The Importance of Contributing to a Savings Fund

On a normal weekend, you do your regular chores: check on the garden, cook meals for the week, mow the lawn and play with your kids. By Sunday night, your back is killing you. By Monday morning, you’re in so much pain you can’t get out of bed, let alone go to work. Your run-of-the-mill weekend stressed your back so much that you need medical care and several days off. You have no idea how you’re going to keep up with your bills – you’re out of sick time and you don’t have extra money to spare. This is exactly the sort of unexpected medical problem that a savings account could solve.

4 Reasons to Contribute to a Savings Fund

Money definitely won’t solve all of your problems, but the padding that a savings account can give you will certainly solve some of them. Here are four reasons to save money:

  1. You’ll have peace of mind: If you’ve ever laid in bed at night, unable to sleep because you’re stressed about upcoming bills, you know what even a little extra money can do for your peace of mind. Even if you don’t dip into your savings account for monthly bills, simply knowing it’s there as a backup will ease your stress.
  2. You’ll have options: While you may not touch your savings for several months or years, it does give you options should you want to make a major life change. If your job is impacting your health and you want to quit, having several months of expenses saved can give you the flexibility to do that. If your neighborhood is becoming unsafe, you can start looking for a new apartment or house somewhere else.
  3. You’ll save more (and more): The more money you save and the more frequently you save, the easier it is to continue saving. You’ll see your savings build up, which will encourage you to save even more. It will also become a habit instead of something you force yourself to do.
  4. Your money can work for you: By carefully choosing the accounts where you put your money, you can earn as your money sits. Some regular bank savings accounts let you earn interest on the money in your account. Specialty accounts, like a retirement 401(k), will give you options for investing in stocks.

You may not have enough in savings to cover all of the many things that could cost money, but having that little extra wiggle room will give you more control over your circumstances.

Types of Savings Accounts

While you may think of a savings account as simply a place to keep the money you don’t plan on spending soon, there’s a lot more to them. Different accounts offer different perks, like gaining interest, stock investment opportunities and employer contributions. Here are a few types of savings accounts to consider opening:

  • Bank Savings Account: This is the most basic type of savings account. It’s simply a place to hold your money away from your checking account. There may be limits to what you can withdrawal and requirements for how much needs to be deposited.
  • Emergency Savings Fund: If you create an emergency savings account, a good starting goal is to save three months of expenses. If you’re injured and can’t work or if you lose your job, you’ll know your expenses are taken care of for at least a few weeks. From there, continue adding money to your emergency fund until you have six months or more of savings.
  • Health Spending Account: If your employer offers a health spending account, you can deposit money (or it can be automatically deposited) before being taxed. Then, if you have to pay out-of-pocket for medical costs, you’ll be paying with tax-free money. You may also be able to earn interest on your money as it sits in the account.
  • Retirement Savings Account: There are a few different types of retirement savings accounts, like a 401(k) or a Roth IRA. These accounts let you invest your money in the stock market as you save for retirement. According to the Investopedia link referenced above, you can earn up to 8% per year on average. Even better is that you won’t have to pay taxes on those extra earnings. Talk to your job’s HR department – some companies will match what you contribute up to a certain amount.

Spend some time comparing the different requirements and features of savings accounts. Your goal should be to differentiate the accounts you invest your money in.

Saving When You Don’t Have Extra Money

While saving is great for accumulating money, of course, it’s also good to get into the habit of saving. You may not have a lot of extra money right now, but even $5 per week is enough to make the act of saving a habit. As you earn more money, you’ll naturally start to put more away because you’re already in the habit of saving a little extra each week. You may also start to look for more ways to save as your growing savings account acts as a motivator.

Think about the different ways you can cut back on your current expenses to save a little extra each week. Are there any essential items that you can buy at a discounted rate by buying in bulk or switching brands? Are there any non-essentials you can live without or cut back on? Keep a spending journal for a month. Write down everything you spend money on and how much you spend, then go over it to see if there are ways to cut back.

