Creating A Productive Space So That Your Team To Thrive

Creating A Productive Space So That Your Team To Thrive

An office, workshop, or studio environment is crucial to the happiness and productivity of those who work there. Dull, tired, and uninspiring interiors can lead to a lack of enthusiasm and motivation from staff members, and work will inevitably suffer in quality and quantity. Therefore, if the productivity within your team seems to be less than expected, it could be time to take a look at their office surroundings. It’s always a great time to freshen-up a workspace, and there are an array of ways to improve things, whatever your time and budget might be. Giving your business environment some care and attention will ensure that productivity gets a much-needed boost, and your staff can begin to thrive. The following are some ideas, advice, and inspiration, for those looking to improve their company’s space.

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Comfort Is Key

If your members of staff feel comfortable and content, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to concentrate on their work. Comfort comes in many forms; everything from temperature, light levels, to the softness of where they sit, should all factor-in to updating the environment. Improvements don’t have to be too challenging either; whether you look into portable air conditioner rental for better temperature control, or you simply let more natural light into the space, the difference will make a positive impact straight away. Think about updating any tired old office chairs, and giving everyone more desk space; these immediate changes around them could be an affordable way to let them know you care, and increase the momentum at work. Be sure to replace any headache-inflicting bulbs straight away, and take pride in each area of the space.

Homely Touches

Even though you don’t want your office space to be just like a home environment; it’s always worth investing in some interior decor and accessories to lift a room. Plants are excellent way to add a pop of fresh color, and will help to circulate the oxygen, so why not place some small ones on desks, and larger ones on the floor. Encourage employees to bring in photos and mementos that they love; you don’t want to over-clutter the environment, but, personal touches will add to the comfort and inspiration factor. Artwork, interesting books and magazines, and inspiring quotes are all great, inexpensive ways to enhance a room. You want the workplace to be a breath of fresh air every time your staff walk in, so they start their working day with a smile and feeling motivated.

Tidying-Up The Details

Sometimes, a work environment doesn’t need very much doing to it at all; it can just feel drab and tired. Therefore, it might be the case the paintwork and broken fixtures and fittings need to be addressed, to give the interior a quick boost, and get it looking like new. Take a notebook and pen as you walk around each area of your business environment, and ask your staff for their input on how they feel things could improve; you’ll start building more momentum and productivity the second you mention that improvements are on the way.

Good Plant Machinery Practice For Construction Businesses

Good Plant Machinery Practice For Construction Businesses

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When running a construction company, ensuring that your plant machinery is in good working order is arguably the most important aspect of your business. If your machinery is struggling, then your business will struggle – the matter truly is that black and white.

In order to avoid business issues, you may find it beneficial to employ a constant focus on establishing and maintaining a few “good practice” rules in regards to the management of your machinery – and here are a few inclusions you may find particularly beneficial.

A robust maintenance schedule

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It would be fair to say that the construction industry cannot survive without good maintenance of all machinery. No matter how good a machine is when it rolls off the production line, the heavy duty work it will complete means that further refinements and improvements will need to be made to ensure each machine works exactly as it should.

So, what constitutes “good maintenance”? Skilled staff who can complete all maintenance works to the highest possible standard, of course. However, even the best workers cannot conduct maintenance effectively without a detailed maintenance schedule to adhere to. As a result, you will thus need to develop a comprehensive, detailed maintenance schedule that allows for the quick identification of any immediate issues, and thus allows for repairs to be arranged before the problem becomes critical.

In addition to the maintenance schedule itself, it is particularly worth noting the importance of keeping good records of all maintenance work that has been performed. Good record keeping helps you to keep track of not only the work that has been completed, but also make notes regarding work that may be necessary in future. Many problems noted during maintenance checks are not necessarily serious in the moment, but they will be after a few more months of use; good records ensure that these issues are then followed up on at the right time.

Build relationships that allow for quick repairs

A robust maintenance schedule should mean that your business can identify machines that are in need of repair, which is hugely important, but is just the starting point: you’ll then have to actually arrange the repair. Unfortunately, facing the possibility of repairs is hugely concerning for most construction business owners. Repairs mean that the machine in question is essentially unusable for a period of time, which can be potentially harmful to the business’ ability to operate as it normally would.

