struggling to make ends meet.

Here are three strategies you can put in place to help retain your best talent now.

 

If you can, pay them more

It’s obvious, but the best way to retain someone who might be tempted by a higher offer elsewhere is to match that higher offer, possibly before the new offer is even made. 

If someone is mission critical to your business, pay them a salary that recognises that.

After all, if an employee comes to you with a higher offer from someone else, only to have you immediately match it, they will wonder why you didn’t value them earlier.

Most businesses will not be able to increase employee pay to match the very high levels of inflation in the last year, but some level of increase will help.

But a pay-rise is not the only way to increase compensation for an employee you think deserves it. A one-off cost of living payment or bonus won’t eat into your ongoing costs in the same way, but will let your employee know that you value them and want to help them through this difficult period.

 

If you can’t, embrace flexibility

Not all businesses will be able to give big bonuses or pay-rises to their best employees. But there are other ways you can help that don’t involve a pay-rise.

One example is by buying back any annual leave they receive over the statutory amount. This gets a liability off your books while providing them with some extra cash – if they need it. This should only be done if your employee actually wants to sell some of their leave.

Another crucial retention strategy is embracing flexibility in how the workplace operates. British workers love working from outside of the office. Our Remote Working Report found that 88% of office workers wanted to work remotely at least one day a week, and many were willing to leave jobs over it – 33% of 25-34 year olds said they would likely quit if forced into the office full-time. 

Embracing flexibility doesn’t just mean allowing work from home. It could also involve you purchasing some equipment to make that work from home more comfortable and efficient, or subsidising public transport fares for trips to the office if you are insisting on them.

 

Roll out perks

There are many extras you can provide an employee alongside their salary – and some of it doesn’t have to cost you anything.

Salary sacrifice schemes for cars, bikes or gym memberships and the like see your employees use their pre-tax income to pay for the benefit, netting them huge savings without necessarily costing you anything. You may have to take on some liability, but not a particularly large one.

These perks are great at making a job sticky. Quitting your job is hard enough – quitting your job and also losing your electric car is even harder. Low benefit-in-kind rates for clean commuting are sticking around until at least 2028, despite a slight rise – which means these deals are very good for your employee as well as you.

Other perks could include a phone contract or extra annual leave, both measures which make jobs very sticky. There is also a lot of evidence to show that workers who take a decent amount of time off are actually more productive – so you could be helping yourself by helping them here.

These strategies all differ somewhat, but they really boil down to one thing: making sure your best talent knows you value them, and understanding if they are going through a tough time. If you get that right, they should stick around.

How to Grow Your Business in 2023

The business world is changing, and business owners need to change with it. What was once a straightforward process of selling goods or services has become a complex ecosystem that requires a solid strategy to help you understand and anticipate consumer trends. While it might not always be easy to accomplish, there are ways to grow your business in 2023 and beyond.

How Do You Want to Grow?

Growth looks different for every business. While smaller organizations may want to expand their customer base, larger, more established ones might want to focus on improving their ROI. The first step is asking yourself what your business is missing. One element that might come as a surprise is the education factor. Even the most knowledgeable leaders need to continue their education. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to consider returning to college and earning another degree.

As the economy continues to change, you need to understand the best ways to expand, and that may require learning the inner workings from a different angle. There are Going Merry scholarships for college students available as an excellent way to get the continued education you need without having to dip into your savings. You can apply for a scholarship and once approved, you can then further your education while still building your empire.

Identify Your Challenges

To grow in 2023, you also need to identify your challenges. These challenges also look different for everyone, so you need to know what yours are, not your competitors. Identify specific challenges and then create a list of viable ways to resolve them. Keep in mind that this list is just a way for you to put your thoughts on paper. Over time, the possible solutions may change, especially if your challenges change as well.

Identify Target Market

Not marketing to the right people is not only a waste of time, but also a huge waste of money. In addition to knowing what your challenges are, you also need to know who you want as a customer. You need to get to know them on a personal level, identify their needs and understand what makes them unique. If your company is already up and running, you should already have a pretty good idea of who these people are. If not, it’s time to reevaluate your strategy and start marketing to the right people.

Establish Your Core Values

Your core values are one of the most powerful tools you can harness. Once you clearly define them, you can use to shape your mission statement, marketing strategy, and even the way you interact with customers. Your core values also play a huge role in how you interact with your employees. Team members need to understand your values, so they can implement them into how they do their job. They also need to know how your values will impact how they shape the way your organization works. In turn, employees will like their part of something bigger, not just collecting a paycheck.

Create Company Culture

Company culture is one of the most important elements you need to focus on. You need to refresh employee mindset and create a company culture that makes employees want to work there. Far too often, people feel trapped in a job they don’t want. The right company culture boosts employee retention and creates a happier workplace overall.

