“Burnout” is a term that gets thrown around a little too casually. Using it without understanding what it really means desensitizes us to how catastrophic it can be for our careers and private lives.
Being tired after a long week of pulling 12-hour shifts isn’t burnout. Neither is having to deal with an obnoxious co-worker for a year. And, to keep matters topical, burnout isn’t feeling overwhelmed by having to work weird hours due to isolation.
Having said that, burnout isn’t uncommon, and it can have a serious impact on a person’s long-term wellbeing. Burnout can ruin lives. It can end careers and relationships. Its main symptoms include long-term exhaustion, a noticeable decline in performance, serious depression, a complete loss of motivation, as well as harmful physical symptoms like digestive issues and debilitating headaches — and sleepless nights.
Let’s first look at the root causes of burnout in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, and then we’ll discuss the most effective strategies for avoiding it.
Burnout in the Midst of a Global Pandemic
Before looking at ways to help avoid burnout, it’s important to understand how the Covid-19 crisis is contributing to the likelihood of suffering from it. There’s no point in understanding solutions if we don’t understand the root causes.
- Loss of revenue means job cuts. Job cuts mean increased expectations on remaining staff.
- Concerns over job security have a tangible impact on a person’s ability to deal with work pressures.
- Increased time spent at work means less time for mental recovery.
- A general sense of dread and stress about the disease itself takes a psychological toll.
- The impact of staff restructuring can lead to mismanagement and mixed signals on priorities or job functions.
- Smaller teams mean fewer social interactions and support, both of which are crucial to reducing the likelihood of burnout.
- In cases where lockdowns are enforced, staff members working from home are poorly managed, and the lines between their professional and personal lives can be blurred.
Then, of course, you have the compound effect of all of these causes. One or two of these is manageable. All of them together is a recipe for mass staff burnout.
Now that I’ve gotten you sufficiently worried about the problems and risks, let’s take a look at solutions. Because there are solutions, and most of them are relatively easy to implement.
Most of these need strong leadership skills to execute since there’s no way a manager can reasonably enforce certain behaviors. “Leading by example” might sound like a cliche, but in times like these, it may be a great idea to lean on some old-fashioned wisdom.
1. Suggest Dedicated Work-at-Home Spaces
Isolated staff members are at exceptional risk of burnout. It’s absolutely essential that they cultivate an environment as close to their professional space at home as possible. This means both physically and emotionally.
Having a room that can be converted into an office is ideal. Having space where the person feels “I’m at work now,” rather than “I’m in bed looking at my laptop” is vital because it creates a very clear boundary between work and personal life.
There are some great resources on how to convert an existing room into a space that either feels like a dedicated workspace or one that sustainably serves dual purposes.
2. Encourage Healthy Work-from-Home Schedules
This obviously goes both ways. A certain type of employee can very easily fall into the trap of overworking since they’re “constantly at work,” while another may do as little as possible because they’re “constantly at home.”
Fortunately, this conundrum is solved with the same set of solutions.
Firstly, encourage your staff to maintain a schedule. No matter how difficult or counter-intuitive it is for them, it’s essential that they stick to something resembling a pattern. Of course, there will be exceptions; enforcing this on some days will be easier than others.
The principle is the important thing, however. Acknowledge the importance of doing certain activities at certain times, the same way they would when they’re at work. If they maintain this mindset, it will become easy to stick to, and the tangible benefits will make them want to continue working this way.
3. Be Aware of Cultural Norms
Citizens of certain countries and cities are just more prone to burnout than others. Savvy Sleeper compiled a variety of studies from seven sources to determine which cities around the world are most and least prone to burnout.
Asian cities dominate the top 10, with Tokyo taking the top spot as the city with the highest risk of burnout. This is unsurprising given the intense working culture in Japan’s capital.
Meanwhile, many northern European cities like Copenhagen, Oslo and Tallinn (the city least susceptible to burnout of the 69 cities analyzed) dot the bottom of the list.
During the pandemic, the rise of decentralized workforces has spiked even more dramatically. A great manager will bear the cultural impulses of certain remote staff members in mind when allocating work and involving them in meetings.
The blog post linked to above has some excellent research on the topic. It’s highly recommended to become familiar with this data as you come to terms with the challenges of managing a remote workforce.
Wherever possible, try to schedule meetings during times when your remote staff members, especially those culturally predisposed to burnout, should be awake. Getting the right amount of sleep is absolutely essential to avoiding burnout.
