Editorial

By August 26, 2014 Read More →

4 Simple Steps to a More Ergonomically Friendly Workplace

shutterstock_182853062Back pain and other related symptoms are among the top 10 reasons workers visit a physician, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many cases, this pain is a direct result of how we hold ourselves at our work stations. Referred to as ergonomic injuries, these typically include symptoms like discomfort or pain in the back, neck or shoulders; pain in the wrists or other parts of the body, tingling or numbness in the fingers or hands, and swelling and joint stiffness.

As the University of California Riverside notes, these often-painful symptoms are the direct result of what are called ergonomic risk factors. These include things like sitting for a long time in an uncomfortable posture, straining the body, repetitive use of one part of the body, contact pressure, and exposure to vibration.

Fortunately, there are steps that business owners can take to help make the workplace as ergonomically friendly as possible. The following tips can help create a comfortable working environment that allows for maximum productivity along with a minimum of injuries:

1. Make sure arms are well-supported

If your employees spend a lot of time in front of computers or sitting at a desk, it’s imperative that their arms are well-supported during the day. As Ergo-Plus notes, workers whose arms do not have some type of support under them—for example, an arm rest on a chair—will typically have sore and tired shoulders and necks by quitting time. Solutions include supportive office chairs that offer sturdy arm support like the Endeavour 103A office chair from Wayfair.

2. Adjust the position of computer monitors and keyboards

As Humantech notes, the way computer monitors are positioned on a desk has a big impact on ergonomics. Ask your employees to adjust their monitors so that the top of the screen is slightly under or right at eye level. In addition, make sure that the monitor is more than an arm’s length away from the employee’s face. In order to keep the arms as horizontal as possible, work with your employees to adjust the height of their keyboards so their elbows remain at about a 90 degree angle when they are working. If the keyboards are usually placed on the desk, consider investing in adjustable trays that mount underneath.

3. Encourage frequent breaks

In order to decrease the risk of ergonomic-related injuries, make sure your employees are taking breaks from any repetitive activities. For example, if your workers typically spend a lot of time doing data entry, vary their responsibilities so they can also incorporate other tasks like making copies, calling clients, and other jobs that will get them away from repetitive motion. Although there is no cut and dry rule for this, getting away from the computer every hour for five minutes is a good place to start.

4. Watch employees’ posture

A great way to reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries is to make sure your employees are practicing good posture throughout the day. Ask your employees to sit or stand as close to their desk or workstation as they can; this will reduce the chances of slouching or leaning too far forward. In addition, if your employees are on the phone often, purchase devices that allow your employees to keep their head upright while talking. Holding a phone between your neck and ear is not only uncomfortable, it can easily lead to neck pain.

Posted in: Editorial
By August 8, 2014 Read More →

Features your Free Business Email is Sorely Missing

8373031051_04ea3f7b90_zThere are a number of free email providers out there, and many are used by the general public. While they may be good enough for tiny businesses and for personal use, emails can be a very important part of the office day – and just choosing the free options means your business could be losing out on some key perks.

While Google and Microsoft might offer free emails, the fact is that they aren’t secure or efficient enough to use in business. Here are some key paid email features that are worth considering when choosing a business email provider.

 

Massive Archiving Space

At some point, your normal in-box will get full and you’ll get a message prompting you to delete some messages. That’s all very well, but when you run a business, you need a record of every email in case of something going wrong and an audit being required.

Cloud storage email management providers can give you masses of space to store old emails, and give you the option to dig up whichever old ones you need whenever you need them.

Security

Standard email providers are not low in security, but your company may need something much more effective. Email encryption can stop hackers from finding out the details about your accounts, for example, by rendering information unreadable to unauthorised users.

In addition, heightened protection from spam and malware is essential – and that’s not something that free business emails are often party to.

Support

In the instance of email complications (such as lost emails, or technical issues), or if you or your employees are unsure how to make necessary changes to the functions of your email accounts, you can easily get support and help from free email providers.

If any connectivity issues come up or there’s any kind of malware or missing emails, paid email providers often have a dedicated support line to help you sort out the problem quickly and easily.

