Encourage your employees to personalize their workspace

Your employees spend a lot of time in the office each day, and it can quickly become a chore when the atmosphere is boring. If your staff haven’t already spruced up their cubicles or desks, encourage them to do so. As long as they keep their space clean and presentable, there’s no harm in a little bit of personalization. In fact, there are a number of notable benefits to having a decorated and welcoming workspace.

Benefits of baubles
A bare cubicle can become exhausting during a 40-hour week. By encouraging your employees to decorate their work space, you allow them to bring a little of their personality into the office. Whether they realize it or not, your staff will be much more comfortable at their desk if they have pictures, quotes or other little trinkets to look at. These items can be purely decorative, but there are also many functional objects that can lighten up a cubicle.

Invest in some Original Note Nests customized for your company or Personalized Glass Oval Paperweight to give out to employees. They’re attractive and useful decorations that will encourage a homey feel. Another option is to buy some fun stress relievers for your staff, like the Customized Construction Cone Stress Relievers or the Friendly Face Custom Stress Relievers.

Let your employees express themselves in their workspace, but make sure that everything stays neat, organized and professional. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of making a poor impression on visitors.

Perks of plants
There are also a number of benefits to having plants in the office. Having a touch of nature in the workplace can help to reduce stress, clean the air and keep staff chipper. A little bit of green can lighten the atmosphere and create a welcoming environment at your company. Allow your employees to bring their own desk plants, or purchase a few communal flower pots.

If you’re looking for the best plant for your office, take lighting, space and upkeep into account. Generally, you’ll want to pick greenery that’s low maintenance and will thrive in low-light conditions. According to Huffington Post, philodendrons and spider plants are two good options, as they will be perfectly happy in a dark corner. Plants that don’t need too much care include Tillandsia and Peace Lilies. You can display these different plants on desks or windowsills, but make sure to create a care schedule so they don’t get neglected.

Ensuring telecommuters are productive at home

More businesses across the U.S. are implementing telecommuting programs into their operations, allowing employees to complete work from the comfort of their own homes as opposed to a company’s physical site. Experts have found that while the practice is not effective for all brands or individuals, those who adopt successful telecommuting programs often report higher levels of employee satisfaction, productivity and retention rates.

If your business is considering adopting this type of flexible working environment, consider the following ways your company can ensure staff members are as productive as possible.

Offer tips to encourage productivity
While some workers may be thrilled at the prospect of working from home, others may not know the best practices concerning completing tasks in their own space. If employees are not careful, they may quickly be swept up in the comforts of home, rendering them incapable of completing business at the level to which they are accustomed.

There are several tips that managers may want to give to their workers, many of which may lead to greater productivity when working from home:

  • Craft a work space: You don’t need an office or well-equipped room to conduct business, but having a set place in the home that one can mentally designate as a “work space” may lead to improved productivity.
  • Keep lines of communication open: Whether you’re sitting on Google Chat all day or remaining close to your email, it’s imperative that employees who are off-site are easily accessible to managers who are in the office. That way, bosses can not only quickly reach a worker if a problem arises, but they can measure output as needed.
  • Get to know your style: Working from home is radically different than working in the office for some people. For others, however, the two are the exact same. It’s important to allow employees to keep track of their own personal abilities, noting which conditions are most conducive to production.

Provide products to make work easier
If your brand is considering a remote working program, it’s essential to provide your employees with promotional products that may make their work easier. Workers who will be conducting a great deal of work on their own personal laptops may benefit from a tech accessory that will make navigation on this device easier. The Custom Square Mouse Pad is a perfect choice, as it allows workers a tangible product that can be used to simplify their digital working methods.

5 ways to reduce employee turnover

High turnover rates can be disastrous for any company. Businesses that frequently lose employees must deal with a wave of issues, from dedicating more resources to hiring new staff members to increasing the workload on current employees in the interim. While some organizations cannot prevent losing certain workers, there are a few simple ways businesses can reduce voluntary turnover rates.

1. Provide praise for good work
Employee recognition is imperative for any successful company. Workers who feel valued perform better, have increased rates of satisfaction and are less likely to leave the company. While employers should not seek artificial opportunities to praise staff members, they should be sure to acknowledge good work as they see it.

