Category Archives: Uncategorized

6 effective tips for managing your time at work

Sitting at your desk and watching the time tick on is one of the most common, shared frustrations amongst employees. While there are certainly days when you’re extremely productive and ready to take on the day like a champion, there are other days when you can’t think about anything worse.

Well, there are various reasons why you cannot concentrate, for example, you’re tired, emotional, hungry or simply don’t have the drive to move forward on that particular day. It’s perfectly normal to experience these symptoms every once in a while, however, when it becomes a frequent thing, it’s a problem.

In order to get rid of those ‘where did the time go’ moments, and not in a good way, here are a few tips and tricks to improve the productivity of your working day and your life as a whole.

  • Organise your life

We’re all aware of the term ‘time management’ which might, in fact, be a myth, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to how organised you are. There are only 24 hours in a day, so if you have responsibilities and requirements beyond work, make sure you wake up early and kickstart your day on the right foot. It’s important to remember that your time is your own. You are in control of what you’re able to get done in a day, so once you learn to prioritise your time, you won’t be able to blame anyone.

  • Find out where you’re wasting time

Often times people leave work thinking ‘where did the time go’ when you know you’ve worked hard with little interruptions but you still can’t seem to get your work done. In these cases, you need to take a step back and reevaluate your activities. Perhaps you’re wasting precious time doing things that are absolutely unnecessary? Or you’re spending too much time doing admin or research which is stealing good, valuable time. Now, both these tasks might play an important role in your job, but if they’re causing you to slack in other areas then you certainly need to take a step back and start time tracking your tasks.

  • Align your surroundings with your goals

The old school to-do list is one of the best ways to manage your time and set goals. The first goal you set should be organising and cleaning your desk. Once you declutter your space, you will be able to sort out your priorities and plan accordingly. If you want a clock at your desk, there are many modern wall clocks in South Africa that you could order online to spruce up your desk space. The same goes for any other space in the office. Take the kitchen, for example. Small things such as kitchen accessories and, again, modern wall clocks in South Africa are a few of the essential items you need to make a difference to yours’ and your colleagues’ space. After all, you spend the majority of your life at the office, so you need to purchase any kitchen utensils for sale and office accessories that will give your working space a revamp.

Another tip with work goals is filtering out any negativity in your personal life. At the end of the day, you spend most of your time in front of your computer or speaking to clients, so if you’re struggling with personal challenges, you’re going to need to focus on them before you can eliminate them. Personal behaviour always has a way of interfering with your work life, so clear your head before you set goals.

  • Use time management tools

Some companies make use of computer time tracking tools where employees are required to track their every task. As far as organisational tools go, make use of digital calendars and event scheduling to remind you about particular tasks. You will also be able to manage project success online as you ensure that whatever process you use works best for what your daily tasks are. It should also be trackable, so that you can be fully aware of your performance, and what you should be doing better.

  • Prioritise your days

Each morning, you need to prioritise your tasks for the day. Be realistic with your pace and with how many tasks you think you’re going to get to. Within saying this, you need to prioritise properly. Learn how to allocate your time according to urgent and least urgent so that you can make a concerted effort to work on tasks that play a bigger role. At the end of the day, having an organised and structured approach to your day will make you feel more focused on achieving your goals.

  • Learn to delegate

People who enjoy being independent and doing everything themselves will understand how difficult it is to delegate their work to other members of the team. If this sounds like you, you need to make an effort to pick up this skill and learn to be okay with passing work on to others for your own personal state of mind. It’s not always ideal having to delegate your work, especially when you want to finish something yourself, but if everyone has to rely on you all the time you’re going to have a breakdown. The problem with doing everything yourself is that one day an issue is going to arise which is going to set you back, so rather accept assistance and focus on completing what you can to the best of your ability.

Final words

As a result, there are so many different ways to be more productive in the workplace. As they say, time is money, and it’s important to take control of your time and maximise your days to their full potential. Once you’ve set your mind to something, it’s up to you to achieve it. 

Network security measures your business should consider

With cyber security becoming such a growing concern for digital organisations, it’s essential for new businesses to understand that physical security is the foundation of a private and protected data security system. Network components have to be protected on a physical level by means of a sophisticated

control and server room. If you’re a company which relies heavily on your network to operate your business, you will need to implement the following security measures to keep your network safe at all times.

