5 Ways to Minimize Distractions in Your Office

Minimize distractions

Would you like to find useful ways to ensure a peaceful workplace and minimize distractions, but don’t know where to start? Noise and other distractions can hinder productivity and frustrate employees. Here are 5 ways that can help minimize distractions to help maximize productivity.

#1: Bring in Sound Absorbing Materials

If you are looking to reduce the noise distraction in your office workspace, then you need to bring in sound-absorbing materials without even sacrificing on the office design. The noise absorbing materials are quite required for contact working spaces or call centers. Typically, modern materials, such as acoustic cotton batts, wall panels, cubicle partitions, noise-friendly flooring, and noise-canceling workstations are used in offices to cut down on the noise distraction. However, if you want natural options, you can plant trees along outdoor hallways or place beautiful indoor plants to absorb noise.

#2: Install Soundproof Fans

We should also mention fans, They are an effective ways to control the temperature in your office. Many can be noisy and can cause a distraction. If excessive fan noise is hindering you from working peacefully in your office room, then it is better to change regular fan with a soundproof or a a quieter fan. Currently, a lot of reliable fan options are available in the market to keep your office space cool without causing any noise. You must check them online.

#3: Limit Technological Distractions

Next, if you aim to maintain the focus of your employees on the work, you need to set boundaries for technological distractions. You should devise clear policies around how frequently the employees are allowed to use their smartphones or personal devices during the working hours. Technological distractions can significantly impact the entire workforce. For instance, if one employee is on the call, he is disturbing his team members and colleagues as well. Constant emails, text messages, and social media notifications are equally annoying for co-workers.

#4: Display Inspiration

Even if you have a team full of motivated and enthusiastic employees, you still need to make them feel excited and inspired regularly. It is one of the key solutions to limit the distractions in the office, and positively stimulate your workforce. You can hang motivational quotes and intriguing pictures on the office walls. You can also surround your office space with a small library. These visual attempts are a sudden push to inspire your employees. This will help them feel motivated to finish projects before due dates.

#5: Improve Work Setting

Lastly, you need to work on the overall office setting to provide a comfortable environment for your employees. It is an imperative factor to ramp up your workforce productivity while having reasonable control over distractions. Your employees spend the major part of their day sitting in your office and working for your company. Therefore, you need to ensure a positive environment so that your employees feel happy and deliver 100% focus & attention. You must provide dedicated rooms, bring in fresh air & natural lighting, install comfortable workstations, and equip recreational areas. Besides, you need to treat employees equally, employ open-door policy, and create a transparent setting to enhance the working environment and limit the distractions.

How a Toll Free Number Will Help You Generate More Business

Toll Free NumberWhether you’re starting a business or growing an existing company, being accessible to customers is an essential ingredient for success. Your clients and potential customers must be able to reach you whenever needed.

Modern technology has brought about new methods of communication – email, social media chat, VoIP, and more. Because of this, it seems that in this technological age, installing a conventional telephone system and getting a toll-free number for one’s business is a waste of precious company funds. However, companies immensely benefit from having a toll free number that customers can call anytime. Hence, despite the availability of Internet-based communication apps and software, a toll-free number is still essential to most businesses.

Getting a Toll Free Number

A toll-free number allows your customers and prospective clients to call you for free no matter what state they’re calling from. Also, toll-free numbers are typically utilized for customer service hotlines.

Obtaining a toll-free number for your business is easy. The first thing that you need to do is look for a reputable 800 service provider. Then, find out how much you need to spend to get a toll free number. You must be capable of including the service fees in the company’s operating budget.

The expenses associated with toll-free numbers for your business will be based on the plan you choose from the service provider. On top of the monthly base fee of $10 to $15, it usually costs less than 10 cents up to 30 cents per minute of call.

4 Signs You Should Have a Toll Free Number

You may be wondering whether your organization will still benefit from having a toll free number. Getting a toll free number seems irrelevant when there’s numerous voice calling apps that the company can utilize for a lower fee.

Here are four signs that your business should have its own toll free number.

