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Showing Gratitude in the Work Place

I think we can all admit that in some job we have felt the “hum-dum” repetition. Everyone wants to look forward to something when heading into work! If you are feeling up for the task, change up the pace and mindset of your work place by showing your coworkers that you are grateful for them.

Here are some ideas of how to do that!

  1. Do a little survey or poll to get to know your coworkers a little better! Take your conversations from “how was your weekend?” to the next level ! From the pole, you can have an idea of something to get them talking.
  2. Send a group email or chat with some work appropriate jokes to bright up everyone’s day! It may even get a stream of jokes going so you can look forward to that every day! One of my favorite places to look for jokes is http://www.laughfactory.com/jokes/clean-jokes
  3. If you have some time to spare or you are in need of some unity in your workspace, try a team building exercise! Here are some of our favorites here at Porter’s! http://levymarketingawards.com/2015/08/3-teamwork-games-to-engage-employees-at-work/
  4. Boost their confidence with some motivational messages in places that they frequent. I like to post mine on the bathroom mirrors, computer screens, the water station, and the time clock! This is a great way to make everyone in the office feel great!

               

         

Try it out! When you reach out to brighten others’ days, yours will be brightened as well.

Best Organization Apps

Do you feel like you have a million things to do and keep track of?  Thankfully many people have decided to get over that feeling and make something to help!

Here are the two top rated websites for organizing you work life or your personal life. I used each one for at least a week and took notes on what I liked and disliked about them.

 

 

 

Todoist

  • Premium features comments, alarms,
  • Available with mobile and desktop – syncing to one another
  • Simple looking and allows you to panel them. All tasks, Today, or the Upcoming 7 Days
  • You can set a task to be reoccurring. There is no limit. It can be every Monday, every 15th of the month, every 3 months, etc.
  • You can’t share the list, but you can assign projects to other people. This might be helpful if you are a group leader or team leader. You can keep track of what you assigned to people…but you have to make sure you tell them you assigned them to this task.

 

 

 

 

Wunderlist

  • Share lists with others
  • Not limited and works with multiple platforms like Android, Windows, Linux, Blackberry, etc.
  • Available with mobile and desktop – syncing to one another
  • You don’t have to have premium to add comments, alarms, etc.
  • There are background images on your lists that make it a little prettier to look at
  • You can share this list and have conversations with those group members

 

There are many pros to both apps. I personally prefer Todoist because it fits my work and personal life needs a little better. Let us know what you think! Send us a message on any social media platform or comment below! We’d love to hear what you think.

 

Now, if you are one that likes to keep track of tasks on something tangible and not electronic, we have the goods for you!

Calendars – http://shop.portersop.com/Search?keyword=AAGG52000%2C+AAGPM91707%2C+AAGG52014

Highlighters – http://shop.portersop.com/Search?keyword=highlighters

Tab pens – http://shop.portersop.com/Search?keyword=flag+pens

 

Camera Hacks Tested and True

Each day there is a new “life hack” video on social media. People are loving this idea of cheap and easy ways to get the same result. I have seen a great deal of “hacks” regarding photography. I myself have done photography for many years and was curious about the legitimacy of these tips. Of course, I had to put them to the test.

I have a Canon t5i Rebel camera. This week, I put each of these hacks to the test both on manual mode and automatic mode.

I’ll show you what my camera looked like with the “gear” and the results from the shot.

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Hack #1: Get a sandwich bag and cut the bottom off. Wrap the bag around your lens with a rubber band or hair tie and shoot on either manual or automatic mode. It will create a haze glow around your subject.

I was actually very surprised at how much I liked this tip. Sure, you had to readjust the bag several times around the frame of your subject. I liked it with and without the flash on manual and the automatic mode. I give this one a thumbs up!

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Hack #2: Finish up your can of chips and cut the bottom off. The shiny interior creates a perfect place to bounce light. It will create perfect studio look, even if you’re just in your living room.

I doubted this one the most out of all of them. However, I was pleasantly surprised again and how much of a difference it made. The light was targeted directly around my face giving the spot light effect. My next attempt is going to be in a darker room.

Note: When I think of studio shot, I think of indoors. I don’t know what kind of effect this might have outside at night. Try it yourselves and let us know what you think!

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Hack #3: Grab a pair of old tights and gently stretch them across your lens. Wrap it with a rubber band to keep it in place. The tights will help soften the light in your shot. Tip! Use different colors of tights to get some fun images!

Don’t count me in for using this one again. The tights made it very hard to focus on the subject on either manual or automatic mode. It just looked like you had something covering your lens as a mistake. It may possibly be better with something significantly thinner like panty hose. The tights did not do well.

