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Deck the Office Halls

 

 

Happy holidays!!!

How are you keeping the festive holiday spirit alive in the office? It can be tricky sometimes to decorate with a limited space or a limited wallet.

Here are some of the office ideas we have done here around our Porter’s Office Products work station!

Our furniture specialists pop onto the retail floor several times a day. They decided to hang some garland up with some fairy lights intermixed for some holiday glow!
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What brings the holiday spirit better than a fully decorated Christmas tree? We have loved having this tree in on our retail floor so that everyone always see it. We even stored our employee Secret Santa gifts for one another underneath it for the time before our party!
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A great and inexpensive way to decorate is hanging Christmas ornaments around the office. We hung them from the shelves on the retail floor. It glistened the place up a great deal.
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Something else we enjoyed doing this holiday season was displaying our holiday cards we received from fellow business friends on our warehouse door.
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Of course, we couldn’t do any of this without the Blue Cow stamp of approval! Our little buddy has certainly enjoyed the holiday season thus far!!
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There are also many ideas we have seen that we love to share as well!

One of our absolute favorites is this rendition of Elf on a Shelf! They created Elf bodies out of construction paper and attached their own photos on as well! They move them all around the office and have them act out hilarious winter scenarios. Great idea coming from Seema Adnani

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great and simple one is turning your door into a present! We love this idea coming from Nap Time Decorator. It will make anyone feel the holiday spirit as they walk into your “presents”!

Front Door Wrapped Present.

There are so many fun ideas and decorations you can use in your office space. Let us know if you have another idea or something you have already tried!

Together We’re Thankful

A great way to being a sense of unity into the workplace is around the time of Thanksgiving. Everyone is grateful for something!

Something that we like to do here at Porter’s Office Products is to make a gratitude wall. We cut out lots of yellow leaves and leave them in the breakroom for people to write on at their own time. During lunch hours, after work, before work, stopping in for a drink of water, we let people write on these leaves. We were pleasantly surprised that the leaves started filling up the bulletin board and the surrounding wall within the hour! It is continuing to fill up more and more every day.

This has been a great chance for us to reflect on the aspects of our life that we may take for granted. We are especially grateful that we are able to serve those in our community and interact with customers like you each and every day. We wish that you all have a great Thanksgiving and that you will be blessed. You have certainly blessed our lives! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Porter’s Office Products.

 

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

 

How Can You Support the Cause?

Photocredit: Breast Cancer Wisdom

 

How Can I Support the Cause?

 October is a wonderful month for many reasons. One of my favorites is that everyone draws a little closer together with Breast Cancer Awareness. I wish we were always aware and supporting the cause, but I am grateful for October being the focus month.

 It’s safe to say 8/10 people probably know someone who has spent time fighting cancer. It is very near and dear to us that know someone or if we are that person. Knowing someone and not knowing someone, both can be a blessing. Cancer allows many lessons to be learned in the times of hardship. Families, friends, and communities unite together.

 If you know someone struggling with cancer, here are a few ways you can help them and support the cause:

  1. Be a Listener
  • Sometimes a listening ear can make the world of difference. It is very beneficial for people to just talk out their feelings to someone they trust, even if it doesn’t make sense or is not even related. Being there for someone you love and listening can help them make new discoveries about themselves or situation.

      2. Open Ended Invitations

  • Most fighters don’t know how they will feel by tomorrow or even the end of the day. Let them know whenever they want to, they can come watch a movie or go grab a bite to eat. This lets them know you are their support.

      3. Connect those you know with Breast Cancer to a survivor

  • Many fighters will say they don’t want help or need it. Again, present the opportunity. They can think about it and reach out when they need it.

      4. Offer to buy groceries for them

  • Many fighters have special diets or restrictions. As much as they would appreciate a homemade lasagna, they would appreciate it more if you came and got their grocery list from them.

 

Now what about us that don’t know someone who is fighting against cancer? There are still may ways to help!

  1. Participate in the Cancer Walks
  • These events occur more than you know. Just research to find one in the local area and go walk! All the funding of this event goes to researching for a cure. You are making a wonderful contribution just by walking. Who knows, you might even meet some new lifelong friends!

     2. Donatations

     3.Volunteer

 

Whether you know someone one fighting cancer or not, you have all the power to make a difference. The greatest thing is you can start today! Help support the cause! Fight Cancer with us.

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!

 

Computer Mouse Tricks You Need to Know

 

If you don’t already know these tricks, this is going to be a major time saver for you! I found one by accident and realized, “Hey! There must be more out there!” I have compiled a list of some that will help you significantly. These tricks are applicable in web browsers as well as many programs like Microsoft Word.

Using the left button of your mouse:

  • Double click on a word and it highlights the whole word
  • Triple click and it highlights the whole paragraph
  • Put your curser over where you want to start, click, and let go. Now, move your cursor to the end of where you want to select, hold SHIFT and click! It highlighted everything in between!
  • If you want to copy a whole paragraph, highlight it and hold CTRL and drag it to where you want it to go!
  • Same concept, if you highlight and hold SHIFT

Using the Wheel of your mouse:

  • You can use this for scrolling AND clicking! The wheel is a button that you can use when browsing the internet. If you click the wheel on a web link, it will open up a new tab automatically with that link rather than using the tab you’re already in!
  • Hold down CTRL and scroll the wheel at the same time, and you can zoon in and out.
  • Instead of scrolling a up or down a million pages, click the wheel, slightly move your mouse, and viola! You are zipping to the top or bottom of the past faster than you know!
  • Middle click on a tab in your browser to instantly close it.

I hope you learned at least one new trick today. Go ahead and test them all out! It has helped me during my work day to effectively navigate my browsers and documents.

