10.01
2020

How to Create Company Culture With a Remote Team

Company culture. Historically, it has always been a major component of any place of business. But as the concept of remote, or dispersed, workforces continues to gain in popularity, it begs the question: How does one cultivate that culture when so many members of their team are rarely in the same room at the same time?

When it comes to managing a remote team, it’s important that you keep those scattered team members front of mind so they don’t begin to feel neglected or as though they aren’t truly a part of the group. Even though they may not always be physically present, there are a few steps you can take to help maintain a healthy company culture and keep everyone involved.

Create a Culture Code
When everybody works in the same office, it doesn’t take long for newcomers to pick up on what behaviors are and aren’t acceptable. But the same can’t be said for remote workers. Particularly if these are people interacting with customers or clients, it’s important to create an official guide that highlights the company’s values, along with how they’re expected to behave when engaging in official company business.

Write it Down, Send it Out
It can be easy to forget that, while information spreads around the average office quickly by word of mouth, remote employees don’t have that same luxury. Distributing regular written communications that keep everyone in the know is a simple way to rectify this. As new, important developments arise, include this information in a weekly email (or internal message board … whatever works best for you), so everyone is as up to date as possible.

Check in Regularly
In the office, you’re bound to routinely run into your team, so it’s easy to have a quick catch-up and get updated on things. But with remote employees, those chance encounters don’t happen. Instead, book periodic check-ins; this keeps you in the loop with what they’re up to, and it keeps them feeling like a part of the team. You can even take a step further and arrange for monthly video conferences that bring the whole workforce together for a group update.

Keep Everyone Connected
Besides email and phone, how are your employees able to regularly stay in touch? Giving them access to a digital chat tool, where they can shoot off messages in real time and get responses from anyone who happens to be listening/reading, can help everyone feel more a part of the team. Services like Slack, which is particularly beneficial for its chat room–style feature, can serve as a virtual watercooler of sorts.

Schedule Face-to-Face Time
At the end of the day, nothing beats good old fashioned in-person interaction. Depending on the size of your company and your budget, the frequency of these encounters can be monthly, quarterly, or even annually. The point is: Bringing everyone together in the same room helps remote employees connect with their colleagues on a level that emails and even video chat doesn’t allow.

With just a few extra steps taken, even the most widely dispersed team of mobile workers can still develop and maintain a company culture that works for everyone involved and leaves no one feeling excluded.

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13.12
2019

Tips for Making Professional New Year’s Resolutions

As the year’s end approaches, it’s time to reflect on our successes, as well as the things we feel we could have done better. This is true on both a personal level and from a business perspective. It’s something that we do here at Actsoft, and it contributes greatly to our ability to move forward in our mission to help businesses be their very best. And it’s something we think every successful business owner should do as well.

Whether you call them New Year’s Resolutions or just business goals, as the curtain closes on 2019 and we prepare to usher in 2020, it’s important to have well-defined goals. Here are some suggestions.

Meet on a weekly basis to discuss business plans.
Operating off the cuff is almost never the way to go. Rather than wait to meet every month, quarter, or year, make it a point to meet more frequently to review what is currently working and what may need to be modified. Beyond the potential financial savings, it also assures that everyone remains in the loop.

Learn a new skill.
You may be great at what you do, but the moment you decide there’s no need to continue learning and growing is when you begin to stagnate. It could be discovering a new way of managing your team or even discovering a new hobby. The latter may sound odd, but having a healthy work-life balance can directly impact your ability to lead.

Start networking more.
Maybe you rely fully on word-of-mouth references for new jobs. A lot of businesses see tremendous success in that way. But try linking up with folks at a networking event. Not only could such experiences result in new business, but they could also lead to partnerships or new business ideas. If there are none in your area, you could start out by actually engaging with that pile of LinkedIn connections you’ve been collecting over the years.

Organize a volunteer outing.
Your community is the reason your business exists, so consider taking a day to give back to them. Invite your team to join you in volunteering your time to help any organization in need. You could even consider being a mentor to aspiring young entrepreneurs. Not only will you feel great in giving back, but it could also end up proving to be good business PR.

Learn to move on.
Are you following business practices that aren’t necessarily the best, simply because they’re the way it’s always been done? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” isn’t always the best practice in the business world. Use the new year as a catalyst for change all the way down to the fundamental ways you run your business. Chances are, there are plenty of processes that could stand to be revisited and improved.

