The Importance of A Well Designed Office

By Kathryn Morris, Lifestyle Blogger

If you work in an office environment, you probably spend upward of eight hours every day sitting in front of a monitor gnawing away at tasks. Besides the physical strain to your back and neck muscles (from sitting in the same position for hours), office work can also be very mentally draining. In fact, without the right office layout, every new working day can leave you feeling more mentally drained than the previous one. A well-designed office, on the other hand can have a significant positive impact on your productivity as well as that of your employees.

A good office layout which provides your employees with quick and easy access to everything they require makes them more efficient and productive since time is not wasted on procuring these office resources. Making the office space comfortable and visually appealing can also increase the morale of your employees and make them more motivated at work. It goes without saying that motivated employees perform better at work than those lacking in it. Furthermore, if your business frequently receives visits from clients, a well-designed office will make a strong impression on them and may even motivate them to refer your business to potential clients.

There are a good number of ways in which you can spruce up your office. However, the work can be very time consuming so you may need to hire specialist interior designers to achieve best results in a shorter timeline. Here are a few ways you can improve the design and efficiency of your office space.

Creative Use Of Colour

With the right colour-scheme combinations you can greatly enhance the design of your office space without spending too much. For best results, cover all the walls with the same colour of paint or if you’re feeling particularly daring and experimental you can have a contrasting colour on one of the walls to accent the others. Bright colours work best for office walls since they give off an inspirational, cheery vibe which will energize and motivate your employees.

Comfortable Office Furniture

Even for the most motivated employee, uncomfortable chairs and desks put a strain on their muscles which is very difficult to ignore and may actually hinder their performance in the office. When purchasing office furniture, invest in sturdy chairs with good back support and comfortable seats and arm rests. If they are adjustable, even better. A rule of thumb for office desks is that they should be big enough to hold your employees’ work stations and small enough to fit in the office without taking up all the space. Also, consider working with bold colours for the office furniture, as this will add to the contrast and make them stand out.

Add Plants To The Office Interior Décor

Most people already grow plants at home for aesthetic value. You can likewise add some colourful potted plants in the office to improve the ambience and give your employees and visiting clients a homely feel in the office. If your office is located in a place where natural light cannot properly reach plants to allow them to grow properly, you can instead work with artificial plants which will achieve more or less the same results.
Fertile Frog office

De-clutter

Untidy offices are often one of the biggest hindrance to performance and creativity for most employees. Ideas don’t flow naturally when one has a huge pile of clutter on their work station and around their desk. Ensure all your office works stations are tidied up and all pieces of unusable paper and other clutter are disposed of. You can also digitize all your storage of files in order to be more efficient on space and reduce office clutter.

Having a well-designed office space that puts these ideas in practice will greatly increase your employees’ performance which will translate into results for your business. Try them out today to maximize the potential of your office space.
By Kathryn Morris, Lifestyle Blogger

How to Create a Traditional Memo in Word with an Attachment

While email has replaced the memo for everyday fast and efficient communication in business, the traditional memo is still used for more formal communication.   As with business letters, memorandas (memos) have the same basic elements but vary in formatting. Varying the indentation of elements is one way of changing memo formats; indents can be varied by changing the tab stops. Word’s default tab stops are set for every ½ inch, but they can be changed and customized as desired.

Word’s Ribbon includes a command to display the date and time dialog box, which lets you insert and format the date and time displayed in a memo.

When formatting a memo with an attachment, type the word Attachment (rather than Enclosure) on the line below the typist initials.

Parts of a Traditional Memo

  • MEMO HEADINGS – Begin 2” from the top of the page. Typed in bold (including the colon). Press tab after the colon
  • MEMO TO– Name of recipient – separate name & title with a comma
  • FROM: Name of writer
  • DATE: month, day and year the memo was typed
  • SUBJECT: Subject of the memo
  • BODY:  Usually begins 2 lines below the subject heading.  This is your main body text for the memo.
  • TYPIST INITIALS:  Self explanatory.
  • ATTACHMENT:  Notation that there is an attachment

Traditional Memo Example

Basic parts of a memo

Getting Ready to Type:

First, create a new document in Word.  Go to:

  1. Click File tab then click New or [Ctrl]+[N])
  2. Click on the single spaced blank document template to open it

Set Up the Memo

Turn on the Show/Hide Symbol

Your I-beam will be flashing at the top of the page which is the current insertion point.  Now turn on the Show/Hike Symbol so you can see your paragraph and line space marks.

