5 Design Tricks That Will Increase Your Workspace Productivity

Do you want to increase your productivity at work? Do you want to get more done in a day? If so, then it is time for you to make some changes to your office.

All the people who have succeeded in business know that office design and layout is one of the most important parts of it. It can help employees organize their work and make it easier to find things. However, not all companies understand how big of an impact this can have on their employees’ productivity. It can get tricky if your employees have to focus a lot of their time on finding which tasks to do. It might lead to difficulties in executing tasks and affect overall productivity. There are some task management tools that can help maximize productivity at work.

It’s not just about how much space you have, but about how you use it. In this lesson, we will explore some of the best office design tricks that will help increase your productivity at work.

1. Consider Your Layout

The most important thing to consider when designing your office is the layout. Company culture is deeply rooted in the office’s design. In order to create a positive, productive environment, it’s essential to have an office layout that employees are happy with.

The first step in deciding where your office should be is figuring out what type of business you’re operating and the amount of space you’ll need. Whether it’s a simple laptop setup or a large warehouse, the type of business will dictate what type of setup is needed. If you’re just starting up, then we recommend looking for an affordable place that has enough space for all your equipment and furniture. If you know exactly what kind of office space you want, then there are websites that can help provide these quotes from facilities.

2. Keep Things Comfortable

One of the most important things for your employees is a comfortable office space. To keep your employees happy, you should make sure they are comfortable in their work environment. It is important that they are protected from environmental factors that could impact their performance and productivity at work.

There are many factors that make a comfortable office space. Temperature, lighting, noise levels, proximity to coffee shops and lunch spots and more all need to be taken into account when you’re designing your office layout.

You can also increase work quality and employee happiness in your office without spending a ton of money. Here are some simple tweaks you can make around the office that will do just that:

  1. Keep the mood light with bright colors that suit your company culture
  2. Allow employees to listen to music, as it increases focus and productivity
  3. Offer food options for employees who need them
  4. Encourage breaks by giving them plenty of space for their lunch breaks or coffee breaks
  5. Set up a designated workspace for naps
  6. Offer ergonomic chairs and desks

3. The Psychology of Color

The colors that we design our office spaces with are not just for aesthetics; they can have a major effect on the productivity of our employees. For example, when the color blue is used, it stimulates employees and helps them focus. On the other hand, red stimulates people to move and be more active.

Studies show that people feel safer, more creative, and more productive when they are in an environment with warmer colors (like reds and oranges). For example, one study found that participants who were in a room painted in red were more productive than those who were in a room painted blue.

There are many ways to implement color into the workplace: changing the office colors, adding accent colors to certain furniture or objects, or painting the outside of the building.

4. Improve the Lighting

Improving the lighting in your office is one of the easiest things you can do to boost productivity. A study found that those who spent their entire day under artificial lights were twice as likely to experience depression and anxiety as those who had access to natural light all day long.

There are a number of ways you can do this, but most have a similar effect. You could move your desk to a room with more natural light, use lamps or soft light bulbs that mimic natural light, or by some form of daylighting system. The benefits of these changes are clear and well documented.

5. Nail Your Desk

The ergonomics of a workstation can dramatically affect your mood and productivity. Proper ergonomic setups are essential to long-term success in the workplace. A study by the Ergonomics Society found that over 30% of office workers experience lower back pain, while 25% experience neck pain. These adjustments can help alleviate some of these symptoms and make co-workers more comfortable in their workspace.

Employers should consider these quick ergonomic checks to make sure their employees are comfortable and not distracted by discomfort. You should have a desk set up that is appropriate for their needs and takes into account their body type. This includes height and depth adjustments, placement of monitors in the correct position, chair height and armrests if they use them, as well as adjusting monitor tilt angle to avoid glare from lights or windows.

Final Words

Effective workspace setup and organization can make all the difference to one’s productivity. The way that your workplace is set up could be affecting how productive you are on a day-to-day basis. Minimizing distractions and maximizing space can help increase workplace productivity.

If you have any concerns about this guide or have more ideas for a new space, feel free to comment below. We’ll be happy to hear from you.

Useful Asset Management Tools and Software for The Energy Sector

In this digital era, there is a high need for businesses to manage and track their assets. With everything technology has brought about, tracking and managing assets have become a bit complicated. Furthermore, there is high insecurity of data with the employee turnover. There is a lot that a company can cost from mismanaged and misplaced assets. Companies tend to spend more than they need without proper tracking of their assets. They need to have an accurate picture of their assets and where they are located. This is very crucial for the energy sector that provides utilities such as water, electricity, and gas to businesses and households. This sector faces a lot of challenges in asset management and areas like equipment maintenance.

