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Business

How to Effectively Manage a Stressful Workweek

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Struggling to meet all deadlines and getting stuck in back to back meetings, not to mention the backlogs and tons of emails that you need to address is something that every employee does not want to go through. Unfortunately, there are times when things at the workplace can get a little crazy leaving you with no other choice but to deal with it. However, it would help if you also did something about it to avoid getting burnt out in the process. So here are some tips to get you started.

Go out with friends

Relaxing with your friends after work by inviting them out for coffee or dinner at your favourite restaurant can help reduce stress caused by too much workload. You and your friends can reminisce and catch up with your daily lives even for just a couple of hours.

If your friends are not available then why not bond with your co-workers after office hours? Being with people who share the same sentiments as you can help everyone deal with the situation on a lighter note by finding humour despite the challenges that your group is facing. Bonding with your colleagues is also an excellent opportunity to create a game plan for how to effectively manage things at work.

Have some me time

Spending some time alone and not doing anything that is work related can help you recover from a stressful week that you had at the office. You can opt to have a relaxing massage, a pedicure or spend some time relaxing using the steam shower to help calm your senses. Sometimes all we need is to be in a place where there is no noise or any distraction to help us ease our nerves.

Do things one at a time

When you are busy it is essential that you learn how to multi-task; however, not everyone is good at this. Some people find multi-tasking quite confusing and overwhelming and often end up being unproductive which can cause frustration especially if you have many things on your plate. If you want to accomplish more things in your workplace, you can organise your daily tasks and deliverables by creating a checklist before starting your day. This way you know the things that need your utmost attention before moving to the least important tasks for the day.

Initiate a buddy system

If there are many of you working in one department and things are still too much to handle on a daily basis then, maybe, it is time for you to step up and find ways to make things better. Why don’t you suggest to your colleagues to work on a pairing or buddy system to ensure that everyone has their fair share of responsibilities and accountability in the workplace? Aside from that, a buddy system makes work easier for everyone in the office, and this also promotes teamwork and a healthy working environment.

Most of us need to work hard to earn a living and pay the bills. However, do not forget to strike a balance between work and your personal life.

 

 

4 Ways Technology is Changing the Modern Classroom

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When people say that new technology affects every aspect of modern life, they really mean it. From the boardroom to the dining room, new tech constantly changes how people handle everyday issues. Unsurprisingly, then, technology has had a big impact on modern education.

What’s more, new tech will continue to reshape the way we think about academic policies well into the future. Here are four ways that new tech is currently altering how teachers and students interact:

Remote Capabilities

Thanks to the rise of video platforms like Skype, teachers can remotely engage with other educators from around the globe. Not only does this allow teachers to compare their lesson strategies with other professionals, but it also enables progressive educators to plan collaborative projects between multiple classes. So, for instance, students in Greece could theoretically share presentations with students from Minnesota who are covering the same material. Lastly, innovations like Skype also make it much easier for adult students and educators to touch base and hold discussions on a regular basis.

Video Demonstrations

No two people learn in the same manner or at the same rate. And while reading comprehension and retention is still a vital skill, the abundance of educational videos offer both students and teachers a valuable resource. These videos can be used to supplement lectures or reading material, or they can constitute an entire lesson plan on their own. Videos are an extremely engaging medium, and many young students prefer consuming information through visual content.

Tech Literacy

It’s imperative for teachers at all levels to ensure that their students are exposed to important tech developments and understand how to use basic software programs. However, just what “basic programs” means could dramatically change in the not-so-distant future. It’s entirely possible that elementary-school teachers may one day instruct their students how to create a website from scratch!

Physical Tech Tools

Educators should never underestimate the positive impact physical tech appliances can deliver. A new smartboard or classroom microphone, for instance, could dramatically increase student engagement. Plus, gadgets like these also make it easier for educators to encourage collaboration and participation.

The Bottom Line

It’s worth remembering that though technology may change the way teachers implement certain techniques, the crux of student-teacher interactions will likely remain the same for many years to come. And simply put, the best tech advancements make it easier for students to engage with the material. The good news is, as innovative tech becomes more widespread and applicable, teachers will have greater access to it.

