What I’ve Learned About Pre-Launch, Post-Launch

By | Communication, Culture, Free Career Advice, Life at Daxko, Talent | No Comments

In February, I moved into a new role on the Implementation team. I am now a Project Manager, helping our Net Ventures customers come over to the Daxko platforms. Coming from our Post Launch team, on the Customer Success team, I felt like I was prepared for the role change. However, having been through some launches, I know now I could never have been fully prepared! I have definitely learned some lessons that I intend to keep in mind through all of my future launches.

First, nobody is perfect. All of the Implementation team has our customers’ best interests at heart, and I know our customers want their launches to go smoothly, but sometimes files get forgotten or misfiled, or someone’s sick when they were supposed to meet a deadline. The important thing to keep in mind is that everyone is trying their best to make sure this project is completed in time without having quality suffer. I think it really helps to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and make sure you have some perspective to what others are going through. Also, giving people the benefit of the doubt when something is not done correctly will help you maintain positive relationships with everyone you come in contact with.

Secondly, plans change. This is usually because of the first lesson, but sometimes unexpected things just come up and you have to go with the flow. Now, as Project Managers, we are pretty limited to how much these plans can change, since we want to have our customers launch on a specific date, but there is always something that can be moved around. Again, we are all trying our best, and as long as we can come up with a new plan, we will still be achieving our goals!

Which leads me to my final thought, which is that flexibility is key! I think this might be the most important lesson I have learned, since it will flow into the other two. As long as everyone is a team player, and all have the same goals, we can make our dreams of using the Daxko software come true!

Kelsi G. is a Project Manager who loves exploring Birmingham with her husband, hanging out with her two crazy cats, and drinking craft beer.

Six Tips for Managing Stress

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Healthy Stuff | No Comments

After being in the workforce for several years, I have realized there’s definitely a cycle in the ups and downs of the workplace. There’s a period of stress that, just as you think you can’t handle it any longer, is followed by a lull in the daily drama. You get complacent, and think, “Wow, this is pretty easy,” and then it picks right back up, and the cycle begins again.

The really tough part about this cycle is dealing with the stress. According to a 2013 survey by APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, more than one-third of working Americans reported experiencing chronic work stress and just 36 percent said their organizations provide sufficient resources to help them manage that stress. Unfortunately, for the majority of American workers, some of that stress is not dealt with properly. This can contribute to all sorts of health problems, whether it be physical or mental.

In order to avoid these terrible problems, here are some tips on how to manage your stress, whether workplace related or not:

#1. Track your stressors. 
Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them. Record your thoughts, feelings and information about the environment, including the people and circumstances involved, the physical setting and how you reacted. Did you raise your voice? Get a snack from the vending machine? Go for a walk? Taking notes can help you find patterns among your stressors and your reactions to them.

#2. Develop healthy responses. Instead of attempting to fight stress with fast food or alcohol, do your best to make healthy choices when you feel the tension rise. Exercise is a great stress-buster. Make time for hobbies and favorite activities. Whether it’s reading a novel or going to concerts, make sure to set aside time for the things that bring you pleasure. Getting enough good-quality sleep is also important for effective stress management. Build healthy sleep habits by limiting your caffeine intake late in the day and minimizing stimulating activities, such as computer and television use, at night.

#3. Establish boundaries. In today’s digital world, it’s easy to feel pressure to be available 24 hours a day. Establish some work-life boundaries for yourself. That might mean making a rule not to check email from home in the evening, or not answering the phone during dinner. Although people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life, creating some clear boundaries between these realms can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it.

#4. Take time to recharge. To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, we need time to replenish and return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This recovery process requires “switching off” from work by having periods of time when you are neither engaging in work-related activities, nor thinking about work. That’s why it’s critical that you disconnect from time to time, in a way that fits your needs and preferences. Don’t let your vacation days go to waste. When possible, take time off to relax, so you come back to work feeling reinvigorated and ready to perform at your best. When you’re not able to take time off, get a quick boost by turning off your smartphone and focusing your attention on non-work activities for a while.

#5. Learn how to relax. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness (a state in which you actively observe present experiences and thoughts without judging them) can help melt away stress. Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on a simple activity like breathing, walking or enjoying a meal. The skill of being able to focus purposefully on a single activity without distraction will get stronger with practice and you’ll find that you can apply it to many different aspects of your life.