  • Customer Base is Not Local

When your customer base is not confined to your neighborhood or region, your business benefits from having a 1-800 number. A toll-free number dedicated to your company encourages customers to call you no matter what state they’re at.

Long-distance calls are relatively cheaper nowadays than it was years ago. However, an 800 number often saves your customers money when they contact you, which is always a good thing.

  • Gain Market Share

Local businesses that want to broaden their customer base should consider obtaining a toll-free number. Having an 800 number shows the company’s desire to serve both local and national customers.

A toll-free number adds a national appeal to your business. Potential clients don’t have to wonder what particular region you belong to before doing business with you, making it easier for the company to penetrate new markets.

Toll-free number service providers also provide company owners with valuable business data and intelligence. You can obtain location-based data, call tracking, information on peak call times, and more. Internet-based apps may be able to provide the same data, but it’s worth remembering that not all customers want to use online communication apps for business transactions.

  • Improve Your Brand Image

If you want to boost brand awareness, you should consider getting a dedicated 800 number for your business. A toll-free number is a relatively cheap investment that does wonders for your company’s image. Toll-free numbers can be utilized as a business marketing tool. Because these are very easy to remember, you’re guaranteed that customers will not forget it, especially if you select a vanity number.

It also helps make your company seem bigger, more established, and more reliable. By investing in a toll-free number for the company, you’re building a legitimate and professional business image.

  • Value Customer Satisfaction

Customers are the reason your business exists. Thus, you should always ensure their satisfaction with your products or services.

One way to make sure that customers are happy with your offerings is to be easily reachable through every stage of the business transaction. If your clients find it challenging to reach you, they’ll cease doing business with you.

Businesses that utilize toll-free numbers experience increased customer trust by making it easier and more convenient for them to communicate with their chosen company at any given time.

Conclusion

A toll-free number associated with your business drives both local and national customers to communicate with you. A convenient and hassle-free communication process encourages clients to do business with you over and over again.

The fees that you spend obtaining toll-free numbers for the company are a worthwhile investment that benefits your organization over the long term.

How to Fund Your COVID-19 Office Improvements

Office Improvements

Figuring out what to do to protect your employees as they come back to work from time off due to COVID-19 health risks is a challenge every business owner has to deal with. It is not going to be cheap. So how do you fund your COVID-19 office improvements?

Many business owners have applied for SBA disaster relief loans, but what if you are one of the many whose loans don’t come through or don’t come through soon enough to get the office improvements done in time for the return of employees? How do you fill the gap?

Different Loan Options for Office Improvements

Office improvements are expensive and costly, and using your business cash flow to fund the improvements may not be an option. Applying for a loan is the next best option that you have. There are different loan options that you can use to finance your office improvements. Check the following list below and see what loan option best fits you.

Traditional Term loan

The traditional term loan is what you think it is. You apply for a lump sum of cash, and once approved, you will receive the amount in full. It is under the condition that you need to repay the whole amount together with the total interest and fees included over a specific period. Your repayment schedule condition depends on the lender, but you can choose to have it done on a weekly or monthly basis.

To qualify for a traditional term loan, you need to have a good credit score, outstanding business transaction records, and an increasing business revenue over the years. However, if this seems to be overwhelming, there are still other options, like short-term loans, that you can apply for.

Short-term loan

Many lenders offer short-term loans to startup business owners that are looking for additional funds in handling their business expenses.  One of these expenses includes renting an office space for their business operations including office improvements.

Short-term loans don’t need many requirements to get approved. Having a fair to good credit score should get you the approval you need. Also, short-term loans work best for startup business owners as they are still getting the hang of running their business. Handling the repayments for a  short-term loan wouldn’t be too much of a burden to a recovering business.

A business line of credit

Any business can apply for a business line of credit. The good thing about having a business line of credit is that you can have a higher credit limit compared to other loan options. If you have excellent business revenue, a clean credit history, and other essential factors, you can avail of a high credit limit that you can use for your office improvements.

Another notable distinction of getting a business line of credit as a loan option is that it offers flexible payment options. Funds can also be used for different business-related purposes, and borrowers have access to cash on demand. Handling the payment for a business line of credit is much like paying for a credit card. You only need to pay for the interest of the funds you used.

