Tag: tips

Eight facts about remote working you didn’t know

Remote work is a global, growing phenomenon that only seems to be gaining in acceptance but there are many misconceptions about it from thinking it’s a way of skiving off or that it leads to employee disengagement.

There are eight things about remote work you probably didn’t know:

1. It can increase worker productivity
Companies and employees alike say remote work is a boon to productivity. Said Trim: “Distractions like water cooler gossip, impromptu meetings, and loud colleagues are a non-existent.” According to data from SurePayroll, a payroll provider, two-thirds of managers say employees who work remotely in co-working spaces increase their overall productivity.

2. It drives employee efficiency
Fewer diversions for remote workers can lead to higher efficiency, says a survey from ConnectSolutions. Some 30 percent said it allowed them to accomplish more in less time, while 24 percent of those surveyed said they were able to accomplish more in about the same amount of time.

3. It’s often how project and consulting teams prefer to work
Teams tasked with special projects or consultants advising a company, often find it best to work away from the home office even if space is available there. Said Trim:” There is often a benefit to be away from the office and look at things from a distance and fresh eyes. Co-workings spaces are particularly well resourced for special team projects.” These teams are often exposed to like minded professionals in co-working spaces that often spark new ideas.

4. It reduces employee turnover
Offering work at co-working spaces reduces staff turnover, and job attrition rates fell by over 50 percent, according to a study published by Stanford University. “This is obviously a massive cost saving to companies because it takes a lot of time and money to continually look for new talent,” Trim noted.

5. It decreases real estate costs and overhead
Companies of all sizes report significant decreases in operating costs, remote work stats show. According to a Forbes magazine report, Aetna (where 14,500 of 35,000 employees don’t have an in-office desk) shed 251 000 square metres of office space, saving $78 million. American Express reported annual savings of $15 million thanks to its remote work space options.

6. It often leads to greater employee engagement
It seems counterintuitive, but remote workers are often more engaged with colleagues and supervisors than in-office workers, Harvard Business Review concluded. “Technological tools like Slack and easy video conferencing offered by co-working offices like FutureSpace that help workers stay connected makes all the difference,” Trim added.

7. It positively impacts the environment
For many employers, going green is a big incentive in the shift toward remote work. Studies show that employers who don’t travel in to an office have helped reduce their carbon footprint.

8. It meets demands of younger workers
Sixty eight percent of millennial job seekers said an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in specific employers, according to a survey by AfterCollege, a US career network for college students. Policies that cultivate a “flexible, fun, and casual” work environment have a positive impact on young people’s interest in specific employers the survey found.

Co-working spaces are now one of the fastest growing sectors of real estate worldwide in anticipation of the growing demand for a new way of working.

What to do if you or someone you know is hijacked

According to Statistics South Africa’s recent Victims of Crime (VOC) survey, more than 42 000 vehicles were stolen or hijacked from April 2016 – March 2017.

And while that is a slight decline from previous years, car theft or hijackings are, of course, still rampant in South Africa.

Understandably, people are usually shocked and traumatised after being a victim of a hijacking, and motorists don’t know what the procedure is should their stolen vehicle be located and retrieved by the police. Law For All has put together a guide to help you through the process.

I have just been hijacked – what do I do now?

  1. If there were other people in the vehicle with you, check if anyone has been hurt or needs medical attention.
  2. Report the hijacking to the police and get a case number (this will also help for your insurance claim, assuming you are covered). If the vehicle isn’t yours, get the owner to do the above immediately.
  3. Activate your vehicle’s tracking device, if one has been fitted.
  4. Your insurance company will send someone to interview you (or the owner) to get more details on what happened, so try and remember as much as you can about the incident.
  5. As mentioned, this can be a very traumatic experience so it might be helpful to seek some sort of counselling to help you deal with the aftermath.

If the SAPS find your vehicle, it’s important to remember that the process doesn’t just end there. The is a specific procedure that needs to be followed for a successful reinstatement of the stolen vehicle and insurance claims.

According to Law for All’s managing director, Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, if the hijackers are caught you may have to identify them and, if the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decides to prosecute, be a witness in court.

Nagtegaal says: “This won’t cost a cent, as the Prosecutor is there to assist. Of course, victims can get legal advice from their own lawyer as well, but the lawyer won’t institute legal proceedings”.