 

Risk Reduction

As a business moves and evolves, management of data can become difficult. Business Email Management from Mimecast can streamline this process, by implementing email security, DLP and retention policies to new employees after mergers and acquisitions.

When the tricky process of server upgrades is required, email management systems can secure data migration. In addition, this security continues even when your business server fails.

Email management systems will also include anti-spam, anti-virus, data leak prevention and full encryption services.

Tackling Spam

While standard free emails have a relatively good spam filter, they aren’t geared towards protecting business email in-boxes from spam. Depending on the nature of your business, your employees could get hundreds of spam emails a day – such as marketing emails – and they can cause serious problems when they clog up in-boxes.

Shelling out a little bit more for spam protection is essential. Keeping the network secure, anti-spam and anti-malware protection can give you freedom from spam emails and dangerous email attachments.

Posted in: Editorial
By August 7, 2014 Read More →

3 Recruiting Tech Tools for Strategic Hiring

shutterstock_187011389Recruiting expert Dr. John Sullivan warns recruiters and hiring managers that as the economy improves, they will quickly be faced with new recruiting challenges. Some of those challenges include intense competition in recruiting, corporate growth that overloads current recruiting systems, out-of-date recruiting strategies, rusty hiring managers and recruiters, the wrong recruiting metrics, and lack of recruiting resources.

The recruiting process traditionally involves many steps and time-consuming processes. With the rise of social media and mobile technology, recruiters who designate time out of their schedule to hire will get to the top candidates before the competition. Companies must make strategic recruiting a priority to compete for the top talent they need, and recruiting technology can help make that happen.

Jobvite

Jobvite is an innovative recruiting platform that includes applicant tracking, recruiter candidate relationship management, and social recruiting modules. It enables recruiters and hiring managers solicit referrals, improve the speed and quality of hiring, provide a positive candidate experience, and reduce recruiting costs.

Jobvite’s modules are Refer, Engage, and Hire, designed for employee referrals, candidate relationship management, and a total staffing solution. Refer lets employers automate the employee referral process with tools to encourage and measure social recruiting, including real-time metrics and reporting, plus ATS integration so employers can use Jobvite Refer within their existing systems.

InsightSquared

InsightSquared is a sales forecasting tool that helps sales managers and business owners use their sales data to analyse and drive sales staff performance. They can use it to identify strong and weak performers and the areas they can improve. This is valuable in workforce management, giving companies the data they need to plan for training or getting rid of poor performers.

InsightSquared’s other features include dashboards and scorecards that make access to valuable data fast and easy, call data integration so sales managers can analyse sales calls by employee, and goal tracker.

iCIMS

iCIMS is an easy to use talent acquisition software that provides a comprehensive cradle to grave recruiting solution, all the way through onboarding, with social media integration and automated reporting.

iCIMS three suites consist of Recruit, Connect, and Onboard. Recruit is a social applicant tracking system that enables recruiters and hiring managers to cut time out of the recruiting process and quickly find and recruit top talent. It includes mobile-optimised career portals, unlimited job posting, employee referral programs, and EEO compliance tools to streamline applicant tracking, provide easy ways for candidates to apply online, and circulate job postings throughout the web to expand posting reach.

Connect is a tool to build a qualified candidate pool and keep candidates engaged until hire. It includes effective marketing processes that incorporate videos and social networking groups to help improve candidate experience and employment branding. Employers that stay connected to a managed pool of engaged passive candidates always stay ahead of recruiting needs.

Onboard is a total recruiting solution that incorporates social distribution, expanded job board posting, branded career micro-sites, video screening capabilities, and automated I9 forms and E-Verify processing.

Posted in: Editorial
By August 6, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy S5 Video Comparison

S5 ArtyThe Samsung Galaxy S5 has been out for a little while now and has met with some of the more mixed feedback we have seen for a flagship smartphone. There is always a battle of the camera and in a series of videos we hope to help you make your own mind up on which device has the best video quality for your needs.