  1. Click the Home Tab > Paragraph Group > Show/Hide Button
    Create a memo in Word 2016
  2. Click the View Tab > Show Group and select the Ruler Box to turn on the ruler. The Ruler will display.
    Create a memo in Word 2016
  3. Press ENTER 5 times to begin the first line of the memo 2 inches from the top of the page
  4. Type MEMO TO: in all caps and bold and then tap the TAB key and then type Bill Branson and tap ENTER once.
  5. Type FROM: in all caps and bold and tap the TAB key twice and type Kelly Scorcer and tap ENTER once. A red wavy line will appear indicating that Word doesn’t recognize the name.  You can ignore this.
  6. Type DATE: in all caps and bold and tab TAB twice.
    Creating a memo in Word 2016
  7. Click the Insert tab > Text Group> Insert Date and Time from the Ribbon to display the date and time dialog box.
  8. Click the third date format in the list.
  9. Make sure the Update Automatically box is checked so the date will update automatically the next time you open up the memo and then click OK.

Creating a memo in Word 2016

  1. Complete the SUBJECT line and the remainder of the memo as shown below. Type the body of the memo using blocked paragraphs, and press ENTER 2 times between paragraphs
  2. Press ENTER 2 times after the last paragraph in the body, and type your typist initials in lowercase letters without periods or spaces.

Create a memo in Word 2016

Click the Save button and save your document as Bill Branson Memo in your folder.

Tip!:  Don’t forget to Spell-check, proofread, and preview your document for spelling and formatting errors 

Inserting Page Breaks

  1. Click the Insert tab > Pages Group > Page Break to add a new page into your document.
  2. Notice at the bottom of the page, it now says 1 of 2. Also notice the page break marker appears in the page.

Add the Attachment 

Follow the directions below to add an attachment to the document:

  1. Scroll to the top of the second page and Click File > Open and and open up the announcement_start document.
  2. In the announcement_start file, tap CTRL+A to select the entire document. You can also do this from the Home tab > Editing Group > Select > All.
  3. Tab Ctrl C to copy the entire document.
  4. On the taskbar, click the Bill Branson Memo document to switch back to that document.
  5. Click the Home tab > Clipboard Group > Paste from the ribbon to paste the text on page 2 of your document.
  6. Click the Save button on the Quick Access Toolbar to save your file.
  7. Switch back to the announcement_start file and close it.

4 Reasons Why Health and Safety Training Is Key to a High-Performing Office Environment

Trust, communication, and respect are essential to a healthy workplace. For these to exist, all levels of the organization need to understand the characteristics that ensure this and commit to an ongoing effort to make it a reality.

If your goal is a superior, high-performance office environment that is focused on and dedicated to continuous improvement of your workforce, you need to implement a health and safety training program.

While you know that fulfilling your company’s health and safety obligations is a legal requirement, here are four additional advantages of health and safety training that explain why it’s key to a high-performing office environment.

1. It informs workers and managers about workplace hazards.

Health and safety training is an essential tool for informing workers and managers about workplace hazards so they can work more securely and be more productive.

Exceptional health and safety training provides workers, employers, managers, and supervisors with:

  • The knowledge and skills that are needed for work to be performed safely and to avoid the creation of hazards that could place workers or customers at risk.
  • Awareness and understanding of any potential workplace hazards and a transparent process for identifying, reporting and controlling them.
  • Specialized training for businesses where work involves unique hazards.

 

2. It can be specialized, as well as bring teams together.

One of the benefits of taking a NEBOSH course is that health and safety training can be specialized depending on the roles assigned to employers or individual managers, supervisors, and workers.

