They say that you can’t have it all.
But, quite frankly, what do they know, eh?
It’s fair enough to be cynical. We’ve been conditioned over time to live by the motto ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’. Remember being told by council bosses – as they announce news of millions of pounds of cuts and hundreds of staff redundancies – that bins will be emptied as often as before and that no services will suffer. ‘Yeah, course they will’, you cry in disbelief. Because as we all know, as the axe is wielded and the savings are made, quality is going to be affected.
But that’s not to say quality can’t be kept at a premium even with costs being cut. Bear with me so I can explain…
For every business there will always be a balancing act to contend with. On one hand there’s the need to keep costs low. The most successful entrepreneurs do not splash the cash at every turn without keeping a close eye on where every penny is spent.
Every day questions need to be asked: Do we need such a big workforce? Do we need to pay out for so many hours? Do we need to move into bigger premises? Wouldn’t it be cheaper in the short term to stick with the technology we’ve got?
And then there’s the other side of the scales to remember. It’s all well and good slashing the costs for a short-term boost. But at what cost in the long run?
Quite often in the workplace, ruthless cuts have signaled the start of the end. A short sharp boost in the bank balance is one thing, but when these savings are seeing you sacrificing on quality it is only going to lead to one thing: you waving goodbye to your customers and ultimately your business.
Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom. There really is technology on the market that can not only save the coffers, but actually allow you to utilise your workforce properly and therefore not only maintain the quality of output, but actually improve it.
Patented Auto Feed technology developed by Rexel in shredders has transformed the way businesses work. Forget thousands of pounds being spent on staff wasting hours using outdated manual shredders, or the high costs – and security issues – involved with outsourcing shredding. Auto Feed shredders are the future when it comes to cutting costs AND improving quality. Workers can simply stack in up to 850 sheets of paper in one go, shut the lid and voila! – they can then get on with the important work that your business depends on. Figures show that investing in Auto Feed shredders can cut costs by 65% and save 98% of current shredding time.
So there you have it – Cost cutting does not always mean sacrificing on quality. One simple step can mean having it all.
Ask yourself this – would you hand a thief your debit card and send him on his way with the P.I.N number or post a Tweet publicly declaring the passwords to your internet bank account for all to see?
‘Don’t be ridiculous’, I hear you holler!
But, sadly, it may not be quite as ridiculous as it sounds – with thousands of businesses opening themselves up to the risk of being targeted by predatory fraudsters every day.
Bank statements and important documents containing personal and confidential information are the mainstay ingredient in the packed-to-the-rafters cabinet drawers of every business or home office. They contain everything a criminal needs to open up bank accounts, obtain credit and commit fraud. And with the latest figures from fraud prevention agency Cifas revealing that the number of identity theft victims has risen by almost 31% to 3,058 in the first three months of 2015 alone, it’s time to act.
The solution is simple: shred everything! But even that comes with options – and choosing the wrong one could be costly.
Companies are quickly facing up to the reality that the outdated, time-consuming and extremely costly practice of manual shredding is yesterday’s news. Gone are the days of wasting the skills of a member of staff and paying out a full-time wage for them to stand for hours upon hours in front of a shredding machine, individually feeding it thousands of pieces of paper to destroy.
Instead many have decided to outsource shredding duties to an outside company. But at what possible cost? Outsourcing shredding is not only expensive, but also incredibly risky in terms of data protection when we are living in a time when identity theft is rampant in the UK.
Strangers are invited freely into your business premises, surrounded with important personnel files and confidential legal documents, to then leave with packs of paperwork containing confidential information to be shredded off site, resulting in you never being in complete control over the prying eyes that may stumble upon them once they’re gone.
The impact of identity fraud on a business, its employees and customers can be substantial. Too much information in the wrong hands can cost a business everything. For individuals or self-employed workers, the impact can be just as bad. Whenever an identity is lost, the results can be the inconvenience of a trashed credit rating and the long and difficult struggle to clear your name.
Step forward Auto Feed shredders with the solution. The benefits of investing in them to every business are huge. If you’re in any doubt, think of incredible savings on cost, reductions in wasted staff time, and taking back 100% control over the handling of important and confidential data.
Are your current shredding practices worth the cost of becoming a victim of identity fraud?
A wise man once said that a penny saved is a penny earned. And this is never truer than in business, where effective cost savings can mean the difference between success and failure.
