| How Health Impacts Employee Productivity

Posted in Staffing at 5:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

A healthy diet can promote good health and as a result, employee wellness is tied closely to worker efficiency.  According to a recent study, 77 percent of lost productivity is attributable to health-related issues.  Furthermore, employees who did not regularly eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables were 66 percent more likely than healthy eaters to say they had experienced a decrease in productivity. Exercise, getting enough sleep and whether a worker smokes also are key factors that determine whether an employee is bringing his or her “A” game to work on an everyday basis. The following infographic displays how health impacts productivity and what employees can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle while working a desk job.

 

How Health Impacts Productivity created by ZeroCater.

| Three Professionals That Your Business Should Always Use

Posted in Staffing at 5:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

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When it comes to running a business, there are always loads to think about. There are a lot of complex areas to a business. And, if you want to handle them all; you’ll have to start studying. A lot of the jobs that need to be done should be handled by professionals. And, to do this, you need to know what you need help with. So, to get you started, this post will be going through some of the professionals that are essential for your business and some good ways to go about finding them.

A lot of people have started using online website building tools, which let you make a website by yourself. Of course, these are fine for a personal site. But, for a business, they can look very bad. They’re easy to spot, and people will instantly know that the site has been built this way. So, for your website, you’ll need some professional help. Finding a website developer isn’t too hard. In most towns, you’ll find several examples. So, you just need to find the best one in your area. This is usually a matter of making sure that you research and find their past customers. Seeing their sites will give you a good idea of the quality of their work. Get more than one quote, from different people. Web design costs will vary greatly between different companies. So, it’s worth looking for examples with the best prices and past work. People in this position may also be able to help you with things like marketing and branding.

A lot of business is all about the numbers that you move around. And, of course; most people don’t like math. It’s important to take this area seriously, though. It’s easy for a business to make mistakes with their accounting which can lead to trouble in the future. Failing to pay taxes correctly or over-valuing your business can make life hard for you in the future. So, it’s best to get the help of an accounting expert to handle these things for you. They will be able to focus on the numbers behind your business; while you can to work in other areas. All while making sure that you are handling your numbers correctly. You can usually avoiding having to hire someone here, by going for a company that offers pay-as-you-go services.

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It’s important that a business operates within the law. Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll accidentally do anything criminal. But, you may break the law in other ways. Failing to make sure that staff has the right equipment for their jobs can cause a lot of trouble. Or, you may accidentally rip off another company’s logo. In this situation, it’s best to have a professional legal advisor by your side. They can help you throughout the growth and start of your business; making it easy for you to sleep well at night.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to take some of the weight off of your shoulders when it comes to your business. It can be hard to make sure that you’re not trying to do work that you can’t handle. So, it’s worth doing some research to make sure that you can’t get rid of some jobs.

| 4 Occasions When Your Business Should Outsource

Posted in Staffing at 4:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

If you have been in the world of business for any length of time, then you will probably be aware of the incredible power of outsourcing. This is a method which, in actuality, very few businesses operating today can do without. Outsourcing is very much keeping a number of industries alive through partnering different businesses up seamlessly. If you are wondering how your business might use outsourcing to improve how it operates, then the truth is that there are a few choice situations in which it is particularly powerful. Let’s take a look at when you might want to consider using outsourcing in your business.

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Marketing

All businesses need to promote themselves as well as possible, and you will probably find that using an outside firm to help you here is likely to make a big difference to the effectiveness of your marketing attempts. In general, outsourcing your marketing is likely to save you a huge amount of time, a lot of money – and you will still get everything done that needs to be done. As long as you are able to communicate effectively about what it is that you want, what your brand is meant to be like, and so on, outsourcing your marketing will probably make a big difference to the ongoing success of your business.

 

Web Design

A clear sign that you should outsource something is if it is something that a professional could do much more effectively than you or your colleagues. It is often the case that businesses feel the need for a professional website for their business. After all, a good business website is like having a constant front page which the public can see of the brand. But the technicalities of getting the design of the website right is often too difficult not to outsource. In these cases, it is probably a good idea to find website design help, so that your business’ site can stand out much more easily and readily.