5 Common Mistakes Made by Inexperienced CEOs

Leadership is a huge undertaking in any walk of life, but perhaps nowhere more so than in business when success and failure can hinge almost entirely on your decision-making capacity. The fact you’ve been entrusted to run a company speaks volumes on your capabilities and skill set already, but a lack of experience in the CEO arena can inevitably lead to mistakes.

That is not to say that the possibility doesn’t exist that you take to the role like a duck to water, but experience is beneficial in any field. Even the best of us make mistakes too, but with knowledge of the 5 common mistakes here, the transition to chief executive officer can become a lot smoother for all concerned.

1. Don’t isolate yourself

The worst thing you can do is build yourself an ivory tower and let the success get to your head. Though of course it is lonely at the top, you are not alone. You have networks of friends and family in particular that will understand your newfound time constraints due to the additional work that comes with being the CEO of a company. This particular mistake concerns one’s mental health, which one could argue is the most important aspect to consider here.

2. Understanding the political shape of your organisation

According to  Umesh Ramakrishnan, Co-CEO of Kingsley Gate Partners, the best way to avoid being fired is to understand the political structures of a company. By no means does this mean getting absolutely everyone on board, but simply knowing the intricate details of a company’s structure can save you a lot of hassle when it comes to making those all important decisions.

3. There are no shortcuts

Contrary to what a lot of CEOs may believe, growth can occasionally be a gradual and painstaking process. Of course, there are exceptions, but a grave mistake that you can make is being unrealistic about you and your company’s overall ambitions. Take things step-by-step and think logically about previous successes – build on them. Equally, work on the errors. That said, there are ways through which you may be able to accelerate the growth of your company, such as through the Clear Start Programme – an OOH opportunity designed specifically for start-ups.

4. Find an hour a day to read

Knowledge is power as they say. The power of an excellent book can really change your perception on anything, whether that book is business related or a work of fiction. It may seem a challenge to find that time to read initially, but once you’ve settled into the role, spare yourself an hour to read something every day. Equally if you have other hobbies, spare that time doing something you enjoy. You’re a human not a machine after all.

5. Keep your colleagues close

You are only one mind, and that can be great when a final decision needs to be made and your team is deadlocked. But your business should be as democratic as possible, which perhaps means going in a direction you perhaps wouldn’t have chosen at certain times. That said, it’s important to strike the right balance between making decisions that are best for the company and going with the majority.  

Hand of businessman pulling wood block fail on building tower at home and drape change

Failure is Inevitable: Here’s How You Get Over It

By Sam White, founder and CEO of Stella Insurance.

Failure is an unavoidable part of life. I like to think of failure as the necessary underbelly of success. In the absence of failure, how would you determine what your successes are? That might sound like a simplification, and I concede that failure isn’t easy. I know that all too well, having had my fair share of failures in both life and in business. I lost 60% of my business over a six week period in 2013 due to a change in insurance legislation. On the other hand, I’ve rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous living in Beverly Hills and even encouraged Robbie Williams to sing at my first wedding!

Overcoming failure is a key indicator of business agility as it’s not about the failure itself, but what you do to bounce back. Accept that failure is natural as it will make you a better business leader if you handle it right and take the valuable learning points. Here are some of the lessons I live by when it comes to failure.

 

Find balance within

So, something has failed, maybe you haven’t retained a good management team or there’s a lack of capital or funding. It’s not the end of the world, but it will take a balanced approach to overcome it. Mo Gawdat expresses that every individual has a certain proportion of masculine and feminine energies (irrespective of gender). Masculine left brain characteristics are analytical, focused, results driven. Meanwhile, feminine right brain energy is typified by empathy, intuition, and being. Masculine energy typically exists more in business environments so when leaders with overweighing masculine energy are in crisis, they double down on what they know, e.g., spend more hours trying to fix a problem, put more money into X and Y. However, what’s required is thinking differently. If people are experiencing anger and frustration, creative decision making is inhibited. You must find ways to get into joy and let go of failure, trusting your intuition.

 

Don’t wallow, it’s unproductive

Failure is a disguised opportunity that offers us a choice, are you going to accept a lose-lose outcome and feel sorry for yourself, or are you going to turn it around and win? Our brain has a tendency to give weight to negative experiences more than positive ones. However, this is simply self-indulgent. Process the failure and then start looking forwards again. Lean on your colleagues, friends, and family so you can distance yourself from failure.

 

Learn, learn, and learn

Failure is ultimately a lesson in learning how to succeed. However, to learn you need to reflect and that takes practice! It takes deliberate effort to reframe failure in the mind as a positive experience. Failure reveals the changes you need to make to succeed the next time, whether making personal changes or changes to your team and strategy. Use it to plan better for your next attempt.

