Effective Employee Onboarding

Finding qualified employees can be a real challenge, and then there is the problem of training those new hires and steeping them in the corporate culture.

Many business owners and hiring managers do everything right, from posting complete job descriptions and screening potential hires with a fine-toothed comb, only to fall down with the onboarding process. They work hard to hire the right people, and then leave them adrift on their first day. That is a big mistake, and one that can be easily avoided. Here are some simple tips for effective onboarding of your new hires.

.   Create a welcoming environment. First impressions count, so take the time to set up a workspace that will make the new hire feel right at home. The computer should be up and ready to go, the desk should be freshly cleaned and there should be a welcome kit with important paperwork and lots of company swag.

.   Schedule time for a facility tour. Too many new employees end up wandering the hallways looking for their colleagues — or their own desks. Scheduling a quiet time for a thorough facility tour can prevent this common problem and make the newcomer feel at home.

.   Build a “Who’s Who” section on the company intranet, complete with current photos, job descriptions and short biographies. This mini directory will give new hires more confidence and make it easier to match names with faces.

.   Send your new hires home with the important paperwork they need, like signup forms for the workplace 401(k) plan and a copy of the employee manual. This will allow new employees to read about the company and its policies at their own pace.

.   Post orientation materials in a central location. Instead of making them search through the entire company website, post all new hire orientation materials, from the employee handbook to an extensive list of FAQs, in a dedicated spot. Use the standard new hire email to link to those orientation materials.

.   Use mentors to make new hires feel more welcome. The personal touch is often lacking during the onboarding process, but a mentor can make things a lot easier. Some companies assign individual mentors based on common interests and backgrounds, while others assign a single mentor to each newly hired group of employees.

.   Sit down for a one-on-one chat. The first day of work can be overwhelming, and this feeling of being overwhelmed can wreck the onboarding process. Hiring managers can fight back by scheduling a one-on-one chat with all their new hires. This chat session gives new employees a chance to ask questions, and hiring managers a chance to learn more about their newest team members.

.   Check in at the end of the day. That first day can be pretty overwhelming, so smart hiring managers always check in with their new hires before the close of business. This last check-in gives employees one final chance to ask questions and learn about the company, and sets the stage for a great second day.

The onboarding process can be a difficult time for hiring managers and new employees alike. Starting a new job can be an intimidating experience, but setting the right environment, providing the right materials and guidance and having a friendly chat can go a long way.



Work Lunch Ideas That Will Save You Money

Making lunches at home to take to work is far more economical than going out to fast-food restaurants every day. Eating at an average burger joint can easily cost as much as $12 a day. The cost isn’t the only reason to switch to homemade lunches, however. The calories in a cheeseburger, french fries, and large soda combo meal are often equal to three-quarters of a full day’s suggested caloric intake. While millions of people grab lunch at fast food outlets every day, taking lunch from home is far less costly.

Sandwiches and Wraps

A non-conventional sandwich could consist of unique toppings like baby spinach, strawberries, and peanut butter. It could be a sandwich with cream cheese, olives, and chopped ham on a bagel. Wraps are the most popular non-conventional sandwich type by a long shot. Those avoiding gluten or carbs have been able to step back into the world of sandwiches with wraps, which can contain anything that you can roll up in a tortilla or flatbread. Get creative with your sandwiches and wraps, and you’ll never be disappointed by homemade lunch.

Canned Soups

Canned soup has one benefit that most other lunches do not. A few cans of soup, a can opener, a bowl, and a spoon can be kept in most large desk drawers. For office workers, keeping these things on hand can save a lot of hassle and money when there simply is no time to prepare lunch in advance. Also, the amount of worry over your midday meal, when you already have it in your desk drawer, is almost nil.

Crackers, Cheese, and Sliced Fruits

Some folks don’t want a heavy lunch. This preference is where assorted lunches come into play. Crackers, cheese, and sliced fruits can put something in your stomach without leaving you feeling sluggish and bloated, which is a perfect option for people with light appetites and individuals on low-calorie diets.

Make Your Own Salads

There is no need to limit yourself to salads made with leaves and chopped vegetables and fruits. There is a multitude of different types of pasta salad, egg salad, grain salad, fish salad, and fruit salad. Salad recipes are plentiful online, as are those for dressings. If you’re adventurous, check out some dressing recipes and make something unique.

