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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

The Smartphone Can Be Quite the Productivity Tool

For a lot of businesses, employee mobile phone usage was once a big problem for them. There have been some businesses that actually hired someone to walk around their office telling people to get off their phones. Some businesses outlawed employee devices altogether. There probably are some businesses out there that still limit the use of these devices in their office, but for most businesses, their employees’ smartphones are now completely part of their productivity strategy. Let’s take a quick look at the shift from banned to benefit in this month’s newsletter.

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3 Mantras to Live By for Everyday IT Success

With so many technical terms to know and processes to understand, one might think that the only possible way to take care of your IT infrastructure is to hire professionals to monitor and maintain every aspect of it. While there is certainly a lot of truth to this statement, and working with professionals presents a ton of value, it doesn’t take a genius to implement small, common-sense practices that can compound over time.

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Over Half of Workers Will Work Remotely by the End of 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the workforce to work remotely, but now that the pandemic is marginally receding in several parts of the world, the question of if this workforce will continue to work remotely is up for debate. A report from Gartner suggests that things will move in the opposite direction from what you might expect. Let’s dive into what this report suggests and what it might mean for your business moving forward.

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Tip of the Week: How to Use Google Chrome to Improve Productivity

Google Chrome is a very popular browser nowadays. In June of this year, for example, about 65 percent of the overall browser market share was attributed to Chrome. Seeing as so many people utilize Chrome, we thought it would be helpful to share a few tips that can help make Chrome even more productive for the user.

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3 Ways Your Business Can Avoid or Minimize the Impact of Downtime

The phrase “time is money” is something that you hear a lot, especially in the business environment. While this might be applied in small ways, such as employees taking one or two minutes longer on their breaks or leaving early for the day, the major issue with wasted time manifests itself in much larger and more unpredictable ways. The true silent killer of businesses is downtime, and you need to be aware of its impact on your organization on a holistic level.

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You’ll Want to Have a Training Plan to Improve Your Employees’ Skills

When businesses onboard new employees, they typically have a series of qualifications they need applicants to meet in order to get to the interview process. Once they interview and are chosen from a list of applicants, the new hire does his/her entrance training and then it’s time to get to work. If your business doesn’t have the right training platforms in place, however, this process can take a lot longer than you’d like. This month, we thought we’d take a bit to go over this process and how getting the right training protocols in place upfront can have a positive effect on the way your new employees hit the ground running.

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New Study Addresses the Challenges of Readjusting to the Office Environment

For the past year or so, most workers around the world were forced to work remotely in order to adhere to the strict social distancing guidelines imposed by governing bodies. Now that the time has come to return to the office, many workers are finding that their expectations are a bit different than they were previously, forcing business owners to respond.

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4 Outdated Office Conventions (and the Technology That Replaces Them)

The office environment has changed a lot over the years with technology being the impetus for such change. In your years doing business, how much has changed? How much of that change was driven by technology? Many of the traditional conventions of conducting business have been changed for the better as a result of these technological developments; here are just a few of them.

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Controlling Distractions Can Improve Productivity

Technology is such a wonderful tool for productivity, but one thing that you need to understand is that it cannot work miracles. At the end of the day, we are all still human; distractions creep in that technology cannot prevent. Some users struggle with staying focused, which in turn leads to unproductive behaviors, all of which compounds to create wasted time and money. Let’s discuss some ways that your employees can overcome distractions in the workplace.

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Are You Having Productivity Problems? Here are Some Possible Solutions

Productivity is the core measurement of your business’ ability to complete the work needed to bring in revenue and to keep that work up consistently. Amazingly enough, most businesses experience similar productivity problems over time. What can a small and medium-sized business do to right the ship when productivity is down? Today we explore some ways to do just that.

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Do We Really Need a Computer Feature to Tell Us We Need a Break?

Workplace stress has increasingly been focused on as a prescient problem for businesses, with an increased focus on identifying the causes and mitigating the impacts. A recently published patent from Microsoft helps to demonstrate how seriously this is now taken… although it also begs the question: do we really need technology’s help to identify when we feel stressed?

