Category Archives: Workplace Strategies

Workplace Strategy is the dynamic alignment of an organization’s work patterns with the work environment to enable peak performance and reduce costs… Anika Ellison Savage

Tips To Keep Your Business Up To Date With Advancing Technology

Every business owner has to keep up to date with advancing technology. It’s true even for those who don’t run technology businesses and it can be overwhelming!

IT advancing at Work

IT seems to be always changing. Computers and networks, security systems, phone systems, and office productivity software are all products of technology and continually advancing. How can you keep up? Technology helps businesses in many ways. These can include systems for customer relationship management, software for tracking daily purchases, network linking the different members of the organization, or keeping the IT aspect of a business up to date. There is help from Information Technology (IT) support providers like Orlando IT support provider Data Cube Systems who will ensure you don’t fall behind. There’s no doubt that technology brings many benefits to the table.

However, technology evolves at a rate that can be daunting for business owners. At times, it seems that it’s too fast, leaving companies struggling to keep up and adopt. Nevertheless, technology helps businesses to function effectively and efficiently.

Below are a few tips to keep your business up to date with advancing technology:

Identify Your Needs

Take some time to think and determine what’s relevant to you and your business. For example, if your company focuses on sales, you likely have a sales team that reaches out to clients that are, most of the time, out of the office. That means that you need useful tools for quick and easy communication between you and your team members.

What you can do is to start making a list of the things that your business needs. So, your employees stay connected with clients and with one another. Your hardware needs are likely to be mobile phones, tablets, or laptops in addition to the computer network and phone system in your office.

Then make a separate list of the things that your whole team needs to make the most out of those technologies. It could be the ability to start and participate in conference calls. Or maybe you and your staff need to obtain access to the same document or spreadsheet file anytime and anywhere to update or input data.

It’s essential to know what you need, and it’s the first step that your business can take to identify the most appropriate technology and implement it right away.

Strengthen Customer Service Practices In Your Business

As a business owner, you know so well how essential it is to provide excellent service to your clients. Putting customer service at the top of your priority list is another way to ensure that your business keeps up with technological advancements. Excellent customer service requires your systems to run as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

You have to find ways to improve your website, especially if your customers are making payments or interacting with you through it. Your website should deliver a seamless experience to your clients, avoiding inconveniences as much as possible.

If you want your customer service practices to become of the bests and help you retain your customer base, you have to keep an eye on tech trends. One excellent technological product to help you with building and maintaining relationships with your clients is CRM software.

Define Your IT Strategy

Your business needs a defined IT strategy. It’s essential to note that defining an IT strategy is another way for your company to keep up to date with advancing technology. Assess your needs and evaluate whatever resources are available to you at the moment.

The IT strategy of your business should help you narrow down the kinds of technologies that you need for your business to run efficiently. Once you’ve already come up with an IT strategy and identified the technological products that you need from software, hardware, electronics, to equipment, it’s time to ensure that your office space can handle everything comfortably. If you’re planning to rent an office space, make sure it has the features that support the technological resources of your business.

Nothing Beats Planning Ahead

The best way to keep your business up to date with advancing technology is to plan ahead. Always remember not to become reactive when new technology trends come out. Use the buzz around new technology getting scheduled for unveiling to your advantage. And have your third-party Orlando IT support provider analyze upcoming technologies and ask them to assess whether or not these technologies suit the IT strategy and needs of your business and the current office setup you have.

Final Thoughts

You have to stay current with the ever-changing trends in technology if you want your business to remain relevant and competitive in the modern business world. It will help your business maximize its existing technological resources and invest in the right technologies moving forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Better Coffee at Your Office

Does your office coffee taste terrible or not as good as you’d like? Find out the mistakes you’re making and how to make better coffee at your office.

Better CoffeeLet’s face it, office coffee is never the best coffee.

It’s bleak, it’s bland and for whatever reason, it just never tastes as good as the coffee shop down the street. Despite its bad reputation, we find ourselves drinking cup-after-cup and depending on it to power us through tiresome afternoons.

But, what if office coffee didn’t have to be so bad after all? In fact, what if office coffee could somehow transition into an enjoyable drinking experience?

As it turns out, office coffee doesn’t always have to resemble a sad cup of Joe. If you’re interested in learning how to make better coffee at your office, you’ve come to the right place. We’re showcasing five simple tips and tricks for turning your office coffee experience into a pleasant one.

Let’s get started!

  1. Opt for Fresh Ground Beans 

Is your office stuck in the sixties with instant coffee?

