Think Beyond the Big Box...

9 Ways to Get The Most Out of Your Ink and Toner

No matter what industry you work in, you’re probably using a printer that needs ink or toner. It becomes important to get the most out of your ink and toner cartridges. Here are some helpful tips we have used, that may help you get the most bang for your buck!  

1. Consider a Quality Printer  

Okay I know we are talking specifically about ink and toner BUT the quality of your printer will make a big difference in your printers’ usage of ink and toner. A low priced printer may not have the ability to appropriately use the ink/toners long term. Considering a quality printer could mean a significant difference in the long term costs of ink and toner. If you need help finding a quality printer, feel free to contact us! 

2. Use Quality Name Brand Cartridges 

As appealing as a refurbished or off brand ink/toner seems on your budget, consider that many printers will reject these inks and toners. If you have never used an off brand or refurbished cartridge, please don’t try it. Many of our customers have found out the hard way that they rarely work and if they do, they may not be able to meet the optimal printing capacity for your printer.  

3. Know Your Printer  

Do you know how many pages your printer will print on one cartridge? We know that sounds like a crazy obscure fact, but the more pages your printer’s cartridge can print the more you are saving on new ink and toner.  

4. Buy in Bulk  

When buying toner there is a huge advantage to thinking ahead. Consider buying XL ink and toner for your printer, this means that your printer will have a higher page to cartridge capacity. These XL cartridges give you more ink at a lower rate than buying two ink cartridges. Also look into bundles since many cartridges have a multi-pack that is more cost effective than buying them separately.  

5. Pick the Right Font 

Did you know different fonts have different ink outputs? Some fonts use tons of ink while others are more ink conscious. For example, Arial is a popular font but uses 27% more ink than Times New Roman.  

6. Print in Grayscale  

Fun fact: when you print in black and white your printer will use more than just the black ink. If your print job doesn’t need color, there is no sense in using it right? If you don’t specify “grayscale only” your printer is set to print at a higher quality than you may need.  

7. Optimize your Printers Output Settings  

Your printer is no doubt an amazing machine! It has the ability to print pictures at an incredible resolution. You may not need an incredible resolution for everything you print. You can check your printers’ settings and choose a default that fits most of your printing jobs. Making this slight change will tell your printer that the 30 page research document for your boss doesn’t need to be at the same resolution as a high quality photograph.  

8. Consider Upgrading  

How long have you had your printer? If it’s been a member of your work family longer than 5 years, it might be time to consider a new one. Many of the printers made with in the last 5 years have become exceptionally more economic in their ink usage saving you tons in ink and toner costs.  

9. Do You Need to Print It? 

I know, silly question, but if it is important to get every cent out of your ink and toner costs, make sure you are only printing what you need. If you are printing a document but don’t need the whole thing, consider copying and pasting to an empty document to save ink (and paper).  

Must-Know Tips to Develop Your Students’ Social & Interpersonal Skills

There’s no denying that students need strong social and interpersonal skills to be successful. However, these skills aren’t instinctive—rather they must be patiently developed. We see this, for example, when a child is trying to communicate or collaborate with others. Face-to-face exchanges necessitate an ability for the child to react and respond in a positive manner. To be the most successful, the child needs the ability to read verbal and nonverbal cues.

There are many activities you can use to develop social and interpersonal skills in your students. You’ll need to focus on skills that advance awareness and focus, collaborative learning, as well as promote the understanding of social cues. These things and more can open the doorway to a better educational experience, which then leads to students having healthier relationships, future employment opportunities, and overall better citizenship within their community.

In this blog, we’ll discuss educational best practices and tips for creating activities and classroom setup ideas that will help you develop your students’ social and interpersonal skills.

