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Updating the office

Posted on 19 December 2017 by sam

Studies suggest that a well-designed office can increase employee productivity and company earnings. Transform your office space into a place where you and your fellow employees feel welcomed, at home, and within reach of any resources you need to accomplish your best work.

Software

With any business, it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the technology that allows your company to provide your strongest service or product. Do research into the top software management systems for your business sector. Be sure to spend the time working with experts on installing these programs and getting them going. In the Digital Age, having top-of-the-line software, especially within tertiary industry, is essential for any competitive business. In addition to updating all office computers with essential word processors, databases, and web browsers, make certain that all employees have access the specific programs your company uses–and that they know how to work those programs.

Electric and air

Inside the office, it’s important that everything’s functioning correctly. Are all electrical systems up-to-date, and do you have a go-to repair team? This may be the ideal time to redesign your whole system for better efficiency and function–especially if you have a business that relies heavily upon a power source! Updating the office is also prime time to check out air quality. If you have any major sources of air pollution around, such as asbestos, gas stoves, or carbon monoxide, do your best to remove the source. If you can’t do that, take a look at ventilation systems. When it’s warmer outside, opening the windows and doors to allow fresh air and light in is the optimal choice! Consider air filtration systems or cleaners, as well as ventilation systems that have filters. The best cleaners will have high circulation rates and efficient collectors and filters, which catch particles in the air.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing certain tasks is a great strategy for small or new businesses looking to save time and money.Outsourcing will help you focus your limited time on what you’re passionate about with your business. One of the first tasks any expert recommends outsourcing is infrastructure. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the top way to manage what can be a highly complicated system. Infrastructure requires costly and expert equipment, setup, and maintenance. And outsourced IaaS owns the equipment, runs it, and troubleshoots it, so that you and your team can focus on the product, rather than on maintaining a complicated system. Outsourcing IaaS could save you millions of dollars.

You might also consider cloud hosting. The cloud allows a company to access all information from any place, but it can be expensive to do in-house, and the technology has to be constantly updated. Hiring an outside cloud host can help you store all your information and save you time and money since you don’t have to buy equipment or your own servers Other third-parties help you utilize your own equipment in their facilities.

Yes, That IS a Job You Can Have

Posted on 15 December 2017 by sam

Sometimes we hear successful people in the arts say something like, “I had no idea I could actually get a job as an actor!” They’re not the only ones. There are plenty of people out there who have hobbies and passions that they never consider as a possible career–because they don’t know that these hobbies and passions can be careers. There’s a whole job market out there beyond marketing, accounting, retail, etc.

Whether you’re about to be in college, or you are someone looking for a career change, consider the fact that you can get training and work in just about any area. So take a long and hard look at what you love most. Go for it. The opportunities are out there.

If you like reading, art, history

The humanities and liberal arts are a rewarding field to go into. They don’t always pay the most, but there are plenty of stable careers out there. Liberal arts colleges offer areas of study such as history, literature, creative writing, and philosophy. These are great baseline majors for people wanting to go into editing, teaching (at any level), and even law. You may need to go on to get a master’s degree in these areas to forward your career. If you already have an undergraduate degree, consider getting a graduate degree in a liberal arts field. You may only need to take one or two prerequisites to be ready to take on something you love. Additionally, if you have proficiency in a foreign language, look into a career as a translator or interpreter–who knows, you could end up working for the UN!

If you’re more interested in the fine arts, remember, thousands of people are out there pursuing theatre, dance, visual arts, and music. Universities and conservatories offer world-class training in these areas. And there are jobs beyond the “glamorous” ones (which are never actually glamorous). For instance, if you’re organized but love theatre, consider studying stage management or arts administration. Most of the fine arts fields are connected to major unions as well, so once you get really working, you can have reasonable work conditions and benefits.

If you like animals or adventure

There are also tons of careers that will keep you moving at a thrilling pace (although you can definitely have adventures in any of the above careers). If you adore animals, look into studying biology or zoology and aim toward a career working hands-on with animals. There are careers at zoos and even wildlife parks. These jobs can range from solely working and caring for the animals to engaging with both the animals and the people who come to the parks! You don’t have to be a scientist to work at these places, either; lots of them offer tour guide positions for which you just need to be responsible and informed.

