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For much of our adult lives we’ll spend most of our waking hours at work. During recent years, our working environments have changed in ways that would have been difficult to imagine 10, 5 or even 3 years ago. New technologies and access to the Internet enables us to work outside the workplace and on the go. This has led to increased levels of productivity and the ability to communicate at anytime, anywhere. But at what cost?
Sick leave, bereavement leave and even compassion within the workplace because of physical injuries are expected. But what about our mental health?
The importance of physical and mental health
Yes, we may be able to answer a client’s email at 2am in the morning. But what is that doing to our productivity and stress levels in the long–run? This is a question that is imperative we ask now. We all want happy, healthy team members and management. That’s why it’s essential to not only look after our physical health, but our mental health too.
The extent and pace of change can often mean harmful use of alcohol or other substances, absenteeism and lost productivity. Unfortunately, the lost productivity is a result of depression and anxiety.
Some causes of the above can include poor communication and management practices, limited participation in decision-making, long or inflexible working hours and lack of team unity. Bullying and psychological harassment are well-known causes of work-related stress and related mental health problems.
Education is key
Fortunately, all over the world - and especially now here in NZ - there is a growing recognition that the mental well-being of employees is something we have to explore and pay attention to. At the end of the day, looking after our mental health in the workplace will have an overall positive impact on organisational success, professional fulfilment and a better quality of life for all of us.
So what can you do in your workplace to ensure the mental health of your team?
Communication. Having an open discussion about anxiety and depression is the first step to making a difference. Often a person who is experiencing distress from anxiety and depression has an added fear of being stigmatised and, at worse, losing their job. This can culminate in said person attempting to ‘hide’ symptoms, deny their condition and stop them from getting help. Seek consent with your team member to discuss functional limitations, stressors, prognosis and recovery timeframes. Ensure they are taking the necessary steps with their GP to get a proper diagnosis.
Ensure staff are aware of support that is available, e.g. employee assistance programmes (EAP), peer support, flexible working arrangements, coaching, counselling and any subsidies for gyms, yoga studios or workplace massages. It is vitally important that they know they are not alone in this.
Offer staff training about mental illness, work-related stress, discrimination and bullying/harassment to improve understanding and management of mental health (and other) issues. Just as importantly, foster an open culture where mental wellness issues can be discussed. We all know knowledge is power: if you have a team member experiencing mental distress in a team where no one understands what it’s like to be trapped in something like this, it is extremely important to educate them.
Monitor workload at regular intervals. The team member may not want to have their workload decreased as this could cause them to have a feeling of inadequacy. On the contrary, it may be necessary to lighten their load. Either way, be sure to check in on a daily or weekly basis. Ask how they feel, how they are coping, what can you do to help them on that particular day.
Assess the physical work environment to address potential stressors. Are they struggling with simple tasks such as answering the phone? Answering emails? Are they constantly in-demand? It’s important to talk to the team member about their time management. If they are attempting to be everything for everyone at any one time, it is a good idea to set periods where someone else may answer the phone. Alternatively, in order for them to catch up, or take a break, they can put their out-of-office on. If they are being bullied or harassed, while it is important to deal with the issue, moving them physically away from people, places and things that are triggers can help until the deeper issues are ironed out.
Allow flexible working arrangements where possible/appropriate. People who experience mental distress often have the most trouble in the morning. It can be a monumental feat to get out of bed, dressed and get into work. Try to be understanding about this, and know that just by getting there, they have achieved something major in their day.
Have a code word. If your team member experiences panic attacks that may come from nowhere, consider using a code word. This gives them the extra security that if they are in a meeting or are overwhelmed, they can mention it and help can be drafted in to lighten the load while they have some space to allow it to pass. Even knowing they have a code word can go a long way in their recovery.
Celebrate! Celebrate wins with them. All too often we get sucked into the negative sides of work. Being able to review our week and see the little achievements along the way can be a major factor in recovery.
We all have a role to play
Evolution is the gradual development of something. Technology has evolved so fast and it is only getting better and better. However, if we humans don’t evolve along with the technology, find ways to counter it, and connect with ourselves and others, it will make us sick. And this sickness may start where we spend most of our day. An effective leader in an organisation will see the risks of reduced mental health and take steps to prevent it, improve and succeed. The result? A healthy, happy, productive team beside them. It’s a group effort. So let’s make a difference starting today.