According to the 2013 State of the American Workplace report, released by Gallup, nearly 70 percent of workers in the U.S. are not fully engaged at work. However, the study found that managers who placed a heavy emphasis on developing staff morale through positive recognition reported significantly higher figures, nearly doubling the number of engaged employees. Whether they’re sending a quick email or verbally acknowledging an employee’s performance, this type of praise can greatly alter workers’ dedication to the business.

2. Promote a flexible work environment
Another way managers can show employees that they are invested in their futures with the company is by adopting flexible practices in the workplace. Employers have many options when promoting these initiatives, including allowing staff to complete tasks outside of the normal working hours and permitting employees to telecommute to the office. The Gallup report noted that employees who work from home are not only more engaged during the day, but also log more hours than those who stay in the office.

3. Encourage employees to volunteer
One of the best ways to build teams, increase employee satisfaction and decrease turnover may be by encouraging workers to volunteer together, according to Inc. magazine. One company, The Cellular Connection, examined how volunteering affected workers by asking them to spend two days every year giving back to the community. The company’s director of customer and employee relations, Ryan McCarty, explained that workers frequently become fully immersed in the activity and enjoy spending their time volunteering. He conducted a survey of the business’ 864 employees and found that 65 percent were encouraged to stay with the company after volunteering in the community.

4. Stay in communication with workers
Maintaining regular conversations with employees is essential for reducing turnover. Managers should be sure to speak to workers on a regular basis, learning about what challenges they be facing, how they think the office can be improved and what concerns they may have about the future. Employers should consider holding weekly or monthly meetings with individual workers, as they can most accurately gauge performance through these means. By staying in communication with all staff, managers can effectively learn about issues that may cause a worker to leave the company and present solutions that could keep that person from quitting.

5. Thank your employees
While speaking with staff and recognizing good work are important for increasing satisfaction in the office, managers must show employees that they appreciate all of the work they complete on a daily basis. Whether you’re saving for a quarterly celebration or seeking an opportunity to show your appreciation, you should search for ways to say thank you to workers, such as distributing promotional gifts for employee recognition. Consider giving employees an item that they can use on a daily basis, such as the 14 Oz. Promotional Wave Mug, which can be kept at the desk or brought home and stored in the kitchen.

Developing a healthy workplace for employees

Promoting physical fitness in the office is essential for fostering a healthy environment for all employees. Whether your office is trading donuts for fruit or swapping traditional chairs for exercise balls, there are several innovative improvements that can greatly increase productivity, satisfaction and happiness in the office.

As you begin to encourage physical fitness in the workplace, examine the ways you can best promote healthy lifestyles among employees.

The benefits of a healthy workplace
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity is crucial for reducing feelings of depression, increasing stamina and decreasing one’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease down the road. Additionally, many organizations have found that by implementing programs that further increase healthy living in the workplace, employees are more likely to respond positively and become more productive.

AccountingWeb reported that companies with similar initiatives reported fewer employee sick days, decreased turnover and improved overall staff attitudes. Employees who participated in programs reported greater energy, elevated mood and increased feelings of happiness.

Small ways to make your office healthier
While some businesses develop programs to help increase awareness for healthy living among employees, others implement small changes throughout the office to further encourage this mindset. The Associated Press reported that a fun and simple way employers can ensure their staff are getting exercise is by allowing them to use exercise balls instead of traditional desk chairs. This small change brings a wealth of benefits to employees, including increased mobility during the day, improved balance and increased muscle toning.

Cheryl Soleway, a physical therapist in Vernon, British Columbia, explained that the exercise balls encouraged people to remain moving while sitting for extended periods of time.

“What we are trying to promote is active sitting versus passive sitting,” Soleway told the AP. “You get a low level of neuromuscular activity – your abdominal and trunk muscles are contracting to some degree. Without that activity, you would fall off.”

