Monthly Archives: May 2020

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.

If you are looking for an office that will meet your needs, we can help. Our service is free. Contact us today.

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!