Why New Tech is Employees’ Leading Workplace Wish

When it comes to workplace wishes, 43% of employees put new technology at the top of the list. This is unsurprising when you consider that innovative technologies can help staff track their work easily and finish tasks quicker. New technologies can also help your employees work remotely, which can help you attract new talent as more than 70% of Canadian millennials would prefer to work from home.

Don’t overlook the benefits to your business. Employees spend 20% of their work week looking for documents, a task that can be streamlined by new technology. Consider the following technologies to keep your staff happy and on track.

Connect Seamlessly

When employees are spread out, communication becomes difficult. Instant messaging programs create a platform for conversations about finishing projects, as well as the casual connections that build a happy workplace and help foster innovation. Slack is the most well-known of these platforms, but newcomers Chanty and Fleep may better fit your business. You may also want to consider video conferencing software for face-to-face conversations and email management solutions to help staff stay on top of their inbox.

Manage Workflow

Employees want to easily see the status of projects and the steps they need to move the project forward. In the past, this was recorded on a whiteboard, but new apps allow teams to keep all tasks in the one place, easily add new steps and update in real-time what each they are working on. Plus, cloud technology allows everyone to access the app at once from any corner of the globe. Solutions like Trello and Asana also keep documents and resources in the one place so everyone on your team can work more efficiently.

Finish Faster

Everyone wants to finish their tasks faster, and new technologies can help your staff achieve this. Workflow automation uses rules to automatically complete tasks, like an out-of-office reply. This same concept can reach into nearly every area of a modern business. Automation can be used to create invoices, manage sales leads, enter data and organize documents. Look for a workplace automation solution that integrates with your other software to make sure you get the most from it. Zapier, Integrify and Kissflow are all popular options. Innovative time trackers and document management solutions can also help people finish their tasks more easily.

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Tips for Setting Up an Effective Remote Workspace

Approximately 47% of Canadian employees work away from the office at least half the week. If you are in this category or want to be, it’s important to set up a comfortable, functional spot to work at home. There are also tools you should consider investing in to make it easier to work at the local cafe or a busy airport.

Establish a Work Zone

Set up a dedicated space so you don’t have to clear the clutter from the dinner table or kitchen counter when it’s time to work. Choose a place that’s large enough for a desk, printer and charging station for your phone and other devices. If you have a PC or lots of peripherals, such as speakers and computer screens, it may be worthwhile to invest in cord organizers and power strips that tuck away easily.

Stick to a Schedule

When you’re in an office with your supervisor across the aisle or down the hall, it’s easy to stay busy. To maintain focus at home, wake up at the same time every day and try to keep consistent working hours. The Pomodoro method calls for regimented working sessions with scheduled breaks, and many remote workers use it to balance out their work-from-home day.

Microphones and Headphones

To overcome distractions at home, you’ll need to block them out. The TV, dog, arguing neighbours and 100 other things can break your concentration.

You probably don’t need expensive technical equipment. However, if you put in long hours on Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts, headphones with a built-in microphone are a must-have. Customer service reps, captioners and call centre agents should choose headphones with high-quality sound. Noise-cancelling headphones come in handy for phone meetings and video conferences as well. They are also essential for getting work done in an airport or the local library.

Ergonomic Furniture

Hunching over the coffee table or standing by the kitchen counter puts a strain on your neck and back. To prevent long-term health problems, get a comfortable chair with back support and a desk that leaves room for you to stretch your legs. You may want to invest in a sit-stand desk that lets you change positions more often.

Laptop or Desktop Computer

Your job determines the technical requirements of your laptop or computer. If you work in graphics or gaming, you may need a desktop with high-quality resolution, fast processing capability and lots of memory. If you write blogs for a living, any computer with Windows OS and internet access may work. In general, choose a computer or laptop with at least 8GB of RAM and a 250GB HDD to store larger work files.

Whether you work as a virtual assistant or social media analyst, high-speed cable internet is the best choice for a reliable, speedy connection.

Some 39% of Canadians work remotely, and 54% work while travelling to meetings in other cities. That’s why it’s so important to have the right setup at home and on the go. You may even be able to get tax breaks on some of your remote work expenses.

3 Tips for Finding Small Business Networking Opportunities

Business networking is practically essential for smaller companies, and opportunities are all around when you watch for them. Practice your elevator pitch for introductions and keep a few business cards on you at all times so you’re ready when a networking opportunity presents itself. At its core, networking is about building relationships and knowing the venues that offer the best opportunities.