Another medical professional, Henry Goitz, the chief of sports medicine at the Medical College of Ohio, added that employers should be sure to impose limits with these sitting surfaces, as balancing for eight to 12 hours on an exercise ball could cause a person to become fatigued. Instead, he recommended sitting on the ball for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

Some offices have implemented standing desks, which allow employees to conduct business while remaining on their feet. Others have implemented companywide contests to further promote physical fitness, offering promotional products related to worker wellness as prizes for completing certain challenges.

Incentives to encourage healthy living
If you’re interested in adopting similar healthy living contests for employees, consider a challenge that can be easily undertaken by all workers. Some organizations offer predeveloped programs for offices, such as those that ask workers to complete a six-week initiative revolving around a particular physical activity.

As your company begins to look into programs that can help increase fitness in the workplace, consider distributing promotional products that will help their cause. Small items can help show employees that the company values their health and is willing to provide support wherever it can. For a general option that will encourage workers to start drinking more water, consider handing out Customized Sports Bottles that workers can easily transport between locations. Alternatively, if you’re seeking a more specific item that directly relates to your officewide challenge, opt for an item tailored to tracking fitness, such as the Eco Solar Logo Pedometer, which keeps a record of the number of steps a person has taken as well as the number of calories they’ve burned.

Tech giveaways can increase employee productivity

There are a number of tactics employers can use to motivate staff members during the work day. Providing employees with incentives that are both useful and interesting is a great way to get workers to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently.

Tech giveaways are an ideal option for companies who wish to give workers promotional products that they can use on a daily basis. Additionally, these incentives may be integral for completing tasks for the organization, as there are a variety of choices from which employers can pick.

Motivate employees with tech products 
As technology continues to have such a large impact on the way in which employees conduct business, more workers are searching for ways to integrate these devices in their operations. Small devices, such as USB drives and touchscreen styluses, have made conducting business much easier – and more fun. Consider participating in tech giveaways, as providing employees with items they can use on a daily basis may show them how much they are valued by the company.

Success Factors reported that technology products may be key for motivating employees. Certain pieces of technology may help build workers’ skills, allowing them to learn how to properly and effectively navigate high-tech products. Alternatively, setting certain tech promotional products as rewards for completing tasks may motivate employees to conduct business, as they could work harder to receive items. Consider items that your employees would appreciate and desire, such as a custom soft phone case for the iPhone 5.

Tech giveaways may increase efficiency
While some products may inspire employees to complete their work, others may greatly improve the methods by which they do business. Useful items may help staff to conduct business more efficiently. For example, a pair of promo retractable headphones could be a fun option for workers who enjoy listening to music as they work. Employees can not only use these headphones as they conduct their business, but they can wear them while commuting home or running at the gym – both ideal locations for spreading brand awareness.

Another item that may be crucial for increasing efficiency is the custom executive laser pointer, which not only serves as a tool for enhancing workplace presentations, but also features a built-in USB drive capable of storing digital memory. Employers should keep their eyes out for promotional tech products that may be most likely to lead to greater workplace efficiency.

How to revitalize your sales team to drive revenues up

One of the most obvious ways to drive revenue up is by increasing sales. In order to make that happen, the sales team must be motivated and dedicated to putting in the necessary effort. If the sales department has seemed lackluster lately, it’s time to use management tactics to revitalize the overall attitudes, on both group and individual levels.

What to do as a company
For management to increase sales, there needs to be added emphasis on understanding what customers like and what potential clients are looking for. This involves more communication and outreach. Start by ramping up how many email and direct mail incentives are distributed. The purpose of this practice is to gather information about which promotions retain current patrons and how they draw in new business. There should be an overall growth in special promotions and incentives using coupons and promotional products.

The use of a referral system can do wonders for sales. Have the sales staff ask new clients to bring a fellow customer into the equation for a reward. Give them personalized promotional products, a discount for their own contract or a gift card to a restaurant that will cater a lunch for them. For this to work, lead management must be effective. Employees should be asking clients where they heard about the company and tracking the answers carefully.

Engage with customers more and on new platforms. Use sales people to dig for information or ask for direct feedback from customers. Get the conversation started on social media or blogs to find out why they work with the company, why they look for the product or service in the first place and who they are. Along those lines, revitalize the website and its content to draw more viewers in. It’s not a secret that Web presence is increasingly important, so cater to this fact when looking to drive sales.