Lock up the server room

Having a control room in your organisation can help you to control and monitor all network systems from one connected room. Most small businesses haven’t always got the money to employ security staff that can watch your equipment throughout the night, therefore management will need to lock down the servers before they leave. Once you’ve done this, ensure that you have good, secure locks on your doors. Anytime the room is not being occupied, it needs to be locked with a keycode for best protection. If someone who isn’t supposed to be accessing your control room does, they will have physical access to the servers, switches, routers, cables and other devices in the room, which could be detrimental to your business.

Set up video surveillance

Once you’ve secured your room, you will need to consider CCTV video surveillance for your control room equipment list so that management can view what is happening in the server room at all times. The room’s security needs to be efficient in the sense that it cannot simply be a standard door lock which opens and closes the door to the room. If you install an authentication system along with your surveillance, you will be able to set up a biometrics scan system to unlock the doors to the control room. This way, senior employees will be able to monitor who goes in and out, so that if anything were to go wrong, they would be able to track it.

Locate your surveillance camera in a place that few people know about, and make sure it’s high enough to not be tampered with. This system can be connected to mobile or email. If a movement is detected or entrance is bypassed by someone who does not have access, management will pick it up immediately and someone will be able to attend to the situation. Ideally, over time it would be best to employ a team of control room staff who can physically monitor the room and premises at all times.

Make sure the most vulnerable devices are in that locked room

Make a habit of storing your most valuable, portable assets in your control room or safely in another locked-up room the minute you leave the office. People who are interested in breaking into your offices will find a way to do so. Be it for hacking purposes or simply to steal valuable items, malicious individuals will always find a way. But if you lock up your most valuable assets in a securely monitored room, the chances of them getting in without being noticed or caught are minimal. Also, try and put together a strategy for data capturing. The minute a hacker breaks into your offices and uses a sniffer software to capture your information, they will be able to access and download all your private business files.

Don’t forget to secure your workstations

As much as it’s important to lock up your valuable assets in or outside your control room, the same goes for your employees’ workstations. Make sure they’re aware of the consequences of a cyber attack and ensure they disconnect to the network every night. Hackers who manage to break into your business can make use of an unsecured computer that is connected to your network to access your important information.

If you have computers in the office that aren’t being used, be sure to disconnect them and lock the doors of empty offices to avoid unfortunate events from happening. It would also be beneficial for you to tweak your computer systems so that they require a biometric or card reader to access over a password. Passwords can always be hacked, so you need to make it impossible for unwanted guests to log onto your server.

Pack away the backups

Backup information often gets left around the office by workers themselves, and little do they know that they’re essential for disaster recovery. If possible, try and keep your backup technology in the control room, only allowing specific individuals to access the information on behalf of the business. And, if you don’t want employees to copy any company information for their own personal use, disable all floppy drives, USB ports and any other means that could be used to connect external drives to their computers.

Protect your printers

It might sound odd, but printers are a huge security risk for companies. Modern-day printers memorise and store documents for future use, so if hackers decide to steal a printer, they will be able to access that information with ease. Make sure your printers cannot be accessed by all employees, and ensure that they are locked away in safe rooms. It’s also important to have a policy in place where any extra documents get shredded. That means that there will be no information lurking around in backup articles.

Final words

Business security starts by the physical systems you put into place. Hackers and thieves are incredibly intelligent when it comes to breaking in and achieving what they want. In fact, all the firewalls in the world won’t stop an intruder. But physical access will. Keep your business on lock-down the minute you leave.

How to increase the value of your business

When business owners start talking about increasing the value of their business, it’s usually with the intention to sell. But there are also other reasons that businesses start investing in their value. Equity value, financing and to monitor the growth of a company are a few other reasons why businesses do a business valuation.  

As a business owner, you know the personal value of your company to you and it’s in your best interest to do what needs to be done to make your business even more valuable. With shareholders involved and invested in your company, they need you to keep giving them reasons to stay invested. Hence, increasing the value of your business can only benefit you and everyone involved.

Website

An easy place to start building value is through your company’s website. Your website is a portal of first impressions that the public has with your company, so it’s important to keep it fresh, updated and relevant.

Your website should communicate who you are, what you do, what you stand for, why you’re the best, how to get in touch and how you can help the user visiting your site. And, on top of having a comprehensive and informative website, you need to invest in the right marketing campaigns to promote the relevance your website has above the competition.

Technology

Technology will not only make running certain processes in your business easier, but it will increase the value of your business. More and more companies are moving towards automated systems and integrations throughout the office, and to complete work tasks as a more reliable and modern system of operation.