Review the way you spend your time.
What does your day-to-day look like? Are you maximizing your time? Try cataloging exactly what you’re doing — and how much time everything takes — every day for two weeks. Review it all at the end and see if you’re actually making the most of your day. You may learn, for example, that you spend an excessive amount of time in meetings and decide you can eliminate (or consolidate) some to make room for more actionable activity.

This year, make it a goal to learn from the past to plan for an even brighter future.

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06.12
2019

How to Help Your Employees Avoid Holiday Stress

This time of year can be stressful for everyone. As the temperatures continue to drop and the holidays draw ever closer, there are myriad factors — both inside and outside the workplace — that can really lay on the pressure, cause tensions to rise, and negatively affect job performances across the board. This is the time when people stress out about things like finances, increased production expectations due to seasonal vacations, and even the trepidatious road conditions they’re constantly faced with.

As an employer, it’s in your best interest to do whatever you can to facilitate productivity at your company. One of the best ways to do this is to keep your employees happy and as stress-free as possible. Here, a few simple extra steps you can take to help make this happen.

Schedule time off well in advance.
When the holidays roll around, it’s not ideal to have last-minute time-off requests. Your employees may feel extra pressure if they suddenly discover they’re needed to help out due to unplanned PTO. During this notoriously busy vacation time, it makes sense to require that employees submit requests ahead of time. You’re left with plenty of time to schedule accordingly, and your team has time to mentally prepare for busy days.

Schedule an event.
A holiday-related celebration for employees gives them something to look forward to; a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. If business demands allow for it, hosting during regular office hours makes it even more appealing.

Provide food.
It’s a small gesture, but it goes a long way. Buying lunch for the team on an especially busy day — and making sure they have some work-free time to enjoy it — can be a gesture that prevents someone from reaching their breaking point.

Ease up the dress code.
If you have a stringent dress code — and interaction with clients allows for it — loosen up some of the rules this time of year. You’d be surprised at how much a simple thing like wearing jeans can do to boost morale.

Think about deadlines.
Not everything has a hard deadline, so if there’s a project that can be pushed back or expedited, let your team know. Give them the flexibility to work at an efficient pace. And try not to assign big projects that require a last-minute scramble. Personal lives are exceptionally busy as well this time of year, so the simple act of being mindful of deadlines in relation to the approaching holidays can make all the difference.

Give them the gift of efficiency.
Our suite of tools helps make any workplace a much more efficient place to be, lifting a lot of the stressors that can bog your team down. With features that help manage workloads — especially beneficial during this busy holiday season — and make tedious processes more expeditious, Encore can help your team accomplish more while feeling less overwhelmed.

It’s the little things that can make a big difference in the moment. But it’s the long-term planning, such as using an effective solution like Encore, that makes a huge, lasting difference. Happy holidays!

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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10.07
2019

Talent Is Not the Key to Success

You might be surprised by what is. In a word: organization. The ability to assemble a variety of moving parts in such a way that they work efficiently is the key to any company’s success — whether you own an accounting firm or doughnut shop. Understanding and managing the flow of daily operations can save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars. And with today’s user-friendly technology, more and more people are adopting software solutions to help them streamline their processes and manage employee activities, meetings, appointments, and projects.

“Time management isn’t just a personal productivity issue over which companies have no control. It has increasingly become an organizational issue whose root causes are deeply embedded in corporate structures and cultures,” says Aaron De Smet in McKinsey Quarterly, speaking on the necessity of sound time management throughout a company’s internal structure.

From Forbes to the Wall Street Journal to week-long trainings and seminars, there are countless articles citing top organizational applications while managers across the country attend high-ticket conferences on, you got it: How to get organized.

Actosft’s suite of solutions helps to optimize daily performance through a wide range of functions designed to make each minute count. They were also designed to help employees reduce the amount of busy work they do so that areas like innovation, customer service, and critical thinking–oriented issues can take precedence.

