Category Archives: Business

What to do with the money from the office “change jar”

Many offices have a system in place where certain words or behaviours are restricted from being said or done in the office. And should an employee go against these “rules”, they are to place a pre-approved amount of money in the change jar. Over time, one can imagine how quickly these spare change jars fill up and how much has actually accumulated.

And we say jars (plural) because it’s popular to have one per department so that the entire office can take part and hold each other accountable. Not to mention having multiple jars for different occasions such as an “I forgot to put my phone on silent” jar or an “I can’t” jar. The jars could be relevant to the behavioural problems of each department.

There are many things people could do with all that change and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Cook for the office

The department who’s jar is full first is responsible for heading down to the local grocery store and buying ingredients to make some food for the rest of the office. Either that or they are responsible for stocking up on office supplies and ingredients that can be used in the future for when there’s enough of everything to cook a large meal. Maybe for something like the end of the month get together?   

Find easy recipes that can quickly be thrown together to create something delicious for the entire office. A few ideas include:

  • Breakfast muffins: These are quick and easy to make and just require a bit of preparation before throwing it all together and placing it in the oven. You can use whatever ingredients you like, but most breakfast muffins include bacon, mushrooms, cheese and, of course, egg. The egg is what will hold it together when you put the mixture into the muffin tray holder and the result will be an omelette-tasting “muffin”.
  • Regular muffins: Then there’s also the option of baking treats for everyone and buying premixes for chocolate, vanilla and maybe some bran for the healthier employees.
  • Burgers: If you have enough money to make a proper meal, the team could come together and prepare burgers for the office. Buy some beef patties, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese slices, tomato sauce and anything else you’d like to add to the burger. Don’t forget some Maggi seasoning cubes to boost the flavour of the patties as you cook them. It makes it effortlessly delicious and is definitely one of those ingredients for the office to stock up on.

Save it for the next birthday

If the office is always “too busy” to spend a few minutes in the kitchen, the change jar money could be saved up and used for the next employees birthday. It can go towards balloons, a card, a cake and possibly a little gift as well (depending on how naughty or nice the office has been leading up to the birthday).

This is a great way to make their birthday a special and it guarantees everyone will at least get something from the office on their birthday.

Start an “office party fund”

As an alternative to birthday celebrations, you could save up the money in the change jars throughout the year and use what has been raised to organise a memorable year-end function. It will essentially be an office party fund to keep employees motivated and excited to do well and push on to the end of the year.

Another option would be to start an office entertainment fund and save towards fun gadgets, goodies and games to bring into the office. Think along the lines of a foosball table, table tennis or some really cool bean bags to set up a chill zone for the much-needed relief breaks.

Donate to a charity

The point of a change jar is to change bad or irritating habits in the office, so it’s only appropriate to use the change to make a change outside of the office as well. Use the money from the change jar to donate to a charity or a charitable cause. If, for example, there is someone in the office who is struggling financially or has undergone a traumatic experience, that money could be used towards helping them out.

The money could also, as was said, be donated to a charity of the offices choice. It could even be used to host a charitable event such as a soup kitchen, street store or blanket drive. Depending on the amount of money raised, it could possibly be used to sponsor an event or an underprivileged school.

There are so many benefits to donating resources to charities and, in any case, your company has a social responsibility to its community. And this is a great way of getting everyone involved. The problem comes in when people insist on getting away with inappropriate behaviour by justifying that “it’s for a good cause”. Employers might want to monitor that.

Things to consider before buying a new laptop

When it comes to laptops, there is such a vast range to choose from.

A few of the most common and influential factors when purchasing electronics are size, space and brand.  Of course, the type of product you buy is determined by its use, but ultimately, it just needs to suit your needs. The first thing you should consider before splurging on a new laptop is your budget.

These items can range from R5000 to R50 000, so if you’re not sure on what your needs are, and the different features you require, it can quickly become an expensive affair. For example, do you plan on using your new laptop for work in a PowerPoint presentation or on the weekends for gaming? These (amongst others) are the types of questions you’re going to need to ask yourself.