Social and interpersonal skills support children to accurately interpret other people’s behaviors and effectively navigate social situations and interact positively with peers and adults.” (2017, Jones) 

Encourage Social and Interpersonal Skills Using These Educational Best Practices & Classroom Setup Ideas

  • Social Awareness: Provide time for your students to reflect on important current events. Encourage students to see outside of themselves and explore other situations. This may involve debate, written reflection, or artistic expression. Give your students permission to move around the classroom to better facilitate natural peer interactions. This can be accomplished using mobile classroom furniture and a strategic classroom setup that incorporates a variety of learning strategies.
  • Collaboration: When students work collaboratively, they are placed in situations to practice their social cues, interpret body language, and develop reasoning skills. Create an optimal learning environment by ensuring your classroom setup allows students to work in partner groups. Set students across from each other at shape tables or pair student desks together.  Activities that foster peer collaboration include “Think, Pair, Share” and “Turn to Your Partner.” These types of interactions encourage creativity and provide a safe way for students to practice communication and problem-solving skills. Learn more on collaborative learning by reading, “How a Collaborative Classroom Enables Learning.” 
  • Mindfulness: There are different ways to help your students practice mindfulness and bring awareness to their physical selves. One activity is to have your students find a comfortable seated position—a chair, a Pixel on the floor, a rocker, or a MOV stool—and instruct students to survey their senses.  Calmly talk them through the activity, encouraging them to focus on what they see, hear, smell, taste, what they can physically touch, and what emotions they are experiencing. The great thing about mindfulness is it can be practiced in any classroom setup and with any classroom furniture. For more information on the concept of mindfulness and how you can use it in your classroom to encourage social and interpersonal skills, review this Harvard Health Article, “Benefits of Mindfulness.” 

Get Started Creating the Right Classroom Setup for Your Students

Creating an optimal classroom setup that encourages students to develop their social and interpersonal skills can be challenging without the right tools and information. If you need help designing your classroom setup and incorporating the best classroom furniture for your school’s needs, we can help! 

Thanks to Nancy Sykes, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor for her contributions to this article. Also thanks to Artcobell for providing the article.

Get to know your driver Brigham

What’s your favorite part of being a driver for Porter’s 

Driving around Rexburg is what Brigham likes most about working for Porter’s. It has to be fun seeing all the businesses on his route and becoming friends over time.

What are 3 words to describe Porter’s?

Friends, teamwork, fun. If you can’t tell by the Brigham’s Halloween costume we are all great friends here and we love to have fun!

Top 2 favorites movies of all time and why.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse

We can’t argue with these choices. Both are quality movies.

What do you like to do on your day off?

Play drums, go hiking or biking are activities that Brigham enjoys to do on his day off. We hope his neighbors don’t mind the drums too much.

What mythical creature do you wish was real?

Dragons. That would terrifying.

Are there any conspiracy theories you believe are true?

All.

Is cereal a soup? Why?

No, but the leftover milk is a broth. Can’t argue with that logic.

Is it ever okay to double dip a chip?

Only in a non-sharing scenario. Brigham is normal here. We do not condone double dipping chips. Especially in the COVID era we are currently in.

If you had to sing a song word for word to live, what song would you sing?

Mars, the Bringer of War by Gustav Holst. If you haven’t heard this song give it a listen and try to sing just the first verse. We would be impressed.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Hailee Steinfeld. She is in several big movies. Such as The edge of seventeen, True Grit and more.

Brigham is one of our fantastic drivers and we love having him here at the Porter’s family. He is a hard worker and a fun person to be around. Tell Brigham hi next time you see him out on his route.

Will My School Furniture Stand Up to the Test of Kids?

Artcobell is our guest blog this week. We are proud to introduce their furniture here at Porters.

We all know the reality of school settings—furniture rarely gets treated with respect. You’ve seen it: images of kids jumping, throwing, and otherwise abusing their chairs and desks!

As you furnish or re-furnish your school, don’t you want to be sure that the classroom furniture you purchase is kid-tested and built to survive the wear and tear of the school environment? 

Before you purchase classroom furniture, check out this list of helpful questions, which will help you decide which furniture is right for your school: 

Does the furniture meet BIFMA (Building Industry Furniture Manufacturers Association) standards?

