Ideas for Employee Appreciation

Ideas for Employee Appreciation

Family pictures and holiday cards have started piling up on your desk, plates of holiday treats have begun to appear in the break room, and a few employees have strung up twinkly lights in their cubicles. This means only thing; the holiday season has arrived and with its arrival often comes the pressure for holiday bonuses and the like.


Without a doubt, your employees are valuable. Without them, you wouldn’t be nearly as successful and you may cease to exist at all. So, how do you show your thanks? Here are some ideas to show your appreciation during the holidays (or all year round):

Office Party


We’ve all seen the comical and nightmarish accounts of an office party getting a little out of hand, as portrayed in television and movies, but a party around the holidays can be a great time relax and connect with one another. If you have a planning committee at work or a few people who love to plan events, sit down with them and start exchanging ideas. There are many things to consider, such as making it family friendly or an adults only bash. Although you are planning it around the holidays, be mindful about everyone’s backgrounds. Rather than making it a “Christmas” party, it’s a better idea to make it an end of the year appreciation gathering.

Providing a Meal During the Weekday


While the breakroom tables become crowded with sugar cookies, gingerbread people, peanut butter blossoms, and even a few loaves of fruit cake, your employees are destined to have sugar overkill. A nice way to show that you appreciate all the hard work your employees do is by having lunch catered or offer continental breakfast items in the morning. A quality bagel and a good cup of coffee can go a long way.

Close Early and Offer Pay


Around the holidays, many people end up taking vacation or personal time to spend time with family and friends. Rather than making your employees use up time they already saved up, why not offer a few half days off with pay? Not only will getting out at noon on a Friday, and still get paid for a full day, bring smiles all around, but your employees may be more eager to stay productive. Can’t afford to let everyone go at once? Rotate schedules throughout departments.


Encourage Creativity, Accept Feedback


When your employees feel like their talents are being used and their voices are heard, they will not only be more productive, but may feel more appreciated. Even though you’re the head honcho, your employees are just as valuable as what you’re selling (if not more). Take the time to listen and ask for feedback on a regular basis.

Offering Bonuses


A little extra money at the end of the year is always a nice token of appreciation and while many businesses do it, it’s up to you if you can do it, too. When offering a cash bonus, consider adding a nice personal note or if you want to offer a bonus in the form of an employee benefit, offer some extra time off or a share of the company. Make it personal and make it matter. Empty gestures are just that and your hardworking deserve more.


The Importance of Mentorship When Building A Business

The Importance of Mentorship When Building A Business


When it comes to entrepreneurship, many want to start a business but they may find themselves stomped when defining their objective, which is why seeking mentorship has been beneficial in helping others building out their plans. Creating a clear mission is necessary when developing and growing a business. What is it about your business that is special and unique? You may have started a business that solves distinct problems or provides a valuable service. Starting is just the beginning. The work that comes with building, branding, and establishing business goals and a strong team is a whole other ballpark. Develop a clear vision and goal. You can do this by seeking mentorship in the process.


Stay positive!


Having a great idea is only part of your success. Determination and having a strong plan is the key to growing a small business. If you’re serious about growing your business, hang around others who are on a similar journey and already have successful businesses. Ask questions and take lots of notes. Learn from them and feed off the positive energy. Motivate yourself with inspirational quotes on leadership and innovation. You and your dream are worth it, and staying positive is your number one goal as you launch and build. You will have difficult days in the beginning, but negative thinking will get you nowhere!


Find mentorship and funding programs


There are practical ways to grow your small business idea. Here are a few to consider:


Find mentorship Ever watch the show “Shark Tank”? Having a successful business owner offer you tips and mentorship on business development and longevity is powerful. Often we may not have a clear objective in the beginning. Entrepreneurs have creative ideas, but may be limited in time and finances. Learn from those who are successful. Take notes. Go to conferences. It may even be worth it to seek a life coach to help you develop a life strategy.


Look for grants You may be surprised at how many grants are available to small business owners. Do the research! Contact non-profit organizations and investors. Tell your business idea and get the funding you need to grow.


Legal advice. Don’t be afraid to seek out legal advice. A lawyer may help answer all of those questions you have about the legal and financial side of having a business.


