04.19
2019

7 Tips for Being Successful

Success is the ultimate goal in life. No matter the endeavor you pursue, the ultimate goal at the end of the day is to be successful in whatever it is you’re doing. No journey is without its fair share of bumps (or potholes) along its path, but through any trials and tribulations, the end goal is always the same: thwart failure and achieve success.

There are plenty of paths you can take along your journey to success and, while outcomes for everyone may vary, there are certain patterns of behavior followed by those who are (almost) universally regarded as successful in the business world. Deciding to follow these may be the key to guiding you along a similar road while avoiding as many obstacles as possible.

Become a problem solver.
It’s one thing to be able to identify problems. Anyone can do that, really. It takes an adept, forward-thinking leader to craft a working solution to these issues.

Speak up.
Being a wallflower never helped anyone get ahead. When opportunities to speak up arise, take hold of them and speak your mind. Engage in conversations with your colleagues and, in doing so, you demonstrate to everyone that you have something to contribute and you have the gumption to put it out there.

Focus on results.
Rather than just calling attention to actions you’ve taken, take heed of the actual benefits that came about as a result. Don’t oversimplify your endeavors with blanket statements. Instead, home in on any measurable effects that you were directly responsible for (e.g. cost savings).

Commit to learning.
It doesn’t matter how far you’ve come in life. There is always room to learn more. Education is a lifelong commitment, and the most successful people know this and constantly strive to consume more knowledge or learn a new skill.

Own your mistakes.
Nobody is perfect. Once you not only accept that you’re bound to make mistakes (and plenty of them), but that you embrace those missteps as learning experiences, you’ll be leagues ahead of those who would rather feign perfection.

Learn to say no.
Sure, you may think it’s a good look agreeing to help whenever someone reaches out, but there are a couple of problems with this. You run the risk of stretching yourself too thin and not being able to follow through with your commitments. and because of this, you may fast find yourself losing focus on the bigger picture, failing to complete major tasks that are ultimately much more important.

Never stop.
When you reach a goal you set for yourself, even if that goal seemed so out of reach at the start of your journey, that doesn’t mean you’re done. Truly successful people use each major milestone as a jumping-off point to begin the trek to the next level.

Success is achievable by anyone who has the drive and determination to continue pushing toward it. Keeping these tips in mind just may help you get there a little bit faster.

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04.12
2019

5 Tips for Efficient Telecommuting

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that some (if not all) of your team is at least partially mobile. Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more commonplace for industries of all types to make the shift from traditional office-style environments to those that are mobile friendly. For some, this consists of a crew of telecommuters who are able to successfully execute their responsibilities from satellite locations (wherein that satellite may very well be a home office). For others, the nature of their work requires them to be largely in the field, whether it’s drumming up new business or servicing customers’ needs.

As a manager, it’s your task to oversee these employees and help keep them on track. Luckily for you, the solutions provided by our software help ease the stress that inherently comes with this type of responsibility, by giving you detailed insight into their daily work-related activity through a slew of tools like GPS Tracking, Wireless Forms, and Timekeeping.

These tools are extremely helpful to your remote staff as well, allowing them to cut precious minutes from their tasks, enabling them to take on even more responsibility. But on top of these tools, it’s also important to make sure your remote employees have all the resources they need to effectively manage themselves when they don’t frequent the home office very often … or at all. The following tips will help your team take on the day full-throttle, no matter where they are.

Create a workspace.
Sure, the benefit of working from home means that you can, theoretically, meander from room to room at your leisure. But carving out a dedicated workspace helps you get in the right headspace to start off a productive day of work, and it helps keep you organized. Plus, it sends the message to others (e.g. your family) that you’re “at work” and that you need to focus.

Keep regular hours.
You may think one of the biggest perks about working at home is having more of a fluid schedule. But what happens if someone else on your team needs something, reaches out, and you’re M.I.A.? It’s not a good look. Instead, make sure you keep the same hours as everyone else and if something comes up and your schedule needs to change, make sure the right people know.

Get dressed.
This one may sound a little odd but think about it. If you’re a telecommuter, it may be overwhelmingly tempting to spend your days comfortably lounging around your home in your favorite pair of cozy pajamas while you plug away. We’re not saying you have to put on a three-piece suit, here. But sticking to a normal routine — one that includes ditching your PJs and getting dressed for work in the morning — puts you in the right frame of mind to get the day started.

Check in regularly.
You know the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t let that be the case for you. Yes, your management team has access to insights related to your daily activity, but you still want to make known your presence and progress in whatever projects are on your plate. Schedule regular times to either call or email managers (and even colleagues) with updates. It reinforces the message that, while you may not be seen, you’re still hard at work.