If you love travel, there are jobs out there as tourism guides, both stateside and abroad! Luxury travel companies need guides to accompany their tourists. If you are educated about a geographic and cultural area, and if you are organized yet flexible and a fast thinker, you could be a qualified candidate for one of these positions. If you are fluent in another language, you could be a particularly competitive candidate. Just think of it–you could travel to Paris every year and get paid for it!

Of course, all of these jobs require a lot of preparation, education, and hard work. They’re rarely easy or glamorous, but they are fulfilling. The people who pursue these careers are passionate and tenacious. You can be one, too.

Creating a Healthy Business Environment

Posted on 15 December 2017 by sam

The final months of 2017 saw the United States experience a long-overdue reckoning regarding sexual misconduct in the workplace. The dam broke with the allegations of sexual abuse against famed producer Harvey Weinstein. Since then, dozens of other men have been implicated, and a lot of people are wondering who is next. Politicians, businessmen, and even celebrity chefs have been accused of wrongdoing. Good businesses will want to create a healthy environment for their employees. A healthy environment covers a lot more than just the right to not be groped in the break room. It includes things like encouraging your employees to better themselves.

Addressing sexual harassment

Some men have been complaining that they don’t know how to deal with women in light of all these accusations. That’s a bit disingenuous; any man with an ounce of self-awareness knows that there are some things that aren’t kosher in the workplace. You can shake a woman’s hand when you meet her, but you shouldn’t envelop her in a tight hug. A lot of this is common sense stuff. Don’t invade people’s personal spaces without their permission. That being said, now is as good a time as any to remind people of what is and isn’t OK. One way to do this is via sexual harassment preventative courses. Those courses include everything you need to know in one simple and easy-to-digest package. There may be some people who will try to push boundaries of what’s acceptable anyway, but going through the training removes any chance that they can claim plausible deniability. If someone does harass another employee, he or she needs to be dealt with swiftly and promptly. This may not mean the person is fired immediately, but he or she should be told very clearly that such behavior is not acceptable, and that there will be more severe consequences if it continues.

Promoting higher learning

A good boss knows that his or her employees’ lives don’t revolve entirely around the office. A good boss will know that an employee with a sense of balance is more likely to be productive than one who spends sunrise to sunset working inside a cubicle. You can encourage that sense of balance by offering incentives to employees who are interested in seeking more education. There’s a good chance that such education will expand their horizons and help them become better, more productive workers. Is your business figuring out how to accommodate a customer base that is becoming more international? In that case, you should encourage employees to look into obtaining an online international business degree. The economy is becoming more global with each passing year, and there’s no putting that horse back in the barn, regardless of what some politicians might try to tell you. Education is a great way to learn critical thinking skills, and just about every office could use more employees who are good at thinking through things and figuring out solutions to tricky problems. It’s an investment in the future of your company as much as anything else.

West Coast Cool: What’s Happening in Oregon

Posted on 08 December 2017 by sam

Have you ever considered a vacation in the great state of Oregon? As a jewel of the West Coast, Oregon truly has something for everyone. Take off from the metropolitan city of Portland in the morning and you can walk along the Pacific Ocean by the afternoon! If you’re a lucky traveler, bring along a few extra dollars. Gambling is legal in Oregon and offers the finest in gambling entertainment. The culinary scene is quite hot as well. Hip new restaurants offer gourmet food and craft beverages. Whether you’re flying, driving, or even sailing, Oregon is a hit!

If you’re passing through Oregon, make a stop in North Bend. Right on the coast, North Bend is a day’s drive from Portland or Reno. The bustling little village is a traveler’s paradise. Sporting a thriving community, beautiful nature, and a world class casino, Bend showcases some of the best Oregon has to offer. The calm bay waters give way to the salty air of the sea. It truly is an amazing little spot. Spend a night, stop by the casino, and try your luck.