As a business leader, I try to engage both my masculine and feminine energies (in the spirit of Mo Gawdat!). In traditional business environments, masculine traits tend to dominate. As a result, I also emphasise feminine energies, empathy and intuition, to determine new ways of working and being. By balancing these energies, it’s easier to avoid dysfunction in business and work relationships. I would also recommend working with a corporate psychologist, having done so at Freedom Service Group, and eventually having my corporate psychologist replace me as CEO. I learnt that human relationships are key to solving business problems. While entrepreneurs tend to think they have everything figured out, it’s crucial to receive insight from those with different perspectives and expertise.

 

Have another crack at it

Failure is a stepping stone to success and should be used to inform your next decisions. All great entrepreneurs have failed, and, in many cases, they’ve failed more than once so don’t be afraid to try, try again. If you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you’ll get there, you will be on the right track. I recommend setting clear expectations of the result and leaning on your intuition, as well as that of trusted team members, to ensure your business is constantly evolving.

A failure could be one of the greatest lessons you ever receive. My own failures have catalysed many of my successes and always drive me to continue onwards and upwards. Go on, I urge you to appreciate your failures and see where they take you. Who knows, success might be right around the corner.

CEO standing in front of brick wall with hands crossed and smiling
Sam White, founder and CEO of Stella Insurance.
businessman look through telescope

Key Outlooks for Business and Society in 2023

By Jeff Dewing CEO of Cloudfm

It’s no secret that 2023 is going to be a rough ride for most, with the cost of living and soaring energy prices weighing heavily on consumers and businesses alike. We’re additionally going to continue to feel the labour shortage, especially given Keir Starmer’s reversal of the Labour Party’s support of freedom of movement.

That said, 2023 must be a year of momentum. Trends around flexible and hybrid work will rightfully continue to become normalised. Antiquated business leaders who force people into the office should be consigned to the past.

This new year will require thinking differently to solve problems. For example, innovations leveraging AR and VR technologies to upskill and reskill employees to combat the labour shortage and integrating gamification in business supply chains to help reach Net Zero.

Here are some of the key developments to look out for in 2023:

 

Cost of living will continue to hurt consumers and businesses

The immense pressures of the cost of living crisis will continue into 2023 and beyond, wreaking havoc on consumer confidence and spending. The writing is on the wall, inflation was sitting at 12% in October 2022 and is expected to remain well above 10% into 2023. As ever, it’s the everyday people that are under the weight of this financial burden. Consumers have already been adapting, the choice to travel to work is a toss up between commuting fees and energy prices, and spending is only reserved for the bare essentials.

The most frightening impact, however, is the detrimental effects on mental health. ONS reports that people living in the most deprived 10% of areas in the UK are more than twice as likely to die from suicide as those living in the wealthiest 10% of areas. The reality is this cost of living crisis could claim lives. Therefore, businesses need to put a greater emphasis on supporting and protecting their staff as much as they can, whether that’s offering loans or implementing mental health programmes.

 

Big Tech’s decline provides opportunities for the greater tech industry

Big Tech layoffs actually provide an opportunity for the tech industry. With the big players throwing away top talent, there’s a clear opportunity for them to join innovative start-ups looking beyond the failing ad-based models, albeit with intense competition.

Layoffs are by no means easy. But what matters is doing the right thing, giving appropriate notice time and severance packages to tide people over until they can find new opportunities. This is something Twitter failed to do, and it will no doubt reduce trust in Big Tech. In November, 50% of Twitter’s workforce was let go and a class-action lawsuit was filed asserting that Twitter violated the law by not providing the required notice.

Although Big Tech might build back its workforce, it will not so easily recover from its self-inflicted reputational damage, dismissing employees as though they are merely cogs in the wheel. People must be put first regardless and it’s a lesson all businesses can learn from.

 

The government’s lack of leadership must be addressed

For successive governments, we’ve seen leaders not only shirking their responsibilities, but choosing to leave problems to weaken those that come after them. Jeremy Hunt’s November 2022 budget was another example of this, delaying the pain of an austerity package to give the Tories a chance. The budget continues the same theme, whereby rampant inflation and state borrowing are kicked down the road to the next government.

I have encountered many different types of leaders and leadership approaches. Those that were successful and well-respected all had a willingness and desire to face problems head on and devise solutions, especially difficult ones. The need for effective leadership has never been more apparent, but it remains to be seen whether this government and its budget are up for the task in 2023. 

 

Hybrid work demands re-thinking office design

Over the course of my life, I’ve seen the decline of ‘third places.’ This is defined as any place you go to spend time that isn’t your home (first place) or your workplace (second place). They are a space to meet friends and family, interact with local activities and build a sense of community unity, often without any cost.

