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Showing Category: Productivity

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

Manage Your Snail Mail

Oh Hiya,

snail mailMeg here! A few years ago, the mailman was one of the sole carriers of information and documents for your office. But today, the rise of email has taken us further away from traditional snail mail. While technology has made quite a few things quicker and easier, snail mail still holds a strong place in our offices. So how can you juggle both forms of communication while staying neatly organized? I’m here to help!

  1. Start A Routine-Whether your mail carrier delivers directly to your office or you have a P.O. box, be sure that you know when and where the mail is delivered. With the immediacy and ease of email, it can be difficult to keep a schedule on direct mail. Once you make a note in your schedule to keep watch on the mail, you’ll never miss another bill or letter again!
  1. Organize a Mail Center– Be it on your desk or at a separate table in the office, a mail center is incredibly helpful. Depending on how much mail your office receives, it can be a quick five-minute job or it could take an hour or two out of your afternoon. When I’m sorting through mail, I like to keep this Writing Pad handy to jot down notes for any important payments or events that may be coming up. In the instance that something requires immediate attention, I also keep a stack of envelopes and Shipping Labels for quick turnaround. That way I can cross those items off the To-Do list as soon as possible!
  1. Unsubscribe– Does it seem like your company receives more junk than mail? Just like you would unsubscribe from a bothersome email list, look into unsubscribing from unwanted mailing lists. Sometimes this is easier said than done, and in the cases of unavoidable junk mail, toss it in the recycling bin!
  1. Safety First- While junk mail can easily be recycled, there are some items that contain more detailed information about your company. When in doubt, shred! I couldn’t live without our Cross-Cut Shredder. It shreds paper into cross sections, which is much more secure than a strip-cut. I also love how I can load the tray with papers for automatic shredding. It saves so much time.

I sure hope these tips help you to stay organized and on task when sorting through your office mail! Email may be a bit faster but there will always be a need for snail mail and keeping organized is a useful skill no matter what your preferred method of communication. If you’d like a few other ideas for keeping your mail organized, take a look at what the folks at Level Money have to say.

Until next time,

Meg

Make Those Little Tasks Even Easier

Oh Hiya! Meg here and I know that if I find any opportunity to save some time, I jump on it. There are plenty of little tasks that can be cut down in the office, allowing you to put your time and effort toward larger, more important projects.how to

  • Start with a priority list! My day goes along so smoothly when I spend a couple of minutes in the morning organizing my to-do list. While not every day follows right along with the list, I can save myself some time by keeping on track of the main projects that need to be completed throughout the day.
  • If your job is anything like mine, you have quite a bit of mail to send out during the day. All that time spent preparing envelopes for the post office really takes a toll on my day. I’ve started using this neat Envelope Moistener with Adhesive to quickly seal the envelopes I need to send. I also try to set aside time in my day to just focus on mail rather than taking several trips to the post office box.
  • Some days it seems that I spend most of my time at the paper shredder! But since we’ve put an Auto Feed Shredder in our office I’ve been able to save so much time. All I need to do is put the papers on the tray and the shredder does the rest of the work for me. It’s so nifty!
  • A tidy desk is a time saving desk! At the end of the day I take a few minutes to clean up my desk and prepare for the next day. I love starting out my day with a clean desk instead of spending time neatening up a mess from the day before. It’s so much easier to start fresh and be prepared for the day ahead of me.
  • Every minute saved counts, which is why I use Print-On Dividers! I can prepare the documents on my computer then just send them to print on the dividers directly, without needing to spend time filling out labels. It’s one of the simplest and biggest time savers I have.

These time saving tips are great for helping you stay on task without overworking yourself or filling your schedule with extra chores! For more great ways to save yourself time and worry in the office, take a look HERE.

Till next time, Meg

Files and Storage For More Office Zen

Office Zen

Nothing can transform your office experience faster than an organized and compact storage solution to reduce clutter and streamline your documents. Below are six of the most versatile storage and filing solutions around that can bring a little more zen to your workspace.

