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3 Tips for Choosing the Right Furniture & Office Layout to Create a Successful Call Center

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you are designing and furnishing your very first call center or revamping one you have managed or owned for years, then don’t take office furniture and layout choices lightly. The right office layout can help keep each and every employee performing at their best, minimize the chances of noise from one employee affecting another, and keep employees comfortable. Follow these three tips to building an efficient call center. 

1. Know Who Needs an Escape from an Open-office Setup

Many of the most successful call centers in the world are run in an open-office setup. An open office is simply an office where each employee does not have his or her own room with a door to work in. However, it may benefit you to provide a full office to employees assigned to different tasks that are best performed in solitude, such as supervisors and IT staff. 

If you have a supervisor that needs to make important decisions on the spot, such as when a customer  deserves a pricey refund for a service-gone-wrong or faulty product, then their decision-making process may be hindered by the distraction of being out in the open office with the other representatives. Many experts also believe that IT professionals work best in a quiet office, and your noisy call center may hinder their ability to perform important tasks efficiently. 

If you simply don’t have room in your office to provide separate spaces for supervisors and IT staff, then placing them in an area that is as far away from the rest of your workers as possible in high-wall cubicles can help give them the solitude they need to concentrate and make tough decisions. 

2. Choose Your Employee Seating Arrangement and Workstations Wisely

Once you have decided where to put other miscellaneous workers, it is time to focus on arranging the main office of your call center representatives that make up the bulk of your operation. First, no matter how you decide to arrange your desks, always mix senior and newer call center reps together in seating much as possible. This can help new employees learn from the senior employees by enabling them to watch and listen to them easily. New employees can then also ask the senior employee sitting next to them for help when they need help instead of having to walk across the room to do so. 

When choosing workstations, often still called cubicles, wall height is one choice you will have to make. Cubicle wall heights range from about 42-inches to about 80-inches, and remember the measurements are from the floor to the top of the walls. 

If you have given employees enough personal space to minimize noise distractions, then you can go with a lower wall height. You should ideally give each employee at least 120 square-feet of their own space to keep the sound of other employees’ voices from distracting them from their own conversations with customers. However, if you have representatives packed tightly together, then high cubicle walls may be your best option to minimize noise pollution throughout your call center and help each employee focus on their own conversation with customers

3. Increase Employee Comfort and Morale with Chair Choices

When choosing chairs for your employees, remember that they don’t get much time on their feet and will be sitting in them for many hours each day. Even if you have a limited budget, make sure you purchase comfortable chairs with softly cushioned seats and proper spinal support even if they cost a little more than you planned to spend on chairs. Your investment will pay off when employees are comfortable and it reflects in their positivity at work and good attitudes when dealing with customers. 

High-backed chairs help support employees’s spines, and chairs with heights that can be adjusted are important for the comfort of your representatives of all heights. Choose durable vinyl or easy-clean microfiber upholstery to ensure that coffee spills don’t stain. 

If you are opening a new call center or rearranging your current one, then follow these tips to improve employee productivity and keep employees comfortable with office furniture and layout choices. For more options contact services like D and R Office Works, Inc.

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For A Better ROI, Look For A Property Management Service That Has A Team

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Many landlords who use a property management service hire the least-expensive company in their area. This often is a single individual, who doesn’t have the overhead that larger companies do but also lacks their resources. If you’re looking for a property management service, a company that employs a team of individuals could help you see a greater return on investment (ROI) than a single person can — even if the company’s fee is higher. Here are the team members you should look for in a property management company, along with how each will help you earn more money.

A Licensed Real Estate Agent

The requirements for becoming a property manager vary from state to state. As All Property Management’s list shows, 40 states require property managers to obtain a real estate broker license. The remaining 10 states and the District of Columbia have lower standards, ranging from no requirement in Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont to a property management license in South Dakota, South Carolina, Oregon, Montana and the District of Columbia.

Even if your rental units are in a state that doesn’t require a real estate broker’s license, you should seek out a property manager who has one. Anyone can post a listing on generic websites and put a sign in a property’s front lawn, but only licensed real estate agents and brokers are able to list your available units in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Listing your rentals in MLS puts them in front of real estate agents, who are the most likely people to know of someone looking for a place to live. Your property manager should still list your available units on their website and put up a “for rent” sign, but this is another way they can promote your vacancies.

An Assistant, or Several

Your property management service should have a licensed real estate agent, but they may not be your primary contact at the company. Assistants, who don’t have real estate licenses, are able to take care of day-to-day operations, like collecting rent, performing inspections and arranging repairs. While a licensed manager might be busy with other tasks, assistants can expedite routine communications. Whenever there’s an issue with one of your properties, they can make sure it’s quickly resolved, keeping your tenants happy and in your units.

