Work at Home – Pros and Cons

Maintain A Safe And Convenient Storage Unit For Regular Access

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Renting a self-storage unit is a great way to hold onto things as the years pass that you still occasionally use or want to keep possession of for sentimental reasons but don’t have room for at home – such as large kitchen appliances and antiques. But if you plan to maintain easy access to the stuff in your storage unit, you’ll need to keep it organized and make it convenient to find what you need quickly. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to make access to everything in your storage easy: Utilize Utility Shelves Choose a storage unit that is big enough to walk through and line its walls with utility shelves to keep your valuable and delicate belongings off the ground. Using shelves to store your stuff will also give you an opportunity to keep things separated based on their uses so they’re easy to find when you need access to them. For instance you can keep your kitchen stuff on the top shelves, jewelry on the next shelf down, clothing on the shelf below that, and boxes of family mementos or photos can go on the bottom shelf. Label each shelf to correspond with what can be found on them for easy identification. Take the Time to Color Code You’ll find that color coding your boxes is another great way to keep things organized within your storage unit so everything is easy to find and keep track of. Incorporate reusable plastic boxes for stuff that will be stored on the floor to keep dirt and grime from getting inside. Cardboard boxes should work well for stuff stored on shelves and other items within the unit. Pack your boxes in groups so that the same type of stuff can be found in any particular box when it’s opened. Appliances should get their own box, as should cleaning supplies, household accessories, books, clothing, and toys to name a few examples. You can also pack everything based on ownership if there are several people in the household who will be storing stuff. Once everything is packed you can use permanent markers, stickers, colorful tape, or even crayons to color code your boxes for convenient identification. Simply write the name of the room each box belongings to, create a symbol that corresponds to the type of belongings in each box, or assign a different color to each person in the family if you’ll be color-coding boxes depending on ownership. With color coded boxes, anyone in the household should be able to enter the storage facility on the fly and find what they need without having to rummage through random boxes until they find it. Choose a Temperature Controlled Unit To ensure the safety of your belongings, it’s a good idea to invest in a temperature controlled storage unit if possible. Temp controlled units are designed to stay above flood levels so your stuff stays safe in extreme weather and seasonal storms. Because temperature controlled storage units are typically located indoors, temperatures inside are easy to control year-round to suit the needs of what you’re storing, which allows you to keep everything from jewelry and paintings to books and furniture safe from damage. You may even be able to purchase insurance for your belongings through the storage company to gain...

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Qualities Your Assisted Living Facility Needs To Care For Your Residents With Alzheimer’s And Dementia

Posted by on 9:41 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Qualities Your Assisted Living Facility Needs To Care For Your Residents With Alzheimer’s And Dementia

As an owner of an assisted living facility, you and your staff need to provide the right type of care and environment for residents with various types of health and mental disabilities. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. This increases the chance of you having one or more residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Here are some important qualities your assisted living facility needs to properly care for your residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Provide a Comfortable Environment The environment inside your assisted living facility needs to be easy for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents to find their way around, when necessary. This includes having recognizable areas inside the building, including a dining area, community room, and restrooms. It is also helpful to have signs throughout the facility to point a resident in the direction of any of these public areas. Signs may include writing and also pictures for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients who are no longer able to read. Then, you want to make the entire facility as home-like as you can, so all your residents, including those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia can feel comfortable. This can include decorating a resident’s room with their own photos and other furnishings. It is also important to give each resident their own private room and bathroom when possible.  It is also important to decorate the common areas of the living facility to promote the feeling of home. Avoid intercom systems and bright, glaring lights, but include cozy lighting, relaxing music, and access to refreshments and snacks between meals. Over-stimulation from bright lights and loud noises can cause agitation, stress, and confusion to Alzheimer’s and dementia residents. Provide Social Opportunities Planning and providing social activities for your residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia is important as it improves their quality of life. Social activities provide opportunities for your residents to stay physically active and maintain their physical abilities, such as using their hands to create or interacting and talking with other residents. Social stimulus can also helps Alzheimer’s and dementia patients maintain their mental health, prevent depression, and build their self-esteem as they participate in any activities. Plan activities that your staff can participate in to do activities with the residents, rather than do the activities for them. These types of activities and interactions can help build the relationships between your staff and your residents. Keep in mind you should respect your resident’s preference and not force their participation if they want to stay in their room during the activity.  Provide Properly Trained Staff It is important to make sure your assisted living staff have and receive the right training and certification. This is to help your staff do their job well to care for the residents. For example, because Alzheimer’s and dementia patients may not be able to communicate their feelings, needs, or discomfort very well, they may use other ways to communicate to your staff. This can include acting out emotionally or physically. It is important any staff members caring for these patients knows how to recognize and understand these signs so they can take care of each patient’s needs. Providing the right training to your staff is to also ensure you are in compliance with your local state’s Assisted Living Facility (ALF) training regulations. For example, the Washington State Department of Health...