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Hack #4: Sometimes the flash on a camera can be annoying to the subject’s eyes or showing up in the wrong place in the image. To fix that, take a business card and cut two little slits on the bottom short side. Netsle that onto your hot shoe or the flash popper while its up. Now that light will be redirected upwards!

Honestly, I am not 100% sure how I feel about this. With a few more tests, I might find a good opportunity to use it. I wanted to demonstrate this trick on inanimate objects to show you where the reflections and light ended up. It certainly did its job redirecting the light. However, I think with how much it redirected, you might as well just not use the flash.

original                            result

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Hack #5: If you are playing around and are looking for something fun. Try adding some self-made vignettes to your image. Take black card stock paper and create a lens cover. Cut a shape out of the center of you newly made lens cover. Hold it up and snap away!

This was kind of a fun variation on framing and adding that vignette. In many of the examples, they recommended you tape your newly created lens cover to the body of your camera. Personally, I liked being able to move it back and forth to better my image. The only thing I didn’t love about this trick is how much black is in the image. I think I would cut a bigger shape next time.

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Overall, I was very impressed with these tricks and hacks! These are great ideas to add a little something extra to your images. Try them out and let us know how they worked for you!

 

Having Trouble Finding Items on Our Website?

Have you ever ordered a product online in the past and it’s no longer showing up on our website? That product is probably still available for you to buy. Do you want know how to find it? Check through our Quick Order feature.

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This entire blog is devoted to helping you learn how to use Quick Order. It is extremely simple and easy to use. Remember, if you ever have any problems or questions, you can Live Chat with us straight from the website.

In your My Accounts tab, you will find Order History, and that is where you will find the products you have ordered in the past. Find the product that you want and can’t find, and copy or write down the Item Number. The Item Number usually starts with three capital letters and ends with various numbers and/or letters. For example: AVE17012.

On the top right corner of the Porter’s webpage there is a tab labeled Quick Order. When you click on that, a new page will pop up, and on that page there are a few areas where you can type. The left text box is where you can type the Item Number; enter the Item Number for the item you are trying to find and hit the Enter key. Soon you will notice that the item description will show up underneath the Comment/Description text box.

You will now want to save the item as a favorite. The reason for this is so that you won’t need to use Quick Order in the future, because the item will always show up in your favorites instead. To do this, click the Add To Favorites button. If you would also like to order the product at the time, you should click Add To Cart And Save To Favorites.

After clicking the Add To Favorites button, come up with a name for your favorites list and type it into the Favorites List Name text box. (Ex: Desk Supplies, Breakroom, Furniture.) Click the Add to Favorites List button, and the item is now a favorite. If you clicked Add To Cart And Save To Favorite To look at your favorites or change list names, hover over the Favorites tab in the top right corner of the page and click on Manage Favorites Lists. Here you can change list names and find items that you have saved as favorites.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this useful!
Happy Shopping!

Properly Handle Sensitive Information

Oh Hiya!

In our office, we have to deal with a variety of documents containing sensitive information. Industries from medical to legal to education all need to store and dispose of sensitive information in the proper way in order to protect identities, finances and more.

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There are two must-have office items when dealing with important and confidential information:

Highlighters: When handling important documents, we need to know exactly where to look. Many times, we receive contracts with an insane number of pages, so highlighting the must-read sections saves time and energy. The Pilot Frixion Highlighter will draw attention to the critical sections of each page, making it easier to review documents after they have been security stored for some time.

Shredder: Properly disposing of classified information is a procedure that needs to be followed to a T. One leaked number from a sensitive document could derail an entire business. Using the HSM SECURIO AF300 Cross-Cut Shredder will ensure that no information gets out that isn’t meant to. The small size allows this shredder to fit in any office, and automatic paper feed keep the process swift and easy!

Avoid the multitude of headaches you could run into with sensitive information but storing and disposing of it very carefully!

Until next time,

Meg

Have a Sweet Valentine’s Day!

Oh Hiya!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and are some super sweet ways you can treat your coworkers! In our office, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your coworkers appreciation and have a little fun!

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Bring in some sweets! Everyone loves sugar, especially my coworkers. Every Valentine’s Day I put out a bowl of chocolates. Once word spreads around the office, you can betchyer bottom I see every single employee in my office and get to wish them a happy Valentine’s Day! The perfect fix for all those with a sweet tooth is this bag of M&Ms, with a re-sealable top and 2.62lbs of sugary goodness, each coworker could come by for seconds! You can even go the extra mile and make treats like these pretzel buttons.