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Productivity Apps Aren’t Just a Fad

Businesses need to maximize productivity any way they can. Some look to software to make this happen. When searching for productivity software, it may seem like you are looking at the same thing over and over again. While we admit that many productivity programs are similar, it’s important that you acquire the software that will give your team the tools it needs to succeed. Let’s take a look at how you can find the right productivity apps for your business’ needs.

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Productivity in a Very Difficult Time

Some people may say that operational efficiency and productivity are only measures of how well managers are able to manage. Make no mistake about it, productivity is important to workers, too. When COVID-19 spurred lawmakers to create stay-at-home orders in March of 2020, the fear was that productivity would decrease so much that it would destroy society. This obviously didn’t happen, but there has been some ebb and flow of the productivity metrics since the beginning of the pandemic. Let’s take a look at productivity during COVID-19.

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Tip of the Week: How to Keep Your Team from Burning Out

Considering what the past year has been like, the idea that workplace burnout has been a hot topic isn’t all that surprising—even though less time has been spent in many offices than almost any other time to date. Regardless, burnout simply isn’t an office issue, meaning that remote workers are still susceptible to its ill effects.

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Tips to Improve Business Productivity

Productivity improves as time management improves. It seems like a simple notion, but if you aren’t deliberate about managing your time, there isn’t much positive movement that is going to be had in the productivity meter. This month, we thought we would help you by giving you a few strategies that will work to improve your employees’ productivity. 

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An Entire Year Later, Remote Conferencing Still Makes Workers Nervous

For all its benefits, remote conferencing isn’t the easiest means of doing work for many people, as many have found out through experience. With businesses quite literally forced into this approach for some time now, employees are starting to feel the toll. Let’s discuss some of the impacts that long-term remote conferencing has had, and what can be done to minimize them.

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Tip of the Week: Make Your Laptop Trackpad Less Annoying with ClickLock

The laptop is one of the great productivity tools in modern business. Their portability gives them immense value. There are some cons to using a laptop, however. One is the trackpad. While they have improved over the years, they are still not ideal, which is why you see many people who use a laptop for productivity bring along a wireless mouse. One of the biggest problems people run into is that they have a hard time with the click-and-drag feature on the trackpad and this makes working in certain programs maddening. Today, we have a tip to make this process much simpler. 

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Tip of the Week: Highlighting Messages in Outlook

Like any email platform, Microsoft Outlook can easily become overwhelmed with messages and conversations—effectively making it counterproductive rather than an asset to you and your team. Let’s take a few moments to go over a simple way that you can use Outlook’s internal tools to make your messages easier to deal with.

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How You Can Use Workflow Automation to Make the Office Better

While a lot of the focus on any business’ use of technology may be on its front-facing solutions, there’s a lot to be said about the technology solutions that power these businesses behind the scenes. Let’s consider a few ways that businesses are benefiting from automating some of these background processes.

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How to Determine Which Productivity Suite Is Right for Your Business

The productivity suite is one of the most utilized software combos going. Usually it comes with a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a note taking program, and a presentation creator. There are other pieces of software included in some of today’s most dynamic options, but for our purposes we are going to limit it to these. 

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Downtime Is Costly and Bad for Business

There are a lot of words that a business owner doesn’t like to hear. One of the worst has to be downtime as it signifies waste. This month, we’ll examine the effects of downtime and how to calculate the financial impact of a downtime event.

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Managed IT Can Change the Way Your Business Functions

Technology has made its way into nearly every business, especially in 2020 with all that has been going on. There really is no choice, but with the commitment to technology there comes risk. If technology fails, your business takes a step back. Today, we will discuss how managed IT services work to manage your risk and keep your IT running effectively. 

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Is Automation Really a Threat for Workers?

Automation has helped many businesses improve their output and efficiency, but what is the cost to the people that work for these organizations? Many systems rely on the autonomy of artificial intelligence systems to keep certain tasks and workflows on point. Automation could replace up to a quarter of the current workforce in the next ten years, so people are naturally skeptical and worried about how safe their jobs are going to be with more and more businesses utilizing software automation. 