The people side of the matter
Though there are methods to employ that will improve the sales statistics from a business strategy standpoint, a good leader will hone in on the issue from a more personal level. The first step is to determine if any of the sales managers are particularly unmotivated and if it is affecting their subordinates. A negative or apathetic attitude can trickle down from management to staff since those in charge are role models of sorts. If there are certain people that have clearly lost their spark, sit down with them for an honest conversation. Ask them why they chose sales, what the job is lacking and what their long term career goals are.

Incentives are a great direction to take because it’s human nature to become more invested in a task if there is a clear reward. Create a contest or competition between sales staff that will drive motivation. Use unique promotional products, cash bonuses or an extra day off as the bait that will propel employees. Sales people will also be more inspired if there is an increase in recognition for achievements. Celebrate big contracts or particularly strong client communication with personalized business gifts. This will keep hard workers going strong while inciting unmotivated people to be more productive.

Finally, don’t limit innovative business strategy proposals to a specific department. Allow everyone in the company to brainstorm and even add an online advisory group of key clients if that seems promising. Consider hosting company retreats to drive creativity. Show that the ideas employees pitch are valuable by acknowledging people who have smart suggestions. Keep promotional items on hand to distribute to the business’ top thinkers.

Create an employee wellness program

“The bottom line: Every dollar invested in the intervention yielded $6 in health care savings,” explained the Harvard Business Review in an article about wellness programs in the workplace.

The three main benefits of creating an employee wellness program are reducing health care costs for both employers and employees, improving the mental and physical health of employees and enhancing employee satisfaction. World No Tobacco Day falls at the end of May, which can serve as an excellent jumping point for starting an employee wellness program that includes overall healthfulness, from stopping smoking to increasing physical activity.

According to Forbes, four steps will allow for an effective wellness plan. First, employers must figure out what health needs the staff has and how they coincide with company’s culture and operations. This can be done with health risk assessments and surveys. Once the data is collected, determine what wellness initiatives fit with the employees. What benefits would the staff take advantage of? Forbes suggested physical activity be paired with wellness education for full implementation. The third step is communicating the program in an enticing way. Lastly, there must be incentives to garner participation in employee wellness goals.

To attract employees to the program in the very beginning, start with promotional giveaways. Distribute stress balls with the company logo on them. To keep with the health theme, consider Doctor Promotional Stress Relievers. Once everyone is aware of the initiative and how it will work, there will need to be more incentives down the road to encourage dedication to positive lifestyle changes. A larger form of motivation would be reduced price gym memberships for employees who commit to the program. In the similar fashion, consider bringing yoga or fitness instructors to the office for a group exercise session.

Specific programs to try

  • Weight loss challenge: A lot of places call these “The Biggest Loser” competitions because of the popular television show but feel free to be more imaginative. Weight can be a sensitive issue for some people so it’s important to keep that in mind. Exact numbers don’t need to be made public. Consider documenting just the percentage of weight lost or keeping the participants anonymous. Find out if employees are more interested in competing as groups or individually. Teams can be divided by departments, in pairs of two or simply in half. Encourage people to participate by handing out Double Wall Custom Acrylic Tumblers. Staying hydrated is crucial to weight loss and now employees can keep a fresh supply of water on their desks at all times.
  • Smoke free initiative: In honor of World No Tobacco day, organize a program to encourage staff to stop smoking cigarettes. This can be done with a combination of education and goal-setting. Gather interested employees for a brief information session. The negative effects of tobacco are well advertised, so it probably isn’t necessary to delve deeply into the subject. Simply remind smokers of the endless benefits to quitting, then present an initiative. Consider setting daily, weekly and monthly goals that have various giveaway prizes.
  • Fitness competition: To get employees exercising more often, raise the stakes with a friendly competition. Create goals for staff to strive for such as consistently working out three days a week or being active for a certain number of hours per week. Another way to compare fitness level is with pedometers. Have every employee keep track of their walking distance every day and give prizes to the winners. A great fitness-oriented giveaway is a 31 oz. Gripper Poly-Clear Sports Bottle. Employees who enjoy their increasingly active lifestyle may be interested in Personalized Champion’s Jump Ropes.