Networking is the key


Entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You cannot succeed by yourself. It’s hard to find a rich hermit.” You can’t grow a business without networking. Social media networking may not be enough, especially if you have a small business. Consider joining or starting a meetup for entrepreneurs in your area.  Networking is invaluable when growing and expanding a business.


If you don’t already have a website, you want to invest into one. Many business owners who aren’t code savvy now have WordPress accounts which make it easier to post content to your site whenever you want. You can’t go wrong with strong business cards. Go to a local community fair and set up a table. Have your business cards at hand and introduce yourself to locals. The more personable you are, the better. Be friendly and reach out. You never know what opportunities will open up for you as you step out!

How Strategic Office Design Influences Employees’ Output

First it was the cellular office, then the open plan office and then the group office. Those were the types of office concepts in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, respectively. After that, in the 1980s, companies introduced a combi-office, whose main role was to create a more communicative business environment. How does office design function today and how does it affect workers’ output?

image 3

Small offices – easy to adapt

Today the team is the main cell of every business, be it a small local business or a multinational company. This is why many companies nowadays create offices that can host smaller teams of workers. When employees are divided into smaller groups,their productivity rate is much higher. However, it is not enough only to create teams and expect that things will simply develop in a desired way. Both small and large teams need to be encouraged to keep a positive attitude. Lounge areas can contribute a lot to such atmosphere



Relaxation zones

When you have a look at the work areas of the largest international companies, such as Facebook, Google or Microsoft, your first thought might be that you are looking at a playground and not the headquarters of the most renowned modern enterprises. They offer their workers well-equipped relaxation zones, providing them with a wide range of flexible work stations. There are bean bags, sofas, armchairs, standing desks, offices that look like living rooms, gaming lounges and many other features that boost creativity and decrease stress. You can have a look at the photos of Google’s London headquarters on the Telegraph website. The common denominator of all these companies is that they are all IT giants with outstanding productivity. It is a clear signpost to every small business that their office(s) should be designed in a flexible, worker-friendly way. However, there are some limitations when it comes to such an approach.


The boundaries of office freedomimage 2

Is it really possible to organize your office and things inside in such a crazy and modern way? First of all, such an approach is not applicable to every office in the world. While it is a perfect choice for an IT startup, it could be a terrible option for a furniture-manufacturing plant. So, first of all, office design depends on the type of business. Secondly, if you want to give your workers a more relaxed work environment, they need to have a sort of a safe background. Translated to the modern corporative lingo, your business has to have a backup solution. If a software tool can perform some tasks instead of a worker or with their help, it is much easier to organize a laid-back office, because there is some safe ground behind your workers. The good news is that more and more companies will be able offer their employees a higher level of work freedom, since modern technologies are changing business in general, improving work conditions and unburdening workers.


When things get serious

Although flexibility and an easy-going attitude definitely help workers reach a higher output level, there are certain contexts in which only a serious and traditional approach to office design is acceptable. For instance, let’s say that a group of team leaders need to come up with a special brand name for a new product. They will be much more efficient is they sit down at one of those inspiring boardroom tables and keep brainstorming and communicating until they reach their goal. In general, when you have to make some supreme business decisions, working in a traditionally arranged environment, such as an open plan office is a more productive approach. Only when the basic business guidelines have been made should you apply a more relaxed work strategy for their implementation.

If workers are satisfied with their work stations and office organization in general, they will be more productive and loyal to their company. Office managers need to be flexible and listen to their employees’ suggestions. Only a joint effort of management and workers will ensure that your office becomes a well-designed place, yielding remarkable business results.

Fight Cyber Attacks in a Big Way

Fight Cyber Attacks in a Big Way

As a small business, if you’ve been keeping your fingers crossed hoping that you won’t become target of a cyber attack, your luck may be running out. Just because big corporations, such as Target, have been hit hard, who’s to say that you’re immune? Sure, you are a small business and maybe you think you’re just a blip on the radar in the business world, but if someone wants to get access to your information they will find a way. If you are a business of any size, you have private customer and employee information that should never get into the wrong hands. Regardless of the size of your company or the number or your employees, it’s vital to protect yourself against cyber attacks. Here are a few ways to stay a little bit safer without losing sleep at night.