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How Businesses Can Use AI to Their Benefit

As technology has become smarter, artificial intelligence has evolved into a more and more applicable solution that businesses of all sizes can use. Let’s take a few minutes to consider the various ways in which AI can be used to support businesses.

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Tip of the Week: Improving Your Google Searches

Google is the standard for online searches. It seems to be as simple as can be. Think of a question, type it in, get an answer. However, not many people likely know just how specific you can make these Google searches with just a few details. Let’s go over how to use Google most effectively as you search the Internet.

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Listening to Your Team is a Great Way to Overcome Business Challenges

While it sounds like a term that only applies to the person with the fanciest title in an organization, business leadership is an important quality for people to demonstrate at all levels. However, when you are the boss, it becomes important that you encourage this comprehensive business leadership amongst your team. Here are a few key questions you should be asking regularly to communicate this responsibility to your team members.

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Tip of the Week: Taking a Screenshot

Screenshots can be one of the most effective ways to share information, as it gives the people you are communicating to first-hand knowledge of what you’re seeing. Of course, different platforms have different means of capturing a screenshot. Let’s go over these methods to ensure that you can do so efficiently and easily.

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Putting the IoT to Work in Your Business

Since 1982, the technology known as the Internet of Things has given the devices around us greater capabilities through artificial intelligence and Internet connectivity. While this technology spent a long time existing under the radar, so to speak, many business functions are now relying on its benefits. Let’s take a few moments to look at how the IoT can be of use in your business.

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How the IoT Can Be Used to Help Your Business Processes

The Internet of Things has been around for some time now, with devices being given some level of artificial intelligence and Internet connectivity to improve their intended functions since 1982. After some time as a fringe approach to technology, it has now become an invaluable tool for many business functions. Let’s review the ways that the IoT can be harnessed to your advantage.

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Tip of the Week: Gmail’s Newly-Improved Collaboration

Clearly demonstrating their prioritization of their G Suite offering, Google continues to innovate the platform’s many solutions to improve the user experience. Most recently, this has included giving Gmail a few extra functionalities to help further integrate a business’ communications. Let’s look at these functionalities together.

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Three Ways (Out of Many) That VoIP Boosts Productivity

VoIP—Voice over Internet Protocol—is an incredibly useful tool for today’s businesses to make use of, especially in terms of improving productivity. Let’s consider a few capabilities that can give you and your team a leg up.

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Technology Making it Possible to Go Back to School Online

2020 has provided a stark new reality when it comes to education. While many schools across the country are trying their hardest to get students back in the classroom, the situation with COVID-19 is making it extraordinarily difficult. Students of 2020 are going to be doing some of their schooling online, there is no way around it. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the technology that is making this distance learning possible.

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Are Breaks During the Workday all that Helpful?

Modern society is greatly focused on the virtue of hard work, of productivity. This has led to a kind of unspoken prejudice against breaks in the workplace, that any break that is not earned is the sign of an unproductive employee. As it turns out, the opposite is true. This week, we’re going over how you can turn your breaks into a way to accomplish more in the workplace.

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How Have Businesses and Their Technology Been Impacted by COVID-19?

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has had no small impact on the way that business is conducted. A considerable part of that impact is directed toward the technology that powers these businesses. One way or another, the way that businesses use their technology is bound to be influenced before all this is over.

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How Likely Is It for Remote Work to Continue?

Remote work has been crucial to many businesses as they work to sustain themselves throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as businesses have adopted these new methods of operation, it has become clear that remote work is likely to be much more than a survival tactic moving forward. Let’s look to a recent survey to see how remote work is influencing these businesses.

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What’s the Benefit of Content Filtering?

Wasting time is a big concern in any business, and this is one place where the Internet can potentially hurt as much as it helps. Of course, it does still help, as the Internet is where many of today’s business tools are accessed. How can you ensure that your team is spending their time working, rather than on social media or other distracting websites?

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A Brief Guide to Leading a Company During COVID-19

Chances are your business has been affected by COVID-19. For those companies who had to shut down their operations, and are in the process of opening back up; or, the business that moved operations out of their location and had their employees work remotely and are recalling their employees, this situation is unprecedented. This month, we thought we would take a look at some of the factors surrounding this process, and how they will affect your staff.

