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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!

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.

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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!

 

Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

Oh Hiya!

Meg here, and I know just how much work goes into running an office. Not only do you have all the employees, but clients, vendors, property managers and more. Our office administrator is our savior for all these things. Here are a couple reasons we love our office administrator and ways to make their day a little better as we celebrate national Administrative Professionals Day!

Happy Administrator Day via Porters Office Products

  • Gift Shower: A card is a great start, but this year you can take it a step further and throw a little gift shower. The gifts don’t need to be big, even the smallest personalized gifts can make an impact. Whether you have a basket waiting on their desk at the beginning of the day or have various coworkers stop by with little surprises and notes throughout the day, your office administrator will feel appreciated all day long.

 

  • A Day Off: While it may seem that your office work flow will crumble without them at the helm, your office administrator surely deserves a little break! Whether you can manage an afternoon or even a full day, let your office admin schedule some downtime out of the office. You can also surprise them with tickets to an event, a spa pass or a gift certificate for a sweet treat to enjoy during their time off.

 

  • Help Out: Take a day to walk in their shoes! While your whole office appreciates all the work that your office administrator takes on, it’s a different story when it comes to experiencing it yourselves. Create a schedule and have each member of the office sign up to take over or help out with various tasks that your office admin works through daily. Not only will you give them a break, you’ll have a new appreciation for all the hard work they do every day.

 

  • Update Supplies: It may seem like a small gesture but new supplies will make your office administrator’s job easier. A great place to start is by replacing storage boxes or bringing in a few new ones for those stubborn files that need a home. One of my favorites is Bankers Box®. Those boxes get worn out so quickly with every day use and a few new ones will go a long way in making your office administrator’s job a little less stressful. A new set of pens, a stylish new desk organizer, or even a cute new notepad will make a big difference as well.

 

Administrative Professionals Day is a great opportunity to show your appreciation for all that your office administrator does to make each day flow smoothly. With these tips, your office administrator will feel appreciated all day long. I think it’s a great idea to keep that appreciation flowing all year round by remembering to thank them for their hard work each day. If you’re looking for a few other ways to make this day extra special check out these great ideas CLICK HERE.

 

Until next time,

Meg

 

Celebrate Earth Day In Your Office

Oh Hiya!

Meg here and did you know Earth Day is coming right up on April 22nd? We just love celebrating this beautiful world we live in go now. Earth day may be just one day out of the year, but helping the environment should happen every day! Even the office supplies you use can cut down on your waste and carbon footprint. Check out some of my favorite items and tips for keeping green:

Celebrate Earth Day In Your Office

Brown Bag It: Bringing your own lunch each day in reusable containers is a great way to not only stay green in the office but also save some green of your own! Even if it’s called a brown bag lunch, you can keep the environment in mind and use a cute lunchbox instead of paper bag each day.

 

Recycle: You guessed it! Recycling is one of the best ways to keep your office more environmentally minded. I’m sure your team is already great about recycling, but step it up a notch this year and work on recycling everything you can including plastics, paper, cardboard, and glass.

 

Use Recycled Materials: I try to cut back on using paper products but sometimes a sticky note is the best thing for the job. I love these Post-it® Notes Super Sticky Recycled Notes. They come in such cute colors and they’re made from recycled paper; nothing better than that!

 

Cleaning Products: Every office needs to be spring cleaned but it’s a great idea to keep the environment in mind when tidying up. By using green products you’ll have a sparkling office and a sparkling conscience. I use the Green Works® Compostable Cleaning Wipes when I’m cleaning. I love that they’re compostable and the fresh scent is easy on the nose as well!

 

Reuse: There are so many opportunities to reuse supplies in an office! Rather than writing out ideas or a to-do list on paper, I like to use a dry erase board. When I’m finished with a list or project, I can simply wipe it away and reuse the surface. I also prefer to use paper clips instead of staples for organizing documents on my desk. Paper clips are not only reusable but they come in so many cute styles and patterns too.

 

Green Technology: I’ve been guilty of being an energy hog in my office! When it comes to making the office greener, it’s so easy to overlook technology. A great idea for keeping energy levels low is to set your computer to sleep or hibernate mode when you’re away. A dark screen will save more energy than a screen saver. Another idea is to turn off the overhead lights. This works great if you work in an office with quite a bit of natural light. Not only will you save on energy usage, you’ll have the added benefit of extra sunshine!

 

Earth Day is a great time to take a little extra care in celebrating our planet, but with these easy tips you can take care of the environment every day! If you’re looking for a few more ways to keep your office green, take a look at THESE ideas.

 

Until next time,

 

Meg

Crunching for Tax Season!

Oh Hiya!

 

Meg here and if you’re anything like me, you’ve waited for the very last minute to put together your tax information. Thank goodness I have all the supplies I need in order to make this process quick and painless. When it comes to filing a bit late, these steps and tips are great to keep in mind:

1-Crunching for Tax Season via Porters Office Products

  • Stay Organized: Nothing is worse than dealing with a mess when you’re filing in a rush! To keep my timeline on track and keep my files in a row, I use <a href="http://shop doses of synthroid.portersop.com/product/AVE95930″>Avery® Easy Align Self-Laminating ID Labels. These labels are so quick and easy to print and place that my files are nearly never out of order!

 

  • Speak Up: If you have a question or are unsure about something in the documentation or requirements, ask. I think it’s so important to understand the ins and outs of filing taxes and I won’t hesitate to ask if something is a bit confusing. Better to ask and know than guess and make a mistake!

 

  • Check it Twice: Even when you’re in a bit of a hurry it pays to be sure your numbers are on track and in the right order. I always trust my HP 12C Financial Calculator. This trusty mathematic companion has never steered me wrong.

 

  • Keep It or Shred It: It’s important to keep important tax forms after you file, but some of your other sensitive documents can be disposed of safely. I use the Fellowes® Powershred 455Ms Micro-Cut Shredder for my remaining files. But before you shred, always double (and triple) check that you are keeping the correct files.

 

  • Send it: When it comes to sending off the final forms and documents, you want to be certain that your documents are secure when they’re in the mail. My favorite envelopes are these Quality Park™ Bagasse Sugarcane Envelope. When I send off my documents I want to be sure that they’ll be safe on their course.

 

  • Go Digital: I know most of my tips are for filing through paper documents but I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to filing! It can be quite easy to e-file your taxes using a digital program. You’ll be able to upload all your important documents to your computer and there’s plenty of helpful prompts to keep you moving in the right direction and filing correctly.

 

  • Relax- This is my favorite step of all! After I’ve sent off every document and form, cleared my desk, and organized and filed away all the extra papers, it’s time to take a break.  Whether you’ve filed through the mail or used an e-filing program, you can congratulate yourself on a job well done!

 

I hope these tips help you stay organized and on track while filing your taxes. For more tips you can take a look HERE. If you’ve already finished filing, I congratulate you!

 

Until next time,

 

Meg

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