Amp Up Security


Many big businesses, avoiding a cyber attack or after the unfortunate success of an attack, move to amp up their security by hiring a privacy analyst. Unfortunately, small businesses may not have the financial means to hire an expensive but valuable employee for their business. Does that mean you should just hope for the best? Not unless you consider yourself a good gambler.


Even though a privacy analyst may not be possible for every business, cybercrime prevention must be a step in any type and size of business. So, maybe if you can’t afford a full-time privacy analyst, you can hire someone to help you implement a cyber attack plan.

Employees You Can Trust


A problematic employee can make or break a small business. In addition to having a good employee that understands and shares your passion for your business, he or she must also be a trustworthy individual. For instance, if your business handles a lot of confidential information, you need to know that your employees will respect and commit to privacy. Additionally, you need to know that all of your personal and professional information will be kept private and not shared with the wrong people.


Educate your employees about cyber attacks and encourage them to have a smart and safe online presence. It may seem like a “no brainer”, but people often forget about online security, particularly if they’ve never been attacked. Teach your employees (and remind yourself) to be cautious when using social media, change and have multiple passwords for accounts, and pay attention to fraudster-like activity such as suspicious customer complaints.


Stay in the Loop

Once you build up your cyber security and have your cyber attack prevention plan in place, don’t think that the work is done. Cyber attackers evolve as quickly as technology and they continuously find ways to retrieve sensitive and confidential information that can destroy even the smallest of companies. One of the best ways to avoid your chances of becoming a cybercrime victim is staying up to date on security technology and other news in the cyber world. If you can’t have an employee solely dedicated to your security, consult with a professional every couple of months to make sure you are on track.

5 Ways to Avoid Startup Failure

These days it’s not uncommon for someone to change career plans and decide to start up a small business. The great thing is that it’s socially acceptable. Everyone is cheering each other on, saying “go for it!” and “what have you got to lose?” and in reality, some startups succeed and some fail. Maybe you’re ready to ditch corporate America and open up that specialty shop or maybe you finally decided to be an independent consultant rather than rely on being part of a company. If you’ve got the patience and the drive, there’s no doubt you can get started. In order to stay on the right track and be successful, there are some things that you should avoid doing that often lead to the failure of a start up. Make a couple of “right” moves to avoid failure and you’ll be happy you went after your dream job.
Be Confident, Even When You’re Not

Once you begin to establish your startup, it’s important to have familial and friend support, but you need to be confident in your startup and your ability to succeed. If you constantly second guess every decision, how do you expect to sell your ideas and promote your business to others? Sure, a startup is a big, scary, and often times risky decision, but you need to be confident for the sake of your customers, your employees, and yourself. If you fail to be confident, your startup is likely to fail.
Ask For Feedback and Advice

Startup businesses can be intensely personal; a part of you. Unless you have years of experience running your own business, you may need a mentor or consultant. Find someone who you respect and trust to bounce ideas off of, yet someone who is not part of your personal circle (spouse, family, best friend).
Hire the Right People

The beginning stages of a startup are often a whirlwind. You may not expect needing employees right away, but then all of a sudden you do. Eager to keep the business moving forward, you hire the first person who seems qualified. Hiring the wrong people can break your business. Choose people who understand your plan and vision and show potential for having the same passion. It may take a while, but it’s worth the search.
Be Original

Many new startup business owners want to own a business, but rather than choosing something they are passionate about, they base their plan on what’s trending. While this is important to do to some extent, don’t “copy and paste” another existing business. For example, if you are really interested in making specialty cakes, you need to create a style or a product that will set you apart from every other trendy cake shop in your city. The most successful startups are a perfect balance of originality and trend.
Listen to Your Clientele

Your customers will make or break your business. If you don’t care how your customers perceive your business or your products, then you probably don’t care whether or not your business will succeed. Ask for feedback, even if you may not want to hear the truth. Whether customer feedback is positive or negative, listening, learning, and taking action can help your startup grow and have a better chance at returning customers.