With a little bit of extra planning, anyone can save money on work day lunches. All it takes is minimal effort and commitment. Take lunch with you from home for a week. Keep track of what you spent, and compare that cost to what you spend eating out every day for a week. The money you’ll save will speak for itself.


Easy Exercises to Do at Your Desk

When you work an office job, or at any occupation where you must sit at a desk most of the day to perform your job, it is easy to become stiff and sore from remaining in this seated position for so long. Many people who work all day report that they have difficulty finding time to exercise.

The following strength exercises, which can be performed efficiently at your desk, will get you toward these goals during a short workday break.

Tricep Book Raise

  1. Find the heaviest book at your disposal.
  2. Stand and hold the book with both hands behind your neck.
  3. Raise the book directly over your head.
  4. Lower the book back behind your neck.
  5. Repeat 15 times.

This exercise will:

  • strengthen your triceps muscles

Sitting Leg Raises

  • Turn your desk chair around so that you have room in front of you.
  • Straighten one leg directly out in front of you.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Bend your knee, and lower your leg until your foot is just above the floor and hold it there.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat each leg 15-20 times.

This exercised will:

  • strengthen your lower body
  • strengthen and tighten your abdominal muscles

Carpal Tunnel Buster

  1. Stand up in front of your desk.
  2. Place the tops of your hands on your desk palms up, with your fingers facing toward you.
  3. With your arms straight, lean gently forward on your arms.
  4. Hold for 15-20 seconds.
  5. Repeat several times throughout the day.

This exercise will:

  • relieve the stiffness that occurs in the wrists from working on a computer
  • help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome

Sitting Side Stretch

  1. While sitting at your desk, raise your arms above your head.
  2. Grab your left wrist with your right hand.
  3. Bend sideways to the right in your chair, about 45 degrees, pulling your left wrist with your right hand.
  4. Grab your right wrist with your left hand.
  5. Bend sideways to the left in your chair, about 45 degrees, pulling your right wrist with your left hand.
  6. Repeat on each side five times.

This exercise will:

  • increase flexibility
  • increase core strength

Chair-back Calf Raises

  1. Stand behind your chair with your feet together.
  2. Rest your hands on the back of the chair.
  3. Rise up onto your toes as far as you can (you may need to remove your shoes, especially if you are wearing heels).
  4. Hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat 15-20 times.

This exercise will:

  • strengthen your calf muscles
  • relieve leg stiffness

There are other health benefits to doing these exercises such as reduced stress and anxiety. Your body will thank you.



A Positive Work Culture Can Improve Your Workplace Productivity

Increasing productivity in the workplace is one of the biggest challenges many business owners face. When your office is working productively, you can get more done and reach your business goals more efficiently.

Unfortunately, workplace productivity can be a real challenge. When your team comes into the office unenthusiastic and unhappy with the work they’re doing, it can be like pulling teeth to get them to finish their tasks on time.

In order to improve workplace productivity and work-ethic, create a culture that promotes positivity and growth. Through developing an office atmosphere that gets your team excited to come into work each day, you can get them excited about their job.

Maintaining a positive work culture can boost your brand and help take your business to the next level. Here are three reasons why a positive work culture can help make your workplace more productive.

  1. Employees Will Be Happier

Employees spend a lot of their day in the office. If they’re unhappy with the workplace atmosphere, it will be more difficult for them to find joy in what they’re doing. When they can’t seem to invest themselves in their tasks and projects, they’re always going to be focused on clocking out.

However, when you create a workplace atmosphere that they enjoy being in, they won’t spend the entire day watching the clock. If they’re happy and comfortable in the office, they will put in the time and dedication to ensure they’re doing a great job at each and every thing they do.

When your employees are happy with the environment of the office, they’ll go above and beyond to try and contribute to that culture. They’ll contribute more to their jobs and look for ways they can help their team members. Happy employees are also more likely to stay later, collaborate with other employees, and will stay on the job longer.

  1. Teams Will Collaborate More

Teamwork is crucial for building your business. Whether you’re a small team or you have a large workforce, employees can get more done when they collaborate with their team members. When your employees feel comfortable in the office, they will be more likely to communicate with those around them, make friends, and give feedback on projects and assignments.

Collaboration also helps you work more efficiently. When your teams are tasked with a new project, they need to communicate to ensure each individual is doing their part. If team members aren’t working together, mistakes can be made or major pieces may be forgotten about, delaying the progress of your projects.

A positive work environment lets your team know that they don’t need to be all business. When you encourage socialization, they can get to know their coworkers on a more personal level. If they feel comfortable to chat, have lunch together, or just share updates and information throughout the day, working as a team will be easier.

