Toasting at The Office: A Guide to Responsible Drinks in the Workplace

Can you have a drink at a work event—and still be responsible? It turns out yes, but your company leadership needs to help you. They can do this not by banning alcohol, but by creating a policy and addressing it with employees frequently and clearly.

Here’s how you do it. Most companies have what’s called a code of conduct. It’s how they expect employees to function at work and while they’re being representative of the company. But the thing about a policy is, many people forget about it—which is why it’s important to share it again before events that may involve the availability of alcohol. If necessary, it’s helpful to have a meeting talking not just about the policy, but about consequences, too, and about how to report violations and maintain confidentiality.

Need more ideas and outlines about how to create and institute this? This graphic offers some ideas.

Please include attribution to https://zerocater.com with this graphic.

Toasting At The Office Infographic

Simple Tips on How to Better Organize Your Office

Our office environment has a profound impact on how we work. In a well-organized space, there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. You are able to tackle your obligations with minimum stress and setbacks, making strides toward set goals.

To make it happen, embrace a zero-tolerance policy to everything that disrupts the workflow and impedes your performance. In other words, you have to find a way to banish all the mess, distractions, and clutter. Here are some actionable tips you can implement fuss-free, without going out of your way.

Plan ahead of time

It always takes a bit of planning, commitment and perseverance to get things under control. The scope of work might seem intimidating at first, but remember that it pays dividends in the long run. What is more, you can break it down into manageable bits by working out a solid plan. After all, office organization is not a one and done activity. You need to commit to doing it every day. In that case, you foster a change with 5-10 minutes of daily bursts.

Distinguish between different work zones

Recognize that the office contains different zones that accommodate various activities. The main distinction is between the computer (desktop) and non-computer work areas. So, take your time to envision a more productive office through the lenses of this divide and conquer principle. At this point, it also helps to do some rearranging. Namely, try to figure out a more optimal furniture layout. That way, you can gain more space without actually throwing anything out.

Assess storage needs

Another key to success is ample storage space, which is paramount to your organization efforts. So, do a thorough inventory and assess how much space you need. Every little bit of storage counts, regardless of how small or big it is. That being said, in order to make a real difference, you do want to opt for heavy-duty commercial storage solutions. Do your homework and find products that meet specific industry requirements and environmentally-friendly standards.

Accommodate your work habits

Bear in mind that your choices depend on your work style and the type of tasks you need to perform. For example, in case you like moving around a lot, you can ponder off-the-desk management tools. Here, you should strive to maximize the vertical dimension and go for wall-mounted solutions such as floating shelves and double-decker files. On the other hand, a desk drawer is an excellent place for stuff that should be both out of sight and fairly accessible.

May the purge begin

The next thing to do is to take a good look around the office and weed out clutter. Yes, it is time for a great purge. Separate important documents and stuff you need on a regular basis from items that only get in your way. Note that you can designate a catch-it space, where you put incoming junk. This is a nice tactic to keep it out of your pristine workstation, where everything must be visible and reachable so that you do not waste time looking for things.

Restore order to your desktop

Speaking of which, you want to take extra time and focus on your desktop surface. Here, you can employ various tools like mason jars, sorters, trays and organizers to keep the swarm of small items and knickknacks at bay. To reduce the amount of paper you deal with every day,adopt the practice of office digitization. Discard all documents that do not need not be filed or digitized, as well as those annoying duplicates.

Conclusion

If you really mean business,you cannot let the chips fall where they may. Evaluate how you work and master the art of de-cluttering your workspace. Know what to get rid of, what to store away, and what to keep within arm’s reach. Blend personal productivity systems with general office organization methods.

This is a basic formula for putting together an impeccable zone of productivity that supports your work style and habits. Applying it to your surroundings, you will be able to get more things done every day and steer clear of productivity pitfalls.

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in latest business news and new social media trends. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

Expert’s Guide To Painless Business Relocation

Moving your business to a new office is a strange mix of daunting and exciting. The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence and indeed, relocation can offer many benefits. On the other hand, it can also have a severe disruptive influence on your operations, clients, employees,and finances.

To maximize the positives and minimize the negatives, you have to plan and schedule activities ahead of time. So, embrace a systematic,proactive, and efficient approach. Get ready to organize everything from the nitty-gritty to the smallest detail. Here are some tips that should help you get on top of tasks and finish relocating with flying colors.

Formulating a game plan

Meticulous planning and preparation hold the key to a successful relocation.  Most often,businesses kick off this process several months up to a year in advance. They start by identifying all tasks and setting a time frame for them. In other words, one of the first steps is to put together a detailed checklist for the new office. Before you can do that, though, you need to take several tours.While at it, pay special attention to key aspects such as technology, furniture, utilities, connectivity, and office equipment. You must have all the essential elements of a productive work space in place and make them fall together seamlessly.

Mind the size and layout of the new space

The crucial thing is to look beyond your present needs and factor in how your business will grow and evolve in years to come. Office size and layout are the crucial aspects you need to grasp here. Modern businesses usually aim for a multi-functional space geared toward a dynamic workforce and flexible work styles. In recent years, an open floor plan is all the rage andit does have some great advantages. But, you need to do what makes the most sense for you, not what is trendy. It is also necessary to take care of some basics and designate the main areas. We are talking about the lobby,meeting/conference rooms, workstations, the front desk, private booths,chill-out zone, etc.

Doing packing the smart way

Packing is always one of the most dreaded aspects of moving. There are many ways to go about it, but one thing is certain. You must work out a system and prevent the chaos from ensuing.Double-check the inventory and confirm that you have enough storage units. Color-code your documents and label the boxes. Furthermore, take this chance to do some de-cluttering. There is really no need to bring excess belongings to your new office. That would only require additional resources and storage space. Thus,do not hesitate to purge everything that serves no clear purpose other than collecting dust.

Rally the troops

It pays off to actively involve your team members right from the get-go. To do it right, set clear roles and responsibilities and delegate as much as you can. At the same time, you should note that your equipment,furniture, and other belongings might need to be handled professionally. This especially goes for packing and transportation. Australian businesses, for instance, tend to hire local removalists in Sydney and other major cities, since expensive office equipment requires delicate handling, from packing,transporting to disassembling and assembling furniture and disconnecting and reconnecting appliances. Conduct a research and try to get the best relocation quote you can.  Make sure everything reaches the destination on time and intact.

Getting over a rough patch

One of the main overarching priorities is to mitigate the negative impact on your profit margins. Namely, you cannot afford to lose business to your competition because of the relocation. Notify all relevant parties, including your customers, stakeholders, and clients and explain how your services or communication will change during the relocation. Along the similar lines, see to it that your online information (especially on your website and social media profiles) is up to date. Do not overlook your traditional marketing tools like business cards and flyers. Spread the word out across all touch points so that no one is left in the dark.

Changing your base of operations can set you up nicely for growth. But, there is one problem: planning and executing a smooth move is no walk in the park. There are so many different things to keep a close eye on. So,come up with a solid plan that will allow you to stay in control during the whole process. You cannot go wrong following tried-and-tested steps presented above. Just do not try to do everything yourself. Summon professionals to your aid in order to avoid stress, delays, and headaches. Get back up running as soon as possible and open a brave new chapter of success.

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.”

How to Set Up a Home Office on a Tight Budget

Working from a home office is many people’s dream. The idea of waking up and walking mere footsteps, instead of driving miles and miles, and being able to work in your pajamas, represents the height of living and working flexibly.

And while working from home offers many benefits, there are quite a few changes you’ll to which you’ll need to adapt. Specifically, you will be responsible for setting up your home office. This means not only finding the right equipment, but paying for it all, which can get expensive quickly.
But building a good home office doesn’t necessarily need to mean spending thousands on a high-end desk and premium computer equipment. You can set up a home office that can be a bastion of productivity even if you’re on a tight budget. And here’s how

Make It Separate

This is a way to save on your home office that might not be felt right away but that will still help lessen the burden on your pocketbook. Essentially, by making sure your office is completely separate from the rest of your home, and designating it as strictly an office, you will be able to claim this space on you tax returns, helping put money in your pocket at the end of each year.

However, before you get too excited, know that there are some stipulations involved with this deduction, especially after the new tax reform law that went into action in 2018. Essentially, you can only claim a home office if it’s your primary or sole place of business. So if you work for a company and they let you split between working from the office and working from home, then you might not be able to take this deduction. But if you run your own business, or work full-time as a freelancer, then you probably can.

Consider enlisting the services of tax accountant, as they can help you figure out if you qualify and also how much you can deduct. Typically, it will depend on how big the office is in comparison to the rest of your home. So if you have an 800 sq. foot home, and your office is 80 sq. feet, you should be able to claim 10 percent of your living expenses as business expenses, and these can be deducted from your taxes. However, it’s not always this black and white, so make sure to consult a professional before signing your name to any legally binding documents, i.e. your tax returns.

Find Used Equipment

A more immediate way to save when setting up your home office is to opt for second-hand or used equipment. While it might look nice to have brand new mahogany furniture, this will set you back quite a bit, and it might be best to wait for these luxuries until you’ve had the chance to save some cash.

But this also goes for computers and A/V equipment. It’s often nice for those working from home to have a separate monitor so that you can keep track of all the tabs and programs you have open, and these can usually be found second hand for rather cheap. A quick Google search for “used” or “second-hand office equipment” will reveal countless places where you can get what you need at great prices.

And if you’re in need of a new computer, ask yourself if you really need a brand new, $2,000 Macbook. For most of us, the answer is probably no, especially since you can find other options for much more cheaply. For example, shop around on manufacturer’s refurbished catalogues. These devices come with full manufacturer’s warranties, and they are often better buys than something brand new, as any issue they might have has already been detected and addressed.

Choose the Right Room

Working from a home office will require you to use more utilities than normal. For example, if you live in a colder climate, many of us are used to turning the heat way down during the day; it doesn’t make sense to heat an empty house. But when working from home, this might change. You may need to run heat or A/C all day, and you may start using more electricity. And while in the beginning this might not seem like a big deal, these expenses can add up quickly.

To work around this, spend some time to choose the right room in your house. Try to find a place that receives a good amount of natural light, as this will not only help reduce your need for lamps and lighting, but it can also help enhance your mood and productivity.

If you live in a warm climate, try to pick a room, though, that doesn’t get blasted by direct sunlight, as this will make it hotter and increase your need for A/C. But if you’re in a cold climate, this can help heat things up and reduce your need to turn on the furnace or baseboards. Rooms that face north tend to be a good happy medium as they will get light from outside but will not severely alter the room temperature of your office.

Opt for Free Services

There are countless services out there all claiming to help you manage your home business much better than you can on your own. And while this may be true, the expense of these services can add up quickly. So don’t discount free services. Google Drive can do everything and more than Microsoft Word, and it’s getting better every day. Trello can help you manage projects, Skype can work as a phone, and PayPal allows you to send and pay invoices for free.

Of course, there may come a time when it makes sense to pay for a service, such as when you want to make use of marketing automation or CRM software. But the key is to save elsewhere so that when you do need to incur these expenses it’s not as dramatic.

Set Your Home Office Up Today

While setting a home office up on a budget might make it look a little less glamorous, it will not affect its functionality. And by working to save wherever you can, you’re going to increase the margins on whatever you’re using the office for, boosting your income and turning you into a savvy remote worker.

About the Author: Kevin Conner is the founder of Broadband Search, a service dedicated to helping people find the right internet package for them. As an entrepreneur and a long-time home office worker, he’s always looking for ways to help others raise margins and boost productivity.

Things to Consider Before Relocating Your Company

Moving is always hard, whether you have to relocate your home or your business, and there are so many factors you need to take into consideration. If you don’t do it right, you might face potential less when it comes to your customers, business partners or even your employees. However, there’s a way to avoid all of that,make the move smooth and continue working the same day you finish the move. In order to achieve that, you need to be organized and prepare everything in advance. That will help you spend as little time possible on the actual move and help you focus on what’s truly important – doing your job.

Do Market Research

In order to find the perfect space for your new office, you’ll have to do a thorough market research and discover the best areas. That means you have to see where the biggest companies are settled at the moment and find your spot there. Also, try to get closer to the companies you work with, because that will make organizing your meetings much easier.

On the other hand, you can move to a neighborhood where there’s no company like yours, and thus became a true leader. This will give you an opportunity to establish a new market and make your own rules, which is something many businesses are good at. You can be a leader if you research all of your options and offer something new to the clients in the area you choose.

Location Matters

The word “location” has different meanings for different businesses location, but they all have one thing in common – staying close to their clients. If your office is far from your clients, they might realize that they don’t like the commute and could eventually stop doing business with you after a while.

This will also prevent you from getting new clients –you may have the best office in the world, but if it’s far from your potential clients, they won’t have time for meeting with you. Think about the location of your competitors and try to find a space somewhere close. That will allow you to be in the center of the happenings, and bring you closer to new business opportunities.

Organize your new office

Before you start moving all your belongings, think about preparing the space and making it ready. Start by painting one wall at the time and making them look more appealing, but be sure to pick the color that’s going to suit everyone. Fix everything before you bring in the furniture because it’s always easier to work with empty space, and you’ll be able to see what needs to be fixed.

Apart from that,find a company that will help you set up an electricity connection and make everything work before you move into your new office. This is crucial because you’ll have to power all your equipment from day one, so make sure you organize this in advance.

Cost issues

Find a real estate agent who works with office spaces, can negotiate a good deal for you and make sure you get the best space on the market. Although this sounds like an expense you don’t need, think of it as an investment in the future of your company because you don’t want to move again after a while just because it turns out that the new space isn’t working for you.

When it comes to your employees, they will have to balance doing their jobs and helping you with the move. You’ll have to give them bonuses, because this is definitely not what they’ve initially signed for, so make it worth their while.

Find a Moving Company

No matter how small your business is, you won’t be able to move everything on your own. With all the computers, chairs, desks and other furniture, it’s always better to leave it to professionals instead of trying to do it on your own.By doing this, you’ll avoid accidents that could damage your sensitive equipment and thus ruin your moving budget.

Organize everything and ask your moving company to pack your entire office and label all the boxes just to make the unpacking process easier. That will allow you to let your employees unpack their personal belongings on their own, and this will fasten the entire process.

Although the moving process can be stressful and exhausting, you can organize everything in advance and it easier. Include your employees but show them that you appreciate their help and they’ll be happy to help you. Think about all the steps you need to take after the relocation and don’t waste your time in the new office. By continuing where you’ve left things off in your previous office, you’ll be able to get back on the right track and immediately start making new deals.

Emma B. Joyce is a blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on https://smoothdecorator.com.

3 Types of Utilities You Want to Schedule Regular Maintenance on for Your Business

Maintaining your business property requires regular attention throughout the year. While you may take numerous and regular steps to avoid serious repair issues and to promote the quality of your workplace, you may be overlooking the importance of utility maintenance. Your business likely relies heavily on access to electricity, water, and even gas, and these utilities require periodic maintenance in order to keep them functioning well in the years to come. A closer look reveals why these maintenance services are essential.

Electricity Service

If you do not think about calling an electrician unless an issue arises, you are not alone. However, electrical system maintenance should not be overlooked. This type of maintenance work may involve testing the existing system and identifying problem areas that require attention. Through electrical work, serious repair issues may be thwarted. Keep in mind that these issues may otherwise result in accessibility issues or even electrical fires in some instances when they are not identified and repaired as soon as possible.

Water Service

Regardless of the type of business that you run, the ability to access fresh water and to dispose of wastewater efficiently is essential. Any water service issues may result in water damage, sewer damage, an interruption of business activities and more. This type of maintenance service may include looking for small and hidden leaks, repairing minor issues that may be easy to overlook, clearing drains and pipes and completing other similar tasks.