Have you ever had your car recovered after you have been hijacked or it has been stolen? Email us and share your stories with us.

What do I do after my vehicle has been recovered?

  • The investigating officer in charge of the case will inform you if your car has been retrieved and you will have to go and identify it at the impound facility.
  • Once you have positively identified the vehicle, you will have to inform your insurance provider that the car has been found.
  • After the investigation has been finalised, the insurer will organise for the car to be taken to the garage/panel beater to get a quote.
  • The insurance assessor will compile a report once the repairs quote has been issued.
  • Once all the damage to the vehicle has been fixed, you will have to take the vehicle to get police clearance.
  • You will have to obtain a printed Request for Police Clearance from a Motor Vehicle Registration office to verify the car’s record.
  • The vehicle will officially be deregistered at the license department.

Read our full guide to obtaining a police clearance certificate after your stolen car has been recovered.

Tips for avoiding a hijacking

  • About 1-2kms from your house, be extra vigilant; turn off the radio and take in your surroundings.
  • As you get closer to your driveway, double check if there are any loiterers or suspicious vehicles hanging around the street.
  • If you suspect that you have been followed as you approach your driveway, do not turn into your house- wait and see if they stop following you or alert the authorities.
  • If your pets do not greet you in your driveway, consider this a warning sign. The perpetrators may have entered your premises and overpowered the animals.
  • Call someone who is likely to be at your house and ask them to double check if the driveway is safe and if they can meet you in the driveway.
  • Be extra vigilant in parking lots when leaving the office.
  • Lastly, it always better to be safe than sorry, so take the extra time to be vigilant and extremely cautious while driving, and make sure that you have vehicle insurance and a tracker in place to help lessen the impact of a hijacking.

Source: Wheels24

Don’t get ripped off this Black Friday

Black Friday 2017 will take place on 24 November, and local shoppers have already started allocating budget for the day.

The week of Black Friday typically sees retailers offering deals on a wide range of products from the Monday, with the real discounts usually put up from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.

If you plan to buy products or services on Black Friday, you are likely to save a big chunk of what you would have spent at “normal” retail prices.

However, just because a retailer slaps a “Black Friday 2017” sticker on its items, don’t assume you are getting a good price.

The steps below will help you take advantage of Black Friday and ensure you don’t get the wool pulled over your eyes.

Make a list

Your first step is to make a list of everything you want to buy on Black Friday.

This will let you find what you are looking for quicker and stop you from buying unnecessary items.

Rank you list in order of “most important” to “least important” so you don’t run out of money before you have all your “essentials”.

Find prices

Once you have your list, find out how much “normal” pricing for the items are.

Take each item and look at how much it costs from a variety of retailers. Once you have found the lowest price, note the price next to the item on your list.

This will ensure you get a decent discount on the normal price on Black Friday.

Online stores

If you plan to buy an item online, visit the online stores you may shop from on Black Friday and familiarise yourself with their interfaces.

If you have ordered from the online store before, make sure your profile is up to date and active.

Many online stores may have limited stock or time-based deals, and you do not want to miss out on them because you do not know how to buy and check out, or you have to re-register your profile.

Shop around

While stocks are often limited and time sensitive on Black Friday, try to shop around before buying.

The last thing you want is to buy Item A from Shop X, only to see said item at Shop Y for 20% less.

Pick a few stores you expect to have good deals and quickly scan them to see if your listed items are available.

Check delivery times

Black Friday is a good time to order Christmas, birthday, or holiday gifts – but you will want to check when they get delivered.

Due to high demand and potential supply issues with retailers to fulfil all orders, you may have to wait several weeks for your Black Friday orders to be delivered.

Check online retailers’ information pages or terms and conditions when ordering to ensure the expected delivery time is acceptable for you.

Wake up early

Certain online retailers and physical stores will launch their deals at times like 00:01 on 24 November, so make sure you are awake if needs be.

Getting up early to order will also ensure that you miss peak buying traffic, which may cause deals to sell out, online stores to lag or crash, and online payments systems to fall over due to high volumes.

Visit your favourite sites this week and see if their Black Friday 2017 sales times are posted.

Source: My Broadband

How to keep on top of your e-mails

They are one of the biggest distractions of office life, pinging into your inbox every few minutes.