Test video quality isn’t an easy thing, there are many factors to deal with, just as still shots. I find the best test is a dashboard mount as over a few minutes the camera will have to pull focus multiple times, deal with an extreme variety of light conditions and constant movement, not to mention shakes. In addition the microphone’s performance will also be put to the test with the constant background noise, whilst balancing vocal input.

The following are the Samsung Galaxy S5′s attempt to deal with a quick journey through my home town in my 3.0 litre pick-up truck on the four different settings available.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Ultra HD setting:

Samsung Galaxy S5 Full HD setting:

Samsung Galaxy S5 HD setting:

Samsung Galaxy S5 VGA setting:

By July 30, 2014 Read More →

Access Blocked TV Content from Outside the UK with Hotspot Shield

hotspot-shield-11-700x462Bypass firewalls and online censorship with Hotspot Shield, and access your favorite television content from outside the UK today.

With some of the best athletes in the world competing for the World Cup title during the past month, many soccer fans around the world were looking for ways to stay up to date on the FIFA coverage while traveling or living abroad, where UK television channels and players like BBC iPlayer and UK TV are not always readily available. Fortunately, with Hotspot Shield, the world’s most trusted VPN (Virtual Private Network) service, you can unblock any website and get instant access to your favorite UK sites from abroad. To learn more about switching your IP address location and accessing television content from outside the UK, visit the official Hotspot Shield website and download your free trial today.

Online Players Rising Above Cable TV

With more and more people ditching cable TV and turning to the internet to watch their favorite television content, online players like BBC iPlayer are becoming increasingly popular among users not just in the UK, but around the world. Unfortunately, because of firewalls and censorship laws in some areas, non-UK users frequently encounter the issue of geo-blocked content when trying to access popular sites like ITV and UK TV from the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other countries. This means that people with IP addresses located outside the UK may not be able to access the same websites and online content they would normally have access to from inside the UK. By selecting an IP address from one of Hotspot Shield’s international server locations, you can bypass online censorship and unblock websites in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Western Europe, or anywhere else in the world, simply by changing your virtual location.

Watch World Cup Games Live Online

All of the FIFA World Cup games were broadcast online this year by BBC iPlayer, ITV and UK TV, with English-speaking commentators, but users in other countries were not able to access UK content without the help of a VPN service like Hotspot Shield. For users in the United States, ESPN also broadcast the games live online, but the content was only available to those who subscribe to popular cable providers like Comcast XFINITY. By downloading Hotspot Shield today, you can change your IP address location to the UK and instantly unblock your favorite online player, getting immediate access to your favorite television shows and worldwide events, like the World Cup.

Download Hotspot Shield Today (available on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS)

In addition to unblocking UK sites from abroad, Hotspot Shield also allows you to browse the Internet anonymously and protects your personal data from online snoopers. When you use public WiFi connections, you run the risk of internet service providers (ISPs) or malicious hackers accessing your personal information and recording your browsing sessions and private exchanges. With the help of Hotspot Shield, you can select an IP address from one of our international server locations, anonymize your online activity, and continue to enjoy familiar content online, regardless of where you are in the world. If you frequently travel abroad or currently live outside the UK, download Hotspot Shield and start watching your favorite online television content today.

By July 20, 2014 Read More →

The Energy Challenge Unboxing

Image2Gareth has unboxed an efergy Elite Classic Energy Monitor Set for a challenge set by Moneysupermarket.com. Over the next month Gareth will be monitoring this electricity consumption and attempting to make a saving by comparing his results online.

In this video Gareth opens up the Elite Classic 3.0 In-Home Energy Monitor and one of two EMS 2.0 In-Home Energy Monitors. With these devices Gareth hopes to get a handle on his energy consumption, and perhaps identify a better tariff. To compliment the challenge we will be linking to content with some tips for consumers on the MoneySuperMarket.com website.

Energy comsumption is something that is always at the back of our minds. We hear stories of how leaving your TV on standby contributes a little extra to your energy bill over the course of the month. I am just a guilty as the next man for thinking that it cannot be that much and the hassle of actually turning it off at the wall is more than worth the cost. When Moneysupermarket.com contacted me with the opportunity of actually seeing the impact these little indecresions had on my electricity bill I had to admit it might be time well spent.

