The importance of looking after your wellbeing and physical health

The pandemic has caused us to make huge changes to our daily routine, influencing our wellbeing and physical health. Here are six useful tips to help you look after yourself and feel happy and healthy.

1. Sleep

Sleep is just as important as physiological needs like air, water and food. It is one of the most effective methods for allowing our mind and body to fully recover after a day of hard work. A good night’s sleep keeps us “fresh as a daisy,” heightening our body’s defenses against medical conditions. Research suggests that there is a close link between sleep quality and the time you choose to go to bed and wake up. Those who wake up early are particularly inclined to go to bed early and have longer and better sleep. The ideal sleep length per night is between seven and nine hours for healthy adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation. So be an “early bird” to maintain good health and wellbeing.

2. Clean Eating

It is crucial to have a healthy eating plan, as what we eat directly affects the structure and function of our brain, our mood and our body’s ability to prevent and recover from infections. Studies have found that healthy diets help not only to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, but also increase happiness levels and life satisfaction. It is strongly advised that we consume plant-based foods more often and cut down on highly processed or ultra-processed foods. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains are some of the essential “ingredients” for strengthening our immune system to stay healthy in this critical situation. It is advisable to prioritise a healthy diet as part of our daily habits.

3. Activities

Staying home for extended periods undoubtedly contributes to feelings of loneliness and social isolation, but we can still cheer ourselves up with a wide range of activities that we enjoy such as reading, cooking, gardening, drawing, playing with pets and playing music. If we love nature, gardening will be an excellent choice, including planting trees, flowers, or vegetables, weeding, and watering. Spending time with pets can greatly improve our mood and even our immune system because pets encourage playfulness, laughter and exercise. We can go for a walk, watch TV or films and play flyball with them. There are also plenty of websites or YouTube videos teaching cooking or drawing lessons such as SkillShare, Drawspace or Drawing Coach. These leisure activities will help us boost energy levels, reduce stress, sleep soundly and improve our memory.

4. House furnishing and decorating

Great care should be taken to ensure that a house is safe and clean to live in, especially during the pandemic. Make sure to spend time cleaning and tidying at least once a week to reduce harmful bacteria, prevent diseases and protect us from viruses. Moreover, clean houses help to relieve stress and anxiety, boost concentration and improve sleep quality.

In fact, home furnishings and decorating can significantly affect wellbeing and physical health. Colour, for example, directly influences mood, so consider using colours wisely in different rooms of the house. Decorate with adequate lighting or add some plants to your house which purify the air and increase relaxation and comfort. Maybe this can inspire you to look around the house and find new ways to take care of your home, health and wellbeing.

5. Exercise

It is undeniable that exercise has great benefits, and is more important than ever during challenging times. Many studies have found that exercise helps people with depression by reducing negative thoughts and improving sleep patterns. Additionally, it enables our body to release chemicals that can improve mood and promote a state of relaxation. Physically, exercise helps to boost the immune system, reduce the risk of dangerous diseases, manage weight and strengthen bones and muscles. A minimum of 30 minutes of activity a day can allow us to reap these benefits. So why not take control of your health by beginning a new exercise routine.

6. Social connections

Advancements in technology have removed geographic communication barriers with use of phone calls, messaging apps, video software, email and social media. This is particularly beneficial during social distancing and movement restrictions. We are able to stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues, catching up on important updates or just enjoying chit chat. According to a post on the Standford School of Medicine’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education Website by Dr. Emma Seppala, one landmark study revealed that individuals with strong social connections increase their chance of longevity by 50% and also have stronger immune systems. Moreover, social connectedness helps us reduce the risk of suffering from mental health disorders and improve our quality of life. So, just spend time communicating with loved ones and enjoy every moment of life.

The truth is that we cannot change reality, but we can control the way that we choose to look after our wellbeing and physical health during unforeseen circumstances. We really hope that this article will give you helpful protective measures to stay safe and healthy during this tough time.

How to develop ourselves and make time rewarding during a pandemic?

Before the pandemic hit the world we were actively engaged in work and hobbies on a daily basis. Thanks to social distancing, our new reality has changed bustling cities into desolate ones and the lack of social interaction and consecutive months of lockdown has inevitably led to feelings of loneliness and boredom. Here are six handy tips to help you make this new found time meaningful and boost your energy. 

1. Reading 

Have you ever been determined to read a book within a fixed period of time, but then became distracted by other tasks? Now might be an ideal opportunity to lose yourself in a new, or old favourite, book. There are plenty of websites or apps providing access to millions of books at your fingertips. Reading not only helps to gain valuable knowledge but also encourages innovative ideas. Let’s be active readers and expand our horizons. 

2. Enrolling on online courses  

You can easily find a number of online courses, including fee-free and fee-paying, from the most prestigious universities in the world on websites such as Coursera, Udemy, edX, Academic Earth, etc. These courses furnish us with foundation-level knowledge in areas of interest and to keep up with today’s ever-changing world, we really need to continue learning so we stand out, are challenged and continuously developing ourselves. 

