Category Archives: Business

Employee Legal Awareness Day – For Employees and Businesses too!

legal awareness

13th February was established by Australian lawyer, Paul Brennan as Employee Legal Awareness day. Who knows why he picked 12th February, maybe it struck him on this day one year that there was perhaps a lack of information or knowledge of what employees’ rights were? However, he created the day with the aim to emphasise the importance of legal education for not only employees but small businesses and wanted to reduce the risk of any legal complications on both sides.

However, Brennan was also keen to accentuate that the onus of knowing your rights should not just sit with the Company you work with but also that you should ensure you are aware of the policies.

So, we have devised the top 4 things that as an employee, you should be ensuring you are aware of:

  1. Induction: when you join a Company, you should be offered a full induction that allows you to question any policies your new employer has.
  2. Know whose HR: understand who your HR manager is. If the business is too small to have a designated person for this role, ensure you know who organises holiday, or is responsible for any company policy procedures.
  3. Ask for a handbook: your employer should have a company handbook which should detail in full the following policies:
  • Health and Safety
  • Absence from work
  • Holiday entitlement
  • Privacy
  • Email/phone use
  • Disciplinary
  • Information you must provide
  • Office policies
  • Equal opportunities
  • Grievances
  1. Unsure still? Ask questions. If you’re unclear of any procedures, then make sure you ask? No employer will mind being asked any questions if you need clarification.

Employee legal awareness day is not a day just to make employees aware, its for business too as a way of reminding all that clear policies protect your business as much as it protects your staff, so why not make a day of it next February 12th 2020 and have some fun with it-use it as a time to remind all of the policies your company has and help clear up any questions.

The Office Utopia – How Can Your Business Achieve This?

happy staff

Attracting and retaining the best employees is critical for a business to succeed. Not only does a low turnover rate benefit your bottom line, but it provides the foundation of a successful business for the future.

However, how can you create the office utopia where your employees are happy and productive to their highest capacity? Its proven that happy people in their work are more productive. But it’s not always about the money and if you want to achieve an office Utopia, perhaps these top tips will help you achieve this:

  1. Promote the work-life balance: Whether you are the employee or the employer, you all share the need to balance your good working life with a good life. Promote the importance of working hard but also embrace the need to maintain a healthy life.
  1. Everyone is part of the bigger picture: Always promote how each employee is part of the bigger picture and how the work they do contributes to that. Keep everyone informed about the Company direction and provide clear communication about what is expected from each department to achieve that vision.
  1. Celebrate progress: Point out the good things that your employees do! Whilst its necessary to offer constructive feedback to help improve things, don’t forget to celebrate the great things top!
  1. Create a relaxed space: Have a break out area where employees can relax and chat with each other, a casual space where it is inviting with nice comfortable furniture. What will happen is people from across the business will come together and share ideas and you may find that it’s a great environment for creative thinking.
  1. Be positive, make it an ethos of the business: Happy employees = happy company. Encourage group lunches, allow employees to take courses to aid their development and help them gain extra knowledge. The more your team feel they can grow and feel supported, the more your business will benefit.
  1. Treat everyone the same: If you are the boss or a senior manager, set the example. You can never underestimate the impact you have by walking into the office with a smile and treating everyone with the same respect. That will permeate throughout the whole business.
  1. Reward! Frequency is better than size. Smaller, more frequent positive rewards and feedback is far more beneficial for your business.
  1. Trust your team: Delegate, don’t micromanage! Empower your people and trust they’ll do a good job
  1. Know your team: Take time to understand who your team are. You can never underestimate the impact you’ll have if your employees know you are interested in them as individuals.
  1. Say thank you: Simple but true to say the power of being appreciative will reward your business immensely.

And here are some stats why:

  • Employees who report being happy at work take 10 times fewer sick days than unhappy employees.
  • 36% of employees would give up money from their salary to be happy at work!
  • Happy employees are 12% more productive

5 Tips for Internet Safety at Work

internet safety

Today is Internet Safety Day and a great opportunity to shed some light on the subject. Most people aren’t actually aware of the cyber threats they face on a daily basis whilst using the internet at work. Keeping both yourself and the company you work for safe should really be a part of everyone’s jobs, so it’s worth knowing how. Here are 5 tips for using the internet safely whilst at work:

1.     Use Strong Passwords

When signing up to different online platforms and software, be sure to select strong passwords that are no less than eight characters long. It’s also wise to use numbers and symbols within your passwords and even include a variation of both upper and lower case letters so that it’s not easy for people to guess them. Keep your passwords a secret and don’t use the same ones everywhere.