To avoid this issue, and get your machines back up and running as quickly as possible, seek to develop relationships with reliable, reputable companies who can conduct repair work or supply parts quickly and efficiently, every time. By developing long-term relationships with a service center for off highway drivetrain systems or a specialist in plant transmissions, you’re all the more likely to be able to secure the parts you need, and have the necessary repair completed, in the shortest possible time. As a result of building these relationships, no breakdown will feel like a disaster – as you’ll already know exactly who to call for assistance – and you can thus embark on the repair process immediately, confident of a quick, efficient turnaround.

Do all you can to protect your machinery when not in use

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Perfect clear blue skies, moderate temperatures, and next to no wind are the perfect conditions for construction machinery; unfortunately, these perfect conditions tend to be relatively few and far between.

It is worth noting that all forms of weather outside of what would be considered ‘perfect’ conditions can be problematic, be that extreme heat, extreme cold, or – and particularly if operating cranes – high winds. As you cannot directly control these elements, you will instead primarily have to focus on information-gathering and adapting to specific circumstances.

To do so,  it’s first helpful to check the monthly forecast during a project – up to one week ahead should be fairly reliable. If you note any problems on the horizon, plan for these as soon as possible, activating contingency scenarios that will allow you to keep working. However, the forecast alone cannot tell you everything you need to know; you’ll also need to check the weather every day and be willing to make adjustments – and perhaps even postpone work for the day –  if you note any issues that were not originally forecast.

Protect vehicles when not in use

When not working, your machines need to be stored in a clean, dry, and dust-free environment in order to prevent deterioration and protect sensitive internal components. Furthermore, you will also need to ensure your storage facility has adequate safety measures in place – such as security cameras and, for high-value equipment, guards – in order to prevent theft.

While it is important to establish good storage on your premises, the nature of construction work often means that you will not always be able to use your own storage. If you are working on a site many miles from your location, then it can be next to impossible to return to your base every night. Doing so would be costly in terms of fuel, but it is also something of a logistical nightmare, and could lead to machine operators having to leave the site earlier than preferred in order to return the machine within their shift. As a result, you – like many other construction business owners – will have relatively little choice than to leave your machinery at the site overnight.

In such a scenario, all you can realistically do is seek to protect machinery as well as possible given the circumstances. Always try to ensure that they are stored at a locked, secure site, and use covers – where possible – to reduce potential damage from the elements. Admittedly, these measures are not ideal, but they will at least offer a measure of protection that you can benefit from in extremis.

Focus on both staff retention and recruitment

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Finally, an often-overlooked element of good machinery practice is the people who operate the machines – your workers. A good machine operator is worth their weight in gold, utilizing their expertise, knowledge, and skill to ensure that the machine works as it should and is protected throughout each project.

As a result, it is good practice to ensure that your recruitment strategy in regards to machine operators is incredibly robust. Qualifications on a resumé are all well and good, but what you need to know is how someone performs on the job, so offering trial periods to a number of potential candidates is definitely an option worth exploring. By offering a trial rather than a full contract upfront, you have the opportunity to assess the operator’s skills and ensure you are happy to leave them in charge of your valuable equipment.

In addition to being cautious in regard to who you hire on a personal basis, it is also worth thinking about how you retain staff members who have performed well. As you are undoubtedly aware, skills shortages abound in the construction industry, which means that most qualified, experienced workers can essentially have their pick of jobs. Due to this, you may want to consider offering employee perks and loyalty bonuses to encourage workers you have come to trust to remain with your company for the long-term.

In conclusion

When you run a construction business, the management of your machinery is critical to your ability to operate your business. By developing good machinery practice – inspired by the ideas as presented above – you can look forward to a bright future, free of machinery-related hassles, and thus all the more likely to enjoy success.

5 Ways To Save Money When Starting Your Own Business

5 Ways To Save Money When Starting Your Own Business

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When you start your own business, there are many costs to think about. You have to make sure that you have all of them covered, and that you don’t end up in a position where you have a long list of costs to pay, and no money to pay them. Whilst some costs you simply can’t avoid, there are others that you can cut down, and it doesn’t always mean that you’re compromising on the quality of your business. Follow these simple tips, if you want to save cash on your new endeavour!