1. Networking Websites

Consider taking advantage of technology to boost your small-business networking efforts. A number of websites support this type of relationship building, including LinkedIn and Business Partnerships Canada. To effectively use these sites for business networking, begin by creating a professional profile for yourself and your small business.

Your professional profile serves as a digital introduction to others in your industry, and it’s a chance to make a good impression. Also, look for groups within your industry that have a presence on these networking sites, and search using keywords related to your industry to find others working in your field.

2. Social Media

Social media websites provide another technology-based way to build relationships and network on behalf of your business. Set up a profile for your business on the social media site where your customers and potential business colleagues are most likely to find you.

Think of social media as a way to communicate and build relationships rather than just to market to customers if you’re using it for networking purposes. Schedule time to share information, send contact requests and respond to comments from people who post on your page or wall.

3. Business Conferences

Consider joining one or more business-themed organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. If you prefer not to join, watch the organization website and news media to locate meetings they host. Arrange to attend those meetings, including luncheons and speed networking events.

When attending, pay close attention to social etiquette regarding details like shaking hands and adequately tipping service staff when the situation merits it. For example, if you pay in advance for a luncheon, a tip may not be appropriate because the organization may handle it in that situation, but an event with a cash bar would make tipping the server a normal part of social protocol.

Collaborative Spaces & Cutting-Edge Tech: Opportunities in the Modern Workplace

According to the Staples 2019 Canadian Workplace Survey, 43% of all office workers say that new technology and equipment is at the top of their workplace wish list. Technology makes it easier to stay informed, work while travelling and access needed information instantly. It also makes it easier for co-workers to share information and finish work tasks faster. Consider the following ways technology improves connectivity for both employees and management.

On-Demand Video Conferencing

Video conferencing makes it easy to connect with coworkers in different service locations, customers in remote locations and telecommuting employees. On-demand conferencing software like Skype, Zoom, HighFive and Slack make meetings effortless. They eliminate travel time and expenses and help boost productivity and save time. Some of the apps, such as Skype and Slack, are free for basic meetings, which is ideal for smaller companies and those on a strict budget. For larger organizations, HighFive and paid versions of Skype, Slack and Zoom are available with additional options such as custom domains, usage analytics and unlimited international dial-ins.

Time Tracking

Employees who work online or while travelling can keep track of time spent working to ensure payroll accuracy with collaboration platforms and time-tracking applications such as Slack and Yammer. This is also useful for project management tasks that require employees to keep track of goals and progress accurately.

Focusing Tools

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the average worker gets interrupted every 11 minutes while on task, and it takes approximately 25 minutes to get back on task. Focusing tools help reduce workplace distractions and make it easier to avoid websites and other diversions that take workers away from their jobs. Website blockers such as SelfControl keep users from casually checking social media and other time-consumers. Pomodoro and FocusBooster timers also make it easier to manage time throughout the day.

SaaS-Based Project Management Software

Cloud-based SaaS project management gives every employee on a project ownership over their own goals and contributions. Everything about a project is stored online in the cloud for easy access and flexibility. Top apps such as Apprenda and Microsoft Project make it easy to communicate goals effectively and efficiently.

Advancements in the workplace help employees do their jobs. As a business owner, implementing technology changes can increase employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.

5 Ways a Mobile Workspace Adds Value

MagazineCanada reports that the revolution toward flexible workspaces benefits companies and their employees. These advantages amount to greater productivity and growth for many organizations, and Wayne Berger of the International Working Group Canada and Latin America notes that the mobile workforce trend is changing the game for employers and employees. Discover five reasons mobile workplaces are where your company should be heading.

1. Attracting Talent

More employees are looking for flexible ways to manage professional and personal time requirements. Workers of all generations want a work lifestyle that combines meaningful employment with the freedom and ability to connect to the workplace whenever and wherever they choose. Mobile workplaces are becoming necessary to attract strong talent for entry- and senior-level positions.

2. Portability

The global economy is operating around the clock in many locations. Mobile workspaces let your employees be wherever your customers are, so work gets done more quickly. Technology, such as instant messaging and video calls, can speed up gathering information from co-workers and customers. Mobility also gives your workers freedom to do their jobs in ways that are most feasible for them, colleagues and clients.

3. Efficiency

Digital communication and cloud-based apps help employees and freelancers do work with greater efficiency and speed than in traditional office settings. Travelling to business meetings is no longer as necessary because workers can easily connect virtually. Mobile workspaces do away with much of the waste of time and resources common in offices.