Features of these two solutions include meaningful ways to tackle some of the most common communication and administrative tasks of most companies and organizations, such as:

  • Instant Visibility View your entire workload and status updates for each job, assignment, stop, or project.
  • Drag-and-Drop Dispatching Assign work simply with a drag-and-drop interface and workers will be notified with each update.
  • No Lost Paperwork Attach Wireless Forms to orders and collect job updates, inventory utilized, before and after pictures, and signatures.
  • Calendars and Scheduling Sync workforce availability with customer schedules.
  • Detailed Profiles Create detailed profiles of your customers and employees while having complete access to current workload and job history.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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05.06
2019

Can Eliminating Clutter Make Your Workforce Better?

According to scientists at Princeton University, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.”

Results of a study conducted by researchers at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published in The Journal of Neuroscience concluded that clutter may restrict one’s attention, the ability to process information and the ability to focus on a task.

The report reads: “Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.”

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other physiological measurement tools, researchers were able to observe the brains’ responses while they were performing tasks in both a cluttered and uncluttered environment. The results were clear, showing that if you want to function at your highest level, be most efficient, and complete tasks accurately and thoroughly, then a de-cluttered space is the optimal environment.

How can offices around the world use this research to create a more productive environment? One way is to get rid of unnecessary paper, tablets, notebooks, and calendars in favor of software solutions. Aaah … your desk feels better already.

Imagine a dispatcher using notebooks to keep track of drivers’ phone numbers, schedules, vehicles, deliveries, and more. It’s easy to visualize a desk overflowing with clutter. By cutting through this mess of papers, binders, and calendars, you’ll foster a space that allows your team to get their work done smoothly.

Smart, reliable, inexpensive, and — most importantly — clutter-free tools like those found in our suite of tools are ideal alternatives to messy paperwork. Plus, your team can communicate in near real-time, making dispatching, scheduling, and delivering an orderly process.

Features you’ll love:

  • Create recurring schedules for work to auto-generate assignments to be dispatched directly to your workers.
  • Automatically send new order notifications, inform customers that a worker is on the way, and provide proof of delivery/work completion, including signature and pictures.
  • Make changes with ease. Order sequencing allows you to add new jobs to existing schedules or make adjustments on the fly. Simply drag orders up or down to rearrange as needed. Workers will receive notifications and schedules will instantly reflect changes.
  • Easily see the schedules and availability of your workforce, with calendars to see scheduled work for your employees and customers.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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10.05
2019

6 Tips for Going Green at Work

As a business owner, making a conscious effort to incorporate eco-friendly decisions into day-to-day operations has a ton of benefits, outside of the obvious positive environmental impact. In addition, it’s a good look (i.e. it makes for great PR) for any company, which in turn is excellent for business. Plus, most times cutting out unnecessary waste requires little effort (other than a different way of thinking), while simultaneously saving you money.

If you want to take the plunge but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few helpful tips to get you going.

Put it in your mission statement.
Make it official, so it’s no surprise to anyone. When adhering to as many eco-friendly practices as possible is a part of your company’s official plan of action, it’s a draw for like-minded employees, which means it’s a lot easier getting your whole team on board.

Replace your lights.
Energy efficient LEDs cost a little more than your average bulb, but they last a heck of a lot longer and use significantly less energy.

Support local vendors.
If you’re a small business yourself, you know the importance of people showing you their support. When you do the same, you aren’t just increasing the potential for taking advantage of a word-of-mouth marketing strategy; supporting local vendors also contributes to a reduced carbon footprint, since many don’t have to rely on long-haul transportation.

Eliminate disposable products.
Do you have an office kitchen that’s fully stocked with disposable plates, cups, and plasticware? Make the switch to reusable. It may require a slightly more expensive up-front cost, but you’ll be saving money in the long haul.

Make better printing choices.
While we like to help companies drastically reduce paper waste (see below), we know that it’s difficult (if not impossible) to completely eliminate. When you do need to print something out, just make sure to print on both sides of the paper whenever possible.

Enlist the help of Actsoft’s solutions.
You may not realize it, but just by considering Actsoft to help manage your mobile workforce, you’re taking a step toward becoming more eco-friendly. How? Our solutions focus on helping you increase efficiency while cutting costs, and a number of our methods also help you reduce your carbon footprint while doing this. Our fleet management techniques focus on maximizing routes, cutting unnecessary idling, and adhering to safer driving speeds, all of which help you scale back your emissions. Eliminating the need to require each employee to come into the office just to punch in further scales back emissions. Making the switch from paper to digital forms (besides creating far more manageable “paperwork”) dramatically reduces the amount of paper waste you create.