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Security

This is something that you will almost certainly need to outsource. As a rule, security firms are always external from the company they are protecting, and this is useful for a number of reasons. For a start, if your security team is not part of your everyday team in the business, then they are unlikely to have a vested interest in helping anyone to gain access who shouldn’t have access. It is also true that these firms tend to be much more professional, and more effective than those which are built up within the company itself. If you are concerned about the security of your business and the safety of your people – and all good business owners are – then hiring an external security team is the best way to go.

 

Payroll

One of the biggest areas for corruption is within payroll, and for this reason alone it is a good idea to outsource it if you are able. It is also helpful in that there are so many regulations, tax laws and so on that you probably need a professional to make sure it is all done in the proper manner.

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| Getting Ready For Your First Employees

Posted in Staffing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Whether you’re starting a new business or you scaling up from an operation you could once handle alone, taking on employees isn’t a simple process. It’s not as simple as telling them to get to work. This is when you really get into the more complicated parts of running a business. You have responsibilities and you also have a need to get the best out of your team. Here are some of the most major concerns you want to get out of the way early.

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Have Your Policies Set In Place

Employees have rights and you have responsibilities you need to have sorted out immediately. Setting payroll dates on contracts you can easily follow and making sure your hiring practices are fair are just the start. At some point, you have to expect that an employee might cause problems in the office. Perhaps they’re just not able to keep up with their role, perhaps they’re causing a hostile workplace, even harassing their colleagues. Allowing those hostile workplace practices to go on is a deadly mistake. You need to set out a proper set of HR policies, from how you handle and (more importantly) document corrective measures and terminations to how you handle employees reporting harmful behavior. It’s your responsibility to protect those employees after all.

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Ensure the Environment Is Ready For Them

Protecting them goes as far as protecting them physically from the dangers of the job, too. Even seemingly safe environments like offices have plenty of health risks that could put the wellbeing of employees in jeopardy. That’s why, regardless of what industry you’re in, you need to properly prepare the working environment. Health and safety consulting can be an important tool in spotting risks in your workplace you might not have considered. From there, you put in place the proper training and awareness measures like signage to make those threats a thing of the past. Ensuring proper ergonomics, lighting, airflow and the like can also keep them from getting sick due to simply being where they are.

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Know Their Role

Besides making sure that your employees and the business are protected from the dangers that can get in the way, you need to make sure employees are used properly. Wasting their time with confused roles and little organization is going to mean you spend more time micro-managing them and telling them what to do next, which is the opposite of efficient. Before you take on an employee, make sure you completely define their role. Writing a detailed job description can help you better understand all their responsibilities, as well as the tools you could get in the business that let them better do that, from new methods to new software. Make their role as autonomous as possible so you don’t have to keep taking time out of your own work to help them along.

Failing to take care of your responsibilities or your needs is an easy way to make employees a hindrance more than a help. Ensure your business is ready to take on people and direct them in the best possible way. Then you’ll see the true value of a having a team on your side.

| Movin’ On Up! How To Create The Perfect Office

Posted in Staffing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

There are plenty of signs that your startup is becoming a genuine success. Some people base it on their presence on social media, others use cold hard cash to measure their success, but there’s one thing that everyone agrees on as a sign of a business on the up and up: the moment you have to move to a new office. Many startups begin their lives being run out of someone’s living room and that’s just fine. When it’s you and a few friends setting up a business, then you really don’t need much more than a laptop and a dream. But over time the needs of your business are going to grow, and you suddenly find that it’s just not realistic to try to do everything from home anymore. Your staffing needs will increase; you’ll need greater levels of infrastructure, not to mention that it lends a far greater sense of legitimacy to your business in the eyes of the rest of the world. With all of that in mind, here are a few ways to make sure that your office space is absolutely perfect for your needs.

Think About Space

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The kind of office that you choose for your business is going to be pretty strongly influenced by the kind of business that you actually run. What kind of atmosphere are you trying to create? What are the specific needs of your employees? These kinds of questions are crucial when you’re trying to figure out what it is that you need from your office space. If your business is based around creativity and communication then it’s important that there aren’t too many things separating members of your team. If you need specific pieces of technology throughout the office then you need to make sure that you’re using the space properly to prevent any mobility, or health and safety, problems.

 

What Changes Do You Need To Make?