Inspire staff to pursue their goals

Dare Day, a holiday with an unknown past according to Holiday Insights, is celebrated June 1. Companies can use this holiday as an opportunity to challenge people, daring them to step outside their comfort zone and reach for their personal and work goals. In an office setting, Dare Day can ignite a company-wide effort for self-improvement. It would be fun to create a challenge for the whole office or allow staff members to set their own goals.

Getting Fit
It’s common for offices to hold fitness challenges to encourage healthy living and weight maintenance. Consider handing out sports bottles to employees in the beginning of the month. There are many options for shapes, sizes and materials including those with screw tops like the Kona Stainless Steel Sports Bottle or plastic bottles with filters and straws such as the Cool Gear Pure Bottle. Purchasing water bottles for the staff may also cut down on the number of plastic bottles used around the office, which in turn reduces landfill waste. A dual-purpose gift!

Personalized and promotional lightweight backpacks are also a great way of encouraging employees to get outside and exercise when they leave the office. With a small cloth bag like the Fold Up Backpack or Promotional Drawstring Backpack, people can bring their gym sneakers and a change of clothes anywhere without having to maneuver a large, cumbersome bag. Both of those backpacks are offered in an array of colors and it’s easy to add the company name to either, meaning employees are always showing the brand off.

To keep track of how many hours they work out in the month and time sets of exercises, employees may like Right on Time Promotional Watches. The watch comes in eight different colors and can be personalized with a company logo or slogan.

Personal goals
Other goals people may set for themselves on Dare Day are to eat healthier or spend less money. A pocket calendar for each employee can help individuals set goals and deadlines to stay on track throughout June if they would like to dare themselves to take on an entirely different challenge.

It may be easier to stick to a healthy diet if people bring lunch and snacks from home. This way, portions can be controlled and food options aren’t limited to what restaurants near the office are serving. Employees who take on the dare to bring lunch from home can receive a lunch bag for easy transport. The Custom Insulated Lunch Bag or Koozie Fun Lunch Cooler would be great Dare Day gifts because they are spacious and can keep food cold longer than a brown bag. Check out the latter in blue or red, featuring a front slip pocket for napkins or utensils. Packing a lunch at home can also support the goal to spend less money.

It’s often much more affordable to buy groceries and make lunch ahead of time than stopping by a local restaurant during the lunch break. Another way for employees to keep a bit more money in their pockets is by bringing coffee from home rather than buying lattes during the day. Consider giving employees a to-go mug so they can keep filling it with coffee from the office. Check out the Custom Tumbler With A Color Twist Lid in four colors or the Curve Travel Tumbler in black or white.

3 ways to celebrate ‘May the fourth’ at work

May 4 is a special day for Star Wars fans everywhere. Though at first it seems as if there’s no connection between the two, it’s all in the verbalization. The holiday came about because “May the fourth be with you” is similar to the famous line, “May the force be with you”. May 25 marks the 37th anniversary of the release of “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” so it should really be a month-long celebration. With that in mind, consider hosting one of these Star Wars-themed events per week for the rest of the month.

1. Star Wars character impersonation contest
It’s okay to get silly every once in a while at work, especially for the sake of a holiday. Make an announcement for employees to start practicing because at the end of the week, there will be a competition for who can imitate a character from any of the Star Wars movies best. Whether they have the perfect Wookie trill to sound like Chewbacca or can channel all the wisdom of Yoda, encourage employees to give it a shot. Who knows, Joe from sales might make a very convincing and breathy Darth Vader. Organize a panel of judges or determine the winner based on a hand vote. Award the winner with a personalized coffee mug or sports bottle.

2. Have a Star Wars viewing party
Try to narrow down which Star Wars movie the office should watch, maybe by taking a quick survey, then gather everyone to take in George Lucas’ masterpiece together. Let employees know that they should be paying attention though, because there will be trivia after. Have the biggest Star Wars fans at the company draft up questions for a quick post-movie game. Depending on the size of the staff, it might make sense to divide up into teams for the showdown. Whoever wins should choose a promotional giveaway to remind them of that sweet, sweet victory.