Credit Card

It is very seldom that business owners rely on the use of their personal credit cards to finance any business-related expenses. The truth is, utilizing your credit card is a good financial option to fund your business. If the ideal, rentable office space you found can be settled by paying through your credit card, then you have a good deal.

However, make sure that you don’t overspend your credit limit. You don’t want to be burdened with monthly repayments and interest accumulation.

Pro-tip: In any business, it is inevitable to have a slow period during the COVID-19 crisis. The slow period might be one of the reasons why many business owners struggle to pay off their debts on time. If caught on a tight end in repaying your loan, you can do a balance transfer loan. A balance transfer loan can give you leeway as it allows you to transfer or move your debt to a different financial institution that has a zero or lower interest. 

Before you perform a balance transfer loan, make sure to check the company’s terms of service. Credit card companies offer different terms, and some of them might not appeal to your preference. Find one with a very low-interest rate, no balance transfer fee, high credit limit to cover previous balances, and a long introductory period before proceeding to have a transfer done.

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6 Best Practices When You Reopen Your Office

Reopen Your OfficeIn most cases, a crisis acts as a transitioning period, which requires one to adapt accordingly. At the moment, most businesses, like yours, are focusing on how to reopen your office and resuming office operations at some point in the coming days. For that reason, most business owners are now working on the best  formula for returning to day-to-day office engagements while keeping their employees safe.

The general expectation is that employees will be more cautious as they consider going back to the office. The implication, in this case, is that employers should prioritize making the office environment safe for their workers before normal operations resume.

Additionally, it is a fact that daily office activities will not take off at once, but gradually, depending on various factors affecting the operations of each office. As such, business owners should shift their attention to the best practices they should adopt as part of their return to the office strategy. Here are some of the measures you should consider putting in place before reopening your office.

1. Identify The Employees Who Should Resume Office Operations

Every employer will need to exercise extra caution when recalling workers to resume their office duties. Starting with a full office as operations resume will not be advisable. Additionally, authorities will also have guidelines on a workable return to office formula, and you need to consider that as well.

Once you have details about the return to office guidelines from the government, you can blend the same with what will work best for your organization. Some of the questions to ask in this case will include;

  • What employees perform critical functions?
  • What tasks can workers attend to only from the office?
  • Is the return to office plan for employees who perform critical functions mandatory or not?

You can also consider using anonymous surveys to establish the concerns and willingness of your workers to resume office operations.

2. Perform Enhanced and Routine Office Cleaning

Cleanliness will indeed become the focal point for most offices as they reopen in the days to come. So, before opening your premises, you should prioritize enhanced cleaning to ensure the environment is clean and safe for everyone.

Routine cleaning of workspaces that individuals touch frequently will also be necessary going forward. It is also true that the demand for cleaning services will also be high as offices reopen, so contacting providers of such services in advance will be a wise idea.

3. Erect Barriers Where Possible

If you have an open-plan office, you need to look for ways of safeguarding the health of your  employees who will be using such spaces. It is important to note that workers will be a bit reluctant to return to the office if they discover that the environment is posing health risks.

Erecting barriers in open office spaces is one of the ways you can create cubicle-like separation between one worker and the next within your establishment. Where possible, you should create barriers in your office before resuming operations.

4. Stock Your Office with Adequate Supplies

Personal hygiene and maintaining a clean environment will become buzzwords as offices reopen. That means that providing your workers with hand sanitizers, tissue, and no-touch disposal receptacles will be necessary. Even face masks should be available for both employee and customer use. Placing these essential supplies strategically within your office, including posters next to such items, will promote good hygiene habits in-house.

Since personal hygiene supplies and toiletries may be in high demand by the time you reopen your office. In that case, placing orders for necessary office supplies in advance will be prudent.

5. Reorganize Meal Times

Open common spaces can cause overcrowding, which is why you need to rethink meal times as office activities resume. If a company run cafeteria is available within your entity, you can control the opening hours and limit the number of people accessing the facility at any one time.