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Tip of the Week: Handy Tricks to Formatting Excel Spreadsheets

Microsoft Excel is, for many, the de facto spreadsheet-creation software. However, fewer know about its useful formatting capabilities and shortcuts. To help you make your own Excel sheets more comprehensible, we’re sharing some tips to help you format your documents.

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Collaborate Better for More Successful Workflow

If your business is like many others, you’ve pushed off some of your more capital-intensive plans and focused on efficiency. Now that things are starting to reopen in many places, it’s been made clear that keeping your business running with remote workers is a good strategy, but you can’t keep your projects on the back burner forever. Using video conferencing solutions to help run your projects can be a good stopgap that can give your business some flexibility. Let’s take a look. 

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These Types of Applications Can Improve Workplace Productivity

Productivity is—generally speaking—the core goal of any modern software solution. Today, we wanted to go over a few tools that can boost your productivity and efficiency right now.

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Automation Will Be Key for Future Businesses

Many businesses have found it extremely hard to cope with restrictions levied by lawmakers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has sent business owners and decision makers looking for solutions to their revenue problems. The most popular solution is to automate some of the work that was typically done by human resources to try and slice some of the demands on their capital. Today, we will tell you how automation is here to stay in business. 

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Tip of the Week: How to React When Your Workspace Shifts

While it seems that some business will best be conducted remotely for some time yet, it is still very important to start planning for a return to in-house operations now. This will help them to hit the ground running when the floodgates open back up. For this week’s tip, we’re going over how to return to the office after working remotely, while also reviewing some best practices for adjusting to remote work (just in case).

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Tip of the Week: Opening Your Needed Programs on Startup

If you were to look at any company’s list of priorities, chances are that “productivity” could be found somewhere at the top of the list. Current circumstances being what they are and many processes shifting as a result, this productivity is likely more of a challenge than normal. As any bit of saved time can increase productivity, we’re dedicating this week’s tip to a minor change you can make to accomplish this goal.

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Avoid Burning Out While Working From Home

A lot has been made about the newly-remote workforce that has been doing their best during the COVID-19 pandemic. One issue that many ignore is burnout. Sure, it happens in the office too, but there is something unsettling about getting up and going to work walking distance from your bed. Today, we will take a look at at-home worker burnout and give you a few tips to help you keep from suffering the same fate. 

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Tip of the Week: How to Effectively Task Out Responsibilities

With so many things that need to be accomplished each day, it always helps to have all the information needed to complete these tasks. If a task has no context assigned to it or no insight into how to approach it, productivity and morale are going to suffer. To prevent this, you need to properly task out your team’s goals. Here, we’ve provided some practices to help.

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Remote Work Has Been Around for Longer than You’d Think

A lot of people aren’t aware that working from home is not a recent innovation. It can arguably be traced back over a million and a half years, when our ancestors would work relatively close to their dwelling places. Throughout our history, work has shifted away and back again to the remote methodology. Let’s look back through the years to see the progression of how people worked, based on the technology that was available.

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How to Make Video Conferencing Less Awkward for Everyone

Right now, more business than ever is now conducted over video chat. You may have found yourself using it as a tool as you work remotely. However, while these conversations may help keep your team connected to one another, the experience certainly isn’t the same as what would be found in the office conference room. Here, we’re sharing a way to get rid of one of the biggest hurdles in remote collaboration.

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I Didn’t Realize How Much I Needed This: Color-Coded Chrome Tabs

Google Chrome is rolling out a neat little update for everyone over the next week (it may already be out for some users by the time this posts). It’s a feature that I know I’m personally going to love, and I didn’t even realize how badly I needed it until now.

Let’s take a look!

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Tip of the Week: Make Email Simpler

A strong email solution can bring a great deal of continuity to a business. If it is mismanaged, however, it can quickly become a major pain point. Today, we thought we would go over a couple of ways that you can use your email platform to boost productivity, rather than waste time with it.

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Two Tips for Managing Your Email in Outlook Better

Email! We all know it. We all stare at it every day (or it stares down at us, depending on how you look at it). Microsoft Outlook has some neat features to help cut down on the time you spend managing your email. Let’s jump right into it.

