4 Ways To Zoom Up Your Home Life

The covid-19 pandemic has completely transformed our interactions with the external world. As many companies have been forced to adjust rapidly to the situation, remote positions have flourished in every industry. As a result, collaborative platforms have grown in popularity. Tech tools such as Trello and Slack have been real game-changers. But the digital solution that’s benefitted the most from the pandemic is Zoom. Video call technology is not a novelty. Yet, the pandemic has revived the trend and brought Zoom into our lifestyles. While businesses make good use of the video call feature, this isn’t the only use of the solution. Indeed, you can make Zoom an integral addition to your household. Here are some of the new services people have been enjoying since the boom of Zoom. 

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Zoom fitness training

Fitness enthusiasts already know some of the golden rules of the fitness community. Wearing appropriate clothing for your workouts can avoid many issues. Fitness outfits are designed to provide support and enable mobility. Wearing clothes that not fitness-friendly could put you at risk of injuries, as you may be tempted to avoid some movement as a result of tight and uncomfortable clothes. Additionally, investing in supportive accessories such as weightlifting gloves or wrist wrap can improve your performance and also reduce the risk of injuries. Finally, if you find yourself plateauing, you can unlock your full potential with a zoom personal trainer who can offer one-to-one guidance and planning. 

Zoom language tutor

You can also utilize Zoom to transform your resume. It’s nowadays easy to find Zoom Spanish lessons or Zoom data analytics courses to learn to skills you need for your career. The tech enables you to build a one-to-one relationship with your tutor. Unlike physical classes, the online technology lets students create a mentor-like relationship with their tutor. As a result, students of any age can learn faster and more in-depth through Zoom calls. It is especially useful for language tutorials, as tutors can correct pronunciation and mistakes directly, which isn’t an option in physical classrooms or on a dedicated app. 

Zoom dance group

If you’ve been self-isolated at home or changing your social habits to reduce COVID-19 risks, you are probably experiencing some level of loneliness. Zoom doesn’t quite replace friends or social connections. But, you can find that group activities are still accessible via Zoom. Social dance clubs and groups have been organizing classes on Zoom and pairing partners digitally since the start of the pandemic. Participants have found Zoom to offer an interesting alternative, helping them to maintain social connections safely. 

Zoom escape rooms

While the entertainment industry has had to shut temporarily during the pandemic, Zoom has given escape rooms a survival plan. Digital games are still accessible to players, even after some escape room businesses have reopened for business. A zoom-based game allows players to explore the room via the game operator. Equipped with a go pro camera and a microphone, the game operator acts as an avatar in the room, following your instructions to solve puzzles. For players who are remaining cautious, it’s a fantastic alternative. 

Can Zoom be the answer to all our problems? Probably not, but it can provide plenty of support to support your health, boost your career, make friends, and have fun. There is more to Zoom than the business functions. It could become a part of your everyday life. 

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3 Inexpensive CX Systems that Can Benefit Your Small Business

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Whatever your sector, if you deal with any amount of customers then it becomes more of a necessity than a choice to deliver the best customer service experience possible. While a satisfactory customer experience should be aimed for inside an establishment, your business might extend beyond this and may not even be physical at all.

In many cases and as your company grows from a startup into a small business, the time comes where you will need to implement some kind of customer service initiative or a mixture of some that are available in order to provide the easiest process possible for any consumer.

Some of the best and most used customer interaction experiences include:

  • Live Chat
  • Ticketing
  • Call Center

Live Chat is a relatively new feature that has become popular with larger companies while ticketing is good for handling a large volume of queries and utilizing a call center to handle customer service over the phone is still a widely used method.

Live Chat – Are You Human?

Talking to someone in a chat window is one of the simplest ways to deal with an issue that might arise both from a customer and a company perspective. The quick and synchronous nature of Live Chat means that details of an issue can be conveyed in a timely fashion where urgency might be important. Some Live Chat programs also incorporate the use of AI Bots at the start of interaction before it is passed on to a relevant human associate.

Live Chat can benefit small businesses especially as the customers that engage in live chat systems are less likely to abandon shopping carts and having questions answered by a human during a purchase is likely to increase conversions. Systems like click4assistance provide such features as analytics, real-time monitoring, and video chats as well as chat functionality through reactive and proactive communication channels. 