Make time for face-to-face interaction.
If you’re reasonably close enough to a physical home office (or have the option to fly), make an effort to put in some face time when you can. For those you don’t interact with frequently, it reminds them of your presence. More importantly, it gives you that in-person connection with colleagues that you can’t really get, even with video calls. Use these opportunities to discuss current projects, brainstorm new ideas, and solidify relationships on a more personal level.

Working remotely certainly requires an entirely different approach than the traditional office setting. But with a few adjustments (and a much-needed boost from our software), you’ll see your team’s productivity reach entirely new limits.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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04.05
2019

How to Improve Teamwork

We’ve discussed at length various topics that play integral roles in contributing to a more positive, effective, and efficient workforce. Today, we’re taking a look at another important variable that is absolutely essential to the success of your company: teamwork.

Think of your company as a single machine. A machine is composed of a lot of moving parts. In order for that machine to properly function, each of the moving parts must successfully perform its designated task in tandem with all of the other parts, which are simultaneously fulfilling their functions. If even one part malfunctions, the whole machine begins to break down.

Likewise, you need your crew to work together in order to keep the machine that is your company pushing ahead. Without that symbiosis, you’ll eventually come to a standstill. Keeping that in mind, following these tips will help facilitate an increase of teamwork among your staff.

Encourage casual socializing.
Okay, we get it. Not everyone is going to want to meet up to hang with their colleagues outside of business hours. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with ways for your staff to get to know each other on a more personal level. Organizing off-site team-building activities or planning company-wide (or department-wide, depending on the size of your company) lunches can be excellent opportunities for your crew to get to know each other outside of the confines of their work-related to-do lists. This type of interpersonal bonding oftentimes carries over into day-to-day office life and helps increase trust and respect.

Clearly designate roles.
Even if you’re a relaxed sort of person and want that reflected in the way you run your office, it’s essential to have a definitive outline of everyone’s roles and responsibilities. It’s virtually impossible to expect your team to work together if it’s unclear what each person is ultimately supposed to do. You’ll either end up with a lot of confused staff members or you may even find yourself with one or two people that are disproportionately delegating tasks to others, creating animosity that can easily begin to run rampant.

Set realistic, tangible goals.
Give your team something real to work toward. Despite the fact that everyone has different job responsibilities, if you let them know that the company has a specific goal to reach and that they all play a role in helping the company reach it, there’s ultimately no choice but to work together in order to cross the finish line. Anyone that wants to be successful in their own position will quickly realize their success is dependent on the company’s success, and the company’s success necessitates collaboration among all parties involved.

Resist the urge to micro-manage.
Perhaps you’re the type that always wants to make sure everything is in perfect order. Likely, that acute attention to detail contributed to your path toward entrepreneurship. But when it comes to day-to-day operations, you have to put your faith in the team you put together, trust that they have the company’s (and your) best interest at heart, and resist the urge to interfere. Without you interjecting yourself into every step of the process, employees feel that level of trust increase and also become more empowered to collaborate with each other on ways to best get the job done and further prove their value to you.

Lead by example.
This is probably the most important rule on the entire list. You can’t expect that your staff will be encouraged to work symbiotically if you’re not doing the same. Sure, you’re the big boss, but you’re also the most vested in the success of the company, so it’s your responsibility to work with your team to make sure business is running smoothly, voices are being heard, and that your role in the company is seen by everyone. Most importantly, this delivers the message that you’re not just the person at the top delegating orders to everyone else; it reminds them that you’re all a part of the same team.

With just a few simple adjustments, your team will start to naturally develop better teamwork habits that will ultimately contribute to the continued success and growth of your company.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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03.29
2019

How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

When is the last time you shut yourself off? The last time you really shut yourself off? And by this we mean, at the end of a long day at work — whether you’re in the back office or out in the field — you truly just left work behind. When you packed up for the weekend, you resisted the pressing urge to check your emails. Or when you booked that much-anticipated vacation, you closed your inbox and trusted in your team to get the job done while you’re away enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Think long and hard. More likely than not, you’re hard-pressed to remember when this happened. Or at least when it happened consistently.

Today we have an increasingly difficult time separating ourselves from work. There are a lot of reasons for this, but technology plays a huge role. We’re all so connected, it’s easier than ever to stay involved no matter where you are or what time of day it is.

