If you dread weekly Monday morning meeting, you should know that there is a new option that could make those meetings much more enjoyable – taking the meeting out to sea. The number of business passengers embarking on cruises – not for pleasure but for meetings and work events – is steadily rising as companies discover the advantages of hosting meetings far away from the traditional office. Since 1980, the North American cruise industry has grown at an annual rate of 7.5% with business meeting attendees contributing to this increase.
Leaving the land behind and heading out to sea for meetings and team building getaways has a host of surprising advantages. One main benefit is that it gets people out of the confines of their office mentalities. The sparkling water, open sky and endless horizon allows passengers on deck to deeply relax, in turning helping them to become more creative, receptive to considering new ideas and open to exploring new directions.
Gathering on a ship also inherently supports networking, as it keeps participants in an enclosed area that still encourages natural bonding. Without being confined within four walls, attendees can see each other at dinner, the lounge and at entertainment activities, taking off the pressure that often comes with forced networking. At the same time, unlike a resort that attendees can leave, on a ship no one can go too far away.
Another advantage is that a ship offers an all-inclusive environment that appeals to a wide variety of personalities, perfect for meetings and getaways catering to a larger group of people with varied interests. From swimming, to entertainment and shows, to extreme sports, pampering spas and so much more everyone is likely to find something to do in the evening or during downtime.
Explains Christine Duffy, CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), “A cruise ship is particularly conducive to productive, memorable meetings because the ship fosters an environment for participation and productivity in an atmosphere of carefree relaxation.” With the relaxed atmosphere come great value, as well. A ship getaway can cost significantly less than land outings according to business event planners in the industry. While most hotels and resorts charge extra for amenities, on a ship meeting rooms, food, entertainment and more are under one umbrella, thereby cutting down on costs.
Shorter sea excursion are also an excellent option for team bonding activities, or shorter meeting or business outings. Small ships and yachts include all-suite vessels, motor vessels and sailboats and these work well for half or full day trips. For about 74 million Americans their recreational activity of choice is boating, so it makes sense to offer a meeting venue and activity that puts lots of people in a good mood – a good recipe for doing business.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that fatalities from boating accidents have increased within the last five years so safety and caution should not be left to the wind. According to George T. Bochanis Law Offices, 77% of boating fatalities occurred in situations in which the operator had not received any boater safety training while only 15% of deaths occurred when the operator was certified. As such, making sure that the boat operator of a small ship holds the proper certification prior to setting sail can significantly reduce chances of an accident turning a productive business meeting in a tragedy.
4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in the Workplace
A healthier workforce is a more engaged and productive one. A lot of people overlook the impact eating habits can have on cognitive functions, mood, and concentration. But by making a few adjustments to your workplace and company culture, you could help your employees make healthier food choices.
Here are a few simple ways you could encourage healthy eating in the workplace.
Use Snack Services
There are plenty of snack services out there that will allow you to provide snacks to your employees for cheap. They allow you to buy various snacks in bulk so you can save on total costs. They’re also a great way to show that you actually care about your employees’ wellbeing.
However, not all of them are created equal and some might be healthier than others. While an office snack service like Naturebox will be focused mainly on providing healthy office snacks like dried fruits, nuts, and low-calorie options, others won’t have as wide a selection and will offer your usual run-of-the-mill snacks with a few “healthy” options. If you want to know more about snack services and which one would be best for you, Bevi has a great article about them. Bevi also supplies beverages for the office, including water dispensers.
Incentivize your Employees
There are plenty of ways you could make things easier for your employees and incentivize healthy eating. Some companies, for instance, will have free fruit around the office or will allow their employees to have access to mineral water. If you have vending machines, make sure that you stock them up with healthy foods as well as the usual snacks. And make sure that healthy options are much cheaper as well.
Do not Neglect Break Time
You have to institute a culture in your business where your employees feel free to enjoy a full lunch break and sufficient screen break time as well. This will encourage healthy eating habits and reduce stress as well. Make sure that they don’t eat at their desk and consider giving flexible break hours so they can get out and stretch their legs. A lunch hour should be long enough to let them go out and enjoy a healthy meal if they want to. Enjoying fresh air will also leave them invigorated for the second half of the day.
Make Sure that it’s a Clear Part of your Company Culture
If you want your employees to truly dedicate themselves to healthy eating, it has to be part of your company’s mission and put down in writing. Make sure that your commitment to healthy eating and overall health is part of the staff handbook. You should also make it clear to your staff that your mission will translate into actual policy. Let them know that healthy eating options will be subsidized or completely free of charge. Also, make sure that you consider adopting a corporate food plan if you have a cafeteria.
Making sure that your employees adopt healthy eating habits is not only an investment in their well-being but in your business as well. If you want to enjoy a happier and healthier workforce that will run on all cylinders, make sure to make healthy eating a must in your workplace.
How to Make Money from Home as a Freelance Writer
If you have ever considered becoming a freelance writer your first and biggest question is probably “how do I begin making money as a freelance writer”? Knowing where and how to look for jobs is the first step in your freelance writing career.
