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Forget B-School – Boil An Egg On An Offshore Oil Rig And Get $240,000 A Year

It was the cook who did it. After years of claim and counter claim that Australia was pricing itself out of the raw materials business, a pay claim which would see a cook on an offshore oil and gas rig paid $240,000 a year proved the point about out-of-control costs.

Even the Australian Resources Minister and lifetime union member, Gary Gray, declined to defend the high pay rates on resource projects, particularly offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments.

“We do have unreasonably wage demands in the LNG industry,” Gray told an oil and gas conference in Brisbane yesterday.

A former senior executive with the Australian oil and gas producer, Woodside Petroleum , Gray knows what he is talking about, but the fact that he said it is the real news because he is a member of a pro-labor government and some of his colleagues do not agree with him.

But, even the government’s staunchest defender of high union pay claims, the Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, had trouble maintaining his position when it was pointed out that the cook’s pay claim for working on the $34 billion Ichthys LNG project meant he would have a fatter pay packet than the Minister.

“A cook on an oil rig gets paid more money than Anthony Albanese, if he thinks that’s the way we remain internationally competitive he’s on his own,” said Opposition Resources spokesman, Ian Macfarlane.

The latest debate about pay rates occurred at the annual conference of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), where Gray was among friends and other speakers who picked up where he left off.

One of those was Peter Voser, retiring chief executive of the oil major Royal Dutch Shell , another was Roy Krzywosinski, managing director of Chevron Australia, the local arm the U.S. oil major, Chevron Corporation.

Krzywosinski said that while Australia was in the middle of an LNG-project building boom valued at $160 billion, high costs and high government approval hurdles meant that another $100 billion of LNG projects hung in the balance.

“Governments and industry must make changes now to capture the second wave of investment. There is an 18-to-24 month window in which to do so,” Krzywosinski said.

Voser focused on the need to improve tax policies and government regulation if Australia was to continue attracting investment in its resources sector.

The outlook for new projects in Australia has dimmed since growth in China, the country’s major customer for its exports of iron ore, coal and LNG, started to slow and internal costs exploded leading to the cancellation of a number of proposed developments, including the $40 billion Browse LNG project which has Woodside and Shell as its major investors.

With the cooling in proposed new resource investment has come a series of reality checks, including a sharp fall in the value of the Australian dollar, and a decline in the demand for labor

Forecasts of a shortage of skilled and unskilled workers had led to an international recruiting drive, but have more recently given way to a preference for local labor.

Even Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart, who had won approval to import up to 1,700 foreign workers for her $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore mine is now expected to recruit locally – though she will probably be offering pay rates well below the $240,000 demanded by the Ichthys cook.

 

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What Virtual Office Space Can do for Your Business

When starting a company, managing office space can be a challenge. However, with a virtual office, you can present a professional image without the expense of renting office space or the hassle of managing the space. Virtual office space provides a company with the illusion of a regular office for customers and vendors while allowing you the freedom of working from home.

Present a Professional Image

For many people who work from home, it can be challenging to have customers call on the home telephone to hear children talking in the background or the television blaring. A virtual office provides you with the ability to present a professional image to your customers and other business contacts you may need to community with regularly.

Many virtual offices often include professional voice mail or someone who answers telephone calls for you, a fax number and virtual office computer applications. Professional voice mail alone can create a professional image of someone who is a serious business person, running a legitimate business. Virtual office computer applications provide you with the ability to send and receive business communications in a confidential environment.

Hire Remote Staff

A virtual office can provide you with the ability to hire remote staff to assist you with running your business. Remote staff is a method of outsourcing business functions without the need to have them in an actual office. By outsourcing staff, you can save money and still have a professional and experienced staff of assistants to help you with many tasks. This allows you to work more efficiently and dedicate your energy to other aspects of your business, such as marketing, developing products or other activities.

Remote staff can perform a wide variety of functions, including administrative support, scheduling, sales calls, telemarketing, writing routine correspondence and writing followup emails. A virtual office provides you with the ability to route telephone calls to the appropriate person, even if they are not geographically located where you are at the moment. Your staff can also work from home, saving you money on office equipment and renting office space, along with other expenses.

Reduce Expenses

Maintaining an office is an expensive proposition, particularly in the early phase of a business. Office expenses can include more than just rent. It also includes utilities, office equipment, office supplies, staff and other related costs.

A virtual office allows you the ability to avoid most of the costs related to running an office, yet still provides you with the ability to present a professional image to the public. Generally, a virtual office is relatively inexpensive when compared to the cost of running a traditional office space. A virtual office is available around the clock, which can make it possible to market your company globally and have people from around the world contact you no matter what time it is.

A virtual office provides you with the ability to create a professional business without the related expenses. For many people, working from home gives them the freedom to work on their own schedule. However, presenting a professional business image creates legitimacy for your business. When compared to the expense of running a traditional office, a virtual office can save you money, even as you expand your business staff.

Lisa is a successful Entrepreneur from Brisbane, Australia. She has used virtual office services in many of her startup projects to give them a professional appearance in their early stages. When she has some spare time, Lisa like to go to the beach and go shopping with her friends.

