Small Things To Consider When Working At Home

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When you work from home, it can often be difficult to work in the same way as you would in an office and it can take some time to get used to the format of your working day. With the pandemic that has swept the world in the last few months, it is no surprise that a lot of us have had to start getting used to working at home in the long term and this doesn’t look to change any time soon. 

If you will be working at home for a while due to lockdown or even if you have quit the rat race to work on your own projects – today we want to share some helpful advice to keep you working well at home and things you should consider doing. 

Keep water nearby 

It is all too easy to get caught up in your work for hours on end and forget to eat or drink anything. While this is not necessarily a bad thing with food; you need to keep yourself hydrated enough throughout the day in order to stay healthy at your desk and to focus when working. Keep a bottle of water next to you throughout the day that you can take a sip of while working and it will make a big difference to your concentration and your ability to be productive. 

Clean your work area 

It is important when trying to work at home productively to clean your workspace and keep it tidy. You need to ensure that you have a workspace that is fit for purpose and one which is free of clutter. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind – and when working from home it is so important for you to have a tidy space to work in. This also extends beyond your desk itself and if you are situated in your spare room make sure it is not completely covered in clutter and mess because this will draw focus away from your work throughout the day. 

Close the door 

When working at home it is all too easy to become distracted by pets, kids, and even household chores if things are within your eye line during the day. This is why it is a great idea for you to choose a room separate from the rest of the house and shut the door so you can focus on your work. When you go to ‘work’ in the morning treat it as if you are leaving home and shut the door to your home life. It will make working so much easier and will ensure you stay focused. 

Enjoy home comforts

Even if you are working all day it is still a good idea to bring some home comforts to your office space to make it more comfortable as well as personal. There are some brilliant ways to bring home comforts into the room such as hanging art on the wall as well as plants, candles, and perhaps a blanket for when the days are colder. Make sure you feel comfortable at home and this will help you work effectively. 

Consider licensing 

It is important if you are starting a business from home this year that you contact a law firm and get a license to work. You need to have a license in order to practice business in your home and this is something you need to do before you even start trading. Working from home is a great thing to do but it is crucial you are doing this legally because you can get into some trouble if you don’t. 

Create work-life balance 

When working from home it is all too easy to start earlier and finish later than you normally would and this can be dangerous for you if you do this every day. Be sure that you consider a work-life balance when working from home and set yourself a start and end time to your day and stick to it. Working from home can be exhausting and if you burn out you can suffer some serious mental issues as a result and it can even make you physically ill. 

Organize ahead of time 

If you struggle to get going in the morning when working at home it is a great idea for you to start making a to do list the night before your working days. It is a good idea for you to write a to do list at the end of the day ready for your work the next day because it will allow you to get going on your work as soon as you sit down in the morning rather than worrying about what to do.

Server Room Organization Tips For The New Year

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Organization in the office is so important, especially if you plan to work in it! You need to be able to move around your space, get your work done, meet your team and remain calm while you are doing all of this. If you are the type of worker that will be surrounded with piles of paperwork as you plow through it all, it’s time to consider how you can get your office better organized.

If there is one place in the office more than most that requires organization, it’s the server room in the office. A twisted and tangled web of cables in the server room is not going to add to the efficiency in the way that you work, so you have to get rid of the mess and straighten out the space this year. Not only is a messy server room ugly, it’s a hazard and you’ll increase the risk of signal loss, which contributes to business interruption. The right organizational tools in your server room will not only keep the space tidy, but it will make it far easier to maintain, too.

  1. Cable Bundles. Remember we mentioned that a server room can be a hazard? Well, the best way to ensure that you don’t have a hazardous IT space is to bundle and mount your cables and ensure that they are all out of the way. You can choose from a range of tapes to ensure that your cables are organized properly. It may also be worth color-coding all wires to their machines so that you don’t get confused as to what goes where. Mounting the cables to the wall or in the rack with cable ties and sticky-backed mounting bases will help you to add a better flow through the room.
  2. Get Filing. You can outsource this if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, but all of that paperwork and those files piled up everywhere need to be packed and put away. The key to being organized is in getting through the clutter first before the rest of it all. You need a proper filing system to remain efficient, and it starts with the paperwork.
  3. Server Racks. Well-built server racks are not an optional piece of equipment for the server room. They are a must! Switches, network infrastructure equipment and routers are all to be stacked in the server rack in a way that makes sense for your business IT maintenance. You can have racks that are free-standing but smaller server room spaces often benefit from server racks that are wall-mounted. These can come in any shape, size and color, and you can even get customizable ones!
  4. Labels or Colors? We mentioned color coding wires, especially the longer twisted cables, but it may be worth looking at labelling. There are plenty of label makers out there that can help you to let others know what wires are for, too. Your IT experts may know what the colors mean, but anyone coming in won’t! Labels alongside colored stickers can help to keep the room organized
  5. Buy Storage. Lastly, invest in good storage – both online storage and physical shelves. You want your business to impress others but it cannot do that if you are just one big pile of mess!