An important factor is that I do not come under the standard “Big Six” on the mainland. England has a dizzying variety of energy providers and all I hear is horror stories of tariffs, confusion and contracts. Here is cosy Northern Ireland we have the “Big Two,” Power NI and Airtricity. At the moment I believe these companies offer only one tariff each and what you see is what you get. Over the next month I will investigate the options, tariffs and prices available and when the results of the study are revealed I may be asking some very simple questions to those companies about the findings.

By July 18, 2014 Read More →

Could this be the coolest TV screen ever?

From HD resolutions to curved screens, the TV game is always changing. LG has recently announced the latest ground-breaking development in the market, which takes the form of rollable TVs, as the BBC reports.

Taking how we tune in to the next level, the paper-thin televisions are so slight they can be rolled into a 3cm-diameter tube. And the company is not stopping there: LG is hoping to produce a huge 60in rollable TV by 2017.

This new development means that the humble gogglebox can be used in ways like never before. In honour of this, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the coolest TVs to ever have graced our planet.

Projector screens

Watching sport simply wouldn’t be the same without the trusty projector screen that takes pride of place in your local bar. In fact, recent times have seen them creep into our homes too, as telly addicts swap the small screen for a significantly larger one.

Previously, projectors and screens were costly to buy. Nowadays, you can pick up a quality projector from brands like Epson for around £250. Throw in a £56 projector screen from Rapid, and this option becomes incredibly affordable.

Piccadilly Circus

It would be difficult to install the next screen on our list in your home, but it definitely deserves a place in our run down. Piccadilly Lights, found near London’s Piccadilly underground station, is one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

Back in 2013, the advertising platform was brought into the 21st century with the installation of a new 24.6m by 4.8m SMD LED screen. Boasting 774,144 pixels, the screen is certainly a sight to behold — often by some 71,760,000 pedestrians a year.          

By July 9, 2014 Read More →

Enhancing security in the workplace

swipeFilled with important information and personal details, the last thing you want is unauthorised personnel gaining access to your workplace. Here are a few ways you can enhance security to ensure your premises is safe.

 

Restrict access to a building

You face a tough challenge monitoring who is entering a workplace if you make it possible for anybody to enter as and when they please.

Install a safety mechanism onto your entrances so that admission is only permitted when people either insert the correct code or show an access card. This way, visitors will need to speak with an employee or employer before they are granted access.

 

Have only one entrance for visitors

While it may be convenient to have multiple entrances when you employ hundreds or thousands of staff members, it’s not always necessary to make these accessible to visitors too.

Pick an easy-to-find entrance around your building — perhaps one facing out onto a main street or where there are no steps to climb — and then put up signs on every other door guiding visitors to the correct point of entry.

If you have the space and resources, go a step further by creating a reception area at this entrance. That way, someone will always be on hand to welcome guests and determine why they are visiting your offices.

 

Use visitor badges

Once you have determined that someone is permitted to be in your workplace, provide them with a visitor badge that is to be worn throughout the duration of their appointment.

This piece of equipment will instantly distinguish visitors from staff members and are great for informing employees about who someone is and where they work — no need for someone to introduce themselves over and over again!

Do you receive a number of visitors on a daily basis? Invest in a top-quality ID card printer from a specialist brand like Kalamazoo Direct and you can save yourself the hassle of having to outsource visitor badges every time a new client arranges a meeting at your workplace.

 

Keep crucial information out of sight

No matter how much you try to enhance security around your workplace, you are asking for trouble if you leave sensitive documents in clear sight.

Encourage members of staff to put important information in a locked cabinet once they have finished using it or when they have to leave their desks for a meeting.

On a similar note, employees who use computers should be told that their computer should be locked if they are away from the device for a sustained period of time.

 

Posted in: Editorial
By July 8, 2014 Read More →

4 Ways to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home

Salesman working from home and talking on phoneThat traffic jam last week is what finally pushed you over the edge—your normally long commute of 30 minutes grew to two hours as you tried to get home from work. Although you like your job and your co-workers and your boss, lately you have found yourself dreaming of working from home—and that endless commute convinced you to set up a time to speak with your supervisor about doing just that.