  1. Work Will Become More Creative

No matter the industry you serve, staying innovative is always important. When you need to stand out from your competitors, you need to have a creative team always looking towards the future. Unfortunately, creativity can be stifled if your employees aren’t happy in their workplace.

In an unhealthy office, hierarchy takes precedence. While some form of hierarchy is always important, those lower on the totem pole shouldn’t feel like they can’t speak up or give feedback. However, if the atmosphere doesn’t allow for open thought or ideas, those at the top of the ladder may be left making all the creative decisions.

Improving your workplace atmosphere can give everyone the freedom to speak up and give their opinions. When you have a positive work culture, everyone involved in a project will become invested in the outcome. If each team member feels like they have a genuine say in the way a project is conducted, they can contribute fresh perspectives and make a product or service even better.

Enforcing guidelines is important, but creating an environment where your employees can enjoy their day is even more important. When your team comes into the office each and every day excited to converse with their team and work on their projects, you can get more done and have a lower turnover rate.

To improve your workplace environment, talk with your employees about what they may be looking for in the office. Get feedback about how you can improve your environment and try new tactics until you find something that works. By bringing your employees into the decision-making process, you can ensure you create an atmosphere they all will enjoy.


Fending Off Winter Blues

Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight on bare skin, maybe it’s the shorter days, or maybe it’s even a last trace of some prehistoric hibernation instinct, but there’s no doubt that many people feel more than a little low during the winter months. At the extreme, this can turn into Seasonal Affective Disorder, a genuine medical condition, but for most people it shows itself as a straightforward case of the winter blues. What can you do to put some verve back into your winter self?

Get Out and About

The winter weather may not be as welcoming as high summer, but it can help your mood to make as much as you can of whatever sunlight there is. The combination of natural light and fresh air can give your spirits a lift, especially if you get the chance to indulge in fun winter activities such as building a snowman with the kids, or even letting your hair down with a frantic snowball fight. While it may take an effort to rouse yourself out of your cozy home, the energizing effect on your mood means you won’t regret it.

Lean On Friends or Coworkers

The simple act of talking to a friend or coworker can provide a great lift, no matter what the topic of conversation. However, it can also help to discuss the low mood you’re enduring – the chances are you’re not alone in feeling the winter blues, and it’ll give you a boost to know you’re not trudging along alone.

Positive Attitude

When you’re feeling low it can be easy to get stuck in the emotional habit, with a lack of energy causing boredom and depression in a vicious circle. It’s easier said than done, but if you can break out of this loop by thinking positively, it will stop your mood from spiraling downward. Try making a list of the upcoming events or occasions that you can look forward to, or look through photos of your last vacation when the weather was sunnier and your mood was brighter.

Eat Well

Lastly, your diet can have a massive effect on your emotional state. While you may be tempted to lift your mood through comforting indulgences such as chocolate or chips, eating too much of these foodstuffs will usually have exactly the opposite effect. By all means treat yourself occasionally, but back up these fleeting pleasures with a healthy diet rich in nutritious vegetables and energy-giving grains.

In a long winter, it’s natural to feel a little down from time to time. However, there’s no need to spend the colder months in a trough of despair – a few small changes in your lifestyle could give you that little extra boost you need to see you through to the welcome arrival of spring.


The Latest Feel-Good Trend: Writing a Journal

Writing in a journal is one of the latest feel-good trends in the well-being field, have you wondered what it’s all about. After all, plenty of people have kept diaries, so surely, journaling isn’t anything new. However, journal writing can be beneficial when you are mindful about what you write. Take a look at how making daily journal entries can help you.

Stress management

People often don’t realize the little things that stress them out in the day build tension. Eventually, an accumulation of pressure makes them ill or unhappy. Write your thoughts in a journal, and you’ll release pent up emotions, which may have gone unrecognized otherwise.

Clarify experiences

Your mind deals with a constant influx of information. At times your brain feels crowded, and it’s hard to think straight. Get your thoughts out of your head and put them on paper, though, and you’ll gain clarity. Instead of snippets of data and a conglomeration of worries buzzing in your brain, you’ll be able to see what’s troubling you and deal with it better.

Record events

Studies show memories change. People add or remove snippets of data based on their perception at the time they recall events. They tend to go over painful happenings and emphasize bad experiences while ignoring positive ones when they are already feeling down. If you’ve recorded things that happen in your journal, you can read about them and see whether you’re blowing difficulties out of proportion.