While these standards were developed primarily for office furniture, they are frequently used to test school furniture, as well. As a trusted classroom furniture expert in America, our process is trusted by administrators, teachers, and kids alike! All of our products go beyond BIFMA minimums. In fact, we’ve created a few of our own tests to ensure the furniture we provide you with is durable and safe for kids. Our children and grandchildren use our furniture, so like you, we want it to be great! You can download BIFMA testing under “resources + downloads” on each website product page.


Is the furniture made from proven materials that can take a beating?

The raw materials that go into furniture, as well as the processes used for putting it together, can have a big impact on the durability of the final product.

For example:

  • High-wear surfaces, like high-pressure laminate and solid plastic, have been used for decades in schools. 
  • Low-pressure laminate (or melamine) works best for vertical surfaces (cabinets, shelving) versus horizontal ones (desks, tables). 
  • Chemical-resistant surfaces might be warranted—and worth the upcharge—for science classrooms. 
  • Marker-board surfaces provide great functionality but they can show scratches and ghosting over time. 

What if my furniture gets damaged?

There are always going to be times when something needs fixed. Be sure to speak with your furniture dealer about service after the sale. Ask questions like, “Can I get replacement parts?” and “What is the warranty process?”

Explore Classroom Design Strategies that Promote Student Engagement

 In this blog, we’ll dive into the six learning zones every Living Classroom needs (Springer, 2015), and explore design strategies that facilitate better learning for your students. 

This is a guest blog that is from Artcobell. The author of the blog is located at the bottom of the article.

Six Strategic Learning Zones to Enhance Your Classroom Design 

Instruct Zone: Diversify Your Teacher Perch

Every classroom design needs an instruction zone, which serves as an active teaching and learning space for both the teacher and the learner. This space is flexible enough to accommodate the needs for whole group instruction, small group guided instruction, and one-to-one conferences. Using this strategy, teachers have the autonomy to create the environment that supports the instructional strategy for the lesson of the day.

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design-strategies
design-strategies
design strategies

Learn Zone: Challenge Students to Investigate, Research, & Discover  

Also key to your classroom design is creating a project-based, self-directed learning zone, which will house resources, games, manipulatives, and technology tools. To ensure your students have easy access to essential classroom resources, store these types of supplies and tools in mobile storage bins, or cabinets. For students to work on self-directed project-based activities, provide them with a variety of print materials like anchor charts with key ideas and strategies, flashcards, study notes, key people in the field, and timelines. Lastly, upgrade your word wall by adding visuals and real objects. This classroom strategy is just another way to enhance your student engagement. 

Promote-student-engagement

Collaborate Zone: Encourage Learners to Create, Explore, & Design

A collaborative zone serves multiple purposes. It reminds students that everyone is working toward common goals. It also provides them with time to discuss what they learned and make deeper connections, pose questions, present other perspectives, and reflect on the material. These discussions are an opportunity for you to evaluate student progress, clarify information, address misconceptions, and plan for future lessons. 

At the start of the year, it’s important you “teach,” model, and practice the skills needed for effective collaboration. Eventually, you’ll release this responsibility to the students and they will step up to lead the discussions. Your classroom environment plays a major role in this. Ensure your classroom design is strategically set up to encourage students to open, facilitate, and close their self-directed meetings. Discover more tips for developing your student’s social and interpersonal skills here.

collaborative-learning

Gather Zone: Helping Students Exchange Ideas, Support, & Encourage Peers

Another key to a successful classroom design is creating a gather zone, which allows for small groups of students to gather to exchange, support and encourage one another. Gather zones create a “cafe” effect to your classroom environment, which encourages students to take a brain break and recharge. When students feel safe to gather socially, they’re better equipped to engage with their peers, which supports their developmental, social, and emotional needs. Learn more about the need for incorporating Social Emotional Learning into your classroom design and strategy when you take advantage of our SEL series

collaborative-learning

Reflect Zone: Taking Time to Develop & Examine

Sharing the classroom space with 20 or more kids isn’t always easy. Some students naturally prefer to work alone, while others only need a quiet zone to catch up on work, study, read, write, take a test, or reflect. Some lounge seating or a table and chairs in the corner of your room can be used to define this strategic learning zone. If possible, provide students with earphones to help filter out classroom noise. Mobile cabinets are great space dividers to provide those reflection zones in the classroom. Check out these three tips for creating safe learning environments using classroom furniture. 

