Four Steps to Make the Most of Your Home Office from Smead
Four Steps to Make the Most of Your Home Office from Smead
A home office is meant to be a place to work, whether you’re managing the business of life for you and
your family or are lucky enough to have an employer who allows you the privilege to work from home.
Creating the proper environment and spending your time wisely in your home office will save you time
1. Make It a Space You Enjoy – You probably spend a lot of time in your home office and you’ll want to
create an environment that attracts you, versus repels you. Your space should be inviting as well as
functional. Things for you to consider:
- Proper Lighting – Take advantage of natural lighting if you can. However, if you’re someone who
prefers to work late in the evening, you’ll need good task lighting in order to lessen eye strain.
- Comfortable Chair – When you work from home, much of your time is spent sitting. Invest in a
comfortable, ergonomic chair. You’ll feel better and your back will thank you in the long run.
- A Desk Tailored for You – What do you plan to do at your desk? If your work is primarily done on a
computer and entails very little paper, a small desk will do you well. However, if you like to spread
out with paper reports and reference material close by, you might choose a larger desk or an Lshaped one. If it’s more comfortable for you to stand and work, consider an adjustable desk.
2. Keep Clutter to a Minimum – It can be a challenge not to have piles on your desk. There’s always
more work than you can keep up with, and mail and paperwork are part of that. To lessen the impact:
- Inbox – Ensure you have one place for paperwork and other items to land until you can deal with
them, i.e. an inbox. Incoming items like meeting notes, business cards, and items to read should be
placed in your inbox, rather than dumping them in a pile on your desk. Set a weekly appointment on
your calendar to go through your inbox and process the items inside — add items to your to-do list or
calendar, enter into your contacts, create a project file, put in a portable “to-read” folder, etc. Keep in
mind your inbox is a holding spot that’s meant to be emptied. It’s not a file cabinet!
- The 2-Minute Pick Up – Before leaving your office, spend two minutes throwing away obvious trash
(coffee cups, food containers, random sticky notes, etc.), putting supplies like pens and paper clips
back in their drawer or container, and jot down notes about what you need to do the next day.
Clearing your head is just as important as clearing your physical space.
- Schedule File Time – No one likes to file paper, but it won’t magically file itself either. Create a file
system that is easy to use and easy to access so that you can find what you need when you need it.
Then schedule regular intervals to file the paperwork you need to keep.
3. Have the Right Tools – Sometimes having the right tool is half the job. If your home office includes
outdated technology that you constantly have to troubleshoot, you could be wasting a lot of time. Yes
there is a monetary cost to keeping up with current devices, but you won’t have to deal with the time
cost (in addition to the frustration from a slow computer or internet connection) when everything is
working properly. Besides your basic computer and printer, other good tools to consider:
- Office Supplies – These should be within easy reach and you should have a supply on hand so
you don’t have to head to the store or await a delivery when you run out of something. A wellsupplied office contains: pens, pencils, sticky notes, paper clips, binder clips, a stapler, a tape
dispenser, file folders, mailing supplies, etc.
- Label Maker – Keep it close by and as common place as your stapler. You can label files folders,
containers, shelves, drawers and other areas for easy identification of where everything goes.
Your 2-minute pick up will be a breeze!
- Scanner – If you’re aiming to have less paper in your office, a good quality scanner will help get
4. Create Structure and Routine – There are so many distractions when working in a home office, it’s
easy to lose focus. Set-up routines that work for you and your particular situation.
- Determine your office hours and stick to them.
- Process emails at scheduled times rather than letting them overtake your day.
- Allow for breaks in your day so you can refresh and recharge.
- Have a system for tracking tasks and projects. (Random notepads and sticky notes are not a
- Know your priorities so you’re less overwhelmed and can put time and energy into what is
Follow these 4 simple steps and you will find your home office can be a productive and stress-free
Source: Lori Krolik, More Time for You/Smead Blog
5 Activities for National Safety Month
The top activities for engaging employees during National Safety Month include:
Set a company goal for AED/CPR training: Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a stoppage of the heart, causes an estimated 15 percent of workplace deaths. Employees who are well-trained in both CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) use will be fully prepared to respond when SCA occurs. Set a company-wide goal to get a large percentage of workers certified and recognize those individuals who participate in the program by hosting a lunch or picnic. Enlist the help of a training provider and American Heart Association (AHA)-certified instructors to highlight proper AED use and CPR technique.
Fit employees for PPE: Since PPE is only fully effective when it fits correctly, and employees are more likely to wear it when it fits, National Safety Month events are a great opportunity to size employees for gloves, eyewear, hearing protection and protective apparel. PPE that fits properly will not inhibit movement or comfort, but will be tight enough to protect employees during daily activities. Set up fitting stations with several sizes and have a representative on duty who can maintain a log of employees’ sizes to make future ordering easier.
Host a safety contest: To keep employees focused and enthusiastic about safety, use contests and trivia to test employee knowledge about correct safety practices. For example, use an “identify what’s wrong with this picture” contest and have employees submit answers for prizes. To maintain engagement over time, launch a recognition program that rewards certain departments or individuals who have shown an exemplary dedication to workplace safety.
Test fire extinguisher skills: Pick a vendor that can be on-site during safety events to train employees on proper fire extinguisher technique using a fire simulator. Then, test employees’ knowledge with oral quizzes and online training courses. In addition, make sure employees know where all extinguishers and exits are located throughout the facility so they can be fully prepared if a fire occurs.