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For Many Businesses, Working From Home Might Stick

Skipping the commute, wearing comfortable pants, and foregoing everyday office distractions has become the new norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s very likely that the businesses that do well with a remote workforce might continue to keep operating that way even after we’re all able to see each other again.

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Calming the Anxiety Surrounding Remote Work

People are defined by what they do. The first question they are asked by someone they haven’t seen in some time isn’t about their health or their emotions, it is about what they do for a living. With the COVID-19 outbreak, tens of millions of people are out of work and just as many are working from home. For the business owner, this may not be an ideal situation, but if you are able to keep an open mind, you will find that there is a lot of good that could come from having your workers out of the office. This month, we will discuss the benefits of remote work, the gig economy, and some tools that you can use to ensure that remote workers are keeping up their productivity.

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How to (And How Not to) Approach Remote Work

Many businesses are currently finding the best course of action for them to take right now for the good of their employees is to adopt remote work policies. However, this puts a lot of responsibility on the employees to conduct themselves appropriately and spend the time they should be working diligently.

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Tip of the Week: Pandemic Problems

Now months into the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders are still in place causing most financial analysts to suggest that the economies we depend on might not look the same when business returns. Let’s outline a couple of tips that will help get your business through this terrible situation.

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Tip of the Week: How Cloud Solutions Can Preserve Your Productivity

We spend a lot of time considering cloud solutions, and as a result, we have a very easy time seeing how much they can do to help support your office’s productivity (especially now, when it isn’t really recommended that anyone congregate in the office). That’s why, for this week’s tip, we wanted to go over how you can help even your remote workforce be more productive by using cloud technology.

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Communication Practices to Keep Everyone on the Same Page

A lot of people have been working from home for the better part of a month, but the rise of the remote worker was happening long before the COVID-19 outbreak demanded people work from home. Today, business owners that wouldn’t typically be in favor of a remote workforce are starting to come around as they see comparable productivity and less overhead costs than normal. With their remote workforce doing pretty well, one problem that these business owners are seeing is periodic miscommunication. Let’s take a look how to improve your company’s remote communications with technology you probably already have access to. 

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Be More Productive by Following a Routine

Business efficiency can be greatly helped by putting a concrete process in place, which is why it feels so natural to develop one in the workplace. Of course, these processes should also come into play when working from home. Let’s review what makes a routine so beneficial, and how you can develop one to optimize your success.

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How to Achieve Productivity while Working Remotely

Productivity is a concept that has long been viewed as the gold standard in businesses. However, with so many businesses currently transferring to remote operations in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, it can be challenging for all involved to work as productively as they would while in the office. On the other side of the coin, the right behaviors can make it quite effective. 

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Working from Home Isn’t Without Significant Cybersecurity Risks

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted daily life, restricting people to their homes and preventing them from going into the office to work. In response, many companies are hurriedly changing over to a remote-capable workforce and having their employees work from home. This strategy can be highly effective, but if a company and its team isn’t careful, it can also be risky.

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What You Need to Know to Manage a Remote Workforce

There are many reasons that your team may want (or need) to work from home, and there are many reasons to allow them to do so. A 2019 survey by OwlLabs indicated that 71 percent of remote workers are happy with their job (as compared to 55 percent of on-site workers); remote workers responded that they are 13   percent more likely than onsite workers to stay in their current job for five more years than onsite workers will; and when respondents claimed to be working longer than 40 hours per week, onsite workers were doing so out of necessity, while remote workers did so out of desire and enjoyment.

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A Bit of Fun Can Get Work Done Faster

When you want your workforce to operate more productively, and engagement has been shown to have positive effects on productivity, it makes sense that you would want to actively promote activities that have been shown to improve engagement. One approach that many companies and organizations are now embracing is gamification. Let’s discuss the concept of gamification, and how it might benefit your business.

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Strategies that Help Prioritize Productivity

Businesses are always looking for a way to boost productivity. Some businesses will try almost anything to do so. For the individual, however, managing your productivity is a little less complicated. That’s not to say that it is always simple. Typically, the best way to improve productivity is to improve time management. How does one go about changing their behaviors to improve their productivity? Let’s take a look at a couple of ways.

