Category Archives: Office

Top 5 Pieces Of Essential Office Equipment

Since we live in this age of technology, it is important that we are updated with the latest office equipment. This will allow us to work more efficiently and finish our tasks right on schedule. But with the variety of equipment in the market, how would you know which one to choose?

The Top Essential Office Equipment

• Phone system

Though there are a lot of advancements in technology, organizations will still continue to use phone systems. There are several high-tech phone systems in the market today that businesses can benefit from. Aside from having the regular functions of an office telephone, most phone systems come with a program, which is installed in a computer. This lets you control phones by means of a computer. So, you can see each extension, whether or not they are on the phone, including the people they are talking to. Voice mail messages can be set up as email messages, and call forwarding can be set up to any number.

These new phone systems make use of software so you can just upgrade your software instead of changing your phone systems. This lets you save money in the long run and makes it easier to maintain your phone system.

• Laptops, desktops plus accessories

There are lots of techie devices nowadays like tabs, 3D printers, and flat screens. Though they may be the latest and coolest devices, you won’t need them in an office. When it comes to work, people will still depend on laptops and desktops.

You will need newer laptops and desktops that have enough capacity to store the programs you need. Older ones may not be compatible with the newer programs. So it is advisable to upgrade these devices every five years or more. This way, there won’t be any problems whenever you need to run a program. Like all other electronic equipment, computers have a shell life, and they need to be replaced someday.

• Servers

You need servers to store your stuff. However, with companies going cloud-based, a server does not necessarily have to be in an office. You will only need a server if you are at least 20 people and would like to grow or if your customized programs won’t run in a cloud. Otherwise, you can continue doing business without one.

• Backups

Backup systems are essential in every workplace. You will never know when disasters could happen. You may erase a very important report by accident or your network gets wiped out.

• Firewall

All organizations need a firewall to protect their system from all existing online problems. Without this, hackers can have access to your network. This can also be open to all sorts of viruses.

Conclusion

Even if every organization is headed for the Cloud, they will still need office equipment since this is a basic need. The equipment you choose should be updated, to keep up with the programs that are being offered nowadays. High-tech equipment will allow you to do your work more efficiently than ever.

Sally writes for the Principal Corp group of companies who specialise in b2b cloud services, consumer electronics and more. Visit Principal Corp for print auditing solutions, Office Magic for photocopiers or Cameron Barclay for office refurbishment.

How Call Answering Services Can Take Your Business To The Next Level

You have the perfect business idea- one which could very well make you a millionaire in a few years’ time. Money is tight so you decide to do everything yourself. You conclude that you can always hire employees later once business starts to pick up.

So you do your due diligence, including competition analysis and soon enough, you release your own line of products. Orders come in slowly and you process them all by yourself, even personally responding to customer inquiries over the phone.

There’s only one problem. You’re spending more time on the phone than on business operations.

The solution? Consider employing the help of a call center. Providing superior customer cannot be stressed enough. Consumers all over the world are increasingly relying on the internet to make purchases. This spells opportunity for those companies that know how to keep their customers happy.

Voice activated systems have become popular options for businesses to manage incoming calls. They’ve also been crucial for managing incoming calls on a wide scale such as when Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast.

However, they can also be an annoyance, especially when customers have an urgent need to get on the phone with a real person. The following are reasons as to how hiring phone call center services can help elevate your business to new heights.

Focus on what matters

Answering phone calls can be time-consuming. From contacting customers to responding to their questions, there simply isn’t enough time during the day. By employing call center order taking services, you free up a significant amount of time, which can be used on more important matters.

Look like a well-established company

Even if your business is still relatively new, your customers don’t know that. Appearances matter, and call center services can make your firm appear well established. When customers have all their questions answered by a professional representative, it increases the chances that they will order your products or services.

Improve operations

Call centers are designed to ensure that communications with customers are consistent and streamlined. Poor service can lead to customers switching services or buying a competitor’s product. Hiring the help of a call center drastically improves operations by ensuring that customers are always a priority.