Three safety features for your leisure business

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Opening a business in the leisure industry can prove extremely profitable, particularly in the school holidays or summer months.

Parents struggle to think of things to do that the will entertain the kids for long enough, until they return to school. This is where a leisure centre would be a great venture.

The investment is considerable, but the payoff could be massive, if you are ready to take the opportunity, you should consider these three key safety requirements.

We are sure that you have already considered the safety of your customers, it should be the central focus of any business plan.

But if your complex is going to have a pool area then this is one of the areas were a slip, trip or fall is very likely.

As a business owner you want to do everything possible to mitigate the risk of this happening and having to deal with a potentially costly insurance claim.

Ensure that you have the required health and safety features installed, to avoid falls as much as possible we suggest that you purchase anti-slip, anti-bacterial mats from Kleentex.

This will reduce the risk infection and the chance of a nasty fall, poolside.


Lifting and Exercising

Everyone knows that inexperience in the gym can lead to injury, we have all seen the videos of people with no idea what they are doing on gym equipment, it might give you a quick laugh, but as a business owner this can be quite serious.

It goes without saying that every new customer should have an induction when they join, from a trained professional.

Something that you might forget is that one of the biggest causes of injury in a gym is infection caused by the sweat of your customers.

We suggest that you place anti-bacterial wipes around the gym with bins to place them in throughout.

We suggest that you choose high quality anti-bacterial wipes such as the products from Gym Wipes.

 

Squash Court Safety

Lots of leisure complexes offer squash courts and this is another area that can cause injury.

If you are going to offer equipment rental, you need to ensure that your rackets have high quality grips.

With will ensure that  the racket does not slip out of the player’s hand.

Furthermore, ensure that you have squash shoes in good condition to rent.

Finally ensure that you offer protective eyewear you can purchase these goggles from Rx Sport.

In this article we have identified ways that you can make your new leisure complex safe. We have discussed poolside safety by using anti-slip and anti-bacterial mats. Secondly, we identified equipment hygiene as a major cause of injury and must mitigate the risk of infection. Lastly, we discussed safety on the squash court such as using high quality rackets and squash shoes and the need for protective eyewear. Following these tips will ensure that you have a successful and most importantly safe leisure complex.

 

Top 5 Tips For Great Packaging Design

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Vibrant, aesthetically pleasing packaging for chocolates, cheese or classy tech gadgets certainly have a poignant impact on our purchase perspective. The enticing and catchy graphics lure us into trying a new brand or buying a new gadget recently launched in the market. It is also true for our everyday household items and favorite products.

The packaging designs by flexible packaging companies are what drive customers to these brands and influence their purchase decision mostly. If you are looking for cool ideas for your brand’s packaging, I recommend reading the information I have penned down.

Go For A Minimalistic Design

When it comes to branding, especially for food items like coffee packaging bags or frozen food packs, go for minimalistic design. Yeah, you read right! Most brands use minimalistic aspects in their package designs to reduce the amount of visual information that their customers have to take in. Who has time to read through big visual content on a package? That said, your design does not necessarily have to be simple. You could make it snazzy and impactful but with a focus on minimalistic patterns. See Kit-Kat’s packs or Zen Tea boxes for inspiration!

Be Creative

Does no matter if you are using crowdfunding to launch your idea or spending your capital, supplement it with great branding by jiggling your creative flair. This is especially true when it comes to creating a stunning package design for your product. The design should reflect the attributes of your specific product focusing on the value it brings to the consumers. Use ingenuity to produce a visually striking design that could make heads turn. Coca-cola’s bottle, for example, has a remarkable design with the label in the middle and a sleek curve at the top to easily grip the bottle and balance the heavy bottom look not to mention the green aspects it entails. Minimalistic & Creative!

Think Long Term

When creating your design, make sure you factor in longevity while staying in style. Go for a design that could easily work for different products within a product line. Cosmetics brands mostly have a variety of products in a certain line. For example, skin care cosmetics for different tones. A modish yet appealing design that would go with all these different products through a little customization for continuity is what you should look for.