1. Compare before you buy

It’s an age old trick, but comparing things before you buy them never goes a miss. If you’re looking for stationary, for example, don’t just go with the most popular company out there and bulk buy things without checking that they aren’t cheaper elsewhere. You’ll be kicking yourself when you find out later that you could have saved yourself thousands, just by looking around at other stores.

2. Buy second-hand

We get it, you have a new office, new employees, and this is a totally new chapter of your life. Shouldn’t you be getting new furniture, and computers? However, you can pay out for the more extravagant things when your business does well, and get some second-hand things in the meantime. You can find things that are of great quality on sites such as eBay, without the price tag to come with them.

3. Look out for trade deals

Sometimes, there are deals out there for people within certain fields, and it could help you to get reduced costs on the items that you need. For example, if you’re starting a building company you could get trade discount on the supplies that you’re looking for, and if you’re in the motor trade you can get reduced insurance for your cars. Take time to look at traders insurance and other lower costs for particular businesses.

4. Hire people that you’ll know you need

Another key to saving money when you’re only just starting up your business is to only hire those that you know you’ll need. Yes, you may be tempted to get someone in full-time to feed the office dog, but you need to be reasonable about who you’re employing, especially if you’re on a budget. You’ll struggle to make a profit if you are not frugal, especially within the first few months that you’re trading.

5. Learn how to haggle

A skill that you’ll need when you first set up your business is haggling, and you’ll be glad that you can do this when you need to get your whole office refurbished, and you’re just beginning to get into contracts with other businesses and clients. Your first few months depend on you cutting the costs, so don’t be afraid to barter with people. You’ll be glad that you did in the long-run!

So, if you’re looking to save money when you start your own business, follow these five simple tips and see how they can help you to reach success, on a budget!

Can Real Estate Make Real Money?

Can Real Estate Make Real Money?

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Even though you have a full time job with excellent career prospects, a steady wage and you enjoy an excellent work life balance, there still might be a niggle inside telling you to have a go at side hustling. To obtain a little more money for your savings to prepare for your twilight years is never a bad thing. If you are looking for an avenue down which to make your money work for you in a more aggressive way, real estate could be the answer. Get it right and you might find that you can accrue lucrative amounts to top up your nest egg. Take a look to see if real estate can make real money for you.

Location

If you’re keen to plow some of your savings into property, you must check out the location in which you are looking to make a purchase. An up and coming area sounds great in principle, but it is risky. Some areas have been up and coming for decades and still haven’t seen the ripple effect from more well established areas. For your first real estate investment, it may pay to stick to the tried and tested locations that see an increase in house prices year on year. This way, you can purchase your bricks and mortar relatively safe in the knowledge that you will have a profit on your hands after five years or so. Aim to purchase the worst house on the best street, so you can add value to the property while it is in a fantastic location that appeals to a range of buyers.

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Flip Or Rent

You will need to decide whether you are going to create a rental portfolio or whether you are going to purchase a fixer upper to renovate and sell on quickly. For a rental approach, you will create a blank canvas within the property and won’t go all out on fixtures and fittings as you will need to provide hardier carpet and paint that can withstand more wear and tear. For a property that you are looking to flip, you’ll need to dress the home to seduce potential buyers with a lifestyle. You can keep the walls white, simple and clean, but utilize your interior design credentials to provide the ultimate wow factor.

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Budget

While you may have a hefty deposit in your bank account ready to be spent on a pad, you need to consider your budget for legal fees, mortgage repayments and renovations. The aim of real estate is to make money. Don’t be tempted to stretch yourself to the detriment of your current quality of life. Take the plunge, but always keep a close eye on your spending. Set up a spreadsheet budget detailing every purchase from your lawyer’s fees to the ball bearings you needed for the water pipes. With some savvy spending and budgeting, you can save money. Need to refit the bathroom suite? Head to a showroom and pick up an ex-display model. Cutting costs but not forfeiting quality is a must.

Heading down the real estate path might be daunting. However, if you do your research, check out property forecasts, and spend wisely, you can make an excellent second career or side hustle from the housing market. Before long you may have a portfolio of property making you a tidy profit for your retirement years.

Freelancing: Where To Look And What To Do

Freelancing: Where To Look And What To Do

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Making a living online can come in many forms. It is no longer one of those mysteries, there is a whole world out there worth exploring. And, with everything being online, you are pretty much guaranteed to find work doing one thing or another. But, where do you start?

