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How to Run Great Business Meetings

August 29, 2016 Business, Productivity, Workplace

Skip the black hole of time suckage and make everyone happier.

Meetings are a great way for people to work together. They can also be a massive black hole, sucking time and the will to live from participants! You can easily avoid another black hole with this simple guide:

  1. Purpose

Start by working out if you actually need a meeting. Do you need to:

  • share information?
  • solve a problem?
  • gather information?
  • provide training?
  • make a decision?

Then you need a meeting!

  1. People

Next is your guest list – who really needs to attend? Limit your meeting to no more than 10 participants, and allow people to opt out if they believe they don’t need to be there. This way everyone who attends will be engaged and more productive.

  1. Presider

Are you going to be in charge of this meeting or do you need to assign someone else to facilitate? The presider should have ownership of the meeting and its overall outcome. This person has to create a welcoming environment, facilitate the meeting and activities, stick to the agenda, and may also be the ultimate decision-maker.

  1. Preparation

Being prepared before the meeting will help it to take a minimal amount of time. Set an agenda with assigned tasks to be completed before the meeting and distribute in advance. Have your participants bring solutions rather than problems to the meeting.

  1. Place

When you book your meeting room allow time to set-up and pack-up. On the day, set up your room to suit the needs of the meeting. You will need pens and notepads for each participant as well as plenty of post-it notes, marker pens, blu-tak, a flip-chart and whiteboard. Check that the projector is working and that your laptop connects. And don’t forget the snacks and drinks!

  1. Period

Nobody wants to spend more time than they have to in a meeting, so keep it short and sweet. Put a time limit on your meeting and stick to it. Short meetings force people to be concise and to work within the time constraints.

  1. Positive

Psychologists have proven that the way a meeting starts sets the overall tone for the meeting. To kick it off on a positive note try sharing a relevant anecdote or a successful outcome of the last meeting.

  1. Pit-Stops

We don’t need some expert to tell us that our attention-spans have shrunk, but the bad news is that most adults can only stay focused for 10 minutes!

Scheduling in regular breaks, ideally 2 minutes at the half-hour and 5 minutes at the hour, will boost engagement. For longer meetings you’ll also need to allow sufficient time for a proper lunch break.

  1. Participation

Another way to keep participants focused is to get them involved. One idea is to line the walls with different problems to solve, posed as “How can we…?” questions. Participants then walk around and use their post-it notes to add their suggestions.

  1. Post-Meeting

The end of the meeting isn’t the end. You’ve got three important things to do now. First, make sure everyone walks away with action items relevant to their expertise and a deadline for completion. Second, take photos of all your creative ideas and collate any notes by theme. And third, keep everyone up-to-date with the outcome of the meeting and any decisions that come from it. This will help them to feel like their time and input were valued.

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6 Ways To Create A Happy Workplace

August 22, 2016 Workplace

Happy employees are 12 percent more productive than the norm, and 22 percent more productive than their unhappy peers.

Office Supplies Australia Director, Fraser Thomson believes in creating an environment that offers a great work-life balance.

It is important to take the time to get to know your employees, show that you really care and support your employees to voice their opinion and value their input.

It isn’t always about money; it doesn’t buy happiness. Employees value a great working environment; it is the difference between keeping or losing employees that are part of your big picture.

Creating a pleasant workplace full of happy people contributes directly to the bottom line.

There are many things you can do to create and maintain a happy organisation. Here are some ways to get started.

–      Office Etiquette. Ensure healthy relationships, respect, encouragement and compliments are part of your company culture. Happy personalities are key to success

–      Make work-life balance a priority. Family always comes FIRST

–      Office Etiquette. Ensure healthy relationships, respect, encouragement and compliments are part of your company culture

–      Encourage employees to be healthier. Encourage healthy eating and exercise through company programs

–      Ensure employees understand they are part of the big picture

–      Value employees input, ask what they think?

–      Give credit when credits due

–      Office Setup is critical to building the winning culture

–      Focus on the positive

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Your Workplace’s Dirty Little Secret

Workplace

Poor office hygiene means that the dirtiest parts of your office are lurking right beneath your nose and may be causing you to get sick.