If it’s in your company’s culture to have casual conversations about lifestyle issues, speak to your staff about the importance of sleep. It seems like a “soft” issue, but experts disagree.
4. Be Absolutely Clear about Priorities
During times of general uncertainty, defining priorities is something that provides some much-needed clarity to employees. This, obviously, has benefits for the company also, since you don’t want your staff focused on tasks that aren’t valuable to the organization.
Ensure that your staff knows how their daily tasks relate to company strategy. This helps make them feel part of a bigger picture and less isolated. It also helps them to know that the bosses have a plan – an objective that they are playing a critical role in realizing.
There are many tools you can use to communicate staff work schedules and priorities. Many of them are free and extremely simple to use. I recommend Trello. It’s incredibly easy to understand, it’s super flexible, and it can be integrated with many of the software tools your company is already probably using.
5. Keep Casual Conversations Going
Most people like getting along well with their colleagues. Workplace friendships and relationships are some of the most valuable we’ll make in our lives. People find things they have in common beyond reaching a certain target or rolling a project out under budget. It’s part of being a grownup, and almost everyone appreciates the experience of making friends at work.
Keeping this culture going is challenging in an environment that’s been forcibly decentralized, but it’s not impossible. Tools like Slack make it possible to create many topic-specific channels where colleagues can connect about things that remind them that they’re still humans.
Use these subject-specific channels to encourage conversations that people will have around the watercooler. They might chat about the latest hit on Netflix, exchange recipes, or be free to ask for shopping suggestions.
These “inconsequential” chats do a lot for morale in the company, and they’re even more important in an age when people feel understandably disconnected. So, make an effort to seed these chats yourself, or ask a couple of respected people in your organization to do so. Before long, you’ll find that the chats pick up a momentum of their own.
Some Final Thoughts
The scariest thing about 2020 is that 2021 doesn’t seem like it will offer much in the way of respite. Our companies will need to learn how to cope with the constraints the pandemic has forced on us. There’s no “waiting it out” anymore. It’s “adapt or die” time.
With that in mind, do everything in your power to keep your staff’s mental health in mind. Do whatever is reasonably in your power to prevent burnout. The best place to start is to acknowledge the risk and move forward from there.
Seek advice from experts, read articles like this one, and do your best to implement these suggestions.
Top Image Credit: keira burton; pexels
More Holiday Gift Ideas 2022
Here are a few more items for your holiday list that might make you the hero of your holiday gift-giving. Does everyone in your household put their items on the Amazon list — and then makes you pick off of that list? It’s a good idea.
But where are all the surprises for the holidays we used to have? I DO want to be surprised with something wonderful — but I don’t want to be surprised with something I have to take back.
Today — I asked the same thing of each person who came into work, “What gift do you want for the holidays?” I have not tried all of these items — but I got some great descriptions of the items I don’t have — and there was some definite note taking and longing for the gifts on this list.
Winter boots are at the top — but the rest of the items are not in any particular order. Please find something your loved ones will appreciate — and order early so no one will be disappointed on your special day.
Okay, I haven’t tried these, but several men in the office have. They are “extremely” long-lasting and are great for working outdoors or for snowmobiling, ice-fishing, and any weekend-outdoor adventures. These riemot boots are waterproof and slip-resistant.
The guys said for convenience — this slip-on is the boot to get. For easy off and on when you have to hurry with your own outfitting because you have to help a girlfriend or kid — these boots are easy on and easy off. Waterproof, comfortable, and anti-slip, and long-wearing. One man said to say his boots are “still comfortable and new looking after many years of wear.”
These boots are really classy — I have a pair that I wore all last winter out in the wilds. They are toasty warm on the toes, and these boots are not clunky and awkward to walk in — you don’t feel like Big Foot wearing them around. They look good and feel good. Fur-lined and waterproof.
Deliver power where and when needed with GoSun Power 550, a compact solar generator packed with energy to run your essential devices like Cameras, Lights, Laptops, and CPAP machines. Plus, it’s optimized to power GoSun’s full line of super-efficient appliances. I’m getting this to run my c-pap if needed — when I’m away from power. Has temperature control, heat dissipation, voltage stabilizer, and Smart BMS.