Resolving Challenges in Energy Sector with Asset Management

The energy sector relies on heavy usage of assets and asset management tools have become important. Companies like Neara provide asset management software for a power line. You can also get the best power line design for pole compliance and efficiency. Assets management tools such as CMMS and AMS provide many benefits to organizations. Some of the benefits reaped from these tools include;

  • Creation of an active preventive maintenance program
  • Real-time tracking of assets and their performance
  • Generating RIO for individual assets
  • Managing inventories accurately
  • Tracking the life cycle of assets
  • GPS Tracking the location of assets
  • Scheduling and prioritizing work orders

The main benefit of using asset management tools in the energy sector is to collect data in real-time with a centralized system. When this data is accessible to managers, technicians, and workers, it speeds up operations and provides an overall overview of all assets that still hold value. IoT tools are best for collecting real-time performance details of an asset. IoT devices can be used to:

  • Assess the condition of an asset
  • Assess the usage history of an asset
  • Check for the latest compliance and permit history
  • Check the repair and maintenance history

CMM, AMS, and IoT devices are the best for asset management. With the data collected from these, it is easy to work on important assets like towers and transmitters. The utility sector has technicians employed specifically for repairing and maintaining aging infrastructure to minimize the chances of outage or failure. That means that these experts must have accurate data for active response. Accurate data provides more visibility and a connection between the technicians in the field and the workers in the office.

Real-time collection of data using assent management software helps in the proper calculation of asset RIO. A company in the energy sector can get a rough idea of the value of its assets. Calculating asset RIO is done by calculating the cost of maintenance and operation. Through this calculation, it becomes easy to decide if the equipment or asset will be worth replacing or throwing away at the end of its life cycle.

IoT devices can be used to minimize the costs of maintenance and avoid failure. IoT makes it easy for companies to collect accurate data on the performance of assets. Devices like trackers, sensors, and barcodes interact and pass the information to the central management system where the data is stored. Asset management tools can help companies in the energy sector in different ways as follows.

  • Reducing risks and safety issues of their assets
  • Approaching maintenance proactively
  • Reducing impact on the environment
  • Improving the use of renewable sources of energy such as solar systems, and wind and hydronic turbines

Conclusion

These are important asset management tools and software suitable for the energy sector. When finding one, you need to identify the gaps in your assent management and maintenance. You can also compare software based on the company’s needs for asset tracking and management.

Best Cybersecurity Tips for your Home-Based Small Business

The Pandemic has meant a significant switch in lifestyle and even career. Many people decided that this is the perfect time to pursue that small business idea they’ve always flirted with.

Despite the comfort of running a business while sitting in pajamas, there are still a million things pulling business owners in different directions. For example, security isn’t always a top concern and sometimes goes unnoticed until something goes wrong. But it is a crucial element. Keeping up with cybersecurity basics for a business can prevent irreparable damage and more than $25000 in losses.

So it’s time to get those ducks in a row before something happens! Here’s a short guide to the best steps business owners can take right now to protect their home-based businesses.

Set Up Admin Access Control

Access control is one of the most important things any business can do if it has any employees. It’s crucial for anyone who works remotely or with freelancers. This goes for online accounts, internal systems, and work accounts that are used by many people.

Access control is a security technique that regulates who can view or use certain accounts or data. For example, if the business has a website on WordPress, then the owner can control who gains admin access to the site and what they can do.

This prevents people from gaining full control over the website. And if their login details get stolen or their account hacked, the hackers will also have limited access. The same goes for data and account sharing. Give people access only to that information they need to perform their duties.

Keep Those Passwords Secret

There will be some preaching about passwords on a list like this because passwords are that important.

With passwords, it’s best to stick to the advice of cybersecurity experts, which are reiterated in such trusted sites as Wired, TechCrunch, and Forbes. The standard best practices stay the same:

– Use a unique password for every account.

– Make passwords long, with multiple characters, numbers, and symbols.

– Don’t share passwords on unencrypted chats.

If it’s hard to remember all those passwords, then it’s best to make use of a password manager. Also, always enable two-factor authentication on accounts.

Keep Off-Site Data Backups

A lot of businesses are not prepared to deal with the consequences of having all their data stolen in a cyber-attack or locked away by ransomware. Not only do many not have up-to-date backups, but those that do often make the mistake of storing them on the same premises. Sometimes even on the same devices/servers. That doesn’t help anyone.

Backups should be stored on encrypted hard drives in an off-site location that isn’t easy to access or on a secure cloud server. The second usually costs a monthly or annual fee, but the upside is that it can’t be lost or destroyed in a fire. Both of these off-site data protection options are essential if you want to safeguard your business from a data disaster.

The downside of using cloud servers, however, is that they aren’t infallible. Hackers have managed to break through in the past.

Use Encryption Tools

Encryption is a method of changing the original plaintext of computer code into a different, undecipherable code. This code can only be decrypted by the person that has the key (app). Everyone else sees scrambled nonsense.

So, there are apps and software that can encrypt hard drives, emails, and even network connections. Even messaging systems like WhatsApp use end-to-end encryption to keep messages private.

Look for encryption apps and software that have received good reviews online. Make sure to encrypt any files and drives on devices used to run the business. Also, use a secure email provider that encrypts emails and a VPN to encrypt the network connection.

The last is important because hackers can use digital devices to gain access to the home’s network and infiltrate the business’ accounts. There are even VPNs for Fire Stick for watching shows in the background while getting work done (it’s okay, we don’t judge).

Keep in mind that this advice goes for any employee as well.

Conclusion

It’s obvious that a lot of work could be done from home. That’s why people switched to running their businesses from the home offices. But it’s important to remember that this comes with a number of cybersecurity risks as small businesses are big targets for hackers! It’s much easier to do a little preparation now than having to deal with the consequences of a cyber-attack later.