There are plenty of ways to get paid but in this article, we give you 5 of the best methods for getting work as a beginner freelance writer.
Enter Writing Contests
Writing contests are a great option for freelance writers of any experience level because they do not differentiate between beginner writers and established professionals. Winning of these would be a great achievement for any resume and are sure to spruce up portfolios.
There are many competitions open to the public so do your research and see what opportunities are available to you. Prizes range from small cash payments to publications of your written works. Many of these competitions are free to enter so take the opportunity and submit your works today.
There are many ways for freelancers to make money online, you can find out more here. However, a common beginning point for freelance writers looking to get their first clients is to pitch for jobs on job boards. It is as simple as registering for an account and filling out applications or bidding on jobs. There are a ton of wiring jobs available on these boards and the clients are looking for people with a base level writing ability and a strong work ethic.
Start a Blog
Every writer needs a blog and these days bloggers are monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing. Running a blog can benefit you as a writer in many ways including contributing to your portfolio, creating lead generation, build up your credibility and give you confidence as a writer. Your blog will help you develop your style and target audience. The goal to successfully monetizing your blog is to pick a successful niche and developing a strong social media presence.
As a writer you should be following and supporting other bloggers and their sites. Consider pitching a guest post to your favorite authors. Most blogs accept guest posts and a lot of them are willing to pay for quality content from their guests. Before you send your pitch make sure you take the time to research the blog extensively. What is the style of writing? What is the niche? Develop a pitch that fits in nicely with site you are hoping to guest post for.
Self-Publish your Own Books
Amazon Direct Publishing has made it easy for writers of all experience levels to self-publish paperbacks and ebooks. The best part is that it is free to publish through KDP. Al you have to do is upload your book and wait for people to start purchasing it. Write about your book in your blog and post it all over your social media accounts to help gain some traffic and awareness. With KDP you can earn up to 70% in royalties, keep control of the rights, set your own prices and make changes to the book at any time.
4 Tools That Will Help You Keep Focus in Meetings
Keeping everybody focused on any kind of meeting can be quite a challenge. People are easily distracted and they get bored, especially in long meetings that drone on. However, there are some tools that can help keep focus during a meeting.
Did you know that whiteboards are a critical part of meetings nowadays? It’s one of the focus tools we will look at today.
One big help when it comes to the meeting is anything visual. There is a reason why people use tools like PowerPoint, graphs, images, and other types of visuals in meetings – because they help keep focus much better than words alone.
Have you ever been in a meeting, or maybe listening to a school presentation, where a person drones on? It can get boring if a person relies solely on words to get a point across. It can become boring and hard to focus on.
However, when you add snazzy visuals and colorful graphs into the mix, it helps to catch the eyes of those watching and listening. It also helps provide a minor break from word-only presentations that are hard to focus on.
Visuals always help with presentations, not to mention that they are great for getting across points and hammering them home, points out that words alone have trouble getting across.
One of the tools that can be used to help keep focus in meetings is a recording device of sorts. This could be anything; as long as it allows you to record a meeting, it should work fine. This could be an old-school tape recorder, a phone, tablet, or anything else that can record voice.
The point here is that during meetings, people often try and jot down notes and write down what the speaker is saying.
However, this actually distracts from the task at hand, because when people are writing notes, they are n’t listening or taking in additional information. It is actually pretty hard to take a new point in when you are also writing the last point down.
Therefore, a recording device to record all things said in a meeting can come in handy.
Instead of having people write down notes and lightning speed and not absorb information; people can actually listen to what is being said. Then, instead of referring to notes for reference, they can simply listen to the recording.
This might seem like an odd tool when it comes to helping people keep focus in meetings, but it does work. Some people probably wouldn’t qualify stress balls as being tools, but in reality, they are.
Stress balls are those little softballs which people have in their hands and squeeze to relieve stress. They might be stress relief tools, but this is exactly why they can help people focus.
People don’t listen well when they are stressed out, and a stress ball helps to combat this. Furthermore, many people have to be doing something with their hands, which is why they invented those fidget spinners that were a big deal last year. It’s hard to focus on a meeting when you are constantly looking for something for your hands to do.
A stress ball in your hands can solve both of these problems quite adequately. Make sure you don’t get a noisy one, or else everybody else in the meeting room will not be happy with you.
When it comes down to it, one of the most useful tools to help keep people focused during a meeting is undoubtedly the whiteboard. This has to do with our first point – that visuals help to keep attention.
Whiteboards are pretty big, they have great contrast between the surface and the colored markers, and they allow for great organization.
Whoever is leading the meeting can use various colors of markers to jot down the most important ideas, which are easy for everybody to see.
Whiteboards are also highly portable, so they can be moved from one meeting room to another. If you did not already know, whiteboards are becoming a staple of every meeting room and classroom out there today.
These 4 items or tools that we have discussed here today are fantastic for helping you and others keep their focus during meetings. It can be hard to keep focus, especially in a long meeting and in a room full of people. Hopefully, you can put these items to good use to increase focus and productivity.
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