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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Communication Hurdles To Overcome After A Corporate Disaster

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Imagine your company has experienced its biggest corporate crisis in years. An immediate blow to reputation, professionalism and financing, the long-term effects of disaster can be devastating, and may even spell the end for business.

In crisis situations, communications that recognise and address problems can minimise damage and resolve corporate nightmares, so should be a recovery priority. But remaining calm and communicative is easier said than done: there are many hurdles and actions which businesses must clear to redress the slip of disaster, rather than falling flat on their faces.

Hurdle 1: Remaining accessible and transparentClear communication should be an immediate damage limitations and recuperations response. So stating precisely what went wrong, accepting blame if relevant, heeding comments, and stating remedial procedures (enquiring, hiring and firing) is necessary for companies to remain accessible and approachable. It’s this honesty that reassures consumers, partners and staff, reaffirming their trust and loyalty, and re-establishing reputations. No matter the cause of the problem, or who/what’s to blame, communications must be transparent and above all clear. You don’t want to make matters worse by being misunderstood and causing further offence.

Hurdle 2: Acknowledging the problem and stating the remedy. Investigating exactly what went wrong/completing enquiries takes time, but communicative accessibility (as above) eases backlash. Clearly acknowledging the problem, admitting mistakes, accepting blame and apologising if necessary, in addition to stating reparations actions, proves professionalism. It is especially crucial in the case of legal or criminal crises. Treat all parties involved with respect and empathy, and when relevant, offer compensation to those eligible.

Hurdle 3: Knowing when to communicate, and what to say. The way a disaster’s handled depends on the nature of the problem. In most cases it’s wise to release a corporate statement/response addressing issues so the company account is on record. But knowing when not to communicate, containing information and judging when to respond to errors is just as important as honesty and accessibility. Before communicating at all, find out how much is known and what information should actually be broadcast. If nothing other than the basics are needed to quash rumour, simply repeat your statement of apology, explanation and resolve across multiple channels – it’s crucial it reaches your various audiences, and reaches them consistently.

Hurdle 4: Keeping PR (the media and the news) on-side. Especially linked to accessibility and transparency, media relations have the power to improve or worsen high profile corporate disasters. If well handled, positive media cooperation can help communicate official statements, circumvent hostility, and depending on the nature of the crisis may reaffirm reputations and professionalism in the public eye. To proactively communicate with the media, respond quickly, always give a  statement to prevent speculation (refusal to speak can be additionally damaging), don’t release more information than you need, and don’t be afraid to give simple ‘yes/no’ answers. If possible, find third party allies to support your statements and your media messages.

Lastly, dealing with the communications breakdown of a corporate crisis – from handling publicity to responding to multi-channel backlash (social media may be your biggest hurdle yet) – will not be an easy task. But through maintaining honest connectivity from start to end (and notifying closure and thanks to all involved after resolution), recovery and prevention of future error can be achieved and communicated with minimal damage.

Alastair is a writer and business blogger. He wrote this article for Communicaid a culture and business communication skills consultancy, which offers business english courses as part of its services.

 

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Some Of The World’s Most Secure Locations

FortKnoxBusinesses looking to hire security contractors and other guard services may want to check out some of these locations.  These spots have some of the tightest security in the world.  They need to, because they often contain property and technology that is incredibly valuable to both governments and corporations.  A business can learn a lot from the way that these locations control the flow of human traffic in and out of their buildings.  You’ll want to hire a security team that can provide you with services that mirror some of the techniques used by these agencies.

Area 51 airbase:

The infamous location of the supposed alien spaceships that crash landed nearby.  This place does live up to the hype in terms of security.  Only authorized personnel carrying specific identifying documents are allowed even near the gated perimeter of this airbase.  The reason being is that the U.S. military regularly uses this facility for top secret technological testing, including training new air force pilots on some top secret pieces of aviation.  Most speculate that this is one of the premier centers for stealth bomber practice runs, which would explain why it is so hard for even military personnel to get through the front gate.

Fort Knox Gold Reserve:

This is a familiar location to anyone who is a fan of the famous James Bond movie series.  This massive repository of the nation’s gold reserve is located only a few miles south of Louisville, Kentucky.  But most people don’t realize that the banking center at this location actually operates underground inside the facilities basement.  To even get through the front door of this bank, you’re going to have to get through a 250-ton vault door that can be closed and tightly sealed.  Of course there are plenty of armed guards patrolling the surface level at all times, and you can’t even get close to that without an explicit permit documenting your reasons for coming.

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD):

This facility is located near the town of Cheyenne, Wyoming.  It is actually located inside of a mountain, and continues down to several underground levels.  Built during the Cold War era, its explicit purpose was to provide a command center for the United States in the event of a nuclear war.  It was designed to withstand a direct impact from an ICBM carrying a nuclear warhead, and is still estimated today to be virtually indestructible.  Even though the Cold War is over, the center still functions for various national security purposes.  It also helps serve as a command and data center for many of the country’s space missions.  It is considered one of the most restrictive bases in the United States.

