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The Art of the Office: How to Create a Productivity-Focused Workplace

Working as a team requires your staff to have a flexible workplace that can accommodate your group and your business’s needs.

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The Art of the Office. How to Create a Productivity-Focused Workplace

Providing your staff with the right environment to work to their full potential is crucial for your business’s success moving forward. You need to ensure that your team feels comfortable in the workplace, has all the tools they need to complete their daily tasks, and that you create an environment that promotes productivity. For your team to thrive, it’s up to you, as the business owner, to allow them to perform at their best.

The bland, dull, cubicle-laden office layouts of the past have been replaced with contemporary designs that are both comfortable and functional. Your employees will benefit from a workplace that promotes creativity and collaboration.

Working as a team requires your staff to have a flexible workplace that can accommodate your group and your business’s needs. With the right approach, you can create a productivity-focused environment in your business that will allow your employees to work seamlessly towards your targets.

Let’s take a look at just a few ways to create a productivity-focused workplace.

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1. Provide The Right Tools

Depending on your business’s unique requirements, there is a range of tools that you can use in your office to improve productivity. For example, wireless technologies allow employees to access printers, copiers, and other office equipment with ease, saving them time.

Keeping your office supplies such as paper and stationary fully stocked at all times will ensure your staff always have what they need. Use high-quality cartridges from suppliers like CartridgesDirect so that documents are crisp and clear. Be sure to have a fast internet connection and Wi-Fi connection throughout the workspace.

2. Consider A Modern Layout

The days of the traditional 9-5 are a thing of the past for many companies nowadays. With more ways to stay connected and collaborate over the internet than ever before, many companies have staff who split their time between the office and working remotely.

Important Workplace issues That Generation Z

Having hot desks for visiting remote workers will allow your team to get down to work as soon as they arrive, instead of wasting time looking for free desk space. Likewise, meeting rooms can be designed to be multi-purpose, allowing your staff more space to work on projects.

3. Comfortable Workstations

Ergonomically designed office furniture has been shown to improve productivity. Providing a comfortable work station for your employees will ensure that they stay alert and don’t get tired throughout the day. Being correctly positioned at their desks will also help prevent stress injuries and back and neck problems, which will result in less absenteeism and, instead, higher output from your team.

Many contemporary office layouts offer standing desks to help employees with existing back and neck problems to be comfortable throughout the workday.

Important Workplace issues

4. Allow More Natural Light

If you are redesigning your office space, please account for how much natural light will get into space. Although it might be expensive to install more giant windows or skylights, more natural light has been proven to increase employee productivity.

Artificial light is not as stimulating as natural light and can cause fatigue for your team. Redesign your office space to maximize the amount of natural light it receives to see an increase in productivity from your staff.

5. Create A Workplace Ambience That Promotes Productivity

Setting your team up for success begins with the workplace environment you create for them. To ensure your team can work to the best of their abilities, you need to create an environment where they can thrive and be as productive as possible.

Whether you are moving into a brand new office space or you are renovating your current setup, now is the time to make changes to your workplace environment to ensure your business continues to succeed going forward.

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Business

13 Tips for Getting on Top of Your Taxes

It’s tax season! Whether you have only a personal return to worry about or that plus a business return, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while getting your tax forms completed.

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13 Tips for Getting Top of Your Taxes

It’s tax season! Whether you have only a personal return to worry about or that plus a business return, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while getting your tax forms completed.

Here are some of those pointers to keep in mind.

1. Decide whether you need help.

For many people, completing one’s taxes may seem pretty straightforward. For others, it may look like a daunting process. If an individual has an incorporated business, such as an S corporation or partnership, and multiple qualified deductions on their return, then a professional’s help is probably best.

2. Don’t forget to fund your retirement fund.

There are multiple financial vehicles available to save for retirement, whether it is a Traditional IRA, SEP-IRA, or Keogh Plan, to name a few. In most instances, money contributed towards retirement is a legitimate way to reduce one’s taxable income on paper.

3. Stay organized.

If you have deductions to keep track of, or if your income is cash, you should stay on top of it. This is possible to do manually, and if your situation is more complicated, you can sign up for programs to help you automate it.

4. Keep in mind the tax deadline.

Tax season typically begins on January 15th, with the IRS beginning to accept personal returns through April 15th. Business returns, particularly with S corporation and partnership returns, are due on March 15th. It’s important to file on time to avoid late penalties and fees.

5. Decide whether you want to itemize or take the standard deduction.

An individual is eligible to take a $12,400 standard deduction off their taxes. However, itemizing expenses, which entail taking deductions for qualified personal expenses, such as mortgage interest and charitable deductions, may yield greater tax savings.

Keep in mind the tax deadline

6. Consider the home office deduction.

Those who have a dedicated office area in their home for work might be worth considering the operating expense of that area for a tax deduction.

7. Remember to include any dependents on your tax return.

If one has any children or adult dependents, it’s important to remember to note this on one’s tax return. Doing so allows for certain tax credits to reduce one’s taxable income.

8. Consider setting up a taxpayer account and filing online.

If one uses self-help tax software, such as TurboTax or TaxAct, tax filing, payment, or refunds are automated online. If one is employing a professional to complete their return, then electronic filing may be set up by that professional on one’s behalf. Otherwise, one can create an account online directly with the IRS for quicker and more efficient filing.

9. Make sure you are filing all the appropriate forms.

If one uses self-help software to file a personal return, all the necessary documents should be included as part of the paid package. If one is filing directly with the IRS, with no middle party to help facilitate the process, it’s important to be careful to point the proper forms and double-check that all necessary documents are filed. For business returns and more complicated personal returns, it’s best to consult a professional to ensure that all the appropriate paperwork is filed.

