Working From Home: How To Improve Your Office and Working Space

A lot of people start out with a business right from their front room. The ideas and the brand are all thought up in the comfort of their own home. Then the business begins, and they will quite often, be working from themselves at home. This is great for a while, but is it the best thing? It can make costs of the business relatively low when there isn’t another mortgage or rent on an office to pay for each month. As the business develops, though, there might be need to expand. Again; it does all come down to money. So for a while, continuing work from home might be the most viable option. You could definitely put in some plans to improve your home, to make the workspace more fit for purpose.

First of all, you could just revamp the office space that you have. The colour that the office is can greatly impact productivity. For example, a room that is painted in yellow hues is meant to promote productivity and alertness. A room that is in blue tones could help creativity. Colours like red and pink should be avoided, though. These can give off feelings of irritation and anger. Not always the things that you want when you are trying to get a business off the ground! You could revamp a room that you already have with some of the decor and accessories. Having a room with high ceilings and mirrors on the wall can help to create a large and airy space. This can make for a perfect office environment.

If you are thinking about extending, then you need to check the plans with your local council first. As it is for a business, there are some permissions and planning permissions that you will need to get. So once that it all sorted, you can get planning and get started. An extension will quite often need aluminum scaffolding tower hire as well as things like skips. So it all needs to be factored into the cost and budget. There are plenty of ways that you can change things up, though. You want to be most productive when working, but also most cost effective. So I hope these tips will be helpful if you aren’t quite at the stage of moving to an office building just yet.

If the space feels too small, it can hinder how effectively you work. So extending might be an option. If you are able to, then knocking down a wall, through to a bedroom in the home would be a good idea. If the bedroom is not being used, then creating a larger working space would be great. However, this isn’t always a possible thing. If that is the case, then it might be better to extend outwards. Building an extension, even if it was just one floor, could make the world of difference when it comes to working and living in the same space. One or two extra rooms or just larger rooms will create better storage space. It will also create room for more staff if needed, as well as allow you to set up stations for different things. If your work is spread out more, you can be more organised and productive.

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The Essentials Of Business Success

It’s hard to be successful in business. There are customers to engage, suppliers to track, and staff to care for. It’s a lot of work to take on. And the pace never relents. But there are a few essentials that can ensure you’ve got all you need to succeed. You might call them the ingredients of a successful business. Without them, you may struggle. With them, you might just have the recipe for success.

It all starts with you. As a business owner, you must have the energy, tenacity and drive to keep going. Sometimes it’s quiet and at other times it’s hectic. Making the most of your time is essential if your business is to survive. Always keep your eye on the cash flow, and look out for opportunities that will drive your business forward. Most importantly, keep yourself up to date and in a great mood!

Your business needs a functional premises. But it’s worth keeping in mind how that office could attract business partners, suppliers or customers. It needs to look professional, but it should also reflect your personality. Companies like Fusion Office Design could give you some ideas for a contemporary style that works for you. As you expand, you need to have the room to grow. Even if you’re operating out of your home office now, it’s worth planning ahead for that corporate headquarters your business deserves.

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Communication is so important. In fact, it’s more important now than it has ever been. It could set your company apart, and even be the reasons customers keep coming back. Think about how you communicate with your customers. What is your tone of voice? How often do you engage them? It’s not just about confirming an order or delivery date. You need to help them remember you next time they need to order something.

Social media and websites are essential for every business. You should use your website to inform customers about your business, your products, and your services. Social media should engage customers and provide information that is useful to them. It should be used to help reward customers who have ordered goods and services from you. And it should offer a customer the opportunity to engage you directly too.

Understanding cash flow is a skill that every entrepreneur should have. Knowing where your cash is going and how quickly you can bring it in is important. Working out your break-even point, profit margins and operating costs should come easily to you. Without this vital data, you could quickly face financial problems and risk losing your business. Most importantly, you should know how much you can invest and what your expected return should be.

It’s not easy setting up, running, and building a business. More businesses fail than succeed. But if you’ve got the essentials covered, you could have a good chance of making your business thrive. Look to the future with positivity, but take care with the present. Where will you take your business in the next twelve months?

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Shipping Options: Which One Should Your Business Use?

If your business deals with the manufacturing or sale of goods and products, you’ll need a good shipping system. There are many options for transportation and delivery, and sometimes it’s worth using more than one. You should consider what best suits your needs to pick the most suitable option.

Offering the best delivery options will attract more customers. Companies who need to transport large amounts of goods will need a service which can handle heavy loads. Here are some of the options to look into and what situations they’re most apt for.