Opting for pre-packaged foods and marking your office cafeteria’s floor with lanes and quadrants to keep your employees safe is worth considering too. Alternatively, you can plan for food catering or delivery to prevent workers from frequenting public eating outlets during meal times when your office reopens.

Also, encourage as many employees as possible to carry food from home. Staggering office meal breaks as a way of minimizing physical contact between employees may be necessary too.

6. Determine what Is Best for Your Organization

Covering for any losses and reviewing set targets may be a priority as you return to the office, but that should not be at the expense of the wellbeing of your workers. Remember that your employees are an essential resource, and protecting them is part of your responsibilities. So, even as you consider how you will recover lost time when you reopen your office, you need to involve your employees too.

Ask your workers how you can improve the workplace environment to enhance their productivity. The input of your employees and implementing the same will affect your bottom line. The reason is that your workers are part of the determinants of what is best for your enterprise as you reopen your office.

Conclusion

Now is not the time to get into the rush of reopening your office, but planning how you will go about this process with extra caution. The future of your office operations depends on the decisions you make now and the impact they will have on your employees. Also, before implementing your return to the office strategy, you will need to review all relevant factors that will inform your decision-making process.

The desire of every individual right now is for normal operations to resume as soon as possible, including the reopening of various offices. However, that will not be possible if you do not take the necessary precautions from the onset. The best practices above can help you develop a workable return to office strategy, which addresses both your needs and those of your workers.

Currently, it may not be clear how long it will take for businesses to recover, but you can fast track that process if you adopt the best practices above.

If you need office space or help with your current lease, contact us today! We offer advice from our network of over 450 local tenant reps for free!

8 Minimalist Computer Desk Setups for Your Home Office

computer deskIn this time of crisis many people are setting up a home office. Using a minimalist desk design can help to fuel productivity and to set you up for success! Find inspiration from these home office setups!

There are a lot of considerations that come with setting up your home office. You want to strike a balance between professional and comfortable. You want your home office to fuel productivity without being too stuffy and claustrophobic.

A minimalist desk design might be the answer for you. They keep your space open and comfortable, while encouraging you to work your hardest. Keep reading for the best minimalist computer desk setups.

  1. A Wall Mounted Desk

If you want something modern and minimal, consider a wall-mounted desk.

A wall-mounted, or floating desk is little more than a slab of desk that juts out from the wall. There are no underhanging storage compartments or legs, it’s 100% desk. This gives you plenty of room to roll from one end to the other without worrying about smashing your knees into the desk’s frame.

Wall-mounted desks are sleek and solid. You can get them in plenty of designs and materials. They look great in a room with big windows, adorned with other modern furnishings.

Because of the lack of storage space, you may want to get a large wall-mounted desk. You could even install it between a few shelving units to store anything you might need.

  1. Swish Console Desk

A swish console desk is a truly unique minimalist desk.

It looks like a normal desk, only all the storage is within the main desk area. You simply conceal it by sliding a portion of the desk like a matchbook. This gives you plenty of storage space without the underhanging clutter of most other desks.

You can set up your computer, a lamp, and maybe an accessory or two on top of the desk, then put anything you only occasionally need inside the swish desk. When you need it, swish the concealer over and reach in. It’s like having a hiding space for all your stuff.

  1. A Bureau Desk

Bureau desks fold up when not in use, effectively turning them into a sideboard.

This is an especially great choice if your home office is also your living room. When you’re not working, you can fold the desk in and put your work to the side. This lets you be more productive when in work mode, and more focused on yourself outside of work mode.

Bureau desks often have a good amount of side-adjusted storage space that hides away when you fold the desk in. They also have a top space for decorations. Try decorating it with a nice plant, an oil diffuser, or some photographs.

  1. An Alcove Desk

For the unaware, and alcove is a recess in a room’s wall. It could be built into the home, or could be a space where a closet once was.

For a good minimalist look, set your desk up inside an alcove. Doing this creates a space specifically for your desk. Depending on the size of the alcove, you can install storage space around the desk, or even a lamp in the ceiling.