While you wouldn’t eat off your workplace’s toilet seat, research shows that the work desk you’ll happily eat from has 400 times more bacteria! Thanks to this snacking, along with coughing, sneezing, and simply touching, our desks are plagued with germs, with the potential to cause harm to you and your colleagues. You spend a large chunk of your day at your desk, so office hygiene affects you directly.

Down and Dirty

While the usual suspects: bathroom, elevator buttons and refrigerator, are obvious havens for disgusting germs, it turns out that some of the dirtiest parts of the office are in your immediate workspace. Your desktop, keyboard, mouse, phone and chair are rife with germs from the constant contact you have with them. Even a tidy desk can be completely unsanitary. In the increasingly popular open plan offices and shared workstations, each user contributes to the bacterial cocktail. And since many office cleaners aren’t even contracted to wipe down desktops now, the dirtiest parts of your workplace are left completely untouched.

Is Your Phone Bugged?
Leading the pack as the most contaminated item on your desktop is your telephone with 25,127 microbes per square inch. As something that you are constantly touching with your hand and face while breathing your moist, warm, bacteria-rich breath into, this only makes sense.

The Grime Scene?
However researchers were surprised to find that office chairs were almost as bacteria-laden as telephones. Not so surprising was the bacterial contamination of keyboards and computer mice, with their frequent use and position in the spray zone for our coughs, sneezes and even lunch crumbs. Beneath them, your desk is the final frontier, gathering all the bacteria, viruses and food into an environment 100 times more contaminated than the communal work kitchen table you should be dining at.

Risky Business?
All this filth is a workplace health hazard. 80% of infections are transmitted via contaminated surfaces, not airborne particles, with some of the more dangerous germs able to survive and multiply for days or even months on hard surfaces, putting you at risk of illness. Australian businesses are suffering as a result, with office workers taking 1.6 sick days a year due to poor hygiene alone. That equates to a whopping $5.4 billion in lost earnings. The problem for businesses isn’t just a matter of money. Recent research suggests that a dirty workplace fosters feelings of disgust in employees that lead them to lie, cheat and steal. The same research demonstrated that cleanliness can reestablish ethical and cooperative behavior.

Simple Solution?
The solution is simple. Maintaining your own workspace is the key to your physical and mental workplace health. Spending a small amount of time at the start of each day using an antibacterial wipe to clean down your phone, mouse, keyboard, desk and chair will vastly reduce the bacterial build up. In one study the improvement was a drastic 99.9% less bacteria within just 2 days. Choose antibacterial wipes and air dusters over sprays or paper towel as sprays can introduce moisture into delicate electronics and paper towel will only spread bacteria around the surfaces rather than removing or killing it. Keeping hand sanitiser at your desk and avoiding having food there are also great ways you can protect yourself against the office lurgies.

It’s time you took control of your own health and wellbeing at work by implementing a simple daily cleaning routine. You will reduce your risk of illness and improve office hygiene.

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Take a Stand for Office Health

Productivity, Workplace

Did you know that health experts now recommend standing up to work rather than sitting down?

You’ll burn 480 calories a day without so much as a diet shake, it’s not nearly as silly as it sounds.

It’s not just the muffins in the tearoom making that muffin-top overhanging your pants. The evidence is mounting to link our sedentary workplaces and lifestyles with our growing waistlines. In fact the latest reports show that sitting for more than an hour actually shuts off our fat-burning enzymes!

As a nation of couch potatoes spending 80% of every day on our bottoms it’s time for Australian office workers to take a stand. Here’s our guide to improving health and wellbeing in your office with sit-stand desks:

Cost

Australian office workers sit at their desks for an average of 6.3 hours/day and health experts say that sitting for long periods of time like this actually switches off our metabolism! Even hitting the gym after work isn’t enough to combat the effects of sitting all day (reference). So sitting is making us fatter and Australia’s obesity epidemic already costs us $3.6 billion in lost workplace productivity, making it a no-brainer that we need to change the way we work. The cost might be a financial one for your boss, but ultimately you’ll pay with your health and weight.

Change

The recommendation is simply to sit less and stand more, ideally getting out of the chair at least once an hour. But how can we do that when our job calls for us to be stuck at a desk all day? That’s the beauty of sit-stand desks – the new revolution sweeping the office world. You get to decide which position to work in and when. You’ll probably find it easiest to sit when you need to concentrate, while standing is perfect for the simpler stuff like emailing and reading.