2.     Lock Your Screen

If you leave your desk to pop to the toilet, grab a drink or speak to a colleague, always remember to lock your screen. Leaving it unlocked makes important files and any confidential information vulnerable. Eventually it will become a habit you don’t have to think about.

3.     Be Careful When Clicking Links

It’s likely that you receive an abundance of emails on a daily basis and you’re probably used to clicking hyperlinks and downloading attachments. However, you should be cautious when clicking links, especially if you’re not sure who the sender is because the link could be a virus. If you’re dubious, you can click on the email address to check if it’s legitimate.

4.     Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi Networks

Public wireless networks are undoubtedly convenient, especially if you’re out and about for meetings. However, they can also be dangerous and jeopardise your privacy, so you should think twice before connecting to them. Home Wi-Fi is encrypted, but public networks in coffee shops, for example, are not. This means that people can monitor your activity, including the emails you send, your login information and the pages you visit.

5.     Report Anything Suspicious

You probably have an IT professional or even a team at work, and if you spot anything suspicious at all regarding your computer or your internet usage, be sure to report it to them. After all, it’s better safe than sorry.

As well as careful use of the internet, it’s worth taking measures to ensure all aspects of your workplace are safe and secure, such as printing sensitive documents. For more information on how to ensure you’re printing securely, you can read this helpful article.

Meet Mode at the PA Show – Olympia London

Mode Print Solutions, a leading supplier of digital print solutions in London and Hertfordshire, are excited to announce that they will be exhibiting at The PA Show at Olympia London on 26th and 27th February 2019.

The PA Show is the UK’s largest event dedicated to the development and progression of PAs, EAs, VAs and Office Managers. The exhibits and keynotes will include event management, corporate hospitality, travel and transport, teambuilding and motivation, training and development, corporate gifts, stationery, office supplies and much more.

We caught up with Anwen Haynes – Marketing Manager at Mode, to find out more about the event and why we should pay their stand a visit…

So Anwen let’s start with where your stand will be located at the event?

We are really happy to have secured our stand number: E220, right by the ‘Networking area’. This location is right in the heart of all the action, where we are looking forward to meeting lots of new people and networking with lots of new contacts.

And what will Mode be exhibiting at the show?

Our main theme is ‘How to create an office utopia’ and we will be showcasing how Mode can help you do this by using our unique ‘SIMPLE’ product. We like to keep things as simple as possible and we do this by providing all the equipment and services your office needs, as well as providing direct finance. We want to show that Mode doesn’t just supply you with a photocopier; by getting to know your business and understanding your workflows, we can help you to manage your business as a whole.

Why should attendees visit your stand?

We are really excited to have a brilliant Ricky Gervais (David Brent) lookalike joining us on our stand on Tuesday the 26th and a truly unforgettable magician called Lee Smith on Wednesday the 27th, so please come over and say hello, take a selfie and have some fun with us. Also, look out for a possible competition!

Who are you looking forward to seeing at the event?

I noticed that Ryman are the headline sponsor, so I do hope to spot Theo Paphitis there!
I am also looking forward to the talk by Catherine Arden (Theatre Director and Trainer), as we are always interested in how to best train our team here at Mode and we always like to embrace new ideas around training and recruitment.

What are you hoping to take away from the event?

This will be my first exhibition within this industry, so I am really looking forward to learning more from the keynotes and hopefully taking away lots of useful tips to help our business, as well as my own personal development skills.

I love meeting and talking to new people and think it will be a great opportunity to listen to what business need help with and what issues can arise from other services.

We hope to successfully share our message of Mode at this event and improve our brand awareness and I hope to come away feeling inspired and taking lots of new contacts with me.

8 Steps to Ensure Your Business is Printing Securely

In any business, the need to protect your assets and information is increasingly crucial as criminal hackers become more sophisticated in their approach to either illegally gain information or disrupt your business.

You will need to ensure you print securely if:

  1. You print sensitive documents
  2. There is a need to comply with industry standards
  3. You must/want to protect your IT network from outside threats

Why are printers even considered a threat?