Ticketing – Take a Number

An older yet very effective form of customer communication, ticketing systems are an excellent method of handling a large volume of queries. By allocating reference numbers, urgency indicators and categories to a particular query, ticketing makes it very easy to understand the severity of any issues and identify any ongoing or urgent problems that require more attention.

Similar to a standard form, a ticketing system makes it very easy for customers to raise or enquire about an issue and has become the communication form of choice for companies that deal with a large volume of queries on a daily basis such as video games developers. In situations such as limited staffing for small businesses then this is an excellent option over standard email queries. 

Call Center – Hold Please

Utilized as a customer service tool since the very beginning of its invention, the telephone has been a standard form of communication between a company and its customers for well over 100 years. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that the call center was created to handle a mass volume of customer queries, in the UK, with the first successful call center being opened in 1973 by the Rockwell Corporation for Continental Airlines.Since then, call centers have boomed and a recent survey found that phone communication is still preferred by 61% of people over newer technologies. While call centers can be used for handling queries, their use as a lead generating and marketing tool for business promotion has become more prolific over the past 20 years and you don’t need to own your own team but can rather hire a call center company for a relatively small monthly fee and the amount directly related to how small or large your business is, with most call center services even offering e-receptionists; an excellent alternative over an expensive full time employee when starting a small business.

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5 Must-Have Tools for Your Remote Teams

5 Must-Have Tools for Your Remote Teams

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Quite a while back, remote working was not considered a full-time career with salaries barely above the minimum wage. Fast forward to 2021, the coronavirus and technological evolution has prompted massive trend changes as businesses try to adapt to the innovation. Before COVID-19, only 7% of US employees worked from home, but today, approximately 59% of employees work remotely and prefer to continue even post-COVID. But how do you keep productivity at acceptable levels while working remotely? These essential tools should keep your business and remote teams functioning effectively.

  1. Google drive

Are you looking to centralize your data in one location? Google Drive is a cloud-based storage tool that keeps every one of your data in a secure and centralized place. This platform allows your teams to remotely share documents and files from one integrated location while permitting weekly metric reporting. Moreover, Google Drive documents can be synced, viewed, and updated across several devices from any site.

  1. Dropbox

Dropbox is a cutting-edge workspace tool with many features to manage your remote employees effectively. Sharing large documents via email can be problematic, and that is where Dropbox comes in. The cloud storage framework has API, which makes it very useful for collaboration between remote staff. Remote teams can easily share huge documents, for example, PowerPoint, Sketch, Photoshop, etc., with anybody. Dropbox has staked a claim as the first smart workplace tool with data access control through an admin access system, link sharing, and user-friendly application.

  1. AccessE11

AccessE11 is a web-based management software that allows access on any web-enabled device. The platform is cloud-based and ideal for local governments in citizen request management, code enforcement, and citizen issue tracking. As a centralized storage solution, your team and department can access data from a single source with ease without requiring any complex training and learning. AccessE11 allows for easy recording of citizen issues, assigning staff for resolving, and access to trend reports for analyses and decision making. This way, you are provided with enhanced visibility for staff management.

  1. Basecamp

If you are looking for a simple, clean, yet functional tool for your project management and remote collaboration, you should consider basecamp. This all-in-one remote toolkit is popular among freelancers, managers, and agencies due to its varying range of features and tools. Despite this, the platform is flawed with no time tracking, subtasks and professional team hierarchy limitations. However, if you have specific needs like project management and effective communication with clients, basecamp can get the work done effortlessly.

  1. Zoom

Since its initial release in 2012, Zoom has grown to become a leading video communication tool for enterprises worldwide. The platform raves in high customer reviews with integration to online marketplaces, next-generation phone systems, video conferencing, and video webinars. In 2017, Zoom reached a $1billion valuation before peaking at 10 million users in 2019. With COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home restriction, the platform saw enormous user stats with over 300 million users in April 2020. Zoom is easy to use and boosts quality videos for your video chatting and meetings, with full-length video recording features.