Safco has a mesh file cart that features three drawers together with one file cube for hanging file folders with lockable swivel casters so you can move it to where it’s needed most. My favorite thing about this cart is its 27″ height, which should tuck neatly under most desks and worksurfaces. The modern, onyx steel mesh has a durable, powder-coat finish. Safco offers a limited lifetime warranty with this file cart and at well under $150 provides some of the best value in this price range for file carts.

Lorell offers a heavy-gauge steel, commercial-grade vertical filing cabinet at less than half the cost of its competitors. Available in both black and light gray, this four drawer vertical file is lockable and opens and closes smoothly and quietly on a ball-bearing suspension. At 22″ deep for your files, there are deeper filing cabinets offered with Lorell as well as HON brand. However, if you’re in the market for a filing cabinet under $200, this is really the best money can buy.

If you’ve got a bit more space for a lateral file, why not add some additional shelving on top? This Lorell lateral file drawer combo unit provides easy cable management and has height-adjustable shelving. It’s essentially a file, bookcase, and printer stand all-in-one. This lateral file is made of sturdy steel construction with a baked enamel finish. All of this comes in at 36″ wide and the file drawers have pull handles that run the whole length of the unit. If space is at a premium, this is among the best multi-tasking options for your workplace.

You don’t need to be an attorney or a prolific writer to have a bookshelf in your office space. And if you’re looking for thick, hardwood shelving, again it’s Lorell that has it at an amazing price. With a weight rating of 110 lb. on each shelf, this adjustable shelving bookcase will support your heaviest book collection without any problem. The shelves measure 3/4″ in thickness and it’s covered in a rich laminate for a professional appearance. This style is available in as large as a six shelf variety and presents the best hardwood bookcase value around.

One of the largest office trends of today is standup workstations, due to the ergonomic and energy benefits. The Max Stax standup workstation can also convert to a printer/fax stand as needed and adds mobility, with 3″ locking casters. This workstation is slim and adjustable and features a metal security rail along the back to keep any valuable gadgets protected.

When you’re traveling for work and need to keep important files secure, Storex has a portable file box with built-in steel rails for your hanging fie folders to smoothly glide across. For an extra layer of security, this file box has a slot especially for padlocks if needed. My favorite thing about this box is the lid, which has a large storage compartment for quick access to your most frequently used documents.

How to Pack Like a Pro: 5 Essential Products for the Road Warrior

Airport Lounge

 

If you find yourself always on the go for work, you know that convenience is king when you need to work away from the desk.  Having everything portable, well-charged, and organized will give you the competitive advantage when it comes to time management and efficiency.  A staggering number of people hit the roads and fly the friendly skies for business purposes each year.  The Global Business Travel Association pegs the number of business trips taken annually in the U.S. at 488 million.  Below are a list of five of the most popular products for businessmen and women on the move at the best Blue Cow prices.

Sometimes when you’re on the go space is at a premium and you’ll need a computer mouse for travel that’s ultra-compact and easy to store. Verbatim has a mini travel mouse with a nano USB receiver that is ideal for notebook and netbook users.  The included USB receiver protrudes very little from your laptop so you can leave it in without any snagging when you store it in a bag.  With four different color schemes, Verbatim has the right travel mouse to fit your style.

For business trips lasting only a day or two, save the money that would’ve gone towards checking in large luggage and pack your change of work clothes in your laptop bag carry-on. Targus has a roller notebook bag that will protect any laptop with up to a 16” screen with its foam padding. The outside is water-resistant to keep your belongings dry and, when not in use, the telescoping handle retracts into a zippered compartment so it can act as a briefcase. On the inside, you’ll find the zip-down workstation includes pen loops, a spot for business cards, and even a cell phone pocket.

There’s nothing worse than a cell phone or laptop battery running out of juice before an important meeting or call comes around. Bring some charging security with you on your next business trip with the Weego Tour 5200 Battery Pack.  With a maximum charge capacity of 5,200 mAh, this model has enough power to recharge your cell phone up to two full times from a dead battery and comes with a two foot USB cord for convenient charging of your cell phone, tablets, speakers, or laptop.   The peace of mind this little gadget will provide when there’s a scarcity of wall outlets nearby is invaluable.