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Pass The Pallet: Tips For Using The Fork Attachment On A Skid Steer When Landscaping Your Property

Posted by on 10:22 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pass The Pallet: Tips For Using The Fork Attachment On A Skid Steer When Landscaping Your Property

If you’ve got plenty of do-it-yourself work to do for landscaping your property of junk and trees, one of the best things you can do is to rent a skid steer to help with the process. This little machine can help you do your work more quickly. The two skid steer attachments that will be most useful to you will be the bucket (for moving dirt, leveling the land, and scooping up trash and debris) and forks. Forks are useful because they allow you to keep and load things away on pallets, distributing bricks, sod, rocks, and slate tiles to various location on your property with any mess. However, if you have never used the fork attachment on a skid steer before, you’re going to need some expert tips to avoid damaging your hauling vehicle, damaging the product, or injuring yourself or others.  1. Lift and pull. When you first go to unload a heavy pallet from your pick-up with your rented loader, it’s best to lower the forks and slide them under the pallet only half-way before using your hand or foot controls to lift it only slightly from the bed of the truck. Then, tilt the forks slightly up, hooking the pallet onto the attachment, and drag it out from the truck bed partially so that the edge of pallet overhangs onto the tailgate, before inserting the forks the rest of the way. This maneuver has two advantages: It allows you to have the pallet firmly packed against the back of the attachment for more secure hauling. It saves you from damaging the truck with the front of the loader. It is impossible to lift a pallet securely from a normal pick-up truck without this maneuver. To have the pallet rest against the back end of the forks without lifting and pulling would result in the loader tires colliding with the truck bed to get enough reach with the forks.  2. Test the weight of the pallet before lifting. Once you have the fork firmly inserted into the pallet, it is time to lift it off the truck or off the ground. Be aware that your loader is normally very back heavy, like a small child wearing a large backpack. This weight distribution is what allows the loader to lift heavy pallets without falling forward; the weight of the loader balances the weight of the pallet. However, if the pallet is too heavy, it will compromise the stability of the loader and cause it to tip forward , smashing the pallet down onto the ground, or worse, onto the bed of the truck.  To avoid this problem, lift a pallet gingerly, only with enough space to clear the ground or the bed of the truck by a few inches. Tip the forks back toward you to help the load rest closer to the machine’s center of gravity and slowly reverse away from the truck. Once you are clear, lower the load as close to the ground as possible, and drive slowly to prevent any bumps from throwing off your balance. Keeping the load low helps you, as the operator, stay in control. Lifting a heavy load higher increases instability. Usually, the heaviest pallets are those that contain natural stone or wet sod. Since some sod pallets can...

