How the Internet of Things Can Raise Your Company’s Game

Our devices track an increasingly part of our daily activities. IoT devices record and transmit data about these activities to your company to help it make better decisions about customers. Here’s how IoT can transform your business for the better.

1. Better Business Insights

Connected devices create analytics potential from data streams. Analyzing the data improves your business’s insights into its operations and the way your customers use products. This knowledge helps your business improve customer experience.

The future of business lies in more profound connections with the customer and becoming even more accessible. For example, leading retailers have begun to adopt scan, pay, and go technology that interacts with shoppers’ smartphones and helps them avoid long checkout queues.

2. Improved Productivity and Efficiency

Linking all the essential processes in your small business lets you find ways to enhance productivity, efficiency, and — ultimately — your revenue. For example, if you run a gym, you can use wearable technology to monitor your clients’ movements and track their progress as they exercise. You can then use the data from the devices to adjust exercise routines and tailor workouts to individual client needs.

3. Cutting Down Costs and Downtime

IoT technology can help reduce your business’s operational downtime and costs. For example, a digital model that mirrors your operations in real time can alert you of potential system bottlenecks in advance, giving you time to take pre-emptive measures. Such an IoT solution can reduce your downtime and operational costs.

Additionally, IoT can take over scheduling tasks that would take a human being hours to work. The result is increased reliability, fewer last-minute problems, lower maintenance costs, and better use of resources.

4. Tracking Assets and Reducing Waste

IoT tracking can help reduce waste and supply chain inefficiencies. If your business operations involve making deliveries to customers, you can use an IoT solution that tracks the items being delivered, periodically updating the location.

This system can identify the occasional stray package that gets lost along the way. Often, the more components your business has, the more value it can get from implementing IoT.

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How a Better Office Layout Can Supercharge Productivity

Office designs and layouts are always evolving. As a business owner or manager, you should take every opportunity to implement new layout ideas that are better suited to the way people work today. Here are a few modern office design trends you should consider for your office to meet the needs of the modern office worker.

Activity-Based Working

Activity-based working lets your employees decide where, when and how they work. Your business lets staff members choose their work setting based on the type of task. Options include individual workstations, concentration zones and collaboration areas.

This workplace layout needs a variety of tools and resources to support different activities and tasks. Among the necessary tools for ABW are video-conferencing, collaborative software, Wi-Fi and network-attached storage solutions.

Brand Personality

This concept is based on the idea that office spaces should tell your business’s story through elements such as colour schemes and choice of furniture. The construction and layout of your office interior should help you share the story of your business to inspire your staff members and your community.

When your workspace reflects your corporate personality, your office layout gives your employees, customers and partners a strong sense of shared identity. It can also motivate your staff and make recruits feel like part of the family.

Supporting Good Overall Well-Being

As a small business owner, one of your top priorities is the health and happiness of your employees. Your focus on their well-being should be evident in the way you lay out your offices. The happier your people are, the more productive they’ll be.

The benefits of a workspace that supports employees’ well-being go far beyond productivity. People with a higher sense of well-being are more resistant to illness, recover more quickly, have higher pain tolerance, have a longer life expectancy and are better at solving problems.

Adaptable Office Layouts

Some of the best office layouts today incorporate agile and dynamic spaces. With these designs, your employees work in an environment free of ergonomic and physical constraints. Consider rearranging your space to suit the nature of your teams’ work and their preferences.

Implementing an adaptive office layout improves productivity because your workspace becomes more organic and comfortable. Having a flexible workspace makes it easy for your employees to switch between open, semi-open and closed spaces with minimal restrictions. According to the Staples 2019 Canadian Workplace Survey, each of these layouts has a place in the modern office.

Small Business Essentials: Building Your Best Team

When most people think of a successful or powerful business, a cutthroat environment is often what comes to mind. But fear shouldn’t be the fuel that your small business runs on. Your company grows steadily when your people share a team mentality, with everyone having a clear role and goal to guide them.

Here are three ways to build and maintain strong teams in your small business.

1. Make Roles Your Top Priority

The best teams are incredibly selective about who gets to join them. No matter how long it takes, invest time in developing a thorough recruitment process. Having a clear, compelling reason for bringing someone on your team ensures its success.