  • MFD’s/Desktop printers all contain hard drives that are necessary in order to queue print jobs-these can be hacked if they are not secure.
  • Printers that are not configured properly can provide access for a hacker
  • Sensitive documents are recoverable from photocopiers

Minimise the security risk

  1. Ensure you have a printer that is right for your business with the necessary security. Home printers have minimal security whereas MFP’s (Multifunctional Printers) have more sophisticated features.
  2. Perform regular software updates. Hackers are becoming increasingly smarter and evolve the way they can access your sensitive information. Hardware manufacturers regularly release security patches to counter these threats, so ensure these are done.
  3. Implement passwords and an Admin account. All employees should have passwords on their IT equipment and there should be an admin account where one person within the business is able to access the server. This way there is traceability of who is accessing the server.
  4. Review the security settings on your printers. All MFP’s should have the capacity to only release print jobs once the author is at the device, and this is only accessed by a code only known to them, or through a personalised ID card.
  5. What is the location of your machine? Ensure that it is situated in a visible position in your office so that it is less easy for people to tamper with the device.
  6. Device encryption. This needs to be implemented on the device. Hard drives store printed documents and this is often forgotten on machines, but a strong encryption will protect your data.
  7. Network encryption. This is totally necessary to protect data as it moves from the computer to the server to the printer. This is particularly important should any of your employees work remotely or print wirelessly. Devices outside your office could connect to your network and read the data you transmit to your printer.
  8. Education in your office. Talk to your employees and ensure that every action they perform is ensuring that they are all printing securely.

For more information on printing securely visit https://www.modeprintsolutions.co.uk/secure-printing/ or call us to speak to one of the team on 0345 223 2203

Are Businesses Beginning to Reignite their Love of Traditional Print?

printing at work

Digital marketing and advertising were hailed as the answer to printed marketing and predictions were rife that this would end our love affair with printed documents. However, click through rates are in decline and a surge has begun toward direct mail marketing again.

What appears to be the trend now Is that marketeers are using a combination of both to try and attract new customers and many businesses are using print to send vouchers or discounts to entice new customers, or as in some food retailers’ cases, printed food brochures with a certain amount off should you shop with them. Certainly, retailers appear to be engaging with potential customers if they have placed something in their baskets and forgotten about it, personalised printed vouchers may encourage them to remember the items in their basket and entice them to buy.

Whilst GDPR has made businesses reconsider how they contact customers, often the methods now used by direct mail marketeers are via a postcode drop and not based on a database of names and addresses. However, people still like the personalised touch and if you can identify those that have visited your website, then it is of benefit for you to send a personalised direct mail. Be careful with personalisation though as it must be relevant to that person and not just a mail merge. Also, compliance with GDPR law should be adhered should the person insist that their data is removed from your database.

However, marketeers are beginning to realise the value of print and how good quality print is attractive to customers. People are becoming bored with junk in their inboxes and immediately hitting the delete button. Whereas dwell time on printed products has increased and there is value in producing a beautiful brochure/pamphlet to entice people if your offer is right for them.

Recently Print Brain conducted research about the effectiveness of Direct Mail versus Digital marketing and the results were exceedingly interesting! They conducted a cold acquisition campaign split between direct mail and email contacting over 900, 000 cold customers. 1 third received email only and 2 thirds a piece of direct mail.

The result?

  • The email campaign resulted in just 0.02% of email recipients enquiring with a conversion rate of 42%.
  • The DM campaign resulted in almost 1% of recipients making enquiries of which over half resulted in a sale.
  • And when the calculations were made, the cost per sale for the printed direct mail campaign was 57% lower than for the email campaign!

So, whilst these results show the love affair with print reigniting, a cohesive combination of printed direct mail and email may be a winning combination in acquiring new business.

Tips to Manage a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ Workplace

A ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)’ workplace is, as the name suggests, the growing popularity of employee owned devices within a company. One example of this is smartphones, but it could also include tablets, laptops and USB drives.  As with anything, there are both benefits and drawbacks to having a BYOD workplace. It saves money for the company, because devices won’t have to be provided to each employee. It can also improve employee satisfaction and general morale, thus boosting productivity.

Unfortunately, there are also risks. Malware, viruses, unsecured devices and other issues can jeopardise corporate data, including sensitive client information and intellectual property. Fortunately, there are ways this risk can be significantly reduced, through the creation and management of BYOD policy guidelines.

Users must enrol in ‘Find My Device’ so that they have a better chance of finding their gadget if it is misplaced. Remote wipe services are also great, because they will allow the user to erase the data from their device if it goes missing, so that it can’t fall into the wrong hands. Frequent backups will prevent any significant loss if a device does have to be wiped. Regardless, corporate data should be encrypted anyway, so that compromised devices are still secure. Of course, another vital security measure is strong passwords across all smart devices.

It is also possible to prevent access to sensitive documents or applications when the user is offline. In other words, the user won’t be able to download or cache data on the device when they’re not connected to the corporate network.

