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Year End Wrap Up – Creating a Better Business with Better Employees

Employee of the Month

Image Credit: The Eggplant

One thing that all business owners have in common is the drive and desire to make their business better. While there are many avenues to take to accomplish this, one of the quickest ways to help ensure success is through your employees.

Every day, your employees are representing your business. It is often their voice or face a client sees long before they know who you, the business owner, are (unless you run a one man show, of course). Additionally, employees help make your business function and run on a daily basis. Without them, your business would come screeching to a halt,

or at the very least, would have to be severely scaled back.

So doesn’t it make sense to take care of your employees, so that they in turn take care of your clients, and ultimately your business?

There are many ways you can appreciate and care for your employees. Increased schedule flexibility through remote access, increasing productivity by relaxing the rules, or even allowing music in the office can all go a long way in fostering a better relationship with your employees.

Throughout 2012, we posted many articles about helping you strengthen your business through better employee interactions. Here are some of the highlights.

Productivity

Motivating Employees to be More Productive: Motivation, when done improperly, can cause more harm than good. Learn the three factors that are key to truly motivating your employees in a way that will achieve the results you want.

Unstructured Time Gets Results: Should you manage every aspect of your employee’s workday? Many big companies are finding increased success and innovation by providing unstructured time for their staff.

Creativity in the Workplace – How a Skunk Works Program Could Work for You: Contrary to popular belief, allowing employees to play during the workday could yield HUGE results for your company. Here’s how some big tech companies are making play time a priority, and they results they are achieving because of it.

Why You Should Allow Music in the Office: Want employees to be more productive and more satisfied at work? Let them listen to music. This article explores why and how allowing music in the office can benefit your workplace.

Should You Monitor or Blog Internet Activity at the Office?: Contrary to popular belief, blocking the internet at the office could do more harm than good. This article reviews the pros and cons of blocking the office internet, so that you can decide if it’s truly in your best interest.

Remote Access

The Benefits of Having Remote Workplace Access: Allowing remote access into the office is more than just a fancy new toy – it’s a powerful tool that can help you and your employees do business more effectively. Read this article to learn about the benefits of allowing remote access to your business.

Ensuring the Productivity and Success of Remote Employees: Setting up remote access doesn’t necessarily guarantee employee productivity. Here are some tips to help set expectations and guidelines for remote access to help ensure productivity and success.

Technology

How to Replace All the Computers in Your Office, Without Breaking the Bank: Your employees are only as good as the equipment they’re given. So why not upgrade the office computers? We have creative ways to do so, that won’t break the bank.

Are Tablet Computers a Viable Option for Work?: Maybe your employees were pushing for a tablet this year, or maybe you just want to update the office with the latest technology. Whatever the case, read this article before you run out and buy several tablets for the office, so that you know what works, and what doesn’t, with your network infrastructure.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you create a better business. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

4 Ways to Enable Your Employees to Work Remotely

Work from Anywhere

Image Credit: Ed Yourdon

If your business doesn’t allow employees to work remotely, it could be at a big disadvantage, especially compared to the competition. In today’s fast paced world of mobile devices and instant connections, the business that doesn’t take advantage of their technology is the one left behind. Will that be your business?

It could be, particularly if your current network configuration doesn’t allow for employees to access the office remotely. While there are many benefits to allowing your employees to work remotely, perhaps the greatest benefit of all is being able to access important information and records on demand, no matter where you are. By having access like this, you can instantly provide quotes, documentation, or any other item needed, without having to travel back to the office, saving both your employees and customers time.

There are quite a few ways you can enable your employees to work remotely, allowing your business to be as mobile and as flexible as your industry demands.

Allow Email Access on Cell Phones

Most smart phones today have the ability (and proper software) to access office email. If you are hesitant about allowing remote access to the office completely, consider starting with remote email access. At the very least, this will allow employees to stay updated on their email throughout the day. If your office communicates important information via email, this will also allow remote employees to get the memo long before they step foot in the office.