Running a business is already an exhausting endeavor. However, it can also be disastrous for those companies that put less importance on service. Matters could get a lot worse if you do not stay on top of your industry. Customers are now increasingly demanding personal service which call centers can easily help with.

Featured images:

Chuck Stevens is an avid blogger always looking to share his experiences and recommendations. He has been a small business owner for over 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @chuckstevens12.

Gifts For Coworkers Leaving Your Workplace

Image by Mr.Boombust on FlickrIt can be difficult to see a coworker leave for another job, retirement, or to pursue other opportunities in life. The chances are good, though, that you’d like to wish them luck or show them your appreciation for the time the two of you have worked together. You may even be in charge of purchasing a farewell gift for your coworker from everyone in the office. Wondering what to give? These ideas can help.

Gift Cards

You almost can’t go wrong with a gift card. Whether you choose one that goes to the individual’s favorite restaurant, the best morning coffee spot in the city, or even one that entitles the person to free services, like a massage, moving services, or even house cleaning services, you’re going to find something useful and delightful. If you don’t know the person very well, this is a nice touch that shows you care.

Charitable Donations

Year after year, it seems there are more charitable causes than ever that need attention. It’s possible your departing coworker would love you to give the money you might have spent on a gift to worthy organization instead. If possible, choose an organization your coworker truly believes in like the HSPCA, St. Jude’s, or even UNICEF. Most organizations even offer a card or some other token to help let the individual know you’ve given a donation instead of a traditional gift.

Personalized Gift Baskets

Having trouble choosing the right gift? Why not gather several? This can be a great send-off, particularly if you know the individual well. Go with a theme, like a chocolate or coffee gift basket, or a favorite sports team, or just add various gifts that are perfect for that person. For example, perhaps she likes the ballet, smoothies, and candles. Get a beautiful basket. Add ballet tickets, a gift card to her favorite smoothie shop, and four or five scented candles, and you have a great combo that she will never forget. The key here, though, is ensuring that you pack the basket with gifts the individual will truly appreciate.

Gadgets

It’s rare not to find an individual who doesn’t love a good gadget these days, and many are intensely useful as well. You could easily pick up an illuminated keyboard (they come with rainbow backlights as well as a variety of other colors these days), a rearview monitor mirror, or even a USB powered beverage cooler for your coworker’s new desk. There are a variety of choices out there, and with a bit of shopping, you’re certain to find one your coworker will appreciate, no matter where he or she lands next.

Photo Frames or Albums

From pictures of kids and family to vacation memories, most people have at least a frame or two on their desks and albums at home. There are few people who wouldn’t appreciate a good photo album, particularly if they’re about to move or experience a real life change like a new baby. These are inexpensive, easy to get, and completely appreciated. They make the ideal send-off gift. You can even get them personalized to add to the appeal.

You may want to stay away from certain gifts like alcohol if you don’t know the individual very well. It’s possible he or she doesn’t drink, making your gift possibly offensive.

Choosing the ideal gift can be difficult, but with a bit of research and shopping, you should be able to find at least one item to help express your feelings on this special occasion.

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Pinkchic18 is a writer who regularly writes on popular topics like gift ideas and party planning. She also frequently contributes to the All About Gifts & Baskets Blog, featured by aagiftsandbaskets.com.

7 Types Of Workbench Designs For Every Professional

Darron's messy workbench

When choosing a workbench for your work style, it’s important to think about all of the reasons you need it. Each design and style of workbench is crafted for a professional’s specific needs, which is why you should consider all of your options before choosing a design. Here are eight types of workbench designs to consider before buying.

Table workbench

A table workbench is among the simplest and yet durable types of workbenches. The table workbench could be just a hardwood or metal tabletop that’s accompanied by sturdy wooden or metal legs to hold it upright. Because of their simplicity, these workbenches can be used for heavy duty projects that usually result in bangs and hits to the workbench. In addition to this, they’re also easy to install and replace if necessary.

Cabinet style workbench

If you’re the organized type, then the cabinet style workbench is probably the perfect style for you. Those who choose this type of workbench generally like to have their tools and equipment within reach, which is great since these benches are designed for storage. Whether you want drawers below the table, on top of the table or both, you can make sure there’s ample space for all of your belongings with this style.