So what do you say? Let’s start saving the planet (and money).

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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03.05
2019

7 Office Etiquette Tips

Some say proper etiquette is a lost art. While we may not be embracing the over-the-top refinement of the days of yore today, there will always be a need for basic manners. And that holds true while at work. We’re calling the following list office etiquette tips, but the reality is, they’re useful no matter where it is you go to work. Because when you keep simple tips like these in mind, you make the workplace more enjoyable for everyone around you.

Don’t interrupt.
We get it. You have something really important to add to the conversation. But not only is it rude to cut people off when they’re in the middle of speaking, you’re also sending the message that what they’re saying is unimportant. (Or, in the least, less important than what you have to say.) Learn to hold your tongue and speak up when there’s an appropriate break in the conversation.

Be punctual.
Nobody likes to be kept waiting needlessly. It’s a waste of their time, plus — especially if you are notoriously tardy — it’s a signal that you feel other people’s time isn’t as precious as your own. (Are you seeing a pattern here? Nonverbal cues are important in the workplace.) If you are late, apologize right out the gate. But don’t let it become a habit. The last thing you want is for your colleagues to anticipate that you will inevitably be late for any meeting.

Silence that phone.
Speaking of meetings, a phone’s ringer loudly going off in the middle of a meeting is the professional equivalent to one going off in a crowded movie theater. So keep your phone on silent whenever you’re in a meeting. In fact, you may even consider leaving it that way — or at least on vibrate — for the duration of the workday … if you’re in an office, at least.

Share the credit.
Who doesn’t love the feeling of praise at the completion of a job well done? But amid basking in all that glory, don’t forget to share the wealth (if applicable) and give a shout-out to anyone that played a role in helping out.

Work with others.
In order to share the credit, you have to be willing to work well with others. Of course, sometimes one-off projects are easy enough to do solo. But more often than not, anyone can benefit from at least some input from their colleagues. You’re a team, so take advantage of each other’s strengths. In the end, it’s going to result in a strong performance overall.

If you’re sick … stay home.
We’ve discussed this at length before, but it always warrants a reminder. Nothing is more respectful than putting the health of your coworkers first. If you think the office will come to a screeching halt because you’re out (it won’t), imagine how bad it actually would be if you came in, spread your germs, and a handful of people had to stay home.

Welcome new employees.
You don’t have to be the welcome wagon and official tour guide, but the first day at a new job — regardless of how old you are — can be a little unnerving for people. Extend basic courtesies and help make them feel like less of an outcast as they transition into their new work environment.

Simple enough, right? Just keep these in mind and you’ll start to see a huge difference in your workplace.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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24.04
2019

The Benefits of Spring Cleaning

If cleanliness is next to godliness, then the changeover from winter to spring is a very important time of year. Spring cleaning gives us all a chance for a fresh start. Organizing your home or office can give you a blissful feeling.

Not only does organization free up space and create a good feeling; being organized can also improve productivity. According to the Small Business Chron, having structure in a company can lead to how efficiently it runs. Communication is especially key to fostering creativity and growth in a working environment.

Literal organization and cleanliness are huge, too. It’s proven that eliminating clutter can make your workforce better. A study conducted by researchers at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute concluded that working in an environment with disorder negatively affects focus and workflow. This means a messy office riddled with paperwork and work orders is a nightmare for companies looking to run a smooth operation.

At Actsoft we know of a way to get rid of the clutter and improve efficiency: consolidation. We’re not all neat freaks who have everything alphabetized and organized by size, shape, color, and date. But with Wireless Forms, you can turn all of those paper forms into an electronic form that can be accessed from a mobile device, filled out with ease, sent back and forth from employees to management, and stored without the need for a room full of filing cabinets.

Wireless Forms is a slick solution that is easy to use. Simply use its web-based form generator to create an online version of existing forms, send them to employees, and then save space, trees, and money by cutting out the paper. Wireless Forms is perfect for replacing work orders. They can also be used to keep inventory and make receipts for customers. Plus it comes with a reporting feature to let companies keep track of vital company information.

Spring cleaning allows us a fresh start to the new year; to leap forward and head in the right direction in 2015. Don’t miss the opportunity to make your business more efficient and organized. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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19.04
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.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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12.04
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.

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