So, with productivity in mind, BYOD policies have become widespread and with adequate management, it is possible for it to work successfully and safely.

Tips for Flexible and Remote Workers

Today more and more businesses are seeing the benefits of offering their employees flexible working opportunities. With improved staff productivity, extended availability and reduced business downtime, flexible working can offer a number of advantages for both your staff and your business.

 

To help you get started we’ve put together our top tips to enable your workforce to stay connected and productive, at home or on the go….

 

  1. Communication

Agree with your employees how you are going to communicate and when they will be available. Set expectations around reply times to messages and working hours.

 

  1. Meetings

Keep up regular web-video meetings with your remote workers. These meetings are key to a connected and productive team.

 

  1. Pick up the phone

Even if you have a detailed email, it is still easy to misunderstand written messages. Don’t forget to pick up the phone regularly to ensure all messages between your staff are clear and understood.

 

  1. Mobile printing

It is essential to set up mobile printing options for your remote workers. Mobile printing will allow your employees to connect and use various printing services using their own devices.

Mobile printing can  be more cost effective  for your business, improve your print queues and it can still be as secure as printing from within the office.

 

  1. Keep a schedule

Have a way of communicating what all of your team are working on, this way you can all help each other to meet deadlines and learn from each others work

How to Prepare Your Small Business for Christmas

Although many people are complaining about the arrival of Christmas advertising and other festivities before December has even hit, it’s very important for small businesses around the world to start taking Christmas seriously in the run up to the 25th. Like it or not, Christmas is coming! Whether you sell handmade jewellery online, or you’re a freelancer to lots of different clients, here are some tips to help you prepare for Christmas:

Consider Supply and Demand

 If Christmas is your busiest period, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to meet the high demand. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have enough time?
  • Do I have enough stock?
  • Do I have enough staff?
  • Do I have enough marketing?

It’s vital that you have the resources you need to keep your customers happy, so plan ahead. And don’t forgot; a lot of people will want to take time off over Christmas, so you might need to hire some temporary employees to cover.

Think About Your Marketing Strategies

 Give your business a boost with a well thought out marketing strategy that makes the most of the festive theme. Consider your goals be and try to think outside the box and test new approaches. Here are some ideas:

  • Update your website
  • Send out a newsletter
  • Give away discounts
  • Give your packaging a festive makeover
  • Schedule your social media posts before you take time off
  • Write a festive blog post
  • Offer a gift-wrapping service for free

Stay Positive

 Christmas can be quite stressful for many people; the shops are hectic, money is tight and lots of organisation is required. For that reason, you should check in on your employees and try to keep their spirits bright as much as possible. Send your clients Christmas cards and think about getting some sweet treats (mince pies) for your staff. Overall, just try and stay positive!

With our advice and some hard work and organisation, you should be fully prepared to enjoy a fantastic Christmas. Good luck!

Entrepreneur Day 2018

entrepreneur

Entrepreneur day was 20th November and it celebrates and creates awareness for entrepreneurship and leadership.

Many people dream of owning their own business but there are many factors that often prevent people from branching out and working for themselves. However, in celebration of all those entrepreneurs out there, Mode has compiled our top 10 tips for being the next Alan Sugar!

The hardest part to be an entrepreneur is starting, so find the will to start!

  1. Think big: If you have a vision of the type of business you want to create, or you see the need in a market, have your dream and think about how you are going to pursue this. Walt Disney said “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”
  1. Have values: all the greatest businesses have been created underpinned by strong values and having a clear mission statement. Think about what you want to stand for, make this your starting point.
  1. Be passionate: drive, commitment, hard work. These are the key elements to owning your own business.
  1. Reach out: in this age of technology and mass customisation remember that whatever service or product you are offering, each person’s experience is individual to them. Make sure your offering allows for each unique encounter, speak to people, conduct market research.
  1. Focus: Where do you want your business to be, how are you going to get there. Plan the future.
  1. Know your market: understand whether there is a need for your product/service, as in point 4, conduct the right research, know your competitors.
  1. Be relolute: You’ll have mishaps, setbacks, brick walls to face, you’ll want to give up. Being resolute in your vision will be paramount in these moments.
  1. Trust your skills: have faith and self-belief in your talents.
  1. Accept change: don’t be too headstrong or stubborn. Accept that sometimes things must change and will change.
  1. Evolve: keep an open mind and be eager to learn new things, find new technologies.

If you bear all of these in mind, then you have every opportunity to be that successful entrepreneur.

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