What is Data Protection in Cloud Computing?

Many businesses now use cloud computing as a way to store and share data across the business. However, with cloud computing, there is a risk that data protection laws could be breached if personal data is not effectively protected.

The main risks regarding data protection when using cloud computing are:

  • Loss or damage of data caused by your service provider.
  • Unauthorized disclosure or access.
  • Malicious attacks on your service provider (e.g. hacking and viruses).
  • Poor security processes compromise your data.

Most cloud hosting providers have extremely strong security processes to ensure data protection but when you are looking for a cloud computing provider, you should be checking that they have a good reputation for being secure and for protecting data, to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Before you agree to use a cloud computing provider, you should carefully check the service level agreement for the details related to the security measures that they have in place to protect your data. The types of security details and solutions you should look for include:

Cloud Firewall

This is an added layer of protection to help prevent malicious attacks, they block cyber attacks by forming a virtual barrier around cloud platforms, applications and infrastructure.

Encryption

Encryption is a security method that scrambles data so that hackers cannot read the data. Encryption can be used in lots of different ways including to protect data that is being stored and to protect data that is being sent.

Cloud VPS

A VPS (virtual private server) provides a private, dedicated hosting environment, as opposed to sharing a hosting environment, where there is greater risk of malicious attacks and other security weaknesses. A VPS is more expensive than a shared server due to all of the additional levels of security that this solution offers to businesses. If you have a business that uses customer data, it is definitely recommended to use cloud VPS to keep your customers’ data protected.

Identity and Access Management

IAM tracks the identity of a user to authorize or deny access if necessary. The user’s access privileges will determine whether they are permitted to access data. Access control services are an important data protection measure for businesses across all types of systems, not just cloud-based ones.

Backup Plans

Another important element of security when using cloud computing solutions, is to have an adequate backup plan. If your data is accidentally deleted or there is a technical fault that results in the loss of data, a backup plan takes a copy of the data, which is usually stored in another cloud. In the event of data loss, the latest backup copy can be re-installed.

Employee Training and Awareness

One of the top causes of data breaches is through an error made by a user, so it is vital that employees who have access to data are comprehensively trained in data protection. Regulated industries have mandatory training that employees must complete to be compliant with regulators, including data protection, which they must pass a test on to demonstrate their understanding. Records of employee training results must be provided to the regulators as evidence that the business is complying with the training requirements.

There are many benefits to using cloud computing and often it is a more secure way of storing and sharing data, as providers implement excellent security measures. Businesses can also reduce costs by using cloud computing and collaborate more easily while employees work remotely, or across different locations. As long as you check that the cloud computing provider has the key security measures in place, your business can greatly benefit from using this technology.

How To Turn Mobile Devices Into A Business Asset

In the early stages of their inception, mobile phones were seen as expensive devices reserved for business executives. To have one, you need to be a company hotshot to have a ‘work phone’ issued to you. It means your inputs are needed anywhere and anytime.

These days, however, mobile devices have become extremely important to everyone, whether part of the workforce or not. With a few clicks of a button, one can get the information they need, communicate with the rest of the world, and purchase several items. 

There are over four billion mobile phone users in the world today, with some owning other portable devices, such as tablets and netbooks. It is no longer surprising why business organizations rely on mobile technology for several business processes. This has changed the way enterprises approach mobile phone use in workplace settings.

14 Ways to Optimize the Power Of Mobile Devices for Your Business

An affordably priced Android phone can do more than just send short messages or calls. With so many applications and software made for mobile use, there’s no shortage of things that you can do outside of your office desk. For this reason, a mobile device has become a viable workspaces extension, allowing employees and businesses to do the following activities that promote growth and productivity:

1. Launch an Online Store  

Thanks to mobile technology and cloud-based applications, a business idea can easily become a reality with the use of a mobile phone. Drop shipping, for instance, can become an additional income source for entrepreneurs who want to start a retail business but cannot afford to spend for a stock inventory and a physical store.      

Because there are so many things that businesses can do online—from launching an e-commerce store, to contacting suppliers and shippers, as well as accepting payments—there’s no need to have physical stocks and store, or purchase costly machines.  

Business analytics and investment database CB Insights discovered that as of 2011, it only took startups to spend GBP£3,200 (USD$4,500) to open a small business. This is only about 1% of the amount needed to launch an enterprise 11 years earlier, which was pegged at GBP£3.3 million (USD$4.6 million).  

Industry estimates further reveal that technology has drastically reduced the time it takes for businesses to go international. From more than three years up until 2008, the figure almost halved to only 22 months for ventures established in 2009 and later. 

2. Use Mobile Devices to Facilitate Flawless Communication and Collaboration

There’s no shortage of useful mobile phone apps that you can use to reach out to your staff, whether in times of emergency, regular and scheduled meetings, or if some of your employees are on the field.

Using mobile devices with a teleconferencing-enabled application, your team can stay in touch to discuss important updates, emergencies, urgent issues, and how to move past these problems (or successes). When it comes to regular meetings, perhaps, the only valid reason for absence is a non-existent Internet connection.   

Not all your staff may be in a good location to receive broadband from their provider. A signal booster may be needed to improve your mobile signal.

