Category

Work Smarter

Manage Your Time, Your People, and Your Competition

By | Business, Safety, Work Smarter

High dive

If you want to work smarter, you need to manage your time, even if you have to resort to unorthodox methods. You also have to manage your people, which includes finding the best people you can. Your competitors want those people, too, in addition to wanting your customers.

How to Attract Only the Best Job Candidates

“Need workers but not looking forward to combing through resumes from applicants who clearly didn’t read the job description? …Here are a few tips to secure the best candidates for your company.”
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How to Save Yourself When Everyone Else in Your Office is Getting Sick

Un-fun fact for you: This year’s terrible flu season is far from over… So how can you keep yourself healthy when everyone around you is dropping like flies? These tips will help, courtesy of expert Dr. David Reitman, MD, Medical Director at the American University Student Health Center.”
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What To Do When Common Time Management Tricks Don’t Work

“There’s just one problem, you feel like you’ve tried every hack there is, and none of them have proven to be effective. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a life of uncontrollable chaos. You might just need to look beyond what works for most people, or tweak their methods in a way that works best for you and your life. Here are some alternatives you can try.”
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79% of Service Companies Say Competition Is Heating Up

“The second annual Mavenlink State of the Services Economy report for 2018 finds almost 4 in 5 or 79 percent of service companies are facing increased competition. This rivalry is coming from new entrants who are pushing established businesses to work much harder to find new customers and keep existing ones.”
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Germs at the Airport

“[W]e conducted 18 tests across six surfaces from three major U.S. airports and airline flights. We sent our swabs to the lab and found the average number of viable bacteria and fungal cells per square inch, or colony-forming units (CFU), to see how clean traveling really is. Keep reading to see which surfaces were the dirtiest and what germs you may have met along the way.”
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Everybody’s Working for the Weekend, But When Do You Actually Get Work Done?

“For this report, we worked with data content firm Priceonomics to analyze anonymized Redbooth data spanning hundreds of thousands of users to determine how and when people complete tasks. We calculated percentages based on the total number of tasks reported as completed.”
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Quote of the Day

“So you never know who you touch. You never know how or when you’ll have an impact, or how important your example can be to someone else.” — Denzel Washington

Simple Adjustments Can Create a Better Work Day

By | Business, Work Smarter

better work day
Our day-to-day activities and physical surroundings can have a huge impact on our productivity — positively or negatively. Many of the tasks we perform each day involve working and communicating with other people. Results generated by these important tasks are only as successful as our interactions with others. We can work smarter by being observant of our environment and by studying the practices and habits of those around us — including being honestly aware of our own behaviors. We can apply what we’ve learned by making simple adjustments to create a better work day, a fantastic week, and an awesome year!

Top 5 Worst Productivity Ideas

“Here are some of the top five traps I find people fall into when they try to increase their productivity. Most of them aren’t bad things in and of themselves. However, if they become your focus, you can be sure you aren’t going to be getting the benefits you are striving for.”
http://bit.ly/2lg2s9w

How Physical Clutter Negatively Affects Your Productivity

“Your ability to focus is restricted in cluttered environments, as well as your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as efficiently as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.”
http://bit.ly/2h9vxii

Mac vs. PC — Which Platform Should Your Small Business Choose

“Mac or PC? This age-old question is something entrepreneurs consider carefully, as the choice of one over the other can influence the success of their business. After thorough deliberation, the odds weigh in Apple’s favor, as more business professionals are choosing Mac over its Windows alternative.”
http://bit.ly/2zPxs3w

Most People Are Failing to Get the Right Amount of Sleep, Survey Says

“It’s no surprise that a lack of sleep can make people slower and less productive. That’s why it’s also not a shocker that two-thirds of American workers say they would be better employees if they got a few more hours of shut-eye.”
http://bit.ly/2z6Yd6i

Here’s a Better (and Less Whiny) Way to Say “That’s Not My Job”

“‘It’s not my job’ has become a phrase commonly used in the workplace. But that doesn’t mean it should be. Sure, this attitude may help you avoid doing extra work, but it’ll probably also prevent you from advancing in your career since you’ll be labeled as someone unwilling to go above and beyond.”
http://muse.cm/2gDz9bW

