The headline reads, “Smiles Can Ease Stress at the Office.” The article was written by syndicated columnist, Michelle Singletary, and in it she mentioned the number of businesses that were laying off staff and closing locations leaving those employees who kept their jobs to shoulder more responsibility. She noted that this added more stress to the employees who remained.
In the article Michelle also reviewed a book that focused on the the need for levity in the workplace. The book highlighted the need for employers to create a fun and light atmosphere on the job and incorporate these in emails, memos, voice mails, meetings, and training sessions.
As I read the article I thought of how this article could be applied to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Do you work from home full-time? Are you alone in your home office day after day? Do you take time to smile or even laugh? If you are a small business owner with a brick and mortar store, like a boutique, do you find ways to inject humor into your interactions with your clients and prospects?
There are many types of small businesses where there is a lot of interaction with the public. For example, hair salons, spas, auto supply stores, hardware stores, fabric stores, etc. Because of this interaction there is no shortage of communication and opportunities to inject humor into your day; but taking or making opportunities to smile or laugh when you’re alone may not be something many of us think about.
Most entrepreneurs, especially ones who are just getting started, find that they stay busy doing all the things necessary to create a profitable business, including marketing and product creation.
From this article, and in reviewing the book, “The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up” by Gostick and Christopher, it’s clear that it’s important to find things to laugh about during your day. It lightens your mood and relieves stress. Stress is something that can sap your energy and make you lose the fun rather than keep the fun in your business.
The fact is that small business owners are usually busy working on their business by planning, organizing, thinking of ways to increase cash-flow, marketing strategies, talk with mentors and other professionals. They’re often also working in their business – doing the actual work. But amidst all of this, it’s important to take time to smile, or even laugh during your work day.
Here are a few suggestions. You may think of many more:
- Your Daily Newspaper: Read the Business section and the local news, but savor the Comics as well. You may be surprised at the chuckle you can get from some of the characters. If your newspaper has a “Good for You” section, you may find it pleasant to read of the accomplishment of others.
- I love reading “Awake” magazine as there is always an article on an everyday topic that makes me smile, while providing benefit at the same time. A current title is “A Bird’s-Eye View of Fishing,” which discusses the methods different types of bird use to fish for their prey. Some are quite amusing to read about.
- Call a friend during your lunch time or break time and exchange pleasantries. Do not call the friend who you know is going to complain about everything that’s going wrong in her life. Save that call for other times.
- Where possible, close the doors of your establishment, or if you’re at home, close the door to your office, get a sandwich and take a walk or a seat in a nearby park for even half an hour. You may find that simple act allowed you to exchange pleasantries or even just a smile with someone and you return to work with renewed vigor and a positive attitude.
The important thing is to take time to smile or laugh every day so you do not lose the fun or joy in your business. How do you keep the fun in your business? Please share in the comments.