How to Prepare Your Business Location for All 4 Seasons

Regardless of whether you own your business facility or you are leasing the space, it is essential that this area remains well-maintained at all times. Proper seasonal maintenance may ensure excellent energy efficiency for financial savings. It may also keep many types of property repair concerns at bay. Remember that the condition of your facility may also affect your employees’ health in some cases as well as the impression that your customers have about your business. These are a few leading seasonal maintenance tips that business owners can easily follow.

Test Indoor Monitors and Sensors

Your office’s indoor smoke detectors and carbon monoxide sensors should be checked multiple times each year. You should check their functionality as well as the remaining battery power in them. Because this should be completed every couple of months, it makes sense to include this task on your to-do list at the beginning of each season. Make sure to call in the help of commercial hvac services.

Schedule Seasonal HVAC Service

The condition of your HVAC system affects indoor air quality, the longevity of your system, your comfort level, energy efficiency and more. Follow the maintenance recommendations from your system’s manufacturer. In many cases, this recommendation is for service before the heater and the AC are turned on for the first time each season. Remember to replace the air filters monthly or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Re-Seal Windows and Exterior Doors

The seals around your business property’s windows and doors can easily deteriorate. This common problem can detract from your HVAC system’s ability to do its job efficiently. You may feel uncomfortable draughts inside the building, and you may notice that your energy bill is higher than it once was. Re-sealing doors and windows is an easy maintenance project that can have excellent results.

Show Your Plumbing System Some Love

Before the cold weather season arrives, ensure that all exposed pipes are wrapped and protected. Drain the exterior sprinkler system if your business uses one. The spring or summer season is a great time to schedule pipe cleaning and hot water heater service. Remember that any developing repair issue should be properly addressed as soon as possible.

There may be many additional maintenance steps that are required on your business property throughout the year. These are most common and may be most relevant to many businesses. A smart idea is to create a maintenance schedule that breaks down tasks per the season. By doing so, you can more easily stay on top of seasonal maintenance.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

5 Ways Your Security Team Can Help Keep Your Company Safe

Business owners have a lot of responsibilities. This includes responsibilities to customers, employees, business partners, suppliers and the government. One of the most important responsibilities a business owner has is managing security operations. If you ignore security, it can put the well-being of the entire company at risk. Below are five things you should make sure your security team has covered to ensure that your business remains protected.

Secure Your Network

In today’s interconnected world, the biggest threats to businesses aren’t necessarily criminals that show up in person. Today, some of the biggest threats to businesses are hackers, cyber criminals, malware, viruses, Trojans and other cyber security threats. It has been estimated the annual cost of cyber-crime will rise to $2 trillion by 2019. Make cyber security a cornerstone of your security operations for your business.

Screen Your Employees

Your human resources department is actually directly related to security. If you don’t properly screen your employees with criminal background checks during the hiring process, you could hire criminals that are likely reoffend while under your employment. This could mean losing money to theft. It could even mean being sued when customers or other employees are put at risk.

Provide Radio Communications to Security Staff

In regards to securing your physical buildings and grounds, you will need to have security personnel on hand to deal with intruders and other security threats. However, your security personnel will not be able to accomplish much without the ability to efficiently communicate. Companies like Altech Electronics provide radio communications solutions specifically designed for security purposes.

Install Security Cameras

Something else you will need is electronic surveillance of your grounds. Without surveillance camera footage to examine after the fact, it can be very hard to solve or prove crimes. Make sure all significant areas of your grounds and buildings where theft or crime could occur are under video camera surveillance at all times.

Train Employees on Security Procedures

Even employees that are not part of your security staff should be trained on important security procedures. If employees do not know what to do when they come across evidence of a crime taking place, significant mistakes can be made. Employees must also be trained on how to maintain cyber security when dealing with company computer systems.

Overall, maintaining security is one of the most important responsibilities of a business owner. If you ignore security threats, the ramifications can be severe. It can even lead to the end of your business. Make security a priority and make the proper investments to protect your company.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

4 Steps Businesses Should Take Against Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying can be a major problem in some workplaces. From catty gossip to more aggressive intimidation tactics, you may have noticed classic bullying tactics on the job. If bullying is a problem at work, you should take these four steps to combat the issue.

Establish an Anti-Bullying Policy

A no-tolerance anti-bullying policy can help create a safer work environment for everyone. A policy that clearly states your company’s stance against bullying will likely be the most effective. The policy should also spell out the consequences for staff members who violate the anti-bullying rules. Each employee should receive a copy of the policy and be required to sign it. You can also post a large copy of the policy on a wall or reader board so that everyone can review it regularly.

Confront the Person Directly

If a staff member is bullying you or one of your employees, your company should encourage you to confront the person directly in a tactful manner. Monster.com suggests pointing out the negative consequences caused by the person’s actions instead of just focusing on how the bullying makes you feel. You can highlight how the bullying makes it more difficult to accomplish work tasks or convey your ideas during meetings. Try to remain civil during your discussion to prevent making the matter worse. Having an honest discussion with the person may be enough to stop future incidents of bullying.

