Free Holiday Templates from Microsoft

With the holidays fast approaching, many of you are tasked with creating a variety of holiday documentation including party flyers, party menus, writing gift tags, creating holiday gift lists, Christmas card lists and more. The good news is that Microsoft has many free holiday templates all ready for you to use that will help make your job so much easier.

One easy way to find the exact holiday template you are looking for is to go directly to where you will find thumbnails and direct links to all the featured categories and events and occasions.  On this page, you can also search by application (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) or go directly to the type of templates you are looking for by browsing through their extended list.

Once you locate the category you are searching for, just click the category and you will be taken to a page full of related templates for that category.  In the example below, I selected the Christmas category as I want to make a holiday party flyer.

Office holiday templates

Browse through the available templates until you find the exact template you are looking for.  Once you locate your template, click on the template and you will be taken to a download page where you can download your template to your office application.  Note:  Right next to the template name, you will see what application the template supports (Word, PowerPoint or Excel).  In the following example, I chose a Microsoft Word Holiday Party Invitation as want to modify my template in Word.

Word Party Invitation template

On the download page, click the download button and your application will be downloaded directly to your computer.

Download templates from Office


Once downloaded, click on the template to open it and it will open in the Office application.  If necessary, click the Enable Editing button at the top of the page so you can modify your template.  To modify the template and add your own text, just select the text you want to change and type in your own information.  Once completed, save the template to your computer drive or to the cloud and it will be ready for printing and distribution.  Happy Holidays!

Using E-Learning in Employee Training (infographic)

Many people will be familiar with the long, boring day sat in a room listening to an instructor speak about how you can improve at your job. At the best of times, these days are tedious, but the reality is they are also not very productive at all. This infographic from One Productions takes you through how much more effective e-learning can be in employee training and outlines why traditional employee training is so ineffective.

After a long day of training, the average employee forgets 65% of the material covered just 7 days later and this figure jumps to 90% after 6 months. The problem with these training sessions is that when they’re done, they’re really done. There is no way for employees to really follow-up if they’re confused about an area. Sure, they could ask their boss, but many employees wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that.

The e-learning industry has grown 900% since the year 2000 and it’s easy to understand why we’ve seen such growth. Think about it from your own perspective. Would you rather be lectured at for an entire day or learn at your own pace with a collection of training videos. Videos allow you to learn at whenever is convenient on any device. If you don’t understand something in the videos, have a look back over it at a time of need rather than it being forced down your throat.

For employers, it’s important to put effort into making these videos. Don’t slack of on production quality just because it’s being circulated internally. Produce them as if the content were being used for your customers. A poor-quality video will make employees less attentive to the content.

Check out the full infographic for more information and remember that 40% of poorly trained employees leave a job within one year. Consider using e-learning to ensure this doesn’t happen.


Business Cards: What You Need to Know

Are business cards still worthwhile? According to this infographic from Colourfast they are still highly effective in the business world. The essential message is that no business card is better than a bad business card as 72% of people judge a company or person on the quality of their business card. Remember that business cards are not expensive so it’s the one area where you really shouldn’t be watching the pennies.

Make sure all of the crucial elements are included in it and take the time to make sure the card is absolutely perfect before committing to the final design. One point where people have different opinions is if you should add a photo to your business card. Many believe you should add it as people will remember faces and not cards. This may be a slightly industry dependent but it is certainly something worth considering.

Another thing to remember about business cards is that you don’t need to give them to absolutely everyone but you should be prepared. Just because you printed a thousand business cards the week before a conference, doesn’t mean they need to be given to every Tom, Dick and Harry you meet. A good rule of thumb is to give a business card to anyone with whom you shake hands as this is generally a good indicator as to whether you’ve made a real connection.

Having said that, no matter where you are you should also have a few business cards in your wallet. Not all business occurs at conferences and who’s to say who you’ll meet in the grocery store or while on vacation.

The infographic below takes you through the subtle differences in business etiquette you need to be aware of, especially if you’re doing business in different parts of the world such as Japan or China.

what you need to know about business cards

Ideas on How to Create Organizational Charts

An organizational chart (org chart) is a visual aid used to clarify who reports to who, and who is responsible for what in your organization. It typically shows the business owner or department head at the top. It can be in the format of a drawing, diagram, flow chart, or picture. Most are stored as an electronic document, and often they’re printed and distributed to staff.

In this article, we’ll show you how to create an organizational chart. We’ll also share some tools to easily create org charts, find organizational chart templates, and suggest creative approaches for communicating your organizational structure.

Two Types of Organizational Charts

For the purpose of managing your small business, there are really only two types of org charts you’ll need to know about:

  • Hierarchical/Top Down
  • Matrixed/Cross-Functional
  1. Hierarchical/Top Down Organizational Chart

A hierarchical, or top down, organizational chart is a diagram that shows an organization’s reporting structure from the top down, starting with the business owner or department manager at the top of the chart, and employees who report to her appearing below her name. All roles appear in boxes connected by a line to illustrate reporting relationships.

  1. Matrixed/Cross-Functional Org Chart

A matrixed, or cross-functional, organizational chart shows multiple reporting relationships. It is used to depict complex business organizational structures with functional or project reporting relationships in addition to supervisory (top down, hierarchical) relationships. It shows both supervisory relationships such as ‘who is my boss’, as well as project or team relationships.

If your organization needs an organizational chart, there are many things to consider such as what tools to use (free or paid) to create it and what to include in your organization chart.  Also, once your organizational chart has been created, how do you use it?   To read more about how to create your own organizational chart including some non traditional approaches you may wish to consider,  take a look at this article compliments of Fit Small Business.  

Simple Ideas for Designing your Small Office Space

Trying to design your small office space for a new home business or study area can be daunting. With some clever use of space – you can make any small office space look like a dream to work in.

We often think that the smaller the space the less imaginative you can be with said space. This is where friends, family or a trusted friend known for their good deco skills may come in handy. By using their knowledge and perspective they just might be the key to helping you plan your own small office deco.

Fortunately for you, we have put a guide together to make designing your small office space a walk in the park. Here is our guide to a variety of ideas for designing your small office space

Build up, not wide

It’s extremely temping to make use of all the space available, however this can only make your office space appear even smaller than it already is. Why not try building or stacking a series of shelves to store your files, or stack small side drawers for your stationary and other miscellaneous pieces?

Contrasting functions

Noticed a split wall with a reasonably sized space on the other side? Why not double up this space with a small office and use the colors that already exist in the main room? Not only will this make decorating a breeze, but the efficient use of space means you won’t have to worry about freeing up extra room elsewhere.

Furniture Revival

If you find yourself not using a neglected corner or dining table, these pieces of furniture just might be the right places to lay down your laptop and fit in a comfortable chair. This goes for neglected rooms or a meter or two of space that you can squeeze a comfortable working station in to.

A Quiet Corner

designing a small home office spaceIf you’ve got a corner free in the house then there’s no better idea than pushing a small desk and chair into this area. A small shelf or chest of drawers will also fill the space nicely for your newly formed corner office. Bonus points if this corner is paired with a window for a great office view, making it the perfect retreat to get some work done.

Bio:  Modern Garden Rooms are a premier garden room design company offering bespoke, ergonomic solutions at excellent value. We aid from everything in the initial stages of planning all the way through to installation of your garden room. From start to finish, you’ll experience a streamlined process that is uniquely transparent and highly collaborative.