It is All About The Customer

For a brand, it is the customers, who can make it or break it. Consider this when designing your product packaging, so you can connect with your customers easily. Think of creative ideas that amplify the solution to your customer’s needs. Use graphics & vibrant visual content to highlight this for your packaging. Artwork products, for example, usually make use of bold hues & ingenious design to reflect the fun, health benefits and family bonding.

Consider Using A Nice Tool & Resources

Medium to large scale firms usually make use of special graphics software programs to create their packaging designs for a better impact but if you are a startup why not consider using a cool iOS or Android app for package design? Most of these apps include an interactive user interface with multiple options like painting, sketching, doodling, adding filters & effects, customizing watermark and incorporating audio & transitions. There are loads of informative resources that you can use for ideas & inspiration including blogs, the library of design tips, community boards, and experts.

Is Your Workplace Prepared for a Tornado?

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According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, more than 1,200 tornadoes form annually in the United States. As an employer, you have a responsibility to keep your workers as safe as possible. Are you prepared in the event the emergency siren sounds?

Before the Storm

The first rule of preparedness is to have an emergency supply kit. In addition to the basics, such as food, water, a first aid kit, flashlights, and a radio, add these items that you probably haven’t thought about.

  • A whistle to signal rescue workers
  • Moist towelettes and garbage bags
  • A manual can opener
  • Extra batteries

If you own a business that cares for babies, the elderly or animals, you’ll need additional supplies. Books, cards, and other small items help to keep children occupied during scary situations. Consider subscribing to a weather dashboard app. These technologically advanced storm detectors alert your phone or mobile device if tornado weather is possible in your area.

During the Storm

Your employees should know the safest place to take shelter in case of a tornado. Create an emergency plan that teaches your workers how to properly navigate to the safe space when necessary. Seek out small, interior rooms or hallways on the lowest floor of your building. Have everyone stay in the center of the room and avoid doors and windows. Do not use cafeterias, gymnasiums, or other large rooms that have wide roofs.

After the Storm

Put an accountability procedure in place. This could be creating a buddy system for your employees or simply taking a head count at specified intervals during and after a tornado. After the storm, check your employees for injuries, providing first aid where you can but not moving anyone who has serious injuries. If you move through damaged areas, be very cautious, and always listen to emergency personnel when they are available to help.

Tornadoes are scary, but you can reduce the risk of injury by having a strong safety plan in place for your employees. Educate yourself about storms as much as you can beforehand by following STEM lesson plans and other educational tools.

5 Management Tips for Ambitious Introverts

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Moving up the corporate ladder can sometimes feel like an impossible task. What’s more, introverts may find it particularly difficult to advance in their professional life –– especially if they struggle voicing their opinion or speaking in front of a group.

Nevertheless, reserved professionals often make excellent leaders, and you can achieve great success in a managerial position no matter your personality or passion. With that in mind, here are five management tips for introverts looking to make the most of a big career opportunity:

Don’t Change

The first –– and perhaps most important –– thing to remember for introverts in management is to resist the urge to completely change your personality. It’s better to be genuine and honest than to attempt to create a persona that isn’t authentic. While there are steps you can take to communicate more effectively, there’s no reason to start giving rousing speeches if you have no inclination to do so. Remember, you don’t have to be dynamic public speaker to inspire your staff.

Listen & React

Introverts are great listeners, which is just one reason why they’re adept at handling leadership responsibilities. Listening to employee concerns is one quick way to earn trust and develop relationships. However, you also have to be willing to act accordingly as well, otherwise you could risk alienating important team members.

Keep Things Brief

Business meetings can be a major pain point for employees and managers alike. In fact, long, ineffective meetings can sap energy morale and lower energy levels faster than just about anything else. As such, introverts in leadership roles should strive to curtail staff get-togethers and only focus the truly vital issues.

