March '19

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MARCH 2019 THE SHOP 15 TAKE TIME OFF While most shops are open on Saturdays, some have found that they are just as effec- tive and equally busy taking both Saturday and Sunday off. One car audio store owner said he noticed that when he and his team worked more than five days in a row, the quality and quantity of work declined. They tended to be tired more often than not, and less innovative in their approach to their work, especially custom installations. This was even reflected in the tickets they wrote, as it was more difficult to have that creative edge when discussing options with customers. People who don't take vacation time are more likely to suffer heart attacks, according to the Framingham Heart Study. Longer breaks are important for your per- sonal health as well as the business. Chances are you encourage your employees to take the vacations they've earned—now it's time to heed your own advice. Give yourself the opportunity to step away from the business. Rely on your staff, and minimize the number of times you feel the need to call and check up on them. You leave them alone when they're off and except in an emergency, they should do the same for you. You'll return to work refreshed, recharged and ready to meet any challenge with renewed energy and vitality. As an entrepreneur or business head, you may experience some pushback on taking time away from your shop. Don't apolo- gize for making time to do things that are important to you. One company whose owners have small children opted not to go to the SEMA Show last year because it fell directly on Halloween. Their rationale was, "How many years will they have with their kids when they still feel as they do about this time of year?" If your customers or vendors think spending time with your spouse and kids is an example of a poor work ethic or lack of commitment, realize that they may be part of the problem. MOVE YOURSELF Physical activity should not be thought of or limited to time at the gym or riding long distances on a bicycle. The latest federal guidelines apprise us of a much broader definition of being active, from taking the stairs, to parking farther away from your building, or even raking leaves. This shift in what is considered movement may even help us live longer. Updated in November for the first time since 2008, the new federal physical activity guidelines still advise 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, or 150 minutes of moderate activity, plus muscle strengthening activities such as weight- lifting or yoga for adults. However, with only 23 percent of Ameri- cans adhering to these recommendations, and more than a quarter of American adults sitting for eight hours a day, the addition of a simpler imperative to the guidelines— basically "move more and sit less"—may make us more likely to follow them. No matter what the movement is or how long it lasts, you stand to gain some health benefits. From a sales rep who moonlights as a fitness instructor came the recom- mendation to consider a walking tread- mill or bike under your desk, and to use a height-adjustable standing desk to reduce inactivity. Activities you may not consider exercise Texts, emails and social media make it easy to be plugged in at work 24/7. Healthy managers and owners will look for times when they can unplug and enjoy some digital downtime. Time away from the shop can invig- orate shop owners and managers and also give employees a chance to prove their ability to handle added responsibility. DIGITAL DETOX In addition to email and text messaging, there are a myriad of other communication tools that exist, but this doesn't mean you need to use them all. The same goes for social media sites such as Facebook, Pin- terest, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and others. It's overwhelming trying to keep up, so consider picking just one method of com- municating and another for social media and stick with them. Then, request that customers use the same methods to con- nect with you. If you set expectations as to where your content will be seen, your customers will follow you there. Also, just as you do with your kids or employees, set parameters on your own time online. Is it imperative that you answer your email immediately, or can you be just as effective if you respond at the start of business the next day? You may find that no one notices if you aren't reacting straightaway, and they may respect your off hours if you don't.

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