You can even go the extra step and install a sliding door at the alcove’s entryway. That way when your desk isn’t in use, you can hide it away with the door. This is a great way to get your head into work mode when the door opens up.

  1. The Chalkboard Wall

A cluttered desk is the bane of all home office workers.

If you take a lot of notes while on the job, try setting up a chalkboard wall above and behind your desk. That way when you need to take notes you can jot them down on the chalkboard. It’ll always be in the background of your computer, meaning you only need to glance to see your notes.

You can also try this with whiteboard or corkboard material. It’ll seriously cut down on desk clutter like notebooks and pens.

Try contrasting the black of the chalkboard with a clean white desk.

  1. The Centered Desk

Most people put their desk against a wall. But there’s no rule that says you have to do this.

For a unique home office look, try putting your desk right in the middle of the room. Keep it simple. Put as few objects as possible on the desk, maybe your computer, a coaster for coffee, and a plant or bobble of choice.

Doing this really lets you go crazy with the rest of the room. You can set up a lounge in one corner, or a bookshelf in another. You could put a sound system, a record player, or a few plants.

Make sure you use a MacBook camera cover if you’re doing this. You never know what someone might see from the center of the room.

  1. The Corner Desk

Corner desks provide you with plenty of space to breathe.

These desks usually come in an L shape. They fit snuggly into the corner of your room. You can set your computer up in the corner, then leave the sides open for decoration and note taking.

You can set up a few shelves on the walls above the desk, or set it up near some windows for a truly beautiful look. You might even be able to set up two monitors on the surface to double your productivity.

  1. The Folding Desk

A folding desk does exactly that. The legs fold into the bottom of the surface like nothing. That means you can take the desk out when needed, and put it away when not.

These desks are minimal, and they mean you can make your home office anywhere. If you want to move closer to the window, move closer. If you want to work in another room altogether, go for it.

If you work on a laptop, this is perfect. That means it’s just you and your laptop anywhere you want.

Change the Way You Work With a Minimalist Desk Design

A minimalist desk design will change the way you work. It’ll help keep your mind focused on work, and keep your surface clutter-free. Plus, it’ll look just plain beautiful.

If you’re looking for office space or need to make changes in how much office space you need, let us know and see what OfficeFinder can do for you.

 

Effect of the Coronavirus On the Office Market

The Uniteduncertainty inthe office market States CDC has reported over 3,600 fatalities from the coronavirus, but it has impacted nearly 1 million people worldwide. The coronavirus is spread from person-to-person and can remain on surface objects for days. More importantly, a state of emergency over the coronavirus has had an effect on the traditional office setting. Most  employees are being asked to work from home or choosing to work from home as a self-quarantine measure. What does this mean for the office market?

What Is the Coronavirus?

Most everyone know that the actual pathogen behind the Coronavirus impacting society is known as COVID-19. Unfortunately, the virus can spread fast and can have a serious impact on older adults or individuals with a compromised immune system. Symptoms of the coronavirus include:

  • coughing
  • fever
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • sore throat

More severe cases of COVID-19 include pneumonia or difficulties breathing. Individuals with asthma or heart disease are more likely to experience severe symptoms.

Has The Coronavirus Impacted The Office?

State officials have declared a state of emergency with California and New York leading the forefront. The real estate market has stalled, Americans are being quarantined, the stock market is falling, and there’s no definitive answer on how the virus will have an impact on society.

For the office market, there’s a deep sense of uncertainty permeating the industry. The office setting has felt the impact of the coronavirus in real-time. To limit the spread of the virus, many offices are reducing the number of employees by requiring their staff to work from home. Limiting the use of office space, reduces a gathering of people that can initiate the spread of the virus. Limited use of the office has had a direct negative impact on the office market.

In fact, a travel ban has made it nearly impossible for real estate professionals to close on an office deal. Most buyers want to see the office space before they sign on the dotted line, but the coronavirus is placing restraints on buyers and sellers with international travelers buying U.S. real estate taking a hit. In fact, a reluctance to travel is also hindering the office market.