But ignoring your emails, even if you get hundreds a day, is not the best way to be more productive.
Checking just a few times at work has the opposite effect, a review by Kingston University has found, and will probably just make you more stressed.

Ignoring your emails, even if you get hundreds a day, is not the best way to be more productive. Checking just a few times at work has the opposite effect, a review by Kingston University has found, and will probably just make you more stressed, even if you get hundreds a day, is not the best way to be more productive.

Checking just a few times at work has the opposite effect, a review by Kingston University has found, and will probably just make you more stressed.

The four steps

1) Delete or file away emails whenever you check  your inbox – by reducing inbox clutter, people report feeling less overloaded.

2) Switch off email alerts – interruptions can have a negative impact on our efficiency, but make sure that you are still logging on every 45 minutes or so – to stay on top.

3) Use the ‘delay send’ function when sending email out of hours – this means recipients only receive their email during normal working hours. While you are taking advantage of the flexibility of email, you aren’t imposing this on the recipient.

4) Review your personal email strategies – are your emails purposeful and efficient or are they habitual and reactionary? The best advice is apparently to log on every 45 minutes to stay on top of new emails and work priorities.

The review’s author, Dr Emma Russell, Head of the Wellbeing at Work Research Group at Kingston Business School, says: “People use email to help them get their jobs done. Most people say they couldn’t imagine being able to do their work effectively without it, and very few send non-work critical email during their working day.”

The review highlights three popular myths which are not backed up by the academic evidence.

Email myths
The review highlights three popular myths which are not backed up by the academic evidence.
The first is that emails are a ‘time-wasting distraction from “real” work’, while in fact recent studies show up to 92 per cent of emails received are critical to people’s jobs.

Another is that we should limit ourselves to checking email a few times a day, such as in the morning, at lunchtime and before leaving work, which in fact makes people feel less in control.

The third myth is that emails stop us getting on well with other people, because of ‘back-covering’ messages, for example, cc’ing in colleagues who people want to implicate in mistakes.

However studies show the cc’ing culture of copying people into emails in facts forges rewarding relationships by keeping workmates informed and in the loop.

Dr Russell wrote: ‘The same participants also reported that processing more email resulted in greater perceived coping – actually dealing with email and keeping on top of it helped workers to feel in control.”

The study was commissioned by Acas, the mediation service which also provides workplace training.

By Victoria Allen for The Daily Mail

Top tips for total productivity

Post-holiday gloom, the 3pm slump, stiffness from sitting down all day, annoying colleagues … whatever the cause, everybody experiences a lag in productivity in the workplace from time to time.

But Richard Andrews, MD of Inspiration Office, says the responsibility of managing staff health and well-being falls on both employer and employees.

“Often neither party knows how to get the most out of a working day.

“So we’ve put together this handy guide to help boost happiness, health and productivity, and achieve more each day:

Step away from the desk
No matter how fit you are, sitting for more than an hour at a time raises your risk of heart failure, diabetes and obesity. “We recommend taking at least a two-minute break from the desk every half-hour to stretch the legs, hydrate, get some natural light, and clear your thoughts,“ says Andrews.

Being active can improve output and work satisfaction by 80% according to the UK’s Business in the Community.

Test alternative meeting styles
Meetings that lack focus are a drain on productivity, time and motivation.

Says Andrews: ”Conducting a meeting while walking, standing or even exercising encourages employees to step away from their desks, inspires ideas and introduces exercise into a typically sedentary day,” Methods such as this let you exercise, brainstorm, refresh and build relationships while being part of a meeting.

Fuel body and mind
The food that you eat has a real impact on your energy levels.

Sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks give you a spike in energy, but this is often followed by a crash where you feel more tired than before.

Berries, vegetables, nuts, wholegrain cereals, yoghurt and biltong are better than junky snacks. If you feel the need for something sweeter, a few squares of dark chocolate is a good compromise.

Choose perks wisely
An office games console and on-site bar may win you likes on Instagram, but it’s important to consider about whether your work-space perks will benefit your staff in the long term.

“Rather than always spending funds on boozy nights out, introduce fresh fruit, flexible working, gym memberships or healthy away days,“ Andrews advised.