Not every office space is going to be there, fully formed, ready for you the moment you find it. A lot of the time it’s your job when looking for the right office to see the potential in places that might require a little bit of work. Are there walls that you want to get rid of to make it into a more open plan environment? Do you need a company like TC Floors West to level the floors so that it’s actually a safe and comfortable place to work? Remember that time and money are always going to be a factor so it’s important to weigh the needs of your office with both the time frame that you’re working with and the condition of your finances.

 

Location, Location, Location

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Depending on the business that you’re running, the kind of location that you’re in is going to make a lot of difference. If your office is the kind of place that’s going to get a lot of clients and customers coming in and out, then you want it to be somewhere easily accessible. If you need a warehouse or other large area then it’s not going to be a great idea for it to be located in a busy, populated area. Remember, just because the office seems perfect doesn’t mean that it is. Make sure that you weigh all of the pros and cons before making any decisions.

| Employee Needs Beyond The Paycheck

Posted in Staffing at 4:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

It can be hard to gauge the needs of a person. Sometimes that person themselves won’t know what they need. We see this all the time in employees who use their leverage to negotiate only benefits that have some kind of financial perk to them. But the truth is that employees need more than money from you. Here are a few things that everyone needs even if they don’t realize it at the time.

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Control

Everyone needs the space and flexibility to do things their way. This doesn’t just mean offering flexible working times, locations, and devices. It also means allowing for a bit more autonomy in how someone does their job. You want to find the most efficient methods, but their ideas on that end might prove more well-informed than yours since they’re the ones actually doing the work. Even if they like their job, limiting them too much can be a real cause of stress because they feel like they’re being constrained by the role. Allowing employees a degree of self-control can really improve morale and can surprise you with the positive impact on productivity and the results of their work. That doesn’t mean you have to get completely hands-off with them. You should be there to offer your take on things when they need it.

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Respect

Respect comes in many forms in the workplace. It isn’t just about saying your “pleases” and “thank yous”. It means allowing them to take responsibility for their goofs and taking responsibility of yours. It includes allowing that degree of autonomy. It also means implementing a few employee appreciation ideas to show that you know the role they’re performing is important and the results they provide matter. Without respect, people don’t really feel like they have a role to play in the business. Instead, they will just feel like a cog in the machine. That feeling will hurt morale, it will cause them to care less, making them less productive and it will see engagement in the business drop to all-new lows.

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Future

Seeing their results affect real change in a company is always going to be rewarding for employees. But you can’t expect them to work for you for years with only the business’ best interests in mind. They have futures they want to contribute to and by helping them do so, you can show that you consider the relationship with them important. Training employees and giving them the opportunities to learn new skills and responsibilities won’t just keep them focused on exploring their potential for themselves and the business. Failing to train them is risky, watching their skills stagnate to the point that they become a liability to the business more than anything else.

By anticipating the needs of your team and offering it to them, you show that you are more than the source of a paycheck. You are a person and you are invested in them as people. Showing that is by far the quickest way to win the loyalty and best possible efforts of your team.

| Enforced “Downsizing”? Here’s How You Keep Business As Usual

Posted in Staffing at 1:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

If you’re a small business, from time to time you might find yourself in a position where, all of a sudden, you could lose a significant percentage of your workforce. In a team of four or five, say – one person could quit, one has travel plans arranged well in advance, and the other gets ill. Out of nowhere, you’re running at way below full capacity, and there’s no guarantee that things will pick up anytime soon. It’s a scary time, but remember; it’s much better than downsizing because you have to. And you’ll get through it just fine, if you take our advice.

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Bring in the Experts

In a small team, every person’s expertise is highly valued. The person who is good with numbers becomes the de facto accountant; the person with a gift for the gab becomes the communications expert and/or receptionist, and so on. As such, losing a couple of members of staff can make it so that you’re severely lacking in a few key areas. These areas are too important to ignore, and you’ll need to outsource the work to make sure they’re taken care of. A service such as Receivr can make sure people can always get through; and will stop you from spreading yourself too thin. Bringing in an accountancy firm or financial advisors will make sure that the crucial details aren’t overlooked until your team is back in one piece.