© Right Hand Man 2019
Every week at Right Hand Man we see yet another business that has been sold an ill-thought-out, under-performing website lemon. It’s heart-breaking for us, because many website blunders are so easily avoidable. Here are just some of the mistakes we see…
1. Built by a designer, not a marketer
Now, we all know that almost any business around today needs a website. It is, after all, your online shop front and often the first place a prospective customer forms an opinion of your business and what you offer. The trouble is, many websites are designed and built by web developers or designers, not marketers. In other words, the websites aren’t designed with identified, achievable, measurable marketing objectives in mind.
Unlike web development companies and digital agencies, Right Hand Man is a marketing company that designs and build websites as part of our overall service. This means our client’s marketing objectives (and there for, business performance and growth) always come first.
2. Sold bells and whistles you don’t need
Inevitably, these clients will have spent a lot of money. Often, they will have been oversold web functionality with bells, whistles and widgets they simply don’t need (but that the web developer thought it would “be a good idea”, probably because they knew they could charge extra for them). Because of this, in many cases the websites are never really finished. These clients eventually realise they have been sold a ‘dog’ and come to Right Hand Man because they want the situation fixed.
3. Lack of proper needs analysis
At Right Hand Man, we start by meeting with the client and their team, and break things down to discover the real needs of the business, both in terms of marketing and in other areas of the business. Then we identify key marketing objectives the website must achieve, such as clear, easy-to-understand business positioning, branding, customer education, and lead generation, conversion and sales. Now we have clearly defined, agreed-upon objectives, we implement marketing strategies to achieve these.
4. Poor or no SEO
Appropriate, relevant web content and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is key to a website’s success. SEO is the process of increasing the visibility of a website or web page to those using a search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results (i.e. ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ results). This does not include paid placement, such as Google Ads. When SEO is performed properly, a website is ranked higher in the search results page. This means more visitors… and more visitors means more of them can be converted into customers.
5. Lack of digital expertise
When a prospective client comes to us, they might have a great-looking website (or not, in most cases). But because a digital expert wasn’t part of the build and a professional copywriter didn’t write clear, concise, compelling content and use the right keywords, the website is ranking poorly, and is sitting way down on page six of search results. This will always make the advertising and promotion of a website an uphill battle, with poor results to follow. This is one of the very first problems Right Hand Man will fix.
6. Client can’t make changes
To make matters worse, many clients are unable to make changes to their website. They are handcuffed, chained and hog-tied because they need coding to be done. They must trudge back to the original designer to have even the most basic of changes made (meanwhile, the designer happily clips the ticket again and again). Most businesses understand they must update web content every month so it stays fresh and relevant. But having the original designer update content means what was originally meant to be a $2,000 website quickly becomes a $4,000 or $5,000 website, with costs growing.
7. A single staff member controls the site
Sometimes a client has a dedicated in-house staff member who can update website content. But more often that not, that staff member is the only one. And when they leave, that knowledge goes with them. The website enters the doldrums where nothing happens, and nothing is updated. The business is now at risk, and it’s all to easy for their competition to gain a competitive advantage. You snooze, you lose. At Right Hand Man, we make it easy for clients to update their websites.
8. No mobile optimisation
Another common problem we see are websites that are not mobile-optimised. But consumers are now so used to mobile websites (easy to navigate on a small screen, with a quick load time) that they will abandon a website if it doesn’t work well on their mobile. As long ago as 2015, Google announced more people were searching from mobile devices than from desktop or laptop computers. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on customers and leaving money on the table. A website that’s optimised for mobile also helps your Google ranking. We’ll immediately help you fix this.
9. No web analytics to measure performance
John Wanamaker, founder of Wanamaker’s Department Store, famously said, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." With many websites, the developer hasn’t even included any form of website analytics, so the client has no idea how many people visit and what is going on when they do. However, a key step in lifting the performance of any marketing activity – including websites – is measuring results to see what works and what doesn’t. Web analytics is the measurement, collection and analysis of web data so you know where you can make changes to lift performance. Because it’s digital, the data is captured for you so it couldn’t be easier. We provide clients with regular reports, so they know what is going on and can make adjustments accordingly.