With businesses trying to keep up with the new trend, effectively managing your remote team has become necessary in achieving business objectives. However, these tools should keep your remote staff productive and focused. 

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3 Pointers on How to Manage a Remote Team Like a Pro

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Before the coronavirus wreaked havoc, many corporate leaders viewed remote work as a temporary arrangement. Even though work-from-home has become more popular thanks to the ever-growing number of freelancers, many still thought that it cannot work for corporate offices, especially for those with more than fifty or a hundred employees.

The assumption is that employees will be less productive at home, but it has been proven wrong this year by employers themselves.

Remote Workers Are Just as Productive as Office Workers

A recent study by HR consulting firm, Mercer revealed that productivity has been mostly unchanged by remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company surveyed 800 employers who said that after solving issues like employees lacking appropriate equipment at home, operations have been the same as usual. Some even noted increases in employee productivity. Finally, 83% of the respondents said they will continue to offer flexible work arrangements even when the pandemic is over.

No doubt many factors contributed to the responding companies’ success in keeping business running. We can safely assume, however, that credit must go to the managers and supervisors for ensuring that their teams stay productive while in quarantine.

How did these managers do it? Here are a few pointers from corporate leaders that managers can adopt as part of their people and project management practices.

  1. Allow employees to work flexible hours.
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Many employers assume that their employees are living the life while working from home. They are wrong. Remote workers may no longer have to contend with traffic, long commutes, or workplace distractions, but now they have to work around pets, children, house chores, and slow home Internet service.

Under these circumstances, it would be very difficult for employees to stay seated before their laptops or desktop computers and work straight from nine to five. It would be better to give them the flexibility to work when they can be most productive within the day.

Employers in the Mercer report gave similar advice. Giving employees flexible work hours helped them work around the distractions at home. It kept not only productivity rates high but also employee satisfaction.

When employees see that their employers support them during difficult times, their respect and loyalty for the company will increase. They will also be encouraged to keep giving their 100% at work and help their teams reach their targets.

  1. Encourage work-life integration.

Digital media expert and president of Goodway Group, Jay Friedman recommended that instead of work-life balance, which promotes separation of work and leisure time, managers should encourage their teams to practice work-life integration. This aligns with the previous section on work flexibility and letting employees work at different times of the day instead of the fixed, regular work hours.

Some employees will try to keep their work-from-home routine as similar to their office schedule as possible, and they should be allowed to. If, however, they find this difficult to do, managers can help employees establish new work routines that also take into account their daily responsibilities at home. These schedules should also allot “personal time” so that employees can still achieve a balance between work and time for family.

  1. Discourage non-paid overtime work.

Work-from-home employees are working an average of three more hours per day, according to the findings of NordVPN. This suggests that employees need to work longer hours to meet their daily deliverables. This can eventually be a problem because working unnecessarily long hours can cause burnout.

Managers, therefore, should encourage team members to finish their work within their allotted time. If they can’t convert the extra hours they worked for OT pay, that’s a sign that they should not bother with it anymore.  

These are just some of the ways that managers can keep their team members involved, engaged, and productive while in quarantine. It’s not easy, but it is achievable. You can start with the three tips in this article.

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What A Corporate Meeting Should Consist Of

When you are trying to put together a great corporate meeting, you need to have a few things in mind. The location needs to be sensible so most people won’t find it difficult to locate and arrive at. The seating must be calculated, so no one is left standing. The lighting and space must be correct, so you can see everyone. The content of the meeting has to be worth the trip! Don’t give a simple boring speech, make sure you have put effort into the presentation. Finally, always have time to mingle and therefore, you need catering.

Where to host it?

This is the eternal challenge. Where do you host a business meeting that will make sure everyone can get to it without trouble? Well, it should be central but not too central. You would rarely want to do a corporate meeting in a city if you can help it. There’s too much noise, there’s too much media exposure and you won’t have the privacy you want. If you don’t mind any of this, then sure, go with a city location. However, a town or stop-over location such as a train station town, would be better. Plan it so there are an airport and train station nearby. If you’re stuck for ideas, speak with a professional company like https://www.mtievents.com/ who can give you several of their locations. They will have the technology for the event up and ready to go to.

