What do you think of when you think of the 4th of July? Often times, people envision parades with marching bands and flags waiving, or backyard bar-be-ques and swimming in the pool, and, always, fireworks. When you think about the 4th of July, you conjure images of red, white, and blue everywhere and friends and family all around. Together, Americans celebrate more than the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we celebrate the things we are and the things we, as a nation, can become. We celebrate our freedom and our hopes to be better.
So how does this summer celebration translate to a business perspective?
Reflect on the past year – what freedoms did you gain? Or lose?
Looking back at the last year – how did COVID-19 effect your business? Did employees work from home, either full- or part-time, when they hadn’t done that before? Did that transition work for you? Or maybe you needed to change some policies or implement new practices, like online promotions, to adapt to a changing world. Perhaps you unexpectedly relied more on the ingenuity of employees to redefine what success looks like. Whatever your story is, reflect on the events you endured and make them positive ones; determine which tactics can remain permanently and which ones need to be refined.
Whatever growth you discovered, look to how you can continue that positivity. Similarly, whatever struggles you endured, look to implement new operating plans to adapt to the new business environment you are now in. Promote the ideals that matter to you, your employees, and your customers.
Celebrate our hopes to be better
A way to have a better business environment is to promote a healthy work-life balance. This can be done in varying degrees: from allowing remote work, to encouraging break times, to employee participation in brainstorming or planning sessions.
Is remote work for you? Because of the pandemic, many offices relied on remote work. According to BusinessWire, an Upwork study found that by 2025, 20% of Americans will be working remotely, an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Working from home, even part-time or on weekly “flex days,” are business models many offices are implementing. This allows employees to have some freedom, while also being productive. What promotes freedom more than not having a commute – even just one less day a week?
Remote work may not always be feasible for every business, but there are ways to encourage a healthy work-life balance with smaller, more personal changes, such as encouraging quality break times.
Although taking breaks is required by law, how people take breaks can be much improved. Encourage employees to take their breaks away from the computer screen. Many Americans eat their lunches at their desks or spend their 15 minutes on the phone. Joining a group for lunch, eating away from the desks, and even finding a walking buddy to get out of the office for 15 minutes can greatly improve a person’s state of mind and their health. As an employer, consider allowing physical fitness time to allow for more time for a walk or workout or host pot lucks or group lunches to promote time away from the computer screens. Small changes like this can have a great impact on health and happiness. Having happy, healthy employees can also benefit the company; according to Oxford University’s research, happy employees are 13% more productive. Not only will employees feel more fulfilled in finding a good work-life balance, but the employers will see a benefit too.
There are many good ideas to help promote a healthier balance for employees and embrace the freedoms that come with it.
Honor the Veterans around you
Another way to celebrate this Independence Day is by honoring the men and women who protect our nation – our veteran members. If you have veterans at your workplace, thank them for their service. As a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), Fortuna BMC believes in supporting our veterans through our hiring practices as well as supporting programs that help them return to the civilian workplace.
Another way to honor the veterans around you this 4th of July is by recognizing that the holiday can carry a deeper meaning, like loss and pain, and recognize that some veterans may have PTSD.
According to the VA, common PTSD symptoms experienced around July 4 may include:
- Light sensitivity to fireworks and sparklers, especially at night.
- Strong reactions to sounds, such as fireworks and ceremonial gun and cannon fire.
- Uneasiness or feeling on edge in crowds.
- Feeling more jumpy or easily startled.
- Flashbacks (feeling as if traumatic events are actually happening again), frequently in response to sounds or smells.
- Feeling emotionally distant or cut off from family and friends during celebrations.
- Engaging in risky behaviors, such as drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, in order to push away unwanted traumatic thoughts.
For family, friends, and co-workers of veterans, be aware of these common triggers and try to include alternatives, “for example, if a veteran… is alarmed by the loud sound of fireworks, you can suggest that your group use sparklers instead.”
Simply having an open mind and understanding that veterans have unique backgrounds is a way to honor those in your life.
Overall, 2021 brings many new perspectives to Independence Day. Many Americans feel they lost freedoms due to COVID-19 lockdowns and regulations, yet others have found new freedoms by starting a new career or by embracing a more fulfilling way of life. Companies across the country have reimagined how they do business and redefined what success looks like. So this 4th of July, be sure to celebrate your freedoms and goals to be better.