There’s nothing quite like the sound of slot machines spinning mixed with the joyous laughter of a big win! Casinos aren’t places to make money, they’re places that allow you to dream big. If you enjoy the thrill of a roulette wheel or high stakes card games, you’ll have an absolute blast. One awesome perk to visiting a new casino: player rewards. Most all casinos show their appreciation through a player reward system. Signup is free and you can walk out with some great prizes! Learn a new game or play an old favorite. Either way, you’re going to have a great time.

After you’ve enjoyed the salty air of the coast, head up to Portland. If you love a good beer, Portland is the town for you. It seems like everywhere you go now, a new brewery has popped up. Portland is quite fortunate, the beer scene isn’t limited to specific neighborhoods. What would you do if you were a Portland beer distributor? If your answer is “find the best beer in the world!” then you’d be correct! With its close proximity to Canada and Asia, you can find delicious beers from around the globe. With new beers released nearly everyday, the opportunities are nearly endless.

It’s clear to see just how cool Oregon is. If you’re needing a break from the mundane, take a voyage out to the great state of Oregon. No matter your interest, you’ll find something amazing. Have a day at the casino and win big. Take a hike to an amazing waterfall. Watch the sunset with a unique beer. A cruise down the backroads can take you from ocean to forest in just half a day. When you’re in Oregon, you’ll be sure to have great times and make some long lasting friends.

Proper Cable Organization is The Key to Safety and Success

Posted on 08 December 2017 by sam

Picture a mess of confusing cables running in every direction. There’s a blue cable  intersecting with a black one; a green cable disappears as you search for a red one. Trying to find where one cable begins and where another ends is a terrible maze! Tangled and loose cables are not only annoying, they’re a safety hazard as well. Cables on the floor are a trip hazard, cables hanging in the air are even more dangerous. If your business or hobby utilizes a system with multiple cables, keeping them neat and organized is absolutely essential.

Whatever type of cable you’re using–whether fiber optic or mechanical–organization is the key to a safe operation. Here’s an easy solution: House your cables together in a group. While electrical tape or flexible ties can be suitable for some cable types, a perforated metal tube provides the clarity and flexibility to run your operation flawlessly. The ability to see your cables through the housing gives you the ability to make certain each one is functioning properly.

Are you looking for a simple idea to safely organize your mechanical cables? As you know, these types of cables need a bit of leeway when operating. The movement from one input to the other causes the cable to move around, you’ll need to account for this. Simply taping the cables together won’t work. By housing your group in a flexible metal tube, you’ll find peace of mind in safety. Once you’ve completed your organizational setup, consider building custom cables for your newly optimized project.

Tangled cables lead to lost productivity. Time spent re-arranging a mess is time sacrificed in the work day. Need to rearrange your shop? Do you travel with a hobby project? When your cable system is housed together, you increase your productivity.

Imagine a client comes to your shop. Are your cables safely and neatly organized? Do your cables follow a set path? Organized cable systems present a professional and clean look for your business.

Consider the following example: a group of high school seniors consistently travel to robotics competitions. They’ve built a beautiful machine, owing its performance to mechanical cables and high technology. When they travel with their robot, it must be disassembled and rebuilt at each stop. They run their cables through perforated metal tubing, ensuring not only a clean look but a highly functional one as well. When they reach their destination, setup is a breeze. Their success as a team is directly linked to properly organized cables.

A clean and organized look speaks volumes about your endeavor. Don’t ignore the pressing need to keep your cables organized. With a streamlined system, you’ll find that a little time and a small investment in metal tubing will only lead to satisfaction. Don’t let a tangled cable setup steal any of your precious productivity. The solution is simple and clear. When combined, safety and productivity take your business to heights unknown. Keep those cable setups neat and clean. You’ll be glad you did.