Postal Services

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Postal services offer basic delivery functions, usually operated by the government. Examples of these include Royal Mail and USPS. These are best for delivering small packages, but can sometimes take parcels of around 20-30kg, depending on the service.

These kinds of services usually offer options for regular, expedited and international delivery. You’ll have to pay more to send items overseas or by one-day delivery, and cost can also depend on weight.

Although options are somewhat limited, using a government postal service is good for small businesses. If you sell small items through an online shop, such as on eBay or Etsy, this might be your best choice. You can take deliveries down to a local post office and get them sent out quickly. They are usually reliable and being official services makes them more accountable.

Independent Couriers

As an alternative to using government postal services, there are privately-run courier companies who can deliver items for you. The best independent courier services offer a range of delivery options, so you can make customers happy.

Courier services can pick items up from you and take them to where they need to be. They can also manage heavier loads than postal services, and offer a range of delivery times. Many offer business services for you to get discounted prices on bulk deliveries.

These can be especially useful for delivering products to customers. If you need to transport small volumes of goods you can also make use of a courier service.

Freight Transport Companies

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If your business is a manufacturer or wholesaler, then postal services and couriers won’t fulfill your needs. If you’re transporting heavy loads of cargo, you’ll need to make use of a freight transportation service.

These services can deliver a much higher volume of goods for long hauls. Freight services use large trucks to transport goods by road, but can also transport loads by air. You could even use a service like EON Logistics sea freight forwarder to send cargo overseas. This gives you options both for domestic and international shipping.

If you transport large amounts of cargo to other companies and organizations, freight services are the ideal choice.

In-House Shipping Options

You don’t necessarily have to use external services. You could hire employees to handle transportation and delivery for you.

This will require more investment. You may have to buy a lorry or van, as well as paying for any servicing and repairs they may need down the line. You’d also have to find a qualified and reliable driver.

Weight up the costs before making any rash decisions. If you’re a small business only serving a few clients, a company courier might be cost efficient. If you send out a lot of cargo, buying the trucks and drivers to handle your transportation may be too expensive.

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Eating And Drinking Right To Cope With A Busy Work Life

A working day is usually long, often tiring and always challenging. When you pile one day on top of another, getting to the weekend always feels like a victory of sorts. Some days, just getting to home time seems like a battle won. One thing for certain is that if you want to make it through the day, you need all the help you can get. I don’t mean from your co-workers, although that’s nice. I mean from eating and drinking.

In The Morning: Energy And Awakeness

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You’ll see no shortage of articles around which talk about “How To Be A Morning Person“. They are aimed at the kind of person who wakes up feeling like they need at least two more hours’ sleep, the night owl. Truth is, if you’re not a morning person, you’re just not. However, that’s when work starts, so make the best of it. Good, strong coffee and a breakfast with protein will get you somewhere close to conscious. Plaster on a smile and head out the door!

Mid-Morning: Still Hanging In There?

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After a few hours, the familiar feeling descends as you remember you are as far away from lunch as you are from breakfast. You’re supposed to be working, but your mind is inventing sandwiches you’d really like. This is the correct time to deploy the banana! Or any other healthy snack, the point is to keep your blood sugar up. Pair it with a herbal tea at this point. Too much caffeine will make you jittery.

Lunchtime: Get Yourself Ready For The Second Half

Having had a protein-based breakfast, lunch is the meal that needs to be more of an all-rounder. Some protein isn’t a bad idea, certainly, but what you need is balance. Get some iron in the mix too, as you’ll need this to avoid a crash in the afternoon.

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A tortilla or salad, with an iron-rich leaf like swiss chard and filled with roast beef (for carnivores) or lentil dahl for veggies. Try to avoid anything fizzy to drink here – water or fruit juice is best. And although there is still a fashion to have wine, beer or cocktails with lunch, forget it. You’ll feel like death by home time.

Mid-Afternoon: Rounding The Final Bend

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Pretty much everybody is a clock-watcher in the last few hours of the working day. There’s no getting away from it, we are all mentally in the car on the way home, or at least trying to beat the traffic. Your mind wanders. You need coffee. It’s a good idea to have access to some espresso gear right about now, for a perk-up. Allow yourself some dark chocolate, or some nuts, at this point as they are good for concentration. You’re nearly there!

The general working day is busy, can be rushed and makes you change plans on a regular basis. Coming prepared and being able to roll with the changes is important. The more you stick to a smart eating plan, the more natural it will become to you. It’s amazing how much difference it makes to your day, and your week, when you’re equipping yourself for the battle.

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Workplace Fun: A Short Guide to Office Productivity

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There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a room filled with a dreary atmosphere. The mind finds it harder to concentrate and more effort has to be made to make the creative juices flow.