Work Out Your Business Finances To Avoid Future Problems

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Any new business that requires funding for machinery, equipment or labor, is subject to certain difficulties. Now more than ever, companies are struggling to find adequate funding, which means that taking care of finances is becoming ever so more apparent. The speed that your business grows depends on numerous factors but one of which is the way in which you prioritize funding and take care of your company’s finances. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

Credit cards pose a problem

New Entrepreneurs, Please Note: According to financial advisors, extravagant purchases using the business credit card are one of the known reasons for financial failure. You do not have to be a business owner to fall into the honey trap of credit cards. Many of us tend to refer to them as “out of nowhere”, and psychologically, it is easier to spend money with a credit card than to pay in cash. When it comes to a new business, financial extravagance using credit cards is very risky. Without noticing you may find yourself in the red, even if “on paper”, the business is profitable. How do you make sure you do not overdo it with credit card shopping? In many cases, financial advisors will recommend using an instant debit card instead of a regular credit card. Perhaps you have already used your credit card for purchases related to your business. You may have needed to purchase something specific such as tungsten carbide bushing or an oscillating saw (if you are in construction). 

Lack of readiness for crisis

Life is unpredictable, as we have all had to discover recently with the advent of Covid-19. No one is immune to the economic crises, even the good ones among us and you will be surprised to hear – this may happen to you too and not necessarily your fault. But why do some businesses manage to get out of the crisis relatively easily and others fail?  Experienced business owners who have experienced financial crises in the past, tend to be overly cautious in their expense funds and regularly keep in the bank account the amount of expenses of about 3 months, for any trouble that may arise.

Lack of a clear and pre-defined budget framework

This is an important rule in the field of financial advice – every business needs a budget plan and it is the only one that will determine how much you will spend each month (this rule is also important for household management). Simply put, a business plan with a budget framework will help you understand what are the financial resources available to you and how much free money you have in the account (and also how much will be at the end of the month). In the process of building a budget framework, expenditures must be defined and classified by areas, such as: Purchasing equipment, investing in advertising and marketing capabilities, recruiting staff, regular payments and more, and calculating them both separately and as part of the total expenses. 

So be sure to look after your money well and avoid any problems as the road goes along. The current crisis is crippling many companies which is why it is best to tighten your belt and focus on the positives.

Look After Yourself When Working From Home

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Working from home can be hard and cause stress in a place you don’t want to be stressed in. For a lot of people, work is left when they leave the office but now people are working at home, it can be tempting to work longer hours in order to get more done, but at the detriment of your own wellbeing. It is important that even when working at home, you try and have a good work life balance in order to not stress yourself and burn yourself out. Below are four ways to work at home efficiently.

Make A Room Your Work Room 

Depending on how big your property is, this may be easier for some people, more than others. When working at home, it is important to be able to differentiate what is your work room and what is your leisure room. If you can try and make a specific room the place you work. That way when you are done working, you can take yourself out of that room and reduce the stress that you may be experiencing at work. If you have to work in your living room, then try to pack everything away once you are done, instead of leaving it out for the next day. Yes this may seem like a bit more effort, but it will help you to stop thinking about work when you are then watching tv in the same room. 

Set Work Hours 

When working from home it is important you set certain hours for work and certain hours for relaxing, just like an office. If your office working hours are 9 to 5, then make sure you stick to those hours and don’t continue to work because you are at home. Of course, sometimes you have to work late to get an important task done, but it is also important that you have some time and relax. You may enjoy the flexibility of being able to choose your hours but as just mentioned make sure you stick to the hours you are contracted to. If it’s a 7 hour day, then make sure you do 7 hour whether that be 7am to 3pm, 8am to 4pm or the standard 9am to 5pm. 

Take a Lunch Break 

When you work in an office it’s important you take a lunch break and it’s still important you do when working from home. A lunch break helps give you an hour to wind down and refresh yourself. As you are working at home you can take it at whatever time suits (as long as you don’t have any meetings that it will clash with). Try to leave your property on your lunch break and go for a 30 minutes walk, maybe walk to your local park or just a lap around the block. Walking is not only good for your mental health but also your physical health. If your job allows you to be really flexible you could plan your lunch break around a certain activity you enjoy, like fishing – if you have a new rod like a Daiwa saltiga then this would be the perfect time to try it out. 