Luckily, the latest technological advancements have ensured that each and every laptop produced is equally good-looking, so even if you can only afford something cheaper, it will still look sleek and modern. Here are a few tips to help you wrap your head around your laptop needs:

Size: When you think of a laptop’s size, you usually refer to its actual shell. If the ‘size’ of your laptop is the main concern, you should consider a notebook that is either light in weight or has a small screen. There are various sizes to choose from, and smaller or thinner laptops don’t always mean that it’s slow and offers little space. For future, the thinnest and lightest systems are 11- to 12-inch screens which weigh an average of 1.5 kilograms. The bigger the screen, the more the machine will weigh.

Screen quality: When you decide to purchase a new laptop, you also need to consider your health. You cannot simply buy something cheap because you can’t afford more. This will affect your eyes. Most people who use a laptop will be in front of it for many hours in a day, so you need to make sure that the screen’s resolution is good to look at and comfortable on your eyes. A glossy screen will lead to a reflection, so refrain from buying a laptop which has a touchscreen incorporated into it. Newer technology offers different viewing angles, so experience a collection before you make your pick.

Keyboard quality: Having a notebook is ideal for quick typing sessions, for example, sending off an email here and there. If your job or hobby requires you to spend hours typing away, you will need to have a high-quality keyboard which can withstand all the typing you’re going to be doing. Your keyboard should also be responsive in touch when you type and let the keys go, and the entire board should offer backlighting to help you see the keys better in poorly lighted areas.

Processor and graphics: Now, a little more technical. The processing unit and the graphics card your computer possesses will contribute to its efficiency. Again, if you’re going to be using your laptop to play games or watch movies, you’re going to need to purchase a laptop which is more powerful. (Many laptops come with already built-in graphics cards.) While these two elements are important for visual usage, RAM and storage are more important for the average laptop user who simply wants to store large files and not have to deal with a laptop that freezes every now and then.

RAM and storage: If you’re using your laptop for work purposes to store plenty of files, you might need to consider more storage space in the years to come. However, if you store most of your information on online platforms such as Google Drive or the Cloud, you won’t need to create new storage space. With RAM, on the other hand, the faster your laptop is, the better. These upgrades will come with time.

Battery life: Having a laptop with a reliable battery life is essential. It’s important to know that you can rely on your laptop when you’re travelling around, without having to send it in for repairs after a few months because it’s been overworked. When you research the laptop you are interested in, be sure to find out about the battery life and how much a spare battery would cost down the line.


As you can see, gone are the days where you simply buy any kind of electronics straight off the bat. Make a checklist of all the features you need, and keep looking out for any laptop deals which could meet your requirements. Try and find something brand new before you delve into second-hand goods, as new laptops for sale will offer the warranty you need.  

How to control a security control room

Many businesses have a security control room, either on their premises or at another remote location. The benefit of having a security control room overlooking your business security is that it brings a sense of, well, security and safety to all those who work there or have invested in the company.

Other benefits besides peace of mind include monitoring and recording suspect activity in order to carry out the appropriate security procedure and to provide evidence in the event of a theft or liability claim. Security control rooms secure all the business assets from products to people and even the building itself. This level of security is incredibly valuable as long as you know how to properly implement and control it.

Here’s what you need to know about security control room requirements. Make sure your company’s control room is adequately equipped and ready to do the job.

The right design

Security control room design is an important aspect of the functioning of the room. First of all, you need to make sure that the control room space is large enough for all the equipment and for the comfort of the console operators. In the next section, we’ll be talking about all the equipment needed in the control room and that will prove to you why size matters.

The next design aspect has to do with lighting. Without the correct lighting, you run the risk of over-working control room operators’ eyes. There should be a controllable amount of natural light in the room and dimmable LED lights. You need to think about the light reflecting on the monitors and the visual comfort of the operator. There also needs to be insulation to block out some of the outside noise if the surrounding environment to the room is loud.

Next, we come to the design layout of the equipment itself and how there should always be a clear line of sight from desks to monitors, regardless of the operator’s location in the room. The video wall or bulk monitors need to be able to be seen from almost all angles without any obvious obstructions. And while we’re talking about the desks and workspace, it needs to be organised and free from clutter as far as possible. There will be plenty of wires, keyboards and controllers that need to be organised to free up the workspace and encourage a productive environment.

And then there are the few décor rules that need to be addressed. Lighting is one of them, which we’ve already discussed, and wall colour is another. There are certain colours that encourage alertness and aren’t a distraction from the task at hand. Neutral grey and cream colours are the better options and won’t add to the visual strain already set by the monitors.