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Protecting Digital Data: 3 Security Company Recommendations To Prevent Data Breaches

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Data breaches are becoming a large security concern for most companies, especially since data breaches can result in a loss of sensitive and confidential information. In 2014, 43% of companies experienced a data breach according to Ponemon Institute, and the numbers are expected to rise each and every year as hackers become more sophisticated. To protect your business, you should seriously consider hiring a security company to prevent security breaches. Here are 3 common sources of security breaches and recommendations made by the experts to prevent them. Facing the Wrath of Disgruntled Employees Surprisingly, internal attacks from disgruntled employees are one of the biggest threats that your company may face. These employees may have had access to very important and confidential information that could seriously damage the reputation and standing of your business. The best way to prevent internal attacks from disgruntled employees is to mitigate potential risks involved with privileged account exploitations. Security companies are responsible for identifying and monitoring privileged accounts and credentials. The accounts and access of employees who are no longer in the company will be immediately terminated. In addition, the security companies are also responsible for implementing a strong infrastructure to monitor and log all activity performed by privileged accounts. Those who are logging into a privileged account should have to go through a mechanism to confirm their identity. By implementing these features, the security company will be able to quickly respond should there be any malicious activity identified. Implementing Strong Encryption for Cloud Data Let’s face it. More and more companies are opting to store confidential information and files on the cloud because this makes important document much easier to access, and this form of storage is also cheaper. While there are many benefits of storing files on a cloud, it is important to realize that the cloud can be hacked. To prevent this from happening, choose an experienced security company that knows how to use data level cloud encryption to protect company files and data. Consider the type of encryption that will be used and whether the security company will constantly be upgrading their knowledge and their technique to keep up with hackers. Keep in mind that technology is constantly changing, and a level of encryption that may be considered secure right now may be easy to crack within several months or even years. Educating Employees on How to Protect Their Information Unfortunately, not everyone is tech-savvy or familiar with how the internet or technology works. As a result, some of the major data breaches that your company may face may be a result of a careless error made by an employee who may have misplaced their login credentials or may have a weak password that was easily hacked. Some employees may not know how to protect themselves online or may expose your company’s server by clicking on suspicious links or opening email attachments from unknown senders.  A lot of security companies that focus on the IT side of things will host training sessions to educate your employees on what the best cyber security practices may be. These security companies will also generally offer ongoing support with their services in order to make sure that your company is protected on all fronts.  Conclusion  Security companies are no longer merely responsible for the physical safety of...

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3 Tips For Implementing A New Time And Attendance System In Your Workplace

Posted by on 11:50 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips For Implementing A New Time And Attendance System In Your Workplace

Keeping track of your employees’ comings and goings is a vital part of running an efficient, streamlined business. If your time and attendance software can’t keep up, you’re going to end up losing money. That’s why you may want to upgrade if you’re still using the same old system that you’ve had for years. Adjusting to a new time and attendance keeping system can be a chore at first, but if you choose one with features that keep time more accurately, give you more advanced options, and help you ensure compliance with employee timekeeping rules, you won’t regret it. Take a look at some tips for implementing a new time and attendance system in your workplace. Build Up Anticipation You’ll have a much easier time implementing a new system if the people who are going to be using it – usually your hourly employees – are on board with the change. Therefore, it’s important to communicate to your employees how the new system will benefit them. Increased accuracy in your timekeeping software will save you money, because you won’t end up paying for time not worked. But the system works both ways – increased accuracy also benefits your employees, who won’t have to worry about not being paid for time that they actually have worked. It’s important to stress that they will ultimately benefit from a new system as much as you will. You should also make sure to talk up any features that will help your employees by giving them more options and flexibility. For example, if some of your employees work remotely, or if you’ve been considering adding the option to work from home, choose a software that allows employees to clock in from a remote network, or that has a mobile option that lets employees clock in and out from a smartphone or tablet. When you’re introducing the new system to your employees, make sure to talk up the benefits of those features. Make it Easy to Use One major cause of resistance to change in the workplace is that new systems are often more difficult to use, or at least are perceived to be more difficult to use. It’s not just your hourly employees that may have trouble – your HR department and payroll staff may resist the idea of change and may struggle to adjust to the new system if it makes their jobs more difficult. You can cut down on the difficulty level by ensuring you choose a time and attendance software that’s easy to use. Your HR and payroll directors should be involved in the choice of new timekeeping software, and you should choose software that integrates with the applications that are already in use in those departments. Look for a clean and intuitive interface that allows for easy use. Ensure Compliance Of course, you need a timekeeping system that’s going to keep you in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. If your company simply tracks straight time, then an accurate clock and a low error rate are probably enough to ensure compliance. However, if your company is one of the many companies that uses rounding to ensure fair payment, it’s important to make sure that your time and attendance software is compatible with the rounding rules that you’re using. The...