 

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Print Design vs. Web Design – Which Channel is Best to Market Your Business

 

Both print and web design are important to the growth of a business today but prioritising one over the other is dependent on your business needs. Newspapers and magazines have had to adjust their methods of doing business as the internet has increased in popularity but they have not disappeared. However, you now can find online versions of newspapers called advertorials.

Targeting different customers

If you run your own business, it is important to invest in both: online (web) and offline (print). A website is open and available 24 hours a day to inform and possibly sell to your customers. However, not everyone may be looking for your business online. For example if you are a retailer and many of your customers are older than 50 or 60 (not being discriminatory), they may not be surfing the web and instead will be reading their local newspaper and therefore will see adverts placed by local businesses.

Print characteristics

Print design has certain characteristics, different to web.  The space is generally measured inches and the area can be anywhere from a business card to a street billboard.  It is important to have a bleed around each printing piece but the best part about print is the design will look the same to everyone who sees it.  Page layouts are static designs unlike on the web. Printing will be done in CMYK colours and all images will be in tiff and eps format.

Designing for the web

All images for the web will be in a different format to those for printing offline. They are in a jpeg, gif or png and tend to have a lower resolution than those for print, otherwise it may take too long to load the web page.  With web design, as the pages are more fluid and dynamic, you will need to ensure the site or graphic you are designing  looks good on all monitors and resolutions.  Colours are displayed in RGB, so check there is a CMYK equivalent so that you can use the same colour offline.

Staying within the budget

If you are small company and cannot afford to have two companies working on your web and print design, then you need to make sure what you have on your website can be easily translated into print.  It goes back to having good standard branding for your site. Your audience has to be able to recognise your logo clearly whether it is offline or on the web. If you are thinking about asking a web designer to handle all of your print work as well, be sure to look at the print samples before you sign off the work. Your website and print collateral represents you and your business.

There are many companies throughout Australia which offer photocopying services, business card and brochure printing.  For printing in Brisbane, visit your local printing company.

 

 

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How to Create a Great Office Space

Setting up your office isn’t just about getting a place, throwing in the workstations and setting up the telephone lines. Yes, the wiring and electrical fittings are important but utilizing the entire space properly is as important, if not more. The way an office is setup helps create the atmosphere within. From a casual work atmosphere to something that’s completely professional and business-like, the atmosphere can be controlled by what you put in that office and where.

So if you are planning to setup your office in Brisbane, then here are some ways to make it look inviting.

Location

When picking your location, for an office, in Brisbane, you need to consider the way the location will affect your staff’s performance. A long commute, to and from, will ensure that they are already tired before they reach the workplace. Making sure that the office is centrally located, giving everyone easy accessibility, is of prime importance.

When choosing the location, price also becomes a major factor. If you are planning to buy office space, then you might find it a massive one-time cost that has to be borne by your company. Instead, taking up space on lease is the best and quickest way to start off. Whether you buy or lease your space, you need to build it up and, that means, your budget must be able to handle both aspects.

The Air

Your organization’s values and principles are reflected by the way the interiors feel. There should be enough space for moving about and a lot of ventilation. Space gives everyone freedom to walk about, whether to other people’s desks or just to the other parts of the office. It also removes that sense of a constricted working environment that most offices suffer from.

An open space with a lot of light ensures that everyone’s minds stay fresh and a constructive mentality flows through the room. The location of the office is also important and if you haven’t picked one yet, then look for something that has, preferably, a nice view or big windows. The illusion of space that large windows create cannot be achieved in a closed office, even with wide-open spaces within.

Cubicles

In general, cubicles are about 8 x 8 feet in size. If you feel that there is a lot of space wastage, a minor modification to, say, 6 x 8 feet can create more space and still give employees enough room to work in. Every department needs to have its own space and individuality, which helps differentiate it from the rest. By partitioning the office space into smaller cubicles, you allow for more cubicles to be added in, as well as create more room in the aisles to separate sections of the office.

Plants

When you get an office space, you are likely to get an air conditioning system that also purifies the air. However, adding in plants always gives you that added air-cleaning device, one that also makes the office look good. Most offices have dull carpets or walls, with cubicles and pillars also built along the same parameters. Find some great locations to keep potted plants, big and small, and break up the monotony of the colours and give your office some freshness.

Setting up an office is something that most companies tend to look superficially at. To get the best out of any employee, creating an atmosphere conducive to work is of utmost importance. Whether you are a design firm, an investment bank or even an aged care home in Brisbane, you need to ensure that the environment encourages your employees to come in and give their best every single day.

PRESTON MATHEW – author

Preston is an interior designer who specializes in space management for offices and homes around Brisbane. Having studied about the effects of energy and space efficiency and how the average office can do much more with they have, Preston went on a crusade to help organizations use their office space better. From creating space to improving their heating/cooling bills, Preston has helped many banks, small businesses and homes for aged care, in Brisbane, in their bid to attain maximum efficiency from their floor plans.

 

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