You know, the ground coffee beans that dissolve when placed in hot water? Sure, it’s utterly convenient and it can be made anywhere with hot water. Perhaps this is why 34 percent of retail brewed coffee around the world is instant.

Regardless of convenience, we all know that fresh ground coffee produces superior coffee. So, if you have the time and the budget, why not spring for the better option?

With this, you can either ground your coffee beans yourself or simply buy freshly ground coffee beans. While this does involve using a coffee machine or a device such as a french press, it’s always going to make for a more enjoyable experience.

  1. Buy a French Press 

A french press is one of the most simple and effective means of making great coffee.

Unlike a coffee machine, it doesn’t have to be plugged in, use energy or take up prime counter space. Instead, you can simply store it in the office cabinet without the fear that it’s going to take up too much space.

A French press works through steeping coffee grounds inside of a beaker. Once the coffee has steeped, a mesh filter will be pushed to the bottom of the beaker and separate the grounds from the liquid coffee.

Of course, it’s your decision whether you opt for a single-use french press or a large, group-size french press.

  1. Use Filtered Water 

It’s time to up your water game!

Who knew that filtered water could make such a difference in your day-to-day coffee routine? This is especially the case for those locales in which simple tap water doesn’t taste the best.

Sure, filtering your water for your coffee but sound silly at first. But, remember, coffee is 98.75 percent 98.75 percent water. When we consider this fact, it’s easier to see why the quality of your water matters so much.

At the end of the day, water is not supposed to have a distinct taste. In a way, water is supposed to taste like nothing. This means that you’re going to be enjoying the pure taste of coffee rather than the lake down the street.

  1. B.Y.O.M.

Let’s be honest, the mug in which we drink can make or break our coffee experience.

Do you find yourself drinking out of a sad, uninspiring styrofoam cup at work? Or, what about a red plastic cup that was leftover from the work party last Thursday? Not only do disposable cups make for a bad drinking experience, but they’re also incredibly harmful to the planet.

If you don’t think a reusable mug is going to make a difference, it’s time to think again. Let’s consider that just one disposable coffee cup contains 0.24 pounds of carbon greenhouse gas emissions. It’s easy to see how utilizing even one disposable cup per day will get out of hand.

Instead, make a point in bringing your own mug from home every single day. You can opt to leave it at work throughout the week to make this easier.

Of course, there’s no denying that this is way better for the planet. But, it’s also sure to elevate your coffee drinking experience! With such a simple transition, you’re going to feel more relaxed and enjoy your cup of Joe all the more.

  1. Start a Workplace Coffee Rotation 

It’s officially time for all coffee lovers to unite!

If you seriously want to make a point in bettering your office coffee, why not start a coffee club or coffee rotation with your co-workers. This could entail each person bringing in different types of coffee beans each week.

One month could feature all local roasteries and serve as a way to get to know the coffee roasters in your neighborhood. The next month could feature coffee beans from one specific coffee-producing country such as Costa Rica.

This will be a fun way to try different types of coffee and to encourage a better coffee atmosphere amongst your work environment!

How to Make Better Coffee 

If there’s one thing the majority of co-workers can ususally agree on it’s this: The coffee machine at work sucks.

As a result, this coffee machine often sits in the corner of the office seemingly untouched. To get their daily caffeine fix, employees jaunt down the street to the local cafe. Here, they spend their hard-earned money on overpriced and underdelivered coffee.

So, what can be done about sad office coffee, you ask?

It’s time to make office coffee great again.

If you’re wondering how to make better coffee, be sure to use this guide to lead the way. Not only will you have the privilege of good quality office coffee, but your co-workers are going to be eternally grateful.

All hail the coffee Gods.

 

5 Keys To Hiring Top C Level Talent

executive search

Hiring entry-level positions is a repetitive process, and HR follows the usual route in looking for potential employees. Executive search, on the other hand, does not implement the normal hiring process. Executive recruiting is a process of finding and hiring candidates for the vacant top positions in the company.

Looking for C level talent is looking for the next manager of a department or the next chief executive officer. Hiring for top-level positions is a crucial process since one wrong move can have negative repercussions for the company.

Importance of Executive Hiring

Hiring the ideal candidate for a company is critical for the overall success of the business. The next leader of the company will be making crucial decisions that will shape the current organization’s culture and future. Hiring C level talent should be approached with the highest consideration and importance. If you are tasked to look for the next leader for the company, there are several things that you have to keep in mind.

Read below some critical tips on hiring the best C level talent for your company.