Portable and multipurpose workbench

For those of you who are on the go, the portable and multipurpose workbench is definitely for you! These workbenches are designed to be small, collapsible and relatively light in order for you to be mobile.

Power strip workbench

If you’re a handy man who uses several power tools at one time, a workbench with multiple power outlets would probably be your best bet in terms of design. The power outlets on these bad boys are mounted at specific positions that are designed to be convenient for you and your power cords.

Jeweler and watchmaker workbench

For the professionals who work with jewelry and watches, this workbench is designed to work with you and your profession. With a small wooden surface that juts out close to the worker, this allows for close, detailed work on smaller projects. In addition to this area, these workbenches come with another surface underneath to help catch any fallen stones or materials that generally can’t be found on the floor easily.

Gardening workbench

Just as you’d imagine, a gardening workbench has to be made to take moisture well, as well as dirt and grime. This means that the wood used to make the workbench must be treated to prevent any rotting or mold growth from occurring.

Art and sculpture workbench

A workbench that is designed for artists must of course allow for creativity, which is why they generally come in a rounded shape. These workbenches are used by sculpture professionals, carvers of wood and stone, pottery makers and other artists who need to access their work from all sides and angles.

Featured images:

Jamie Aldson is a freelance writer and engineer. Her company specializes in aluminum enclosure solutions and machine guarding systems, including work tables and workstations.

4 Tips for Improving Your Office Ergonomics

Office ergonomics – perhaps you have already heard about the word, perhaps not. That does not really matter. The truth is that a huge percentage of us is spending every single day in an office environment. There is no need to judge whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, it is just the way it is. The thing that we have to do – since it is practically impossible to change our office lifestyles – is to try to improve our office environments in a way that will help us get through our routines without any negative effects.

Even though you might not have not heard about office ergonomics yet, you have certainly already heard at least some tips about how your chair and computer desk should be set up. Those are the basic tips that everyone knows, but that may be not enough for those of us who really care about the details – even the tiniest ones. And that is where office ergonomics come in. Moreover, many of those commonly used guidelines are like myths. We have been hearing them over and over again for such a long time that we have simply learned to accept them as facts. Don’t get this wrong – most of them are good and, from what can be seen in many offices, most of us would be much better off with them. Nevertheless, it is certainly worth taking a closer look at what the really good advice is. Here are four tips for improving your office ergonomics.

Set Up Your Chair

First of all, let’s look at how to adjust your chair in the proper way, since that should usually be your number one priority when it comes to office ergonomics. The whole thing naturally starts with you buying a good enough chair, but that topic would span across more than a few articles, so let’s look at what can be done with the chair you already have at your disposal.

What you hear most often is that there is an ideal position for you to sit in – perhaps you have heard that you should have a right angle at your knee. That is usually good enough, but there is no need to take it as a gospel and stay in that position all the time. Move your feet around as is comfortable for you – and adjust the height of your chair accordingly. The same applies when it comes to your posture. It should be upright, but there is no need to believe that your hips should be at the right angle. Interestingly, a higher angle is more desirable – not only will your body weight be supported by the chair (which eases the pressure on your body), but you will also usually feel much more comfortable.

Adjust Your Workspace

Next, move away from your chair and look at your actual workspace. This part is all about common sense. You have probably been working in the very same place for quite some time, so think about what makes you the most problems. Is there something that you need for your work and usually have to reach it by doing artistic poses more than a couple of times a day? Well, just move it closer to your actual working area. It is also a very good idea to have the things which you need for your work the most directly in front of yourself. For example, if you are trying to transcribe a document, move your keyboard slightly aside in order to make room for that document. That is a much better option that having to turn your neck to the side all the time.

Another thing that some people are trying to implement is a strategically located footrest. There are many websites out there stating their obvious advantages. However, what might look like a good idea at first glance might not be the best of things if you take a closer look at it. The problem with footrests is that you are basically obliged to use them when they are in place. And, unfortunately, that basically limits you unnecessarily – and not only because your feet can only be in one place. Instead of using a footrest, try lowering your chair in order to feel comfortable.