Assistants provide an additional benefit if you’re hoping to grow your rental portfolio in the future. According to WikiHow, a manager who has the right tools and efficient processes can look after 35-40 properties. By hiring assistants to work under a licensed real estate broker, a company can increase the number of properties they can manage yet still be able to list any vacancies on MLS. As you (and other clients) purchase more properties, a management company can simply hire more assistants to maintain the same level of service.

An Accountant

Few property management companies are large enough to employ a full-time certified public accountant (CPA), but they should have someone who is familiar with tax laws and finances on their staff. Your property management company should have someone who specializes in bookkeeping, though, even if they aren’t a licensed CPA. In addition to helping you keep track of tax-deductible expenses, this person should also be able to help you decide when to make major improvements, which may affect your taxes for several years. They will help you keep your tax bills, which can be sizeable, as low as possible.

If you’re considering hiring a property management service, like Harland Property Management, look beyond the surface. Ask about the people who work for each company, and select the one that has a licensed real estate broker, an assistant and an accountant. Together, these people will keep your units occupied, communications prompt and tax bills minimal. In short, they’ll help you maximize your ROI.

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What You Need To Know If An Animal Gets Trapped In Your Chain Link Fencing

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Many homeowners and commercial property owners install chain link fencing to keep animals out. However, sometimes, being the curious creatures they are, animals still try to squeeze their way through chain link fencing. Once stuck, they need help to get out or they will die. If you have chain link fencing on your property, it’s a good idea to know what to do should you ever find an animal stuck in your residential or commercial chain link fence. Here’s what you need to know.

Treat the animal as if it is rabid

Rabies is a serious disease that can be transmitted to you from the saliva or brain and nervous system tissue of a rabid animal. That means any bite or scratch could expose you to rabies. Coming into contact with urine, tears and breast milk can also expose you to rabies.

You may have seen movies and television shows that showed animals foaming at the mouth when they have rabies. While that can happen, not all animals foam at the mouth when they are infected. The most common symptom of rabies in animals is a change in behavior. However, if you do not know the particular animal that is stuck in your fencing, you may not know what its normal behavior is to make this determination.

Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure if an animal has rabies is through a blood test. For this reason, it is in your best interest to treat the animal as if it has rabies. Do not touch the animal unless you are wearing protective clothing. A pair of thick work gloves can protect you from bites and scratches. Wear a shirt with long sleeves and a pair of long pants. Seek medical attention if you get scratched or bitten.

Carefully free the animal if its a pet

If the animal appears to be a pet and is wearing a collar, try to get close enough to the animal to see the owner’s contact information. If so, then place a call to the owner so he or she can come out and help free their pet from your fencing.

While wearing protective gear, use petroleum jelly to lubricate the top of the head or the part of the animal that is the thickest. This may help the animal slide out of the chain link fencing. If that doesn’t work, use wire cutters to snip the wires in the chain link fencing to free the animal.

If the animal does not have a collar on or you are unable to free the pet, call your local animal control services.

Call the authorities if the animal is wild

If the animal is wild, call wildlife control for assistance. You can reach this number by calling the local police department. Wildlife are not used to being in contact with humans, so you may have a fight on your hands. If a wild animal is docile, it’s a sign that it may be rabid. Remember, the most common symptom of rabies is a change in behavior. It’s better to leave the freeing of a wild animal up to the authorities.

If the animal is large, wildlife control will likely need to bring their truck as close as possible to the fence. If the animal is trapped on the side of the fence where there is no vehicle accessibility, the chain link fencing may need to have a hole cut into it so the wildlife officer can control and secure the animal.

Helpful tip: Tie a bright ribbon or material to the damaged fencing. That way, the fencing company will easily find the damage so repairs can be made.

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Paying for Employee Travel? Offer These 4 Features to Control Travel Costs

Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Offering features and perks to your employees who travel for business is a great way to keep them motivated while working in the field, as well as build loyalty and trust with one another. But it’s important to consider the potential costs of the features you want to offer to ensure that they don’t create an unmanageable budget. Here are a few features your employees are sure to appreciate and that will help to control your company’s travel costs:

Taxi Services

Covering car rentals for each business trip throughout the year can get costly, especially when you factor in gas and insurance fees. Instead of paying for personal transportation, offer your employees taxi coupons through local services like Yellow Cab to use for essential travel while they’re out of town.