My friends — you’ll want to hop on the eatfungies blog and read all about this interesting way to manage many health issues. The Reishi Mushroom helps relieve stress and inflammation and is used for sleep, increasing sleep time and quality. The well-known Lion’s Mane functional mushroom, with its long history of use to improve memory and promote nerve and brain health is available in a gummy. There are many uses for these easy-to-use gummies
Men’s performance crew socks bring you the best in comfort and durability; the 3 Pair Infrared Technology Cushion Crew socks are powered by Infrared Technology. Infrared ceramic crystals are ground & permanently infused into the polymer yarn used. When combined with your body’s natural heat, it forms infrared energy, which improves circulation and speeds up healing and tissue regeneration. Seamless toe comfort and mesh venting improved air movement — get thee cushioned for added comfort and support.
The Bobo Guru Nanda is a two-in-one humidifier and essential oil diffuser — ideal for large and small spaces. Very quiet using ultrasonicc wave technology to circulate moisturized air for up to 22 hours at a time. Use it with the 100% pure and natural essential oils to enjoy the full therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy.
The Poshmamma Oral Routine Kit trains you in oral routines — excellent oral routine has long been known as the key to overall good health. The kit includes: 1x Coconut Mint Oil Pulling; 1x Dental Guru 6pk Healthy Gums Toothbrush (Butter on Gums Toothbrush); 1x Water Flosser; 1x Dual Barrel Mouthwash; 1x Concentrated Mouthwash.
Mounia is a hair care system. Right now you get a free scalp massager with every purchase. The proprietary repair technology is featured in every product. By combining the ancient Moroccan haircare techniques with modern technology, you’ll have the best science-backed haircare system on the market.
You will want to hop on the Zum by Indigo Wild site and choose your lovely scents — try them all. All natural plant oils — plus the olive, coconut and castor oils carry next-level hydration. Infused with essential oils that are mood-boosting all day — morning, noon, and night. You can even get Zum in a bar and a mist.
You’ll love the easy, straight forward workout the WEGYM Rally X3 resistance bands can bring you. This set is backed by the industry’s leading sport’s science and data. You receive a full-body workout! Build your muscles, improve mobility and flexibility — and you can easily track your progress. Built to last — and will build you to last too.
The Nexar Pro GPS Dash Cams are a game changer. You’ll love the features of each cam. You set the cam up on your phone. You’ve come out of an event (or the grocery store, yo) and can’t remember where you parked? Nexar can show you your parking location and then navigate you directly to your car. Easy-peasy, open app or just ask Siri to be guided.
No question, any VANKYO projector you pick will be the one you’ll want. Easy set up, beautiful color enhancement. VANKYO Performance V700W 1080P Full HD Livehouse Projector with 420 ANSI Lumen, Dual 5W/4ohm Dolby Audio Speakers, Bidirectional Bluetooth 5.1. Great Gift.
Seriously, the photo doesn’t do the Crossrope justice. These are beautiful, well-balanced jump ropes. Fun to use with your partner, friends, or even your kids — though this isn’t a kids’ jump rope. Jump roping has long been known as one of the best all-over exercises you can do for your health. I like it because you can stick this rope in your suitcase. You can feel the difference in your health — fast.
With the Teracube Thrive, you now have choices in kid phones. When to give your kids a phone is a big issue for parents these days. This phone for kids has parental monitoring and built-in restrictions on social media, gaming, and other apps that parents may worry about.
Luxurious to the touch, ultra-absorbent, and ideal for stepping out of the shower, this bundle includes 2 Waffle Bath Towels, 2 Waffle Hand Towels, and 4 Waffle Wash Cloths, all from our Waffle Bath Collection by CozyEarth. Made from 40% Premium Viscose from Bamboo fabric and 60% Cotton, this unique blend is extremely soft for spa-like comfort.
Inner Article Image Credit: Taken from the Professional Photos on the Product Sites. Thank you!
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you!
Things to Keep in Mind Before Launching an Online Course
Within the last few years, the paradigm of traditional education has shifted radically. Being physically present in a classroom is no longer the only way to learn.
Now with the advent of the internet and new technology, you can get an excellent education wherever and anywhere you choose — as long as you have access to the internet.
In education, we are in the midst of a new era: the internet revolution
So if one wants to build a successful online course, one should keep certain things in mind.
First, you need to be educated in the field you want to teach. Get validated in that field. What have you determined to teach and where is your stronghold? For that, you have to make a note of certain things that would form the foundation in designing your course, such as :
- Find your area of interest. Your course should be dedicated to something you love. Your content will be less engaging if you fail to connect with it. And due to a lack of interest, your way of content delivery might be too dull for your students. So, find the area in which you are keen to work.
- List your skills. Make a list of the skills you possess. This gives you a clear idea of your area of expertise.
- Experience and achievements. One’s experience and achievements reflect how well they have practiced the skills and how good they are in applying them.