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Four Ways Taxi Services Can Help To Keep Your Employees Happy

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The majority of workers in America spend about 200 hours per year traveling to and from work at a cost of $2,600 spent on gas or public transportation fare. This does not take into account the time employees spend traveling to out-of-office events such as classes and conferences. One way you can help workers cut down on the time and money spent commuting is to offer taxi services for certain situations. If you are looking for ways to ease the transportation burden of your employees, consider the following ideas. Rides for Late Shift Employees If your business runs around the clock with workers who labor on late or early morning shifts, you should consider providing transportation for these odd shifts. This can be especially helpful for employees that take public transportation, are on tight budgets or need to wake up at odd hours in order to get to work on time. In addition, it can help those who may feel groggy driving to or from work late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. While it may be necessary to have employees working late shifts in order for your business to stay competitive, workers on late shifts are more likely to suffer from on the job fatigue, sleepiness during shifts and shortened attention spans. If you can offer employees the peace of mind of not worrying about driving during odd hours and a chance to relax on the way to work, you may be able to offset some of the effects of working night shifts. You can set up a long-term contract with a taxi service to create a route to pick up employees on a regular basis during the work week. Provide Transportation for Out-of-Town Workers Arriving to the Home Office If you have workers that telecommute from other cities or work in satellite offices, make sure that they do not have to contend with navigating a strange city when they arrive at the home office for meetings. Make sure that you have a scheduled taxi ride waiting for them when they arrive at the airport or train station and when they are ready to return home. In addition, you can make sure that they have access to a car service during their visit if they want to go sightseeing after hours. Pick Up Workers from Bus and Train Depots For workers who must contend with multiple types of public transportation to get to work each day, a taxi service for the last leg of their ride can feel like a godsend. If you have workers that endure long rides on commuter trains followed by a municipal bus ride, provide a taxi or van service directly from the train station to your headquarters to provide a stress-free end to the morning commute. Employees will not have to contend with overcrowded buses, late city bus drivers or missing the bus if their train arrives late at the station. In addition, scheduled taxis can wait for employees at designated times at the end of the day to transport them back to the train station. Transport Workers to Off-site Events When you have employees that are schedule to attend off-site events like classes or conferences, you can make sure that they arrive to their activities on time by...

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3 Quick Tips For Settling Into A New Culture

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Relocating to a foreign country is never an easy task. However, if you go into the relocation with a positive attitude and a little research behind you, the experience will be that much easier. Whether you’re moving abroad for to study, work, or simply to experience life in a foreign land, there are a few things you can do to help yourself settle in: Expect a Culture Shock Culture shock is a very real experience that many people fail to account for when moving to a new country. However, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed when trying to adapt to an entirely new environment. It’s inevitable that you will feel a sense of isolation from your new surroundings, but it’s how you deal with this that will govern your settling in process.  The most important thing is to expect this experience before moving abroad. Realize that culture shock isn’t likely to strike immediately; rather, it will pop up when you least expect it. Typically, culture shock will strike once the novelty of your new location has warn off. Once your initial feelings of excitement and vulnerability start to wear off, you may start to feel isolated in your new culture.  Thankfully, by understanding this process in advance, you’ll be in the best position to deal with it. Before moving, take the time to learn about culture shock and what you can do to stop the process becoming overwhelming. Then, if it does set in, you’ll know how to remain calm and won’t jump to book flights home straight away! Step Out of Your Comfort Zone The biggest difficulty you’ll face in your new country will be the feeling of being an outsider. Regardless of how well you understand your new culture and have taken steps to prepare in advance, as soon as you speak in your normal dialect, you will be considered different to the norm.  Of course, this shouldn’t be considered a bad thing and should rather be seen as a great opportunity to step outsidde of your comfort zone. Living in a foreign country opens up awealth of new experiences that simply aren’t available in your homeland, and by immersing yourself in your new environment, you’ll have access to rare cultural experiences that most people can only dream about.  Granted, it takes time to become comfortable enough to truly step outside of your comfort zone. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to dramatically increase your sense of familiarity in a relatively short period of time:  Become comfortable with the currency – Struggling to count banknotes is a sure-fire way to signal “outsider” to your new countrymen! Having a firm grasp of the local currency will help you quickly settle in.  Start to learn the language – Even if it’s just a few key phrases, being able to converse with the locals on some level will make you feel more at home.  Start referring to things as locals do – This takes a little longer to master; however, coming to grips with colloquialisms and slang terms used in everyday conversation will help relate to the local people.  Find an Expat Group The process of adapting to a new culture is driven by a desire to learn a new way of life, so socializing with expats...