Turning your freelancing ideas into a fully fledged money-earning side hustle, or even a full-time gig might seem a little bit out of reach. But millions of people are now making it their reality. Working with multiple income streams is a pretty critical part of it. From writing perfect put together articles and where to submit them, to how to find expired domains and where to sell them – the internet is a hive of information and resources.

Getting a regular is something that we all strive for, and luckily for most of us, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to make decent bank anymore. That doesn’t mean it’s easy though. It takes time and dedication to make a go of it on your own – and it is totally worth every minute.

Freelancing

What is it anyway? Well, it’s just about the broadest job term going, isn’t it? Basically, it means you offer a service, usually skill-based, that people can pay for as and when they need to. The most common ones required are writing, website development, editing, graphic design, and social media management. But if you can speak more than one language, then you could offer translation services. Great with organization – from emails to travel plans? Virtual assistant. If you can think it up, you can probably sell it.

Writing

This one could fill a few books, and actually, it already does (puns), but seriously you can make great money writing. Many of us say that we are working on a novel or something like that, and while that is a great thing to be doing, you have a skill that people really want to pay for. Here are a few places you can look at to sell your words:

Upwork – writing copy, long-form, short form, technical pieces or even special interest – you name it, someone will be looking for it – this is likely on a job by job basis.

Make a Living Writing – You can get paid, to write about writing (surprising, no?)

Listverse – If you can put it in a list of ten you can have a sweet $100

College Humour – for those of us that manage to write with hilarity (pays based on views)

Metro Parent – Fun, informative, or general parenting blurb, pay is based on words and topic

If you are looking purely for exposure, then you can write on your own blog, submit to places like the Huffington Post, Medium or offer to guest post on other blogs.

You can specialize your writing style, and become a bit of an expert in that style and field. Just make sure that you are keeping your portfolio up to date and including excerpts when you are allowed to.

There is a lot of time and effort that goes into writing. So this one isn’t something to jump into lightly. You’ll need to research your topics, been pretty good (or amazing) with grammar and everything should be 100% original.

Social Media

The chances are you don’t really remember a time that you didn’t have a social media account of some type. And, if you have been trying to establish yourself in the freelancing universe, you probably manage yours pretty well. So extend that skill out a bit. Almost every company will have some sort of social media outreach, some will have huge budgets, others will be fledgling companies that need some help starting it all off. You will be helping a range of individuals and companies maximize their visibility via their social media channels.

You’ll also need to become pretty good with metrics, and creating campaigns, but that will come in time. If you take a few online courses, specifically in paid social media campaigns and reach, you can make some seriously good cash.

Top spots to hunt for freelance social media jobs:

The Dots – relatively new, but growing fast and packed with new opportunities

Upwork – A hive of freelance jobs, currently showing almost 1k social media jobs

People Per Hour – Thousands of social media gigs are live right now, ripe for the picking

If you are new to this, try not to bite off more than you can chew. Start with smaller accounts and learn what does and doesn’t work. Look into platforms like Buffer, Sprout Social, Hootsuite and MissingLettr. They will help you curate and schedule months of content per client, and keep track of growth and engagement.

Blog

This one is a little bit like the writing… only not quite. Here you will not only showcase your own writing style and tone, but you will be looking to make multiple income streams work together. Here is how you’re going to make money via your blog:

Affiliate Marketing – you’re going to be linking to products, why not hook that like up to an affiliate network and make money for either each click or each purchase

CPM/CPC Adverts – You don’t have to have these adverts plastered all over your blog because it looks messy and loads slowly – however a few well-placed Google Adsense adverts makes a reasonable income per month.

Private Adverts – You can sell your sidebar space directly to brands. They give you a lump sum, you keep their advert on your blog for the agreed time. There might be some impression targets to reach, but in general, this can work nicely.

Link Building – companies might look to pay for their links to be included in your blog, usually paid based on DA and traffic

Advertorials/ Editorials – Similar to the above expect the whole post will be dedicated to a brand and you will receive compensation for your time spent.

Guest posts – brands, prs, and SEO companies provide a piece of prewritten content, and you will pop it up on your blog in exchange for some money.