#6. Talk to your supervisor. Healthy team members are typically more productive, so your team lead has an incentive to create a work environment that promotes team members’ well-being. Start by having an open conversation with your supervisor. The purpose of this isn’t to lay out a list of complaints, but rather to come up with an effective plan for managing the stressors you’ve identified, so you can perform at your best on the job. While some parts of the plan may be designed to help you improve your skills in areas such as time management, other elements might include identifying employer-sponsored wellness resources you can tap into, clarifying what’s expected of you, getting necessary resources or support from colleagues, enriching your job to include more challenging or meaningful tasks, or making changes to your physical workspace to make it more comfortable and reduce strain.

Kelsi G. is a Project Manager who loves exploring Birmingham with her husband, hanging out with her two crazy cats, and drinking craft beer.

The Importance of Using Your Professional Development Allocation

By | Communication, Culture, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Professional Development | One Comment

I just got back from a trip to Seattle and Portland, where I visited some of our customers and went to UserConf. I am fortunate enough to work at Daxko, a place that actively encourages taking time off to better yourself, and gives you the funds to do so. Here are a couple things I learned on my Professional Development trip, and some tips on how to get that experience, even if you don’t leave the office!

  • Get outside of your box: Normally, as a Customer Success representative, I’m on the phones or answering support emails. For this trip, I was face to face with some of our customers, which is a completely different situation. You get to see how someone reacts to a piece of information, and it’s quicker than an email correspondence. This trip definitely helped me grow my communication skills. Take on a different project than you normally would, or shadow someone who has a different role in the company.
  • You are not alone: UserConf is a conference about education and insight for people working in customer support in the tech industry. Obviously, I work on a team of other Customer Success reps, but it was nice to meet people from other companies who are in a similar role. It was so cool to hear about the different tools and policies other companies have in place, and seeing if that information could be applied to Daxko. I would recommend going to happy hour or something with your coworkers in your department, and just talk about how they organize themselves, or certain practices they put in to place. You might have the perfect answer for something they’ve been struggling with!

It was great getting to explore some of the country I’ve never been to, but I did miss my sweet home, Alabama! I hope anyone reading can use these tips wherever they are.

Adapting to Change

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Healthy Stuff | No Comments

You know what they say; “humans are creatures of habit.” Which means your first instinct is to kick and scream when change is brought into your life. At Daxko, this is about every five minutes, so we have to get rid of that first instinct! As I come up on six months at Daxko, I have learned to embrace and enjoy the change. On the Customer Success team, I think we have a little more change than normal. Over 2014, we had 12 team members move to different departments, which meant 12 new members were hired, trained, and are now flourishing! Since January 2015, we have already hired 3 new team members. New team leads were also put in place. So you see, we have a LOT of change in our lives!  Here are a couple tips that I have learned when adapting to change:

  • Change is inevitable: Think about a year ago. Where are you now? How many things have changed? Whether it’s subtle or distinct, slow or immediate, change is always happening. So keep that in mind, and keep your eyes open to see the changes!
  • Nothing is permanent: In the Support team, we are trying out some new processes with our scheduling. However, before we started the change, our team leads told us, “if this doesn’t work, let us know, and we will either change it back or change it to something else.” It was good to know that if this change set our lives into turmoil, we would be able to change back. This is true for most things in life!
  • A good attitude helps a lot: When you are going through these “growing pains” of change, just remember most of the time it’s for the best. There are some times where you just want to rip out your hair and make sure nothing ever changes, but once you get to the finish line, you’ll look back and say “this is such a better way of doing things!”
  • Others are going through the same thing: Most of the time, you are not the only one going through changes. At work, it’s probably your department. In life, it might be someone in your family. With the help of the internet, you can almost always find someone who can relate, and maybe even give you some advice on how to cope with the changes. And after your change, be sure to reach out to someone who you see going through, so you can give them advice!

So no matter what, change is probably not as terrible as we humans tend to make it out to be. And who knows, maybe you’ll like where you end up even more than where you started!

Kelsi D is an Accounting Support Rockstar who loves her cats, her Kindle, and helping associations have their best budget in Daxko Accounting yet!