Set Boundaries 

Chances are it won’t just be you working from home. Due to the pandemic, a lot of households are working from home at the same time. With this, it is important you set boundaries between each other. This way you can all work and not get distracted and stressed that you haven’t done enough work that day. If you have children, rotate your time so that you both get to spend time with them and both get to work.

How To Help Your Small Business Grow In 2021 & Beyond

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Whether you have just started out on your small business venture or have run a successful company for several years, there are always new things you can do to grow and expand. Remember, the more work you put into your company, the more rewards you will receive back. This could mean, for example, higher earnings or an expanding customer base. However, as always, you have to be willing to put the hard work in. 

Don’t rest on previous success and expect it to carry you through the next year. The most successful companies earned their fame through continuous hard work and innovation – you can’t sit still. With that in mind, here are some different ways you can help your small business grow this year.

Set yourself challenges.

We often work at our best when we are moving towards a specific goal. It allows us to manage our time better, and we often don’t rest until we achieve it. Therefore, one way in which you can help your small business flourish is by setting yourself regular goals. 

If a goal seems particularly large or unattainable, break it into several smaller sections that are more manageable. This means you won’t lose focus and will feel a sense of accomplishment more often. When working as part of a team, you can boost productivity by setting shared and individual goals.

Identify problems with your business. 

Another way in which you can help your business grow begins with identifying problems with your business or how you operate. For example, you may pay for advertisements on social media but receive very little traffic to your website from the advert. This means you might need to redesign the ad or redefine your target audience to ensure you are reaching out to the right people.

Remember, mistakes are a part of everyday life – so when you find a problem, don’t despair. Instead, treat it as a valuable learning opportunity and a chance to grow.

Rely on the experts

Although you may enjoy the independence that comes with running your own business, you don’t have to do it all alone. For example, you can work alongside experienced vendors such as EP Logistics to secure the logistical side of your business. This gives you plenty of time to focus on other areas of your business, such as product development and customer relations.  By working closely with experts, you’ll be able to bring your company to new strengths – which is not something you could do entirely alone.

Develop a relationship with your customers 

If you want to succeed, your customers should be at the heart of everything you do. If you want them to make purchases or continue to support your business, you need to ensure that you develop a strong relationship with them. There are many different ways you can cultivate a relationship, be that through email, social media, or face to face conversation. Always operate with their best interests in mind, and give them plenty of opportunities to voice their opinions. This means you can continue to provide them with the services and goods they need.

Gaping Flaws In Your Business Plan That Require Immediate Action

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If you think that you’ve got your business plan sorted, then think again. Entrepreneurs have a habit of believing that they have got all bases covered, only to later realize they haven’t when disaster strikes. 

As in matters of health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So if you can get the jump on the gaping flaws in your business plan ahead of time, you’re much more likely to succeed in the long-term. 

But what are these flaws that most founders miss? And how can you address them? 

You Don’t Know How You’ll Scale

Sure, you might have a great product and plenty of talented people on your team, but if you don’t have a plan for how you’ll scale your business, you’ll eventually hit a wall. 

Scaling is more complex than many business owners imagine. If your enterprise is small right now, there’s a good chance that you’re not yet profitable. You need to shift a certain number of units to break even and only then will you start gaining the kind of traction you want. 

Finding scalable solutions, though, is hard. You might, for instance, be doing alright with in-house fulfillment at the moment, but ultimately you need to find a partner who can enable you to shift thousands or perhaps millions of units. 

The same applies to your IT provider and your accountant. They might be great for small quantities of work, but as your business becomes larger and more complex, they could start to fail you. 

You Haven’t Got Your Security In Check

When you first start a business, security is not at the forefront of your mind. The main task is to make money – and fast.

But neglecting to think about commercial alarm systems can land you in hot water. The moment that opportunistic criminals get wind of your business, they’ll start looking for weaknesses. And when they strike, they could take everything, including your data. 

Setting up an alarm and other deterrents, though, is easy. You just budget for the work and then contract it out. There’s usually no need to dedicate significant admin time to it. 

You Don’t Have A People Plan

Startup founders tend to believe that everyone has the same attitude towards their businesses as they do. They assume that regular employees have exceedingly high levels of commitment to the cause and that they will give up their personal lives to see that the company succeeds. 

That’s not how it works in practice, though. Most workers don’t share your enthusiasm for the business. And, unlike you, they’re unwilling to give up their evenings and weekends to ensure that it succeeds. 