This one takes time to build up, but is worth the effort and is a one-stop shop for a decent income.

Design

This one takes some time, and it’s pretty stiff competition from people who have degrees, other qualifications and have been doing this for years. That said, with the likes of Canva, Picmonkey, Gimp, and Photoshop you’re pretty set for great places to work on your skills. Youtube tutorials are fantastic from getting you from a blank piece of paper to a beautiful design fit for purpose. When it comes to design, you can draw a lot of information from online sources and other designers, but your work should always unique.

Great places to search for freelance design jobs:

The Dots – A big contender in the stakes for all freelancers, some really interesting one-off jobs on there almost every day

Upwork – Great stash of really great projects

Designcrowd – The best place to start to if you’re harboring budding design dreams. You will be categorized by your experience and land jobs that make sense to you.

Simply Hired – They post, you apply – pretty standard, but you will find a couple of more prominent brands on here.

Proofreading

Back to words, on which the whole of the internet runs. If you are a bit of a meticulous person, who you have a penchant for sentence structure, then you might enjoy this. Proofreading is purely about correcting spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and grammar. Nothing more, nothing less. If you are the type of person that gets asked to read someone’s work before they hand it in, then you should consider this.

When companies and individuals are posting content online or even getting it ready to be published, then they’re going to need a proofreader.

Editing

Don’t get the two confused. Editing has a few levels to it. In general, you will be able to change and manipulate the copy you are dealing with in order to make it fit for purpose. Here are a couple of types of editing that might be right up your street:

Structural Editing – usually on the first draft, does it make sense right now? Are the characters coherent, do they make sense as a person? Could this really happen or could people relate? What can we improve?

Copy Editing – Simply checking to make sure it all makes sense, and where things can be improved. Is the work consistent in style, and tone?

Making a living simply by working online is just about as accessible as it is ever going to be. With technological advances, laptops, mobile phones, and wifi almost everywhere – if you can type on it, you can work. Any type of skill can be put to good use, with a little bit of time and effort you can pay your rent, and work when it suits you.

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Healthily Growing A Healthcare Practice Of Your Own

Healthily Growing A Healthcare Practice Of Your Own

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If you’ve got the experience you need, the qualifications, and a desire to run your own business, it might be time to stop practicing under someone else and to get out there and run your own. Here, we’re going to look at the basics of what a practitioner needs to start their own healthcare business.

Put the plan together

Most people looking to start a business are going to need to look for funding above all else. Unless you’re using your own savings entire, you’re likely to rely on peer-to-peer lending or a bank loan. In order to make the most effective application, you need to put together a business plan. This details how you’re going to use the funding and how the resources you use and the business model you have put together will help you make up for the funding and see profits. There are sites out there that can help you find pre-made business plans for a range of businesses, so there is some groundwork you can customize to your own needs already.

Find the right place

Few things matter to your healthcare practice as much as finding the right location. The visibility and accessibility of the property aren’t all that matter, it needs to be fit to purpose as well with reception areas, treatment rooms, and back-offices already mapped out. Listings can help you find a range of suitable properties, such as dental practices for sale. Look at those listings and the commercial real estate agents who have experience in the healthcare industry to ensure you’re not looking at properties that may not be viable or, at the least, require a lot more investment to make them a good fit.

Know what you need from your staff

You should already have plenty of experience working in other practices and, with that in mind, you should have some idea of what roles you need the team to fill. There is a range of healthcare staff and recruitment agencies that can quickly help you find the candidates with the skills and experience you need to fill those roles, as well.

Build a roadmap to your patients

Whether it’s general practice, dental care, or something else, healthcare is something that most of your customers need, rather than want. Your marketing efforts aren’t about only convincing them of the value of your services but standing out against your competitors and growing local awareness. There are dental digital marketing companies that can help you leverage the internet to your advantage, ensuring that your marketing methods are up-to-date to keep up with an audience that is spending more of their time online and with a growing percentage even using the net to scope out local businesses rather than finding them physically.

Starting a healthcare business is one thing, running the practice from day-to-day is something else entirely. Continue to educate yourself on what it is not only to provide top-quality care, but to make the business itself as efficient, cost-effective, and productive as possible. Never stop working on the business if you want to see it continue to grow.

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