Classroom-design

Share Zone: Create Opportunities for Students to Present & Listen

Every successful classroom design needs the flexibility to create sharing zones. These areas help students connect the dots from one lesson to the next and gives them a space to share what they heard, experienced, or learned, which might differ from their peers. 

These discussion presentations are an opportunity for you to evaluate progress, clarify information, address misconceptions, and plan for the future. Sharing zones help students to enhance their communication skills, like speaking and listening. It also creates a space for them to practice and improve on their interpersonal skills. 

Take the Next Step Towards Creating Your Own Living Classroom

These six learning zones are crucial to the success of your classroom design strategy. However, getting started with a Living Classroom can feel like a daunting task. How do you even begin? That’s where our expert is most helpful. They can walk you through the entire process. Additionally, Artcobell has a large library of  resources to help make the switch into the modern classroom easy and practical. For example, you can see the Living Classroom modeled out using our free IDEAS eBook!


 Springer, A. R. (2015). Today’s Classroom is Changing, The Living Classroom Concept [Unpublished master’s thesis]. Bowling Green State University.

Meet Your Driver Marshal

Marshal McAllister has spent 1.5 years as a driver for us. He does not have a specific route he goes where he is needed. He is 6 feet 3 inches tall.

1. What is your favorite part of being a driver for Porter’s? 

Marshall’s favorite part of being a driver is the versatility.

2.What are 3 words to describe Porter’s?

The first word Marshall thought of that best describes Porter’s is family. The second word is Quality and the third word is Fun.

3.Favorite movie quote?

“Avengers, Assemble” – Captain America

4. Favorite Disney character, Least favorite Disney character and why?

Micky Mouse is his favorite because it all started with the mouse.

His least favorite character is the Evil Queen from Snow White because she is evil.

5. What do you like to do on your day off?

Marshal likes to spend his days off hanging out with his wife and young son. It doesn’t get much better than that honestly.

6. Which Olympic sport do you think you have the best chance of not coming in last?

Our Marshal is a humble guy and an athletic specimen. He believes he has a real chance of not finishing last in every Olympic sport. This includes the 100-meter dash where the slowest time in the 2016 Olympics was 11.81 seconds.

7. If you could only eat one food what would it be?

He was a little broad here, but the judges will allow it. He went with breakfast food of any kind. That seems reasonable since there are a large variety of breakfast foods. Plus, nobody could ever get tired of bacon.

8. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

Since right now nobody can travel anywhere in the world, we can only dream. Marshals dream is to travel to Tokyo Disneyland. That does sound awesome.

9. What superpower would you choose and why?

For his superpower Marshal would like to have the healing factor of wolverine. He hopes that he could be studied and find a cure to covid-19 through his healing capabilities. That sure would be nice so then he could go to Tokyo Disneyland with no worries.

We hope when you see Marshal our running his routes you give him a wave and a hello. But keep your bacon close by because the guy loves his breakfast food. We love having Marshal in our Porters family and we hope you love having him as your driver.

6 Quarantine Home Office Essentials

Because of COVID-19 many business’ have been forced to have their employees work from home. This can pose a problem for employees that do not have a home office. To help with that we have identified your 6 Quarantine Home Office Essentials. We know these are unprecedented times, but we hope this will make your home office a little comfier and more productive.

