Comfort at the Workplace – Strategies and Tips

 

 

Comfort at the Workplace – Strategies and Tips

Groshan Fabiola – July2017

As this generation is slowly being replaced, a new work culture is taking over. Younger, tech-savvy employees demand the improvement of working conditions and to their help come a series of HR studies showing the link between comfort and productivity.

Far from being a trend or a luxury, employee comfort is becoming an attribute of the modern workplace, one that can boost satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. With that in mind, every informed business owner wishing to keep up with modern workplace requirements should understand the influence that comfort has and take measures to increase it in a cost-effective manner.

 

The connection between productivity and comfort

Some building managers and business owners postpone comfort improvements because they lack the funds and they choose to spend their available money somewhere else. However, employee comfort is far from being inefficient. Although it does require an investment, it pays off. Neglecting it has the opposite effect; when they work in an unpleasant and uncomfortable place, employees are distracted. They cannot focus on doing their job, as they are focusing instead on what bothers them. Whether it’s a poorly ventilated room or a dirty office, discomfort can lower their productivity and, as a result, waste money in the long run. Needless to say, it can lead to absenteeism and employees who are unsatisfied with work conditions will eventually quit. On the other hand, making an effort to increase comfort will influence staff loyalty and boost their morale.

 

How pleasant is the building design?

People go to great lengths to improve their home design and make the living place more welcoming and comfortable. The same principles should be applied to the workplace. If the building is not properly designed, the staff will be in a bad mood and they won’t be able to perform. When assessing the productivity levels of their staff, managers should determine whether certain flaws in the building design have a negative influence.

For example, if employees have to work all day in very small offices or if the rooms are empty expect for an office, then it’s normal for them to be affected and perform poorly. To boost morale levels, managers should add more personality to the building by placing a few decorations, repainting the walls or refurbishing the floors.

 

The importance of break areas

Depending on company policy, employees either have a few minutes of break every hour or one full hour to get their meal. During these minutes, it’s important that they feel like they’re in a comfortable space, not a cold and impersonal environment. Setting up break areas is a great way of making the workplace more enjoyable and allowing staff to relax. These spaces don’t have to cost a lot of money. If you’re on a budget, you can set up a room with a TV, a comfy sofa and some bean bags. For buildings that have access to an outdoor space, creating a green corner is a good idea. In case the budget allows you, you can create something even better and get inspiration from some of the world’s largest companies. For example, Uber has nap rooms for their employees, Google offers shower rooms and bars and Microsoft break areas include multiplayer games to promote team spirit.

 

Cleaning should never be skipped

Investing in decorations and high-end break areas will not make a huge difference if you do not cover the basics of comfort: cleanliness. Every respectable company should have a contract with a commercial cleaning service in order to provide a safe and clean space for their employees. After all, the staff should focus on their work and should not have to worry about how much dust is on their desks or the questionable smell coming from the bathroom. No matter where your offices are located, commercial cleaning services are an absolute must. Working in a dirty space not only influences the mood and productivity levels of the staff, but also poses health risks and may cause workplace accidents. For example, if people work in an area with persistent mold, they can develop respiratory conditions and this makes you liable as an employer.

 

Details that can make a difference

Sometimes, even a building with a friendly design and good air quality can become stressful and, in that case, managers can work on a few details to increase comfort:

  • New chairs – spending eight hours a day sitting in a chair with poor lumbar support cause lower back pain and increase the risk of other conditions later on, according to research. If you have the budget for office upgrades, then new ergonomic chairs should be included on the list.
  • Temperature – the office should have a thermostat and workers should be able to change the temperature as they see fit. In seasons when temperatures hit extremes, heating and air conditioning units should be available.
  • Lighting – employees should have as much access as possible to natural sunlight. If not, artificial lighting should mimic sunlight and not put a strain on the eyes.
  • Uniforms – in companies where wearing a uniform is compulsory, managers should try to make the clothes as comfortable as possible, so that employees can move freely.

5 Things that are In Store for SEO in 2013 and Beyond

16 Jan 2013 – Matthew Ellis – Featured –

PoD_SEO_2013

2011 and 2012 have been incredibly important years in the world of search engine optimization and for search design trends in general. In an effort to make the web closer to something semantic and highly responsive to the real needs of human readers, Google has performed some major overhauls to the way it ranks the websites it has indexed by its web crawlers.

These overhauls will be ongoing and will continue to develop further in 2013; creating a web popularity landscape that depends not just on classical SEO tactics but also numerous other factors involving social media, website design and friendliness to the latest browsing systems such as mobile web viewing.