No matter what kind of organization or business you operate, you can always learn a thing or two from the pros.  Even though you may not have the resources for an underground bunker embedded within a mountain, you can still learn some of its lessons.  Think about hiring security that can set up an access perimeter.  This can control the number of people who can reach some of the sensitive data locations you have set up around your business.

Daniel utilizes guest posting as a useful resource for businesses like Unified Protective Services. He performs this within Los Angeles where he functions as a manager for an online promotion business. He looks forward to guest readers considering his Google account.

 

 

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How To Impress Clients With An Up-To-Date Office Workspace

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First impressions are everything.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
And so on…

These well-known adages reinforce the importance of creating a positive image of yourself (and business) right from the off. In an increasingly competitive market, you must look as professional as possible to secure business deals – remember: there will always be another company ready to take on a deal you can’t clinch. Transforming your office into a stylish, tidy, and polished space can improve important client relationships no end.

Read on to discover what improvements you can make to your office today and identify just how they can benefit your business.

Your Office as a Reflection of your Mind and Capabilities

Ever heard that saying that a tidy office equals a tidy mind? Walking into a well-organised and professional space is without a doubt the best first impression you can have of a potential business contact. Knowing that you’re capable of maintaining order in your surroundings creates a sense of responsibility and can go some way to reassuring a client you are reliable and will get the job done.

What Do Your Design Choices Say About You?

In terms of the décor, it’s said that less is always more. However, having blank walls with no personality can look very bland and corporate, even suggesting you lack imaginative flair. Conversely, extreme decorations or gaudy colour schemes aren’t going to work in your favour or create a relaxing business environment. Creating a balance of professionalism and creativity could just manage to seal the deal – bear that in mind when choosing your new office scheme.

Show Your Client Just What You Can Do

Having a well-kept workspace is all well and good, but often clients will want proof of your achievements before they contemplate doing business with you. Having displays of your work in your office not only demonstrates your capabilities, but also shows that you take a sense of pride in meeting customers’ needs and expectations – it goes without saying that this can only promote your business image.

Taking (Tolerable) Pride in Your Achievements

Showcasing any awards or accolades you have received over the years is also a good way of reinforcing a sense of trust and professionalism. That said, there is a fine line between being proud of your achievements in a positive sense and being slightly too cocky or distastefully arrogant. Being confident is in no way a negative trait but displaying accolades in such a fashion that you seem a tad showy is not going to reassure a prospective client that you will be easy to work with.

Create the Perfect Business Conference Room

Calm and professional discussions should always be the aim of a meeting; therefore it is essential to incorporate a quiet place for negotiations in your office. Trying to talk business in a hectic environment with employees running here, there, and everywhere is hardly the polished impression you wish to create. Similarly, there should be minimal distractions so that the focus of your potential client remains on you and the task in hand.

Not only can the perfect office space improve client relations but it also provides you with a clutter-free area in which to work in a calm environment – ideal when those everyday stresses start to get you down.

Organise your office and improve your chances of success – what are you waiting for?

Have you noticed that an impressive office has helped with client relations? Would you agree that a tidy workplace is so vital? Share your comments and opinions below!

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  •  License: Creative Commons image source

Jade is an enthusiastic freelance blogger who enjoys writing on topics including travel, languages and the world around her. She writes for Applied Workplace.

 

 

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10 Ways To Make A Creative Workspace

downton_abbey_3_300x225Research suggests that you will spend almost 12 years of your life in the workplace. Nothing could be worse than spending those long yeas chained to a boring desk in dull and bleak environment, without anything to inspire you or to inject a little enthusiasm. This is why more and more businesses are shifting towards a modern business model that creates luxurious creative workspaces, with the aim of generating a more relaxing atmosphere for their employees.

Open up your business

Many people wrongly take the view that creativity is solely for the more artistic industries, yet creativity is simply problem solving and can be applied to any business. However, it’s not just a case of making your business environments look creative, your business must also support a creative concept of being open. Open means accepting ideas no matter how ridiculous or outlandish they may seem, there is no such thing as a bad idea, just one that hasn’t had the opportunity to fully develop. Using an open culture allows you to find out what your employees are thinking and to explore ground that you may never have dared to tread. Open is also about removing barriers at all levels and not just removing tangible partitions, but also about eliminating ego’s and hierarchy to build approachable relationships with all staff regardless of their role.

Build your creative workspace

To get you underway in creating your open culture, here are 5 creative changes you can make to your physical working environment.

Theme your space

Themed workspaces are very popular and can be as simple or extravagant as you like Lenstore.co.uk have opted for a Victorian styleDownton Abbey’ theme, incorporating a Georgian fireplace and seven piece dining table.

Location

With many companies trying to push locations to the extreme, businesses are no longer fixed between four walls but extending to boats, buses and purpose built outdoor spaces.

Somewhere to get comfy

Whether its bean bags, deck chairs or hammocks, having somewhere to get comfortable and relax is very important. These comfort zones can be used to chill out and unwind or as Idea spaces to energize the creative process.

