Telecommuting = $4.5 billion in savings for America

AeA released a report stating "if everone with the potential to telework did so just 1.6 days per week", 1.35 billion gallons of fuel would be saved.

That's a big number.  In addition, this "would prevent 26 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere".

Another benefit is employee moral.  If your commute was 40 minutes each way, you would be saving almost an hour and a half.  Add to that the reduction of stress from driving/commuting.  That's a nice benefit.

Team-Building Ain't For the Faint of Heart

Team building is seen as an essential part of a successful company because it encourages employees to interact with each other and to solve problems. Many companies rely on these activities and exercises to remove barriers to communication and to improve efficiency. And yet some managers pooh-pooh team-building exercises as a waste of time. A Workforce Management article discusses team building in light of a recent court case.

And the Los Angeles Times discusses an exotic, albeit more expensive approach to team building.

But what can companies do to encourage team building on a smaller scale?

A recent book, 365 Low or No Cost Workplace Teambuilding Activities: Games and Exercises Designed to Build Trust & Encourage Teamwork Among Employees by John N. Peragine, highlights simple and easy team-building activities and exercises that can be adapted for use right now and for little to no cost.

The book includes step-by-step instructions and hints on what to do and what not to do. Whether you’re interested in eliminating stress and burn out with humor, helping your team get to know each other better, or attempting to establish a corporate identity, a book of team-building exercises might be what just you’re looking for.

However, if you’re looking for a more enjoyable type of team-building environment, skip water boarding or other forms of semi-torture and go for something laidback, like cooking.

Kgomotso Mathe writes in the Financial Mail about the growing trend overseas to stage team-building exercises in a common venue: a kitchen.

"The uShef Cooking School is gaining fame not only among corporates, but also food fundis wishing to sharpen their cooking skills. It is absolutely a place where good food and fun meet. It is owned by Gill Ostrowski, a qualified chef who has been in the hospitality industry for nearly 19 years. The place operates like a restaurant, except in this case you'll have to cook your own dinner."

Cooking with colleagues may sound daunting, but it actually provides a safe place for people to get to know each other and to chatter over tasks that aren’t stressful, but fun.

John Hollon of Work Management writes, "Team-building exercises [sometimes] are more about getting people to follow along blindly - to engage in groupthink - than they are in really getting people to work as a team. A better approach might be what [successful companies do], bringing people from all around the company together to get to know one another, swap ideas and break down barriers to collaboration."

Whatever activity you choose to enhance team building in your company make it fun and make it meaningful.

He Said, She Said

Have you ever wanted to go back and listen to a meeting you had, just to prove your point?  I do it all the time…that is go back and listen.  I listen to meetings I've recorded so I don't have to take notes - my full attention is focused on the meeting and those present.  Also, it has saved the company a fair share of money - some people will agree to a price, then change their minds later.  With a recording, you can hold them to the first-agreed upon price.

Currently I am using our 800 Forwarding service to record phone calls, meetings, and also to dictate notes I need for later - like a handheld voice recorder, but with no restrictions.

It's always polite (and important) to let the other person know the call is being recorded.

Finally, before you work yourself into a frenzy about what someone said (or didn’t), listen to the recording first….you don't want to be wrong do you?

Teleconferencing Helps Disadvantaged Children

A group of scientists have recently performed a study to determine if teleconferencing can be utilized by orthodontic experts to help disadvantaged children who would typically not have access to them. During the study, an orthodontic specialist located at remote location, provided supervision to a general dentist who was providing orthodontic treatments to children at a public health clinic in Toppenish Washington.

The results of the treatments were then compared to the results form orthodontic graduate students working on children who were provided direct supervision on site. The study showed that the two groups of children received similar treatments. In the future, disadvantaged children all over the country and perhaps all over the world can be provided with quality orthodontic care.