The following tips can help you show your boss how and why working from home will be a great option:

Arm Yourself With Statistics

Before you go in to speak with your supervisor, you might want to print out some articles that show how employees who telecommute are more productive. For example, this digital article from Inc. Magazine notes that employers save an average of $11,000 per year if an employee telecommutes half the time. And, in case your boss questions if you would be putting in the required number of hours from home, assure him or her that telecommuters are almost two times as likely to work even more than they are required.

Have the Right Equipment

In order to successfully work from home, you’ll need the right tools and equipment as well as a home office that is amenable to getting a lot of work done. Before speaking with your supervisor, take some photos of your home office, and make sure that you have—or can easily get—the right equipment that is needed to telecommute. For example, most bosses will want you to have a decent computer, a reliable printer, great cell phone reception and secure access to any remote files.

If you are not already on the cloud at home, you may want to research cloud-based storage options that will prove to your boss that you can easily share documents and files with him or her and your co-workers. If you are confused about cloud storage, a website like Top 10 Cloud Storage does a great job of offering tips and advice about which cloud-based systems are best suited to your needs.

Explain Your Reasons

As Skip the Drive notes, your boss will probably want to know why you want to work from home. Prepare for this question ahead of time, and come up with serious and compelling reasons of why you want to telecommute. Instead of saying things like “I am so seriously tired of the office dress code, and at home I can dress the way I want to”—which will probably get you sent back to your cubicle in a matter of seconds—calmly and confidently explain how you will be more productive in a quiet home-based office, how your long commute is really draining or how you feel you could get more done without the distractions of co-workers.

Be Willing to Compromise

When speaking with your boss about working from home, offer compromises. Suggest that you give it a try two days a week, and take it from there. Or, if you feel super strongly about telecommuting and your boss seems to be less-than-thrilled about the idea, offer to take a small pay cut. Showing that you are willing to bend and work with your supervisor may help to convince him or her to give telecommuting a try.

Posted in: Editorial
By July 6, 2014 Read More →

Barclays introduce talking cash machines

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is something we all are now taking for granted, a convenience we know and enjoy however for some the ability to pay for an item is not as easy as swiping a card and and entering easy to remember 4 digit number. Forget about having the funds available, we take for granted the simplest of abilities when standing at a checkout in the supermarket, vision. For 20 years my Father-In-Law has had to deal with macular degeneration, a condition whereby he cannot see anything only in his peripheral vision. Financials have always been a pain for him. Reading a statement, available balances and handling international money transfers have been problematic. There has rarely been a level of support for a person in his position short of making the journey to the bank and dealing with staff face to face.

Barclays look to be paving the way as the first high street bank to introduce an audio feature to cash machines. Obviously, this does not shout your available balance for everyone to hear, instead a customer can plug in an earphone to listen to the instructions that are appearing on-screen. A helping hand for those who wish to make use of the convenience. A long over due first step to helping those who have long been without assistance.

  • Digital Eagles  – Giving practical advice in Barclays Branches around the UK, to help build the knowledge and confidence when using technology
  • Online Guides – Easy to understand online guides on a wide range of computer topics including setting up email accounts and using online and mobile banking, amongst many others!
  • Accessibility Developments  – Covers Talking ATMs, personalised debit cards, contactless payments   

Locate your nearest machine with their online branch locator.

  1. Visit the branch locator on the website.
  2. Enter your town or postcode.
  3. Under ‘Where’s my nearest…?’ select ‘Barclays cash machine’.
  4. Tick the box marked ‘Internal cash machine with audio’ or ‘External cash machine with audio’ (or both) and hit ‘Search’. 

Non-Barclays customers can also use the audio cash machines, found at branches across England and Wales and at selected Asda supermarkets.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Tell your friends and family that this technology is available, Barclays are providing over 7000 “Digital Eagles” to help with any concerns and making it easier for anyone, visually impaired, or perhaps suffering from dyslexia or learning disabilities to use cash machines and online banking .

Posted in: Editorial
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