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Tip of the Week: Work Better From Home

Thanks to the coronavirus, many office workers are working from home to avoid the spread of the virus. For many, this can feel like a nice change of scenery, while others might have a tinge of additional anxiety from it. Regardless of where you stand, working remotely can be both effective and productive, if done right.

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Why File Sync and Share is So Important for Businesses to Have

As the coronavirus outbreak creates global health concerns, we wanted to address how it could impact businesses that lack the preparations needed to account for such an event. More specifically, we wanted to discuss why events like these add even more reasons that a file share and sync solution is an invaluable addition to your IT resources.

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Tip of the Week: How to Work on Your Smartphone

Think about how happy you are when you first get your new phone. If you are like most of us you can’t keep your hands off of it. You try all the new features out and mutter to yourself, “wow, this is so cool”. The enthusiasm that people have for their new mobile devices can be a major benefit for the company they work for, too. Today, we are going to discuss how, with all the features and powerful computing power, you can work effectively on your smartphone.

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Google Adding Features to the G Suite

It is apparent that Google is deeply invested in the G Suite, as they recently added an assortment of features to make basic processes much simpler and more convenient for their users. Here, we’ll go over a few of these updates, and how they can positively influence your operations.

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Get More Done on Your Smartphone with these Tips

The modern smartphone has a lot of computing power. It has enough to be a dynamic tool for today’s workers. It can also be a major distraction. Today, we are going to share a couple tips that will help you be more productive with your smartphone. 

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Promoting Profits: Collaboration

With most businesses looking to control costs, their decision makers need to find innovative new ways to do business. One way that many firms can increase productivity without raising costs is to promote a culture of collaboration. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the useful technology that businesses can leverage to improve their output.

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Automation Options Any Business Can Use

If they are doing their job well, a business’ decision makers are always looking for ways to increase efficiency. For years, businesses were looking to their human resources to improve, but today, technology can fill in the gaps more effectively. A culture of automation--the act of having machines do tasks that humans used to do--is proving to be a potent strategy for all types of tasks. 

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Work and Fun Don’t Have to Be Mutually Exclusive Concepts

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, as the saying goes, but is this really useful advice if you’re trying to keep Jack, Jill, and the rest of your team engaged in the workplace? As it happens, it is! Let’s explore how you can use gamification to your business’ benefit.

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A Brief Look at Virtual Assistants

There is no doubt that you have come across the virtual assistant (or voice assistant). Whether you have it on a smartphone or you use it via a digital speaker in your home, you have probably spent some time using some type of virtual assistant. 

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Tip of the Week: An Intro to Windows 10’s Built-In Virtual Desktops

On a Windows machine, look at your taskbar, near the Start button and the search function. The next little icon, the one that almost looks like a bit of film, is the Task View button, the button that (among other purposes) allows you to create and manage virtual desktops. For this week’s tip, we’ll discuss how to use this handy feature, starting with why you might want to.

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Your Business Processes Are Everything

The word “procedure” can easily be perceived in a negative light nowadays. It just sounds so… rote… compared to the exciting and dynamic buzzwords that so many “thought-leading, influencing, social media innovators” today toss around. Now, we don’t mean to disparage these personalities - we just want to emphasize that these innovations rely on a foundation to support them, and these foundations are based on business procedures and processes.

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Tip of the Week: Business Improvement Resolutions

A full week into the new year, have you resolved to make any improvements to your business? In light of all the resolutions that may (or may not) have been broken by now, we decided to share a few resolutions you could put into place to improve your business and its processes.

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Tip of the Week: How to Work with PDFs

One of the most common file types you hear about is the Portable Document Format file - although you probably know it simply as a PDF. PDFs are so well known because they are the best way to save a document so that, regardless of the device it is viewed on, the file will always appear the same. Did you know that you can do more than just look at a PDF? Here, we’re providing some tips on how you can make your PDFs work for you.