Adopting this attitude toward new hires helps you avoid high turnover because prospective employees will be in it for the long haul. They’ll be more interested in learning everything they can because they know you’ll keep them around as long as they’re the right fit. Moreover, this long-term strategy ends up costing you less over time.

2. Value Each Member’s Role

With each member of your team having a specialized role, the next step is to treat each member as essential. You want everyone to have the sense that their job matters. No member should ever question why they’re there. It’s a well-known fact that a strong sense of purpose fuels excellent performance.

Employees draw a sense of security from knowing that their role in your small business is not only necessary but also valued. Such employees are more likely to completely buy into your company mission and feel like they have a personal stake in the success of the business.

3. Set Up Effective Communication Systems

The only way for your team members to know that you value their role is if you effectively communicate your appreciation. It’s easy to feel like part of the team when you’re always kept in the know about important team information.

Similarly, your team runs smoothly when each member fills in the rest of the team on the progress in their individual role. Maintaining transparency is essential even if the information doesn’t directly concern each team member. Take time to identify collaboration software and office layouts that let your employees share and create value at peak productivity.

Make sure each team member has a voice during periodic check-in meetings. Bring your people closer to projects and keep them engaged by asking them their opinions.

Why Your Small Business Might Need High-Quality Connectivity

The internet you get for your business is one of the things you need to give serious thought. When your business is still young, it’s understandable that you want to keep costs low by getting a cheap, low-speed business internet plan.

But while starting small is a good idea, high-speed connectivity is one of the things your small business should invest in early on. Here’s why.

Faster Uploads and File-Sharing Improve Productivity

Your employees need a speedy, reliable connection to make fast uploads. A high-speed business internet plan enhances productivity because it lets your staff upload things in a few moments and get back to work.

In the modern office, nearly all the tools employees need to thrive are web-based. Similarly, many business activities use the internet. To name a few: Your IT team maintain your website online; your marketers communicate with customers on social media; your sales team processes customer orders on a cloud-based CRM.

Business-Class High-Speed Internet Supports Collaboration

As a small and young business, you may choose to work with freelance contractors and remote employees rather than running an expensive payroll. For this arrangement to work, you need to rely heavily on cloud technology. A high-speed business internet connection is the foundation on which every cloud platform rests.

Top-tier, enterprise-grade data plans let your remote workers and freelancers communicate and collaborate with minimal friction. No matter where in the world they’re located, they can connect with you, other employees and clients and share information and files through video conferencing technology, collaboration software and file-sharing solutions.

An Enterprise-Grade Internet Connection Evolves Alongside Your Business

Scalability should be among your top priorities when setting up communication systems in your business. You should think about all the resources you need to help you grow at an acceptable rate. The last thing you want is to bring everything to a halt to restructure your business so that it can accommodate the expansion. A high-quality business-class internet connection can easily grow with your business.

Choosing the Right Business Internet Plan

The most widely used types of business internet solutions are cable and fibre. Fibre-optic connectivity is the more reliable option while cable internet is the more affordable one. The primary considerations to make when buying internet for your business include your budget and your requirements for speed and reliability.

Empowering Your Business to Address Workplace Loneliness

The United Kingdom recently appointed a Minister of Loneliness to help combat what experts consider a major mental health issue. CBC reports that at least one out of five Canadians of all age groups experiences loneliness. People may be dealing with loneliness in your workplace, even if they are constantly around or virtually connected to others.

Loneliness is a perception of feeling less connected to others than we believe we should feel. This differs from being alone; we can be alone but not lonely or lonely in a crowd. The perceived isolation of chronic loneliness can affect brain function by shutting down the zone of the brain crucial to empathy and communication. Other areas of the brain go into overdrive, causing a person to be on guard against real or imagined emotional threats.

Research by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania links loneliness with disengagement and poor job performance. When this emotion persists, it can lead to serious mental and physical health issues. Loneliness can be contagious and trigger a cycle of isolation, indifference and even antipathy.

As a business owner, you are in a prime position to cultivate a culture of kindness in your workplace. Psychology researcher and former journalist Michelle Gielan advises that whenever we invest in connecting socially, we simultaneously mitigate loneliness and fuel our success. Your commitment to alleviate loneliness at any level can spark positive changes for them, yourself and your enterprise.