So there you have it, spend the pennies in the right places and business glory awaits! Simple, eh? Well if it was, we’d all be driving around in Lamborghinis and holidaying in Monaco.
The truth is that some of the costs that go into running a business are fluid, making them difficult to monitor or control. As any boss knows, the biggest cost of doing business is often labour. With labour costs – including wages, benefits and payroll or other related taxes – accounting for up to 70% of total business costs, making savings where possible whilst keeping your workforce happy and productivity up is a no brainer.
In the face of rising costs, it’s no shock that companies are looking to reduce their spending with cost-cutting initiatives. Many are feeling the pressure to do more with less – less workers, fewer resources and less cash.
But there are simple ways to meet the labour cost issues head-on and make sure your business thrives. Here’s a few:
Review salaries and wages
In the words of singer Yazz: The only way is up! And that’s generally the case for salaries and wages, which tend to move upwardly even in changing markets and financial conditions. Pay schedules should be regularly reviewed to make sure they are in line with current trends, and not just hand out annual pay rises because it was the ‘norm’ back in the day. If your workers are taking home more than what would be paid for their jobs today then delay rises until the payroll is in line with current trends.
Reduce Employee Turnover
High employee turnover = excess costs. Fact! As well as the actual costs to your operation due to fees and salaries of those involved in recruitment, selection, employment and training of new employees, there’s even more indirect and ‘invisible’ costs to consider. A high employee turnover results in poor quality workmanship, longer production times, greater waste and greater oversight. If you want to be effective at cutting costs, maintaining a stable employee core is the key.
Train workers in different areas
Workers with a unique skill or licence can generally command premium pay in the marketplace. But being completely dependent on the skills of these specialists may also be affecting your ability to make changes in your operation. By cross-training staff your workforce will be able to perform a variety of operations, enabling you to make changes, including layoffs, without affecting your ability to deliver the goods to the customers.
Convert fixed Salaries and Wages into Commissions or fees
Instead of making workers redundant if times are tough, why not instead try converting their costs into an expense that is only paid when there is an accompanying revenue to your business. A salesman on a salary may be willing to accept a higher commission rate with lower guaranteed pay while others may accept well-paid contract work when it is available as opposed to a regular wage.
Automate to accumulate
Technology has improved enormously in recent years; it can handle more duties, it’s user-friendly, and it’s cost effective. Leverage your existing employees by using the most up-to-date tools to simplify and speed up their work. Paying workers to do non-critical manual tasks that take up hours of working time is not cost effective. Outsourcing duties is often suggested as a way to keep down costs, but with a small investment in the right technology and equipment, all duties can be kept safely and cheaply in-house while freeing up staff to do the important jobs. Figures show that installing Auto Feed shredders can lead to savings of 65% compared to current shredding costs, as well as saving the equivalent of hundreds of pounds per worker in productivity each year. Work smart, not hard!
Managing the costs starts from the top. Is your business as cost effective as it could be?
“Good grief, you look rough,” a work colleague muttered after another particularly dreadful and disheartening day in the office.
It was a charming observation – but sadly one that was 100% on the ball.
Feeling frazzled from the daily workplace treadmill had become something of the norm for not only myself but seemingly every other worker from every walk of life that I came into contact with.
After-work drinks that were formally fun affairs had turned into a miserly charade of down-in-the-dumps workers comparing who hated their jobs the most, and who looked the worst as a result. Nobody blinked an eye at the remarks because it’s apparently ok to comment on a friend’s ghastly appearance when said hideousness comes about as the result of a soul-destroying day in the office.
But the worst bit came when the communal moans came to an end, and our group of twenty-somethings in the prime of their work lives had no energy left to actually enjoy a slice of real life. Some were exhausted from a full throttle career that required super powers to succeed at, others were exhausted from the tedium of a boring slog of a job that had managed to seep out of the office and take the fun out of everything.
Shall I smarten up my appearance for a proper evening out? Some other time, maybe. Should I join a gym and start getting fit for the summer? What’s the point. Shall I make the effort to tidy the house and invite round friends? Nope, not this week, I just can’t be bothered.
In thousands of workplaces all across the country, and indeed the world, millions of workers are living the same tale – living the daily grind without really getting any work done. Some spend wasted hour upon wasted hour on laborious tasks that could be solved by investing in the right tools and technology while others run around attempting to juggle dozens of demands and orders.