Let’s go over some of these key trends that will almost certainly be really big in this new year.

 

1. Humanized Ranking Metrics

With Google’s repeated massively damaging blows to black hat SEO during all of 2011 and 2012, the days of effective link farming, content stuffing, keyword stuffing and other “nefarious” optimization tactics that don’t actually reflect site popularity are over. This trend will only continue and whatever black hat optimization tricks that are still working for some sites will only continue to deteriorate in their effectiveness.

Instead, Google is steadily working its way towards creating a more humanized ranking index that, in addition to reflecting other metrics which we’ll soon get to, also takes a lot of its value analysis from real time social media and human user metrics of actual popularity amongst readers.

The end result is expected to be a more “real time” search results profile for queries and an increasing amount of weight given to data collected from Twitter, Facebook, other social platforms and, of course, Google’s own array of social media tools. An important aspect of this will involve site owners connecting their content to each of these social platforms and also integrating themselves more with Google’s own network of content tracking. (despite the obvious bias in Google’s favor here)

 

2. Quality over Quantity

This almost certain 2013 trend is great news for a lot of content weary bloggers and site owners. Instead of giving heavy emphasis to massively content stuffed websites, Google and other search engines will continue to focus more on ensuring that their best ranked content is judged more by its quality, relevancy and freshness.

Updates like some of Panda’s iterations were a particularly good demonstration of this and played a part in giving precedence to sites whose content was most relevant and valuable for a given search, even if the sites themselves were not major content producers like some competitors might have been.

Based on this trend, site administrators should work towards really filling information needs with high quality posts without rushing to fill out as much new content as they can as quickly as possible.

 

3. Mobile Search

The mobile browsing landscape is only continuing to grow and soon it will completely overtake conventional web search. This means that adapting to the technical and practical details of this changing environment is a crucial step for SEO conscious site owners in 2013.

Speaking on a purely technical level, more emphasis has to be given to making websites more mobile friendly and designing them so that they are fully responsive not only to different PC browsers and screen sizes but also to thousands of different mobile platforms, from tablets to a whole array of smart phone types and operating systems.

Additionally, from other optimization standpoints, work to get your sites and their content more oriented towards mobile friendly content delivery. This could mean post design, text layout and presentation media such as video or audio

Another interesting feature of this emerging mobile search trend is the fact that a lot more of it takes place through a complex series of social network connections, bringing us to our next point.

 

4. Increasing Social Media Importance

We already partly covered the incredible importance of social media weight in our first major trend point, but it bears mentioning in more detail.

In 2013, you will absolutely need to develop your website’s social platform presence and integration as much as possible.

As more and more of the data about what’s trending on their platforms gets collected by social media sites, more of it will also become available for review by Google. This in turn will make such metrics more important in deciding search rank value. Ultimately Google is working to provide the most human relevant search experience possible to its users and the fundamentally human guided nature of social media popularity makes it a vital base of information for Google to achieve its goal.

Help this process along as much as possible by developing your popularity in the social media platforms and building up a base of dedicated fans that keep coming back to and repeatedly sharing what you have to offer further down the social chain. Not only will this eventually improve your essential human ranking value in the new search landscape, it will also achieve the vital site popularity building step of making you less dependent on search rank and SEO for the long run.

In essence, by developing a fan base at least partly through your social presence, you’ll be forcing the search engines to pay attention to you. Another way of looking at this is that building a deep human popularity amongst many fans and other influential websites will create a domain authority for your pages that no search engine can ignore.

Additionally, bear in mind practical technical steps that will improve your social media friendliness; things like creating multiple profiles across several popular media platforms, connecting them fully to your website through social media buttons and making it easy for people to log on through their Facebook or other social networking accounts.

 

5. Conversion Rate Optimization

However Google works, it has to also pay attention to reality on the digital ground. In terms of CRO, this has an enormous potential importance for 2013 because it means that a major factor in higher ranking may soon be how well sites get visitors to perform useful actions.

In essence, while many sites may have numerous visitors, the ones that optimize their pages for the best human engagement are those that actually get the readers not only to visit but also do things like buy products, click more links or opt in to a mailing list with their email addresses.

Since successfully doing all this is an obvious indicator that people are getting real personal value from a website, it’s very likely that Google will pay more attention to it in 2013.

For your own site, focus as much as possible on delivering high quality and getting maximal action or purchase conversion rates from whatever visitors you do have. Doing this is even more important than focusing on raw visitor numbers.