Communicate How You Feel Comfortable

Gone are the days when bosses stalked around the office searching for people slacking off or goldbricking. Still, managers need to be able to touch base with their team members –– if for no other reason than to offer support. If you’re not comfortable starting conversations or “making the rounds” as it were, consider checking in with your staff via email, text message, or chat app. It’s already common for individuals to interact over a digital platform, and few employees will balk at this practice.

Look the Part

The truth is, few people feel prepared to take a leadership role when they get a promotion. Insecurity is normal for new managers, but it’s crucial to overcome your nerves all the same. Fortunately, “faking it until you make it” really does work. How you look and how you perceive yourself will likely influence the way others think about you too. Therefore, updating your wardrobe and implementing some CEO office design elements in your personal workspace are great, yet simple ways to give yourself a confidence boost. Plus, your staff will be sure to notice the changes as well!

Ideazon Shares: Is Crowdfunding the Best Way to Launch Your Idea?

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Ideazon is a crowdfund marketing agency. The company has hundreds of clients who have experienced successful crowdfunding campaigns. Companies have raised up to $1 million with the help of Ideazon. Ideazon is meant for someone who would use a service such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo to fund their business.

Ideazon works with you to drum up buzz for your project, including driving traffic to your site using viral marketing tatics. This crowdfunding marketing agency also helps you build the buzz for your project and helps you successfully navigate the often confusing crowdfunding platforms.

Why Crowdfunding is So Popular

Crowdfunding is an excellent method for backing your project because it allows your clients to become a part of the process. Contributors feel like more than just a customer, they feel like they are making your project possible because they are. Choosing the right platform will be a huge part of your crowdfunding success. There are different types of crowdfunding platforms, creating attractive options for investors.

Crowdfunding breaks down into three overall categories; equity crowdfunding, donation crowdfunding, and reward crowdfunding. Equity crowdfunding allows your contributor to earn stock. Donation crowdfunding is based on the contributor’s belief in your project. Reward crowdfunding allows you to give incentive for backing your project.

Popular Crowdfunding Sites

There are various crowdfunding sites out there, so how do you know which is bestyou’re your project? Let’s breakdown three popular platforms and see how each can help you.

Kickstarter: Kickstarter is one well-known crowdfunding site with a built-in audience. This site does not allow you to keep all of your funding unless you fully hit your goal. For this reason, you will have to have a very accurate picture of what to expect from your contributors.

Indiegogo: Indiegogo allows you to keep your funding even if you don’t hit your goal.

GoFundMe: GoFundMe has recently switched to a fee-free platform but may still charge credit card processing fees. This platform is often used to solicit funding for specific causes or individual needs.

Is Crowdfunding the Best Way to Launch an idea or Project?

In most cases, crowdfunding is an ideal way to gain capital for your company, regardless of your product or service. Crowdfunding is an excellent idea because you’re tapping into a marketplace that has hundreds of thousands of active visitors. You’re also tapping into a customer base that already exists. Plus, you’re not paying an extravagant amount of money in order to reach this large audience. Crowdfunding allows you to gain significant funding for your business, you’re taking minimal risk in order to gain a massive reward. This method of funding allows you to easily generate pre-sales for your company.

Crowdfunding differs from angel investing because with angel investing, you would need to find an accredited investor to provide seed capital. In exchange, you’re giving the investor equity in your business. In most cases, you’ll need to provide the investor with significant equity in order to gain funding, whereas with crowdfunding you don’t need to provide any equity in your company for funding.

Get More Crowdfunding Advice from Ideazon

Through crowdfunding, you can get the funding you need without the use of traditional bank vehicles or loans. There is a lot to learn about crowdfunding. Thankfully, Ideazon crowdfunding will help you sort through the entire process of creating a marketing campaign and getting the word out. Follow Ideazon on Twitter and Facebook for more information on how to gain financial backers for your project. You can also gain more information on the Ideazon website and by visiting their blog.

Going PRO — 3 steps to startup culture

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Starting a business can be trickier than tying your shoelaces one-handed — and much more rewarding when you pull it off.

But if you don’t define and embed an appropriate corporate culture from the start, there’s little chance of implementing it once you expand.