Days, hours, minutes, even seconds are counted down and wished away by workers completely disillusioned with their jobs, most of them staff who have their skills and talents wasted on tedious tasks that drain them of motivation and inspiration.
But the sad fact is that work never truly stays in the office. If you’re unhappy and unproductive in the workplace, you can bet your home life will suffer too. Time to sort it out?
Picture this. Your workers are standing around, sipping cups of coffee, chatting happily away blissfully unaware of the endless tasks that need to get completed.
But you’re still happy to pay them, right? Hmmm…Of course not!
Obviously no boss worth their salt would pay workers who so obviously flaunt the rules and waste their work time. But ask yourself this, what if it’s actually your practices that are slashing your staff productivity? Are hours and hours of staff time being wasted with outdated equipment that is keeping your workers from doing their actual jobs? Is it time you looked at how your influence could get your workforce achieving far more?
It’s not enough for workers to simply have a job, office or company to work in and bag a cheque at the end the week. Whether it be large, small – or anything in between – every business should be driven by efficiency and achievement. An unmotivated workforce disillusioned by outdated policies and equipment they is an unhappy workforce – and an unproductive one at that.
If productivity slips, quite simply your business is going to suffer. So here’s some top tips to increase productivity:
1 – Encourage and reward your staff for their good work
Always have words of encouragement for hard-working staff to help them do even better. If a worker feels their efforts are going unnoticed then it won’t take long for them slow down or even look for a new job. And if your company can go the extra mile to show the most efficient workers how much they mean with material compliments, such as trips, meals or holidays, then even better!
2 – Spend less time talking and more time ‘doing’
We’ve all been there…sitting in a meeting to discuss the last meeting about the meeting before that. But this current trend of talking about results rather than letting your team get on and achieve them simply leads to precious productive time being lost. Meetings to share ideas don’t need to go on for hours. Keep them brief and give your staff more time to show what they’re made of.
3 – A happy workforce is an efficient workforce
No business needs a David Brent ‘crack-a-gag-a-minute’-style boss to keep the staff laughing every day, but the stats show that the best performing employee is the happy employee. Are the working conditions you provide up to scratch? Make sure your staff are happy. As well as working conditions make sure you devise ways of making the work seem interesting and challenging rather than boring.
4 – Encourage team work
Workplace productivity will increase if team work is encouraged as workers get together to share their thoughts and bounce ideas off each other. Singling out individual members of staff can isolate them from their colleagues and create divisions in your workforce when ultimately every business should be working in unison towards the same end goal.
5 – Get the best equipment that saves your staff time
Every workplace should be fitted out with the best machinery and devices to free up staff to deliver the best results in the minimum possible time. Efficient office equipment can save precious staff time that would otherwise have been wasted with unproductive work. Stats show that swapping the old-school manual shredders, which require individual sheets of paper to be fed into the machine, with Auto Feed shredders that take up to 750 sheets in every go, will save 98% of current shredding time and increase staff productivity. Invest in the best equipment and reap the rewards!
“Work smarter, not harder”, they say.
But as the working day passes in a blur of thankless tasks and demands, the old adage has become somewhat of a joke for the thousands of workers still chained to their desks as they watch the clock tick past home time.
Forced to labour through lunch, at evenings or even weekends to keep up with the ever-increasing load, work life for many has become an extension of the real thing.
But the worst bit is that all these hours of toil aren’t necessarily adding up to any productive work getting done. And that’s bad news for business.
With workers constantly fighting an endless barrage of emails, meetings, social media updates and conference calls, the workplace is becoming an increasingly fast and furious affair – with productivity sadly taking the back seat.
But despite the frantic exterior, staff asked to take on the never-ending stream of tedious tasks that are not challenging or motivational are suffering from boredom. Whether this is being asked to deal with outdated machinery and equipment that requires maximum work time for minimum results or act as a buffer for hundreds of daily emails, a bored workforce is an unproductive one.
A recent study into the working habits of office workers found that almost one quarter were ‘bored most of the time’ in their jobs, resulting in more stress, more absences and a desire to move to professional pastures new. The vast majority of workers say that being bored at work makes them lose concentration and more than half complain that hours spent on tedious tasks leads to mistakes being made. A small percentage even admitted turning to sabotage in a bid to stimulate themselves in the working environment.
Boredom affects work quality, productivity and efficiency – and the biggest cause is an undemanding work load filled with uninteresting and repetitive tasks.