On-Boarding Do’s and Don’t’s

Oh Hiya, Meg here! I think bringing a new client to our company is one of the most exciting times to be a part of the team. Of course, it takes an awful lot of work and planning, but it’s one of the most rewarding parts of a job. Here are a few of my best tips for meeting with a prospective client and how to get them hooked on your business:

onboarding

  •         DO Listen: Pay attention to exactly what it is that the client is looking for from your company. Each client will be looking for something unique, which means that you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of what your company has to offer. Listen for the issues, take notes, and provide solutions! I can always count on my trusty notepad and BIC Ballpoint Pen for keeping notes during prospective client meetings.
  •         DON’T Generalize: A quick way to turn a client away from your company is preparing a one-size-fits-all solution. Be sure that you’ve taken the time to fully assess what you can offer the client for their unique needs and tailor your proposal to them as much as possible.
  •         DO Problem Solve: Take time to meet with your team and plan a detailed solution for your client that fits your skill sets. Keep your team, and yourself, in check when it comes to providing solutions and be sure that you can deliver work you’re proud of. I’ve found that our clients appreciate having a solution in-hand, so my team puts together our proposals with our Swingline Manual Binding Machine. It allows us to organize a professional outline and our clients always leave the meeting impressed.
  •         DON’T Promise the Moon: On the other side of creating a thorough solution is over-promising. When bringing on a new client, it’s easy to promise the moon from your team. Be sure that your solutions are realistic in both the end goal and the timeline.
  •         DO Communicate: Do your best to make yourself open to client communication during onboarding. Your future client wants to know that even after they’ve signed on with you, you’ll be open to answering any questions or concerns. Stay in contact and you’ll have a lifelong client!
  •         DON’T Overwhelm: While open communication is wonderful, it can easily overwhelm a client when you offer up a daily email or phone call. Stay open and available, but keep yourself in check when it comes to checking in.

Of course, these tips aren’t a complete guide to onboarding a prospective client! One of the best guides that I’ve found for this process is from Hubspot. It’s full of wonderful tips for staying on track with a client throughout onboarding. Take a look here.

Until next time,

Meg

Working on the Go

Oh Hiya, Meg here! Have you noticed that there are so many more offsite meetings during this time of year? I find myself always needing to be prepared for a meeting over lunch or for an offsite client presentation. In the rush of leaving for a meeting, it’s so easy to forget the essentials. To help, I’ve put together a little list of off-site must-haves to make any meeting or presentation run smoothly.

BE PREPARED

  1.      Pack a Bag- Just like keeping a bag ready for a weekend away, I find that having a bag ready for offsite meetings helps me stay prepared for anything. Be sure that the bag has plenty of space for a laptop, charger cord, and all other meeting essentials. When it comes to preparing for a meeting, I find that it’s better to be over stocked with supplies than to go without.
  2.      Bring Extra Energy- Technology is a wonderful thing when it comes to meetings but there are so many times when a little glitch can throw off the whole system. Make sure you’re prepared with extra power cords and of course, a spare set of batteries. I always keep a pack of Energizer Batteries in my bag for unexpected energy outages. Don’t forget a travel mug of coffee to keep your own energy levels high, as well!
  3.      Powerless Planning- Of course there are times when even a spare set of batteries may not solve a technology hang up. When tech fails, it pays to have a backup plan. I pack a spare set of notepads and pens in my travel bag for meeting note taking. When it comes to tech-free presentations, I rely on my Post-it Self Stick Dry Erase Film. I can’t always count on a venue to supply a dry-erase board, and this film certainly gets the job done without leaving behind a mess when the meeting is done.
  4.      Check It Twice- Before leaving for your off-site meeting, be sure that you’ve double and triple checked the items you’ll need. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your meeting only to find that your notebook is still at your desk!

For a few more helpful tips on organizing the perfect offsite meeting, take a look at what Meeting Tomorrow has to say. Happy planning!

Until next time,

Meg

Unique Ways to Use Common Office Products

Oh Hiya, Meg here, and I’ve been thinking a lot about multitasking. I’m sure that when you think of multi-tasking creativity, your everyday office supplies aren’t the first thought in your head. I’ve found some new, amazing ways to put those supplies to use.

office products

Binder Clips: They may not look like a multi-purpose tool, but these handy clips are incredible when it comes to organizing cords and wires around your desk. By clipping them to the side of your desk and threading your charger cords, headphones, or internet cables through the handles, you’re able to keep every cord and cable in place.

Scotch Tape: Got a messy keyboard? Clean out stubborn crumbs with Scotch Magic Tape. Sometimes you don’t have keyboard cleaner on hand, but a roll of scotch tape is always nearby. Simply pull off a section of tape and slide it between the rows of keys to remove any unwanted dust or crumbs. So easy!

Post-It Notes: Sticky Notes are the ultimate multi-purpose tool! One of my favorite uses for my Post-it Super Sticky Notes is as a customizable calendar. I’ll always keep an eye on my desk calendar but when I need a little more space, I’ll just use sticky notes as an “expanded view” calendar on my office wall. Not only does it give me a more room to keep notes, I can easily count down the days by removing a note when the day has passed. You can easily customize your sticky-note calendar with different colors to match your style or the season.

Stapler: This tip may be specific to my favorite stapler! I use a Swingline Stapler and I absolutely love how it folds out to allow for temporary staples. My paperclips can get tangled and sometimes I need to keep a stack of papers organized. All I need to do is rotate the anvil of my stapler and voilà, I have an easy way to get temporary staples!

When it comes to multitasking with office supplies, all you need is a little creativity! There are so many wonderful ideas for making everyday items work for you. Take a look at a few more ingenious tips from Tiny Home Tour.

Until next time,

Meg!