- Steff Booth
Stress - The silent killer
There can be nothing more fulfilling than running your own business. Knowing that you managed to turn your hopes and dreams into a successful venture and can be proud of what you have achieved. However, no business owner ever had an easy job of it. Richard Branson didn’t create the Virgin empire overnight without issues. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t amass billions with Facebook without a few sleepless nights. There are plenty of hurdles to be met along the way and unfortunately some of them can trip you up and you never fully recover.
Work related stress, anxiety or depression counted for 57% of all work days lost in 2017/18 – that’s 15.4million days, up from 12.5million days the previous year! (Source: www.telegraph.co.uk)
Here are the Top 5 reasons for stress within the workplace along with some possible solutions:
Business owners, entrepreneurs and other individuals with busy lives often take on far too much responsibility. Responsibility alone can make life difficult but the tasks that come with it can produce a drastic increase in workload which is more than likely to lead to high stress levels. What makes this worse, is that you’re unlikely to see just how much of an impact this will have on you until it’s too late.
Possible Solution: If you’re the boss, then unfortunately, the buck does stop with you but that doesn’t mean that you can’t share responsibility of certain things with other members of the business. Delegating certain aspects to other employees or a freelancer may be just what you need to lighten the load. Not everyone is a natural delegator but giving it a try for certain less critical tasks could save your stress levels from elevating. Finding a Virtual Assistant who can fit right into your business for the hours you require could make the difference between success and meltdown.
Not Enough Hours in the Day
The likely conclusion to taking on too much responsibility, is that you will end up with more tasks to complete than there are hours in the day. When you’re working all the hours God sends and there is a little time for you to rest and recuperate, your stress levels will inevitably rise, creating an impossible situation. Continual stress caused by overworking will make your body work harder and you will end up in a vicious circle of too much work, too much stress and constant fatigue. A hard habit to break!
Possible Solution: More responsibility = more tasks to complete=less hours in the day for you. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Utilising other employees, or taking on someone for those time-consuming jobs that really don’t need to be completed by you, is the best possible answer to getting some time back in your day. You really don’t need to be the person stuffing envelopes for a marketing campaign or responding to customer enquiries so find someone that can take these tasks from you. Virtual Assistants come with many skills and will be able to get these tasks done and dusted quickly, efficiently and economically.
Small business owners often start out trying to manage everything by themselves regardless of knowledge and skills. Instead of outsourcing to an expert, they will struggle on by themselves, usually spending much more time on a task than is required as they don’t want the cost associated with getting in some help. Although this will make for a well-rounded ‘knowledgeable in many areas’ business owner, this will be little use if they are unable to work due to ill-health brought about by stress.
Possible Solution: You may know nothing about IT, accounting, marketing, HR or data entry so why put yourself through the pressure of all these jobs? It will undoubtedly take you take you significantly longer to undertake than it would a specialist, so bite the bullet and get yourself a Virtual Assistant. They will be there to assist you for only the hours you require and they come with a multitude of flexible skills.
As if it wasn’t bad enough being worried about whether you can get all the commercial tasks completed in time, the worry of not having enough money to keep the business afloat can often be something that will tip you over the edge. If you’re struggling with workload already, you’re not likely to be able to take on any additional work, and if you can’t do that, your business is never going to grow. Another vicious circle just waiting to bite you on the bum.
Possible Solution: Being realistic about how long you can trade for without the money running out is an important first step for any business owner. But if things start taking a turn for the worse, you really need to make a plan on how to get things back on track. Making sure that the business-critical tasks are completed to keep things ticking over (such as chasing outstanding invoices and making sales), along with putting things in place to develop and grow the business, are crucial. If this mean enlisting the assistance of a Virtual Assistant for just a short time to tide you over, it may well be worth every penny.
Poor Work-Life Balance
Working silly hours every day and not getting time to yourself or time with your family and friends will only end up making you unhappy. Everyone needs some ‘down time’ to rest, relax, enjoy a hobby, go for a walk, listen to music, whatever makes you smile. Every successful business will allow for ‘me time’ for the people it employs, those businesses who don’t will undoubtedly suffer from a high turnover of staff or will eventually fail to exist.
Possible Solution: A Virtual Assistant could be just what you need to give you and your employees some time back in your day. To let you leave a bit earlier or come in a bit later or even have a day off!
For any small business owner, a Virtual Assistant could be just the answer to sort out many of your business worries. They will gladly share responsibilities, take on additional workload, provide expertise in multiple areas, assist with business-critical tasks to keep the business running and give you the opportunity to get some time back in your life.
And the real beauty is, that you only need to use them for the time that you require, as and when you need them. You don’t have to worry about holiday pay, sick pay, pensions, NI contributions, equipment etc.
You might be thinking that you can’t afford a Virtual Assistant? Can you afford not to?