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3 ways to progress your business career

Whether you’re running your own business or working in a role for an organisation, there are a few things you can pay attention to, ensuring you’re on the path to continual progression. The number of small businesses in Australia is growing; according to ABS data, there were 1.2 million sole-trader businesses in Australia in June last year, up 32,000 over the previous two years.

According to social commentator, Bernard Salt, “The bottom line is that business activity is blossoming across suburban Australia where a nation of tradies, professionals and shopkeepers is building and servicing whole new communities.”

If you’re a business person, it’s sometimes tempting to put your own needs last as you focus on your business’ goals. This is rarely a good idea. Here are three strategies you can employ to progress your business career and keep continual improvement on your radar.

#1: Check your mental health

Mental health in the workplace is a continuing growth focus for many sectors of government. An employee or worker who looks after their mental health takes fewer sick days, is more productive and has a greater impact on happiness and stability.

According to the Human Rights Commission, a total of 3.2 days per worker are lost each year through workplace stress and stress-related workers’ compensation claims have doubled in recent years, costing over $10 billion each year. It quite literally pays to keep your mental health in check.

At work, you should be on the lookout to identify possible workplace practices, actions or incidents which may cause, or contribute to mental illness and stress, and then you need to take actions to eliminate or minimise these risks. Take frequent breaks from work, speak to a medical professional if you feel your mental health could be improved; and reach out even if you feel the issue you are experiencing is minor.

Organisations like Headspace have now begun to offer programs specifically tailored to people who are at work, and might feel too stretched to concentrate on their mental health. Simply, employers are obligated by law to provide a safe and healthy workplace, and this organisation provides a helpful list for employers and employees to offer simple strategies that can be incorporated daily to make the lives of workers more safe, satisfying and secure.

#2: Look after your fitness

One sure-fire way to keep your health in check is to look after your physical fitness. Often, the more absorbed we become in a business role, the more we might ignore the basics of our own physical health.

The ABS recently reported that up to 2015, a staggering 63.4% of Australian adults were overweight or obese, well over half of our nation’s population. That’s almost two in three adults. Look after your fitness and make a focus on good health as part of your daily regime. This not only promotes physical health, but mental wellbeing as well.

A recent study by Harvard looked at circadian rhythms in the workplace. Often, or natural life’s rhythms are ‘out of sync’ with our working lives, adding to stress and bad habits at work, that can translate to other areas of our lives and affecting our general fitness. The study concluded that, “Managers who want to maximise their employees’ performance should consider this circadian rhythm when setting assignments, deadlines, and expectations,” according to Harvard Business Review.

“This requires taking a realistic view of human energy regulation, and appreciating the fact that the same employee will be more effective at some times of the day than others.”

Take your lunchbreaks and don’t eat at your desk. Plan to leave ‘on time’ most nights of the week and avoid unnecessary overtime. Take holidays and spend intervals in nature. Make exercise part of your life and follow the national guidelines on consumption of fruits and vegetables. Concentrating on your all-round health will make you a better, more efficient business worker in the long run.

#3: Enjoy the flexibility of continual learning

The business landscape in Australia has never been more fast-paced. Continuous improvement is now part of most business courses as goalposts and KPIs become more fluid. Aiming to constantly improve your skillsets will future-proof your career, whether you run your own business, or work in someone else’s.

A benefit of the digital age, now there are so many avenues available to continue your learning while on-the-go. Many online courses can be studied from anywhere you have an internet connection, and flexible start dates and work-at-your-own-pace formats are now increasingly common and accessible.

Online providers such as Upskilled offer dozens of courses in key areas such as business, information technology, accounting and finance, human resources and project management. Many of these courses can be completed at your own pace, so you can take them as slowly or as quickly as you have time for, structuring your learning around your other commitments. Check out Upskilled’s range of nearly 100 courses in areas as diverse as technology sustainability; leadership and management; and social media marketing.

Progress and protect your future

By employing the three strategies above, people working in business can make the most of the time they have to think about their futures in the industry. Look after your mental health, keep a focus on your fitness and aim to learn new skills via flexible learning.

Success is never guaranteed in all ventures but personal success can take on many forms. There is a quote that says, ‘Success is where preparation and opportunity meet’. Learn to put yourself and your needs at the top of your to-do list and gain the satisfaction of a job well done, whatever type of business you work in. Start today and future proof your career by focusing on both your goals and growth.

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