10. Failure to future-proof
Often, a client has ended up with a website that barely fits their needs now, let alone in the future. But businesses grow, markets change and consumer preferences shift. That’s why we strive to future-proof websites, building in flexibility so clients can respond to these influences and update or modify their website as needed with minimal effort and cost.
11. Lack of inbound marketing
Keeping content fresh, relevant and helpful to visitors is key to making them spend time on your website. It also encourages them to return regularly. Inbound marketing is about creating valuable experiences for people. By offering content that addresses the needs of your ideal customer (and that delights), you can attract more qualified prospects and build trust and credibility. Squarespace, one of the platforms on which we build our websites, enables clients to update their own content when and as needed. Right Hand Man also writes blogs and emails for many clients, helping position them as ‘Thought Leaders’ in their industry, drive web traffic, and attract and retain customers.
12. Poor Google Ads strategy
We also see a lot of companies throwing money at Google Ads, with less than optimal results. But their digital agency doesn’t really care, because they clip the ticket regardless. However, at Right Hand Man we know that a proper strategic approach needs to be taken in the use of Google Ads if you want results. Not only that, there is very little point in driving traffic to a crappy website with a poorly targeted offer and a weak call-to-action that fails to convert. That’s just a waste of a visitor’s time and the client’s hard-earned money. We develop Google Ads strategy that drives leads and sales for a client’s business. Moreover, our primary goal is to get the keywords strategy spot on so that the Google Ads bring in relevant traffic to the website.
As you can see, at Right Hand Man we are passionate about websites that are strategically on target, that work well, give the visitor a good experience and help the client achieve their objectives. It is one of the most valuable tools in a client’s marketing toolbox, and it must be done right.
Why we brought web development in-house
Years ago, we used to outsource website builds because Right Hand Man growing, and we didn’t have the required resources in-house. However, after meeting with clients during their EMM (Effective Marketing Manager) meetings, we found some websites lacked substance because the designers focused less on the client’s needs and more on “just build a website, get paid and move on to the next one”.
Better websites at a better price
Realising this didn’t match with how Right Hand Man does business, we brought web building skills in-house, knowing we could give the client a better experience at a fairer price. We could provide websites that generated results, grew brand awareness and drove sales. And we could place control in the client’s hands by building their websites on a platform that enabled them to make changes when they needed without having to be a coder.
Squarespace Circle Member
Today, we are a Squarespace Circle Member, Mailchimp Partner and Google Partner. We write, design and build websites for clients based on a solid understanding of their needs, web marketing best practices and strategy to create fantastic websites that deliver results.
“We wish we had seen you years ago”
Many clients tell us they wished they had seen Right Hand Man years ago, because then they would have had a website that worked, and they wouldn’t have wasted a trailer-load of money on a bad website. If you’d like to discuss your website needs, please call Right Hand Man on (09) 370 0078 or call Richard direct on 022 1200 775.
By Richard Neunzerling, Right Hand Man Director
© Right Hand Man 2019
Want to get the most from your advertising dollar? Follow these 8 rules and make sure you get bang for you buck:
1. Talk to your target audience.
If you’re going to advertise, don’t waste valuable money talking to the people who aren’t interested in your product. That means being specific in the language you use and speaking in a way that attracts their attention.
Every business, big or small, needs to give a customer some reason to choose their product or service. The best way to do this, is to define why your product or service is different from the competition and more importantly why your customers should care that it’s different. In short, you position your business as distinct in the market.
Positioning in practice
We all know that when you develop a website, you have to make sure people can find it. Which means making sure it ranks high on the various search engines, which in most cases means Google.
This need is referred to as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), an area of expertise dedicated to putting your website ahead of all the others i.e. the competition. Without question having effective SEO makes perfect sense, in fact it’s critical.
But what happens when all these people arrive at your site?
From a marketing point of view Facebook can seem like the ideal place to promote your business. Unlike most traditional forms of media, Facebook is bi-directional, so instead of just sending someone a one-way message, you can use it for things like research, brand building, customer service, finding new prospects as well as marketing.
So why aren’t more businesses making more of this opportunity?
There is a big difference in the way large and small businesses manage and interpret their customer numbers. In most cases, corporates are able to define and analyse these numbers, but it’s an area where small businesses should take some lessons. For those that do, exceptional results are waiting.