Wireless headphones perhaps aren’t among the first things you think about on a business trip, but these are becoming quite common for several reasons. Some business travelers will use them as plush, oversized earmuffs on an especially noisy flight while others will use them in the morning before a big meeting to get inspired.  Granted, this Compucessory pair of wireless headphones isn’t a big-name brand like Bose or Sennheiser, but only the most discerning of audiophiles would find these lacking in performance.  This model has a range of 65 feet wires-free and big, booming 40mm drivers for an immersive soundstage.

These days, more and more laptops are switching from standard hard drives with moving parts to solid state drives. This is a great advancement for speed and cooling, but unless you have money to burn they tend to have smaller storage capacities.  The solution?  Bring along an external hard drive for at least an extra terabyte of backup storage and you’ll never need to upgrade the storage on your computer.  This Verbatim model stands apart from the rest with lightning-fast USB 3.0 connectivity at a competitive price and is hardly bigger than a smartphone.

 

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

 

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

5 Item Meg Always Has On Her Desk

Oh Hiya!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve found that stocking your desk is more difficult than it seems! There are so many gadgets that can make the work day easier, but you only have so much desk space! A cluttered desk is distracting, but you also don’t want to be running to the office supply closet every day.

Untitled design (7)

I’ve broken it down to 5 of my favorite items I always have on my desk!

Pens: Even if your job is mostly electronic, you always need to have pens handy! The BIC Comfort Grip Medium Point Round Stic Pens keep to the basics and allow you to jot down notes and scribbles whenever you need. I always try to keep at least 5 pens handy at my desk, in case I misplace one or in case a coworker accidentally walks away with one.

Post Its: Having a quick place to jot down notes or messages is vital at any desk.  The Post-it Pop-up Cape Town Value Pack offers different sizes and colors to keep your notes organized and easy to read. Post its are perfect writing quick notes without wasting an entire piece of paper of notepad. They can also easily stick to relevant documents, your planner, or the backs of your coworkers.

Paperclips: Nothing is more important in an office than being organized. Paperclips keep all your relevant documents together without the need to staple and rip anything! The Business Source Paper Clip pack loads you and your entire staff up with paperclips for all your vital documents.

Binders: Organize even further with binders like the Avery Blue Circle Cover Designer View Binder. Binders help organization because they can hold all your relevant documents and be easily labeled and stored. I always keep one or two empty binders in my desk in case there is a new project that falls in my lap.

Batteries: We always need power! Batteries are always the hardest supply to find in the closet, so I make sure to always keep them handy in my desk. Practically everything requires batteries now a days and work simply cannot function if our technology is dead. The Energizer AA Size Alkaline General Purpose Battery pack will load you up so you will always have power in a pinch!

So stock up your desk with these 5 office essentials and be extra productive!

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

 

Is Your Office Design Affecting Productivity?

officeBusiness owners began to connect productivity and office design back in the 60’s, with the invention of the cubicle. Their belief was that providing privacy helped employees focus. However, studies suggest that the cubicle actually decreased productivity and promoted isolation in a negative way.

Today, we see office design moving to a more collaborative environment, with less confined offices and more open seating or workstations. So what really makes a difference when it comes to work environments? The top three factors of a productive workspace are distractions, office layout, and comfort.

• Distractions: An open office environment helps with communication, but it can also lead to distractions. Set aside rooms for collaboration to keep conversations between teams.

• Office Layout: Keep your space flexible as your business is growing and changing. Workers need enough space to get their work accomplished, but also need to feel connected to their team and the mission of the company.

• Comfort: The way a workstation is designed can have a huge impact on the worker’s success. Choosing comfortable chairs and the right desks will allow your team to focus on tasks rather than their aching back or neck.

With our expertise, we can custom design a space that includes comfortable, stylish furniture to make your work environment productive and appealing to your staff. Give us a call today to set up a consultation.