Timely communication isn’t the only added-value for these apps. Some types of business software allow the management to track a team member’s productivity and work progress, ensuring that the program goes as planned. If facing snags, a member can flag the issue(s) to the supervisor, who’s expected to provide useful insights or address the issue moving forward.       

3. Improve Sales and Marketing Strategies

With various integrated platforms that work across all mobile devices, it is now easier to improve marketing and sales strategies both online and offline.

  • Promote Search Rankings

Whether a newly-established business or an enterprise that wants to build a stronger brand, every business should tap the power of search engines to increase brand awareness and strengthen its reputation. 

Industry estimates suggest that more than 80% of the buyers turn to search engines to ask about a specific pain point and look for products that could address their issues. Simply put, the majority of the purchasing process starts with an online search—which, most often, is done via the use of mobile devices. Hence, in order to increase your brand’s online visibility, make sure your mobile site loads quickly and that you employ search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to attract web traffic and increase sales.       

  • Online Marketing

E-commerce and social media platforms all come in mobile-friendly versions. Thus, wherever you may be, you can check your website for performance and assess what makes other websites tick.

Study your competitors’ methods and compare them with your own to see whether your campaign is on the right track or if you need to tweak some methods. Study whether you need to employ paid online advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC). Assess whether your site is user-friendly by using your own mobile device to navigate through it.   

  • Cold Calling Isn’t Dead

If you’ve been a victim of unwanted calls, you know how irritating they can be. With apps such as Drop Cowboy, however, you won’t have to wait for your potential clients to pick up the phone before being able to reach out to them. All you have to do is to record a voicemail message or SMS marketing messages and send them to your client list for a streamlined service.

  • Reach Out To Your Market And Partners Better

Save on printing costs and the environment by reducing hard copies of your brochures, flyers, and product catalogs. When a customer has specific questions about your services and rates, you can reply through a chatbot or send an image of your sales and product information materials via email.

Mobile employees and remote workers who need to get in touch with clients, the different office units, suppliers, and other partners should go and have an app like Progressive Dialer installed on a mobile device. This app is compatible with all mobile devices and, thus, can be used while on the go.                  

  • Using Your Tablet for Client Presentations

Time is money when it comes to business. This means you need to seize every opportunity to drive sales. For instance, if you need to conduct an impromptu sales presentation, you can just plug in your tablet to a power supply and show them to your clients as you discuss the benefits of your products and services. A bigger audience may require you to link your tablet to the projector.    

4. Enhance Customer Service

Customer service is an important business component. While attracting new customers is essential to increase sales, so is retaining current ones. Client acquisition costs five times more than customer retention. Additionally, hiking the latter by 5% also increases business profits by as much as 95%, per research done by global management consulting firm Bain & Company.

Either way, customer service should be a priority for all types of business, and your mobile devices can help you achieve this goal through the following practices:      

  • Streamlining Repair Processes

Mobile phone cameras can be used to take photos of problematic issues and cut through all the bureaucracy involved in repairing specific home appliances and fixtures. Service contractors only need to snap a photo of the spare parts in need of replacement. This photo can then be sent to the team in charge of inventory or purchasing to either find out if it is available in the office or needs to be bought locally. This means the problem will be addressed as soon as possible, leading to happy customers. 

When selling products, a high-resolution camera phone can take nice photos of the items. This helps attract more potential buyers.    

  • Tracking Packages

Courier companies offer tracking services on their website. All you have to do is prepare the package number or code and input it when you’re asked to.     

This comes in handy when your customer asks for assistance in finding out the package’s expected delivery date. Because you can do this with your mobile device, you don’t need to keep the customer waiting before providing a shipping update.      

  • Using QR Codes To Provide Product Information

As part of the barcode family, a QR code is a machine-readable label that contains useful information about a specific product. Apart from a QR scanner, mobile devices can be used to get the information you or your customers need.

Businesses can also use QR codes to print marketing documents and other informative materials or redirect your audience to your website.          

5. Access Business Documents Anytime, Anywhere

These days, document management apps can be downloaded on mobile devices with ease. Once you have any of these apps, you’ll have access to business documents wherever you may be.

Apart from viewing files, some apps have additional features, such as search, edit, print, share, and send functionalities. In some cases, you can even use your mobile device to directly print the document. Still, others have embedded data protection features. This feature allows your mobile employees and in-office staff to share and collaborate to make necessary amendments to documents, such as proposals, quotations, and contracts, as soon as possible. Your staff can also access the inventory files to check whether stocks are available before asking a colleague to file a purchase request.

With this feature available on all mobile devices, some documents no longer need to be printed, signed, and sent back, causing unnecessary delays in business processes. 

6. Make Remote Work Easier

The new normal has required businesses to make remote work arrangements more prevalent. However, this shift to a virtual office is nothing new. In fact, this non-traditional work situation has been around for several years. Prior to the pandemic, offsite workplaces were thought to have increased by as much as 91% over the last decade, according to a survey by Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs.

A remote workforce brings a host of benefits for a business. Rental costs, electricity bills, among other business expenses, are expected to drop while increasing overall business productivity.

For seamless virtual operations, mobile devices and a strong Internet connection are must-haves, so are work-related apps, such as a few that were mentioned earlier: document management, time-keeping, and project management. 