Decorate! Valentine’s colors, red and pink, can put anyone in a good, more loving mood. Spreading the love can be as simple as taking notes with colored ink or adding a heart or cupid image to your memos. Check out the Velocity Retractable Ballpoint Pen pack to had a festive touch to all of your work!

It is so simple to make your place of work lovely this Valentine’s Day! Even the littlest gesture makes the office lighter and happier, making employees more productive and increasing employee satisfaction. Valentine’s Day is always a fun day in our office because we’re reminded of how much we love working here!

Until next time,

Meg

Save with In-House Printing

Oh Hiya!

Sending jobs out to be printed or copied makes my head whirl. I have to lay out exactly what I need before hand and trust that it makes sense to the printer. Many times, I receive my copies and it is not exactly what the company needs or asked for. Because of these struggles, we recommend running your own copy center!

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Once we switched to making our own copies and prints, we saved both time and money. We no longer had to worry about whether the copies would be done to our specifications and received the copies on our schedule!

How did we do it? Stock up on the little things!

All print centers need a variety of paper for diverse projects. I like to keep Xerox Vitality Multipurpose Printer Paper handy for every-day printing. I choose the Xerox Vitality because it is 99.99% jam-free to save even more time and avoid those annoying road bumps. I recommend purchasing small quantities other special papers like glossed or cardstock for client meetings and presentations.

Make sure to always have extra ink cartridges on hand, as well! Running out of ink and needing to scoot to the store can throw a wrench in your day to day work. We carry a variety of ink for whichever printer you have. View our HP ink cartridges here.

Starting an in-house printing center requires a bit of a down-payment, but in the long run you will avoid processing and labor fees. Do things your way and at your schedule!

Until next time,

Meg

10 Essential Items For Your Home Office

 

Today we have more and more workers working out of a home office. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 report, the percentage of workers who work exclusively from home has more than doubled since 1990 to a whopping 9.6%. But in order to maximize productivity, you’ll need more than a smartphone and a laptop to get the most out of your home office setup. And most of that setup may be tax deductible to boot!

1. Get Organized with an Erasable Wall Planner

Keeping track of your meetings and conferences all in one place will keep your work days productive. When you’re in a small, new company with just a handful of employees it can be too easy to forget about things. Having this At-A-Glance Erasable Yearly Horizontal Wall Planner by your side with an included wet-erase marker will be large enough at 36” x 24” to fit even your schedule in each calendar square.

2. Stop Sending Your Bucks to Starbucks

Since home-based workers tend to put in even more hours than their office-based contemporaries, a good coffee machine is all the more important. If you don’t already have a high-quality coffee maker that won’t bust the bank, Keurig now has a good excuse for you to get one. Their K130 Brewing System is small, simple, and keeps things clean without a carafe or drip basket to clean out.

Chair

3. We Got Your Back

Your office chair is, believe it or not, one of the most overlooked pieces of office equipment. And it’s an area where a lot of people skimp. Similar to a mattress, you’re bound to spend a great deal of time there each day there so it pays to spend it in comfort with an ergonomic design. There are stools, task chairs, mid back and high back chairs to choose from in a variety of materials. Keep an eye out for good lower-back and arm support with easy adjustment settings. Of course preferences will vary, but it’s hard to go wrong with a HON Basyx High-Back Chair. Its vinyl upholstery looks and feels just like leather but will be much more resistant to spills without sacrificing the upscale looks for any executive office.

4. Can You Hear Me Now? Wireless Headsets

You’ll be on the phone a lot when you work from home, and both blasting calls on speakerphone from a distance or holding it by your neck gets old really fast. Here come Plantronics headsets to save the day. It’s a matter of preference, but the noise-cancelling Plantronics Voyager Legend brings a whole lot of value to the table without skimping on some important features. It’s over-the-ear, compact Bluetooth design eliminates the need for wires. But unique to this model is a call button that allows you to interact with Siri, Google Now or Cortana digital assistants. Fancy.

5. Protect Your Data

Cloud storage, such as Microsoft’s OneDrive or Google Drive, is a great way to help protect your data in small to medium-sized amounts. But data storage backup in the cloud as well as locally on an external hard drive is essential for any home worker. Doubling up on your data will offer some immediate peace of mind. External hard drive prices have dropped off sharply in the past 5 years or so and the latest and greatest come with fast-transfer USB 3.0 functionality. Blue Cow recommends the Verbatim Store ‘N’ Save USB 3.0 ($79.99) with 1 TB of storage to protect your Mac or PC data against system crashes.
When there’s a power outage and you have to reset your alarm clock it’s annoying. When it destroys the project you’ve been working on for the past three hours it can be catastrophic. A universal power source is a must-have insurance against Murphy’s Law in this respect. The APC BE550G universal power source can keep your desktop running for nearly 4 minutes in this situation. That’s sufficient time to save your current work and turn off your PC safely if a brown-out hits. It also acts as a surge protector and can reboot your network if it loses its connection.