An interesting UK survey by Labour Force shows that 30.4 million working days were lost in Britain in 2015-2016 through sickness. Stress, depression and anxiety caused 11.7 million days to be lost, while musculoskeletal problems accounted for 8.8 million sick days. With such losses at stake, looking after staff health has to be a priority.

Being efficient at work helps staff to reach their targets and keeps clients happy.

“However, efficiency levels can fall when staff are stressed, constantly reaching to meet high expectations, lacking in confidence or under the weather. Maintaining a friendly atmosphere, having clearly defined roles, and setting realistic goals are essential for an efficient workspace, “Andrews concludes.

Don’t let your desk do you in

Long hours, slouching, slumping, and straining can dominate the office. Clean up your act around the computer, before bad habits lead to poor health.

Here are five ways to make sure your computer desk doesn’t become the death of you.

  1. Give your monitor a second look
    If your screen is planted directly on your desktop, it’s time to ask management for a raise — for your computer’s display. According to Dr. Jim Sheedy, director of the Vision Performance Institute at Pacific University, the top of your the screen should be level with your eyes. The ideas is to get the eyes looking down about 10 degrees. If it’s any lower or higher, computer users will adapt to it by moving their head. If your screen is to low, your head points down, causing neck and back aches. High displays, meanwhile, contribute to dry eye syndrome.
  2. Poor posture? Take it on the chin
    Poor posture is something that every office-based employee should consider throughout their day. Most people sitting at a computer get drawn into the screen, which means they crane their necks forward. This imbalance puts strain on the neck and spine. It’s like holding a bowling ball with one hand, says Dr. James Bowman, of Portland, Ore.-based Solutions Chiropractic. If your arm is vertical underneath, it puts less strain on the muscles, but lean that ball forward and your muscles have to compensate to keep it aloft. Sitting at a desk, that bowling ball is actually our head, so Bowman recommends chin retractions, or making a double chin, to keep the neck and spine lined up underneath.
    “It’s probably the most effective single exercise you can do for the upper back and neck,” he says.
  3. Stand up for yourself
    The modern workplace was built around the concept of sitting, but humans’ ability to stand goes back millions of years. Buck the trend of the office era with a standing desk — or, if that’s too radical, a sit-stand workstation. According to research out of the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, sit-stand workstations helped workers replace 25% of their sitting time with standing up, which can increase their sense of well being and decreased their fatigue and appetite. The Jarvis Desk can go from 26-inches to 51-inches at the push of a button, lifting up to 350 pounds of whatever’s on your desk—including multiple monitors.
    “I definitely feel healthier standing while working as it causes me to be more focused on my posture and ‘hold’ myself better in terms of my stomach and shoulders especially,” says Dan McCormack, who uses a Jarvis Desk at his home office in Austin, Texas.
  4. Move it or lose it
    But why stand when you could walk? Many offices around the country are getting wise to treadmill desks, which can help workers burn 100 calories more per hour over sitting, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health.
    “The most important thing is to switch it up and work in different positions throughout the day,” says Emily Couey, Eventbrite’s vice president of people. The online event ticketing service offers multiple workspace options including traditional sitting desks, standing desks, and treadmill desks, which Couey says “people love, because it allows them move while they work — especially those with fitness trackers counting their daily steps.”
  5. Pace yourself
    All work and no play makes Jack a bad employee. Whether it’s on their phone in the bathroom or on the computer in their cube, everyone takes sanity breaks to check their Facebook or read some news. The Pomodoro Technique even encourages this kind of behavior by breaking tasks into “pomodoros,” intense 25 minute work bursts, followed by five-minute breaks. Named because they can be measured using little tomato-shaped kitchen timers (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato), this method lets people work intensely and stave off distraction, yet rewards them with time to goof off, as well. If you don’t have a tomato timer handy, there are a lot of apps online to keep track of your sessions. But Francesco Cirillo, the technique’s founder, recommends using the real deal.

By John Patrick Pullen for www.motto.time.com

Kick-starting an e-commerce site

Joining the world of electronic commerce may seem daunting if you’re running a small business, but it is easier than ever to get up-and-running with a digital storefront. And with consumers looking for online convenience, allowing them to browse, order and pay online can give your business an edge in a competitive market, says Charles Pittaway, MD at Sage Pay.

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