For example, employers, managers, and supervisors may require additional training to ensure that they can fulfill their roles and provide leadership, direction, and resources for the safety and health program. Workers assigned specific tasks in a workplace may need training to ensure their full participation in those functions.

Knowing that co-workers are adequately equipped to deal with workplace hazards creates a secure bond between employees.

3. It enables workers to be more productive.

A surefire sign that employees feel comfortable and safe in their high-performing work environment is when they have a commitment to excellence that rivals the CEO’s.

In your office environment, you most likely have workers who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk on their computer. Due to this, there is a high chance that they will begin to experience back, hand or wrist ache.

There is also a high likelihood that they will refrain from raising it as an issue and instead will choose to suffer in silence, albeit working slower than usual. They may even take an increased number of unofficial breaks to deal with the pain.

However, a manager who is well-trained in health and safety can perform a thorough health and safety audit to check for these types of occurrences. Once you’ve identified the specific problems in your office environment, you can take the necessary steps to ensure that your employees are protected from these types of injuries, and that you have implemented the resources they require to be as productive as possible.

Employees may also consider online learning or classroom learning, a setup that will allow them to invest in their healthy and safety education without hindering their productivity.

4. It provides legal protection against damages.

With or without a formal policy, as a company, you must take reasonable steps to care for the health of your staff.

If, as a business owner, you are proven to have been negligent in safeguarding your employees against accident or illness, you can be held personally responsible, which may lead to fines or even imprisonment. For this reason, implementing the appropriate health and safety training and techniques will assure that your firm is documenting and investigating any minor incidents, thus reducing the chance of injury and subsequent claims.

In addition to informing workers and managers about workplace hazards and thus enabling them to be more productive, an additional benefit of health and safety training is that it provides employees with a deeper understanding of the safety and health program itself so that they can contribute to its development and implementation.

The time and attention you pay to health and safety training will reap your business the high-performance status of a superior workforce. This is the performance that will enable your organization to achieve its dreams and goals.

AUTHOR BIO:  Dave Newgass is the owner and Managing Director of Wise Global Training Ltd. Born and raised in a small California coastal fishing town but now living in the United Kingdom, Dave’s goal is to ensure that clients are not only happy with the IOSH and NEBOSH online courses they purchase from Wise Global Training Ltd., but are also happy with the total experience as a whole.

How to Create a Valentine’s Day Sale Invitation using an office.com template

There are literally hundreds of attractive, professionally designed Office Templates that are available through Office.com that can be accessed via the File > New option in Word 2013 and Word 2016.  Word makes it easy for you to search for the exact template you need and you can then modify the template to suit your needs.   These templates can come in really handy when you are tasked with creating a last minute invitation or flyer for a variety of office or business functions.

The following tutorial illustrates how to create a Valentine’s Day Sale Invitation using an Invitation Template from office.com.  You can follow these instructions as explained below or modify the template for your own needs.

  1. Click the File Tab and then click New
  2. In the backstage view, type Valentine Invitation in the search text box and then press the ENTER key on your keyboard.  Thumbnails showing the available templates will appear.
  3. Double click the Valentines Day Swearheart Pie Auction Invitation thumbnail to open the templateSearch for an office.com template
  4. Click anywhere in the [Company Name] placeholder and then type Newtown Bakery.
    office.com template placeholders
  5. Click anywhere in the placeholder text Sweaheart Pie and Supper Auction and type Annual Valentine’s Bake Sale.  Continue modifying the invitation by clicking in the placeholders as explained below.
    office.com template placeholders
  6. Click anywhere in the placeholder text All proceeds to Children’s Hospital and type 50% off most baked goods.
  7. Select the Tickets placeholder and tap the delete key to remove this text from the flyer
  8. Click the 6:00 PM placeholder and type 10:00 a.m.
  9. Click the street address placeholder and then type 2665 High Street.
  10. Click the City, ST Zip Code placeholder and then type Newtown, CA 99999
  11. Click the at placeholder next to Name and then type Ms. Sylvia Buntin
  12. Click the email placeholder and then type msbuntin@gmail.com
  13. Click the phone number placeholder and then type 650-555-1212

Your final flyer should look like the following:

Valentine's Invitation Template

  1. Click the File Tab and then click Save As
  2. Navigate to where you want to save your invitation on your drive and then type valentines-flyer.

