Who needs rules? That’s typically the M.O. for startups – we’re too cool, too innovative for rules. Rules hold us back.
Every startup wants to believe this, but in truth, the “no rules” mentality sinks far more startups than it helps. That’s why there are a few ground rules that every office needs.
They’re not restrictions meant to limit thought and creativity, but rather policies that will help your company conduct business in a professional and effective way, all while continuing to push the limits.
Here are 5 rules every startup needs to implement immediately:
1. Be like a boy scout and always be prepared
Because startups are all about new ideas, employees are sometimes tempted to skip meeting prep and just show up. Isn’t the most innovative approach to anything simply winging it and hoping for the best? The answer is a firm “no.” Winging it leads to presentations given with no material, supporting data, or even clear direction. Basically, it wastes everyone’s time.
Begin by insisting that employees always come to meetings prepared to discuss the matters at hand. You can help by preparing an agenda to circulate in advance – you can make a few adjustments based on team recommendations when you get there. Being prepared for meetings shows respect for your colleagues and attention to your work. Being prepared is mandatory.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
2. Play It Safe
When imagining your startup, you probably envisioned a lot of collaboration. Whether that meant an open plan office or shared spaces for networking, you imagined a space where people worked together. This is a great overall office ethos, but it isn’t a one size fits all model. Some things will have to be private.
3. Stick to the schedule
As a startup, you may not feel like a standard nine to five workday suits your company. Especially if many of your employees are night owls or simply Millennials who haven’t kicked the habit of sleeping in. You may choose to keep later hours or allow employees to set their own, within reason of course.
So long as employees are productive and put in the necessary time, including fitting their schedule to collaborate with others, there’s no reason to worry about exactly when folks clock in or out.
4. Work from home
You may have noticed a trend in which more people are working from home as we shift to cloud-based office systems. Unfortunately, employees often take advantage of work from home policies. Keep work from home as a restricted option, more of a privilege that can be revoked at any time.
Grant your employees the trust to try working away from the office, as well as the tools to stay in touch with the office, such as office-targeted chat software.
Working from home is a valid option, but in some ways it raises the bar in terms of what you should expect from your employees – if they aren’t more productive at home than at work, then they should expect to come to the office.
“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” – Tom Robbins
5. Don’t forget to say thank you
Did any of your employees send you a thank you card or email after their interview? Writing thank you notes is good etiquette when you’re interviewing for a job, but the courtesy doesn’t end there. Teach your employees to regularly thank outside collaborators, guests, and backers. When timeliness is less important, handwritten notes are especially appreciated. They help build relationships, making it more likely the same individuals will work with you in the future.
These five rules aren’t the kind that will hold your startup back, but rather the kind that will serve as a launchpad for success. And what’s more, by getting everyone on the same page regarding these expectations from the start, you build a cohesive team that knows you think highly of them and expect them to perform to those standards.
What rules have you implemented into your employees office? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
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5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners
Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up.
In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.
Control Your Environment
Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.
You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.
Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.
Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language.
Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.
Writing Is The Answer
If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly.
Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.
Learn In a Group
It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.
The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.
Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently.
This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.
The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process.
A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few.
Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!
Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson.
Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!
Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!
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