Businesses that aren’t afraid of technology will be more appealing to buyers or shareholders as they are more relevant in an adapting society than those which are stuck in the traditional methods of doing things. At the end of the day, it’s about efficiency in the mundane tasks that allows for more focus and growth in the hands-on areas of business.

Office systems

Take a moment and think about the process that happens when a new employee joins the team and starts working in the office. Are there any systems in place? What is the procedure that takes them through meeting everyone, learning where the different sections of the office are, understanding how to work the coffee machine, undergoing some sort of company orientation, or explaining what the internal software and communication platforms are?

This is just one area of business that requires an office system that everyone is aware of, but the importance is that there are procedures in place and an order to every interaction that happens both within the company and externally from the company to outside business. Systems are organised processes that are in place for many reasons, liability and quality service being two of them. And the smoother your office systems are, the more valuable your business can be.

Documentation goes hand-in-hand with office systems and is also one way to increase the value of a business. It speaks organisation and effort by maintaining smooth procedures to keep the company efficient. And if you were ever wanting to sell your business, having the documents regarding your corporate finance, for example, will be able to show buyers the monetary value that has gone into the business and add to what it’s actually worth.

Customer feedback

If you’re confident in your product or service provision, then you’ll be happy to ask your customers for their feedback and start documenting those as well. It’s one thing to have surges in your sales and profit, but it’s another thing to know if your customers are actually happy with their product. And don’t underestimate the value of happy customers.

It’s about monitoring customer growth and satisfaction by keeping track of the active number of customers, the sales and number of repeat sales per customer, and then their satisfaction feedback. These statistics are proof that what you’re doing is working and that there is value in your business.

Monitoring your recurring revenue is a great way to see how valuable your business is in the eyes of your customers and knowing where that monthly revenue comes in from should encourage you to grow that relationship and promote more of that type of business.

Employee morale

Your customers are important, but your employees are just as important (if not slightly more important), so if you want to boost the value of the company, you need to take care of your people. Keeping employee morale high means the company’s overall productivity and performance will also be high. Both of which play a role in increasing the value of the company.

Just as you monitor your customer satisfaction, you need to do the same for your employees and see where there’s room for improvement and where there needs to be rewards. When it comes to valuations for your business, they will be looking at employee turnover rates and length of employment, so you want to promote an employee-focussed culture in the business.

It may take time, money and effort to increase the value of your business, but it will be well worth it all.

Ways to provide security for your business

 

There are many obstacles your business could be facing, such as unsatisfied customers, changing markets and trends, and uncertainty about the future. And unfortunately, crime also remains a major concern for many businesses. Nowadays technology has made it easier for cybercriminals to hack into business accounts and steal from them. Businesses need to take precaution and find techniques that’ll protect them. Here are some ideas on how to protect your business.   

Security cameras

You need to have surveillance cameras with night vision set in place outside and inside your business. If your business has a security camera, it’ll deter any perpetrators. Criminals hate having an audience and they usually scout an area first before they break in. If they see a camera, they’re more likely to be deterred.

Some criminals don’t realise there are cameras and every act is captured. This footage is crucial because it serves as evidence in court.  When businesses have surveillance cameras installed in their buildings, it can help police solve the case. The police are able to identify the perpetrator by watching the videos. And they can extract other crucial evidence, such as the vehicle they were using, and the case can be solved quickly.

Security guard

Having a security guard on your premises is important because they’re the eyes and ears of the company. Security guards know the ins and outs of a building and they’ll be able to provide proper security. You just need to make sure you screen them before you allow them to guard your business.

You need to make sure they have no criminal record and are actually fit and healthy for the job. For example, if they have poor eyesight, it could be a hindrance because they’ll need to be able to see far at night. They also need to be fit as they may find themselves climbing over walls and bushes to catch the criminals. They’ll also be standing for long periods of time and need to walk around to survey the place. If they’re unfit, they may get tired quickly.

Even if you have man traps and cameras securing your business, security guards still play a vital role in protecting your business.

Alarm systems

A key way to protect your business is by installing an alarm system that’ll catch criminals off guard. It’s helpful because, even if there’s no one in your building, it’ll still be protected.

If you have signage outside warning criminals that there’s an alarm system, they could be deterred because they may feel it’s time-consuming to deactivate the system.

Let there be light

Criminals love a secluded, dark area and that’s why adequate lighting is essential to deter any criminals. You should install motion-activated flood lights which will be able to detect a human body passing by and then the detector will sound the alarm.   