7. Provide Work Flexibility To Employees

Employees these days prefer the flexibility of working from home or working anytime and anywhere. Various researches show that there are various contributors to employee satisfaction. Opportunities for career growth and promotion, job security, adequate pay, and close relations with colleagues and bosses, as well as work flexibility, are elements often mentioned.     

If you’re a business looking to retain your top talents, consider providing the benefits earlier mentioned. Work-life balance has become more essential these days as workplace stress levels among employees reached 83% in 2019.

8. Access Data and Business Analytics

Business analytics software can be installed on your phone to check the overall health of your enterprise. Business analytics can either be descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, or prescriptive in nature. 

Depending on the features of the app you downloaded or subscribed to, as a business executive, you’d be able to see which department is the most and least productive and which business units can be streamlined.

In addition, businesses can have an overall view of mobile device use among their employees to determine if the current mobile software or apps are adequate or need to be replaced with a better mobile app. Auditing mobile device and platform use can also help enterprises determine potential security threats and opportunities for cost-saving practices.

How About Mobile Data Security?

Cyber hacking is a prevalent issue globally, and there’s not a day that passes by without at least a few thousand attempts happening. In fact, Web Arx Security has revealed that at least 300,000 websites are hacked daily.

Big companies have often been targeted as they can spend thousands, if not millions of dollars, in costly settlements. For instance, a ride-sharing mobile app fell victim to a data breach in 2016, forcing the company to spend USD$148 million in investigation and settlements.     

For these reasons and more, business data protection and security should equally be given priority as soon as the use of mobile devices for work is allowed.   

The following measures should strictly be implemented to protect and secure business information on your mobile device: 

  • Using a virtual private network (VPN)
  • Avoiding public Wi-Fi use
  • Mobile app or software updates
  • Two or multi-factor authorization for each device
  • Use of strong passwords
  • Device encryption
  • Antivirus application

Businesses should also have a well-thought-out file access system for an added layer of security.  

Closing Thoughts

Mobile devices have become essential business tools, especially with the evolving and more flexible work arrangements. Businesses and individual employees should all be aware of how to optimize mobile device functionalities to keep them going, as well as drive sales and promote business growth, all while keeping data safe and reducing costs.  

Best Security and Privacy Tips for Remote Work

With employees across the globe being sent home with laptops, the issue of cybersecurity has gained particular relevance for business owners. Not only do entrepreneurs have to accelerate the digitalization of their companies, but they also have to ensure their digital safety. And when the pandemic-related transformation of businesses comes to an end, a large percentage of employees might wish to continue working remotely. Therefore, it is essential to ensure business employees follow sound digital security practices while working from home.

Let’s take a look at the best security and privacy tips for remote work.

Enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is the access control mechanism that makes it more difficult for malicious agents to infiltrate your employees’ devices and your company’s network. With 2FA enabled, a randomly generated code, along with a password, is required to log in to an account. This code can be generated with the help of free apps such as Google Authenticator.

If a cybercriminal steals a password, which is not exceptionally difficult these days, they will not be able to immediately gain access to the system. Given the ease of use and the fact that 2FA is essentially free, this security tip is not to be ignored.

Establish a VPN connection

Virtual private network (VPN) apps allow remote employees to establish a secure connection to counter numerous digital risks.  VPN apps can help to anonymize your employees and shield their privacy, for example. They can also make it harder for cybercriminals to illegally gain access to your office resources such as databases, productivity suites and project management software, among others.

When properly configured, a VPN connection allows employees to use the Internet to access work resources safely while hindering unauthorized access for everyone else. With regards to configuration, it does not require too much technical know-how and can be set-up by virtually anyone. Therefore, even if your company does not have a dedicated IT department, don’t feel discouraged to set up a secure VPN connection for your employees.

Use an Antivirus

Although malware is a constant, unremitting threat, it presents more danger for remote employees than for your office workforce. Whereas it is possible to protect the latter with network and endpoint security measures, the former are left exposed. For this reason, remote team members should be encouraged to install the best antiviruses for Mac or PC. With a security solution running in the background, your employees would gain a considerable degree of protection, not only against malware and viruses, but also against hacking attempts such as phishing.

You are advised to opt for professional rather than free antiviruses. Unlike their free counterparts, professional antiviruses are much more adept at detecting dangers before they spread through computer systems. Also, some commercial security software offers an at-a-glance view of protected assets and prevents individual users from disabling the protection.

Backup critical data

The recent spike of high-profile ransomware attacks proves one thing: no matter how seemingly impregnable your firewall is, someone will eventually bypass it. If the worst does happen, your employees should be able to restore their data without paying an exorbitant ransom. And the most reliable path to recovering your data? That age old practice of backup.

Make sure your employees regularly backup their data to public clouds such as Amazon S3, Azure or Wasabi. With the use of automated data protection solutions, both backup and recovery processes can be effortless and fast.

Run cybersecurity training

No matter how reliable your digital safeguards are, if the workforce is not familiar with safe browsing habits and other essentials of cybersecurity, a breach will inevitably occur. Therefore, it is of huge importance to ensure that every employee knows how to protect their own and their company’s digital assets.

It does not matter that much who conducts cybersecurity training in your company. Whether it is a member of the IT department or a third-party contractor, the important thing is to run the training regularly. After all, the cybersecurity landscape is constantly shifting and you need to ensure that all employees have up-to-date knowledge on how to deal with any potential threats.