Consider Terminating Problematic Employees

Firing employees who are known to bully other coworkers may be the best option if they refuse to change their ways. If your company has a business insurance policy with a carrier like Marine Agency, you can review the consequences that your business could face if liability claims are made because of the bullying. You may have to terminate these employees yourself if you’re a supervisor or bring these matters to the attention of upper management who can make the decision. If your company faces liability claims because of these bullies, the insurance for employer liability will cover up to a certain dollar amount.

Keep Records

Documenting episodes of bullying will help you notice a pattern. If you notice that a pattern of bullying is occurring instead of just a few isolated instances, additional measures will need to be taken. It’s important to record the specific dates that the bullying occurred and what exactly happened during each incident. You can record episodes of bullying for yourself or one of your employees who may feel too intimidated to speak up about the problem. Having a record will make it easier for you to take measures against problematic employees.

There are many ways to stop bullying in the workplace from getting worse. By combating the problem early, you’ll have an easier time putting an end to the torment.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

How to Make Your Growing Business More Competitive

Your business needs to be able to compete in its industry like never before. Today’s companies are competing with businesses who have truly milked every advantage imaginable to stay at the head of the pack. Your business cannot be behind in this process. Once a business starts to pull out in front of other competitors in their industry, they cannot afford to lose ground. They must keep up this momentum to remain a strong industry leader. The following are a few ideas to help your company compete on a whole new level.

Employee Upgrades

As the needs of your business change, you will need talent that can keep up with the pace. Sometimes you have to let employees go who are not cutting it to make room for new staff upgrades who can competently stay on top of the learning curve necessary to help improve company performance. As you weed out weaker employees who cannot keep up and replace them with stronger employees who can, you will find each department providing your company with the edge it needs to compete at a whole new level.

Offer New Benefits for Employees

More than ever before, companies are trying to keep employees by making work a fun place to be and offering benefits they and their families can enjoy. Beyond just the job’s salary, many employees stay loyal to companies who can provide dental, vision, and health benefits, as well as 401(k) programs. Take a look at the benefits you currently offer and see if implementing something like paid lunches, paternity leave, or life insurance might sweeten the deal for those you hire.

Expanding the Business

One way to make a huge competitive move is to expand your business to new locations. The more locations you are able to expand into and keep running with solid quarterly revenue, the more competitive you will prove to be in your industry. With every new location that you establish, this is a whole new revenue stream to help your business obtain the funds to react to the strategies other competing companies are using.

Conclusion

Competition is at the heart of modern business. If your company is not in it to win it, then it will start to lag behind other competing companies. Your company should always be poised to swoop in on any opportunity in the market that will ensure a competitive advantage. These opportunities are what will help your company to pull out in front of the other companies you are competing with in your industry or marketplace.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

4 Things to Check When Choosing Your New Business Location

You are getting ready to expand into a new business location. This is an exciting time for your company because it means you are finally entering the first major step in your company’s growth stage. Hopefully, if everything works out the way you planned, you will be pulling in twice the revenue and possibly more before the year is finished. However, there are a few things you still need to check out before choosing a new business location.

Traffic

When moving to a new location, the amount of traffic, both vehicles and foot traffic, is going to help determine how much business you will be doing. If the location you are looking at has low rates of traffic, this can become restrictive to your ability to generate sufficient revenue. By positioning yourself in a high traffic area, you will increase your opportunities for attracting customers to your new location.

Local Codes

Before you sign that lease, you need to know if something about how you do business will be in violation with local codes and city ordinances. Usually, you can obtain this information directly from the county building or government center for the county in which your business resides. This is important to check because you do not want any surprises sneaking up on you that could cause unnecessary financial strain on your business.

Building Maintenance and Repair

If you are buying the building you intend to expand into, then you should expect that there will be a few building maintenance and repair costs associated with moving into a new location. This is why you should be ready to work with an experienced company such as Drey Roofing who can manage any commercial building repairs, such as a new roof, for example, that may require a lot of work.

Your Parking Lot

In order to accommodate high enough customer or client volume, you will need to have adequate parking for employees and those frequenting your business. Not only should you make sure the parking lot is big enough, but it should be repainted too. Nothing gives a new location a fresh look like a parking lot that looks fantastic and has adequate parking.

Conclusion

You are about ready to open your new location. Since you did all your homework before making the big move, everything went smoothly as planned. Now it is time to open the doors for business and provide your company’s much-needed products and services to your local community.

The Importance of Creating Healthy and Positive Work Environment for More Productive Employees

Productivity at work is affected by many factors. One of the main factors has everything to do with the way employees perceive their work environment. Therefore, it’s essential that you make sure that the space people work at as well as the way they communicate with each other is positive and encouraging. This is nothing new in the world of productivity, and there are plenty of tips that you can utilize for your own office space.