What are you supposed to do in this situation? The trick is to have a “people plan.” This document accepts that regular rank and file in your organization don’t have the same kind of commitment to the cause as you do, and spells out how you’ll use them wisely. You don’t want them rage-quitting your startup just as you’re getting going because of long hours or poor conditions.

Advancing Your Career Might Be More Simple Than You Think

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If you have been trying to figure out some ways to advance your career, it might actually be more simple than you think. A lot of the time, people are too quick to make things more complicated than they need to be, which is why they end up taking themselves backwards instead of forward. In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the ways that you can advance your career without making it too complicated. Keep reading down below if you would like to find out more.

Have A Plan

The first thing that you need to do is come up with a plan as to where you actually want to go. Once you know where you are heading, it’s far easier to then come up with ways to get to that place. But, a lot of people don’t bother sitting down and coming up with a step by step plan as to what the best solution is, and this is where things start to go wrong. When you have a plan, it is easy to follow, you know what you’re doing, and it’s clear where you need to go. When you wing it, you can end up in a situation you didn’t want to be in, doing things you didn’t really need to do, and actually find yourself doing more damage than good to your career. It’s for this reason that you should come up with a plan, and then stick to it as best you can. Of course, circumstances change, but not all the time.

Be Prepared For More Education

Another thing that you should do is be prepared for more education. It is often the case that to get further in your career, depending on your level of education right now, that you may require some more. The higher up in the business you go, the more you are expected to know. Of course, you are going to be gaining experience when you are working your way up through a company, but if you change companies at any point, a higher level of education is certainly going to come in handy. For example, you might want to study a more holistic approach to health so that you have diversified your range of knowledge. This makes you a more attractive option than someone who has only got a one track mind.

Making Friends In High Places

The final thing that we’re going to recommend is that you start trying to make friends in high places. As they say, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know which is why you need to be able to network. We get that not everyone is brilliant at being social, but you’ve got to suck it up for the sake of your career if you’re hoping to get somewhere good, fast. Having friends higher up the food chain can come in handy in so many ways, so it’s important that you do your best to meet these people.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see that advancing your career might actually be more simple than you think. If you take the advice that we have laid out above, there’s no reason that you should find moving your career forward to be too much of an issue, Good luck, and we hope that you get where you want to be.

6 Office Organization Tips For The New Year

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Organization in the office is so important, especially if you plan to work in it! You need to be able to move around your space, get your work done, meet your team and remain calm while you are doing all of this. If you are the type of worker that will be surrounded with piles of paperwork as you plow through it all, it’s time to consider how you can get your office better organized.

The thing is, organization doesn’t just mean paperwork and clutter in the office. It’s important to clean up the way that you work, and that often means assessing how you are managing your time and your resources. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to talk through six ways to organize your office this year.

  1. Get Filing. You can outsource this if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, but all of that paperwork and those files piled up everywhere need to be packed and put away. The key to being organized is in getting through the clutter first before the rest of it all. You need a proper filing system to remain efficient, and it starts with the paperwork.
  2. The Right Furniture. Every office has to be safety-conscious, and a big part of that is having the right furniture in place to keep everyone safe and keep the clutter off the floor. Well-built server racks keep your IT department tidy and in this space, you need to ensure safety more than anywhere else. Drawers must be organized so that no time is wasted trying to find things, and you’ve got to think about how much time you are putting into shuffling things around in your office! Without the right organization or furniture, efficiency goes down!
  3. Tidy Desk Friday. Every week get everyone in the business tidying their desks. No desk should be left cluttered at the weekend and if you create this habit in your office, you can bet that it will continue into other areas. Ensuring that desks are left tidy not only makes the job easier for the cleaners, but it means that your staff are taking responsibility for their space, which is important in the office.
  4. Remove Paper. You may already have it in your plan, but going paperless isn’t something that you should wait for. Embrace it now and you can cut your use of paper waste, too. It’s good for the environment, which is going to be positive for your business, too.
  5. Outsource. No space in your office for more people but you need them? Great, outsource to agencies and freelancers who can work from home. This is an easy one, as you can keep the office you’ve got without increasing the rent that you pay, and you can still keep the actual business organized.
  6. Buy Storage. Lastly, invest in good storage – both online storage and physical shelves. You want your business to impress others but it cannot do that if you are just one big pile of mess!

What’s The Problem With Your Business Right Now?