When You Need a Specialist

Posted on 07 December 2017 by sam

When it comes to health, most of the time we’re set with a general checkup from a PCP, or Primary Care Physician (or family practice doctor, or general practitioner), who has a solid overall understanding of the various ailments or illnesses patients face. Every now and again, however, we need to turn to a specialist. If you start experiencing symptoms of anything, the best person to turn to first is your PCP; however, the PCP may ultimately decide to refer you to a more specialized doctor. He or she may do this right away, or the PCP may have you try a few preliminary drug or physical therapy treatments first, and then, if the issue doesn’t improve, send you on to a specialist. This doesn’t mean that your PCP is passing the buck. It means that he or she has an idea as to what your problem is but wants to be absolutely sure–and wants you to get the best care possible

Take your doctor’s advice. It could save your life. If your doctor finds a lump on your breast during a yearly pap smear and breast exam (some women choose to go to a gynecologist for these, but PCPs can provide these services as well), he or she will send you directly to a women’s health clinic or service to get diagnostic tests. If it turns out to be cancerous, this specific clinic will either help you begin treatments or move you into a hospital setting that can.

The same is true for vision and dental health as well. While it’s imperative to maintain regular appointments with your eye doctor and dentist, there may be times when you need to see an additional doctor. If your dentist notices that your gums are receding or bleeding excessively, he or she will likely refer you to a periodontic dentist, which is a dentist who focuses on gum health, disease, and surgery. If you decide to get Lasik surgery, it’s unlikely that your optometrist will be able to perform it–but he or she will probably have a specific surgeon to recommend. It’s part of any doctor’s responsibility to let you know when your issue is beyond his or her expertise.

Once you’re established with a specialist, you may need to make recurring appointments and start communicating directly with this new doctor. Some issues, such as seeing a podiatrist after a foot injury, may not require years of visits with that doctor; others, such as rheumatoid arthritis, will require you to have a lifetime commitment with a rheumatologist. Of course, this never means that you should give up on your PCP! There will always be other health concerns that come up (or simply your yearly wellness check-up). Keep your PCP informed of the developments with your specialty doctor. Sometimes these doctors may be within the same medical system, but they aren’t always, so be sure that your records with both doctors are always up-to-date, so that each is aware of your various treatments and medications.

So You Want to Be a Farmer

Posted on 26 November 2017 by sam

So You Want to Be a Farmer

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

A switch to a career in agriculture can be a fulfilling, albeit challenging, change. Farming will open your eyes to food production and give you a newfound appreciation for basics we take for granted. It’s definitely a change you’ll want to consider and plan for for a long time. You may have minimal income, and you will have to do lots of manual labor.

Crops

You’re probably planning on growing some crops, right? Don’t take too much on at once.

Make sure to plan specifically what kinds of crops and how much you want, and be sure you know expert growing techniques. Depending on what size your crop will be, you will want to look at different seed providers and equipment. You might be a rancher who keeps a small patch to simply sustain the household. You might be going for a few large vegetable patches from which you can gather a harvest suitable for a farmer’s market. You might be wanting to go into massive, high-quantity production of a major crop such as corn. Or you may even want to grow something fun and seasonal, like a pumpkin patch that you can open to the public! All these options are worthwhile and fulfilling, but they all take a great deal of planning, preparation, and hard work.    

Structures

There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned barn raising! Of course, putting up a barn today happens a little differently than it did a century-and-a-half ago. As you well know, farming isn’t only about growing the crops and raising the animals. There’s a whole element of infrastructure, and this includes your buildings. Agricultural buildings deal with a lot of wear and tear. If you’re housing animals, you have lives at stake. Whether you’re storing equipment or harvest, or whether you’re housing cattle, horses, or other livestock, you will keep thousands of dollars worth of product in these buildings. It’s essential to invest in buildings and building materials that maximize protection and utility. Use a contractor whom you trust!

Extra help

With a massive undertaking like a farm, it’s definitely okay to get help in the areas you aren’t expert in. For instance, you may want to keep a CPA who knows the ins and outs of finance and farms. You’ll also want a lawyer in the know. This is especially true if you want to farm any plants that might have regulations. If you’re interested in growing cannabis, for instance, you’ll want to make sure you’re complying with all the legal ramifications, many of which are still not quite defined.

