Simple Steps to Keeping Your Team Happy

Many businesses have always focused on the practice of motivating their employees outside of financial compensation. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in good or bad financial times though, because figuring out the leading methods for motivating your employees will always work to your benefit. The goal is to figure out what works for everyone on an individual basis.

The greatest way to do this is to begin with talking to your team on a regular basis. At FB Displays & Designs, Inc., we always keep an open dialogue. Due to the small size of our team, we have the opportunity to understand what motivates each other and positively reinforce those facets.

Through a combination of asking direct questions, listening and observing you’ll quickly begin to draw a picture in your mind of what it is that makes each employee tick.

Some of the questions you ask could be:

-What have you been most proud of here at work?

-How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

-Generally, what makes you happy?

-If there were anything you could change here, what would it be?

 -What would your ideal work environment be? 

Most people tend to fall into one of three categories:

APPLAUSE: This is the category for folks who seek recognition and praise given in either a public or private forum. This could be a letter of thanks, an award for good job performance or even just a “way to go” from time to time.

CHALLENGE: Some people feel the best motivator is knowing that their employer trusts them to accomplish bigger and more complex tasks. This could be as simple as empowering someone to re-design a company bulletin board or as forward as inviting them into a meeting of supervisors to ask for their input.

TIME: This category is for people who find their motivation outside of their work environment. This could be the occasional extension of a break or even time away from their job to spend with family and friends. It could also fall into the realm of comfort, where the individual has an opportunity to listen to music or work outside while completing projects.

Again, the best way to figure out what works best for your employees is by taking the time to find out. The effort you make may even be the best motivator you find. What are some methods that you use to motivate your team?

SOURCE: Nicole Donnely, HybridMom.com

Snap Out of It! Five Ways to Avoid the Afternoon Energy Slump

Most of us are probably familiar with the mid-afternoon energy slump. After spending your morning energetically tackling your workload, you find yourself crashing after lunch. Whether you feel sleepy, exhausted or just lethargic, here are five ways to keep up your energy levels throughout the afternoon.

Go Light on Lunch

The biggest cause of that sleepy feeling is overdoing it at lunch time. If you eat a huge mid-day meal, your body’s going to be putting its energy resources into digestion. Make sure you have a healthy breakfast to see you through the morning, and you won’t be starving when lunch time comes around. Try healthy food options such as a wholegrain turkey sandwich or a salad. Add a couple of pieces of fruit.

Drink Plenty of Water

Instead of automatically heading for the coffee machine when you feel an energy slump coming on, grab a glass of cool water instead. Drinking a lot of water during the workday will help keep you focused and energized. It really does a more efficient job of waking you up than coffee.

Eat a Healthy Snack

If you took the above advice to go light on lunch, you might start feeling a little hungry mid-afternoon. A healthy snack such as a piece of fruit, a yogurt, a granola bar or a few nuts will give you a sustained energy boost to see you through till home time.

Avoid sugary snacks, though: they’ll pick you up initially, but the slump will just be deeper once they’ve worn off.

Get Your Heart Pumping

If you find yourself falling asleep at your desk, get up and go for a brisk walk. It only needs to be five or ten minutes. Walk around the corridors if you can’t escape out into the fresh air as long as you’re getting your heart rate up.

In general, it’s a good idea not to stay sitting at your desk for more than an hour without getting up and having a quick break. If you tend to get backache or sore eyes after a day at the computer, this can really help. At the very least, do some desk stretches.

Focus on an Exciting Task

Finally, the cause of that afternoon slump is often partly psychological. If you’re working on something tedious, it’s very hard to approach it with much energy. If it’s possible, switch to something that engages and interests you when you feel your energy levels dipping. Rotating between two or three different tasks can actually increase your productivity. If you really do have to get through something dull however, focus on the end result – how you’ll feel to have accomplished it or what it’ll mean to your boss, team or clients.

These tips should allow you to pull yourself out of that mid-day slump and keep your productivity going until you leave at the end of the day. What ways do you keep yourself energized throughout the afternoon?

SOURCE: Ali Hale, DumbLittleMan.com

How to Make Your Next Show’s Installation & Dismantle a Breeze

1. Always arrive early

If the setup time begins at 3 PM, get to the show’s location 10 minutes early. Chances are, they’ll allow you to begin setting up your display ahead of time. If you’re unfamiliar with your company’s display or it’s your first time doing an installation, being early will give you the opportunity to setup at a comfortable pace. The other advantage of being punctual is if you run into the unfortunate instance that you forget an essential piece of your exhibit. This extra time will allow you a chance to either return to your office and retrieve the missing piece or pay a quick visit to a local store that may sell the item you need.

2. Have all the show’s information on hand

While this is a given, it’s essential to have copies of all the show’s information including important contacts, addresses, setup times and directions as well as any other special instructions that may be relevant. If you’re unfamiliar with the display you’re setting up, bring along setup instructions as well.

3. Make sure to bring a Gang Box

A Gang-Box is basically a trade show survival kit. It’s always necessary to have one of these prepared and packed along side your exhibit before heading out to an event setup. For more in-depth information on gang boxes, you can read our article here. (www.displaysanddesigns.com/gangbox.asp)

4. Respect the exhibitors around you

This refers to everything from making sure your display cases aren’t blocking the aisle or interfering with the booth next to you, refraining from too much distractive chatter with other exhibitors or even setting up your display in a manner that interferes with your neighbors. Respect should also be given to the location as well. Don’t stand on chairs to set up your display. If your booth space comes with a table you don’t have space for, find a staff member and inform them instead of just shoving it somewhere.