  1. The first thing you need is a comfy chair. The chair can make or break your home office. Finding the right chair can sometimes be a bit challenging. To make things easier we picked out some of our favorites. The Lorell Executive High-back Swivel chair is a popular choice. It also comes in a variety of colors. If your looking for a chair with a little more support and comfort you could try the Lorell High Back Mesh chair with a headrest. The lumbar support will help to prevent lower back strain. If these two chairs do not fit your needs, we offer hundreds of other options as well.
  2. Once you have the chair figured out the next thing, you will need is a desk. There are also several styles of desks to choose from. You could go with a Sit & Stand desk. Or if you want to go a more traditional route that is an option too. There is a standard desk, or you could go a little fancier with a contemporary Veneer.
  3. The next thing we recommend are tools to keep you organized. You are going to need a desk organizer to keep all your supplies from cluttering your worksurface. Another item that will help keep you organized are file folders. It is easy to lose important papers at home. You don’t want to waste time looking for a paper that has been colored since the last time you saw it.
  4. Of course, you will need your general office supplies to get any work done. Do not forget about those little office supplies you take for granted like, rubber bands, staples, whiteout and more. These items, although they may be small, they can really make some situations inconvenient.
  5. Another item that could prove helpful in your quarantine home office is a printer. Some people prefer to print papers out and mark them up, rather than doing it electronically. When you get your printer do not forget to get a spare ink cartridge just in case you run out. Just as important is the paper you need to print on. Once you have all that you should be ready to print.
  6. The last Quarantine Home Office Essential you need are noise canceling headphones. This might be the most important thing you get for your home office. If you have kids, you know your house is probably the loudest place on earth. Noise cancelling headphones might be the best thing you buy during your time in quarantine.

We hope these items help you keep your sanity during quarantine and help you to stay productive while you work from home!

Meet Your Driver Doug

Our beloved Doug has been with Porters for almost 12 years. We thought he would be the perfect guinea pig to kick off our “Meet Your Driver” blog. We’re sure a lot of our customers have been graced with Doug’s presence through the years, but we wanted to take this opportunity and let you get to know him a little bit more. We asked him to fill out a short questionnaire.

First are the important details. Doug runs route A which is the Idaho Falls route. He is 6’1”. His last name is Nash (no known relation to Steve Nash). Now we can jump into the fun stuff.

The first question: What’s your favorite part of being a driver for Porter’s? Doug said that he loves interacting with the customers. He also said he enjoys helping customers with their needs. As most of you know, Doug is a very helpful and friendly guy who loves to joke around.

Second Question: What are 3 words you’d use to describe Porter’s: Doug said when he thinks of Porter’s the first 3 words, he thinks of are fair, great place to work, and helpful.

Third Question: Favorite flavor of ice Cream & least favorite flavor? His favorite flavor is chocolate. He likes to keep it simple. His least favorite flavor is butterscotch. But honestly though can you blame him? Why do they still make that?

Fourth Question: Which way should the toilet paper hang on the wall – over or under? This is a pretty hot topic question, but Doug was man enough to lay down the law and say that over is the correct way the toilet paper should hang. Some of you might not agree but for Doug that’s the way its been and always will be.

Fifth Question: What do you like to do on your days off? Doug was straight to the point on this one. Relax. Nothing fancy, the man just wants to chill.

Sixth Question: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go? Obviously, nobody can travel at this time but if he could Doug said he would go to Swiss Alps. We have a feeling he would do a lot of relaxing and eating chocolate ice cream.

Seventh Question: Who is your celebrity crush? He said no one. If we’re being honest, we don’t believe him. But we’ll let him keep some things a secret.

Final Question: Is a hotdog a sandwich? This is probably the most controversial question we asked. Philosophers have pondered this for years to no avail. Doug though knows the answer without a shadow of a doubt. He says that yes, it is a sandwich the reason being is that is has bread. Doug has answered the age-old question and stopped all the debating.

We hope you have enjoyed this “Meet Your Driver” blog. Doug is an exceptional employee and a great person to be around. We are grateful for his service and all that he does for our company.

Office Spring Cleaning Tips

The snow is slowly melting away and that fourth layer of clothing is no longer necessary. Its time to shake off winter the ice and usher in some spring-time cheer. One of the best ways to kick off spring is by cleaning and getting your office in order. The relief of removing the winter-time clutter can help relieve stress and anxiety. We will give you a few of our office spring cleaning tips below.

Divide and Conquer

The first office spring cleaning tip is to divide up the office. It can seem like a lot to tackle if just one person is going to try and take on the whole office. Divide the office into section and divide your employees into teams. With the office in sections and everyone on a team it will make it much more manageable. Remember the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Take your Time.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Same goes for your office. It will take some time to get everything in order, and that’s okay. Don’t get discouraged if after the first day of cleaning it looks even more cluttered than before. That is part of the process and it will get better. Take your time and be thorough. It will be worth the wait when you are all done. Trust us.