The message to businesses is clear: Make sure staff are challenged in their roles and ensure outdated equipment is replaced with modern technology, like a Rexel Auto Feed Shredder that frees up staff from laborious and tedious tasks that zap the fun out of working. The simple fact is that productivity equals pounds.
Are uninspired workers hitting you in the pocket?
Identity theft is rampant in the U.K. and is increasing every year. In fact, Britons are at greater risk of identity theft than residents of any other nation in Europe. About one of every four U.K. residents has been a victim of identity fraud versus an average of 17 percent throughout all of Europe. One of the reasons for the pervasiveness of identity theft is that it’s a relatively easy crime to commit. All the thieves need to obtain is your name, address and date of birth, information they can get by simply rifling your trash (one of the reasons you should be sure to use a shredder on all important documents). They can also access that information through something as simple a phony email from your bank, a scam which has gotten a lot of traction in the U.K. in recent years. The results can be costly: victims of identity theft can lose money, have their credit destroyed and find it harder to apply for a mortgage or car loan.
The Need for Swift Action
If you are a victim of identity theft, you need to take immediate action to reduce your financial exposure. For example, you can cancel your credit cards, report the crime to the police, or contact CIFAS (the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service) to apply for protective registration.
But you can’t take action until you know that identity theft has occurred, so it’s important to recognise the warning signs. Here are 10 warning signs that you could be a victim of identity fraud.
1. Mistakes on bank or credit card statements: You should carefully review these statements every month looking for any unusual or unexpected transactions, like purchases you didn’t make.
2. Credit report mistakes: You should regularly request copies of your credit report. Look for new accounts which have been opened without your permission.
3. Your bank notifies you: Banks are responsible for protecting your personal data and will generally notify you of any suspicious withdrawals. Take the time to review any flagged transactions with your bank. In the U.K., Payment Services Regulations require banks to restore stolen money to your account unless they can prove you were negligent.
4. You get calls from debt collectors: If you’re delinquent in paying debts, debt collector calls are not necessarily a concern. If you’re not, this could be a sign that someone has incurred debts in your name.
5. You’ve lost important documents: If you lose your passport or driving licence, or if either of them have been stolen, you’re at risk of identity theft. Report any lost documents immediately to the police and to CIFAS.
6. Someone has applied for state benefits in your name: If you apply for benefits like disability or income support and learn that someone has already applied for that benefit in your name, it’s a sign that your personal information has probably been stolen.
7. Your credit score is strong but you can’t get a loan or credit card: You should check your credit score from time to time. If you have a good credit score but can’t get credit, chances are an identity theft has damaged your credit.
8. You don’t receive mail you should: If one of your monthly bank statements or utility bills is missing, it could mean someone has obtained your address and changed it to collect your personal information.
9. You receive mail you shouldn’t: You might receive credit cards you never applied for, or a notification from the post office that your mail is being forwarded. These are strong indications your identity has been compromised.
10. You receive bills for items you didn’t buy: If you get bills for furniture, appliances, or clothing you didn’t purchase, or for services you never used, you’ll know that someone has obtained and used your information to pay for these.
Identity fraud is a serious problem in the U.K., one that costs victims on average £1,076. Identity thieves can steal your money, damage your credit and set up phony accounts in your name. Your best protection is to remain vigilant and shred any document with personal details, look for the signs that a thief has obtained your personal information and take swift action to limit any losses.
There are countless ways in which businesses and consumers can get affected by identity theft and fraud. Poor business practices and inadequate security can lead businesses to a loss of clients, expensive fines and even liability suits. It simply isn’t possible for businesses to totally prevent identity fraud because of the human element involved. However, there are certain steps that you can take, and office products that can be used, to keep identity theft and fraud at a minimum. Here’s a bit of information about some of the best office products to prevent ID fraud.
The utilization of a top quality shredder for shredding purposes is highly recommended at work. Identity fraud is extremely common, and just taking the simple step of shredding can help make sure that your personal information is not going to be used fraudulently. It is best for businesses to shred important official documents, credit cards and personal client information that can leak personal data.
The Swingline LX20-30 Super Cross-Cut Jam Free Shredder is an economic solution for the entire office.