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The office should be clutter-free

In general, you should encourage your employees to keep their own desk clutter-free by making sure that the whole office space is clean and organized. This doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be any sign of personality anywhere – quite the contrary. But, it’s essential that there are not too many distractions at work. Moreover, an organized office means that your employees can freely move around without feeling trapped and pressured. Just like clutter and mess, a poorly utilized layout can cause mental pressure and decrease productivity levels. With that being said, make sure that everyone can get up from their desk, move around and properly communicate with each other.

Lighting and air quality

It’s essential that the lighting in the office is pleasant for the eyes. Obviously, natural light is the best option, so do your best to utilize it to the fullest. However, artificial lighting is also crucial for the productivity at work. In that respect, opt for full-spectrum lighting that actually feels pleasant on the eyes. Just like lighting, the air quality plays an important role in office productivity. For starters, a proper ventilation system is a must. One of the best tricks, however, is to enrich your space with plants. Plants are known to boost productivity and reduce stress, but they also clean the air effectively. You may want to look into the possibility of installing a green wall, as this is definitely the best way to bring nature into the office, as well as engage your employees more.

Make sure that everyone is comfortable

If your employees have to sit at a desk for the most part of the work day, it’s paramount that you ensure their comfort – and health. Basically, do your best to find ergonomic furniture that will adjust properly to the individual using the furniture. Chairs with proper support for the back and arms, as well as sturdy desks of proper heights will minimize the neck and back pain, allowing your employees to be more productive. Moreover, don’t hesitate to add some other comfy features to the office, such as a yoga ball and other comfy furniture for the break area. This will also encourage your staff to get together and spend time with each other during the break more.

Let the design of your office boost employee bonds

When you make sure that your office is designed with productivity in mind, you’ll literally create a chance for your employees to bond and connect more. This will also improve their team work and overall professional content, which obviously leads to a productivity boost and better performance. Aside from the previously mentioned tips, you may think about promoting fitness and a healthy lifestyle at work as well, organizing interesting team building events, providing proper credit, rewards and bonuses, allowing pets in the office, and many other things that seem like a good fit for your office space, your team and the productivity goals you wish to achieve as a modern business.

Work and life balance is a must

Don’t spoil your beautifully designed office by overloading your employees with work. Productive design won’t work if people feel constantly stressed and overworked. What you can do, however, is promote work and personal life balance. This can be done in many ways. One possibility is to allow your employees to get to work a bit later on Monday and leave a bit earlier on Friday. On the other hand, you may allow employees to work from home for one day in the week, if that suits them. Most importantly, divide the work properly, so that you actually strengthen the teams and get more work done instead of pushing people to the point of burning out.

Employees represent your brand, and when they are happy, you can bet that your brand is going to get heard of one way or another. For starters, happy employees will constantly perform well and connect with the company’s business success goals. What’s more, positive word-of-mouth is also going to do your brand a lot of good. Therefore, don’t hesitate to make the most out of your office space and provide your staff with productivity boosters that will make them truly happy to work for you and move your business forward.


Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”

Office Remodel: How to Keep Your Employees Accommodated during Major Renovations

While your office is being renovated there are a number of challenges that can pop up unexpectedly. Aside from the typical contractor and construction issues, it is likely that your employees will have some of their own issues from the noise, dust, parking issues, and other problems that come with a construction project on this scale. Luckily, there are a few different strategies one can use in order to minimize this issue. In the following guide, we will examine some ways to keep your employees accommodated during major renovations.

Determine Parking

Often times one of the biggest inconveniences for employees during an office remodel is the parking situation. Many office buildings are located in busy areas of town and already have issues with parking. Taking away even a small percentage of dedicated spots can cause havoc with on-time arrivals, towed cars, and many other snafus that are bound to come up. This may also help with your business insurance- employee cars that have to be parked off property tend to raise insurance rates.

Set up a parking plan before your remodel begins so that your employees will have a clear understanding of where to park. If you are in a busy urban area, try and speak with nearby businesses to reach some kind of arrangement where your employees can park there temporarily. An ounce of prevention in this situation is worth even more than a pound of cure.

Bathroom Replacements

If your remodel is in your bathroom facilities or will be blocking access it is incredibly important that you set up alternative restroom facilities for your employees. Not only is it the right thing to do- it is the law. There are two ways that you can arrange for your employees to have access to restrooms during work hours.

The first is to hire a portable toilet company like Direct Hire. An organization like this can provide for all of your bathroom needs and washing. These services will travel to your location- no construction on your end involved at all. You also have the option of making a deal with a local business and using their facilities if need be.

An office renovation does not have to be a horrible experience for everyone involved. Similar to other problems in life, it can be avoided or lessened with some planning. Use the information and tips we went over in this article in order to keep your employees accommodated during an office renovation.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley