How To Customize A Standard Workspace To Suit Your Business Needs

How To Customize A Standard Workspace To Suit Your Business Needs

Buying space for your business isn’t a one time transaction. You have to constantly update, develop, and evolve your premises to suit the operation you’ve put together. As time goes on, and you add more employees, more services, and make more products, you’re going to need a whole lot more equipment and space!

This means you’ll need to customize your workspace to truly suit your business’ needs. Naturally this will involve a lot of changes over the years, but you can set up right from the beginning using design tips like these. The more you consider now, the better the budget you’ll build, and the longer your initial efforts will last. 

Research Materials
The materials you’re going to use need to be sourced ethically, have a low transport footprint, be of high quality (making them last around 25 to 50 years longer), and look good at the same time. 

Well, in a dream world you’d be able to accomplish all of these things in one go! However, in the real world, you may need to discount a couple of these elements to ensure you get the right materials for your needs and budget. You may not want to, but you’ve only got a limited amount of cash (and material availability) to really work with. 

So, do some research into the companies you want to work with and see what the next best thing is. A good sourcing organization will make it clear where they get their materials from, and will work on a quote by quote basis regarding how much they’re going to cost. 

Use a Cubicle Layout for Privacy
Setting up cubicle walls is good for initiating a sense of privacy within the workplace. When you have separate cubicle spaces for your employees to work in, you give them a space each to their own. 

While this may seem like an issue for the social aspect within your office, it doesn’t have to interrupt natural workplace relationships, as long as you have other social areas for your employees to spend time in. This is easy to create with common areas, a break room, and proper facility toilets. However, a cubicle setup does ensure better productivity. Without the feeling of eyes on you, work tends to go a lot faster. 

You also encourage your employees to be themselves; cubicles allow people to put up their own photos, desktop knick knacks, and other novelty items. If these items can be contained to one space, and are unlikely to be knocked or moved around, employees will feel safer bringing them into work. Control over the space is amazing for encouraging a sense of workplace loyalty too! 

Soundproof Meeting Rooms
Just one meeting room is fine if you have a small operation, but two or more is good for medium sized enterprises. Ensure that these spaces are soundproof; anything that goes on within them should be contained to attendees only, even if the contents of the meeting isn’t all that private. 

It sets a precedent for privacy in the workplace, which is only further encouraged by the cubicle setup we mentioned before. And soundproofing also means the rooms can be used as quiet spaces for people who need some time to themselves. 

If your employees have laptops or tablets they can use away from their usual desks, they can take them into a soundproof room and use the space to maintain their mental health while still getting the job done. As a business owner, this is the best attitude to promote. 

Reinforce the Floor
Making your floor stronger is the best thing to do when you’re working with heavy equipment, such as construction equipment or heavy case printers, like a 3D printing unit. You can invest in access mats to help support the load, ensuring the natural floor beams live to see another day. 

This also works if you have outdoor real estate; passing a pipeline or conveyor belt across your property needn’t be difficult with primed flooring beneath it. If you regularly need to transport materials, preparing the ground is essential for optimized performance and a decreased need for long term maintenance. 

As such, it’s a good idea to invest in equipment like this to prepare your business for the future. You never know what equipment you might need to bring in one day, as a result of expanding your product line or the complementary services you provide. 

Install Skylights for Increased Light
Skylights in the workplace ensure a constant stream of natural light and spectacle. From a mental wellbeing viewpoint, this goes a long way to keeping your team’s collective mood at a high. 

Not only does it let in some natural light and scenes, it also means you have less to spend on airflow quality. If you can open a skylight, you can let in fresh air from a central location. Plus, glass isn’t unusual in an office setting, so if this is the workspace you’re going for, it won’t be hard to get a skylight or two installed! 

You can also use a skylight to incorporate a modern design into your workspace. After all, using glass and other transparent materials can bring in a greener image, and is more easily decorated regarding items like hanging plants or hanging glass decorations that fit your brand colors. 

Think About the Human Body
How ergonomic do you need the space to be? For example, how long will people be standing around, if they’re working at counters or doing quality assurance on conveyor belts? Similarly, if people are going to be sitting for long periods of time (usually more than 2 hours at a time), can you support their back and shoulders? 

This is where ergonomically made furniture comes in. You shouldn’t just invest in second hand office furniture from wherever you can find it. This is where you don’t skimp on the budget, no matter how small it may be!

After all, if someone is comfortable enough to work for 8+ hours, they’re going to get a lot done! That means tasks will likely be completed ahead of deadlines, and may even net you a few bonuses here and there. 

Incorporate a Social Area
Finally, it’s best to think about a communal area that everyone can use, regardless of how many people are on break at one time. 

A social area doesn’t have to be a table and a few chairs, with a microwave and a fridge nearby. This is the most common setup, as ‘break rooms’ allow an employee to take control over their time, diet, and overall health. However, you can build a social area with more cohesion, and even add a sense of fun! 

To do this, think about ways to make the space great, rather than standard. A vending machine, for example, is a good addition to any social area. You should also consider popular activities for relaxing and unwinding. 

Building a business from the ground up is more than metaphorical development. It’s about figuring out the best use of your budget and the space it can buy you. So, if you have a plain building to work with, customizing it to suit your needs won’t be impossible. 

Don’t just decorate and buy some furniture – you need a plan that also includes elements like those above. Remember, any kind of commercial real estate is going to be highly customizable, so don’t let physical limitations prevent you from putting together the workspace of your dreams!

This is a contributed post
Pexels Image – CC0 Licence

HR Hacks Every Business Owner Need To Know

HR Hacks Every Business Owner Need To Know

Managing a workforce is tough. It’s the reason many successful businesses eventually end up hiring human resources departments. As a small business owner, you’re unlikely to be able to afford to hire your own HR staff, which means the challenging task of managing your employees falls entirely on you. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can make human resources admin easier. Below are just 5 useful hacks that could make hiring and managing your staff easier

Start an employee referral program

An employee referral program can be a great way of turning your existing staff into recruiters. It involves rewarding employees with a bonus or some other kind of benefit in exchange for helping you find new staff. Why is it such a great strategy? Firstly, employees are likely to hire people they know and get along with – allowing these new recruits to more easily integrate into the team. Secondly, it empowers your employees and rewards them for it. Finally, it can save you time and money looking for applicants. All in all, it benefits you and your team.

Hire boomerang employees

What happens if an employee wants to come back? You shouldn’t allow them to, right? Wrong. Employees that leave and want to come back later (aka ‘boomerang employees’) can be great hires. They already understand how your business operates and therefore require less training. The fact that they came back also shows that they valued something in your business they couldn’t find elsewhere. Of course, if they were a nightmare employee, you probably shouldn’t invite them back. However, if they were a good employee, it makes sense to welcome them back as it could have major benefits. 

Customize employee benefits

Not every employee is going to be drawn to the same benefits. Something that several employers are starting to consider is a customizable benefit package. This could include giving employees the choice to work from home or work from the office, letting them choose between monetary or non-monetary bonuses, and potentially even curating a unique choice of employee discounts for them to use (some employees may prefer a discounted gym membership, while others may value discounted cinema tickets). Such packages could help you to attract more talent and keep employees loyal. 

Automate/outsource your payroll

Paying employees can be one of the most important jobs as an employer, but also one of the most tedious. Fortunately, there are many tools nowadays that can automate the process. There’s also the option of payroll outsourcing solutions – allowing you to pay someone else to take care of your payroll without having to hire a full-time team member. Either option is better than manually doing it yourself and could even reduce errors. 

Keep job ads wholly positive

A big mistake employers make when writing job ads is focusing too much on demands of the job rather than the perks. Job ads can be particularly self-destructive if they focus on what they don’t want from an employee (i.e. ‘remote work not optional’ or ‘no timewasters’). It is better to keep job ads wholly positive and focus more on what you can give employees. Why? Because this is how you are going to attract the most high quality talent. The most high quality applicants already know they can get a job at most places and therefore will seek out the companies that have the best benefits. If your application comes across negative in tone or lists few benefits, you could scare off the best people for the job.

Image courtesy Pexels. CCO Licensed.

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How To Run A Flexible Team

How To Run A Flexible Team

If there is one thing that the internet has had a significant impact on, it is the workforce. And while that was seen to the extremes during the pandemic – what has happened after has been brilliant for millions of businesses and workers.

The ability to work from home was forced upon most people, and businesses saw how much more flexible they could be. They saw better profits because they had fewer overheads, and what’s more, is that the global talent pool opened up.

But if you haven’t had experience running a remote and flexible team, it can still be a challenge. So for any small businesses that are growing their team or people stepping into the role of managing a flexible team – here are some tips.

Communication

Communication x 3 and then some. If there are miscommunications within remote teams, things can get tricky quickly. While there is a joke about a video call or a meeting that could’ve been an email – sometimes conversation via video is best. 

All of your team members might have a preferred way of communication, and if that is the case, you will need to learn that and accommodate them. People generally give their best work when they feel comfortable and accommodated.

Try weekly calls, check-in emails, direct messages, and being open to being contacted when needed. See what works, see what doesn’t, and streamline it. Keep in mind you might only realize that there is an issue when something goes wrong. Proactiveness and vigilance will help.

Talent Pool

The job is the job, and the tasks are the tasks. But you have the ability to design the team, and this gives an incredible amount of flexibility. 

Don’t stick to the regular recruiting methods; instead, make use of all of the platforms online that can help you put together a literal dream team. Go to specialists like a marketing staffing agency, a content writing agency, and more to hand-pick the best people for the job. 

You’ll have access to a wealth of skills, and what’s best is that they are likely already vetted. 

Using a global talent pool will mean that you and your team will be flexible on working hours – which can be beneficial to night owls and early risers alike. Don’t be afraid to split jobs up into parts so that you can have two or more people per task, allowing for part-time and ad-hoc people too. 

Reimagine the team, and build it as you see fit.

Trust

Freelancers who were working from home or across the world ahead of the pandemic have always had a level of trust that people who went from office to home didn’t have. Trust is one of the most important parts of being able to have a flexible team. The only way you can build trust is to show it and act like it. 

Focus on the deliverables, be able to talk through issues, and avoid micromanagement and constant check-ins when they just are necessary. 

After you build the team, let them work on their strengths and get on with what you have to do. 

Hiring the right people the first time isn’t easy, but it is possible; when it comes to your team, don’t take risks; read this: 4 Things Business Owners Get Wrong About The Hiring Process – Robyn Bennett | The Technology Queen

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Promoting Workplace Safety

Workplace safety is a vital concern for employers. Not only is it their responsibility to ensure that their employees are safe while on the job, but promoting workplace safety can also lead to increased productivity and morale and decreased workers’ compensation costs. So, what are some things employers can do to promote workplace safety?

Conduct a Hazard Assessment

To identify areas where workplace safety can be improved, employers must conduct a hazard assessment of their business premises and operations. This will involve looking for potential risks such as tripping hazards, fire hazards, chemical exposure, and more. Once these risks have been identified, employers can formulate solutions that reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring within the workplace.

Implement Safety Protocols And Procedures

Once the hazard assessment has been completed, and risks identified, employers should implement safety protocols to minimize potential hazards. This could include providing employees with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats and safety glasses. Additionally, emergency evacuation plans should be developed in case of a fire or natural disaster, ensuring that machinery is maintained correctly and implementing safety training for all employees.

Provide Regular Safety Training

Employers should ensure that their employees receive regular safety training to keep them up-to-date on the latest safety protocols and procedures. This could include annual refresher courses and more frequent sessions if new equipment or processes are introduced into the workplace. Training should also include information on how to report potential hazards and accidents and safety protocols that must be followed in the event of an emergency.

Do Regular Inspections and Maintenance

Regular inspections and maintenance of the workplace can help to identify any potential hazards before they become a problem. This could include:

  • checking for frayed electrical cords
  • inspecting machinery and fire sprinkler system inspection ensuring it is working properly
  •  conducting air quality tests in areas where hazardous materials or chemicals are stored or used.

Create An Open Dialogue

Employers should also create an open dialogue with their employees about workplace safety. They should encourage employees to report any potential hazards or problems they notice in the workplace and provide feedback on existing safety protocols and procedures. By creating a safe environment where workers feel comfortable speaking up about potentially hazardous situations, employers can help to ensure that their workplace remains safe for all.

Track Safety Performance

Finally, employers should track their safety performance to ensure effective protocols and procedures. This could include monitoring the number of accidents and incidents in the workplace, as well as conducting regular feedback surveys with employees on how they feel about the safety protocol. By tracking this data, employers can identify areas where workplace safety is lacking and take steps to improve it.

These are just a few ways employers can promote workplace safety. By taking the time to assess potential risks, implement protocols and procedures, provide regular training, do regular inspections, maintain an open dialogue with employees, and track safety performance, employers can ensure that their workplace remains safe for all. Doing so will help protect their employees from harm and help employers avoid costly lawsuits and fines.

This is a contributed post

Photo Via Pexels

The Small Maintenance Tasks Every Business Must Deal With

It’s very easy to think of running a business as a great visionary effort, and in many cases it can be. But just like any salty sea captain looking over the horizon with an adventurous spirit, there’ll always be someone having to clean the decks, to cook the food, and to make sure any punctures are filled. In other words, it’s often the unglamorous tasks that keep an enterprise rolling along, which is why it’s important to never disparage or underestimate the workers at the bottom of the hierarchy, especially those that deal with the public from day to day, and determine your brand image.

That said, we’ve made reference to the maintenance tasks that are smaller to deal with, and it’s important to dig into those. Of course, cleaning the office, making sure that staff are satisfied with a hygienic work environment, and ensuring you follow essential compliance are all examples. Let’s consider some more:

Every five years, your company name must be registered.

You must register your business name with the relevant state or municipal authority when you first open your firm. Although it is usually only necessary once, certain states require registration renewals every five years. If you don’t renew your registration, your company name may become available to other companies, and you’ll lose the ability to use it.

Make sure you know when your registration is up for renewal and set up reminders to help you remember. You can use business name registration services to help you.

Keep your domain name up to date and purchase related domains

Your company’s website is a crucial component of your online presence, therefore it’s crucial to make sure that your domain name is consistently registered and renewed. Your website will become inaccessible if you let your domain registration lapse, and it may be quite challenging to take control of it again. After all, some domains accrue value if you’ve brought value to them.

In order to safeguard your brand and stop others from purchasing similar domain names and maybe confusing customers or harming your company, you should also think about owning them. Additionally, this will stop potential web squatters from claiming your website and, annoyingly, asking for a ransom.

Keep accurate records of your business spending.

Any firm that wants to manage spending, keep tabs on financial performance, and comply with tax rules has to keep reliable records. It will be simpler for you to operate your business with a foundational approach to record keeping, and make informed decisions if you have a well-organized and effective system for it. A financial manager armed with capable software will do the trick.

Keeping track of all financial activities, including invoices, receipts, bank statements, and more, is a good place to start. Additionally, you want to maintain a record of all your assets, including machinery, supplies, and vehicles.

With this advice, you’re sure to deal with the smaller maintenance tasks every business has to deal with. If this is baked into your scheduled planning, you’re sure to thrive in the best light.

This is a contributed post

Photo by Buro Millennial

Pieces You Need In Your Home Office To Ensure Business Success

Running a business from your home can be both rewarding and challenging. There are many things to consider when setting up your office, such as the available space, the type of work you will be doing, and what supplies you need. Here is a list of essential pieces you need in your home office to help ensure business success.

1) A Desk That Meets Your Needs

You will need a desk that is the right size for the available space and meets your specific needs. For example, if you plan on doing a lot of computer work, get a desk with plenty of surface area and enough storage for all your devices and supplies.

It would be a good idea to get an adjustable desk so that you can change the height to suit your needs. This will come in handy if you ever need to switch between standing and sitting while working.

2) A Comfortable Chair That Provides Support

If you are going to be spending a significant amount of time in your office, you need a comfortable chair that provides support. In addition, you will be sitting for long periods, so it is essential to have an ergonomic and adjustable chair. A good quality Office Chair can be expensive, but it is worth the investment.

To ensure you choose the right office chair, follow these tips:

-Consider your height and weight when selecting a chair. You should be able to sit all the way back in the chair and have your feet flat on the floor. If you can’t, look for a model with adjustable height.

-Make sure the seat is deep enough to support your thighs without putting pressure on your knees.

-The backrest should support your lower back and promote good posture. Look for a chair with lumbar support or an adjustable backrest.

-Look for a chair with armrests that allow you to rest your elbows and forearms while typing. The armrests should be adjustable so you can find the perfect position.

3) A Computer That Suits Your Needs

If you plan on doing any type of work on your computer, you must ensure it is up to the task. Choose a computer that has enough storage and memory for the type of work you will be doing. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you will need a powerful computer with a lot of RAM.

Make sure to get a good-quality monitor that is the right size for your desk. If you do a lot of work on your computer, it is worth investing in a second monitor. This will give you more screen real estate and make it easier to multitask.

Additionally, you will need to ensure your computer has the right software for your needs. For example, if you are a photographer, you will need photo editing software. Do some research to find the best software for your needs and budget.

You need three essential pieces in your home office to help ensure business success. Investing in quality furniture and technology will create a comfortable and productive workspace.

Photo by olia danilevich

This is a contributed post.