The right equipment

Now, it’s not possible to have a security control room without the necessary control room equipment. You need to make sure that your console and its software are suited to your company and its security needs.

You need to consider whether you will have height adjustable consoles and workstations for your operators so they can alternate between sitting and standing throughout their, generally, 12-hour shift. The chairs and desks need to be ergonomically designed along with the setup of the keyboards and monitors.

The right equipment for a security control room won’t really be effective if ergonomics aren’t considered. Ergonomics is important in any workspace environment, which includes the control room. If not more so, considering the long shifts operators have to work and the fact that their job mainly consists of staring at and working with multiple monitors.

The right staff


Hiring for your security control room should be taken seriously. You’ll find that many security control room companies offer control room operator staff as part of the package. Or they will be able to recommend training qualifications which your security staff would need to complete.

It can be more than just looking at a screen all day and it’s a job that comes with a whole lot of responsibility. You need the right staff for your fully equipped and efficiently-designed security control room. People who will be able to handle the shift schedule (which should also be designed with productivity in mind), who are able to handle and control a security situation and who are capable of documenting necessary data.

A security control room is exactly what your company needs in order to be efficient and effective. Knowing that there are security measures in place and people (literally) watching over you is comforting and frees your mind from fear to let you focus on work.

If you already have one, make sure it’s got everything it needs. And if you don’t have one yet, well, it’s about time to start investing in one. You now have all the necessary information to ensure both quality and success in controlling your security control room, after all.

Vital leadership skills every small business owner needs

Being a small business owner means that, other than entrepreneurial spirit, you will need to have leadership skills to succeed. You will need to be able to lead your team with ease and have an understanding of all aspects of your business, including financial accounting and marketing. If you are not sure what, exactly, being a leader entails, below are just some of the vital leadership skills you will need as a small business owner.


Arguably one of the most important leadership skills you will need is organisational skills, and this pertains to every aspect of your business. Keeping your workspace neat and tidy will help to calm your mind, and keeping your business data in order will help to make your work more streamlined.

Keeping everything organised will help you to quickly access information and make quicker business decisions. You will need to be able to organise your contact information, tasks, sales information, and all the other moving pieces involved in bringing in new business, as well as understand your financial situation. This can be done by taking a diploma in financial accounting. An organised business is one that performs well and provides customers with outstanding service and experience.

Effective communication skills

Being able to communicate with your employees and your customers is essential to the smooth running of any small business. Communication is equal parts talking and listening, with listening being vital for meeting with employees and clients.

As a business owner, you can build your success by being able to communicate your goals clearly to your team so that they are able to implement them. Listening to the opinions of the people on your team will also enable you to become a better boss, and it can improve your business operations. Without the ability to communicate your value to potential clients, you are unable


Confidence is more of a personal attribute than a skill, but it is important nonetheless. Without confidence, you are unable to inspire trust and respect in your employees and customers. Leaders need confidence in order to make decisions and stick to them.

Self-confidence is important for small business owners as you will need to convince clients to use your skills and buy your products. If you are not confident in your business and in yourself, this will shine through in your business and will increase your profits. Confidence is an attribute that is inherent in entrepreneurs and can be built on with courses and conferences.

Strategic thinking

Thinking strategically is important to  the success of any business. This means that not only do you have a vision for your business but the ability and drive to move forward with this vision. You are able to think on your feet and use all the information available to come up with a plan of action to reach your goals.

Strategic thinking is a leadership skill that can be applied to your entire business, such as marketing and finances. Strategic marketing means that you will look at what is trending in the media and use this to your advantage in your campaign. Using strategic thinking financially could mean that you take financial accounting courses in order to better understand your bookkeeping process.

Emotional intelligence

Being emotionally intelligent means that you are able to understand and control your emotions. It will help you to understand yourself and those around you, namely your employees and your clients. It also means that you are able to act diplomatically rather than simply following a whim or an emotional reaction.

Having empathy is a part of having emotional intelligence, and empathy is what drives a small business that wants to connect with customers and give them the best customer experience possible. You should be able to effectively demonstrate emotional intelligence and use it to form connections with your employees and clients. Emotional intelligence also means that you are better able to make smart business decisions with your head rather than your heart.