Teach emergency response: A common misconception is that employees know how to properly respond in the event of an emergency. Use safety awareness events to teach employees proper response including evacuation protocol, first-aid techniques and how to call for help during an emergency. Assign stand-out employees to emergency response teams that can correctly handle chemical spills, fires, natural disasters and SCA.
Dockers and the Birth of Casual Fridays
Loving the everyday comfort of Dockers® at your desk? You’re not the only one. Over the past two decades, a button-down shirt and Dockers® khakis, an ensemble that was originally deemed too casual to constitute business attire, has taken the corporate world by storm.
Dockers® is often credited with the invention of Casual Fridays, the phenomenon that inspired a cultural shift in how we dress for the office. It’s partially, but not entirely, the truth.
In 1966, a professional manufacturing association known as the Hawaiian Fashion Guild figured out a plan to boost sales of Hawaiian shirts and dresses. “Aloha Fridays” gave employees the fashion freedom to wear these colorful garments in the office at the end of the week. Their strategy not only sold many shirts, but also enforced a societal message: There’s room for fun and relaxation in the workplace. (They don’t call it “island time” for nothing, after all).
The tradition inspired the popular sing-along “Aloha Friday,” with lyrics that include “I work hard all week long. I can’t wait to get away.” Try listening to this catchy tune and not fantasizing about piping it into your office loudspeaker next Friday afternoon!
Aloha Fridays eventually made their way to the mainland during the dot-com boom of the early 90s. While some offices rejected the practice, thinking it would decrease workplace productivity, other management realized that allowing their employees to participate might be a great way to boost office morale and give the workforce an end-of-the-week “perk” that was cost-effective.
The practice encountered a few issues early on. Some HR departments worried that Hawaiian shirt and flip-flop ensemble of Aloha Fridays was a little too much fun. And the lack of any real guidelines for how to dress beyond the confines of a business suit left many professionals scratching their heads while staring into their closet Friday morning.
Dockers® found themselves in the perfect position to come up with a creative solution. “When Dockers was conceived back in the ’80s, it was at a quintessential time when business people were looking to break away from the suit and showcase a bit more of their unique style. This represented a significant shift from the traditional dress code of that time towards something that was considered both modern and professional with a nice twist of laid back style,” said Adrienne Lofton, Chief Marketing Officer of the Dockers® brand at Levi Strauss & Co. In 1992, they created a trusty “Guide To Casual Business Wear,” and mailed the pamphlet to approximately 25,000 HR managers across the country.
If there was ever any doubt that Casual Fridays caught on, here are some numbers to chew on. In a survey conducted by Evans Research in 1995, nine out of ten companies allowed their staff to dress casually in the workplace, either on an occasional or full-time basis, up from about two-thirds in 1992. And while in 1992, 20% of companies dressed casually every day, by 1995 those numbers were closer to 33%, with a whopping 42% of companies allowing their workers to dress casually one day a week.
The “Guide To Casual Business Wear” was undoubtedly the culprit. With handy tidbits such as “consider the style and tone of your outfit when choosing belts scarves and jewelry,” the guide provided instructions as well as handy visual inspiration. It stressed the idea that casual was not another word for sloppy—“Keep wrinkled, stained, or dirty clothing out of the workplace”—and cautioned that anything too revealing—lingerie looks, transparency and in some cases, bare legs—could be a major no-no. Dockers® even sponsored in-office fashion shows, and provided a hotline for workplace dress code emergencies.
This roadmap for dressing in casual business attire formed the foundation for the relaxed look we’ve come to know and love, and boosted worker morale nationwide. Dockers® was hailed as revolutionary for creating a cultural shift that propelled their khakis into the mainstream.
It was a pioneering and forward-thinking approach that the brand continues to implement today—for instance, with the development of their dynamic and modern Alpha Khaki. Whether you have Casual Fridays in your office or not, we guarantee you that when you invest in a great-fitting pair of pants, you’ll want to wear them more than one day a week.
article via: levistrauss.com
Earth Day Paper Facts
Paper plays a big part in making sure forests are sustained for long-term growth. So much so, that we like to think that we celebrate Earth Day every day!
Employee Spirit Month
The Strickland team does our very best to help you maximize your WorkLife efficiency and productivity by offering tools you need to get your job done. But, their are other factors that contribute to a happy WorkLife besides the perfect paper or your favorite ink pen.
March is Employee Spirit Month: here are 10 ways you can boost morale and encourage a happy, healthy working environment at your office.
- Set a good example: Stick to your word, maintain a positive attitude, and be approachable at all times.
- Let your employees know how they are doing. Congratulate and recognize them when they’ve completed a project well. Likewise, provide feedback and suggestions on how to improve if you’re disappointed in their work.
- Celebrate special milestones, events, and accomplishments in the lives of your employees: birthdays, engagements, weddings, births, and anniversaries.
- Listen to your employees. Paying close attention to their needs, issues and personal stories shows respect, support, and trust.
- Communicate clearly, frequently and in person. This ensures everyone is on the same page and keeps your employees in the loop as much as possible.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. Encourage your employees to try innovative, risky ideas, take on new responsibilities, and share their own advice.
- Give them plenty of room to grow. Encourage your employees to attend training seminars, conferences and other developmental opportunities to help them evolve within your company.
- Offer incentives for a job well done. This could be anything from a free lunch to a half-day on Friday for meeting an important deadline.
- Encourage a good work-life balance. Be open and flexible. Encourage breaks throughout the day so your employees don’t feel overwhelmed and overworked.
- Have fun! Make team-building events, community service projects, themed parties or after-work get-togethers a regular part of your schedule.