  1. Craft The Best Job Description

For the candidates to know more about the vacant position and its responsibilities, you should create the best job description. The job description must provide details so that they can understand the job and the industry the company belongs to. A good job description also depicts the personality of the ideal executive candidate and define what qualities must be present to be perfect not only for the role but for the company as a whole.

  1. Take Advantage of Networking

In looking for the best C level talent, you have to take advantage of referrals and your network in other human resource departments. Most of the time, existing employees in the company are informed of the job opening in the business. There is a huge chance that someone in your own company knows someone who is an excellent fit for the role. Employees and even existing leaders in your company may know someone from their circle of friends or previous job who they can vouch for.

You should also think outside the box. Expand your connections using social media, investors, board members, or other stakeholders. These people might know someone fit for the job: the bigger your contacts, the better. Using your connections is considered one of the best ways to look for the best executive candidates.

  1. Build Rapport With Your Candidates

Once you have your candidates in for an interview, build rapport with them. When talking to candidates, you should make a personal approach and focus on the candidate during the whole recruitment process. One of the challenges with executive recruiting is there is competition in acquiring top talent. Candidates know that they are in demand, and they have the luxury of choosing where they want to go.

You should never attempt to sell the position or the company. Focus on getting to know the candidate and learn about their achievements and credentials. Make sure that you show that you are interested in knowing them. Get to know them better by learning what drives them and their desire to lead a team.

  1. Provide an Unforgettable Candidate Experience

To make sure that you attract top C talent, you have to provide a great experience during the recruitment process. You always have to know you are also facing competition in the form of other companies willing to hire your candidate. Go the extra mile and differentiate your approach from other companies. You must show how much the business is invested and committed to hiring top talents for the executive position.

It is recommended that you offer some time to introduce your candidates to your top management team or director. By doing so, you show your candidates how dedicated you are by letting them know who their boss will be. Aside from that, be flexible with your interview times and be prepared to meet them even outside working hours. Adding personal touches like asking them about their favorite snack or restaurant will make them feel special.

  1. Always Keep Your Standards High

As part of the recruitment team, you might be feeling a little bit of pressure in finding the best person to fill an executive position. Always remember that hiring for the executive position is vital in the success of the business, so keep your standards high. Always check references and the validity of the information on their resume.

Conclusion

Looking for the best person to fill the executive positions can be quite a challenge for HR or talent acquisition departments. You must remember to be clear in your job postings as it should depict who you want to hire and show off the company’s culture and nature. Once you have your candidate, make sure that you provide them with an unforgettable recruitment experience as you are facing competition with other companies as well.

Lastly, keep your standards in hiring high. Being under pressure of filling leadership positions should not be the reason to rush into hiring just anyone. Hiring the right top C talent is crucial to the success of your business.

The Essentials Before Heading Out Into The World Of Business On Your Own

By 2020, it is estimated that approximately 27 million Americans will leave the workforce in favor of self-employment, according to estimations in the 2018 FreshBooks report.

self-employment

The penchant for self-employment and entrepreneurial spirit that is alive in the country is not necessarily new information. The country ranked first on the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI), and cities across America are quickly becoming hotbeds for business innovation and startups. With over 24 million Americans contemplating self-employment in 2019, one key consideration for them will be how they can best be prepared for this professional leap. Taking a few steps before starting your own business sets you up for success, and helps the incorporation period of your business run much more smoothly. It includes securing the right office space, a dedicated workforce and everything in between.

Define Your Target Market And Competition

Creating a customer profile helps you define who your potential customers will be so that you can personalize your communications, location and even packaging according to what they prefer or demand. To do this, you need to conduct thorough market research and seek information on competing businesses in the industry. Take note of current trends in the industry, such as social media communication and advertising trends or any new complimentary service being offered by other companies already operating in the market. Getting to know your competition means you can capitalize on their shortcomings, providing the customers with what they seek. It also helps you define your boundaries: do you have enough funds and human resources to fill the need uncovered by the market research? More importantly, how can you make your offering unique and notable?

Decide On Your Location – Brick And Mortar, Ecommerce Or Both?

Now that you know who and what you wish to be selling, it is time to answer the questions of where and how. The first question to address is whether you want to sell in-store or online or both. Thanks to technology and the embracing of the internet, most businesses now have an online presence in addition to their brick and mortar locations. When choosing a location, look at factors such as closeness to your target market, availability of your supply, and ease of distribution. Whether you intend to sell online or in-store will also determine the kind of premises you secure; whether it is intended for warehouse storage and distribution or customer browsing and storefront as well. OfficeFinder can help you find the right location.