To Wrapping Up

As the number of high-profile breaches continues to increase, you have to take actionable measures to tighten cybersecurity in your company. Even with a small amount of effort in the areas where it matters most, you can noticeably improve your cybersecurity preparedness, thereby saving your company’s digital assets and protecting your employees’ privacy.

Bringing Your Office Into the 21st Century: 5 Digital Solutions Your Company Needs

With the rise of technological innovations in the 21st century, industries have begun adapting their traditional business models to incorporate digital routes to success. Between virtual communication apps like Zoom changing the way employees interact and automation software reducing error and overhead, technology has revolutionized the business sector. That said, corporations that opt out of tech-based solutions often miss out on significant business ventures and customer connections due to a lack of technological know-how. 

Luckily, there are plenty of digital solutions available to business executives looking to up their game and remain competitive in the future. Read on for five technological innovations sure to streamline your business process and boost your annual earnings. 

A digital mailbox

A significant and recent shift to the workplace has been the surge of remote employment. Although the transition to at-home work was jolting under pandemic-induced chaos, business owners leaned into the storm, with many companies opting to stay remote indefinitely.

As a result, many have turned to digital mailboxes like iPostal1 to help keep their business running smoothly despite a scattered workforce. Digital mailboxes allow business owners to run remote operations with the benefits of reduced costs, additional time savings, and unparalleled convenience. Overall, setting up a digital mailbox empowers business owners to reduce overhead costs, i.e., receptionist salaries, office furniture (formerly used to store mail), etc., and maximize limited office space occupied by unopened envelopes. Additionally, digital mailboxes ensure that airplane-terminal-bound executives can manage correspondence anywhere—whether from a 6×6’ cubicle or an airplane seat.

Cloud storage

One of the most significant technological advances in the past ten years has been cloud storage implementation. Remote databases enable business owners to store and access data, applications, and client documentation with the click of a button. For companies looking to scale upwards, streamline deployment ventures, and more effectively manage information, cloud storage is the perfect solution. 

Social media marketing

As the online world continues to grow, bringing with it millions of scrolling consumers, companies have begun capitalizing on social media marketing techniques to draw in clientele and push out new products. Having a simple website no longer cuts it in competitive spaces, which means you need to build an approachable online presence in addition to keeping a clean, easy-to-use webpage. Social media allows corporations to connect with patrons on a more personal, casual level, allowing people to ask questions, browse products, and post feedback all in one place. That said, posting regularly and engaging with clients on a routine basis is critical for up-and-coming businesses. 

Automation

Another way to bring your company into the 21st century is by utilizing automation software to cut down on data input and calculations. For accounting departments, in particular, software like Quickbooks can reduce the time it takes to enter information, organize files, and calculate totals by automatically performing specific tasks. Although the cost to install automation software may be an investment up-front, the time and money you’ll save on staff will be worth it in the end. 

Security

Those running a business understand how critical cybersecurity is when it comes to sensitive information and company applications. Thankfully, digital solutions have streamlined safety efforts, with upgraded malware detectors, AI capabilities, and instant data breach alerts keeping business owners on top of online security. If you’re a growing company looking to keep hackers and breaches at bay, consider investing in upgraded prevention and detection technology.

The bottom line

For companies looking to stay ahead of the competition, implementing high-tech digital solutions that streamline business development processes is critical in saving time and money long-term. By building an online presence, upgrading your cybersecurity measures, and utilizing cloud-based services, you can climb the corporate ladder with ease. 

10 Steps to Take If You Feel Stagnant in Your Career

If you’ve done the same thing every day for 10 years, it’s only natural that you would feel as if your momentum may have come to a screeching halt. Most of us like the idea of continuously advancing in our career, making more money, earning better and more important titles, and thereby feeling like we’re growing as individuals.

But sooner or later, we may hit a rut, and feel stagnating in our current role. Could this be a plateau where you’ll stay for the rest of your working life?

It doesn’t have to be. If you’re feeling stationary in your current position, you can take several steps to reinvigorate yourself and create new momentum.

Steps to Take to Achieve Forward Motion

Try some or all of these ten steps to breathe new life into your career:

1. Get a new certification

First, think about seeking a new certification. For example, if you work in accounting, you could pass the CPA exam to become a CPA. Depending on your current role and your certification, this might enable you to earn more money, have a shot at a substantial promotion, and even open a door to entrepreneurial opportunities. No matter what, you’ll get the chance to learn new skills and engage in activities that enable you to break from the norm.

2. Learn a new skill

You could also make the effort to learn a new skill, even if it diverges from your current areas of expertise. For example, you could take up computer programming or learn how to work with a new piece of software. This will keep you engaged, make you a more well-rounded professional, and could open the door to some interesting opportunities down the road.

3. Branch out to other departments

How often do you talk to people from other departments in your organization? If your firm suffers from a persistent silo mentality, you may rarely, if ever, reach outside your own circle. Getting acquainted with colleagues in other departments can help you understand better how your organization works, and give you an opportunity to network and learn new things – all of which can be good for your career.

