What Wellbeing Strategies Can You Implement To Be An Agile Business?

Stephanie Steele Thursday, 17 December 2020

Over the last 10 months, we have followed all of the newsletters on fashion retail, fashion production, ethics in fashion, sustainability initiatives and innovations... quite overwhelming in fact. In this three-part blog series, we collate all of the articles into bitesize chunks of information, giving you - as both consumers and business owners - insight in to the impact the pandemic has had on fashion retail, in line with our Masterclass on Survival Strategies.

Part one explores online shopping. Part two will look at the high street. And part three here is all about wellbeing in business.

Thumbnail image: Ian Schneider on Unsplash


Wellbeing for business

Self-care

Productivity and delegation

How do you stay sane in the run up to Christmas in a normal year? As Catherine Erdly, founder of The Resilient Retail Club says, now is not the time to be doing anything other than focus on customer service and selling. In her Podcast Episode 16, Catherine gives tips for self-care as a business owner, including asking for help and making notes.

Listen to the Courier Media Workshop Podcast on Delegation.

On How To Be Productive Without Burning Out from writer/dancer Marlee Grace looks at journalling, multiple creative projects and boundaries.

Why You Keep Bumping That Task considers the three reasons why we usually have things stuck on our to-do lists for a long time [Laura Vanderkam for Forge on Medium].

To aid creativity

For tried and tested stationery to help in your productivity, to get your goals down, and provide a place to note your habits, we recommend MiGoals notebooks and planners. As part of our Membership Gift Boxes, we have curated a selection of goodies that will provide support and guidance, including a carefully chosen book from Do Books. To purchase either a three, six or twelve month subscription, head here.

Harvard Business Review list ways that you can thrive through a change of mindset and watching your language.

Write a letter to your future self, to be emailed in 1, 3 or 5 years time. If you're not a fan of journals, this is a good reflexive process to go through that will come at a time you're not expecting it. By not anticipating when you need to reflect, you'll be caught off guard with more honesty to your answers. Even if you are a fan of journals, you may feel you need to be in the "mood" to write in it.

If you like to save up physical "bits" but don't know what to do with them, making an art journal may be the inspiration you need to have to hand. Especially if your home is now your office, perhaps you don't want a mood board on the wall (or don't have space for it), so a creative book can be your go-to to refresh your mind daily or weekly. A to-do like while productive to cross off, can actually be daunting. Visual cues can be the creative spark that reminds you why you're doing the boring admin.

For something that brings fashion in to healthcare - other than PPE and scrubs - Feng Chen Wang's 2020 Woolmark Prize entry brought Chinese medicine in the form of mapped meridian systems and gemstone embellishment.

Mental health

Understanding that there are many variables at play as to why you may be "professionally ghosted", for instance after interviews, will help you assess and move on. Not receiving an update, constantly refreshing the mail app, not having calls returned... they can affect your feeling of value. Here's some tips from The Good Trade on how you can deal with being professionally ghosted.

Through all of this, let's not forget that there has been death. It's perhaps not more than there is usually in a year, but without the ability to have closure, grief can stick. How do you approach a colleague who is grieving? Can you offer time off as an employer? In this podcast between Art19 and Kelsey Crowe, Ph.D., author of There is No Good Card for This: What to do and say when life is scary, awful and, unfair to the people you love, learn how to minimise the fear of saying the wrong thing.

Ensuring good team structure

“During the coronavirus pandemic, firms that didn’t have a strong online business to start with had to quickly ramp up their offering or go bust. The virtual touch needed to become the personal touch and fast. Not knowing how to leverage social and email channels to drive sales, not providing an optimised mobile experience and not having a fast-performing website in place all became severe roadblocks". ~ [CCO of ecommerce agency GPMD for Raconteur].

What's the difference between burnout and stress? This guide from Raconteur gives you the symptoms to look out for and some tips to avoid burning out. Though the pandemic has caused new ways of working, a lot of time sat down indoors, and limited social time, there has been an upsurge in people talking about mental health, with Governments taking action too [Raconteur].