Now you can filter out the courses you can provide and then find the audience for it. The next step is talking about the audience. But before moving on to your course, keep in mind that the audience might not want the things you like or the area in which you are good.
Identify your target audience and their needs
No one will purchase a course just because you have an interest in making it. One would only buy it if and only if it could add value to their life. So, find who is the target audience for your content and is. Is there enough market demand for it? You must study who would want your course because finding a way to make your course profitable to you matters and will motivate you to do better and provide finer materials for your students.
Now, in order to find if there is market demand for your product, you can make use of your computer and Google research and use the Google analytical tools. These include:
- Google keyword planner.
- Google Trends
Also, you can use sites like Reddit and Quora for the same type of research. Using these two sites gives you a detailed view of how many searches are made for your topics. From this research, you can estimate your current market demand and the level of competition in the market.
Before designing your product, it is crucial to conduct a competitor analysis. Checking out your competitors will help you to identify the ins and outs of your competition. And never underestimate where you can find some additional ideas to add to your own course. Competition provides that little extra info.
You can research the competition by going through the marketplace and identifying what your competitors offer, and trying some of their products. Put yourself in the shoes of customers and find out what are the strengths as well as the flaws of their product. Also, capture the reviews of their customers. By checking out the reviews, you can design your product in such a way that it eliminates the gap between your competition.
Design your course
Now that you have done a complete evaluation of your competition and the product offered by them, it is time to design your product. Keep in mind that your course should create differentiation, and it should have a unique value proposition. Looking for the things that the audience is unable to find in your competitor’s course will help you cover those areas in your course.
Create your course and make it compelling and engaging for your audience. Although your course might be full of information, if your audience gets bored, they might shift to other courses. Contextualize your course and weave cohesiveness with your audience.
Your audience should find your course practical and applicable in their life. Observe your course through how your audience will perceive it. Some tips to make your content engaging are:
- Make your lessons more pictorial
- Add storytelling methods to deliver content
- Create learning groups
- Conduct live Q/A sessions
- Add more practical examples and applications to your course.
- Add a reward-based learning system, i.e., award rewards for students who complete certain tasks in the course
Before you launch your course, go for product testing within a small group and collect their reviews. Then evaluate the areas and make improvements. This decreases the chances of product failure.
Launching your course
You should launch your course as soon as possible — others might be thinking of doing the same thing you are. Strategize a pricing model for your online course. Your course should not be seen as a cheap product as that will create a bad perception.
Make your course accessible to a wide range of audiences by making it available on relevant platforms. Create a launch trigger so as to create a buzz among your target that something interesting is coming. Amplify your audience enrollment by offering various redeemable vouchers and coupons.
Many creators think that once their content is launched, it will sell on its own. But the best product in the world does not launch itself. If your product does not reach your customer and they don’t get aware of it — you will not have a course to sell.
Generate the leads for your course through:
- Backlinks in blogs
- Early bird discount promotion.
Your course has been launched — but it is not over yet. Do not resist changes in your course module — just do what has to be done to make your course a success. Gather feedback from your audience regularly and work on making your course what your customers/students will like.
Revise your course within a certain time interval. It is important to make these valuable changes in order to retain your existing audience and stay ahead of your competition.
Online education is typically less expensive than in-person education. Online, there is frequent access to a wide range of material such as videos, photos, eBooks, and tutors. These platforms can also incorporate other formats, such as forums or discussions, to improve lessons.
You can study or teach from anywhere in the world with online education. This means that there is no need to commute or adhere to a strict schedule. And current online enrollment in professional courses is around 1.38 Billion, and the number is increasing in rapidly.
Muvi Live is an end-to-end streaming platform that provides on-demand and live-streaming solutions for the educational sector, including institutions, universities, and ed-tech companies.
Equipped with a range of services in a virtual classroom, you can create, upload, and monetize online course content with ease. You will want to be mobile optimized and have a chat feature and collaboration features.
You will also want to smoothly integrate with LMS (learning management system) through API and SDKs for real-time assignments, tools, PowerPoint, etc., and provides an intuitive learning experience in one place.
Use analytics within your course so that you can evaluate the performance of students as they move through your course materials.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Katerina Holmes; Pexels; Thank you!
7 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring a DDoS Mitigation Provider
There is nothing worse for your business continuity than a sophisticated dedicated denial of service attack. Cybercriminals can send a barrage of malicious traffic to overwhelm your servers and make them incapable of responding to legitimate requests. This can make your website inaccessible and bring your entire network down to its knees.