Back Your Plans With The Funds

Once you have decided on the target market (who) and the good/services to be offered (what), it is time to answer the question of how. This is where financing comes in. To kick-start your plans for your own business, you will need some degree of startup capital for the purchase/leasing of business premises, stock, machinery and promotional activities. Around 77 percent of small business owners use their personal funds to start their business, while 16 percent rely on borrowing from friends or family members.

Alternatively, you can opt to apply for a bank loan or credit like 24 percent of other business owners do, according to GuidantFinancial. The average in business loans taken is USD$72,2771, with 23 percent of owners borrowing more than that. If you do intend on financing your business with the help of loans and other credit, you should also check your credit report to ensure it is in optimal shape. The credit report of business owners (particularly small business owners) is one of the go-to things lenders consider in your application, so now would be the perfect time to boost your score or address any discrepancies in your financial past. Find more information here.

Create A Mock-Up

If you’re going to apply for a business loan or secure investor backing, you will need to pitch your idea, and a mock-up can help you sell your vision. This means creating a business plan for your financing process, which should detail your product/service, your target market, and your plans to meet the needs of the said market. Plan execution will include a marketing and sales plan, along with financial projections of your revenue and costs and your projected cash flow. It is important that you pay particular attention to your cash flow, since lenders will be taking note of cash management strategies. Finally, to round out your business presentation, you can create a demo business website and sample business cards or adverts.

Making the decision to head into a self-employment business for yourself can be fraught with many decisions in the beginning. However, the trick is to approach it systematically and carefully taking into consideration the essential decisions before you kick-start your venture.

Standing Desks Health Benefits: Protecting Your Employees Health

Offering your employees standing desks can actually benefit the health of your employees. Here is some information about standing desks and employees health benefits.Standing desksAs their name suggests, standing desks are a type of desk that allows you to work standing up.

They can be raised and lowered as you see fit.

Standing desks are more than just a fad — they are a way to keep your employees engaged and healthy at work.

Standing throughout the workday provides a few substantial health benefits to you and your employees. Understanding the major standing desks health benefits can help you decide if you should invest in them for your office.

Here they are:

  • Weight Loss and Posture
  • The most obvious benefit of choosing a standing desk is that it helps burn more calories with very little extra effort on the part of your employees.
  • A recent study showed that working at a standing desk can burn an extra 1,000 calories per week.
  • Beyond the improved weight loss, standing for at least part of the day can help alleviate back pain.
  • Sitting in an office chair, especially if you are prone to slouching, can lead to back pain and problems like slipped disks.
  • Comfortable Fit for Your Employees

One of the best things about standing desks is that they can switch between sitting and standing.

This is a more inclusive work station since it can be easily adjusted to the height of each of your employees. It also means that people can sit down and take a load off if their knees or feet start to get sore.

You can shop these desks to either convert or replace your current desk so that your workspace stays the same despite being higher up.

They also help prevent people from banging their knees or being wedged into uncomfortable positions. It can help people keep their hands in proper position on their keyboards, which can help prevent carpal tunnel.

Better Mental Engagement

The fact that you can switch between standing and sitting with a standing desk also helps keep your employees engaged.

Allowing people to switch every hour or so can help people stay focused instead of dozing off at their keyboards.

A study found that high school students saw better test scores when they used standing desks because they were able to focus better and engage with their work.

However, the benefit of being engaged at work is not solely related to productivity.

Another study found that using a standing desk reduces feelings of fatigue and stress. This marks an improvement in the mental health of your employees and can help prevent both boredom and burnout.

These Standing Desks Health Benefits Make It Clear

To improve the overall health and happiness of your employees and keep their morale high throughout the workweek, a standing desk is a great solution.

You can easily retrofit your existing workspace to accommodate standing desks, reaping the benefits in no time at all.

On a personal note, my daughter, who works at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, swears by her standing desk. A great company who wants to ensure their employees health. Your company should follow their lead.

For more information like this, check out the rest of our blog. It’s chock-full of tips that you can use to keep your employees happy, healthy, and productive. And if you are looking for office space, we can help at no cost to you. Contact us today!

 

6 Jobs You Should NEVER Outsource

outsourcing meetingOutsourcing is one of the most popular trends today when it comes to company operations and productivity. As more advanced technologies are developed, businesses gain more avenues to outsource their services to other companies, most of which are located overseas. In fact, the need for particular responsibilities to be outsourced soared in the United States, reaching almost $76.9 billion in 2016.