Desktop Declutter

A messy desk is just asking to make you stressed out. The more organized your desk the more at peace you will feel. Marie Kondo has some suggestions to help organize your desk. The first thing she suggestions is to remove all paper and files from your desk. She says if you aren’t actively using a piece of paper it shouldn’t be on your desk. Put it away. This should be easier in today’s digital age than in the past. The other suggestion she has is to remove personal decorations from your desk. Just one framed picture of a loved one. Maybe one item to personalize your desk and cheer it up. But that should be it. your desk should not be a knick knack shelf.

clean desk

Digital Declutter

Sometimes a cluttered digital desktop can be worse than a cluttered physical desktop. Use files. Instead of having all your documents scattered on your desktop put them in a file and keep it organized. This will make it easier down the road to find the files you are looking for. If it is outdated, delete it. Don’t be a digital hoarder.

Keep it Clean

Now that your office is clean and ready for spring lets keep it that way. This might be the hardest step of all. Make a chore chart for the office just like when you were a kid. Assign people a task and hold them accountable to it. Rotate the tasks ever so often so that it doesn’t become monotonous. Stick to a cleaning schedule and hopefully come next spring you won’t be back at square one.

We hope these office spring cleaning tips help you to keep your office neat and tidy. If you are in need of any cleaning supplies, add it to your next order and get started cleaning right away! Don’t procrastinate.

Important Update Regarding Covid-19 & Porter’s

To our valued customers, 

As we are all following the impact of COVID-19 closely across the country and now here in our own communities, we want to express to you the health and safety of our customers and employees has always been our top priority in all we do. 

We take comfort in the fact many of you have implemented safety precautions in your business to help limit the contagion and spread of COVID-19.  I personally want to give you an update on what steps we have taken to mitigate the risks to you and our employees. 

  • We have increased the cleaning and disinfecting protocols in our Rexburg retail location and Pocatello furniture showroom by sanitizing high traffic areas every hour or more, customer check-out stations, credit card machines, door handles, and other high contact surfaces.  We have a hand sanitizer station in each location for our employees and customers to use. 
  • We have looked to the CDC guidelines, and all our drivers and warehouse staff have been provided with personal hand sanitizers and use them regularly as they are making deliveries.  Our delivery trucks are disinfected each night as well as during the day to ensure we are keeping them as clean as possible. 
  • We use a proof of delivery system that normally requires a customer to hold and sign it.  Last week we implemented a no-contact policy on these devices and will simply input the full name of the person receiving the product, so you will not need to handle the device. 
  • One of our hallmarks has been providing taffy in all our orders.  We are discontinuing this practice until further notice and feel it is safe to resume. 
  • Our drivers will continue to place the product where you would like per your preference; however, you may ask them at any time to change it. 
  • Any staff member that is experiencing flu-like symptoms has been asked to work remotely or stay at home until it has passed. 
  • For your employee’s working from home, we offer free delivery of product orders directly to their home. 

As you are aware, there has been major disruption in the supply chain for cleaning products such as disinfectant spray, hand cleaner, soap, and yes, toilet paper.  We are working diligently with our suppliers to source these products as quickly as possible.  We have been successful in doing so but are having a tough time keeping them in stock as quantities are limited.  Please be patient with us as we work through this, as many of these items are on allocation. 

Rest assured, we are ready and capable to continue our free delivery service to you and your business.  As you are limiting your contact with others in public places, it may be a good time to review all the products and services we offer and can deliver to you reducing exposure to large groups of people in public places.  Some of these categories include Break Room supplies, including coffee, and Facility maintenance and safety products. 

Thank you for the trust you have instilled in us, and just like you, we are figuring this out as we go along.  We are confident the steps we are taking will help reduce the risk to you and to our employees.  We are committed to keeping everyone we come in contact with safe and healthy. 

Sincerely 

Mark Porter 

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