Even though the duration of DDoS attacks might not be as long as before, they are growing both in numbers and intensity. If you don’t have the right protection in place, your website could go down for days or even weeks. To prevent that, businesses tend to hire DDoS mitigation service providers.
These DDoS mitigation service providers have the resources, skills, and experience to identify and block these attacks. Sadly, not all of them are equally good, which is why you need to do your research before hiring the best DDoS mitigation service provider. In this article, you will learn about seven questions you need to ask before hiring a DDoS mitigation provider.
7 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring DDoS Mitigation Service
1. What is Your Deployment Model?
Every DDoS mitigation service provider follows a unique model. Make sure that their deployment model aligns with yours — otherwise, the mismatch could lead to even more issues down the line. The most common deployment model DDoS mitigation service providers use:
- On cloud
In an on-premise deployment model, a device is installed which analyzes traffic before reaching your network. This can be a great option if you want to safeguard against low and slow attacks. On the flipside — cloud-based deployment models use scrubbing centers, which monitor the traffic before it reaches your network.
The benefit of the cloud-based deployment model is that you don’t have to install any wearable device. Lastly, the hybrid deployment model gives you the best of both worlds by blending both approaches together. The deployment model you choose should depend on your risk profile, type of attacks, and on-premise installation.
2. What type of Cybersecurity Attacks Can You Protect Against?
There are many different types of DDoS attacks. Each of them targets a different layer of your technology stack. Each type has its own carrier and mitigation techniques. This is where your prospective DDoS mitigation service provider can come into play.
Most DDoS protection providers can prevent DDoS attacks by blocking attackers from flooding your network with illegitimate traffic. What really differentiates great DDoS mitigation service providers from the rest is their ability to efficiently handle attacks at other layers of the technology stack as well.
Hire a DDoS mitigation service provider that can prevent attacks at higher layers that utilize more protocols such as UDP, TCP, tunnel HTTPS, and SSL. Some DDoS attacks also leverage compression and encryption protocols, while other attacks target the application layer with HTTP GET and POST commands to create congestion in your network.
3. How Much Control and Visibility Do You Have Over the Network?
Hire a DDoS mitigation service provider which owns the core of its network with multiple points for analysis. The prospective DDoS protection service you are planning to hire should have a vast network of scrubbing centers. This gives them the capability to find and neutralize the harmful effects of DDoS attacks. Even if the malicious traffic originates from multiple sources simultaneously, it can block all the malicious traffic.
4. What is Your Total Network Capacity?
As I mentioned before, DDoS attacks are growing in frequency and becoming more sophisticated, but they are also becoming larger in nature. You don’t want to hire a DDoS protection service that is not capable of handling a large-scale DDoS attack.
Ask the service provider how much network capacity they have and the maximum size of DDoS attacks they will be able to block. The higher the network throughput, the more capable the DDoS mitigation service is. Another question you need to ask is how rapidly the scrubbing centers can analyze and forward the packets. The faster the speed, the more efficient the DDoS protection.
5. How Quickly Do You Respond?
A dedicated denial-of-service attack not only makes your website inaccessible but can also disrupt your business continuity. The longer a DDoS attack lasts and keeps your website offline, the more money you will lose in terms of sales and revenue.
This is why it is important for businesses to work with service providers who can respond to DDoS attacks quickly and restore business operations as soon as possible. The faster they can detect DDoS attacks, the higher chances they have of minimizing the damage. Ask the service provider how fast they can detect attacks and divert incoming malicious traffic.
6. What is Your Pricing Structure?
The cost of DDoS mitigation depends on a variety of factors. Two of the key factors include the time and bandwidth required to repel DDoS attacks. Every DDoS protection service provider follows a different pricing model and charges different rates.
Some might charge you a fixed fee for their DDoS-protected dedicated servers, while others have variable costs attached to them. Assess your needs and risk profile before choosing a service provider that offers a pricing structure that meets your needs perfectly.
7. What Will You Need From Us?
You also need to know what the service provider needs from you. Is their solution easy to set up and use, or does it have a steep learning curve? Ask whether you need to switch to a new internet service provider or make changes to configurations.
Is installing hardware on-premises mandatory? If yes, then how difficult is the setup and installation process, and how much time will it take to get operational? Once you get answers to all these questions, it will be easier for you to choose the best DDoS mitigation service.
Which questions do you ask when opting for DDoS protection? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Mikhail Nilov; Pexels; Thank you!