As you grow your farm, you may need to hire help. You’ll probably be spending double-digit hours a day working anyhow, and you may, happily, reach a point where the work can’t be done by just one or two people. It’s possible that you will find a ranch hand who is expert in an area that isn’t quite your forte, such as training horses, breeding practices, or operating heavy machinery. Spending a little extra money to maximize your output is going to be a great return on an investment.

When Accidents Happen on Vacation

Posted on 26 November 2017 by sam

When Accidents Happen on Vacation

When we think of accidents happening, most of us probably picture them occurring at home, at work, or somewhere in between the two places. After all, we spend a lot of time working and a lot of time inside our homes, so statistically speaking, accidents are more likely to happen there, right? There’s some truth to that, but unfortunately, accidents can also happen when you’re away on a long-planned vacation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend getaway to Gulf Shores, Alabama, or a two-week long tour of Western Europe. No one is immune to the accident bug striking.

Finding medical treatment

Not every injury will require immediate medical attention, of course. If you cut your finger chopping vegetables for dinner in your beach house, a Band-Aid and some Neosporin may be all you need. But what if something more serious happens? What if you fall down a staircase while touring an art museum, or get hit by a car while crossing a street in San Francisco? You may be more panicked because you’re in a strange place with doctors you don’t know. That’s fair, since most of us would prefer to go see the doctor who has been treating us for years, or at least would prefer to go to an emergency room in our safe, familiar hometown. You may not have that luxury, though. Get to a hospital and get the treatment you need. It’s possible you may have to fight with your insurance company later because of those pesky “out-of-network” charges (although those shouldn’t apply in certain cases). That’s a real pain in the rear, but don’t let it stop you.

The nature of your injury may require you to stay in town a lot longer than you anticipated. For instance, if you break a leg, a doctor may not allow you to fly back home for a couple of weeks, if not longer. That can really complicate things. If you’re on a family vacation, it’s probably wise to send at least some of the family back home to take care of the house and other important things. You may have to make an uncomfortable call to your boss explaining you’re forbidden from going home right now, but if you feel up to it, offer to telecommute from your vacation spot. Yeah, you probably didn’t plan to do any work when you left for Florida, but you also probably didn’t plan to break your leg.

Once you’re healed

Your first priority should be getting better, but once you’re past the initial stages of recovery, you may start to wonder about the circumstances of your accident. Shouldn’t the car that have hit you stopped for pedestrians? If someone else was responsible for your injuries, what should you do?

It’s natural to be unsure about these sort of things, but that’s why there are personal injury attorneys. You’ll need to talk with an attorney in the place where the accident happened. So if you were making a holiday trip to your sister’s house in Rockford, Illinois, when you got hurt, you’ll need to locate a Rockford personal injury attorney. You should be able to get a free consultation, and if you call and explain the circumstances, you may even be able to get the consultation done over the phone. It’s easy to think that you shouldn’t pursue it because it happened while you were visiting from out-of-town. That may be the right call, or it may not be. Talk to an attorney before you make the final call.

Ensuring a Hygienic Industrial Environment

Posted on 26 November 2017 by sam

Ensuring an Hygienic Industrial Environment

According to OSHA, “Industrial Hygiene” refers to “science of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling workplace conditions that may cause workers’ injury or illness.” Industrial hygiene is essential to maintain. It has been a concern for centuries, with such policies as the British Chimney-Sweeper’s Act of 1788 and the first American worker’s compensation laws in 1911. Today, nearly every employer in the United States must adhere to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA). Technology and safety continue to advance to improve the health of the work environment, although we do discover still that some substances that were once staple materials are actually hazardous (take asbestos, for instance).

Know the hazards

It’s important to know what the hazards are. Each job or industry has certain hazards that are more prevalent than others, so be sure to research which ones apply to you. OSHA says that the major job risks fall into the following categories: physical, ergonomic, chemical, biological, and air contaminants. Physical hazards include things such as radiation, noise, and temperature. Ergonomic considerations involve the physical tasks workers must complete and the technology that might aid or hinder them. Chemical compounds that might be inhaled, absorbed, or ingested are a major concern, as are biological hazards such as viruses and certain microorganisms. Air contaminants, though similar to some of the biological and chemical hazards, include anything we might inhale, such as dust, fumes, or aerosols.