How to Give Constructive Feedback to Your Boss… Without Risking Your Job

By Eva Wislow

Everyone has some remarks on the attitude and work of their boss. You’ll often hear these statements when talking about work:

  • “My boss is terrible. He’s completely out of touch with reality.”
  • “My boss is okay… He’s kind and all that, but he’s always late for work and he seems lazy.”
  • “Oh, she imposes impossible deadlines and expects us to be superheroes. She never pays for extra hours.”

It’s safe to say that every boss has negative qualities in their character. They are only human, after all. Sometimes you suck it up and bear with the pressure. Sometimes, however, you feel the need to speak up.

When your constructive feedback can make a real change in the organization, it’s important to speak up. In fact, most bosses are not okay with employees staying quiet when they know that things are taking the wrong turn.

But how do you do it? How do you give such constructive feedback without risking your job?

1. Do It One on One

At the end of a meeting, your boss usually asks: “Does anyone have something to say about this?” If you only plan to present few ideas, go ahead; this is the moment.

If you plan to criticize the boss, however, you should never do it in front of other people. “I believe you’re taking a completely wrong approach to this project” is something they don’t want to hear at in a crowded room.

It’s best to do this in private. Ask to see the boss in their office. If you make a case out of your critique, they will certainly take it into consideration. They will also appreciate the fact that you wanted to see them in private.

2. Mind the Timing

You can usually tell when your boss is having a really bad day. Even if they are usually grumpy, they will be even grumpier on a bad day. It’s important to watch them. You don’t want to tell your boss they are doing things wrong when they are in a really bad mood.

When you notice that your boss is okay, you can ask to see them. Needless to say, you won’t want to ruin their good day with your criticism. That’s why you’ll elaborate it in the right way. The remaining tips of this article cover that point.

3. Show Some Grace

You have to be polite and graceful. You’re not their superior. You still have the right to critique their steps and decisions, but you mustn’t do it from a viewpoint of a superior or someone who knows better than them.

When approaching your boss with a critique, make it friendly and conversational. Tell them you have some ideas you’d like them to consider. Then, present your critique in the form of ideas for improvement.

Instead of saying “I don’t think you’re doing social media marketing properly,” you can say “I think there’s a better way to do our social media marketing. I have few ideas I’d like to share with you.”

4. Make a Strong Case

Constructive criticism

Show them some data that will prove your opinions right.

The critique should not be based on mere personal opinions. “I don’t like how you’re approaching this project” is not an authoritative critique.

Always use strong arguments and support them with facts. Why do you think there’s room for improvement? How do you suggest them to make improvements? Show them some data that will prove your opinions right.

When you bring the facts on, the boss is highly likely to consider your idea. Even if they don’t, you’ll still know you did the right thing about warning them.

5. Know Your Limits

Starting to talk about the things you don’t like is the scariest part. When you go through that point, however, it’s easy to get carried away. You’ll start thinking: “I finally got the courage, so I’m gonna say everything I’ve been thinking all this time.”

Stop! You have to know your limits. You’re not trying to get fired, are you?

Do not make this personal. Be professional and focus on a specific project or aspect of work. Treat your boss with utmost respect and don’t heat up the discussion.

A Good Critique Is Worthy of Respect

When you manage to criticize your boss in the right way, you might even gain their respect. If you see them acting upon some of your suggestions, it means your critique yielded results. Be proud of that!

If you don’t see them improving anything although you’re convinced you were right, well… you did what you could do. From that point on, you can either stay to see how things evolve, or you can start looking for a position at an organization that provides a better working environment.

About the author:

Eva Wislow is a career coach and HR Executive at resume writing service CareersBooster. She is on a mission to help people find their true calling. She finds her inspiration in writing and peace of mind through yoga. Connect with Eva on Twitter.