Keep Things Steady

If your business has been going well and you’ve been seeing steady growth, then it might be frustrating to have to curb your progress through no fault of the company, but it’ll be an essential move until the ship is steadied. By taking on extra business and acting as if everything is fine, you’ll be pushing yourself too much, to the limit, and you risk burning out unnecessarily. There’s always time to grow bigger later on down the line, but if you get too big and are unable to offer the level of service you know you can provide, and then you’ll be doing your business more harm than good – even if profits are temporarily improved.

Part Time Staff

If you’re struggling with the admin side of your business while you’re understaffed, then look into bringing a couple of new faces on a part-time basis. Depending on how desperate your situation is, it might be worth contacting a temporary staffing agency to get people in quickly for a couple of weeks. Otherwise, asking friends or family members if they – or anyone they know – would like part time work is an option.

Be Prepared to Work Hard

…Not that you don’t already work hard, but this might be one of those times where you just have to suck it up and put in the long hours. It’ll feel like your work/life balance is heavily tipped on one side, but this is the nature of running your own business. In a few weeks, when things are back to normal, you’ll be able to look back with pride at your hard work.

| Look After Your Staff And They Will Look After You

Posted in Staffing at 12:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

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With the recent turn of events in politics you may have noticed a lot of the world is talking about business, women, equal rights and promoting our traders and supporting start-ups.  Whilst there are many negatives in this situation there are some really interesting positives.  We don’t know where the future is heading, so it’s more important than ever we knuckle down and make sure our ships aren’t sinkable.

One of the most important areas of your business, outside of profit and loss, is the performance of your staff.  From management right through to the shop floor, you need to be able to count on your team to be in top form.  However, a good boss knows that you need to start at the top and nurture your way to the roots.

Taking notes from the recent news reports you may be able to highlight some areas within your own company that could be working against you.  Take for example the recent gender pay gap report and the resulting Women’s marches across the globe.  Do you feel that your business could be guilty of this?  If so, you can do something about it.  This will ensure that all members of your team, male or female, respect you for supporting the bridge building between the genders, when it comes to pay and value of ability.

When your staff are happy and feel supported, they will put far more back into your business.  If you notice that productivity has increased, reward them.  A nice way of doing this is by incentivizing things.  Either through an Employee of the Month plan or by sending flowers, wine or gifts to staff members who have really stood out.

We all know the pressures put on families today and whilst there are enforced rules on maternity leave or empathic release, you don’t have to stick to the basic minimum.  In fact you will receive far more respect from your staff if you go a little beyond what you have to.  Build an environment where your key employees feel they can talk to you about anything.  Have an ‘open door’ policy and be on hand as often as you can for a chat.  It could be that one of your stronger marketing team execs is struggling at home and not able to see their children so much.  Could you make some changes to allow them to work from home one or two days a week?  Strong staff won’t sit on their laurels.  They will often work harder to show you they are grateful for the support.  So think outside the box.

Give regular pay reviews and take time to sit face to face with your employees, don’t wait for them to feel so bad about something until they build up the confidence to come to you.  Just be clear and concise about what you can and cannot do, but ensure they know you are listening and proactive when it comes to their needs.

Look after your staff, they will look after you.

| Keep Your Employees As Happy As Larry

Posted in Staffing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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There a few reasons why ensuring your employees are happy and productive should be your highest priority, ranging from the turbulent economic and political landscape we face to the fact the majority of the workforce is now made up of millennials. So, yeah, the happier your employees are, the more productive they’ll be and the more successful your business will turn out. Sounds simple, right? Wrong.

Keeping your employees happy and content can be quite the challenge, and that is because happiness tends to come from within. Of course, external factors can contribute big time, but it comes from within. That is why you need to understand your employees and make sure you are doing all you can to make sure you as a boss, and your company as an office is doing all it can to boost morale and happiness.

Read on to see how you can achieve happy and productive workforce:

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Make Employees Feel Valued

Employees, especially millennial employees, want to feel valued by you as their employer and the company they work for. This means being encouraging, empathetic and constructive. It could be as simple as praising someone for their work, explaining where there is room for improvement or teaching them how to be better at their job. No employee is perfect, and all of them will make mistakes at some point, which is why it is important you learn how to encourage and not punish. People want to improve, and they will beat themselves up when they make a mistake, so don’t add to that. They will only end up resenting you. If you can help them learn from their mistakes, though, you’ll be celebrated and that will in turn boost morale.