3. Indulge in festive intergalactic food
There is no limit to how far one can stretch a play on words to make themed food. That being said, this is a chance to find out how creative employees can get. Motivate people to make a treat by offering promotional lunch bags to the top three chefs. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

  • TIE fighters: These are basically s’mores but with Nutella instead of chocolate pieces. Put Nutella on the flat sides of the marshmallows and sandwich them between two graham cracker squares.
  • Lightsaber pretzel rods: Melt colored candy wafers in the microwave, then dip long pretzel rods in and swirl them around until they are mostly covered. Let the lightsabers cool and set on wax paper.
  • Jar Jar Links-in-a-blanket: This is an example of how a catchy name makes up for even the most obnoxious of characters. Simply make pigs in a blanket with mini hot dogs and croissant rolls, put a clever sign on them and listen to at least five people say, “Nobody likes Jar Jar Binks!”
  • Wookie Cookies: Some people make chocolate chip cookies and call them Wookie Cookies, so that’s an option. Another idea from Pinterest is to buy Little Debbie Star Crunch cookies then dress them up because the texture is perfect for Chewie’s face. You’ll also need chocolate frosting, edible eye balls and broken mini heart candies. Use the frosting to form the mouth and eyebrows. Attach your edible eyeballs and broken heart candies using a bit more frosting and watch the crowd go wild at the unveiling.

Spring cleaning: Fostering a more productive workspace

Along with warm weather, picnic lunches and outdoor activities, the spring season brings along the perfect time to tidy up around the office. Businesses should take advantage of the new season by cleaning not only their physical spaces, but their digital operations as well.

Organizing company operations can help improve productivity among employees, as it can provide a cleaner workspace, easier access to documents and more space for workers to conduct their operations.

Break out the window cleaner and start pumping your favorite tunes because it’s time to follow these tips and get to streamlining your business.

It’s time to clean house
From the windows to the walls, businesses should start wiping down their physical space to help make the area more spick-and-span. Spring cleaning starts with the structure, and employers have many ways they can get to tidying up the workspace. Bosses could dedicate a portion of the work day to a full-office cleaning, asking employees to bring in their own supplies and start organizing their desks. Managers could make this into an exciting game, allowing workers to compete against each other and work toward a prize. Offering an incentive, such as employee recognition gifts or personalized desk items, is a great way to encourage employees to get in the game and start organizing their spaces.

Small Business Trends recommended purging the office of a number of items in order to reduce both clutter and stress. Start with large items, such as electronics and appliances, and examine how necessary they are for the company. This includes broken items and old products. The source reported that businesses should toss any appliances that have not been used within the past year, as they do nothing but take up space and serve as eye sores.

Transition to the digital
If your company does not already store important documents online, now is the time to start. Use this time to go through old company documents, including file folders, cabinets and drawers. Get the shredder out and start clearing space for new documents or different items. If the papers are too important to shred, employees should still go through and organize them to promote efficiency and make searching much easier. The National Association of Professional Organizers reported that employees spend 400 hours per year searching for paper documents – transitioning to the digital is one of the fastest ways for businesses to ensure that these files are much easier to access.

Companies who do not already take advantage of the Cloud should highly consider storing their information in this digital forum, Small Business Trends recommended. There are a number of digital storage applications available for free, including Google Drive, Dropbox and Box, all of which can easily organize and store information on the Web.

Revamp your online presence
In addition to cleaning the office and streamlining operations, companies should consider revamping their social networks and websites. While most businesses understand the importance of maintaining a page on sites like Twitter and Facebook, they can frequently lose steam and forget to post updates regularly. Use this time to bring your social media sites back and start posting again. If your sites are well-maintained, use this time to change your pictures, clear old clutter and make your pages more crisp.

While updating your social media presence is essential, Business 2 Community recommended changing your company website, as well. Since the online landscape is constantly changing, businesses should examine how to make their sites more efficient, increasing traffic and improving search engine optimization content. The source recommended researching current digital trends and incorporating them in the site. One great way for companies to boost site numbers is by linking to a promotional giveaway, especially one that can provide promotional products to consumers.

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