Unusual decor

No creative space would be complete without a random piece of decor. Some offices opt for strangely decorated animals such as ‘spider cow’ that resides at What if? Innovations. Others such choose to play with the concept of perspective, enlarging or shrinking objects, such as the giant Rubik’s cube that has crashed its way through the office ceiling at the BJL agency.

Bold and bright

Last but not least is the appliance of colour, and plenty of it. There is no reason why any workplace should be a cold and bland environment. You can add colour through plants, feature walls with murals, or even to the furniture. Why not have a bright red office chair or a funky green desk to brighten the place up.

Once you have your new bright and trendy office space with an open culture, you’ll find that employee morale and productivity will take care of themselves. Simply by maintaining a fresh and clutter free environment, you can create a workspace which will benefit everyone involved with your business.

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Adam Wray is a regular blogger and entrepreneur, when he’s away from his computer he enjoys visiting the galleries of London.

 

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Nobody in California Works Any More

IMG_1591I am so ready to move to the country.

With the interest rates low, the wife and I are thinking very seriously about purchasing a house it lower Washington State near Portland.  I’ve lived in California all my life, and in pretty sure I will miss the weather.

I can buy a Sun lamp.

We live in a cul De SAC,  a two bedroom unit in a triplex.  It might as well be an apartment building.  Nobody works in an office any more.  I can prove it, they are all out in the yards cause its nice out, but good freaking grief!

After my workout this lunch, I went to take some sun in the back patio.  First, there are currently three neighbors working on their homes.  One next door remodeling a bathroom, one across the street repairing to list the house, and another across the  street that has been having their front deck/patio worked on for the past 8 months.  No end in sight.

The next delight comes as the tenant next door opens her slider (literally 5 feet from my head) and takes 5 minutes to coax her new puppy to go potty.  Then the girlfriends next door, after parading up the driveway talking on their blue tooth for a half hour, somehow let their dog escape.  I had to wait a good ten minutes for Dylan to be captured and returned to captivity.  All of this, about 10 feet from me on the other side of the fence.

Forget the nap in the sunshine.

Oh did I mention that its garbage day?  We live in one of those special recycling zones where they have to send a separate truck to pick up the trash, recycling, and greens.

The afternoon holds forth a symphony of lawn blowers as no fewer than three separate gardeners take a total of about an hour and a half rotating internal combustion engines.  God forbid that they ever show up at the SAME FREAKING TIME !

I’m off to Starbucks where its actually relatively quiet.  Dreaming of Salmon Creek, right outside of Vancouver Washington.  Sunshine is highly over rated.

 

 

 

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6 Ways To Work Smarter, Not Harder

timthumbMany people today scurry from task to task, check emails every two minutes and make calls while walking. However, staying busy does not equal high productivity, and definitely not success. The key to high productivity is time management.

Believe it or not, there are really enough hours in a day for everything you’d like to do, but it requires a bit of organisation to find them. Here are six tips to help you get the most out of your day.

Do the most important tasks first

One golden rule of time management is to complete the most important tasks first. Every morning, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial and do them first. Once you have done them, your day has already been a success and you can move on to do other things. By doing this, you might even be able to finish something in advance and save some time for the next day. On top of all of these positives, it will also give you a sense of satisfaction which can really motivate you to do the same in the following days.

Be organized

Create an organizing system. Start by setting up a filing system for documents and make sure all items have a place to be stored. Clean your desk and drawers so that you can find what you are looking for immediately. Also, create a daily or weekly plan and make sure you always follow it. If you are working on several tasks at the same time, batch the related tasks together so that your mind can continue flowing within the current zone instead of switching unnecessarily to something that requires you to re-orient.

Focus what you are doing

There are always those few who seem to work no harder than anyone else, and yet constantly kick goals. The secret is always their focus. Concentrate on the task you are currently doing without being distracted by numerous other things – it will help you get things done quickly and then move to the next one.

Ensure you get enough sleep

Sleep at least seven or eight hours a day. Some people choose to sacrifice sleep as a way to hack productivity and wring a few more hours out of the day. However, you aren’t doing yourself any favours by doing this! People need seven to eight hours of sleep for their bodies and minds to function optimally. Follow the needs of your body and never underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep.

Get an early start

Nearly all of us are plagued by the impulse to procrastinate. Since you have to finish your task eventually, why leave it to the last minute? It feels much nicer and less stressful to get earlier start on something.

Once you have decided firmly to do something, start immediately and get it done before the deadline. You will see that you have created time to do something else – and who doesn’t want more time?

Be conscientious of TV/Internet/gaming time

Time flies really fast when you are watching TV or browsing Twitter, which can be one of the biggest drainers of productivity. Be aware of how much time you spend on these activities, set a schedule and stick to it. If you find it difficult to resist these temptations, consider locking yourself in a room while working, away from all the distractions. It might be extreme, but it works.

Yuan Liu is a freelancer who has recently taken a course on human resources management. She finds PayGlobal’s HR & Payroll software (HRIS) simplifies workforce management and provides a flexible HR solution – she will definitely use it in future.

 

 

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