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The seating and space

Firstly, how many people have you invited? You will need to agree to the seating before you book an event. This way you will know what kind of room or hall you’ll need. However, you should always have around 10% of the seating chosen, as extra too. This way, if you have more people arrived, such as those that are taking a plus-one, without notifying you, they may still have somewhere to sit. 

A classic parting sea, seating is very common. However, it splits up the audience into two, if you don’t want that, you should go for the hall seating plan, whereby the audience is a giant mass with just one or two aisles to exit.

Make it worth it

The meeting you’re having is going to be seen by people who work in your industry, your clients and others, such as customers online. So, put effort into the presentation and think of it as content that will stay up online for many years to come. You want the audience and their reactions to being recorded too. So hire a filming crew for corporate events, and let them do their thing. Have a surprise waiting for the audience, shock them, delight them, make them laugh, just give them a corporate meeting they won’t forget soon.

Corporate meetings are very important to build up trust and respect with clients, and industry experts and professionals. You should never make it a run of the mill thing, always put your best efforts into it. 

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All Business Owners Need These Contacts In Their Phone

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Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or run a business for a while, it’s never too late to update the contacts on your phone. Business owners often tend to be busy and short on time. Meaning when an occasion calls for professional help, spending time to source someone to support you is challenging.

To prevent you from being stuck in a scenario, without a much-needed contact. Why not update your address book today?

Below are some of the most critical connections a business owner needs. Perhaps not today, or tomorrow, but eventually, a time shall arise. And you’ll be glad you have each and every one of them on speed dial when you need them.

Plumber

A burst water pipe or gutter clogs oozing gunk on to your business’s forecourt is never, for instance, instantly spells disaster and panic. Issues such as these always strike when you least expect it. And if they aren’t rectified quickly, they can cause an extensive range of damage to your business premises. Save yourself the time and worry in the future, stressing to find a plumber who can quickly fix the problem. And instead, find and create a reliable contact today. Preferably a plumbing company that caters to commercial businesses, and offers emergency services.

Mentor

You’ll likely meet obstacles in business that you can’t overcome alone. Whether you feel overwhelmed or have no experience in a particular area, it’s essential to ask for help and support. This is why it would benefit you to have a mentor in your phone book to call and speak to when you feel out of your depth. 

Mentors are people who have extensive experience in business and may be able to offer solutions. Such as assisting you with scaling your business or advising you how to overcome stress and anxiety caused by work.

Colleagues

You need access to your employees’ contact details for a multitude of reasons. For example, if you’re sick and can’t make it into work one day, you shall need to delegate tasks to the rest of the team and choose your second in command to take over for that day. 

If you don’t have their details already, ask HR or your employees directly to give their details to you just in case. 

Lawyer

Businesses can, from time to time, come up against specific legal challenges. Ones of which require you to attain advice. 

Sourcing an excellent lawyer who can help guide you through difficult situations at work, whether concerning employment law or trading standards, is essential. 

Having the above contacts in your mobile is you preparing for some of the worst-case scenarios that might occur in advance. 

And so, whether you can’t make it into work and need to choose someone to fill your shoes for a day or two. Or if you need legal advice over a supplier that has mis-sold you a product. With contacts at the ready, you’ll avoid spending time scrambling to find the right person to help you.

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7 Mistakes Companies Make Managing Their Employees

Managing a large group of people while trying to operate a successful business is challenging. Leaders within companies have the difficult task of doing their job, as well as overseeing and directing colleagues. That being said, keeping staff happy is one of the most important things that managers do.

Many employees blame their boss for their unhappiness at work. Unbeknownst to managers and upper tier members of companies, they are continually making mistakes that cause unrest amongst staff. Here are seven mistakes that all managers and leaders should avoid.

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  1. They don’t express gratitude

Unfortunately, human error accounts for problems in the workplace every day. Such errors rarely go unnoticed, and the culprit is generally condemned for their mistake. Most companies deal with issues in a positive manner, but very few thank their employees when they do a good job. 

A simple “thank you”, or an e-mail expressing gratitude for hard work can go a long way. It’s crucial for employees to feel valued.