As An Office Realtor, Should I Be Alarmed?

Real estate is a tangible asset and a very hands-on industry. Smart realtors should be aware of the impact the coronavirus can have on their office real estate, but it’s certainly not a time to throw in the towel. Making use of modern technology, like virtual tours, can help in keeping your business moving forward.

How To Stay Ahead Despite The Coronavirus

Our members have told us that quite a few office deals have managed to follow through despite the coronavirus. However, if your business wants to stay ahead, it’s imperative to stay connected with buyers and tenants who maybe interested in doing business once the coronavirus stabilizes. A sense of urgency to close on a deal is the worst strategy a real estate professional can use during a pandemic.

Follow-up with potential real estate clients as the news of the virus starts to develop. Try following up with your clients in a few weeks to reassure them the deal is still available. For instance, send an update on the virus to show empathy for the state of emergency and as an update on the area of real estate your client is interested in.

As an ally, let technology work for you. For example, offer your clients a high end virtual tour of your property, like the ones we have on OfficeFinder. A virtual tour allows your clients to see your property without meeting face-to-face from anywhere in the world using a PC, tablet, or smartphone, which reduces the threat of the spread of the coronavirus. Encourage a virtual tour as a way to combat the virus, but also as a strategy to keep your office space top-of-the-mind.

What The Experts Are Saying About The Office Market Industry

There’s no guarantee on the impact of the coronavirus on the office market specifically and the real estate market in general. The experts are saying; “it’s to early to predict the impact the virus will have on real estate.”

However, investors are predicting international buyers like China will seek to invest in real estate in the United States as their real estate and foreign market starts to falter due to the coronavirus. The United States real estate market will be attractive to foreign investors because the virus has had very little impact on the American people.

Realistically, if the United States is hit hard by the coronavirus, the commercial real estate market will take a hard hit. Thus, being prepared for a worse case scenario is wise, but there’s no need for the real estate industry to panic.

How Can Professional Assistance Help

Our professional have experience with the local and international office market. You can expect an expert to have knowledge of the latest real estate news to save your business time and money. In fact, during the uncertainty of the office market, a professional can help you spruce up your real estate portfolio or fine tune your lease in preparation for the stabilization of the virus. The coronavirus doesn’t have to cripple your real estate business.

For more details or if you just need some professonal advice for free related to the impact of the coronavirus on your business, contact us at OfficeFinder for more details. We are happey to help however we can.

US Senate Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act

Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act

We are all trying to figure out which way is up and where to get the information we need to get help. The US Senate has published a great resource outlining the various relief programs available to Small Businesses in US.

This is the best summary I’ve found to date. Please take the time to read it.

Here are some of the highlights:

If you are struggling to get started, here are a few good places to start. The following questions might help point you in the right direction.

Do you need:

Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees? Then the Paycheck Protection Program might be right for you.

A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now? You might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant.

To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help.

Just some quality, free counseling to help you navigate this uncertain economic time? The resource partners might be your best bet.

At OfficeFinder we can help, too. We provide advice to help businesses struggling financially with real estate strategies to assist them in avoiding bigger problems in the future. Contact us and choose “Rental Advice” to have a top broker in your market contact you to discuss your options. It is a free service. It is the least we can do!

 

Keeping Your Business Secure from Cyberattacks

cyberattack grid

As the frequency of data breaches and cyberattacks grows, the failure of companies to have stable counterattacks and security measures in place is no longer an option. Securing your company network when you move to a new office is critical to ensuring the security of your business and client data.

Cyberattacks are now a scary reality for every business, regardless of size or government stature. Although hackers often target large companies because of their size, small and middle-sized companies are more vulnerable because they lack the top-notch defenses of larger organizations.

You cannot afford to overlook or put off securing your new office space because the looming threat of malicious actors on a mission to destroy, hijack, or steal information is real.

Instead, you must be responsible and prepared to protect your network and systems against hackers. The following nine tips can help secure your new office network.