It is also helpful to join soft-skill courses related to communication, teamwork, leadership or other interpersonal skills that are key to increasing our productivity at work. For example, if you feel a bit insecure about striking up conversation, why not take a course in communication skills and pick up practical tips to effectively communicate with your friends and colleagues.  

3. Learning new languages 

With rapid development in technology, it is much easier and simpler to learn a new language through a website or applications such as Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise, Digital Dialects, etc. English is known as the “international language” which considerably benefits our career progression so how about making full use of this time to take more courses or join webinars and events to improve your English. Studying a different language means having a different perspective on life, so take advantage of this social distancing period and experience different cultures around the world. 

4. Taking part in webinars related to your interests 

Participating in webinars is an effective way to gain valuable insights from experts or specialists in fields that we are interested in. Attending webinars offers us a wonderful opportunity to obtain new knowledge and meet people with shared interests, bringing great benefits of mutual learning and the establishment of social relationships. 

5. Doing yoga, meditation and home workouts 

Health is the greatest wealth of human life, so we certainly need to take care of it through doing yoga, meditation or home workouts regularly. These forms of exercise help us to relieve stress and achieve a feeling of serenity and mindfulness in both mind and spirit, as well as build muscular strength and fitness. There are a vast number of websites, applications and YouTube videos that teach home workouts, meditation and yoga from beginner to advanced such as Yoga Journal, Simply Yoga, Happify, Omvana, Fitness Blender etc. Why not try to spend 30 – 45 minutes per day on exercise for a healthier life. 

6. Keeping in touch with family, friends and colleagues 

These days, it is relatively easy for us to stay connected with our friends, workmates, and family via email, phone, text and video. Mutual communication helps us to cope with pressure and feel deep relief in our mind. Let’s be open about sharing our problems as well as listening to others’ problems and look for solutions together, helping to turn “big” problems into “small” ones that can be resolved. Keeping in contact with each other ensures that we are doing well, even if it is just chit chat for fun and pleasure. We all need each other to live our lives to the fullest, and it is important to stay in touch with our family, co-workers and friends under any circumstances. 

Although the pandemic has brought a lot of tedium and solitude, we can still make the most of the time we have with the above suggested tips. 

 

Nailing teamwork together, even while we are social distancing

Teamwork is an essential skill which makes a huge contribution to work efficiency in almost all occupations. However, during a time we have never experienced before, resulting in long term social distancing we are unable to work together at the office where we can communicate physically and opinions are expressed through face-to-face interactions. As a consequence, we all face enormous challenges in communication and interaction with our colleagues while remote working.  

It is not what happens to us, but how we respond to it that matters. Everything always has a solution, so here are five tips to enhance teamwork effectiveness: 

1. Sense of responsibility 

It is generally known that working from home stops us from entering into a one-to-one or round-table discussion among team members about a certain issue. What’s more, we have a common tendency to become passive members when controversial questions arise and need to be tackled together. In this case, it’s always worth actively making a call to ask for help from co-workers. As face-to-face conversations cannot take place, we need to be not only more responsible for tasks but more active in discussion-related assignments as well. We are a piece of the whole and therefore we have to constantly strive for excellence together in order to deal with difficulties. The small success of each member will lead to the tremendous success of the team, as the idiom says “many a little makes a mickle”. 

2. Technical application 

It will be extremely beneficial to become a modern technical user, especially during a pandemic that prevents us from social interactions. Technology helps us to keep in touch with colleagues via email, text, phone or video as well as makes our discussions easier and more accessible than ever. 

3. Mutual help, respect and sympathy 

The company workspace is obviously different from home, where we can be distracted with a wide variety of home-based care such as housework, cooking and babysitting. Unfortunately, this heavily influences our workmates’ wellbeing and health of their body and mind. It is vital to keep in contact with them so that we can understand their situations and offer immediate help if need be. Similarly, if our work is fraught with any problems, they will be quick to offer us assistance. Success will smile on those who are aware of the importance of tight union, so let’s always be kind and reliable colleagues. Remember the saying, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. 

4. Punctuality 

To keep track of the progress of our tasks, we can utilise some free task management tools that enormously help to manage our projects and tasks effectively, such as Trello, Taskworld, ProofHub, TeamWork, etc. These tools have many useful features including setting due dates, tracking time spent on tasks and time logs for each project. Let’s become more proactive in exploiting state-of-the-art technology to help us work better and more efficiently. 

5. Praise and encouragement 

Remote working is always a tough challenge for any team, so it is absolutely indispensable to give colleagues positive encouragement when they face difficulties and to praise them for their outstanding performance. This will be a strong motivation for team members to succeed in work and life.  

