Think Beyond the Big Box...

Showing Category: Organization

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!
Photo Dec 20, 10 16 39 AM.jpg

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!
Photo Dec 20, 10 16 59 AM.jpg

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.
Photo Dec 20, 10 17 27 AM (1).jpg

Something else we enjoyed doing this holiday season was displaying our holiday cards we received from fellow business friends on our warehouse door.
Photo Dec 20, 10 19 11 AM.jpg

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!!
Photo Dec 20, 10 18 18 AM.jpg

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!

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.

Five Things Every Office Work Space Needs

Everyone has that one item that makes their work day more productive. It may be your favorite pen, a ball of rubber bands, or maybe even a jar of candy!

There are countless items that can improve your productivity. Here are the top five that other people say that can’t work without:

 

5.  Snacks

Everyone has that one hour in the day that their body wants to take a nap. When your at work, that is not a possibility. You got things to do and people to help! But your eyes are still getting heavy. You need a little bit of a pick me up! Chewing gum can help keep your brain chugging along. Chocolate can give you a sweet burst of energy to carry you through. Whatever your preference, get a couple packages of them and store them in your desk drawer for when it is really needed!

http://shop.portersop.com/Search?keyword=candy

 

4. Cleaning Wipes

For some people, your workspace is your home away from home. Areas such as your keyboard, phone, and monitors can collect a lot of dust and particles. Just like keeping your house clean, you often need to do a routine clean up of your desk.  It’s a good chance to take a breath, clear your head and your workspace.

http://shop.portersop.com/Product/CLO/30112/1021069987

 

3. Framed Photos

Again, this is your space! You should take care of it so you feel at home. Bring in a few photos of your family or your puppy to give you a smile throughout the day.

Plus, here at Porter’s we believe the bigger the better. If you want a poster sized photo of your puppy, we got you covered!

http://shop.portersop.com/Product/DAX/2863U2X/1010067079

 

2. Stress Relief Items

Sometimes the best ideas come when you are thinking hard and keeping your hands busy with a stress ball or a fidget spinner.

Check out the ones we have here at Porter’s Office Supply!

http://shop.portersop.com/Product/POP/BLUECOW/217627169

http://shop.portersop.com/Search?keyword=fidget

 

1. Calendar/To Do List

The key to productivity is to be productive of course! There is a lot to remember and events can sneak up on you! It is important to have something to keep track of dates whether it is pocket sized or desktop size.

http://shop.portersop.com/Search?keyword=calendar

http://shop.portersop.com/Product/AAG/7003505/11957845

 

Don’t let your workspace be a place you don’t want to be. Add some flare, personality, and flexibility to it! These items will help you be more productive and feel better about your work day.

 

photo credit: Julie Bonner

Safety in the Workplace

We all know the warning signs we see when in a car. The stop signs, crossing signs, and stop lights all keep us safe on the road. At home, we are all in charge of making our houses safe in the best ways we can for ourselves and our families. In the work environment, in can be hard to adjust to the new area and understand what is needed to remain safe. There are many tips we have for you to do your best to keep yourself and others safe while at work.

Be Aware

The most important thing to remember when trying to remain safe in the office is to be aware of your surroundings. Always concentrate on where you are going instead of texting or listening to loud music while walking. There may be a wet floor sign or something harmful on the ground that you could miss if you are not concentrating on where you are stepping. It’s very important to have your ears open too, just in case you don’t see those harms but someone else is there to warn you.

Company Policies

When you first are hired, talk with your boss about safety regulations. Ask about what the policy is on robberies, lockdowns, fires, and any other emergency you can think of. Memorize the lockdown drill and where the best emergency exits are located. If your boss assigns you an emergency role, be responsible for learning it. Your role could be pushing an alarm button or putting out a small fire in your designated area with a fire extinguisher. Whatever it is, make sure you practice it in your mind over and over until you have it down so that you can have a clear mind during an emergency.

Fire Safe Area

It is very important to try to keep your own area safe. One of the ways to do that is to make sure it is fire safe. Make sure your desk isn’t always cluttered, because then it becomes harder to contain if a little fire begins. You should make it a priority to protect important items and documents by using fire safe file cabinets or safes. Also, make sure that file cabinets, carrying cases, and other large objects are not obstructing your path to the fire exits. Every day, take a small break and walk your path to the nearest fire exits. Make sure that nobody has put anything in the way that could prevent you or others from getting out of the building.

Individual Safety

Now that the obvious physical safety concerns have been met, let’s talk a little more about mental, emotional, and internal health. An everyday office job can have horrible effects on a person’s well-being. Stress overloads often occur, depression can settle in, heart disease, back pain, and other horrible problems can easily become a reality to any worker. The mental and emotional problems from work can be reversed simply by decluttering and reorganizing your mind. Many people hold in more stress than is needed. Little things like to-do lists to get your thoughts on paper, listening to music, using a fidget pen or spinner, cleaning your desk at the end of the day, and taking short breaks can do a lot to improve your productivity and emotions. As for the back pain, what type of chair you have and how you sit in it can affect you greatly. If you can, try to find the best chair for you, and maybe even get a back support or footrest if you need. Make sure that you do your best to have good posture and often stand up, even if just for a minute every hour. The more short, walking breaks you take throughout the day, the less likely you are to gain weight and increase your risk for heart disease.

Office Anxiety: Avoiding a Stressful Mess

Most office workers know how it feels to have a stressful day and have so much work that it bombards their cubicle. There can be so much chaos in one day that we can only wonder how so many items end up spread out everywhere across the desk. Along with the work, agitation increases very quickly. Why does a mess create more stress?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D. gives us a great list about the effects of clutter on the mind.

  1. Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.
  2. Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on.
  3. Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
  4. Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
  5. Clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
  6. Clutter creates feelings of guilt (“I should be more organized”) and embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes or work spaces.
  7. Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brain storm, and problem solve.
  8. Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly (e.g. files and paperwork lost in the “pile” or keys swallowed up by the clutter).

 

If clutter is so bad, what can be changed to decrease clutter and increase productivity? The obvious first step: Organize.

If you have papers piled and scattered all over your desk, get a little file cabinet with some file folders. By sorting all the papers into categories, it will save time in the long run. Have you ever written and printed a paper for a meeting and then lost it in your mess of a desk? With a well-organized file cabinet, you can rest at ease knowing that all your important documents can be found in a few seconds.
Even if those important papers are all tucked away in a secure place, there are still going to be random papers that are not needed anymore or pens, paperclips, and highlighters scattered.

At the end of each day take some time to throw away the junk and put away the miscellaneous items. For items that still need to be sorted by the end of the day, have a desk organizer to put them in so they aren’t all over the desk the next morning. I guarantee you will leave feeling better, and decrease the stress while coming in the next day. It’s also great time to ponder what you learned that day, take notes, and declutter your mind while you declutter your office. Many people leave the office still thinking about what they didn’t finish or what they are going to have to do the next day. If you write it all down, you will be much less stressed after the work day is over.
Going along with writing things down, during the work day many different tasks can be thrown at you. They will be rattling around in your brain until you finish them.

If you don’t write these down on a note pad, sticky notes, or a white board then your brain will be too busy to fully concentrate on anything else. Create a task list every day, and any time an assignment is thrown at you, jot it down. Holding the tasks in your mind while trying to focus on something else is like a baseball player holding onto every ball he caught during practice while trying to eat during his lunch break. Just catch each of the balls as they come, put them in a little basket next to you, and take care of them when you have time.
Stress may always be a part of the everyday working lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be decreased. Free your mind of the weight of worry by getting rid of any excess disorder.

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!