Manage Your Computer

Now, let’s look at what you can do when it comes to your computer. Most commonly, it is suggested that your eyes should be about 18-24 inches away. Well, the thing is, giving an exact number might not be the best way to do it. The ideal distance is as far as it’s possible while still seeing clearly. That is the “natural“ configuration that is the best for your eyes.

The very same rules apply when it comes to the keyboard and the mouse. Gone should be all the “number-oriented“ guidelines – they are way too mechanical and generalizing. It does not matter where your keyboard is, it matters whether your arms are comfortably supported whenever you use it. And the matter is completely the same when it comes to your mouse.

Have Enough Breaks

Finally (and this can’t be stressed enough!), do make a break here and there. Everyone seems to be forgetting about this point. There is no need to perform elaborate stretching routines or go to a gym for fifteen minutes – it is more than enough to just go for a swift walk around with a few simple exercises thrown in for fun. Enjoy them as much as you can – that will help both your body and your mind. And, most importantly, try to eat your lunch away from your workplace as often as possible – we don’t need to mention the reasons for that, do we?

There is plenty of things that you can do in order to improve your office environment and, along with that, your health. Some of the tips that have been mentioned might look a bit out of this world. Well, they are not – but there is nobody who can force you to follow them. Think about yourself and do what you think is best for you – that is what matters the most!

Byline: Lewis Edward is a real estate expert and one of the owners of The Office Providers. He spends his free time by sharing his knowledge and experience about office space to rent and other business matters on various websites and blogs.

Office Furniture throughout my Employment

Office furniture comes in a variety of different materials, colours and styles, catering for all tastes and budgets. Your office environment can have a big impact on how you feel about your job.

My First Employment

In my first job, the furniture was a mixture of old (and probably once stylish) writing desks and modern equivalents bought from secondhand shops throughout the city. The shape of that old three floored terraced building meant that the floor plan was irregular and the furniture was mixed and matched to fit in with the nooks and crannies of the building.

With the firm having spent scores of years in the building it was time to move on and the derelict property opposite was slowly transformed into a modern, open plan style office building with partner and meeting rooms to the side.

With the move imminent, we all wondered whether the old furniture would be making the trip across the road with us or whether we would be afforded new desks and chairs to match our new surroundings.

To our relief, the office had been kitted out with brand new furniture including white desks with clean lines and matching chairs throughout (something of a novelty compared to the broken hotch potch of seating we had left behind in the old building).

The boardroom was kitted out with a large modern table, capable of hosting meetings for up to 12 people at a single sitting.

That Desk

One piece of furniture that I always remember is the green leather topped antique that made the trip across the road with us to proudly sit in the managing partner’s office. Many an employee had their work torn to shreds at the hands of that man sat at that old desk.

Following my stint there, events saw my next career move take me back to the office environment created by the conversion of personal dwellings, possibly three separate spaces knocked into one.

Whilst this was a much larger operation, the desks were crammed into a small office in the attic with only two small sky lights offering a glimpse of sunlight.

Luxury

Two subsequent moves on and I found myself at the opposite end of the spectrum again, working for an international practice where it appeared that money was plentiful and the kit out of the 2 floors in the city centre was rumoured to have cost upwards of £300k!

No expense was spared with the white desks a clear contrast to the vivid green walls and blue glass partitions. Each work station had two stylish storage cabinets so that the look of the place wasn’t affected by files and paperwork.

Despite this luxurious office, a part of me still misses the old terraced building and mismatched furniture of my first employment.

Josie Bagshawe writes articles for www.eganreidofficeenvironments.co.uk. If you are looking for office furniture, they have a fantastic range at very reasonable prices.

Old-School Office Appliances That New Technology Can’t Replace

Rapid advances in technology have changed the way that businesses are run. Old-fashioned appliances such as the typewriter have been replaced by high-tech gadgets that make office work easier. However, there are a few old-school appliances that technology simply cannot replace. Postage meters, land line telephones and fax machines may seem outdated, but they are business essentials. Below is a review of the reasons why every business should hang onto these old-school appliances.