  1. They are too demanding

It’s common for employees to be overburdened with extreme workloads. Managers who demand too much out of their workers can expect low morale, below par productivity levels, and an increased likelihood of employees quitting. 

Research suggests that once a workweek surpasses 50 hours that productivity levels rapidly fall. 

  1. They communicate poorly

Effective communication is crucial to any organization. Employees should be given clear objectives, and they should know exactly what their roles are. 

Bad managers have notoriously poor communication skills, and often fail to deliver concise information. This leads to confusion amongst workers, low levels of productivity, and a lack of confidence. 

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  1. They don’t listen 

A typical complaint made by unhappy workers is that their employers don’t allow them to voice their opinions. 

Employees on the front lines of business can offer useful insights to management. More importantly, staff should be able to approach management about internal policies and procedures. 

External research companies provide services that analyze the internal operations of organizations from the employee’s perspective. This can provide useful information for businesses, particularly when it comes to staff diversity.

  1. They don’t reward employees

It’s important to celebrate successes in business. Employees, from top to bottom, should be rewarded when a company succeeds. This might involve a staff party, or it could simply be a piece of cake in the canteen.

Failing to acknowledge all of the roster’s involvement in company success gives off the impression that lower-level staff members are not valued.

  1. They micromanage

Micromanaging tasks demonstrates a lack of trust between a manager and their employees. Ultimately, it leads to a complete breakdown in the working relationship. 

Employees should be allocated responsibility, and they should be allowed space to do their job. Micromanaging is one of the most common, but most damaging mistakes that a manager can make. 

  1. They don’t offer perks

Job perks can vary. The nature of some industries allows for companies to provide exceptional perks for their employees. However, for others, such luxuries are an impossibility. This doesn’t mean that all perks are off the table.

If a company can’t offer perks that have significant monetary value, what’s stopping them from having casual dress Fridays, free coffee, or a quarterly staff lunch?

Small perks can make a huge difference when it comes to creating a happy workplace for staff.

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Helping Others As A Foundation Of Your Business Dream: Where Do You Begin?

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Everybody is trying their hand at starting a business. And for the vast majority of people, their goal is very simple: to make money. But when you are looking to do something a bit more with your business skills have you thought about starting a business that can bring about a certain type of change? It doesn’t necessarily have to be social change; it could be for medical purposes or a charitable organization. But when you decide that you want to start helping others as a basic foundation of your business dream, where do you go to next?

Understanding The Concept And The Industry

You may have some sort of idea where you would like to go but this means you have got to dig deep into that industry. Even when you are doing something straightforward, whether it’s a dental business or something in the medical industry, you’ve got to think about the knock-on effects; which can include issues in terms of productivity or the well-being of staff and patients. And when it comes to something like productivity, it’s crucial to have the technical components in place. In the modern-day, every business relies on its technology to make the business run but also improve its productivity. You can read more here about the positive impacts of an IT infrastructure for the dental industry. But needless to say, when you understand the concept of the business you’ve got an informed opinion of where you can progress with it. As good as it is to have an idea you’ve got to work hard to corner a specific part of the market but also realize that the infrastructure is essential.

Focus On Feedback

Whatever the business idea, the focus is very simple: the customers. You’ve got to work on building a relationship with customers and this is where the right marketing practices are crucial but you’ve also got to make sure that you receive proper feedback. When you’re trying to help people and they are the customers, you can have your work cut out for you. And we all know the difficulty of getting good customer service! So when you are dealing with people in terms of helping them, they could be more vulnerable, which calls for a deft approach to customer service. But you’ve also got to remember that feedback is vital because it can help to nurture the company. Positive and negative feedback is as important as each other. It’s crucial to turn negative feedback into constructive criticism. This will benefit the customer and your processes. And you’ve got to remember that it’s an ongoing task. It’s not a good idea to ignore negative feedback. And even if you receive more positive reviews than anything if you can turn a customer round from a negative review to a positive one this will make a big difference to your business in a financial sense but also in a moral sense too.

Starting your own business to help others is admirable but you’ve also got to remember that in order to make a success of it, it is still a business. This means that there are numerous components that need to remain. Learn the basics before you progress.