Maintaining a hygienic work environment

Since there are many rules, regulations, and compliance standards, companies oftenl hire abatement contractors to ensure that the workplace meets all the hygiene standards–and if it doesn’t, what measures to take to reduce the harmful substances and comply to regulations. These contractors can run tests for all sorts of contaminants, including lead and asbestos, as well as checking water and waste management. There are organizations and consultants out there that provide health and safety training, disaster response training, hazard prevention and control, and worksite analysis, to name a few. It’s a good idea to incorporate these trainings and measures in your workplace for all employees.

The very equipment your employees use needs to meet these regulations. Be sure that your machinery and other constructed necessities are developed with sound engineering and out of non-toxic, compliant materials. For instance, installing an effective HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system–and keeping it well-maintained–will improve the temperature and air quality of a building.

It may be worth having an industrial hygienist on your team or at least on-call. Industrial hygienists have degrees in an appropriate science field and have at least three years working in the industrial hygiene field. Most have been certified by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, and they dedicate their careers to the health and safety of workers everywhere.

Failure to meet compliance regulations can have devastating consequences for employees and employers alike. First of all, the company could face serious fines, and secondly, if employees are injured or made ill on the job, the company could face lawsuits. At the very least, they will have to pay out workers’ compensation, which could cost thousands of dollars.

Why Businesses Need Legal Representation

Posted on 26 November 2017 by sam

Why Businesses Need Legal Representation

The “Law and Order” television franchise has provided hours of entertainment to millions, in addition to providing jobs for thousands of struggling actors in the New York City. But what’s entertaining isn’t always accurate. On TV shows, you typically see attorneys in the middle of a crowded courtroom, banging the table and shouting things like “I object!” In real life, things are rarely that dramatic, even in criminal court. For one thing, the vast majority of criminal cases are plead out without ever going to trial. For another thing, most judges don’t tolerate yelling in their courtrooms, regardless of whether the person yelling is a lawyer in a suit or a suspect in handcuffs.

There’s a whole world of lawyers who don’t spend much time in a courtroom, though. If they do, it’s way more likely to be because of a civil suit rather than a criminal one. Almost every business of halfway decent size has an attorney that represents them. There are multiple reasons for that.

Navigating regulatory structures

Every business has to comply with at least some city, state, and even federal regulations. That’s true regardless of if you’re running a food truck that sells cupcakes or a gas production company that produces certain contaminants. Opening up a business without being aware of the rules and regulations is a very bad idea. That’s especially true in newer industries where the rules aren’t always as clear as we’d like.

Take the legal marijuana industry. Over the last few years, more and more states have decided to allow the sale of medical and/or recreational marijuana. That’s great news for people who like pot, regardless of if they’re using it for pain relief or just to get high. But the states aren’t just saying, “Well, pot is legal now. Have fun with it, guys!” They’re setting up complicated regulatory structures that have to be navigated properly. Think of it like a maze where one wrong turn means a dead end. If you can afford to open up a medical marijuana shop, you should also be able to hire a knowledgeable attorney who will help you come up with a medical marijuana business plan. If you can’t pass a background check, then there’s no way the state is going to give you a license to open a pot shop. A good attorney will be able to tell you whether or not your DUI from fifteen years ago will disqualify you.

Responding to civil suits

If you deal with the public, then there’s a very good chance that someone will threaten to sue you for some perceived wrongdoing that may or may not have any merit. You should shut down the conversation the minute a person says, “I’m going to call my lawyer.” Then you should make a phone call to your own business lawyer. Your attorney will know that the majority of people who threaten to sue are just blowing smoke, but they can still start to prepare themselves just in case.

A civil lawsuit can be devastating for your company, even if you have insurance that helps soften the blow. Your attorney can tell you if you should settle or take the case to trial. You may feel like settling is admitting wrongdoing, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s a way to put the whole thing behind you and move on with your life and your business.