Upskilling or reskilling employees could be a way to reorient your business as you explore new opportunities. This is about borrowing and redploying skills to and from elsewhere in the business, allowing employees to themselves explore opportunities. This Raconteur article gives you more points and case studies.

Creative agency Thinkerbell launched [email protected], an 8 week paid internship for those aged 55 and over, after finding that only 5% of creative industry staff are over 50 years old. As lifespan increases and retirement is extending, only too should work opportunities.

Remote working

Remote working has been essential for business continuity over the last ten months. Should it stay? As business owners, you were likely working from home anyway or from a co-sharing workspace. But as anyone who is an employee of a larger company will likely have experienced this year, there are perks and disadvantages to home-working. This infographic from Raconteur considers the reasons why it is beneficial for our productivity, wellbeing and company cash flow.

This also relays to those with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Remote working through the pandemic has "normalised" inconsistent working hours and the flexibility that working from home has allowed. It is an opportunity to check in with your employee's needs, as they'll also help the employer by having more productive, healthier staff [Raconteur]. Over 1 billion people are estimated to live with some sort of disability, which corresponds to around 15% of the population.

Productivity

In a report from ADP in 2018, it showed that bad management and inefficient systems are the main cause for lack of productivity in the workplace. There's an issue with the word itself, this article from Raconteur states, by saying productivity doesn't talk about engagement, with lack of engagement actually being the cause for lack of productivity. In the real world, productivity just means getting stuff done to ultimately raise profits. So what can you do if your business is more about raising conversations and making systemic change? It has to start from within.

Pay and pensions

Pay structure and benefits

Valuing your staff can come in the form of verbal communication, but at a time when there are additional tensions in the form of survival, it is of course also good practice to pay your employees what they deserve - and that includes yourself. Listen to the Courier Media Workshop Podcast on Pay Equity to glean insight into how businesses approach pay structure.

And if during this time you have put a stop to your pension (or if you're self-employed and don't have the drive to do so), Raconteur have put together eight ways that your pension can make a difference - not just to your future self.

Employment contracts

As part of the UKFT Membership, you can gain guidance from the Employment & HR Service. They have draft employment guides, draft policies and employment contracts. You can read an update here from UKFT on employment and HR that also includes information on redundancies and immigration.

With major transitions comes redundancies and reshuffling. Over the pandemic, Airbnb had to lay off 25% of staff, but they continued to support them with an alumni talent directory that meant those companies still hiring, could see who worked for this one.

Banking

If you're in the US, this list of B-Corp Certified banks and Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFI) will help you in your step to ethical banking, supporting yourself with loans and those in your community through investment. If you're elsewhere in the world, Triodos Bank UK look to be setting an example, and there's a podcast between Chief Executive Bevis Watts and the founder of The Sustainable Food Trust, Patrick Holden.

Business culture

Businesses scoring high on sustainability are in a position to hire "fresher" talent, along with gaining the new conscious consumer. So in order to keep it authentic, these businesses need to continue providing clarity on matters such as money, holidays and even where office energy comes from. See top five tips from Positive News on future-proofing your business.

Inclusivity and diversity

How can you listen, support and promote transgender inclusion in your workplace? In this article from Raconteur, there are statistics through a Stonewall 2018 report that discloses how trans workers feel in their workplace.

Shopping

Interestingly, Fifth Third Bank was found over Black Friday to be blocking ads on your social media by showing messages of saving rather than splurging. They have an automatic savings product, so they are still "selling" you something, but the ads were minimal and subtle, instead highlighting that you may not really need what the ad is selling you [Marketing Dive]. This goes whether you're a business owner or a standalone consumer - sometimes you need restraint as a business and wait for another day.

This Raconteur infographic looks at how the pandemic has shifted consumption, with reader viewpoints showing "sustainable goods" and brands who care for their employees or use hygienic packaging are more supported. So where do you sit on this? Have you consulted with your customers, have you seen a shift, is there anything you can implement going forward?


Head to the Masterclass on Survival Strategies for Fashion Retail and Masterclass on Building A Healthy And Happy Workplace.