Land Lines

Cell phones have usurped land line telephones in many homes and offices. However, relying on a cell phone or Internet-based phone alone may not always be the best idea. Cell phones and Internet connections are susceptible to service interruptions, especially during rough weather. Power outages can affect wireless Internet services and can lead to problems with cell phone service as well. Businesses that rely only on these devices can be stuck up a creek should they fail.

Land line telephones are a business must-have because they offer a guaranteed connection. Land lines work during power outages and severe weather problems. They are less susceptible to the interference and signal problems that can affect cell phones. Land lines are also well-suited to emergency calls, which many Internet-based phone services are unable to handle.

Mailing Systems

A mailing system provides a business with a great way to reach out to consumers who don’t use the Internet or email. Postage meters are an integral part of any mailing system as they allow administrative employees to easily weigh letters and packages. A postal meter can save employees from costly, time-consuming trips to the post office. Business leaders should also keep in mind that such meters can be configured to calculate special bulk-rate postage and save the company money.

Fax Machines

Many business leaders believe that fax machines have been replaced by email. While this is true to some extent, a fax machine is still a must-have. Legal and medical documents that have been sent via email do not meet legal standards regarding binding signatures. Such documents must be mailed or faxed in order to be considered valid. Faxing allows these documents to be received in a much faster fashion than mailing which can be beneficial in urgent situations.

As technology advances in the workplace, business leaders must be conscious of appliances that new technologies cannot replace. These three important business appliances can outperform their high-tech counterparts and offer a highly dependable level of service to any office.

Mercedes Potter is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. She loves to blog about business ideas and in this post, indulges in old school office supplies that can still be useful today. Follow her @CedesPotter.

How to Make the Most Out Of a Small Office Space

A relaxing, organised work space is ideal to boost productivity levels. It is important that the work space is well thought-out and clutter-free to increase concentration levels but often or not space is limited.

As a business grows it will need to expand and move into new premises but the budget is crucial to determining this. Sometimes a firm may not have the right finances to grow into bigger space and therefore it is vital to make the most from the small space provided.

A small space does not curb creativity or stifle growth. In a perfect world it is ideal to move into a bigger work space but until then, here are some top tips to utilising what space you already have.

  • Storage

The biggest trick is storage space. This can increase the functionality of your surface area and ensure the area looks neat and tidy. Cupboards can be slotted under desks to save on floor space or alternatively, overhead shelves can be fitted on the walls.

  • Colour

The colour of the décor plays a huge part on the atmosphere and ambience but if your office is really small try to stick to neutral colours and avoid darks- this will only make the space look smaller. Don’t be afraid of using bright shades though; a colourful working environment can boost the morale of your workforce.

  • Gadgets

New laptops, printers and equipment can save you vital space. An old computer keyboard and screen can take up a lot of space compared to more modern devices; so by updating your gadgets you can save on space.

  • Unnecessary

What do you actually need? Clear, open space is important to improve attentiveness and the mood so tidy away any unnecessary items like table lamps that will only take up valuable space and cause a distraction.

  • Multifunctional

There are many furniture items that are multifunctional and can be used for a variety of uses to make the most from space. Some cabinets can be used to store items as well as be used as a standing workstation, and desks can store filing trays. Small benches can act as storage spaces as well as seating areas.

So if you have a small office premises and you are struggling for space, follow these top tips and make the most from your building.

Bio: This article was written by Official Space; the UK’s favourite office space website.

Work and Play In Serviced Offices

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to move into a different working situation in your life. Maybe you have problems with the environmental impact of office buildings, maybe you want a fresh start, or maybe you simply want a better working experience for both you and those around you. If you’re a business owner, this is especially important because your employees rely on you to provide them with a great working situation. One where they can thrive and innovate until their heart’s content, ultimately making you more money in the long run.

Be Creative!

If you decide to go a little bit outside of the box, you can get some really unique offices, especially in the London area. Going with a serviced office is an affordable and responsible choice for many people who are looking to have a little bit more fun and a lot more amenities at their job.