5. Avoid an early dismantle

Wait until all attendees have left the show before taking down your display. If your staff is unable to work the entire show, take that into consideration before deciding to exhibit to prevent a trade show faux pas. Taking down a display prior to the end of a show can cause a few problems. Imagine if a highly interested prospect chose to wait and approach you until the end of a show. If you’re in the middle of taking down a display, not only are you unable to give that prospect complete attention, but you’re also conveying the image that your company isn’t willing to go the distance to do business. If you also start bringing out cases and taking down components while attendees are still walking the aisles, you risk creating obstacles for them. Wait until the show floor is clear before performing your dismantle.

Following these ideas will make your next show’s installation and dismantle much less of a hassle and leave you more time to focus on getting new leads and potential clients. If you have any other advice on setting up for a trade show, let us know! We would love to hear your ideas!

Scott Bykowicz is the Marketing Coordinator for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.


10 Strange Ways To Be Productive At Work

In any workplace, there’s always a blend of personalities amongst employees. For many, the common office presents itself as a work environment conducive to getting things done. However, there may be others that require alternative methods to help them become more productive at work. While these methods may be increasing productivity for the individual, some might consider them a bit strange or even extreme. To that end, here are some odd suggestions that may help you win the battle against workplace inefficiency…

Make Appointments with Yourself

Your boss might get a bit curious if he sees your calendar filled with meetings scheduled with yourself, but blocking your time is key to getting work done. Be bold and schedule meetings not only with yourself but also with your projects and tough tasks.

Don’t Check Your Email

What would happen if you turned off the email on your smart phone? What if you only checked your email in the morning, lunch, and close of the day? For some, this is a factor in raising their productivity.

Close Your Door

Close your door when you need uninterrupted time to work. I am sure some HR types are gasping at this one, but “Open Door Policies” are not about physical doors, rather they are about relationships.

Don’t Answer Your Phone

Your phone is there for your convenience. Not so that anyone (including a solicitor) can interrupt you any time of day. Don’t answer your phone when you are busy. If it’s important, they’ll leave a voicemail.

Clean Your Workspace

OK, this one may not sound that bizarre, but some will say that having a clean desk will make people think you are not busy. In reality, keeping a clean workspace will not only let you get more done, but will have others thinking you are doubly on top of your job.

Prepare For Your Day

This one will make others think you are dangerous. In fact, it will scare some of your co-workers. Most people walk into their day unprepared and simply “show up.” When you walk into that meeting with documents already reviewed and marked up, your co-workers will perk up in their seats.

Go Hide Somewhere

If your cubicle or office is not a productive place to work, then go hide out someplace quiet. Maybe a place where there is less traffic and noise. Many workers have their own productivity place that they go to when they need to concentrate on tough projects.

Over-Communicate

Too much can be too much. But, too little can be deadly. Make sure that you keep your boss aware of the status of projects and work. You want them to be ready to answer questions when asked, and be aware in advance of anything that may be a problem.

Start New Things

If you want to get things done, sometimes you have to be the initiator. Suggest new ideas whether they are new processes, procedures, or products. You never know if one of those ideas may end up being the flagship to growth for your company.

Stand Out

Companies also like normal. They like conformity. Sometimes you need to stand out to be recognized. I am not saying to wear fluorescent colors and bow ties, but dare to be different. After all, if everyone else is the same in their appearance, performance, and skills… well, you get the point.

Integrate some of these methods into your daily routine and see if they prove to be successful for you. There’s nothing wrong with trying something strange and who knows, you may increase your productivity at work!

SOURCE: Craig Jarrow, TimeManagementNinja.com

How to Handle the Ungracious Prospect

Writing a thought out proposal that will provide a beneficial solution to a prospect is quite the involved process. Putting a dollar value on something that will both solve this person’s troubles and fall within his or her parameters can be arduous, but all that legwork pays of when you can refer to that prospect as a client.

However, not all prospective clients will be rewarding to work with. You probably understand the frustration that goes along with the inconsiderate prospect – the person that requires you to put all your paying clients on hold to quote them when odds are, you’ll never here from them again after the quote is sent. As vexing as this sounds, you can make dealing with ungracious prospects a little less frustrating and time-consuming. Here are a few tips.

1. Weed out the tire-kickers

You’re always going to have clients that understand what quality is worth and those more concerned with spending the least amount of money. Don’t ever sell yourself short and compete on price to get business. It’s important to get a grasp of a prospect’s budget during your first consultation. This will help you get a better understanding of the best solution you can provide. It was also help you see if your prospect’s expectations are completely unrealistic.

2. Streamline the proposal-writing process

Create a system for writing your proposals in order to save yourself time. Make sure to track your hours on all projects so you can create a reference that will help you gauge how long future jobs will take.

3. Don’t give it away for free

Sometimes you’ll run into a prospect that will have an array of questions for you on standby before they’ve even approved the start of a project. Be careful not to give away too much free information. There’s nothing wrong with being polite and offering a few words of wisdom to build the prospect’s confidence to work with you, but make sure to know when to stop giving and start getting them to sign their approval.

4. Walk away gracefully

After you submit a proposal to a client, give them some breathing space before following up with a courtesy e-mail or phone call. Don’t bombard them with a cluster of anxious e-mails or voicemails either. Think of it like dating – you don’t want to sound desperate. Realize when it’s time to call off the chase and walk away gracefully. You’d be surprised how that kind of confidence can motivate a client to get back in touch with you.

Always remember to follow the same etiquette and standards in writing proposals for every prospective client. By taking the high road, you’re demonstrating a high level of customer service on behalf of your company. If the prospect declines your proposal, it’s not the end of the world. There are always plenty of fish in the sea. Best of luck with your future prospects!

SOURCE: MarketingProfs.com