Heal old wounds

You can go over the past to help you heal. Checking experiences in your journal long after they occurred can give you the opportunity to realize what you’ve learned and how you’ve changed. When you find positive meanings in events, however difficult they were, you can move on in life.

Stretch your intelligence muscle

Writing requires intelligence and is associated with IQ. The more you write, the more your brain looks for creative expressions and new descriptive words to use. Simple texting and creating the occasional email won’t stretch your intellect but keeping a journal will.

Connect with your intuition

Sometimes, you’re busy and don’t connect with your emotions and insights. Thoughts come and go without making an impact. Write them down, and you’ll notice they aren’t meaningless data after all, and they often provide understanding and greater awareness of your environment and events than you imagined you could perceive.

Plan steps toward goals

Many people don’t get around to reaching for their dreams. They are half-heartedly aware they have them but turn a blind eye. Once you start journaling, you’ll automatically feel drawn to identifying what you want in life and desire to move toward your goals.

Relive positivity

Writing about positive happenings in a journal will help you re-experience events. As you recall what transpired, your brain will seek to describe occurrences using your senses. You’ll remember scents, sounds, your emotions, and so forth until a clear picture arises in your head. The result will be the production of happy hormones that boost joy.

Better health

Research reveals maintaining a journal on a regular basis improves the immune system, helping you fend off disease and stay well. Writing can relieve depression, and decrease the symptoms of illnesses such as arthritis and asthma and improve cognitive functioning.

Increase gratitude

Choose to keep a record of at least three things for which you are grateful about each day, and your positivity will grow. Your mind will get into the habit of seeking events to be thankful for, and incidences of them occurring will seem to increase because you’ll recognize them with ease.

Take up journaling and your life will improve in many ways. 10 minutes a day will help you to record events, acknowledge your feelings, and heighten your creativity and intelligence. Additionally, you’ll learn from the past and enhance your intuition. You’ll discover there’s much to gain and nothing to lose from putting your thoughts into a journal and wonder why you didn’t do so before.


Staples Business Advantage: Win Your Wishlist Contest !

Putting together your 2018 wish list but not sure what you need? Now, you have a chance to win your choice of an office product valued up to $1500 from our all-new 2018 Sourcebook –it’s packed with great items that can make your workplace more efficient, employee-friendly and cost-effective. Enter the Staples Business Advantage Win Your Wishlist Contest now, or check out our hottest products to see which products would be a great fit in your office.

Core office products are a necessity, and some of our most popular could help you streamline operations in your workplace. From pens and notepads to copy paper, ink and toner, we have everything you need to keep your office running smoothly and efficiently. Make sure everyone’s ready and organized with items from our extensive selection of Stanley-Bostich® staplers and punches, Fiskars scissors and Oxford® Stone Paper Notebooks. Boost productivity with items like the Blueline® DoodlePlan™ Colouring Journals. Check out our value packs, too, such as the Post-it® Super Sticky Cabinet Pack in Miami Colour Collection, which can save you money and give your employees everything they need to maximize productivity.

Keeping employees healthy (and comfortable) is essential, and the right office furniture goes a long way. The study of ergonomics and workplace wellness has come a long way in the past few years, and the most recent data suggests that employees who move, stand and sit are healthier and more productive than those who are stationary all day. Height-adjustable workspaces, wobble boards and ergonomic seating help keep employees on their toes. Modern offices need products like new Deflecto® Ergonomic Sit Stand ™ Chairmats, perching chairs or more conventional La-Z-Boy office chairs, and other office furnishings that keep workers moving, comfortable and ready to tackle big jobs.

Productivity peaks when employees have time to recharge, and our breakroom products are designed to turn ordinary breaks into power breaks. Keeping your breakroom well-stocked does more than entice employees to get the most from their breaks, though – it shows everyone in the office that you’re invested in a well-rounded, high-morale workplace. Choose from a wide variety of Tim Hortons flavoured coffee, TAZO teas and single-serve Keurig pods and Tassimo T-Discs, candy and other breakroom snacks, and Brita water filters to make breaks even better for your workers. We have all the breakroom supplies you need to maintain good morale and keep the whole office buzzing.

Ready to put together your own office wish list? The clock is ticking, so once you’ve decided which products are must-haves for your workplace, read the official rules and enter the 2018 Staples Business Advantage Win Your Wishlist Contest –good luck!