According to research, employees find that being surrounded by dullness decreases their productivity. It’s a common problem that often gets overlooked. After all, most business are more concerned about making money rather than making their workers happy.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a professional office. Injecting a little excitement into a space however, will not affect that in any way.

One of the most common mistakes that employers make, is not giving the layout of their office enough thought.

Sometimes all it takes is a little rearranging to create a space your employees will be happy to inhabit.

Creating a productive space

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When thinking of productive spaces, we often think of things that are rather dull and boring. This is due to the fact that we are used to seeing those things constantly.

Just because something’s popular, doesn’t make it the right option. Sure, a clean and tidy space is always good, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun and exciting.

Playing around with colours can be a fantastic way of transforming a space. White walls can get a little boring to look at. Bold colours, such as orange or blue, can stimulate the brain a little more.

Productivity can be improved by creating an office that makes your employees excited. After all, it’s much better to be happy rather than dread every minute of your day.

Fun with Furniture

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Furniture doesn’t have to be uniform. Not every office on the planet needs to feature the same old chairs.

Due to the fact that we have been exposed to that image for years, it’s harder for us to envision a space that is different.

When designing your office, try to think outside the box. Does the chair really need to be black? Are you really that impressed with a white desk? Sometimes adding a little splash of colour can make all the difference in the world.
When it comes to decorating the space – be creative. Hanging an old painting that has nothing to do with the business, is a common mistake. Just because it’s “art” doesn’t mean it has a place in your office.

Again, try thinking outside the box and make it fun and imaginative. Why not get you logo made in the form of a neon sign. Companies like A1 Designs specialise in that. If you’d rather be less flashy, get some stickers with your logo printed off and put them on your walls. There many companies, like Discount Sticker Printing, that specialise in such items. It’s all about being creative and finding the right resources.

Don’t let your office drag you down. There’s no reason why a space can’t be professional yet fun at the same time. All it takes is a little imagination, some effort and a solid plan. Help your employees get better results by ensuring they are happy.

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Ways to Moneysave, and Save Up

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It is becoming increasingly difficult to squirrel away a few extra pounds, or to save towards a bigger essential buy – let alone long term and for the future. With a bit of extra diligence, it is possible to start – and starting is the hardest. We look at small changes you can make to make it happen.

Shift Down A Brand

When grocery shopping, think of the price range of your favourite consumer brands and the next time you go for supplies, look a level lower on the shelf. Supermarkets place the premium brands at eye level and the bargains towards the bottom of the shelf, so try out alternative brands. Words like ‘luxury’ on more copious packaging lure us into shelling out more for the premium range, whereas ‘basics’ offers more no frills packaging and can still even be hiding a better quality product underneath. We are tricked into thinking pricier equals better quality, but it doesn’t always. If you buy brand names (Kellogg’s, McVities, etc.) opt for supermarket own brands next time and see if you can taste any difference in quality.

Put a Money Away for Each Day of the Year

This might take a little effort to remember and you can always tick it off on the calendar, but if you remember the 365 Day Challenge craze, it could come in handy for you. Imagine January 1st is day 1, and December 31st is day 365, then putting the number in pence into a box can save you a total of around £670 a year. There are free downloadable charts to keep you on track. If towards the end of the challenge you are putting away £3. 63, then £3.64, then £3.65 the next day and this proves change you just can’t spare, commit to putting a set affordable amount away each day, for example a pound a day will still save you £365 a year. Of course, day one can be August 31st and day 365 August 30th the following year so you can begin any time.

Spread The Cost Out For a Bigger Purchase

If you just can’t save up for an item you need now, such as a bed, make it affordable in the interim by spreading out payments, so that you are able to budget for other essentials and save more easily. In some cases, like with cars, it can mean paying more long term for an item, but not always. The resources that opting for purchasing goods on finance saves can also help you to end up actually saving money elsewhere in the long run.

Take Advantage Of Online Price Codes

For groceries, make use of the introductory offers from every supermarket offering home delivery. Sainsbury’s off £10 discount for the first five shops and Morrison’s and Ocado off £10 or £20 a first order. Try each supermarket out for each shop, to make the most of these introductory offers. On top of this, periodically, individual products can be added to the basket for free, some several at once. Very often companies have promotional codes can that be used concurrently with other codes, a practise known as code stacking.

For clothes and electricals, keep an eye out for price glitches, where you end up with heavily discounted or even free entire orders. If you spot it early enough, very often providers end up honouring these, and shoppers have ended up in the past with pricey new TV’s for a fraction of the price, or in season fashion buys for pennies.