Provide Equipment – Laptop, Mini’s, or Tablets

One of the easiest ways to ensure your field employees have access to the office is by providing them with the equipment they need to be mobile. This includes providing a laptop or other portable computer so that employees have the right equipment. If equipment weight is a concern, consider going with a lighter, smaller device, such as a mini-laptop (aka netbook), or a tablet. If cost is a concern, consider issuing one computer to remote employees – a laptop – that they use both inside and outside of the office.

However it is important to note that providing equipment is just the first part of the equation, your network setup also has to allow for employees to access the office remotely.

Setup Remote Web Workplace

Depending on your edition of Microsoft Server, your business may already have the tools it needs to allow employees to connect remotely, using Remote Web Workplace. This Microsoft feature allows employees to access the office from any computer with internet access, by using a specialized website address.

From there they can access email, or log into a computer on the network.  Remote Web Workplace is particularly useful for allowing employees to work from home during a personal emergency, as they can use their own desktop computer which is already setup for their job duties.

Setup a TermServer

Another way to allow remote access is to setup a TermServer, which is a server that employees can log into using a remote desktop connection. One of the advantages of using a termserver along with Remote Web Workplace, is that you can have multiple employees logged onto same computer at once. Employees can access the termserver using a Remote Desktop Connection, or using the Remote Web Workplace, and selecting the server instead of their desktop computer.

These are just a few of the ways you can enable your employees to work remotely, allowing your business to stay ahead of the competition.

If you have questions about how remote access could work for your business, please contact us today so that we may discuss your options.

Microsoft Word: Other Document Formatting Tips

Paragraph Dialog Box

Paragraph Dialog Box

When it comes to properly formatting documents in Microsoft Word, using the Ruler and Tab Stops aren’t the only features that help you create a clean looking product. There are many additional features built into Word designed to help you make the most out of your formatting, if you know where to find them.

*Note: This post is specifically geared towards Word 2007 / 2010 users. If you use a different version, you probably have the same features, but they may or may not be in a different location.*

Adjust the Space Between Lines

Sometimes it’s helpful to have extra spacing between lines of text, particularly when you’re giving the document to someone else for review and editing.

To adjust the space between text, highlight the information that you would like to change the spacing on (or do this on a blank Word document before typing), then right click, and when the menu appears, select Paragraph.

The Paragraph dialog box will appear, allowing you to change various aspects of your paragraph. The last section is about spacing. To change your spacing, change the drop down under Line Spacing from Multiple to whatever you want, such as Single (for single spacing) or Double.

To further adjust the space between lines, change the After field (to the left of Line Spacing) to something other than 10 pt. Note: The higher the number the greater the spacing, and vice versa. Once everything is

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adjusted, click OK to save your settings.

Tip: When adjusting a document to single spacing, change the Line Spacing to Single, and the After field to 0 pt.

Increasing and Decreasing Indents

When you want a paragraph indented a certain way, you don’t want to hit tab repeatedly, as manual formatting can cause a lot of unnecessary, extra work to make sure everything lines up correctly. Instead, use the Increase / Decrease Indent buttons, to indent your paragraphs just the way you want them.

Increase Decrease Indent

Increase / Decrease Indents

To use this feature, either click before the paragraph in question, to move the cursor, or highlight the paragraph. Then, click on the Increase Indent button located on the Ribbon under Home > Paragraph. (See image for more details.)

If, for example, you want to increase your indent, and one click doesn’t quite do it, click the increase indent button again, until your text is formatted the way you want.

The Paragraph Button

When you can’t format your document properly, but you don’t know why, you need to use the Paragraph button. This button is probably one of the more underused features in Word. However, when used properly, it can work wonders.

Paragraph Button

Paragraph Button

To view your Paragraph formatting, click on the Paragraph button, otherwise known as the large backwards P on the top of the Paragraph section of the Ribbon. (See image for more details).

When activated, this feature shows you ever space, every return, every part of the layout in great detail, which can often help you find and fix where formatting went wrong. To turn off the feature, simply click on the paragraph button again.

Knowing how to use these few simple tools in Word can go a long way in helping you create clean looking, well laid out documents.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you create clean looking documents. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.