At Actsoft, it’s our mission to streamline your company’s processes to help transform it into the best, most efficient, well-oiled machine it can be. And we do that through our cutting-edge software that, in part, keeps you connected to your team from anywhere on the globe. This technology can make vast improvements to your bottom line and productivity goals and, though it can keep you connected at all times, we also see the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

The beauty of our software is that it also allows other team members the opportunity to actively manage the same day-to-day activities you can keep tabs on. Plus, everything is logged in the system — not to mention, you can set up reports to run on just about everything you can imagine — so all of that information will be there for you when you log back into the system.

All that being said, if you find that maintaining a healthy work-life balance isn’t exactly your strongest suit, we have some tips that can introduce a little equilibrium into your routine.

Create a schedule.
List out all the things you need/want to accomplish each week. This includes work/meetings, exercise, family time, etc. Schedule everything into your calendar, starting with the high-priority items first. (And yes, even throw some quiet downtime into the mix.) Commit to keeping this schedule just as you would when you confirm meetings for work.

Find shorter alternatives.
We get it. Things come up. Let’s say you make it a goal to enjoy one relaxing meal with friends each week, but you become bogged down with an exceptionally busy couple of days at the office. Try to make time for quick drinks or a coffee date, instead. It’ll take a little less time, but at least you’ll still be able to decompress.

Just say no.
Establishing a healthy work-life balance doesn’t mean you need to fill up your calendar with things to do with other people. Alone time plays a big part in this as well. So even if your schedule is open one night, don’t feel obligated to say yes if a friend or coworker asks you to go out somewhere. It’s perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to decline in lieu of a quiet night at home.

Pick a time to leave and stick to it.
It can be easier said than done, but sometimes speaking a thing out loud helps make it actually happen. Early on in the day, decide on your target departure time and make it known. (e.g. “I need to leave at 6 today so if you need anything from me, please reach out by 4.” This helps commit you to actually leaving on time, and ideally, it means your colleagues will respect that hard stop time.

Manage your workday efficiently.
It can be difficult to set aside time for leisure if you aren’t making the most of your workday. Are you so inundated with meetings that you can’t focus on actual work until you get home? Whittle away the number of meetings you attend. Delegate to others and then simply have quick updates sent to you. Find ways that allow you to maximize your daytime hours so you can take back the weeknights and weekends.

Trust in others.
Perhaps one of the most important things to remind yourself is that, even if you’re the owner of a business, it’s perfectly fine to leave most of the day-to-day operations in the hands of your very capable staff. You chose them for a reason, so have faith that they’ll keep your business running smoothly when you’re not there.

With just a few changes, you can truly transform your entire routine. Starting off by introducing our waste-eliminating software is a great first step. With its ability to refine your daily operations and automate once-lengthy processes, you’ll fast be on your way to a much more manageable schedule.

The rest is up to you.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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03.22
2019

How to Stay Happy at Work

Did you realize that the majority of adults will spend one-third of their lives at work? This isn’t limited to just the United States. That’s the average for around the entire world. Since we spend so much of our time contributing to the success of the companies we work for, doesn’t it make sense to put forth the effort to make that experience an enjoyable one?

Rather than just passively going through the motions day in and out, there are a few steps you can take to help keep yourself happy while at work. Just as staying on top of even the most seemingly minor details is essential to doing any job safely, efficiently, and effectively, making small efforts here and there can drastically affect your outlook each time you clock in for the day.

Love what you do.
It almost goes without saying — but we’re saying it anyway — that when you have a passion for your job, whether you’re in the field or holding down the fort back at the office, you are inherently happier. Work feels like less of a chore and more like you’re working toward a personal goal.

Stay organized.
This may not seem like it would rank high on the list of things that keep a person happy at work, but think about it. Unnecessary clutter, discombobulated inboxes, and a general feeling of chaos permeating your workspace can make each moment utterly stressful. We’ve spoken about the importance of keeping organized before. By minimizing the disorder, you’re able to accomplish tasks faster, keep on track, and it also helps eliminate the constant worry that comes when you’re so frazzled, it’s impossible to maintain any peace of mind.

Personalize your space.
If you work in a setting where you have your own dedicated space, bring in some personal effects to make that otherwise uninspired workspace a little homier. This could be a couple of photos or just some décor that helps transform your corner of the office into something more comfortable, welcoming, and inviting.

Leave personal drama at home.
We get it. Everyone has a life outside of work. And that life often has its own sets of real problems that can come up. While it can be difficult (or sometimes impossible) to completely forget about your worries, it’s important not to let them keep you bogged down while at work. It’s sort of like how you do your best to leave work behind when you go home, except the other way around.