Communication and project management between clients and outsourcing partners have also improved in recent years, allowing for a more seamless operation. Outsourcing is also becoming a great help even to smaller businesses. Some outsourcing companies are now even offering virtual offices to startups.

Here are some other popular benefits of outsourcing:

  • It can save resources. Outsourcing companies can provide the same expertise but with a fraction of the cost.
  • It offers flexibility to employees. In-house employees would have more time to focus on tasks and responsibilities that have a direct impact on how the company progresses.
  • It promotes efficiency at work. Both in-house and outsourced functions are done easily andpromptly.
  • It allows access to a diverse field of multinational, skilled talent. Outsourcing will enable companies to tap talents by working with people who specialize in specific tasks.

But with all of the advantages that outsourcing brings to the table, is it advisable to outsource everything? Here you’ll find that there are specific projects and campaigns that your company should take on and complete by yourself.

Not Just About Results

Sometimes, businesses outsource their tasks because they want to focus on getting things done. Though it’s certainly not a problem to be results-driven, it’s always a must to understand the whole process of the operation or project. That way, the companies’ in-house employees would become more skilled and experienced in handling similar tasks in the future.

Here are six jobs you definitely should not place on contractors:

  1. Executive and Administrative Leadership Roles – Never outsource roles that have a direct impact on the company’s path to success. The vision and objectives should come from its own executives. If there are people who know the basic principles that keep the business moving, then it should be these people.Most companies appear to have a good understanding of this, as 89% of companies do not plan to outsource any of their strategic planning and executive functions, while 80% are not outsourcing marketing-related responsibilities.
  2. Employee Training and Development – The company management should be the one responsible in training and advancing the skills of its employees. It’s not right to assign a third-party service provider to guide employees—you should have control over how you lead your members to become better professionals in the future.
  3. Termination Management – Similar to previous points, the on-site human resources department should be the one responsible for terminating and retaining employees. It should always be prepared to deliver both good and bad news to employees.
  4. Core Business Competencies – If your business is selling a particular product or service, then your team should have expert knowledge about them. Don’t expect an outsourcing company to be experts at what you sell or do because they focus mainly on their outsourcing skills.
  5. Risk Management and Problem Solving Tasks – The idea is not just to solve a particular problem or achieve a goal. The most critical factor in a growing company is gaining enough knowledge on how it’s done.When problems arise, it’s better to have your own team of problem solvers who can get the job done. The ability to solve problems also has another positive result—it prevents these issues from happening in the future.
  6. Company Financing – The finance department has the responsibility to decide how much budget is given to particular projects and departments. Financial decisions, investments, and other expenses should not be outsourced because in-house financial managers have a clearer picture of the status of the company.

Outsourcing is Here to Stay

Outsourcing is indeed becoming a staple portion of any successful company, and it’s happening outside the US. In the past, outsourcing partnerships materialized because of phone calls and meetings over coffee.

But today, any business can acquire outsourcing services through the Internet. They can draft contracts with foreign Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies without the need to actually see each other face-to-face.

There are a ton of options in outsourcing. The top two countries that offer outsourcing services worldwide are the Philippines and India. The Philippines currently employs more than a million employees in the BPO industry, and that’s expected to increase to 1.3 or 1.5 million professionals in the next three years. It is the top destination of voice BPO, while it is second to India in non-voice services.

Meanwhile, India holds more than 65% of all IT-related outsourced jobs worldwide. The country boasts high-level competency in computer-related responsibilities and specialization, as well as a good grasp of the English language.

Outsourcing and Automation

In the years to come, there will be more outsourcing options, one of which is automation. Some businesses are beginning to rely on AI and modern technology to automate specific procedures without the need for human intervention. Outsourcing to automation is also becoming popular nowadays, and interestingly, there are also tasks that should not be automated—but that’s a topic for another day.

 

Small Business Tricks: Best Health Insurance Plans for Your Employees

Small businesses officially have more options for health insurance than ever before. In the past, health insurance has been costly for small businesses especially. This led to many businesses choosing to opt out of health insurance coverage altogether, leaving employees unprotected.

The good news is that times are changing. Health care is becoming easier for small businesses to navigate, and this is a benefit for both employees and companies. Employees today value health insurance over a lot of other benefits.

Today, 88% of employees consider the quality of health benefits important when choosing a job. If you want to stay competitive and attract top candidates, you need health benefits. In this guide, we’ll discuss the best health insurance plans for your employees and your business.

employee workstation

Image via Unsplash

Small Business Health Insurance Program

The first option is to get coverage through the Small Business Health Insurance Program (SHOP) marketplace. This is a marketplace for businesses that have under 50 full-time employees, and at least 70% of your employees need to enroll in the chosen plan.