Adequate lighting will also help your security guard be able to see any suspicious activity clearly.

Screen your employees

It’s not enough to just interview your employees, it’s important that you screen them as well. You need to make sure they have no criminal record.

If they do have a criminal background, they may steal from you because they’ll have inside information into how your business is run.

Shred your documents

Identity theft is a huge problem for businesses and customers. That’s why you have to shred documents because they may carry important information that criminals are seeking. If the documents have confidential information, such as identity numbers, bank account details, credit card information, addresses and phone numbers, they should be shredded.  

If you feel that it’ll be time-consuming, there are professional businesses that shred documents.

Safe

If you can’t shred some of your documents, then you should purchase a safe so you can store them for future use.

Protect your business from shoplifting

Shoplifting could cause your business to operate at a loss. Door scanners, cameras and security guards can protect your business from shoplifters. You can also minimise theft by keeping expensive items locked away in cabinets and check customer bags when they leave the store.

Another way to deter criminals is to place anti-theft signs around your shop, where they’ll be clearly visible to perpetrators. They could let the criminal know that if they’re caught, they’ll be persecuted. Research shows that if the signage has eyes in the design, it’ll dissuade the criminal.

 

Pros and cons of studying online

People come up with dozens of excuses as to why they can’t study further. They may have too many things going on and feel they don’t have the time. Or it could be they don’t have enough money. Well, studying online could be the perfect solution as it makes it easier for you to study while holding down a job.

Studying further can help you enhance your skills, better your chances of career growth and bring you closer to getting your dream job. In general, it will help you achieve your goals in less time. But it’s not easy, especially when you’re working to support yourself. Which is why you may be considering studying online.

The thing is, studying online has both its pros and cons and you should consider them carefully before you enrol.

Pros
Flexibility
Studying online provides many benefits and makes life easier for a working professional.You won’t have to deal with being late for classes because you’re stuck in traffic after work. Some lecturers at university penalise you for missing classes, resulting in you not being able to write your exam. If you study online you get to be flexible with your time. If you’re working part-time, it’ll make life more convenient for you because you won’t have to drive straight from work and rush off to class. You can do the work in your own time.  

Versatility
Working and studying simultaneously can be extremely taxing. Both require you to invest a lot of your time. If you’re working, you may not have the time to attend classes. Online studying provides the tools for you to continue working and still pass your modules. Your work doesn’t have to suffer because you can study how and when it suits you. Online studying caters for working professionals and allows you to set your own learning times and be versatile with your schedule.

Cheaper
Online studying is much cheaper than enrolling in a traditional university. As a working professional, you might have a lot of expenses already. You may have bills stacked up that have to be paid, such as rent, petrol and groceries. And online studying will benefit you greatly because you’ll have the opportunity to study but at a much more affordable rate.

Limitless
You’ll have the option of studying wherever you want because all you need is the internet and a computer. You can study in the library, on the train or – if you don’t feel like being indoors – you can just go outside with your laptop and work in the garden. You’ll have the freedom to study in the manner that suits you best.

Convenience
You can study online while still in your gown, with a bowl of cereal next to you. You aren’t restricted to a classroom.

Variety of courses
There are many online courses to choose from. You can study online sales and marketing courses, finance, project management, the list is endless.

Cons

Deadlines
If you are juggling a lot in your life at one time, then you might find it hard to meet deadlines. Studying online takes a lot of discipline and willpower. And if you mix that up with the demands of work, you might find yourself overwhelmed. It can be hard to juggle both working and studying. You need to plan everything you have to do and be organised at all times. A set schedule will help you become more organised and help you stay on top of things.

Less personal
In class there are usually discussions where everyone can participate and put up their hands to either ask questions or contribute. Talking about a topic in more detail usually helps you understand it better. With online studying, there is a lack of face-to-face interaction, which could be challenging.
When you’re studying in the traditional way, you get to interact with your peers and tutors on a daily basis. And the interaction can help you tremendously because you’ll have the opportunity to solve problems with your peers, swap past papers and get extra information from them..  

The goal might be to advance your career and take it to new dimensions.
Studying online has made life easier for many working professionals. You get the best of both worlds – the ability to make a living but still study at the same time. You get to study where it best suits you and when.

But studying and working aren’t for the fainthearted, you may have to say goodbye to your social life for a little while. And learn to be very disciplined. You could end up feeling overworked so you need to learn to balance everything you do and make sure that you are able to manage your time. But the sacrifices will be worth it in the end.