Choices

With the demand for sit-stand desks increasing there’s a growing variety of styles for all budgets. You can choose from affordable basic models all the way up to the luxury versions with a built-in touchscreen to preset your heights and a subtle reminder nudge to change positions.

Challenge

Sit-stand desk users find the biggest challenge comes when the novelty wears off, usually about a month in, with 70% returning to a fixed sitting position. You may feel a bit awkward standing up when others are seated, so you need to make a firm commitment and stick to it. 

Commitment

Now you’re thinking about all those other health commitments you haven’t been able to stick to, but like the wonder of the Fitbit, feeble willpower is no excuse thanks to the awesomeness of tech! Choosing an electric push button model will make it easy to convert positions and motivate you to make it part of your daily routine. 

Culture

Changing the culture of your workplace will also make a difference – getting sit-stand desks for everyone will normalise the concept and lead to better health and productivity for your whole office.

Calories

And best of all you’ll be burning calories! Standing triggers your body to breakdown fats and sugars leading to weight loss! Imagine burning the same amount of calories each day as a half-hour High Intensity Interval Training session without the sweat!

So the bottomline is that a sit-stand desk is better for your bottomline!

Health Risks Associated with Prolonged Sitting for Office Workers:

  • Certain Cancers
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Mental Health

Contact 1300 13 11 08 or sales@osa.com.au to arrange a demonstration or to place your order.

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Why Your Workplace Needs a Coffee Capsule Machine

August 21, 2016 Workplace

A coffee capsule machine at work gives you access to consistently good espresso coffee to fuel employees, and will help you save money and save time.

Every morning the queues run out the doors of cafés across Australia. As our passion and our palate for rich coffee grows we are shifting away from the traditionally popular instant coffees for freshly brewed concoctions. Even during the work day we’ll head out for a cuppa for ourselves or for our visitors, wasting precious time from our already busy schedule and spending in excess of $3 just for a regular size cup. Instead, for a very small outlay, our workplace could supply a coffee capsule machine, providing us with the lifeblood we need to function, keeping staff in the office, and impressing visitors with an inexpensive quality coffee.

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The Argument for Free Coffee in the Workplace is Strong

August 20, 2016 Workplace

Having good coffee available at work results in happier, more productive workers. The science is in and work-supplied coffee has been justified by its many benefits to the workplace.

Ah, coffee.

It’s the socially acceptable performance-enhancing drug that keeps the world turning. Just the sweet, sweet smell of that heavenly aroma has been shown to reduce tension; no wonder it outperforms every traded commodity except crude oil. Here in Australia our appetite for coffee is on the increase, although we currently only rank 42nd in the world for consumption.

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Your Winter Workwear Responsibilities

Workplace

Buying winter workwear for your staff solves their need for warmth and dryness, and your responsibility to keep them safe, looking professional and staying productive as the weather cools.

Australian winters can serve up a mixed bag of conditions from frosty mornings to dry days, and windy weather to weeks of rain. As the temperatures drop your employees need the right workwear to protect them from the elements, stay professional and maintain their productivity. Winter workwear offers solutions to each of these and lets you meet your Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) responsibilities and stay profitable at this time of year.

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12 Reasons You Need To Buy Workwear For Your Business

Business, Workplace

By purchasing workwear for your business you can make sure that your staff are dressed appropriately and you can enhance the profitability of your business.

Don’t write-off workwear as something just for big blokes needing high visibility clothing, tight-fitting work shorts and steel-capped boots. Every business has some level of workwear requirement – discover yours here:

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Why Celebrate Administrative Professionals Day?

Workplace

It’s not 1950 so giving flowers to your secretary could be considered demeaning, but demonstrating gratitude for the role played by administrative professionals is still as relevant today as when Secretaries Day was instituted.

While the workplace has changed radically in the past few decades and we’ve adopted more PC-friendly job titles like Administrative Professional over secretary, the sentiment behind a holiday celebrating the work done by these people is still entirely relevant. Demonstrating gratitude is beneficial to both the giver and receiver, and is vital to workplace happiness, productivity and business success.

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