De-stress your start-up
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De-stress your start-up

18th July 2019
By Tom Ladle
  • Be there for one another
  • Reign in the rage
  • Food for the brain
  • Go BIG or go home
  • Do what feels right

Working at a start-up can be great fun. Full of comradery, awkward high-fives, exciting socials and bursting at the seams with small talk about the weather.

At times it can also be hard – working hours are long, you’re keeping tabs on a bagillion tasks, but you always seem to get through it (even if you are bouncing off the walls from all the coffee – we’ve all been there).

Here are some other options for you to de-stress your start-up – herbal tea zen in no time!

Be there for one another

Let’s start of simple, shall we? To quote Lao Tzu, proper laid-back guy (honestly Google him), he’s the epitome of chill:

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love” (bet you didn’t expect Lao Tzu to make an appearance when clicking on this).

That’s right, a smile and pat on the back (not too hard) go a long way – who would have thought it?

Being approachable is key. People will no doubt make mistakes; it comes with the territory. It’s your reaction to those mistakes that matters. Don’t immediately blow up or throw a ruler/highlighter/tip ex/wooden spoon (that might hurt!) at someone (and HR certainly won’t approve). Instead empathise and use it as an opportunity to learn. Now you’ve created an a much friendlier and happier environment (annndd breathe). Win, win for everyone involved!

We know – all very peace, love and unity. That’s the soppy bit out of the way.

Reign in the rage

There will be tension in a start-up environment at times. Conflict can be good in the right scenario; it can be constructive if it is managed and carried out in a respectful manner. This means no shouting across the floor, whilst everyone else gawps. It means constructive convos in a meeting room, with plenty of biscuits as a peace offering if it all gets a bit rowdy. It is about finding that balance. A study found that the ideal praise-to-negative feedback ratio for workforce performance should be six compliments for every criticism[1]. So, for every five ‘Good jobs’, maybe pepper in one ‘have you ever thought about that in this way?’. Bottom line don’t be cruel!

Food for the brain!!

You are what you eat, not literally. Morphing into an apple at your desk will not help with productivity or stress.

What we mean is that eating healthy will help with a healthy mind, keeping you alert and raring to go. Check out a list of foods that can help fight stress here.

This doesn’t mean never indulging in the occasional treat, everything in moderation and all that. Stick to eight coffees rather than nine. Just make sure you don’t go on and on about your healthy eating habits whilst your colleagues tuck into the latest round of biscuits bought back from some far-flung holiday.

Go BIG or go home (aka. create a culture that stands out)

Being a start-up means you aren’t part of the corporate rat race dudeee. You can be whatever you want to be, your company’s a peacock, unique and beautiful. I know we said soppy bit out of the way – but we just can’t help ourselves. Start afresh and develop an environment that people want to be a part of. Take pride in your small team and your tight knit culture. For example, you could decorate the workplace based on the interests of your employees, making it homely, vibrant, cuddly, somewhere that you want to be – after all you are spending a lot of time there

We know that resources for a start-up can be tight, so get creative. Offer incentives where and when you can, whether this be free fruit, coffee (or that herbal tea – yeah man!) or the occasional paid for drink after work. Other incentives could be to offer flexible working. I know we just said create a home away from home but there are bound to be occasions when workers need to work from their actual home. Catering to the needs of colleagues, within reason will result in feelings of pride that they are part of a company that listens and help de-stress your start-up. Happy days!

Do what feels right

There are bound to be things that we’ve missed, the world of de-stressing is vast and beyond a blog post. Nevertheless, I am sure we can agree that a happy employee is a better employee. Being part of a start-up will no doubt develop you and be full of surprises. But that’s what’s exciting isn’t it, no two-days being the same. Facing challenges head on and crushing them (in the palm of your hand like an over ripe avocado – too far?). Getting to the end of day and going hey I made a difference. That’s what life is all about!

We hope these suggestions are useful and aren’t too far-fetched and can help de-stress your start-up.

[1] https://wp.nyu.edu/dispatch/2018/05/03/which-is-more-effective-in-the-workplace-positive-or-negative-reinforcement/