4. Take on a new responsibility

Don’t request a new responsibility; take one on. Step in to address something that no one else wants to touch, or expand some area of the business. It can keep you challenged and interested in your work – and looks impressive when it comes time for supervisors to evaluate you for a promotion or raise.

5. Talk to your bosses

Are you feeling trapped or bored? Consider talking to your bosses about your status. They may have ideas or new directives that will help you to feel more challenged, or shift you to a new position entirely.

6. Start a side hustle

If you’re not getting what you want or need from your main career, why not attempt a side hustle? Pick up a hobby and turn it into a business, or dabble in a new industry you’ve always wanted to investigate. It could turn into a full-time gig later, if you choose.

7. Look for a transfer opportunity

If you like this company and you’re just tired of the same environment, look into the potential for a transfer. Moving to a new department or a different location could be the fresh breath of air you need to feel good about your career again.

8. Work for a promotion

You may already be doing this, but consider aiming for a specific promotion. Depending on your industry and the nature of the business, this could be a new role that’s several years off, but if you start laboring toward it now, you may feel a surge of inspiration and motivation that will carry you to your end goal.

9. Apply to jobs with other businesses (or start your own)

If opportunities are rare at your current place of employment, think about applying for jobs with other businesses. You could even start a company of your own in your industry.

10. Change careers entirely

Of course, if nothing else is working, or you’re just finished with the industry you’ve been in, you might plan a complete career change. It’s never too late to jump into a totally different line of work.

Embrace Change

No matter what you do, if you want to break free of your feelings of stagnation, it’s important to embrace change. Thanks to status quo bias (and a bit of laziness), most of us prefer to keep things the same for as long as possible.

But if you allow yourself to remain complacent and simply accept the patterns you’ve fallen into over many years, you’ll never make any progress. You have to change something if you want different results; there’s no other way forward.

Why You Should Spend More Time Near a Fire

Fire is often treated as a natural element, alongside earth, water, and air – a fundamental aspect of nature that’s necessary for life to flourish. There are many good reasons for this, including the fact that fire can trigger the activation of certain types of seeds, fostering life directly, and the fact that humans have harnessed the power of fire to cook food.

But there’s also something more fundamental about the appeal of fire that’s harder to pinpoint precisely. Why is it that human beings are drawn to fire, and why should you spend more time next to one?

Fire and the Hearth

There’s a reason the hearth has become a central gathering place in many cultures. We’ve been using the fire as a gathering point for thousands of years all over the world. There’s even evidence of prehistoric hearths, created and used as a place of social gathering in ancient caves and campsites. In Ancient Greece, the hearth was such an important cultural touchstone that there was even a goddess of the hearth: Hestia.

Today, modern hearths are an inviting aesthetic design choice for our living rooms, adding a layer of coziness and warmth to the most social area of our homes.

The Value of Fires

These are just a few of the reasons you should consider spending more time near or around a fire:

Visual stimulation

First, fires offer a form of visual stimulation with a bright, flickering series of flames. Many people report feeling almost hypnotized by the fire, drawn into it. It’s interesting to watch, and it can break you away from other distractions, like the TV or your smartphone.

Comforting crackling

If you build a wood-based fire, or if you have a fireplace that can replicate the sounds, you’ll hear a distinctive crackling sound that many people find soothing. It’s a bit of background noise to make you feel calm, and it may even work for ASMR.

Natural heat

Fire is also hot, of course, which makes it the perfect addition for an outdoor event in cool weather – or a supplementary source of comfort in your living room during the deep winter.

Smell and memory

Did you know that smell is closely connected to memory? When you smell something connected to a memory, or even a previous time in your life, you’ll often be hit by a wave of nostalgia. Holding a fire regularly can fill your nose with that signature smoky aroma – which by itself, is pleasant for many people. Over time, as you spend time with friends and family members, laughing and enjoying yourself, that smell will be tied to powerful, positive memories you’ll always be able to recall.

Open time for discussion

When people gather around the fire, they’re choosing to eliminate distractions. You’ll have open time for discussion with the people around you, giving you a chance to explore new topics and get to know your loved ones a little bit better.

Cooking and meal prep

Fires are commonly associated with cooking and meal prep; hosting a fire is a great opportunity to cook some hot dogs or roast marshmallows over the flames. You can also think fancier by grilling halibut, steaks, or burgers. These dishes are perfect for a beach party, camping, or an outdoor cookout. And if you ask your family or some friends to join you, it’s another opportunity for bonding as well.

Ideas for Your Next Fire

If you’re not sure where or how to host a fire, there are several ways you can get started.

Install a fireplace

One of the best ways forward is to install a fireplace in your home (assuming it’s legal for you to do so). Today’s fireplaces come in a wide variety of styles and functions, and they can often be installed with minimal cost and effort. Choose a wood-burning fireplace if you want that classic texture, or an electric or gas fireplace if you want some clean-burning efficiency.

Purchase (or build) a firepit

If you don’t like the idea of having a fireplace in the house, or if you don’t have room for it, consider purchasing or building an outdoor firepit. It’s an easy choice that can support your fires for years to come.

Water Vapor Fireplace

Install a water vapor fireplace. There are numerous other advantages of water vapor fireplaces, such as their low energy consumption and environmental friendliness, but the bottom line is that they provide stunning flame realism that rivals gas while maintaining the safety and convenience of an electric fireplace.