The ability to adapt

Having the ability to adapt to difficult situations is vital for any small business owner. Change in the economic environment is constant, and being unable to adapt to these changes is highly detrimental to your business success. The ability to adapt also means you need to have the ability to embrace change, too.

Leaders are also able to implement changes easily and efficiently in their business. You should be able to do this without disturbing the organisation’s balances and should provide your staff with help as they strive to adapt to these changes too. Adaptability is highly important in this digital world we live in, especially for small business owners.

Telecommuting for startup businesses

With the wonder of flexible work schedules, comes the increase in telecommuting for business. And as young adults start up their own businesses with flexibility in mind, we look at the aspects of telecommuting for startups. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider and you should know that telecommuting isn’t a viable option for every company.

Here is all you need to know about telecommuting for startup businesses.

What is telecommuting?

Telecommuting, in the simplest of terms, means working from home with the help of information technology. Many startup businesses start out in people’s homes. As the business grows, there may be an official office space setup to accommodate more employees and make it feel like a more professional venture.

But most people won’t complain about working from home and having the flexible work schedules that come with telecommuting. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting, especially for small businesses.

What are the advantages of telecommuting?

  • Cost-effective growth opportunities: By allowing employees to work from home, you’ll be saving yourself money on office supplies, rent for an office space (if you’re able to use your home as a makeshift office for special occasions) and travelling to and from work every day (for you and your employees). Telecommuting allows for startups to grow exponentially without being overly expensive to do so. It also allows for you to scout for talent over a larger area as distance won’t have to be a turn-off for potential star employees.  
  • Employee retention: The flexibility telecommuting allows is also an attractive feature for employees that isn’t offered by many other companies. This means you’re also likely to retain your employees and easily attract new talent. This also reinforces the confidence employers have in their employees, which is always a great feeling for an employee to have. Not to mention, it shows that the company cares about their employees’ work and life balance.
  • Increased productivity: Because of the care, trust, confidence and balance this flexibility brings employees, they’re more likely to be motivated to work hard and, therefore, be more productive during their chosen work hours. Telecommuting may also require an internal business software through which employee hours and tasks can be monitored, which will also keep them productive and accountable.

What are the disadvantages of telecommuting?

  • Management difficulty: Getting to really know your employees and apply a management style according to their personalities and abilities becomes a difficult task through telecommuting. You don’t see them every day or even every week and you don’t know how they’re handling everything unless they choose to communicate that with you. Solutions would be to incorporate different forms of communication and include video conferences to simulate face-to-face conversation.  
  • Accountability: Now, we mentioned how telecommuting can make employees productive and accountable. But, accountability can also be a problem when employees start taking advantage of the flexibility of telecommuting. This is why performance and internal monitoring software is a necessity.
  • Miscommunication: Another disadvantage of telecommuting is the frequent instances of miscommunication. Because it’s not as simple as popping over from one office desk to another, many things get lost in translation and that can cause many issues between employers and employees, as well as with the company and clients. It’s very important to implement strong and strict communication practices to make sure everyone is on the same and right page at all times.

How can you be successful through telecommuting in your business?


For startup businesses, telecommuting is an affordable way to invest in the human capital of their business while they’re still trying to grow. But not every type of business can pull off the telecommuting work-style. You first need to decide whether you’re in a telecommuting-compatible business before you can start driving success from it.

  • Compatible job positions: Some jobs may be able to be done from a fully remote position, but others may require part-time or zero telecommuting ability. You, as business manager, need to look at how jobs can not only be done but also be more effective through telecommuting. And make those decisions accordingly.
  • “Tele-suited” employees: It’s also not as simple as having a compatible job position. The employee who fills that role needs to be inclined in the department of information technology if they have a chance of being successful from a remote location. They need to know how to operate online and remain accountable and dedicated to work on their own.
  • All the rules of telecommuting: If you want to be successful, you need to lay down all the rules of your telecommuting agreement. Are there requirements for time logging, dedicated workspaces, in-office appearances, cloud-based data storage processes, compulsory information technology courses or flexible schedules that need to be met? And how are you going to monitor these requirements?   

Telecommuting can be an amazing asset for a startup business and might even be the edge that sets their business above the rest. You just need to implement and monitor it correctly.