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Reaching Out: Attracting More Customers To Your Business In 4 Easy Steps

Every business experiences a unique journey, and some aspect will be specific to the individual venture. But there are a number of elements that link all companies, and the need for customers sits at the very top of the pile.

If you let it, this can become a very complex subject. However, the truth is that most companies can achieve fantastic success with some very simple methods. Follow the four tips outlined below, and yours can be one of them.

What are you waiting for,? Let’s get to work.

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Let Them Interact

First and foremost, there’s no point in people finding your company if their visit doesn’t lead to the desired outcome. For most companies, that means acquiring a sale. Do not forget it.

Potential clients won’t be willing to complete a transaction if they cannot trust the business. Therefore, you need to make it easier for them to contact you. This guide will help you make the most of those opportunities both internally and externally. In turn, this can only boost your chances of gaining the trust required for sales.

Furthermore, it should allow you to provide a far better service to the customers too.

Utilise Google

While sales are the statistic that you need to monitor most, there are various steps needed to achieve it. Getting people to actively visit your site is one of the most important. Unfortunately, you cannot just leave this to chance.

Understanding the habits of the online audience is crucial. For the vast majority of them, search engines are the key to finding whatever product or service they’re after. Given that over 90% of users will click a link on the first page of results, boosting your visibility here is vital.

There are various methods to help you achieve this. Quite frankly, it could be the most important step you take.

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Create Engaging Content

Online marketing does carry a unique set of parameters. However, the basic principles are the same. Most importantly, you need to capture the attention of your key demographic.

To do this online, you need to build engaging campaigns that encourage user interaction. Meanwhile, those adverts need to appear in the right places. A pay per click agency can help you master this challenge with minimal fuss, and it will lead to more interest from the most likely customers.

Of course, you can aid your cause further by using video marketing and other cool features. Essentially, the more effort you put in, the greater interest you should receive.

Use The Customers

It’s safe to assume that the customer is already fond of your business. So why not let them attract their friends and family too? Sharing is caring, and it could be great news for everyone.

By rewarding the existing client’s loyalty, you’re outsourcing part of your marketing plan with no risk. If they bring in new clients, then you’re only paying them a percentage of the additional profit. If they fail to recruit new ones, you haven’t paid for their efforts.

Potential customers will be far more likely to complete their transactions once they’ve had a nudge from someone they trust. It could be your secret weapon for increased success. Ignore it at your peril.

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The Top Methods for Improving Business Continuity

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Business continuity is vital to the survival of your company. You don’t want your business to be at a stand still whenever something goes wrong. The longer your business is unable to carry on with normal operations, the longer you will lose money. Sometimes when something happens, it could only mean an hour or two of downtime. However, even this can have an effect, especially when it happens frequently. And if your business is unable to operate normally for days or longer, it could be devastating. Make sure you stay up and running with these tips.

Move Data and Software to the Cloud

One of the biggest culprits for business interruptions is IT system downtime. Many businesses rely on their technology functioning constantly so they work can continue. If the necessary tools aren’t available, the business may be out of operation. For example, a call center might need access to databases and phone software. One of the ways that many businesses are choosing to get around this problem is by using the cloud. Having data and software stored remotely can help to minimise the amount of system downtime experienced. The issue will be taken care of by the cloud service company to ensure your business can keep going.

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Plan for Breakdowns and Repairs

Other equipment failing to function can put a dent in daily operations too. For example, if a machine is out of commission in a factory, things will slow down. It’s important to have plans in place so that you can take care of these issues as soon as possible. You need to make sure you can get someone to repair a problem right away. That might mean having a maintenance person on site who can come and take a look at it. It could also involve calling an outside service that offers commercial fridge repair or car breakdown services. The sooner you can have someone come and fix the problem, the faster your business can run smoothly again.

Put Backups in Place

As well as having someone to do repairs, you also need a plan while you’re waiting for repairs. You don’t want your business to be at a complete standstill while you wait. For example, a hotel might need to wash sheets so that rooms can be made up. If their laundry room isn’t functioning, they need somewhere else they can send their linens. Your backup plan might involve using an external service. It could be having extra equipment, such as a backup generator.

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Keep Your Business Continuity Plan Updated

Making a business continuity plan is an essential task. However, once you have a plan, don’t just leave it as it is. You should keep it updated to ensure that it’s always relevant. You don’t want someone to refer to the plan only to discover they can’t follow the instructions. Make sure the plan is always up to date, or it will cause further delays.

Being prepared is the best way to protect your business from disaster. If everyone knows what to do, you can get back up and running sooner.

