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Business Development & Marketing General

Managers, what effects do your stress levels have on your team?

stress and managementStress is an inescapable part of life and work, and it is well recognised that the effects of stress can be both positive and negative.
Imagine what it must be like to work for Donald Trump who like all managers will have significant impact on stress levels based on how he deals with staff; “you’re fired”.
Psychologists call good stress “eu-stress” and bad stress “dis-stress”.
The effects of stress can have significant effects in the workplace and arguably can make, or break, a business.  To a large extent, this depends on how stress arises and how it is managed.
The average working week adds up to approximately 47 hours a week and over a lifetime this equates to 100,000-plus hours! So, if those hours are predominantly filled with negative stress, both employees and the business are likely to suffer.

Managers have a key role in promoting and controlling stress

While the manager may be under pressure to achieve challenging targets and therefore be stressed themselves, they need to be very honest and self-aware about how they handle both themselves and others to ensure positive, rather than negative results.
They need to recognise when their own stress levels are reaching the point where it is turning from good and motivating to bad and demotivating.  A good indicator of this is when it lasts too long or becomes too intense to be managed. The results can be high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
If they put pressure on their team to meet results by shouting, swearing, threats and other negative behaviour, they may achieve results in the short-term but ultimately their behaviour will be counter-productive.
So, the first step for the manager in managing their own negative stress is recognising it and trying to moderate their own behaviour to manage it.  This may mean acknowledging their own limitations and getting help, even if only a listening ear, in order to strengthen their self-control.
Negative, or dis-stress happens when employees feel that the amount of effort they are putting in does not meet the rewards they receive. If this happens they are likely to become less motivated to put in effort and do their best.
However, the “reward” or incentive does not have to be the promise of more money.   In fact, research has found that the promise of extra cash, while welcome, is not often the prime motivator for workers to put in greater effort.
It can be as simple as a thank you for a job well done, or for putting in the extra effort that has allowed the team to achieve the desired target. Maybe treating the team to cream cakes at coffee break or taking five minutes out to talk to them about their non-work interests and activities and family.
The point is to convey that people are recognised as individuals and valued, no matter how challenging the circumstances may be.
The other aspect of managing stress is to ensure it isn’t constant, and in especially high-pressure environments to make sure that it is relieved every now and then. Ideally it should not be ‘taken home’.
The effective manager will not only be able to manage their own stress but also to manage the “right” level of stress that gets the best out of their team. Something that Donald Trump is clearly not doing.
 
With thanks to Ivan Throne https://darktriadman.com/2015/12/16/donald-trump-the-dark-triad-man/ for permission to use the picture.

Categories
Accounting & Bookkeeping Cash Flow & Forecasting Finance General HM Revenue & Customs, VAT & PAYE

Quarterly digital tax returns – watch this space!

tax and calculationsQuarterly digital tax returns – watch this space!
The then Chancellor, George Osborne, announced in the March 2015 budget a proposal to radically change the tax system away from annual paper-based returns.
This would apply to everyone, both businesses and sole-traders, and require them to submit quarterly tax returns entirely online.
That was the plan and lengthy and comprehensive consultation was promised before the system would be finalised.
Indeed, this comment appears on the HMRC Roadmap website page, last updated on August 15 2016 : “We do not underestimate the scale of these reforms and are introducing them gradually between 2018 and 2020, because we know how important it will be to get them right and to give individuals and businesses time to adapt.” Quite so!
However, since then there have been a number of delays and changes which have made it hard for SMEs in particular to work out just exactly what will be expected of them and when.
In July, following the changes in Government personnel after the EU Referendum, Accountancy Age reported that HMRC had cancelled a Stakeholder Conference planned for July, as well delaying the issuing of consultation documents, of which there are six relevant to different groups of taxpayers.
HMRC also plans to hold regional and online consultations, but as yet there appears to be no detail.
All of this with a consultation period supposed to be completed by 7th November this year.

So what is going on?

Already as a result of feedback, changes have been made to the proposed plan including possibly introducing a threshold of £10,000 annual turnover, below which all unincorporated businesses and landlords will be exempt from keeping digital returns and submitting quarterly updates, deferring the start of Making Tax Digital for some other small businesses, giving them extra time to get used to digital record keeping and quarterly updating, exempting digitally excluded businesses from digital record keeping and quarterly updating and introducing simplifications, for example extending cash basis accounting to more businesses.
Consultation questions have now been published by HMRC, and appear to be comprehensive, asking among other things for comments and information about the likely additional costs they will face in buying software, in training, and in business and advisors’ time.
We would advise SMEs to make themselves aware of the proposals and ideally respond to the consultation if they wish to have some influence over what will be a radical change for many of them bearing in mind that the 7th November deadline has not been extended – as far as we can ascertain!
In due course we will post notes for SMEs to make sure they are prepared but for the moment we don’t yet know what impact the proposals will have. However, SMEs should be aware that if the quarterly filing of accounts as originally proposed is implemented, compliance will involve a significant investment in both time and money.