Government cuts have removed many places like youth centres and libraries. The effects on our communities shouldn’t be underestimated. This, combined with the cost of living crisis and aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, is hugely impacting overall employee well-being. It isn’t just a moral issue, as low engagement alone costs the global economy $7.8 trillion. We need to invest in our employees’ wellbeing in 2023 as this influences both their lives outside work and their experiences at work. Office spaces should be designed with emotional wellbeing in mind. For example, be casual and collaborative, with couches, TVs, games etc. Beyond that, offices should be places where employees can make life moments rather than just do what they can do when working from home.

 

Innovation is needed more than ever

In 2023, we will increasingly need to look to business leaders and innovators to solve pressing problems due to failing politicians’ lack of action. For example, with the world significantly off course to achieving emissions targets due to the absence of effective global political policies. Gamification is a tool which can be widely utilised to address the engagement gap in the fight against climate change. Behavioural Gamification is the process whereby game mechanics are incorporated into everyday activities to motivate behaviour change. Studies indicate that gamification can impact cognitive and behavioural engagement, while being enjoyable. Business leaders should consider how they can implement techniques such as gamification across their business and supply chain to encourage green behaviour and change within.

The labour shortage is another problem that demands innovation. Some employers are offering greater flexibility, thinking creatively about their recruitment approach, and offering higher wages to attract the talent they want. However, this simply moves the problem around. It’s crucial we upskill and reskill existing employees across industries, ensuring the expertise is readily available. This can be done using augmented reality (AR), a highly visual and interactive method of presenting digitised information in the context of the physical environment that democratises knowledge and information sharing irrespective of physical limitations.

Overall, it’s important CEOs understand their larger impact on society. Businesses can make a real impact in 2023 by leading where the government lacks, innovating and protecting employees and the environment. To do so businesses need to be agile and open to change.

businessman with wrench to adjust gear cogwheels on human head metaphor

How To Hit Refresh On Employee Mindset In 2023

By Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer at Employment Hero 

 

With the new year fast approaching, how can businesses ensure they are in pole position for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in 2023? 

Having an engaged and motivated workforce is key, so it is essential that employees reset and reinvigorate their motivations for the next 12 months. With this in mind, there are impactful actions business leaders and HR can take to help their workforce feel recharged and motivated for the year ahead.

Here are some practical tips to follow:

 

Set new goals for the year

Ask your team what kind of employee they want to be in 2023. Is there anything they want to improve from the previous year? What do they want to strive for? Get them to list five things they’re excited about achieving in the new year.

When considering professional goals for your employees or yourself, remember to always let your company values be your guide. Remembering the good work that you do and how your product or service can add value to your clients’ or customers’ lives is a great way to build motivation.

 

Throw out your old working style

If there’s any time to disrupt general routines and test productivity techniques, now is the time. Following old working styles and chasing old priorities can slow your team down significantly. Have your team start by evaluating their old commitments.

Ask your team to brainstorm some new working styles together. There’s power in numbers – if multiple people start a new habit it’s more likely to stick.

 

Take the time to make flexible working awesome

Flexible work schedules can help reduce stress levels, increase productivity, boost morale, reduce lateness and absenteeism, reduce employee turnover and help employees achieve a better work-life balance. It’s also quite clear that flexible work options are becoming a decisive factor in recruitment and retention and the number is only set to grow.

Two-fifths of employees surveyed in our 2022 Remote Working Report, between the ages of 18 and 35, said that they are likely to resign if told they could no longer work from home at all.

Evaluate your operational systems. How useful is your internal messaging platform? Are your team properly collaborating using task management systems? Think about the possibility of becoming more of a hybrid team in the new year. A hybrid team works from home half the time, and in the office half the time, with the office generally being a destination for collaboration and brainstorming.

 

Prioritise wellness

A sense of wellness is a key element of a positive mindset. Employee wellness should be examined throughout the year, with research showing that one-time wellness events are simply not helpful for most workers. Regular, informal check-ins with employees can also help you recognise when something has changed and when they may need assistance, so be sure to catch up often.

Financial wellness is an easily-forgotten area of support that employees are looking to their employers for assistance. Consider offering your team sessions with a financial advisor a couple of times a year to help them stay financially well. 

 

Talk about tools and training

Training benefits both the company and the employee — and builds greater loyalty towards the company when they know they are supported and encouraged in their own growth and endeavours.

 

Find out how employees are doing

Create a safe space for employees to talk in 1:1 meetings, so they can come to you honestly and sincerely with their true state of mind and raise any difficulties. If there’s a better or more flexible way for them to work, consider implementing that to alleviate their worries and concerns.

You want your employees to be performing at their best — and if that means making slight changes so they can feel empowered and motivated at work, it needs to be made.