10. Consider hiring your children (and paying them).

If one has a business, no matter how formal or informal it is, hiring a family is advantageous for both you and them. Any salaries paid to the family are tax-deductible. Retirement contributions and health benefits are also tax-deductible expenses for the family that is the employer.

11. Keep healthy.

If you are self-employed, the entirety of your health insurance is tax-deductible, as is even your dental insurance. If you are employed and purchase health insurance with a high deductible, opening a health savings account or a flexible savings account and using it can help you offset some of the monies spent on taxes.

12. Buy supplies for work.

If you are employed and purchase supplies relevant to your work, this may be deductible. If you are self-employed and make large purchases pertinent to your work, the cost may be deductible in full.

13. Make timely payments, if needs be.

Though many individuals may expect a tax refund from the IRS, some may wish to pay additional monies with their tax filing. Whether it be via an unincorporated status as a 1099 contractor, an LLC, or a corporation, those who are self–employed are expected to make quarterly payments throughout the year by the IRS. Suppose you are wondering when LLC Taxes are due in 2020. In that case, the IRS enables one to register on their website for quarterly estimated tax payments: January 15th, April 15th, June 17th, and September 16th.

Conclusion

Taxes are an unpleasant obligation for all of us who live in the United States. Even those of us who live outside of the United States and are citizens of the United States, staying abreast of tax filing with the IRS is an indisputable legal obligation. To make this obligation run smoother, there are a few pointers to consider. Though it’s not exhaustive, the above list is pretty thorough and a good start.

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Business

4 Ways Employees Compromise Security (And How You Can Solve Them)

Employee carelessness could lead to a data breach that can destroy your business. Read on to discover how workers can undermine your company’s security.

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cybersecurity is essential to the global supply chain

Employees, in a perfect world, would have great cybersecurity habits. They will make sure never to place their company’s data or network at risk.

This isn’t a perfect world, though. Although office workers can be trustworthy and loyal, the lack of IT policies and occasional carelessness could cause a harmful data breach that can ruin your business reputation and shutter your company.

How can employees compromise your enterprise data security?

Here are four ways they can put your sensitive private and customer data at risk:

1. Insider Malice

No business manager or owner likes to think that their trusted business partners or the people on their team have it out for them. Sadly, a few bad apples can sometimes get past human resources or talent acquisition. The worst part is that malicious insider attacks are incredibly difficult to detect.

You can prevent or mitigate insider malice by getting to know the mind of your attacker. Put yourself in the shoes of a dissatisfied worker looking to take down their employer. You probably wouldn’t launch an attack while you’re using the company computer and still on the corporate payroll.

You would, however, be likely to launch a cyberattack a few days before or after your last day. If you still have your company e-mail and VPN login (and they still work), you could get into your ex-company’s servers from the comfort of your home.

Small Size Businesses Here is What You Need to Know About Cyber Security

As a business owner, you should take measures to prevent disgruntled and malicious employees from compromising your company’s IT and network infrastructure. Start by limiting privileged access to sensitive data, such as intellectual property, personally identifiable information and customer details. Then, immediately revoke the access rights of employees who resign or leave your company without notice.

Also, try getting cloud software that can back up and protect your data. You could, for instance, purchase and download an Office 365 e-mail backup solution to make sure that your e-mail data stays protected and is easily recoverable in the event of a cyberattack or a security threat.

2. The Use of Weak or Lazy Passwords

According to a report from PCMag, the top three common passwords for 2020 are picture1, 123456789 and 123456. These passwords are so laughably insecure that you’re practically rolling out the red carpet for hackers and other cybercriminals.

When you have employees adhering to poor password practices, you need to create and implement a strong password policy to prevent an enterprise data security disaster. Make sure your workers receive a notification to change their passwords every quarter. What’s more, the new password must adhere to the following requirements:

  • It shouldn’t match the previous passwords.
  • It must contain at least nine characters (the longer, the better).
  • It needs to include a combination of symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers.

Changing and memorizing a long, complex password can be highly inconvenient for some employees. One trick to creating this kind of password is to learn a sentence only you can identify.

Take this sentence as an example: “My best friend munches a batch of French fries.” Turn that into an acronym, and you’ve got: MbfmabofFf. You could turn the letter “o” into a zero, then add the birth date of your best friend (or whatever special number you feel like adding). Finally, start or end the password with a symbol.

3. Web Surfing

Office workers often use the company’s internet to surf the web during lunch breaks or downtime. If your tech staff doesn’t protect and configure your systems properly, employees may come across websites with malware, which can cause machines and other devices to become infected.

As a business owner or manager, you can restrict access to specific sites that your company or tech team determines as dangerous or inappropriate. Although this tactic works well for known and distinctive destinations, it may be time-consuming and complex to administer.

If you insist on this strategy, make sure to supplement it by securing systems with anti-spyware and anti-virus software. What’s more, train your employees on the value of staying careful on the web.

Small Size Businesses Cyber Security

4. Malicious E-mail and Phishing

Fraudulent e-mails can destroy your company’s IT and network security, as well as compromise your data. They may contain harmful attachments, codes or links that give cybercriminals access to devices and data.
You can stop these malicious e-mails from harming your business by educating your workers about recognizing suspicious e-mails.

A few of the red flags they should look for include the following:

  • Offers and promotions that are “too good to be true.”
  • Unwarranted technical or customer support
  • Popular companies with deceptive URLs and misspelt names, such as amaz0n3 (dot) com.
  • Unsolicited or suspicious downloads or attachments.

You hired your employees to help grow your business – not destroy it with poor cybersecurity practices. Implement strict IT policies and use the right tools that can protect your organization from criminals.

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