Serviced office offers some of the most luxurious accommodations that you want in an office situation. The simple fact is that many offices do not even provide these types of services, but a serviced office not only provides them – they come standard as part of the package. I’m talking about things like a built-in café that serves high-quality drinks and danishes. A private dining area where you can order hot meals for those late nights at the office. Even balconies and patios where you can both relax and take in the sights. You’ll find all of these and even some more extra amenities that are a bit rarer at a serviced office.

Not only that, the caliber of people you’ll meet is second to none. Most people who work in serviced offices have quite a bit of experience in business and are simply looking to save a bit of cash by moving into service place you can meet them and interact with them on a very personal level, possibly making new business connections and opening up the doors for greater profits for your own business. I do know someone who met a future business partner in his serviced office and now they do over $30 million a year in sales with their new joint venture! I’m not saying this is something that is guaranteed to happen to you, but it is certainly not outside of the realm of possibility. It’s all going to be up to you as to how far you take it and how willing you are to dedicate yourself to learning more about your own business and the businesses of those around you.

Time To Cut Costs!

The absolute best part about deciding to move into a serviced office is that it’s actually not very expensive at all! All of the things that you would normally pay money for – utilities, insurance, maintenance, etc. – are all paid for with one simple monthly payment. You get the apartment or office provider to pay for all of these as part of the unique service offering that one of these working situations provides. It’s a great way to take a lot of the headache and overhead out of running your business, allowing you to focus on your core competencies – whatever those might be.

I would heavily encourage you to give this a shot if you’re finding that your business is stagnating a bit. Perhaps you just need a simple change of location in order to get yourself back on the right track. I know that this is help many business owners in the past and is likely to help you as well. Let’s be honest: we are not as different as we all think we are! The solutions that work for one of us might work for the rest of us as well, albeit there may be a few tweaks along the way. You never know until you try, and the mark of a great businessman is someone who is willing to try whatever it takes to get his business back on track.

By author John Szabo. John is a guest writer at DryLand, providers of the best serviced office rental in London.

Office Relocation – What to do 6 Months Before You Move

Moving office is a slow and gradual process. Often, businesses decide when and where to move in excess of a year in advance. There’s so much to plan and coordinate that you may not know where to start. If that sounds like you then don’t panic…you’re not the only one who’s pulled their hair out trying to get the ball rolling. To help you get started here are a few useful tips of the things you need to be doing six months before moving day.

Create a checklist

Yes, that’s right. The first thing on this list is telling you to create another list, but with very good reason. You need to plan your move gradually so that you’re not stressing out and making your move an impossible task. Sit down and write out everything you have to do, then think about what takes the most organisation and planning and get that out of the way first. Just writing it all down can calm your nerves and help you proceed.

Devise a moving budget

You probably have a good idea on the total cost of your move. However, you need to budget each aspect of your move and work out what you can and can’t afford. Write down all of the expenses you’re likely to meet and allocate enough funds for each. Also, ensure you budget wisely and have a bit of overflow cash tucked away. Unexpected expenses can and do happen.

Find an office removal company

You’re not going to be able to move your office all by yourself. Therefore, you will need to enlist the help of a professional removal company. You’ll want to find an office removal company early as they can be booked up well in advance. There are a few distinct advantages of using a specialist office removal company too. A good firm will offer storage solutions and IT decommissioning and re-commissioning on top of moving all of your furniture. This can kill three birds with one stone and make your move a lot easier.

Start planning your new premises

For this task you’re going to have to meet the building manager of your new offices. Discuss your requirements and get a good idea of all the facilities and services your new office building provides. This will give you a great platform to form a plan of action going forward. You’ll also want to check out your new office space and start thinking about the layout of everything. If you do this then it will give you a good indication of any new furniture you need and anything you don’t need, as well as where all of your employees are going to end up.

Now, get to it!!

That’s enough to get you off to a start. Six months may seem like plenty of time to facilitate your move but that time soon disappears. You don’t want to make the mistake of leaving it until it’s too late, so start now.

Stuart Withers is a professional copywriter, internet marketer and SEO exec who has moved office a fair few times. If you’re moving office in or around London, then he recommends Capital Office. They took care of storage, all the IT arrangements, and most importantly, they facilitated a smooth move.