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How Cloud Services and Pizzerias Offer Similar Benefits

When you look at the cloud service business model, it can be easy to wonder how it is so beneficial to businesses - or really, how it fiscally can be. After all, dollars to donuts, the monthly service charges most likely add up to less than a business would spend for another, comparable service. To understand how the cloud does this, it may help to look at something that often occurs in the office.

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How Our Help Desk Benefits You

You’re likely aware that we have a Help Desk for our clients to leverage, but not all companies handle their support the same way. Here, we wanted to share a few reasons that we are confident that our approach to support is better for our clients.

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You Probably Aren’t Getting the Most Out of Office 365

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who works on a computer who hasn’t used at least one of the applications in Microsoft Office. Office has been a staple for professionals, students, and home users for decades. Over the last few years, Microsoft has reinvented how businesses can collaboratively use Office to improve productivity, security, and adhere to compliances.

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Taking a Long Look at Smartphones

Smartphones are a marvel of modern ingenuity. After looking at employee smartphone use as a problem for much of the past few years, today’s businesses have begun to amend that strategy and are now using employee devices to their advantage. With such a large percentage of today’s workers actively using smartphones, it only makes sense for businesses to try and incorporate their employees’ devices into their day-to-day operational strategy. Today, we’ll take a look at smartphones and how they’ve managed to go from nuisance to necessity. 

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Tip of the Week: Three Best Practices for Project Management

Any project that your business undertakes will have its success defined by the particular goals you have set for it. This means that each project will be different, its own concerns and considerations coming into play. However, when it comes to managing these projects, most of them benefit from largely the same practices. For this week’s tip, we’re reviewing three that every project should incorporate.

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What is G Suite, Really?

There is no question that Google is an absolute giant in computing, having moved from web search functionality to a much wider variety of applications. These applications now make up the G Suite, and are used by many, many businesses to accomplish their goals. Here, we’ll go over some of these features and how they can benefit your operations.

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How Business Communications Make Your Processes Better

Business communications, which is the succinct way to say the sharing of information between people both internal and external to a company, is a key player in that company’s success. Here, we’ll analyze the different types of communication that a business could leverage, and the solutions that best enable them.

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Enhancing Mobility Can Bring Stark Benefits

For a growing business, mobility has a distinct place. It isn’t all about using a phone for productivity, or having access to tools when you are out of the office, it is a philosophical decision to get the most out of your company’s data. Let’s look at the ways that enhanced mobility can benefit your professional services firm.

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Employees Are the Key to Productivity

Productivity is always going to be a big issue in the workplace. While you want to encourage your employees to get work done, you don’t want to be too overbearing, as it could have the exact opposite of your desired effect. How can you make sure that your employees are staying on-task and focused on their goals? You can take the first step by understanding their motivations and long-term goals.

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You Can Attribute a Lack of Productivity to Downtime

Business owners try to avoid downtime like the plague, but it’s often a challenge to do so. The impact of downtime can be devastating for even the most well-to-do business, and this is even more so the case when you bring profits and bottom lines into view. We’ll take a look at how you can calculate the cost of a downtime event.

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Productivity Can Be Stymied By Using Too Much Data

In business, productivity is the goal. Unfortunately, there are so many interruptions in the workday, you absolutely have to capitalize on the moments where you’re in the groove. To find the groove more frequently, and to measure the ability of workers to find their groove, companies have started using trackable systems fueled mainly by their management software--typically a CRM, but sometimes a larger, more integrated solution--to pump out metrics designed to give managers an idea how their teams are performing, and give them an idea about how to best utilize them. 

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Too Many Accountants are Fielding Technology Queries

Accountants are asked a lot of questions. You’d expect as much as they manage a lot of organizational money, and can give small business owners and executives straight-forward advice about whether or not investments make sense for a company. With the recent increase in technology use for small businesses, accountants have been fielding more than financial queries, they’ve been directly asked about whether a business should implement technology. Today, we are going to explain why, regardless of the answer, your accountant is the wrong person to ask.

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Instant Messaging Tips for Greater Productivity

Communication is a key part of the workplace, and modern tools have made it more efficient than ever before to stay in contact with one another. One of the most important tools in the modern business’ repertoire is instant messaging, which is somewhat challenging to utilize without a way of ensuring productivity and professionalism.