It is evident that we have all faced difficulties when working from home during the pandemic. Nevertheless, we can still achieve effective teamwork by combining the above tips. We hope that these tips will help you and your team achieve the most effective teamworking possible. 

How to enhance team bonding during the pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work globally. Remote working has become the new norm for organisations around the world. However, besides the pros, remote working has also brought cons to employees’ working lives. Social distancing and lack of physical interaction can make employees feel isolated and depressed. This could influence productivity at work and also the employee’s well-being.    

So, team bonding plays a key role in connecting members together. According to research, 65% of online workers felt isolated from colleagues when not having team bonding sessions.    

Here are suggestions for you to celebrate virtual team bonding:    

1. Truth or dare?     

“Truth or dare” is a popular game with many people. It allows people to ask others in-depth questions or take funny actions. This game is famous in the offline world because it requires human interaction. But during this time, we can also play this game virtually. Players can use Wheel of Names to pick the players randomly, then they can create the truth or dare list. The game is suitable for a big group and could create a funny moment for the team.   

“Truth or dare” is a simple game, but an important consideration is that while the game allows us to ask questions to get to know colleagues better, rules and boundaries should be set, so as not to invade the privacy of others, and to keep the game appropriate for the workplace.  

2. Sharing session    

When working from home, there are fewer opportunities to catch up with each other and share feelings. Therefore, a sharing session allows every member to share their feelings or any difficulty that they are facing, so that everybody can listen and suggest solutions. For those not comfortable talking publicly, a form could be created to fill in anonymously, so they can feel free to share whatever they want.     

This session is a chance for everybody to hear and share which can enhance relationships among team members.    

3. Kahoot time!    

Kahoot has a simple format, which functions as a quiz, and is suitable for every team size. The team members have to answer a specific number of questions that the moderator created.

The questions vary from different topics including general knowledge, films, movies, songs. Kahoot also suggests various types of questions for players such as math, science, history, social studies. Furthermore, we can give a prize to the winners to motivate the team members to put more effort into playing games.     

Access to Kahoot.com to create the quiz. The players can access Kahoot.it to enjoy the game.   

4. Mojiparty     

Mojiparty is an emoji guessing game that you can play for free online. Play with your pals and see who can decode the most emojis from various categories to win, including TV shows, foods, brands, music. This game allows every member to interact with each other and relieve stress after a hard-working day.   

The game is easy to access with various modes for every group type. Access mojiparty.io to play now!    

5. Skribbl    

This game challenges your team’s creativity. Someone has to draw their chosen word every round and others have to guess it to gain points. The person who has the highest point will win. The game has the same format as mojiparty, but it allows us to draw the words in our style. It is free online and for multiple players which is suitable for every group size. It does not only challenge the painter, but also those who guess the words. Access skribbl.io to play now!    

From the five activities, we hope that you could find a suitable one to bring your team together and enhance employee bonding. A teambuilding session is key to driving a successful team. Not only does it relieve stress at work but it also helps to build relationships among colleagues.  

At NashTech, we focus on our employees’ well-being, especially during the pandemic. Besides having sport and game clubs to encourage work-life balance, we also organise a wide range of activities and events online to stay connected with our Nashers during this challenging time.  

7 tips for effective email communications in the workplace

Email has become an inevitable and valuable communication tool in our work and personal lives. Moreover, email communication is an essential writing skill for employees because it reflects your working style and the professionalism of your organisations. However, it might be difficult to express tone and emotion solely via letters, which might lead to miscommunication, unprofessionalism and negative perception from the receivers.   

Therefore, to help you understand the core principles of writing emails and conveying the right message, here are seven tips to improve your email communication:    

1. Remember subject line   

47% receivers will not open an email without a subject line. An email without a subject is considered unprofessional and careless. The subject is the title of your email which gives receivers a summary of the inner message. Therefore, be really concise on the email purposes and name the subject accordingly for a positive first impression. The subject line should be about seven to ten words to make it attractive and clickable.   

2. Define the target reader   

Before starting to write an email, consider who the readers are, so you can choose suitable and relevant content. For example, writing to your colleagues is different from communicating with clients and managers. Avoid casual words such as “hey” or “hi” and remove slang words or acronyms when sending to clients and managers. For emails to colleagues, we can use casual words to make it friendlier.    

3. Build a structure  

A neat email will make it easy for readers to follow and understand the message. Too long or too short paragraphs could make them lose momentum and quit reading your email. So, dividing the texts into two to three sentences per paragraph could keep the reader’s interest and help them to follow the content easier. Also, remember to use BOLD or ITALIC to highlight important points and catch the attention of readers.      

4. Use simple words   

Even though emails need to be professional to some extent, it is not about writing essays or academic reports. So, keep the wording as simple as possible because the more complicated it gets, the higher chance that it could lead to miscommunication and confusion. Simple words make emails easy to understand and thus, improve the communication.   

5. Be