Teleconferencing has been quite useful for events such as business meetings, seminars and shareholders meetings. Utilizing teleconferencing for orthodontics and other medical services is an inexpensive approach that should be expanded. The internet offers a wide variety of quality information but most people, including children would probably prefer their dentist receive real time orthodontic advice from an expert than witness their dentist continually reading instructions from a website while dental instruments are being moved around in their mouth. Perhaps children will now be singing the praises of teleconferencing.

Conferencing - No Better Way To Go Green

Ok, so you want to help save the planet.  You want your company to be green.  Recycling is expensive and difficult. 

It's easy to say your company is green.  You have the blue trash bins for recycling, the reminder stickers next to light switches and you even got that nice flat-panel monitor you've been wanting.  What if you replaced your next remote business meeting with a video conference?

Earth Day Bonus - Mention "Go Green" and we'll give you a free Video Conference up to 5 people.

Your Message, Just Right

Get Your Message OutYou have an important message to get out. You need your clients/employees to receive that message. There are several methods to getting that message delivered.

  1. Email - this type is easy, however it requires the user to read it.Not everyone does that.Certain key points can be missed.
  2. Website/Message Board - another easy method, but also requires reading.
  3. Recording Broadcast/Conference Call - pre-record your message and make it available for your users anytime.

With a recording, you will be able to add personality and stress important points of your message. Hearing a voice is powerful and adds a personal touch to your message.Your clients/employees can listen to the recording anytime (on the road, excercising, etc). Another option is to setup an event (conference call) centered around the message. This gives you an opportunity to contact your participants and adds credibility to the event. Also, you can keep recording until the messagesounds exactly like you want it.

To accomplish this:

  1. Record your message.Useour conference bridge to pre-record what you want delivered.
  2. Setup a date/time for your conference call.
  3. Send out invites for your event.
  4. When you begin your conference, simply play the recording into the live call with the recording controls on your live call screen.

If you have additional questions, we would love to help you. Call anytime: 1.800.977.4607.

Classic Office Pranks

Why you can never go on vacation, I

Clearly your employees need constant supervision.

Why you can never go on vacation, II

You just don't know what you'll find when you return.

Galley slaves

The office crew.

Boo!

A very jumpy girl.

Why you should behave yourself at the office

You just don't know what can go wrong.

He tried the reasonable approach

But sometimes you've got to show the equipment just who's the boss.

That'll fix it.

When co-workers attack, I

Sometimes they have a good reason.

A very good reason.

Don't get too comfortable

Didn't your mother always warn you against leaning your chair back?

Discombobulated

It's always embarrassing to show up somewhere uninvited.

When your office disappears.

Stay alert at all times

Using an Outlook Plugin To Set up Meetings

This increase in the use of technology has lead to management asking employees to do more. The name of the game is productivity. More output with fewer employees equals higher profits. If we are going to be asked to use technology then it makes sense that we use it to its full potential.

Outlook Plugin

Telephone calls, conference calls, web or video conferencing, they all take time to organize and of course, they all take time from our schedule to participate. There is much in the way of software that can help a busy person plan and control their daily activities. If you are a MicroSoft Outlook user then you have a fairly comprehensive calendar and task manager right at your fingertips.

If the in-built features of Outlook aren't quite powerful enough to handle your requirements, you can download and install plugins that extend Outlook's capabilities. There are several plugins available including AccuConference Outlook Plugin. This is a free conference call scheduler.

Most schedulers allow you to view calendars for all the proposed participants to find common free periods. You are then able to book a conference call and send emails to each participant.

One of the benefits of using a plugin is the auto feature which will automatically dial the participant's phone numbers at the scheduled time. Using this feature, you can schedule individual calls throughout the day to an individual number or schedule a group of numbers for a conference call.

To use the software, you would normally activate the function through a button on Outlook's toolbar. To select the participant(s) from your contacts list (or manually insert numbers), select a time and day and save. You can set a reminder for any period prior to the scheduled start time. This appears as a popup displaying the reminder message and details. At the scheduled time the software would activate the auto call function.

Plugins help you to schedule your time. This helps you plan your day leading to more control over your activities, less stress and better productivity.