Keep active.
It might seem like weird advice when it comes to the workplace, but if you have a particularly sedentary job, it’s important to get up and move around from time to time. Get that blood flowing. Any form of exercise, even if it’s just a lap or two around the office a couple of times a day, releases endorphins which directly contribute to feelings to happiness.

Take vacations.
More than half of all Americans threw away vacation days in 2017. Reasons for the lack of use vary from feelings of guilt to anxiety about work piling up while away. But any healthy work environment actively encourages everyone to use their allotted time. Taking regular breaks from work — breaks in which you are truly disconnected from the happenings of the office — are important to your mental wellbeing. Going on vacation recharges you and improves both your mood in the office and your job performance.

Going to work is a fact of life that is unavoidable for most of us. But by taking a few extra steps to change your approach, you can help to shape it into something that you truly enjoy doing each and every day.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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03.15
2019

How to Manage Difficult Behavior at Work

Let’s face it. No matter what we all would like to believe about the place we work, there is bound to be conflict in the office. It might be clashing of strong personalities with starkly different viewpoints on how things should be done or (unfortunately) the occasional worker who is consistently at odds with others. When these types of issues rise up among staff, it’s up to you to redirect them to a more amicable path.

We’ve discussed how to approach conflict in the past from a management perspective, but what happens when the issue at hand lies with steadily difficult behavior, rather than one-off instances that can be resolved and moved on from? What do you do when faced with a team member who repeatedly presents off-putting behavior that negatively impacts others?

Now, your inclination may be to resort to swiftly eliminating the problem. While termination can certainly be one solution, it shouldn’t necessarily be the go-to method. For starters, the so-called difficult person may otherwise be a tremendous asset to your company. Additionally, they may not even realize that their behavior is creating discord.

At the same time, it’s still important to be on top of this type of conflict, particularly when it’s consistent, because dissonance among your staff not only produces unpleasant working conditions (even for those not directly involved), but it also is a catalyst for sub-par performance, which affects your bottom line.

Since we’re all about helping you maximize your workforce’s potential in order to make your business as smooth-running and profitable as possible, we thought we’d pass along some advice for how best to approach these types of sensitive situations.

Listen to them.
Let’s say someone is consistently negative; it can put a real damper on the mood. Though we all may want to focus on the positive, it’s important to hear this person out. They could very well have a legitimate complaint and feel that nobody has listened to them. And so, it festers. Listen to them. Ask them questions. Determine if their negativity stems from a work-related issue that you may not have known about, but that needs to be addressed. If not, let them know how their negative attitude is adversely affecting the team and put them on a path toward more positive behavior.

Approach respectfully, not confrontationally.
There are certain behaviors that can truly be disruptive to the workplace. It may be something as simple as listening to music too loud, or it might be a more sensitive subject, like hygiene issues. Or maybe they’re dressing in a way you feel doesn’t best represent the company, though it may technically fall within the dress code. Whatever the issue may be, it’s best to address the person directly, though respectfully, and make sure there’s a clear understanding of adjustments that need to be made.

Put people on a path to success.
Difficult behavior can abruptly end a person’s career path within a certain business. Make sure the employee knows they have the opportunity to get back on track and truly pave a road to future success with the company … if they can successfully modify their day-to-day conduct. Ultimately, most people want to be successful and, more often than not, if they know they’re jeopardizing that, they’ll adjust to accommodate.

Don’t add fuel to the fire.
We know, sometimes it’s easier (and more fun) to be the type of boss that is super chummy with all your staff. While it’s great to have that type of rapport, there needs to be a line of separation at some point. If certain members of your team take to ragging on others for, say, the aforementioned disruptive behavior — particularly if they’re taking things too far — don’t join them. Your job isn’t to be an antagonist. Instead, nip that behavior in the bud before it gets out of hand, and then address the disruption.

At the end of the day, we all want the workplace — whether you’re in an office, constantly offsite, or a combination of the two — to be an enjoyable place to be. After all, it is where you spend a large chunk of your waking hours. We hope this can help.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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03.01
2019

5 Tips for Better Communication at Work

It doesn’t matter if ten percent of your workforce is in the field or if 100 percent of it is. One of the top attributes that contributes to the success or any business is clear and effective communication. Think about it for a minute. How can you expect to successfully deliver a product if the people responsible for its creation can’t even manage to maintain a dialogue that keeps everyone operating on the same page? (Hint: You can’t.)