5 Minute Guide to Using Instagram for Business

Nell Terry – Featured

It seems like the world of social media has been awash with buzz over its latest darling – Instagram. The trendy photo editing and sharing site has taken hold of the 18 – 24 crowd, and it currently boasts more than 80 million users. That’s precisely the reason Facebook acquired the social network so greedily a few months back. Keeping their enemies closer, you know?

Any time a social networking site catches fire with such quickness, marketers scramble to follow the crowd in an attempt to capitalize on the fad before it fizzles out in favor of the next big thing.

Instagram is a social network that’s definitely hit, its stride. The company is in full-peak mode, which is why online businesses are desperately attempting to figure out how to harness the platform to promote their business. And, hey, in my opinion, as long as we’re not talking about spam, scams, or get-rich-quick schemes, what’s the harm in online mom-and-pop shops and the big guns alike getting in on the action to pad their bottom line?

If you fit this description and you want in on the action, then read on to uncover how you can use Instagram to boost your business before users flock to another edgy platform that you’ll need to learn how to use (yet again).

Set Up Your Account and Get Your Web Profile

To begin, you’ll need to install Instagram’s free app on your mobile device. Once you’ve done that, register a new account for your business. From there, you’ll be able to upload company photos and use a variety of filter effects to enhance the images you select.

Then, you can share your company’s pics with fans in their photo stream. But that’s only the beginning. Instagram has recently introduced what it calls “Profiles on the Web,” and they’re a dynamite way to show off your brand as well as the photos you share on the platform. These new profiles are slick indeed, and they come, complete with a rotating carousel of your company’s most recently shared pics located directly above your profile picture and company bio. Here’s a little sample of the format in action:

Image:

Source: Instagram Blog

When you set up your profile and create a web page for your account, you open the door to a fantastic tool for growth. For example, you can add a “Follow Me on Instagram” button to your company website or to your other social media accounts and link it all to your Instagram profile on the Web. Instagram users can surf through your content, leave comments, like your images, and start following your company right from their Web browser – no smartphone required (although they can use that too)!

Your profile will also include an easily memorable URL. To view your company’s spot on the Web, visit instagram.com/[username]. It’s that easy. The official Instagram blog gives the example of Nike. If you want to check out Nike’s profile, you’d type instagram.com/nike into your browser’s address bar and you’d land on Nike’s Instagram page on the ‘net.

In this era of online marketing, social media integration is vitally important. You must streamline your online persona and brand your business on the Web so people will recognize your company’s identity across platforms. Interlinking social media networks can be a real pain, but it’s worth it in the long run. Further, sharing your content across multiple platforms will maximize exposure exponentially.

Instagram has tried to ease this pain for companies recently. It has added a way for you to share your Instagram content on Twitter seamlessly. Even if your usernames are different for each site, you can now share content between them both. When you share your pics to Twitter, Instagram will now translate @mentions if your Twitter username and Instagram username are different.

You must make sure to connect the two platforms so each has the appropriate permissions set for sharing. Once you’ve done this, your Instagram username will show up in the photo caption of your tweet, and your Twitter username will, of course, still appear as the author of the tweet itself.

Tips for Using Instagram for Your Business

Once you’re properly set up for sharing and you’ve added some cool pictures of your company and products, it’s time to take things to the next level. If you are a product-based business, use Instagram to create a (free!) online catalog of sorts for your fans to browse through, and comment on at their leisure.

Another great use for Instagram is demonstrating how to use the products you sell. Sometimes people need a little help with visualization, and if you show your fans how they can improve some problem they’re facing by using your product, then it’s a win-win situation.

According to the official Instagram business blog, many bigger companies have launched full-scale campaigns in which they invite users to submit their own content. This has paid dividends as far as social shares and exposure goes – Tiffany & Co., the infamous jeweler, has launched a campaign inviting people to submit pictures of love situations and finish quotes the company starts to prompt user participation. Once you’ve gained enough fans, try out a similar tactic to increase engagement for your own brand.

Behind the scenes photo series sets are also a hot trend for businesses on Instagram these days. Think about reality shows – people like to see the inner workings, things they’re not privy to under normal circumstances. If you go public with interesting shots of people working at your company or allow a look into an industry event, for instance, you may gain shares from curious users who want to find out more.

Starting a dialogue is the best way to get fans fired up about your brand, simply because people like to be heard and have their opinions taken seriously. Use the platform to learn how to better your business through user feedback, and you’ll find fans come to you – and they’ll do it organically.