These are some things you can do to alleviate loneliness in your workplace:

  • Be Predictable: The lonely mind treats uncertainty as a threat and seeks to protect itself with isolation, so strive to ensure that your workers are in the know regarding your company mission, job responsibilities and work-related events.
  • Come Face-to-Face: Speaking with people in person creates a stronger social connection than meeting digitally.
  • Break the Ice: Begin meetings with short, interactive exercises to help employees build meaningful connections.
  • Reach Out to Others: Set up opportunities for you and your employees to work together for a local humanitarian cause.
  • Connect and Grow: Connect with business owners or colleagues within and outside your business and encourage your employees to do the same.
  • Be Kind: Rachel Reeves states that kindness can be the best cure for loneliness; a genuine smile, handshake or word of appreciation is free but priceless to a lonely person.

4 Great Tips for Tackling Summertime Procrastination

Tackling summertime procrastination is doable whether you work in or out of the home. Working doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of activities that make you happy. Getting a handle on your procrastination lets you achieve more of a balance between your job and all the things you wish you could be doing instead. The following tips can help get you going.

1. Reward Yourself for Finishing Tasks

If you’re often inspired by rewards, consider using that tactic when it comes to work procrastination. Many options could propel you forward. It could be something as seemingly simple as getting an iced coffee or dining al fresco at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.

2. Commit Yourself to Separate Work and Play

Dedicate yourself to making work time all about work and play time all about play. Everyone has their own personal distraction triggers, like text message notifications, which could lead to procrastination. Determine what yours are and do what you can to prevent them from happening. According to the Udemy 2018 Workplace Distraction Report, decreasing distractions in the workplace can have a positive impact on employees. When you’re working, reduce distractions and use laser focus to do your tasks. But when you take a break, use that time to clear your mind. During off hours, avoid work emails and messages and just enjoy doing summer activities you love.

3. Schedule Bursts of Downtime

Taking breaks throughout your day and doing activities, like going for a walk, can be good for you. Listen to music, grab an ice cream cone, sit in the park and feel the warm sun, or do whatever it is that brings a smile to your face.

4. Complete Urgent, Time-Sensitive and Difficult Tasks First

Do the tasks first that you’re not looking forward to doing so you’re not using less important ones as a procrastination tactic. Once they’re completed, it’s like a weight off your shoulders. This could also let you fully focus on having fun during your off time rather than worrying about what still needs to be done at work.

You have the ability to tackle summertime procrastination. Consider all the activities you can do and the clear mind you can have once the work is done. That peace is worth more than procrastination.

Making Strides in Fair Employee Compensation

When assessing company goals and fiscal responsibilities, it’s important to consider employee compensation and benefits. The middle of the year is the perfect time to make adjustments to ensure you meet yearly goals.

An excellent compensation plan is the best way to attract and keep good talent, which is the backbone of any business. Even small companies without the income that corporations enjoy can create a compensation plan to compete in the overall market. Consider the following ways to create a strategic plan for employee compensation and benefits.

Mid-Year Reviews

Review each employee’s progress in achieving work objectives and provide positive feedback where necessary. The middle of the year is the time to create new end-of-year goals and to see who’s performing to the best of their ability.

Identify any company issues affecting the employee’s performance. You can accomplish this by sending out a workplace survey. You can also get a perspective of what Canadian workers are concerned about by studying the 2019 Staples Canadian Workplace Survey. This survey provides insights into the current state of the workplace and what employers can do to improve it.

Setting a Budget

Valuable employees pay for themselves in terms of compensation and benefits, and if you aren’t compensating them, they will look elsewhere. Take a realistic look at what you can spend on each employee, then check to see what the competition is paying by talking to others in the industry or using an online salary calculator or a website like Salary.com or Glassdoor.

According to GGFL Chartered Professional Accountants, for every dollar an employer invests in an employee, the employee must generate at least $3.15 in revenue. Factor in your operating costs and how much each employee costs the business. These costs include:

  • Recruiting
  • Sick days
  • Health and paid leave
  • Severance costs
  • Training
  • Vacations
  • Liability insurance
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Health care

Implementing a Compensation Plan

Write out and incorporate any new changes into your fiscal budget. This plan should include specific numbers to avoid any confusion among employees. List the number of sick and vacation days each person is entitled to and discuss paid holidays and the approval process for overtime. Mention any changes to the benefits package, including health care and retirement. Clarity helps keep employees motivated.