 

Create a Comfortable Atmosphere

The best way to do this is by encouraging an open communication policy. The worst cultures always breed from the ones that don’t embody good communications. Of course, this starts at the top. So communicate changes well, praise people publicly, talk to your employees and ask for their opinions. But don’t stop there. Why not hold team bonding exercises every month to let your employees get to know each other in a non-corporate environment. The other important thing to remember is the little things. They may not be things that clients or customers notice in a fleeting visit, but your employees will notice if the air con isn’t working, or the chairs aren’t ergonomic or if the server is slow. All of these little things will get under their skin. So commit to a commercial HVAC service, invest in comfortable chairs and make sure your server is up to scratch. All of these little things will make a big difference.

 

Think Like Google

We’re not saying that you have the capacity to house 11 cafeterias all of which offer free food, nor are we saying you can afford to allocate 20% of your staff’s time to personal projects, but you can make little changes. Have a social area where they can escape to every so often, even if it is just to think and stop staring at a screen. Let them have their birthday off. Why not take on flexible hours, or let them work from home twice a week. It could be that you chuck a few bean bags into a room and have the walls painted to create a room dedicated to getting creative juices flowing. All of these will boost morale, happiness and productivity.

| Is Your Business’s Performance Stalling? Maybe Your Team Needs a Shake-Up

Posted in Staffing at 1:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

There can be many reasons for your business’s rough patch. All businesses experience this at some point. If you have looked at most aspects of your business and still can’t quite put your finger on the problem, you might need to look at your team. Your team of employees is the engine of the business. And if the engine is stalling, then changes need to be made.

It’s not always easy to make big changes to your team, but you need to make the effort to do so if you think this is where your company’s problems lie. Here are some ways in which you can shake up your team and get back on track.

 

Assess the Size of Your Team Relative to the Size of the Business

You should start by assessing the size of your company and comparing it to the size of your team. It will be no surprise that your team is underperforming if it simply isn’t big enough to take care of all of the things that need to be taken care of. You should look to expand your team and provide more support to your existing employees. You don’t want to put them under too much pressure because eventually they will buckle under the strain. The size of your team should always directly correspond to the size of the business and how much work you expect them to do.

 

Highlight Any Areas of Weakness

Every business has some areas in which it is weak. This is the case for all business, big and small. The trick is always to highlight the main areas of weakness and find ways in which these areas can be improved. It might mean offering new training course opportunities to people. This can help to plug the gaps that are currently present in your team. In some cases, it will probably be quicker and easier to simply add new talent to the team who can do the things that you want to be done. But don’t just let those areas of weakness persist.

 

Do Some Hiring and Firing

Next comes the hiring and firing stage of the process. Now that you know where and how the business is weak, you should have a clear idea of the kind of people you want to hire. When posting advertisements for job roles, make sure you are very clear about what you’re looking for. You should also be clear about the level of experience applicants will need to have. That way, you should only get applications from suitable candidates. Lawyers like Ellis Whittam can help you if you need to fire employees who are not turning up and performing how they should be.

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Work Hard to Integrate New Employees

When you have a raft of new employees in the office, you will need to work very hard to integrate them into your setup. This is something that anyone can do if they have the right aims and skills in the arena of man management. Show them the ropes and introduce them to the role gradually. You don’t want to throw them in at the deep end. If you do that, they could flounder and experience all kinds of problems. Work hard and make sure that they are given all the support they need in order to hit the ground running.

 

Find New Motivations Methods

There are plenty of ways to motivate your team when you run a business. Sometimes, all you need is a bit more motivation to improve your team and their performance. There are so many great ways to keep people on track and working at the correct rate. You can offer perks and rewards for good work. You should also try to make yourself a better leader. Strong leadership can help to push people in the right direction, so don’t underestimate how important this could turn out to be for your business.

 

Provide Employees with the Tools They Need to Succeed

If you want your employees to find success and do well for the business, you will have to make sure that they are provided with the right tools to do the job. You can’t expect them to do well if you don’t give them the technology and basic equipment that they need. As the owner of the business, it’s up to you to make sure that you buy these things and give them to your employees to use. So, stay up to date and make sure that the technology in your office is the best.

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