Rely on others

If you don’t have much space in your current house/apartment, consider getting a friend to host the fire, or keep an ear out for invitations.

Head to a campsite

Consider going to a local campsite and setting up a fire of your own; there are often rings or firepits you can use to build a fire from scratch. Just make sure you read the rules of the campsite prior to starting one.

After you have a successful fire and bond with the people around you, you’ll likely want to repeat the experience again in the future. Hopefully, if the others are on board, you can turn this into a regular event – and relieve stress while connecting with the people most important to you. 

11 Straightforward Ways to Improve Your Small Business with Technology

The world runs on technology these days. Nothing seems to move forward except it imbibes technology.

Do you want to make an impact in your industry? You will need technology to make this possible.  The strategic use of technology in your business can also give you an edge over competitors. 

You do not have to be a scientist to effectively apply technology to your business and bring about the desired growth. Just reduce the time you spend on frivolous things such as watching TV and spend your valuable time on things that can move the needle in your business.

The information in this write-up is put together to guide you on how to start making use of technology as a tool for business growth. Check below for 11 ways you can boost your small business with technology.

1. Communication can help

One of the many benefits of technology is that it boosts communication.  You can use this benefit to your advantage in that technology enables you to communicate via more easily with potential clients and partners.

For example, you can use some of the best email marketing software to engage your prospective clients.

No need to make the trip anymore since you can simply make the call.  Technology makes communication faster and more qualitative. You can opt for a video call since it enables you to see the other person face to face from your individual remote locations.

2. Boost marketing tactics

Technology, if used properly, can boost your marketing tactics. The traditional marketing strategies do work just fine, but they can never be as effective as the technology—based marketing strategies.

A very good example is social media marketing. A small business such as camper repair service can leverage the power of an effective social media strategy to reach potential customers faster via social media and direct clients to their website.

Technology can equally help you to prepare a business plan even if you do not have much knowledge or experience about it.

In fact, you can build great websites using special technology-based tools even if you have limited knowledge about website building.

3. Social media can be a viable tool

Social media opens up your business faster than ever. It gives you access to so many people from the comfort of your home. 

One of the best ways to harness the incomparable power of social media for business growth is via digital marketing. 

Working with a social media marketing agency enables you to get the words out about your products and services without physically advertising your business.

The internet reaches virtually every corner of the earth. So, things you post on social media can be seen globally.  What is more, you can choose your preferred target audience in social media marketing.

4. Save time via remote workplace

As a small business, you will need to save as much time, effort, and money as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by resorting to a remote workplace.

 A remote workplace enables your employees to work from home and also helps you to connect with them all without meeting at a physical office.  If the employee possessing a particular skill is unable to report at your physical office, such an employee can connect with you via remote workplace platforms.

5. Build a website

You will need a website to tell the world about what you have to offer. So, you should invest in a website if you want to grow your small business faster.

It is not enough to build a website; you must make it responsive and attractive so that the potential clients will be willing to do business with you.  

A functional, responsive website will give your business identity on the World Wide Web. It will also serve as a source of tenable information about your business to anyone searching for such information online.

6. Search engine optimization is essential

It is not enough to build a website, but you must make your website visible. Increased visibility will bring in more clients to patronize your business, leading to faster growth of your brand.

 This can only be possible if you carry out the search engine optimization of your web content.  You may have to hire SEO experts to do this for you if you do not have the required knowledge.

7. Secure your business

While technology can showcase your business to the world faster than the conventional way of doing things, it also has its risks and challenges.

For one, your website may get hacked and this can lead to data loss or theft, as well as, the possibility of financial loss.

 You can curtail this by securing your online business. This can be done by using an encrypted password and creating active firewalls for your website.

8. Cloud storage can help

You do not have to keep all your data stored on your computer; you can move some of the data to the cloud. Cloud storage frees space on your hard disk and can even help your system to run faster.

Additionally, it can make your data and files available if you have to access them outside your office or when you are in a remote location far away from your computer.  This way, you can obtain the necessary information at the tip of your finger.

9. Improve your customer service

Technology can help you to boost the quality of your customer service. One of the best ways to do this is to provide live chat services whereby your existing and potential customers can chat with you and get a response in an instant.

You can equally offer toll-free call service so that your callers will not have to pay for calls.

10. Automate your routine tasks

One other way to boost your small business is to automate tasks.  A good example of tasks you can automate is customer service. Automated messages can provide answers to a good percentage of the questions that customers ask. You can equally automate your social media posts. This way, you can focus on some other aspects of the business.       

11. Video marketing always gets the attention

One other way to get the words out is via video marketing. However, make sure that the videos you create are related to the products and services that you offer.

Search engines can rank your website higher if you have related videos uploaded on the website. You can also upload such videos on your social media platforms.

Bonus tips

Content marketing is one of the best ways to boost your brand popularity via technology. You can submit search engine optimized content on your website and popular websites like Ezine.

You can also build backlinks to your website so that you can connect with authority websites. If this is too technical for you, you can simply hire SEO experts to do it for you.       

In addition, it’s very essential that you sleep well, exercise enough and optimize your health so that you can effectively muster the needed positive energy to move your business to the next level. These little things do move a needle. Try them!