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Every business is going to encounter some kind of problem at some point in its life. It’s more about how you deal with the problem that you face rather than the issue itself. The most important part is being able to identify the issue and then working to figure out a solution as soon as possible. The longer a problem festers, the bigger it is going to become and this is never going to be good news for a company. In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the problems that your business might be facing right now, so keep reading if you would like to find out more.

You’re Not Moving Forward

The first problem could be that you are not moving forward. Your business has got to be constantly moving and growing in order to stay competitive with the others on the market. You may need to be undergoing digital transformation in order to provide the very best to your customers, and if you’re not doing this right now, you could be missing out. Of course, it’s not always about tech, there are other ways that your business could be at a standstill. For example, if you’re not releasing anything new and you’re continuing to provide the same thing as you always have, this could end up being an issue. The phrase ‘if it ain’t broke’, doesn’t work well when it comes to a business. You need to be evolving in order to keep your business alive.

You’re Not Listening To Customers

When your customers tell you something, you must listen. They aren’t sitting there and telling you for the fun of it, and it certainly isn’t for their benefit alone. Keep in mind at all times that what is good for your customers is good for you. At the end of the day, your customers are what keep your business going, and if you can’t listen to them and implement the things that they want, you are going to lose them. What happens when you lose customers? They go to your competition and you end up further down on the ladder than you ever have been.

You Don’t Have Enough Money

The final issue could be that you don’t have enough money to do everything that you want to do right now. If this is the case, then you need to find a way to get the funds that you need. Speak to an investor and see if they are willing to give your business some money in order to get where you need to be. Failing this option, there is always crowdfunding that you can take a look at. There are a number of platforms that allow for this option, so it’s worth looking into as you are not beholden to anyone when you use this.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the problems that your business might be facing right now. You should do everything that you can to sort these problems as soon as possible, otherwise they could become bigger issues, even going as far as to take your entire business down.

Staying Productive When Working From Home

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The way that many of us have been working has changed in recent months, with many people now working from home. It can be a dream for some to do this, without having to be a freelancer, but moving from an office environment with structure to then working from your own home can be a challenge in a number of ways. Learning how you can do your job from home is something that is important, as it will help your productivity and make sure that you carry on being effective in your job role. 

There can be a lot of distractions when working from your home, as well as less accountability, and less communication with your team than you could get if you were in the office. You can still be productive, though! No matter what location you are working from, here are some things that you can do to make sure that your remote working hours are effective and that you make the most of them.

Set yourself working hours

Working from home offers some great flexibility, which is helpful when you want to meet a friend for lunch, have a dentist appointment, or want to drop your child at nursery. However, where possible, it is important that you create a regular working schedule for yourself. As much as it is good to sleep in and not have to commute, you are going to be making things harder for yourself if you don’t work consistently. When you create some regular working hours for yourself, it means that you will be accountable to yourself, but also to co-workers who expect you to be available at certain times. It also helps with your productivity levels, meaning that you’re more likely to get your work done, and easier to resolve problems as communicating with others will be quicker and simpler if you stick to some regular working hours.

Create a positive working environment

When you start out working from home you might think just how great it will be to grab your laptop and get on with work from your bed or your couch. This can work sometimes, but done consistently, it can hinder your productivity in a big way. That is why one of the best things that you can do when working from home is to set up a working space that is going to help your productivity. Using the same space each day can help you to set in your mind that you’re ready to work, and prepares you for what is ahead. It could be that you have a spare room with a desk in, or it might be that you work from the kitchen table. Either way, keeping things consistent is a must. 

In order to make it easy for you to work, make sure that you have all that you need. For example, if you will need to print documents out, then make sure that you have a printer ready to go. Your internet connection needs to be good too, or it can make a variety of aspects of working from home difficult. So looking at getting a wireless network setup and design for your home can be a good idea. Give yourself the best chance of working well and being productive by making sure that your work setup is a productive one.

Tune into inspiration

One big advantage of working from home is that you don’t have co-workers talking to you that can lead to distraction. You could end up being more productive as you’re not speaking to colleagues about their weekend or about the things that they have been up to. If playing some loud music helps to get you pumped and motivated to work, then go ahead and do that. If you prefer some classical music or nature sounds, then you could play this in the background, or just open the window in the room to let in some of the outside sounds. If you are doing some tasks that don’t involve too much thinking, such as repetitive tasks, then you could even find listening to a podcast or an audiobook could help to keep you on track and keep you moving. You might prefer to work in silence. Just figure out how you like to work and then you can go from there,

It can take some trial and error to find what works for you when working from home, as well as what doesn’t work for you. As long as you have a focus on productivity, stick to routine, and plan out your days, then it will give you the best chance at it all running smoothly.