Gas Service

While some commercial properties do not use gas, many properties do have a gas line running through the ground and leading into the structure. Gas lines may run through the building’s walls to a heating system, a water heater, a commercial kitchen, and other areas. Gas maintenance service usually includes an inspection of the main gas line and other gas pipes as well as all connections to identify leaks. Even a minor gas leak can have dangerous consequences and should be fixed immediately.

Some issues with utilities may be easy to identify, but others may remain hidden from the property owner or tenant for weeks or months. Many issues with utilities may result in significant property damage and even physical harm to you, your employees and your customers. If you have not serviced your utilities recently, now is the ideal time to schedule maintenance. Remember to add this type of property maintenance to your annual schedule so that you do not overlook it in the future.

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.

Smart Space Management: Transform Your Home into a Proper Working Environment

Home trumps work any day of the week. So, logically a home office has more benefits than any other working environment. There is no commuting, no boss watching your every move, and balancing professional and private life is a breeze. Setting up an office at home may seem difficult, but with careful planning and research, you can save up money, increase productivity, and in the long run, be much happier with your job.

Things to Consider

When deciding the place of your future home office there are a couple of things worth considering. The space needs to be isolated from the rest of the home, and generally in a less active part of the house. This will significantly minimize distractions, since you want to focus on your job, and separate home and work hours. Also, your personal requirements and affiliations, as well as the nature of your work will guide the decision making process. So, creating a workshop next to the dining room, probably wouldn’t be the best solution, or having the office next to the laundry room.

Setting up Shop

Conserve space by changing the purpose of less frequently used rooms in the house and turn them into your home office. Storage rooms like the attic, basement, and garage can be easily transformed into a spacious, insulated working environment. Another way to go is to make a dual-purpose room. An extra guest room, and even the dining room are great due to their infrequent use. And by making small adjustments to the furniture, like adding pull-out couch, or getting a larger dining room table, you can have re-furbish the room to accommodate all your needs. Also, it is possible to find appropriate appliances online, like small fridge, which can complete the office design.

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Office Comfort

Comfort is the main idea behind a stay-at-home office. Consider that you might put in long hours in front of the desk, so buy a chair that is enjoyable, but also drives you to work. Depending on the work, a desk should inspire and be able to handle all the tools of your trade (computer, printer, books, paper, etc.). Apart from being comfortable, your furniture should also be ergonomic. The chair should support your back, and have enough height, so your arms are parallel to the desk. And by borrowing, buying secondhand or re-purposing furniture, you can cut costs and invest in other aspects of your business.

feng shui office desk Luxury Ways To Feng Shui Your Desk

Light up Work

Your office should also have plenty of light. A well-lit room will make for an efficient working environment that is motivational, but also healthy. Utilize natural light sources as much as possible, whenever possible. By positioning the desk next to the window, so that the light hits you from the right-hand side, you will get the greatest amount of light, decrease shadows on your work area, and tone down outside distractions. Although natural light is great, it is in short supply. Although many rooms have an overhead light, a desk lamp should be an essential at your work station. Combining it with other light sources will mean that your work space is always well-lit and you don’t exert your eyes.

Break Time

Depending on space, create a relaxing comfy zone within the office. This will enable you to think, research, read, and plan, when you are not actively working. The corner will also provide a great break area. Get yourself a comfy armchair, or a couch, and soft rug will feel great on your feet when you take your shoes off. You should also include a lamp and a coffee table for those serene coffee breaks.

Office Storage

Storage is an issue with any office, so be sure to get creative and organized. Big stacks of paper, files, and office supplies, are not very inspirational, and the best way to removed them from sight is to put them into a closet. Another great trick to minimize office clutter is to store the non-essentials in a different room, such as a basement. On the other hand, keep the essential documents near you, by putting up shelves and storing them there.

In the end, the home office tops a regular cubical any day, so make it an enjoyable and motivational working area. And if you do it right, you will save money and nerves, manage your own hours, and ultimately be your own boss, working from the comfort of your own home.

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.”