Any small business that chooses this option has to pay a fixed premium for the policy, though a portion of these costs can be passed along to employees. Like most employer-sponsored plans, the employee will be responsible for copays and deductibles when seeking services.

Reimbursement Arrangement

A reimbursement arrangement is just what it sounds like. This option was created in 2016, and it’s officially known as the Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA). With this program, businesses with under 50 employees can offer a monthly allowance of tax-free money.

Employees can use this money in a number of ways. They can purchase their own health insurance through a private insurer or the federal marketplace. They can pay out-of-pocket for health expenses. Basically, it allows a lot of employee and employer flexibility.

employees meeting

Image via Unsplash

Self-Funded Insurance

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to go through a third-party insurance provider. In these instances, the small business itself acts as the insurance provider. This means the small business pays for any health care claims with money that’s kept in a secure trust.

This might sound risky, but there are a lot of limitations in place to make this a much more formal, secure arrangement. Most businesses pair the fund with a stop-loss policy to ensure there’s not too much risk when paying employee claims.

Association Health Plans

A recent option that just became available for small businesses is access to association health plans (AHP). WIth an association health plan, small businesses can band together to purchase large-group coverage or self-insure. Generally, small businesses group by profession, geographic region, or industry.

These plans work similarly to a normal group policy, and they’re much more affordable. However, it’s important to note that these AHPs don’t need to cover the essential health benefits like Affordable Care Act compliant policies need to.

Supplemental Health Insurance

Finally, consider offering supplemental health insurance to your employees. Many people don’t realize that most traditional plans don’t offer coverage for “extras” like dental, vision, and so on. These are must-have services, so a bit of supplemental coverage goes a long way.

You can find supplemental health plans from most private insurance providers, and they’re very low in cost compared to traditional medical coverage. This is a great perk to offer employees that won’t break your budget. Find out more about vision insurance fast quotes at HealthMarkets.

How to Choose the Best Coverage

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to healthcare. As a small business, it’s up to you to understand your budget and employees’ needs. The right coverage is one that takes all of these things into account and makes you a competitive employer in your area.

It’s easy to overlook the importance of health insurance, but now’s the time to find the best option for your business. Are you ready to take this step to bring your business to the next level?

Office Phones For Small Business: Tips When Buying

When it comes to office equipment and devices, office phone systems are critical. It’s crucial to choose the right office phone system, so your employees can interact easily without leaving their workstations, which maximizes productivity and traffic in your office space.

office phones

Below are some helpful tips when buying office phones for your small business:

 Consider Taking Certified VoIP Phones

Certified Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP business phones are ready-to-use because they are pre-configured. You can mix and match them with your other office phones, making it easier to optimize your business phone system. You can also use cell phones or landlines in addition to VoIP-compatible phones. With the best telecom plan, you can make calls from any device.

 Align the Office Phone Features to Your Needs

Even if you’re just a startup or small business, it pays investing in state-of-the-art office phones. However, you have to make sure that you select the best features that align with your needs. Take into account the scalability of your business or your business growth within two or more years. Do you see your small business growing soon? You don’t want to end up buying another set of office phones because you need additional features.

Here are the best features of modern office phones for small business:

  • Attendant: This is a virtual assistant that initially answers all incoming calls using a custom greeting. A caller may choose options for different departments, extensions, or prerecorded messages based on how you want to customize it. Small businesses benefit from using this feature because it eliminates the need to hire a receptionist, which is applicable if you’re renting a very small office.
  • Extensions: It’s important to have multiple extensions. In that way, calls will be routed to the right people. Find one with message extensions and mailbox only extensions. Calls between extensions are typically free, which can save you a lot of money with call charges.
  • Follow Me: Some office phone systems are more sophisticated. For instance, when you’re at your office desk, all calls will automatically route to your office phone. When you leave, all calls will automatically route to your smartphone. This feature is beneficial if you don’t want to miss important calls, most especially for start-up and small businesses.
  • Inbound Faxing: Receive faxes via a hosted PBX system and send it to the user via work email as a PDF attachment. With this feature, the server detects all inbound fax messages, and your phone number becomes your business fax number.
  • Conference: Choose an office phone system with reliable built-in conference features. It will allow you and other users to join in on an important conference call without the hassle of making arrangements in advance. Get to work with more of your employees without leaving their workstations, saving you time, money, and effort.
  • Call Recording: This is accomplished by just clicking your computer mouse, eliminating the need to set up the software to record calls. All recorded messages are stored for later retrieval.
  • Call Scheduling: This feature is sometimes called time-based routing. It allows managers and business owners to set specific call schedules or call routes at certain times, regardless if it is nighttime, weekends, or holidays.
  • Call Queue: It allows calls to wait until an available agent is ready to take the call. It’s like a waiting room wherein callers are put in a call queue.

Consider Your Office Space: Where to Set Up Your New Office Phones

Renting an office can be challenging, most especially if you need to expand your business. Sometimes, growing businesses need to find another location because of the growing number of employees and office equipment. Using the latest office phone systems eliminate the need for moving out and transferring into a wider and larger office. Of course, you have to consider a lot of things like the space to put in your office supplies, tools, and equipment. For a small business, you’ll find small and medium-sized office phone systems.

 Aside from taking into consideration the number of staff members you have with you, renting an office space would also require you to think of your future growth. Ask yourself if you would need a new office phone system to use like what other big businesses use, or settle for traditional landline phones.

Compare Prices

 Not all office phones are the same, so prices vary depending on the features you need. You can always check product review sites to compare prices and read what previous customers say about the product. Business phone systems either come as key systems, VoIP, or PBX systems. The price range is from $30 to $1,000 per extension.

 Check for the Service Warranty

As a small business owner, you want to focus on your business and dedicate less time servicing your office phones. That’s why you have to ask the manufacturer or seller about the warranties and guarantees involved in the purchase of office phones for your small business.

Conclusion

Why settle for less if your small business can be successful using more efficient and reliable phone systems? Your office phone system is a powerful tool because you use it to communicate with your customers, partners, investors, suppliers, and other significant people in your business. It’s only imperative to invest in high-quality business phone systems to ensure that you get the most out of your hard-earned money.

5 Tips on How to Choose a Conference Call Provider

Choosing the right conference call provider is crucial for fast and efficient business meetings. The wrong provider could slow productivity and make you look unprofessional.

Free conference call

Are you looking for your first conference call provider? Or searching for an upgrade to your current system?

Research shows that 45% of all workplace meetings happen via conference calls, so having the right system in place is really important.

The right system makes your employees more productive, efficient, and satisfied — while the wrong system is a frustrating waste of time for everyone.

Need help finding the right conference call system?

Keep reading.

  1. Know What’s Most Important to Your Employees

Your employees are the people who will use your conference call service the most, so getting their input is essential.

Features you consider important might not matter as much as you think, and your employees might have considerations that never even occurred to you.

For example, employees might be desperate for the ability to change PIN codes to make them easier to remember, while you might be worried about a video call feature they never use.

If you’re a large organization, send round an email asking for thoughts. For smaller businesses, pop into the office for a chat.

  1. Look for Extra Features Like Screen Sharing

Some conference call services are pretty bare-bones, which might be all you need.

However, if you want extra features like the ability to share screens, access calls from multiple devices, and make video calls, you’ll need to make sure that they’re included or available as extras.

You should also ask if any of these features come with additional costs, as they’re not always free.

  1. Ask About Personalization Options

Will your employees be able to set up account details that they can easily remember?

Or will every call be plagued by latecomers who ‘couldn’t remember the pin’?

The level of personalization offered by your provider can make a big difference to productivity, so get clear on what can be changed and what can’t — and how easy the process is.

  1. Get Details on Installation and Support

A good conference call provider won’t just get your system set up, they’ll also be around to provide ongoing support.

Most systems require some initial training for staff, followed by assistance as you all get to grips with things over the following months.

Ask what the ongoing support is like, as well as whether it costs extra or is included in your package.

  1. Assess Cost and Check for Hidden Charges

Conference call packages vary massively in price. Some include lots of special features as standard, while others charge for everything outside the basic offering.

You’ll need to know the fee per minute for calls, the cost for calls abroad, and the cost for having multiple users on one call.

Look closely through the contact to make sure you aren’t caught out by any large hidden charges.

If you’re struggling with finance, look online for the best free conference call providers and consider upgrading later.

Signs of a Good Conference Call Provider

A good conference call provider will clearly lay out all charges, explain how to personalize the system, and provide good ongoing support after installation.

Good providers will also include special features, like screen sharing.

Want to learn more about making your office run smoothly? Check out the latest articles right here on our OfficeFinder blog.

 

Improve Productivity! 8 Tips for Designing an Organized Office Space

Do you want a workplace that encourages your employees to be more productive? Here 8 creative tips for designing an organized office space.

office Productivity Tips

Do your employees have low productivity? Or do you believe that there’s still room to improve? Redesigning your office might be the key.

Office design affects the productivity level of employees. However, this doesn’t only pertain to the aesthetics of the office. If it looks good yet is disorganized, employees can still suffer from low productivity.

To produce more and better output, your employees need a good environment. You can provide this by having an organized office space with the following tips.

  1. Purging Junk and Files

The first step to organizing the workspace is purging all the unused equipment and old files. Throw out anything you or your employees don’t use anymore.

It could be a printer that’s always broken. You might as well throw it out to gain more space for other items — like a new printer that works.

The best way to go about this is to purge one area at a time. Take the time to go into your file room, too. Anything you can digitize, do it now so you can throw them out later.

There’s a way to keep the filing room neat and organized, but we’ll get to that later.

  1. More Defined Spaces, Less Open Space

The idea of an open working plan is to encourage collaboration and creativity. It became the mark of a modern office that breaks the traditional walls.

However, studies show it’s not bringing the results it’s meant to bring. The employees in this kind of workspace atmosphere have lower satisfaction and productivity.

Instead of going this route, create and define different spaces in your office. Allot a space for collaboration, and then design it in a way that will encourage that interaction. You can also use smaller spaces for individuals who need some quiet, or you may also give them a space for bonding.

If you’re concerned with going modern for your office design, having spaces without desks is a nice compromise.

  1. Optimizing the Office Layout

The next step for an organized office is a great floor plan. Employees should have easy access to all rooms and spaces. The more often they have to use a space, the closer it should be.

If it takes them 10 minutes to go to the bathroom because they have to pass by several rooms, that’s a bad layout. It decreases productivity because it wastes their time.

In shorter terms, your employees should not have to go through a maze to get to places.

  1. Considering the Equipment Placement

While figuring out a good layout for your office, think about the proximity of your equipment to your employees. Are they able to use the printer in only a few steps? What about the suppliers they use daily?

Keep these things in mind while designing your office, not only the rooms. Anything essential to their work should always be within reach.

As for the supplies, keep them well-organized but well within range, as well. Keep the papers close to the copying machines, for example. Likewise, the filing folders should be near the cabinets.

For things employees don’t use often, it’s okay to put these in a room or a cabinet farther from the desks.

  1. Creating Movement Opportunities

This might contradict the previous point, but this tip keeps your employees healthy and, by extension, productive.

It prevents them from being stagnant at their desk. Research suggests that for every 20 minutes you’re sitting, you must stand for 8 minutes and then move for 2 minutes.

In that regard, placing the machines far enough (but not too far) to get your employees moving will do the trick.

The five-minute trip to the bathroom, for example, can refresh their minds. This can help them overcome a wall and regain their momentum.

A short break spent in the water cooler has the same effect, and even the short walk to the filing room can do wonders.

  1. Creating an Organized Filing System

Speaking of files, it’s time you take a trip to your filing rooms and realize the chaos. It’s not unusual, but if you want more productive employees, don’t let them stress out over your filing system.

Reorganize the room to include more cabinets, shred the unimportant files, and develop a filing system that will ensure the files will be easy to locate afterward. Keep all your client files in one corner, for example, and then your employee files in the other.

Don’t forget to hold a meeting to teach your employees how to use the new system.

  1. Improving the Lighting

Natural light makes for a healthy work environment, and it may be the best perk you can give them. Having no access to natural light can make your employees gloomy, lacking motivation, and prone to illness.

Installing large windows to let as much light as possible is ideal. If your office can’t have windows, however, consider a smart lighting system.

This can sync with and mimic natural light outside. In particular, it mimics the color of natural light throughout the day. Daylight is bluish-white, while the afternoon light is more orange.

  1. Controlling the Noise Level

Noise has a lot of negative effects on your employees. Aside from less productivity, they also have lower job satisfaction and more stress. This may be one of the reasons why open floor plans aren’t successful.

For a positive work environment, control the noise using noise. You can hide speech, computer sounds, and more by distributing white noise through your speaker systems.

You can also reduce the noise levels by moving the machines creating a lot of noise. Printers and copiers should go where noise won’t be an issue. Having a separate room for them is ideal.

Get an Organized Office 

Having an organized office space will not only boost productivity. It will also boost your employees’ happiness. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a professional office designer to help you with designing a good working space.

For more tips, feel free to check out more of our guides. You can discover more tips and tricks with our library of helpful posts today!