To determine what value the taxi coupons should have for a given employee, figure out how much travel will be needed for work while they’re out of town and add a small percentage (for example ten percent) as a personal travel allowance. If your employee wants to travel more often by vehicle, they can pay for additional taxi charges or rent a car themselves.

Kitchenettes

To save you and your employee money on food expenses, establish accommodations for your traveling employees that include kitchenettes so they can be stocked for the duration of the trip. This will help to ensure that room service and restaurants can be avoided for the most part, and provide some convenience for your employees so they don’t have to spend their free time searching for a meal. You can then provide a small food stipend to help employees buy groceries, and limit the company food spending account for business dinners.

Spending Vouchers

If your traveling employees often meet with clients while on the road, chances are that they are expected to take charge when it comes to entertainment during casual meetings that will hopefully result in closing a deal. But by leaving entertainment plans up to your employees, you leave your budget wide open and out of control.

So consider working with a national concierge service who can give you a list of attractions in areas where you’re sending employees, and then offering your employees a choice between a list of entertainment options you provide them. You can then simply provide vouchers for the attractions, restaurants, and other amenities that are added to the itinerary.

Some Free Time

When the brain is stimulated with enjoyable activities it tends to perform better overall, which translates to improved productivity as an employee. Because of this, it’s pertinent to ensure that your employees have free time while they’re away on business so they can participate in activities they personally enjoy. When employees are enjoying personal time when they aren’t on the clock, this can indirectly help you save some money on salaries for traveling employees.

Instead of scheduling employees for eight hours on the clock daily while they’re traveling, schedule them for five or six hours during the day along with evening meetings with customers. This will give your employees plenty of time for sightseeing, relaxation, and stress management so they’re more likely to make every minute they do spend working count. If it isn’t possible to provide some free time to employees while they’re away on business, give them a day off when they get back to recover and to save yourself a day’s worth of salary.

With these features available, your employees are likely to enjoy their business trips and come back feeling refreshed, motivated, and ready to start working on the next project at hand. 

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3 Quick Tips To Help Your Child Cope With Their First Home Move

Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in Uncategorized |

While the process of relocating may seem commonplace for adults, it is still a difficult time for a young child to go through. Particularly if they were raised in your current property, it can oftentimes be difficult to break a child’s emotional connection with their childhood. However, there are a few things you can do to make the move that much easier on them.

Let Them Have Their Say

Adults are used to making decisions on behalf of their children, and as such children can often feel like their parents aren’t listening to them. While you’re only doing what’s best for them, you may have to take a step back and listen intently to their concerns about moving home. This will allow you to make the best decisions when planning the move such that the entire family is happy.

While you’re not likely going to allow the kids to choose your next property (understandable!), you should find out what they would like in their new home. Oftentimes, you can appease your child by explaining to them why moving is a great thing for your family. If you have made a conscious effort to choose an area or property that has some appeal to them, this process will be made much easier. Come moving day, you’ll have a child who feels listened to and is excited to reach their new destination, saving you unnecessary stress when relocating.

Allow Them Their Lap of Honor

When moving day is right around the corner, it can oftentimes be easy to become completely entrenched in organizing your belongings. Particularly if you’ve left things a little late (as most people do), you may start to feel stressed out and overwhelmed with the prospect of moving home. However, to ensure your children is fully prepared to move home, you must control your stress and allow them to say goodbye to their neighborhood.

This can be as simple as taking your child for a walk around a few blocks to see the sights before you set off. Or it may involve taking your kid around to each of their friends’ homes to say goodbye. Whatever it may be, you must allow your child to say goodbye to the neighborhood before moving day arrives. Moving is difficult on children, and as your current neighborhood is the only environment they’ve likely ever known, it can take some time to get over this. Taking your child on a lap of honor around their favorite areas will make the process that much easier on them.

Understand it Will Take Time to Settle in

Your children have become accustomed to their family home, and as such, relocating to an entirely new area can cause them to feel overwhelmed. This is entirely natural; you just have to give your kid the time to settle in.

With that said, you can help speed the process along by implementing a few simple tips. Firstly, you could let your child unpack their boxes on their own if they are old enough. This will give them a sense of responsibility and will let them unpack everything at their own pace.

Secondly, you should take your children on a tour of the area soon after you have moved in. This will allow them to experience the sights, sounds and smells of their new neighborhood and will bring a sense of familiarity to an otherwise foreign place.

With that said, you simply have to give your child the time to mourn their old family home and become accustomed to the new property. Things take time, so remain calm and remember that everything you do is in their best interest. 

Before moving, click here for info on making your move as stress-free as possible.

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