Pardot co-founder David Cummings says, ‘corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong culture first and foremost’.

Since we’re fond of acronyms, here’s our three step guide to going PRO (Payroll, Radical transparency and Organisational structure) with startup culture.

  1. P = Payroll outsourcing

Rather than being henchmen for management or advocates for staff, HR employees should focus on optimising business operations.

Emotionally intelligent HR staff will become the guardians and enforcers of your corporate culture — monitoring compliance at all levels.

But they’re ineffective while bogged down by time-consuming admin tasks like payroll, so set them free by engaging a payroll outsourcing provider. This type of service automates precise salary payments and ensures adherence to relevant tax regulations anywhere in the world.

When HR staff aren’t stuck behind computer screens all day, they’re free to walk the floor and champion the values and behaviours that keep the business working like a well-oiled machine.

  1. R = Radical transparency

In autocratic businesses, major decisions are often made exclusively by C-Suite executives, then cascaded down the hierarchy to be implemented without question by less senior staff.

There are potential problems with this approach. Firstly, decision-making quality is compromised by ‘group think’ — policies, plans and procedures are always scrutinized by the same people, so potential pitfalls aren’t spotted. Secondly, decisions never benefit from the input of experienced frontline staff or the collective intelligence of the entire organization.

The solution is radical transparency — an ‘ideas meritocracy’ where staff at any level are contractually obliged to constantly challenge and/or defend the thinking behind their decisions. It enables the most robust ideas to win, no matter where they originate and has been adopted by prominent hedge funds and social media agencies alike.

  1. O = Organisational structure

If your organisational structure clashes with the type of culture you’d like to embed, it’ll be very difficult to implement effectively.

For instance, a radically transparent culture might not suit a traditional top-down structure where there’s a strict hierarchy and managers aren’t willing or able to be challenged.

But it is complemented by a flat organisational structure with less layers of middle management and self-managed teams — the rationale is that people with the relevant information make the decisions, regardless of the seniority conferred by their job title.

Flat structures are popular with major tech firms and large shoe and clothing retailers as well as small and medium startups — although some companies have found them hard to maintain as they’ve scaled up.

So there are three steps to going PRO with startup culture — they could be your key to sustained success.

Which corporate culture do you admire? Share your thoughts in the comments section

How to use a Lathe

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Commonly found in woodworking and metal fabrication workshops, a lathe is a machine used to form materials into a particular size/ shape. The rotating drive turns the material on its axis against various interchangeable tools to cut and manipulate the piece into the desired shape. A lathe can be used for everything from cutting and sanding to facing and knurling and everything in between.

image source: here

How to use a Lathe

Whilst the mounting process will slightly differentiate from project to project, the following points provide a good foundation to work from. For more in-depth details, see your suppliers hand booklet.

  1. Large diameter materials will need to be mounted directly to the faceplate using a drill for maximum support. For narrow pieces, you can use a hammer to connect the drive spur.
  2. Reattach the whole piece to the spindle and slide the tailstock up, until it is nearly touching the other end of the material.
  3. Use the hand crank to securely clamp the material between the live centre and faceplate.
  4. As a rule of thumb, the larger the material is, or the more there is to remove the slower the spin speed should be. Fast speeds should be reserved for finer cuts or detailed work.

Lathe Tools

Before you start any project using a lathe, it’s important to make sure that your tools are sharpened, as a dull, or blunt blade can be extremely dangerous. For most projects, you will require the following tools:

Roughing Gouge: Used to turn a rough material into a cylindrical shape, typically the first tool used to shape larger materials.

Spindle Gouge: Designed to smooth and refine already rounded materials.

Parting Tool: Used to separate sections or segments of material, allows you to make straight, square cuts to a given depth.

Bowl Gouge: Used to hollow out materials (e.g. for making a bowl).

Tool Rest: Provides a solid foundation to rest your tools upon when making cuts.

The most important thing to remember when using a lathe, is to take your time, have fun and work safely, after all you are dealing with powerful machinery!