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3 Ways To Teach Employees To Clean More Efficiently

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If you are like most business owners, you might cringe when you walk past an unsightly display or a messy entryway. Unfortunately, unless you want to watch an employee spend an hour gathering cleaning supplies and tackling that job, you might be tempted to wait until after the doors close for the day to take care of the mess. However, you might be able to teach your employees to clean more efficiently by trying these things: 1: Assign Cleaning Jobs and Track Progress Instead of letting your employees tackle messes as they see fit, schedule dedicated cleaning times for each worker. Think about where each person works, and what messes typically occur in the area. For example, you could ask your accounting team to remove the trash from the front office at the end of the day, or your cashiers to wipe down registers before they start their shifts. After you know what you want people to do, create daily checklists for the employees to fill out and turn in. By evaluating these forms, you might be able to tell who is pulling their weight, and who is slacking. In addition to teaching your staff to pay attention to cleanliness, this process also might keep you from correcting employees who are actually doing their jobs. Lists also serve another purpose. By writing out what you expect each employee to do, you can make sure that you cover your entire store—not just the areas people tend to notice. 2: Teach Workers to Spot Clean Floors If you are tired of dealing with dirty footprints and garbage littering your business floor, you might ask your employees to sweep, vacuum, or mop floor surfaces every few hours. Unfortunately, you might end up wasting time, energy, and cleaning products if you clean the entire floor instead of just the messy area. To improve efficiency, ask your employees to spot clean floors instead of spending time tackling the entire salesroom floor. Teach your workers to scan for spills, garbage, and food crumbs. Have easy-to-use, discreet cleaning products available to take care of messes in a hurry. For example, you could invest in a compact, handheld electronic vacuum to suck up dirt, or a microfiber floor mop to spot clean dirty tile. Although it might seem like a small change, spot cleaning could have a significant impact on your financial bottom line. In fact, one study found that paying an employee who makes $10 an hour to clean floors 5 times a day costs around $18,000 a year, while paying the same employee to spot mop twice a day only costs around $7,200 a year—saving about $10,800 on labor alone.   3: Work From the Top Down Sometimes when people clean, they end up repeating work because they forget about gravity. Unfortunately, if food particles, dust clumps, or garbage falls onto that floor, you might find yourself re-sweeping or re-mopping, which wastes time and labor. To avoid this common problem, teach your employees to start at the top and work their way down. Try to identify higher objects that might need to be cleaned, and ask your employees to tackle them first. For example, you might ask your workers to wipe down those cabinets before they clean the counters. That way, if grime makes its...

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Contact Center Managers: How Force Field Analysis Can Help Drive Efficiency Improvements