2. Security Envelopes
Envelopes are used rather commonly at all workplaces, but the thing with them is that anyone who wants to can easily see through them and eye its contents. This puts businesses at major risk of ID fraud. For this reason, it is vital that your employees use security envelopes instead. These are specialized envelopes that have a patterned tint that is typically printed on the inside. Mead security envelopes can be found at most major retailers and provide excellent security measures.
3. ID Theft Protection Rubber Stamps
ID theft protection rubber stamps are specialized stamps that have identity theft guards in place. These basically create a specific pattern that has the potential to hide every single bit of confidential information. This includes social security numbers, personal addresses and account numbers. ID theft protection rubber stamps are particularly meant to be used over bills, junk mail and bank statements. ACCO brands provides an assortment of ID theft prevention rubber stamps.
Strong security measures should be taken in any office to ensure important business, client and employee data is guarded from theft. The ACCO family of brands provides a full series of products to keep data safe.
More than 145 million eBay customers had their data stolen by cyber thieves in one of the largest hacks of all time. The thieves were able to to penetrate eBay’s user databases by obtaining the identity credentials of just three employees. This attack on eBay has drawn attention to the problem of identity theft and how important it is to secure confidential employee information. Protecting against identity theft is a serious issue for both businesses and consumers. According to a study produced by the U.S. Department of Justice, there are more than 11.5 million victims of identity fraud each year. Collectively, this amounts to a total financial loss of $21 billion. Much of this identity fraud can be avoided by taking preventive steps. Here are some of the ways to protect your business and customers from becoming victims of identity fraud. Train Employees In Identity Fraud Prevention Tricking employees into giving over confidential information is one of the most common ways of obtaining access to a business’ internal network. This technique is commonly referred to as “social engineering.” One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to provide identity fraud prevention training for your employees.
Retain Documents Until They Are Destroyed
It is tempting to dispose of documents and receipts as soon as possible, but this will make stealing your financial information much easier for identity thieves. When you are handed any documentation which contains financially sensitive information, keep it with you. Wait until the documents can be processed through a shredder before disposing of them.
Lock Up Your Mailbox
One of the most vulnerable areas for identity fraud is the mailbox. For fraudsters, the mailbox is a treasure trove of personal and financial information. One of the best ways of protecting against identity fraud is to make sure that it is securely locked.
Use A Shredder
One of the single best ways of protecting against identity theft is to use a high-quality shredder. To maximize your security, it is recommended that you use a cross-cut shredder. There have been situations where a straight shredder has left paper strips which could be reconstructed to provide access to sensitive information. Ideally, the cross shredder should produce particles which are no more 1 x 5 mm in size. The loss in confidence experienced by customers when a business like eBay is compromised can be incredibly damaging. Make sure that your business doesn’t become a victim of identity theft by securely disposing of all sensitive company information.
In an environment where keeping sensitive documents is continuously being compromised, it is important to have protocols in place that will alleviate ID fraud and document breaches. While training employees on how to handle important documents is a priority, businesses must use additional methods to ensure the safety and security of their information.
There are a number of office products on the market that can assist in helping secure confidential documents. Although technology has introduced a new level of protection, there should be manual procedures in place for those paper documents that cannot be electronically secured. Here are a few tips for keeping your business documents secure:
One of the most effective ways to ensure sensitive documents are completely destroyed is by shredding them. Employing procedures that include shredding documents, especially those of a financial nature, can help avoid data breaches and sharing employee information. Never take a chance by throwing these items into a wastebasket – the risk is too great.
When you have a number of similar documents on hand, stapling them together can be an effective method before placing them into a locked box or secure cabinet. Once you have properly classified your documents, stapling them will ensure some protection, but only if the documents will be placed in a secure location.
Many businesses use the notebook system and hole-punch documents. If this system is employed, make sure the notebooks are kept under lock and key, and are colour-coded to delineate what type of document can be found in which notebook.
Other protocols to follow:
• Make sure employees have accountability procedures in place to regulate who handles certain documents. This will help to pinpoint who is responsible in the event of data leaks.
• Always secure any sensitive documents. Do not leave them out on a desk or table, even if stepping away for a few minutes. Carelessness is not an option and could jeopardize the company in a major way.
• When confidential or important documents must be duplicated, have one person designated with the task. This helps with accountability and safety protocols.
Every business should have a manual that outlines all document protection protocols to follow, and each employee should sign to ensure everyone is on the same page. Being proactive and diligent in following the correct methods of document protection can save time and money while avoiding potential disasters.