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Simple Hacks To Evolve Your Trade Skills Into A Successful Business

Many of us have dreamed of being our own boss. We look forward to days when we can choose our own hours and not have someone breathing down our neck. Of course, the reality of running your own business is longer hours and difficult clients! But the freedom and satisfaction of building something up to a successful business make it all worthwhile. How can you evolve what you do for your employer into that dream, successful business?

The first thing to do is check for demand. Unless there is a need for what you can do, you’re not likely to find any clients. Doing what you do for an employer is always going to be the safer option. But if you can find your potential clients and reach them effectively, your skills could soon be in demand. Marketing skills and knowledge are very handy here.

You’ll also need to be sure you own all the equipment you need. Employees are usually provided with the equipment they need to do the job. Self-employed or freelance workers must provide their own. If you work in construction, you may need to invest in things like industrial bonding adhesives from Kenyon Adhesives and industry standard tools to ensure you can fulfill the jobs you’ll be doing. If you are an IT specialist, chances are you’ll need some high-end computer equipment and software before you can start. Whatever trade you’re in, you’ll need to invest to get the high standard of equipment necessary to do your job.

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Before you rush into your boss’s office to quit, consider your financial security. You have a regular income and a pension that is boosted by your employer’s contributions. Giving that up could harm your future income and disrupt your cash flow immediately. Hold onto the job as long as you can. Build up a steady stream of new clients and a number of regular customers before you cut the cord.

Make sure you have a website detailing what you do. It should also include all your contact details. An enquiry form can be useful too. Use images relevant to your line of work. You may even consider making a YouTube video or writing some blog style articles about what you do. Use social media to increase your reach and attract more visitors to your website. Make sure you are registered with any relevant trade bodies too.

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As the enquiries start to stream in, you’ll need to put more thought to customer service. Are you always able to take the call? Are you promptly responding to enquiries? Could you upsell or cross-sell your services to increase the value of each customer? And are you making sure they will return to you again and again? If you find you’re running out of time to do these things, it could be worth investing in some assistance. This may be outsourced help or a member of staff.

If there is demand for your skillset, there is every chance you could make a business out of it. With the right approach, your entrepreneur skills could find you developing a company that grows. Will you set your sights high?

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Netting that Professional Goal

Netting that Professional Goal

We all want to feel a sense of progress in our professional lives, and outlining specific goals can be a helpful way to keep forward momentum. Unfortunately, outlining and achieving are two different thing.

Sometimes being genuinely good at your job just isn’t enough to get noticed. Basic unwritten rules could be holding you back, so read on for practical solutions, from knowing how often you should wash a bra to gift-giving etiquette.

Dress to impress

It’s a common maxim to ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have,’ but it’s one that bears repeating, especially for women. It’s easy to shrug into the same well-worn outfit every workday, but less than impressive at important meetings. Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for start-up funding, or at a multinational seeking promotion, dressing to impress pays … literally.

A useful tip is to emulate the people you look up to, and who already have the role you’d like to achieve; although office wear in many workplaces is more casual now than it’s ever been, looking professional is always important. Think about creating a polished look, which includes crisp shirts. To get the effect without the hassle of ironing, just hang your shirt on a coat hanger in the bathroom while you take a shower. The steam will make the creases drop out, without a drop of effort!

Also important are well-fitting bras, which can quickly lose their elastic and shape with too much washing. But how often should you wash a bra? For most people, aiming for a wash after every two to three wears is sufficient. You should use a cool temperatures alongside a mild detergent that’s kind to silks and lace and wash sports bras more regularly (as they are expected to see more wear).

Use this guide on how often should you wash a bra if you’re still uncertain.

The unwritten rules

When looking to make an impression professionally, it’s important to abide by an unwritten code of conduct. Here are three useful rules of thumb when it comes to gifting:

  1. Presenting close coworkers with gifts on a special occasion is totally appropriate, while you’ll often be expected to buy gifts for clients on behalf of your company. In some places, buying a gift for your boss is frowned upon, so be sure to check!
  2. If you do decide to give a gift, make sure it’s restrained and not too personal; think a potted succulent or chocolate selection – something nice but not too intrusive.
  3. If gifting to commemorate a particular festival, make sure your intended recipient actually celebrates it; whether that’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Eid, or any other holiday.

Another important and generally unwritten rule is how much time you’re expected to spend working every day. This pressure might come from a demanding client who expects you to answer every email they send at 10pm, or from a culture of working late at your office. As long as you’re getting your job done, it shouldn’t matter when you leave.

Ultimately, you’re the one responsible for finding your own work/life balance, and there’s no shame in making changes if something isn’t right for you. Hopefully, these tips will help you work towards your professional goals while getting in some much-needed downtime too!

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