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Contact center managers must often find ways to drive efficiency improvements. With limited time and budget, it’s often difficult to decide which changes to make, so it’s always a good idea to find and use tools that can speed up the decision-making process. Force field analysis may sound like something from a science fiction movie, but it’s actually a performance improvement tool that can help you focus on the right changes in your contact center. Find out how to effectively use this tool, and learn more about some of the things you need to consider when working with force field analysis. Why you might use force field analysis It’s often difficult to foresee the consequences of a particular change. For example, if your company’s finance department makes a change to the format of customers’ invoices, you could suddenly see an increase in calls to the contact center. The finance manager almost certainly understood what the change to the invoice meant to cash flow, but he didn’t appreciate the impact on the customer contact center. Force field analysis is a simple way to focus on the forces for and against a change. With the right approach, you can visualize and understand the implications of a single change. In turn, you can then decide if the proposed change is a good idea. The process of force field analysis With force field analysis, you should always start with a blank sheet of paper or a blank flip chart. Describe the desired state you want to reach in as few words as possible in the middle of the sheet, and then draw a circle or a square around the words. On the left-hand side of the words, brainstorm all the forces FOR change. Consider all the benefits the change will bring, and list the reasons why the change is a good idea. On the right-hand side of the words, brainstorm all the forces AGAINST the change. Once complete, you should then assign a score to each force, from 1 to 5. These scores represent the force’s strength or impact on the business. For example, you might decide that the change would lead to increased call handling time. If the AHT will double, the impact is high, so assign the force a score of 5. If the AHT will only increase by one or two seconds, you would probably say the impact is low and assign a score of 1. When the analysis is complete, you can sum the scores on each side. At the end of this exercise, you will have a total score for and against the change. If one score is particularly high (or low), this process can influence you to go ahead with (or cancel) the change. How to make the most of the process Force field analysis is an effective way to support decision-making, but if you use the technique in the best way, the results are more likely to help you. Best practices to consider include: Define the proposed change clearly. For example, if you want to change shift patterns, you need to define a specific change (such as ‘extend all morning shift pattern by 10 minutes’), or you will find it almost impossible to accurately consider the forces for and against. Consult with the right subject matter experts....

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2 Ways To Avoid Dealing With Bad Tenants

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If you are a landlord, then you have probably been there. You are at home enjoying a nice evening with your family, when you get a call from that crazy tenant. After listening to the rant about their on-again-off-again boyfriend, you have to explain why you won’t change the front door locks again. Multi-unit management and working with frustrating tenants is never fun, but by taking the right steps, you might not have to. Here are two ways to avoid dealing with bad tenants in the first place: 1: Screen, Screen, Screen To avoid trouble, many property owners interview tenants in person to get a feel for how they would be as a renter. Unfortunately, since people have a tendency to put their best foot forward, you might be swayed by interesting conversation, jokes, or similar hobbies. After all, who wouldn’t want to rent to someone who also enjoys waterskiing? Unfortunately, people aren’t always as they seem, which is why it is important to dig a little deeper. Here are a few things you should screen for before you hand over the keys: Public Records: Most people don’t realize it, but you can search for more than someone’s social media profile online. Public records such as court rulings, criminal charges, and divorce dates are available for free, if you take the time to do an easy Internet search. Although most places have this information available on the county clerk’s website, some states offer public information pages that make it easy to search for information. For example, in Utah, you can use their free public records website to search through criminal filings for the past 14 years by entering a first or last name. Credit History: A tenant’s spending might seem insignificant, but a credit history can tell you a lot about a person. In addition to containing information about prior evictions, credit reports can also show you if a person has a problem making late payments. Personal Preferences: As you look for a tenant, don’t forget to ask about personal preferences such as staying up late, listening to loud music, owning a pet, or smoking. If you need to ask personal questions, try to remain professional. For example, you could say something like “The terms of this lease require that you don’t play loud music after 9pm. Is that going to be a problem?” Although it might seem tempting to gather as much information as possible about each and every tenant, it is important to remember that landlords are bound by the Fair Housing Act. This means that you aren’t allowed to refuse tenancy to anyone based on their race, religion, familial status, disability, or gender.  2: Make Sure New Tenants Understand the Policies After you have tracked down the perfect tenant, you might be tempted to toss them a set of keys and show them where to park. Unfortunately, even the best tenant might go astray unless they are innately familiar with the rental policies. Here are a few tips for making sure that your new tenant understands the rules: Use Layman’s Terms: That legal jargon might look impressive on paper, but will your new tenant really understand what it means to “inhabit” the property? Consider working with a lawyer to rewrite your terms and conditions in layman’s...

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