6. Get Inspired with a Magnetic Dry Erase Board

Regardless of size and shape, having a whiteboard near your office space is an indispensable tool. They’re great for jotting down goals, to do lists, and general brainstorming that can potentially take your business to the next level. Quartet has a 24”x18” magnetic white board with a sleek black aluminum frame and marker stand. Because it’s magnetic, you can also place magnets on it like your refrigerator. Let the creative juices flow.

printer7. Multi-Function Printer

Every home office, at minimum, needs either a laser printer or a quality inkjet all-in-one. The HP Envy wireless all-in-one series has a mid-range model that includes a 2.7” touchscreen and features print speeds characteristic of more expensive models. But the real draw here is you’ll save a lot on ink compared to other models and with the Envy’s modern styling you’ll look good doing it.

8. Locking Vertical Filing Cabinet

If you have small kids at home, it’s definitely a good idea to have all important files of their grasp and secure in a decent storage setup that’s lockable. Blue Cow recommends a locking vertical filing cabinet simply because a 3 or 4 drawer model will act as a wonderful space saver for all your most important documents. Even if you have a small home office space, it’s worth making some room and invest in these things. It will be your best friend against a cluttered, disorganized desk space. This 3-drawer Lorell Vertical File in particular strikes the right balance of low cost and quality.

9. Work in High Definition
Whether you’re on your laptop or a desktop, there will be times exporting the display to a good-sized HD monitor will be a lifesaver. The Samsung 23” LED monitor here supports a razor-sharp 1080p HD resolution with deep blacks and rich colors. Its wide viewing angle will be readable from all sides of your desk space and its built-in cable management feature will help reduce the chaos in your work environment.

10. Personal Comfort Items

One of the main advantages of working from home is knowing that you’re always near the things that you love dearly. And, you don’t need to walk very far if you need lunch, a snack, a drink, or even a break from the work that you’re doing. But, having said that, it’s still good to add some personal comfort items in the home office. Personalize your office with inspirational quotes, family photos, or scented items. Your at-home work station can be your sanctuary where everything you need for business success is at your fingertips.

Home Office

 

Spring Cleaning with Genuine Joe

It’s spring cleaning time and you’re going to need a little more than elbow grease to get the job done. At Porter’s, we’re proud to offer Genuine Joe cleaning products to help you get things squeaky clean in and around the office. Genuine Joe offers a full line of products at affordable, straightforward prices that won’t break the bank.

A few products we recommend for spring cleaning jobs around the office include:

  • Glass cleaner. Knock out the winter grime on the outside and the dust and dirt on the inside, and get your windows sparkling to let in the spring sun.
  • Bathroom cleaner. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Genuine Joe’s bathroom cleaner takes care of pretty much every surface in your bathroom, and leaves the place smelling nice.
  • Disinfecting wipes. Handy to have around and ideal for those spots that need a quick wipe.
  • Mibrofiber cloth. These are perfect for dusting or light cleaning, and safe on hardwoods and fragile surfaces.
  • Mops and brooms. Simple but effective, and the best way to get your floors shining in a flash.

For more spring cleaning products and tips, check out our Facebook page.

Porter’s HUBZone Status

Here’s some very important news: Porter’s Office Products has been designated as an approved HUBZone supplier. 

What is the HUBZone Program? 
If you head over to sba.gov you can find thorough information on the HUBZone Program. According the website, the definition of the HUBZone Program is:

“The Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.”

To break it down, this program gives government funding and benefits to small businesses in “economically depressed” areas. This gives certain small businesses the chance to financially succeed and compete with other businesses.

Porter’s HUBZone Status
If your business participates in the HUBZone Program, you’re probably really watching where you spend your dollars. As an approved HUBZone supplier, Porter’s can help you stay within your given budget and help you get the best bang for your buck. Our main focus in not selling office supplies, it’s providing solutions for our customers to better run their offices effectively and efficiently.

Now as an approved HUBZone supplier, we’re ready to help your small business, whether you are big or small, with the office products and furniture you need. For more information about the HUBZone program and what Porter’s can do for you, contact us today.