1. Create a Cyber Security Plan

A well-thought cybersecurity plan can protect your company’s critical infrastructure and information systems and reduce exposure to vulnerabilities. If you don’t have one, look at cybersecurity frameworks for guidance. You can even adopt an existing framework to meet your new office needs or develop one internally.

2. Secure All Hardware

Companies often place a lot of attention to acquiring the latest cybersecurity software, leaving out hardware security. The loss of devices connected to your office network is a real threat because attackers can use the gadgets to infiltrate your systems.

Secure your new office by protecting all the physical devices connected to it with complicated passcodes or other authentication requirements. You can also install location software such as ‘find my device’ on all laptops, tablets, and phones.

3. Physically Secure All Ports and Equipment

Hide and secure all network equipment such as routers, access points, and switches from visitors or public access. Intruders who gain access to these points could easily plugin and enter your network. Ensure all wall ports are behind desks or are in locations that visitors cannot access. Disconnect any open or unused public ports from your office network, or remove them altogether.

4. Encrypt Your Wi-Fi

Encrypting your Wi-Fi locks out unauthorized users from your office network. It is best to use WPA or WPA2 enterprise-mode security for your office network. This way, employees will not see your encryption password. It also reduces the chances of being hacked since you don’t store the passcode on multiple devices lest they get lost or stolen.

WPA-Enterprise uses 802.1X authentication, which experts recommend for office and business networks. All users must provide login credentials to gain access.

5. Encrypt and Back-Up Data

Apart from preventing the physical access to your office network, you also need to encrypt your data to render it useless should it fall into unauthorized hands. Data encryption is the best fix for data breaches if they occur. Encrypt all sensitive data, including business, customer, and employee information. Ensure that you activate and update the encryption software on all office devices.

Data backup is another necessary protection against security breaches. You can use it to restore your data if you suffer loss or a ransomware hack.

6. Put Up a Firewall and Restrict Access

Putting up a corporate firewall and restricting employee access is an essential step in securing your new office network. Some firewalls have an integrated VPN whose encryption provides additional protection. You can use a VPN as a security barrier between the employee PCs and your server. Hence, all computers on your network will work across an encrypted passageway whenever they access the server.

7. Create a VLAN for Guests

Never let guests or the public onto your private network to prevent eavesdropping, breaches, or hijacking of online accounts. If you must offer guest access, assign them to a separate LAN and SSID if your network equipment allows it. Otherwise, consider operating a different Internet connection and wireless router.

8. Invest in Cyber Security Insurance

Cybercriminals work tirelessly to find novel ways of breaching network security defenses, which means that all businesses are at risk of attacks. According to a 2019 IBM report, the average cost of a single breach was $3.92 million. To mitigate network breaches, get cybersecurity insurance. Seek specialist assistance to help you select the best cover for your business.

9. Educate Staff and Create a Secure Workplace Culture

Educate your staff on proper network security protocols to protect against breaches. Security is the responsibility of every employee. Thus, create a formal Internet policy for your business and ensure that everyone adheres to it.

Summing Up

Most businesses rarely think of the day-to-day threats of cyberattacks until they get affected. Having a cybersecurity plan in place allows you to survive attacks and continue your operations. Protecting your new office space from cyberattacks requires several measures, including securing hardware and access points, encrypting your Wi-Fi, using a firewall, creating VLAN for guests, educating employees, and investing in insurance.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loans Available

SBA disaster assistance loanAt OfficeFinder we want to help however we can. We know that many businesses will need help in the coming months. Here is one way to help alleviate the strain, a Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loan. Here is some information on them.

The SBA announced on Wednesday that businesses can now apply for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans to cover the temporary loss of revenue and meet working capital needs. Funds may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other expenses that cannot be met due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19.   Recognizing the high number of small businesses that will likely apply for loan assistance, the SBA says it may take three weeks or longer for the SBA to approve or deny loan applications.

SBA disaster assistance loan applicants should provide at least two years’ worth of financials to demonstrate the extent to which the pandemic has depleted cash flow.
To apply, business owners can log onto https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance to complete an online application

Businesses with access to traditional banks loans may not qualify for economic injury disaster loans.  Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

Credit Requirements:
• Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.
• Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay the loan.
• Collateral – Collateral is required for all EIDL loans over $25,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but SBA will require the borrower to pledge collateral that is available.