With that in mind, we thought we’d offer a little advice on how to more effectively communicate with your team

Be crystal clear.
We get it. This seems like obvious non-advice but work with us here. More often than not, miscommunications happen because of gaps, left-out information, or even nonverbal cues that contradict the actual message being delivered. Make sure you are relaying all pertinent information, clearly and concisely. And if speaking in person, versus through an email, mind those facial expressions and gestures that could, say, suggest that you really don’t feel strongly about what you’re saying.

Listen to your team.
This is probably the most important tip of all. While it may not seem like a tip that necessarily involves you actually communicating with anyone, taking the time to listen to your staff — actually hearing what they have to say — sends an extremely powerful message. It’s one thing for an employer to speak about having an open-door policy and an entirely different matter to see it in action. Whether it’s office grievances or ideas for process improvement, let them not only be heard but show that you are listening. You can achieve this by repeating certain talking points back and asking questions.

Ask questions.
Like we mentioned above, asking questions helps to really demonstrate to your staff that you’re actually listening to them when they talk. But it also helps to clarify any confusion there may be, assuring that you are all on the same page. However, when asking questions, make sure not to veer off to another topic altogether. Stay focused on the subject at hand.

Approach conflict from all angles.
It’s almost impossible to avoid some sort of conflict amongst colleagues. No two minds work the same and, at one time or another, different viewpoints are going to clash. What matters is how conflicts are resolved. As a leader, be sure to hear both sides of the equation, keep an open mind, and don’t play favorites. It’s important to maintain a high level of diplomacy and help all parties involved come to some sort of resolution so everyone can move forward.

Avoid discussing divisive topics.
We’ve told you about the negative side of discussing politics in the workplace, but politics isn’t the only taboo topic of conversation at work. Bold statements about personal beliefs, such as religion, or even thoughts on hot-button topics in the news, like a highly controversial criminal trial, for example, can lead to heated debates that are best left outside of the office. The last thing you want is for unrelated personal viewpoints to get in the middle of people’s abilities to effectively do their jobs.

With a little finessing, anyone can mold themselves into a model communicator. It all comes down to being willing to put in the effort and make some changes that ultimately help the business as a whole move forward.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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02.08
2019

5 Tips for Staying Focused at Work

Do you find yourself at a loss when it comes to staying focused at work? Whether you’re in the field or back at the office, distractions abound. No matter where you set up shop, these distractions inhibit productivity and negatively affect your company’s bottom line. So what can be done to keep yourself and your team constantly moving along as efficiently as possible? We have a few tips that help keep us on track and (virtually) distraction-free.

Break down your goals.
Sometimes the lack of focus can stem from a feeling of being overwhelmed. Instead of focusing on the potentially daunting overall task at hand, break things down into smaller, easy-to-digest goals. Have a project to finish by end of the week? Set up a realistic plan for what you aim to accomplish each day in order to reach that final goal, and focus on the day’s agenda instead.

Break down your day.
In the same vein as the previous step, dividing your day into segments helps prevent the risk of the brain fatigue that can come with working on something nonstop. Even the most dedicated workers need to take periodic breaks. Without them, you’ll start to notice your focus dwindling … fast. Make a point to get up every 60–90 minutes to stretch your legs, go for a quick walk, or just get out for some fresh air.

Block out distractions.
Whether or not you realize it, little things — even as simple as the light sound of casual chatter in the background — can cause you to lose focus on the task at hand. If you find yourself constantly veering off track, figure out a way to counter this. It could be as simple as putting on a pair of headphones to maintain focus, or perhaps you’re better suited to finding a quiet corner to work in for certain parts of the day. Whatever the method, put up a buffer between yourself and the distraction.

Block out your schedule.
Are you frequently inundated with meeting requests that throw your plans for a loop? Even though meetings are a necessary part of work life, they can sometimes get in the way of productivity, especially if they’re so abundant you have little time to dedicate to important projects. Set up a specific block of time every day that makes you completely unavailable to calendar requests and use this time to plug away at whatever is top on your list.

Put away your phone.
Our smartphones have become as much of a burden as they have a godsend, particularly in the office. On the one hand, they make sure we’re always connected. But on the other hand, they … well, they make sure we’re always connected. So while you can access your important emails from anywhere, you can also pull up your favorite social network, text messages, or latest gaming addiction. When staying focused is imperative, try closing your phone in a drawer (with the ringer silenced), so you’re not even tempted by the tantalizing lure of a push notification. In the least, practice this method when the threat of an ever-approaching deadline is looming over you.

With just a few slight modifications to your behavior, you’ll start to notice huge changes in your overall focus and productivity, which can quickly translate into increased profits for your business.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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