4. Productivity

Mobile workspaces let employees have more freedom to work at their pace, including non-traditional working hours. Many individuals find it easier to focus more on their work without office distractions. According to a 2019 IWG survey, over half of Canadian workers feel that virtual meetings are more efficient, and increased productivity from mobile workplaces translates to greater revenues.

5. Savings

Research shows that employing a mobile workforce saves companies money. Lower overhead costs diminish significantly with lower paper, utility and office space expenses. The IWG survey noted that 83% of Canadian employers cite reduced real estate management costs as a benefit of mobile workspaces. This is another boon for the bottom line.

4 Tech Tips for Supercharging Your Marketing Game

If you’re in search of software for marketing your small business, this is the right place to be. Below, we look at four leading marketing solutions that are widely used, have an intuitive interface, and are easy to use.

1. Marketing Automation Platforms

A marketing automation platform integrates all your marketing efforts, facilitates the growth of your traffic, and boosts conversions. Some of these platforms feature a drag-and-drop functionality that lets you build visually pleasing sites that are responsive no matter what device your visitors use.

As a result, you can build personalized, enticing landing pages for your marketing campaigns, and distribute both HTML and static messages to trigger the reactions you want. To capture all the relevant data, a marketing automation platform helps you integrate information from other platforms and format content for publishing without programming knowledge.

2. SEO Software

SEO platforms help you track your business’s online presence, keep an eye on your competitors, monitor your brand online, and boost your company’s search engine rankings.

You can use these tools to check your ranking on major search engines. They typically include an analytics feature that lets you gather and analyze all the data you need to take your website to the next level. Other common features include a site auditor, top analyzer, link manager, competitors inspector, and keyword finder.

3. Email Marketing Software

These tools help you acquire, engage, and retain customers via email. Standard features include an automated marketing feature that you can use to find out what each contact wants. With this information, you can deliver powerful messages that convert visitors to customers to your brand advocates.

Improve your decisions by using email marketing tools to unearth customer insights. Your deals move forward thanks to the software’s automated sales and consolidation of communication. Email marketing platforms from established providers can integrate more than 150 services and apps such as CMS, accounting, and support.

4. CRM Software

The most successful marketers use customer relationship marketing (CRM) for their business to enhance marketing strategies, optimize customer relations, and improve their efforts in upselling.

In addition to that, having these tools lets these businesses use their customer data to adjust their operations to fit customer needs and streamline marketing and sales tasks. Most CRM platforms are hosted in the cloud, and they’re easy to access and maintain even for solo entrepreneurs and small business owners.

The Best Tech Solutions for Work Flexibility

If you run a business that lets employees have a flexible schedule or work remotely, you need the right software and equipment to make it work. Let’s take a look at some of the useful tech solutions for small businesses that have remote workers.

1. Collaboration Software

With the right collaboration software, sharing information and managing projects is simple even if your employees work remotely. According to the Staples 2019 Canadian Workplace Survey, collaboration software is among the tools remote workers rely on most.

This technology speeds up your workload. It’s a superior solution to using different tools scattered across your employees’ personal computers, the company network, and the internet. The best collaboration software solutions integrate many widely used productivity apps into the workflow of your small business.

2. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

If you have remote workers, they probably have remote access to your company network. Since the system holds highly sensitive data about your small business, you want to be sure that no one other than authorized staff can access the connection.

Using a VPN is an effective way of securing the connection. Besides letting your remote employees securely access your network, a good VPN ensure you have a fast, reliable connection so that remote employees, business partners, and customers can always reach you.

3. Network-Attached Storage (NAS)

Network-attached storage can speed up your business in many ways. Remote access is the main benefit of a NAS. Even consumer-grade models can give easy to file via the internet.

However, as a business, you should invest in a top-tier NAS box that features dedicated graphical web interfaces that give your remote employees seamless access and management of files. NAS boxes can also serve videos, images, and music to digital media adapters and PCs. Some vendors offer additional perks such as camera surveillance and website serving.

4. Video Conferencing

Video conferencing helps your remote employees feel like they’re part of the team even if you’re not at the office. The technology optimizes collaboration. Most workers today communicate through instant messaging, email, and phone. However, visual cues still make up a large portion of communication.

Next to face-to-face meetings, video conferencing offers the best quality interactions. It lets information flow efficiently and minimizes misunderstanding because colleagues can read each other’s body language and other non-verbal cues.

Even better, video conferencing can be used to train employees online affordably. This is especially useful for small businesses with a tight budget.