Interest Rates:
The interest rate is determined by formulas set by law and is fixed for the life of the loan. The maximum interest rate for this program is 4%.

Loan Terms:
The law authorizes loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years. SBA will determine an appropriate installment payment based on the financial condition of each borrower, which in turn will determine the loan term.

If there are ways we can help, let us know. Feel free to contact me directly at jim@officefinder.com.

6 Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring An Office Cleaning Service

Cleaning Service

It is essential to provide your employees with a conducive working environment. This can be helpful in improving their quality of work and productivity. While many tenants with full service leases may not have the responsiblity for office cleaning, those that do need to know what to look for.

Finding the right office cleaning services can be quite tricky, and you usually won’t be getting it right the first few times. There will be instances when you’ll be hiring a provider that doesn’t live up to your expectations, which can be a total waste of money.

So, if you are planning on hiring the services of an office cleaning provider, take note of these mistakes that you should avoid:

  • Being Misinformed Of Their Specialty

Every cleaning company provides a specialty service. Some specialize in cleaning offices or commercial spaces, while some focus on cleaning houses or warehouses. Knowing what cleaning service providers specialize in will be helpful in choosing the best one for your office, particularly one that fits the cleaning needs of your company.

  • Choosing The Cheapest

When searching for a cleaning service provider, choosing one that fits your budget is always an essential part of the process. However, it does not mean that you should choose the cheapest option available to you. Although settling for the least expensive one may seem like you are saving some cash, the service they provide might not be up to par with your expectations.

That is not to say that cleaning companies who offer affordable prices are not that good. The same can be said for cleaning companies that have expensive price tags. Thus, it is important to also do your research on the cleaning service company you plan on hiring in order to see their track record before you could finalize your decision.

Remember to always try to strike a balance between affordability and high-quality cleaning service.

  • Hiring Without Checking For Liability Insurance

It is very important to check for a cleaning company’s liability insurance before hiring them. Without it, you cannot easily charge them if they cause damage to your properties during the process. Because the workplace houses expensive office equipment, liability insurance is a must.

A legitimate cleaning service provider should have no qualms showing you the details of their insurance, so never forget to ask them for it. If the contractor you’re talking to doesn’t have insurance, better start looking for another one.

  • Hiring Without Doing Your Research

Doing some research on the office cleaning contractor you’ve shortlisted is a must before hiring them. Confirm with their previous clients if they are good at what they do. Were they professional in executing their tasks?  Were they thorough? Were they clumsy and damaged some equipment?

These days, having a website or, at the very least, a social media presence is very common. These platforms often have reviews and comments written there, so it would be best to check those, as well. They can be very helpful in determining whether or not a specific office cleaning contractor really offers high-quality services.

  • Not Looking For Certifications And Licenses

Certifications and licenses are very important for cleaning service providers to have. These reflect their dedication to their craft and the amount of time they have spent in developing their skills, therefore elevating the workmanship of their respective cleaning companies.

Although some cleaning service companies might have great reviews on their websites and social media channels, certificates and licenses legitimize that their cleaning skills are really topnotch and that they know what they are doing.

  • Not Fully Reading And Comprehending Service Agreement Or Contract

Once you have picked an office cleaning contractor, you need to discuss with them the types of services that they offer, as well as everything you expect from them. In doing so, you and the other party will have an idea of what the contract will look like.

However, it is not enough for you to assume that everything that was discussed during such talk will be reflected on the contract or the service agreement. Thus, you should read the contract in full. If there are terms or conditions that are not clear to you, ask before you sign anything.

Conclusion

Sometimes, it’s so easy to hire the first office cleaning company you see or hear about. However, it is imperative that you choose a cleaning service provider that offers professional and top-quality cleaning services.

Before choosing which cleaning company to hire, try to avoid making the mistakes mentioned above. Do your due diligence and think carefully. Whoever cleans your office can make a positive or negative effect on your employees, so take your pick wisely.