10 Things Incredibly Likable People Never, Ever Do (and Why You Love Them for It)

“Some people are incredibly likable because of the things they do. Some people are incredibly charismatic because of the things they do. And some people are incredibly likable because of the things they don’t do.”
http://on.inc.com/2lhGXVW

Quote of the Day

“The goal is not to be perfect by the end, the goal is to be better today.” — Simon Sinek

From MSDS to SDS (Safety Data Sheets)

By | Safety, Work Smarter

SDS - safety data sheets

OSHA revised its Hazard Communication Standard (HSC) in 2012, adopting its version of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). Among other things, this required a switch from MSDS to SDS for information about chemicals employees might be exposed to in the workplace. Material Safety Data Sheets did not have a set format, making them inconsistent and more difficult to read and compare. Safety Data Sheets all follow the same format. Here is a collection of links providing more information about how to read, store, and use Safety Data Sheets.

From MSDS to SDS — GHS Brings Big Changes to Safety Data Sheets

“Maintaining an MSDS for every hazardous chemical and making them available to employees as part of the HCS’s Right-to-Know provisions – which says employees have the right to know about the chemicals to which they are exposed – is one of five key responsibilities employers have under the HCS.”
http://bit.ly/2u0KibU

How to Read A Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

“The information contained in the SDS is largely the same as the MSDS, except now the SDSs are required to be presented in a consistent user-friendly, 16-section format. This brief provides guidance to help workers who handle hazardous chemicals to become familiar with the format and understand the contents of the SDSs. The SDS includes information such as the properties of each chemical; the physical, health, and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing, and transporting the chemical.”
http://bit.ly/2ukYwDT

The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) FAQ

“With OSHA’s regulatory updates under the Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS) which took full force in 2016 in the US, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are now called Safety Data Sheets (SDS). You will see both terms throughout this FAQ as it references various OSHA interpretation letters issued with the older term.”
http://bit.ly/2uZO2vn

The Change from MSDS to SDS

“OSHA’s HazCom 2012 rules require companies to have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for every hazardous chemical in the workplace. The SDS sounds like the old Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), but it’s not quite the same. For the difference to make sense, you need to know some of the story behind the change.”
http://bit.ly/2vpQCNl

Workplace Cleanliness is Important to Employees and Customers

By | Business, Cleaning And Disinfecting, Hand Care, Odor Control, Work Smarter

workplace cleanliness
Making improvements in workplace cleanliness is a great way to work smarter — and create value for customers. Provide a clean environment for employees and customers. Back it up with good hygiene practices to avoid spreading germs.

Why the Cleanliness of Your Workplace Restroom Matters

“A dirty bathroom is more than a nuisance or a potential health hazard: According to a national hand-washing survey, the condition of restrooms in the workplace indicates to employees just how much their company values them.”
http://bit.ly/2lTy6Vy

Proper Handwashing — and Drying — Is the No. 1 Way to Prevent Spread of Contagious Disease

“When it comes to preventing the spread of contagious disease, handwashing tops the list of effective strategies. The key is to do it, and to do it correctly, using proper products and techniques.”
http://bit.ly/2p14Hx8

Face It — Why handwashing alone is not enough

“If you could see me at work, you would see my face is resting against the palm of my left hand as I look at the computer screen; that may be the biggest mistake I have made today when it comes to preventing the spread of germs and bacteria.”
http://bit.ly/2oICqc7

Restaurant cleanliness more important than customer service, finds report

“Food hygiene ratings have greater influence over a diner’s choice of venue than customer service, according to research by food safety management company Checkit.”
http://bit.ly/2osvbct

Odor Patrol: Tile and Grout Cleaning

“Grout — the substance filling the void between the tiles — is porous. The smaller the tile, the higher the grout-to-tile ration. So, while grout bonds the tiles together and prevents cracking and chipping, it also harbors soils, contaminants and urine.”
http://bit.ly/2phTIjL

Be the Best for Your Customers

By | Business, Work Smarter

Be the best

We should all work harder — and work smarter — at striving to be the best at what we do. After all, our customers deserve the best, don’t they? A surefire way to create value is to provide the best service available. Another way is to communicate clearly and honestly, using the most suitable tools. Be the best at telling your story.