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Why Microsoft 365 is a Solid Option for Businesses

Microsoft 365 has been on the market for a while now, and we thought it would be a good time to go into the different tiers of the platform to give you an idea of what it is, why it is useful, and how your business fits into the latest cloud platform offered by Microsoft. Let’s start with what it is.

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Is Offering Remote Work a Benefit for Your Business?

Technology has become so commonplace in the office environment that work can be done from just about anywhere on any device. This has led to many organizations implementing a remote workforce--at least some of the time. There are actually several benefits to remote work, even for the employer, surprisingly enough.

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Tip of the Week: Stretch Your Legs and Get Healthy at Work

The office is a place where work gets done, but it’s also known as a sedentary lifestyle. Workplace wellness programs might be an $8 billion industry, but the effectiveness of these programs has yet to be determined. Let’s take a look at what kind of office wellness programs might work for you.

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You Can Benefit from Productivity Consultations

If you were to poll all the business owners in your general area, one point of contention they would all have is that their workforce investments stay static, while their returns are seemingly variable. A lot of the variance is tied to the fluctuations of staff productivity. Anyone who has paid someone else to do work understands that even if the jobs are all the same, people bring a fairly wide range of issues to work with them, and they can have troubling effects on the ability of a business to move forward. Today, we will take a look at the modern worker, their motivations, and how the right IT can work to leverage more consistency for your business.

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Tip of the Week: How to Improve Office Work

Working in an office is the reality for a lot of people, but it doesn’t need to be an unpleasant one. There are plenty of ways to make life easier while working in an office. Here, we’ll review five simple adjustments you can make to streamline your time throughout the workday.

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Fuel Productivity with Collaboration Tools

The modern perspective of productivity would not be possible without the use of collaboration tools. Some of them are so game changing that they can completely revolutionize the way you hold meetings, deal with clients, and manage in-house processes. We’ll discuss how you can implement collaboration tools that work for your business, as well as use them to overcome the many challenges you might face in a business environment.

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How Downtime Kills Productivity

Downtime is the enemy of the modern business, and it’s easy to see why. However, not all organizations have the foresight to imagine a scenario when their operations are impacted so badly that they simply cannot function. We’re here to share our knowledge of downtime, its effects, and what you can do to keep it from affecting your organization.

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What the Modern Worker Expects at His/Her Job

There aren’t many happier moments for a person than when they score their first big job. The opportunity to use the skills they have learned, and to pay off some of the debt that knowledge set them back, are two activities most people who are in this position relish. However, you can’t expect these opportunities to keep your employees around forever... you need to meet (and sometimes manage) their other expectations of the workplace.

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Inefficiency is a Business Killer

Inefficiency is not something that you plan for. It just happens. It happens when processes get too big, have too many moving parts, or are bogged down by excessive oversight. It happens when purposes for certain tasks change or are abandoned altogether. Other times efficiency has a different look to it and makes your optimistic projections look foolish. Whatever the reason, inefficiency is more the rule than the exception, and it’s costing your business plenty. This month, we take a look at what efficiency actually looks like and how to do your best to achieve it.

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Tip of the Week: Bring Your Own Device Policy Considerations

Bring Your Own Device is a hot trend in today’s business environment, as it creates a ton of opportunities for businesses to cut costs. However, this is only true if you implement a BYOD policy that your organization can take advantage of, as it creates considerable problems for your unprepared businesses.

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How to Avoid Business Complacency

As a business owner, you need to be able to see the fine line between being comfortable with your position and being dangerously complacent. Otherwise, you run the risk of hindering your business’ growth, or even actively sabotaging its success. Let’s review why this is.

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What Could Replace the Keyboard and Mouse?

We hope we aren’t dating ourselves too much by mentioning computer punch cards, but they were once the means of inputting data into a computing device… at least, until the now-ubiquitous mouse and keyboard came into the scene. This variety of interfacing with our devices now seems to be one of the few ways to practically use them. However, other interfaces have emerged - do any of them stand a chance of unseating the keyboard and mouse?

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