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Improve Collaboration Among Your Staff

Collaboration between your employees is vital if you want your business to operate well. You need everyone to be capable of working together, whether they’re members of the same team or they’re in different departments that need to coordinate with each other. Although your staff members might already collaborate with each other, improving their collaboration can deliver a variety of benefits to your company. When everyone works better together, you can produce better results, reduce conflicts, and perhaps even keep your employees around for longer. Take a look at these top ways to improve collaboration among your staff to enjoy these benefits.

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Update Your Technology

Technology is key to helping your employees to collaborate. When they have the right tools, they are able to work together much more easily. In fact, with cloud computing, they don’t even need to be in the same location to work together. When you use cloud technology, your employees can collaborate whether they are in the same office or in completely different countries. You can use cloud-based systems and software that allow people to access the same information and files and work together to achieve their goals. It’s easy to get started with some cloud-based tools, but you can also switch to an entirely cloud-based system for your business.

Try Team Building Activities

Team building activities don’t always appeal to your staff, but they don’t have to be how many people imagine them. There are many ways to carry out team building activities to help bring your employees closer together. You can choose to do office-based activities, but there are also plenty of other ways to get out of the office and do something interesting. From team building at climbing centers to outdoor adventure activities, you can use fun and interesting things to get your employees to really engage.

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Improve Communication

Good communication is essential for your team to be able to collaborate with each other. Having the tools to work together is a good start, but everyone also needs to be able to communicate well so that they all know what they’re doing, who should be doing what, and how each project or task is progressing. You should consider the different ways that your employees communicate with each other and perhaps consider the tools that are available to change the way they communicate. For example, Slack can be used to create different “channels” to discuss different topics.

Build Trust and Engagement

It’s also important that people within a team are able to trust each other and that they are engaged with their work. Trust and engagement are two things to work on building if you want to improve collaboration and productivity among your employees. You can try to create a community and company culture that encourages people to trust each other and to care about their work and the results they produce. Ensuring you look after your employees can ensure they are more engaged in their work.

Better collaboration is a must if you want your company to be productive and produce great results.

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5 Things To Consider When Starting A Blog For Your Business

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The internet has opened up a whole new world of marketing possibilities, with one of the most common and successful being, content marketing. Content marketing is a marketing approach focused on the creation and distribution of relevant and valuable content with the goal of attracting and retaining an audience. In terms of businesses, this audience is then nurtured into paying customers, meaning that content marketing can be a relatively inexpensive way for businesses to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise as well as to increase their online presence and boost their bottom line. When starting a content marketing strategy the first thing businesses need to do is decide where they are going to publish their new content, and for most, the answer can be found in the creation of their own business blog. 

Here are a few things to consider if you are thinking of starting your own business blog.

Where will you host it?

Business blogs typically exist as a page on a companies pre-existing website and enable the business to easily link through to their products and services as well as to promote their content through other digital channels such as social media. There are now a number of ways to host a blog and website from google WordPress hosting through to website builders such as Squarespace and each has its own set of pros and cons. In the beginning, just host your blog wherever your website is hosted. 

What will you write about?

For content marketing to work you need to be writing about things that your ideal customer would want to be reading and so deciding what you want to write about is very important. Sit down and think about the pain points of your customers, what would they be searching the internet for? What value can you provide them? With your answers to these questions, begin brainstorming some content title ideas, or if you are still a little stuck then take a sneak peek at what your competitors are doing for some inspiration.

How often should you post?

The key to successful content marketing is to create consistent and valuable content, and this means posting reliably but not for the sake of it. As a general rule once a week is a good place to start when beginning your content marketing, but you may find that this eats up your content ideas quite quickly. Rather than sacrificing the quality of your content, opt for a slightly more spread out publishing rate of perhaps once a fortnight and remember that one of the tricks to content marketing is the repurposing of old content. 

Where should you promote your content?

If your blog posts are SEO optimized then they should appear naturally in Google search results but there’s no harm in also promoting them to your audiences across your social media. When thinking about where to promote your content the question to keep in the back of your mind is ‘do my customers hang out here?’ if the answer is yes, then share away, if it is no, then you may be publishing your content in the wrong place. 

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