Best the Best, Not a Commodity

“Tom [Peters’] Credo: ‘Commodity’ is a state of mind — a loser’s state of mind. A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g can be significantly (dramatically?) differentiated.”
http://bit.ly/2kkycbr

Which Social Media Platforms Should Your Small Businesses Be Using?

“Social media marketing for small businesses can be a tricky game. It’s difficult to know how to allocate resources to have maximum effect when there are so many different platforms, with best practices for each.”
http://bit.ly/2jOKNRb

Seven Body Language Mistakes You Won’t Want to Make In Your Next Interview

“This graphic outlines seven different body language mistakes you won’t want to make, and how to avoid them.” Useful not just for interviews, these tips are good for sales presentations, customer service, meetings, and other interactions.
http://bit.ly/2kLE9z7

4 Follow-up Emails That’ll Backfire on You Real Fast

You get tired of waiting for someone to respond to an email, so you send a tactful follow up. “Yes, your goal of being diplomatic is coming from the right place. But if it causes you to make up fake excuses, you’re going to look worse than if you were just honest.”
http://muse.cm/2kLA660

How to Make a Sign

Seth Godin shares a good example of how to communicate clearly. It is worth taking the time to ask the kinds of questions he lists when making signs, writing memos, sending emails, even posting on social media.
http://bit.ly/2jOZdk7

Six Items That Should Never Be On Your To-Do List

“Writing a to-do list seems like a tidy little way to keep track of what you need to accomplish, but it can fall short or even derail your success… The content of your list is key to its usefulness. Here are six items that you should remove or never put on a to-do list.”
http://bit.ly/2kHSCsN

Quote of the Day

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss

7 Keys to Delegate Effectively

By | Business, Work Smarter

delegate effectively

If you are a manager, you have to delegate tasks in order to get things done. There aren’t enough hours in the day, or days in the week to do it all yourself. But it isn’t always easy to delegate effectively. If you don’t approach it strategically, you will end up making more work for everyone on your team. Here are some keys to effective delegation.

1. Decide which tasks to delegate

First, don’t let your ego convince you that no one else can do any of your tasks as well as you can. There should be people on your team that are better suited to certain jobs. If not, review your hiring practices. “You should be using your time on the most critical tasks for the business, and the tasks that only you can do. Delegate what you can’t do, and what doesn’t interest you.” (Forbes)

2. Match the right person to the right task

This is a good opportunity to look for the potential in others. “Think creatively about who may be able to handle some of the tasks that keep you from getting other things accomplished. What may be drudgery to you may be a joy to someone else. What you do poorly someone else may be able to do with excellence.” (Tim Challies) “Delegate to the lowest possible organizational level. The people who are closest to the work are best suited for the task, because they have the most intimate knowledge of the detail of everyday work.” (Mind Tools)

3. Use delegation to help others grow

Delegation is a great way to make everyone on your team better. It “…has the aim of not just getting tasks done, but of building others up through the accomplishment of tasks.” (Matt Perman) Be prepared to do some training, as your goal is to teach your people new skills. “Delegating doesn’t mean passing off work you don’t enjoy, but letting your employees stretch their skills and judgment.” (Inc)

4. Be clear about the expected outcome

Make sure your employee knows exactly what you expect them to accomplish, and set a deadline. “Delegate clear outcomes. Make them measurable. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” (Brian Tracy)

5. Provide the required resources

A major part of managing is making sure your people have everything they need to get their work done. Take care of any necessary purchasing, password-protected materials, and so forth the employee will need. You might also need to help arrange meetings with others for them. “Allocate the resources necessary to complete the task. You may have resources available that are necessary to complete the task but the person given the task may not be able to access them.” (wikiHow)

6. Support — don’t micromanage

Nobody wants their boss looking over their shoulder or nitpicking every step of a task. At the same time, make yourself available to offer support, answer questions, and give advice when needed. “In delegating effectively, we have to find the sometimes-difficult balance between giving enough space for people to use their abilities to best effect, while still monitoring and supporting closely enough to ensure that the job is done correctly and effectively.” (Mind Tools)

7. Give credit and thanks

This is the final step of every delegated task. Thank your employee for their work, and make their contribution known to others. A little appreciation goes a long way. “Be sure to recognize and thank anyone who’s helped you out, and make your whole team (not just yourself) look good for doing the job well.” (The Muse)

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