Final Thoughts

When deciding which savings accounts are right for you, don’t hesitate to speak with a professional and ask questions. At your bank, a representative will be able to sit down with you to explain your options. If you’re taking advantage of an employer-sponsored savings plan, which can offer a lot of tax breaks, discuss your options with the HR department.

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Injuries in the Workplace and How to Prevent Them

Getting injured on the job is a risk that no one really wants to think about. Not only do workplace injuries cause damage to your body, they can hurt you in your wallet as well, as injuries can prevent you from returning to work for an extended period of time. While construction workers, police officers, and electricians all have jobs that put them into situations that obviously result in injury, there are plenty of professions out there that may seem safe but actually have the potential to result in serious injury.

Workplace Injuries Are Common

Injuries in the workplace happen every day, and while some professions are more liable to incur injuries than others, the fact remains that they happen more often than anyone would like. Common workplace injuries often result from strains and overexertion from repetitive tasks, office supplies falling from shelves and striking employees, or even something as simple as slipping and falling. Slips and falls account for one out of every six workplace injuries, and poor workplace ergonomics contributed to nearly a third of the workplace related injuries in 2013, so while they might seem mundane, these injuries are actually serious business.

When an employee suffer an injury at work, it is important to know how to move forward. Handling workplace injuries can seem daunting, but it is necessary that it be handled in a timely and appropriate manner in order to ensure the employee has the best chance of recovery, and that a workers’ compensation insurance claim can be filed. Injuries should be immediately reported, and treatment should be sought as soon as possible. Only after these steps are taken can employer and employee reach an agreement and begin to ensure that whatever caused the injury doesn’t happen again.

By far the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. tend to be those involving physical labor, heavy machinery, and elevated working areas. The logging and fishing industries see the most fatalities, closely followed by construction jobs like roofing or structural steel working. While it certainly isn’t surprising that many of these labor-intensive jobs involving work with potentially dangerous machines can lead to injury or even death, there are some less obvious but highly dangerous professions where people are still at risk, even though it may not seem like it from the outside.

Accidents Happen to Everyone

There are unexpectedly hazardous jobs in every sector, even if they seemingly would not pose any more harm than a desk job. Being a pet store worker, for instance, is one of the most dangerous jobs in America due to handling potentially dangerous animals on a daily basis, as well as running the risk of overexertion because of the many heavy items available at pet stores. Ski facility workers are at high risk of injury due to the inherently dangerous nature of extreme sports. Leather and hide tanning and finishing professionals work around incredibly volatile chemicals daily.

Those working in the medical field also run a high risk of suffering work-related injuries. While it may seem like the biggest danger to medical professionals is handling heavy equipment or exposing themselves to hazardous waste, many nurses and doctors find themselves battling workplace violence.  Nurses often find themselves face to face with individuals suffering from mental health issues which can lead to violent tendencies and even outright assault of hospital staff.

The majority of workers will only have to worry about the ergonomics of their office chair contributing to their risk of a workplace injury. However, there are hidden risks associated with every profession, whether it is carpal tunnel syndrome, constant risk of dog bites, or a patient potentially becoming physically violent. No matter what industry you’re in, there are steps you can take to reduce your employees’ overall risk of becoming injured on the job.

Tips on Prevention

Avoiding workplace accidents can be as simple as making sure that your work area is well maintained. Keeping your area clean, providing proper signage regarding potential dangers, and providing appropriate training can all contribute to a safer workplace. Also, avoiding any shortcuts, no matter your profession, can make a world of difference. When you skip steps or dodge protocol, accidents are always far more likely to occur.

Floors should always be kept clean and free of obstruction, as slips and falls are among the most common workplace injuries. Further ways to optimize workplace safety include following all regulations regarding the handling and storage of hazardous or flammable materials, appropriately controlling any presence of insects or pests, and getting rid of any general clutter. While it isn’t the most exciting solution, keeping your workplace clean and following rules and protocols are the best ways to avoid injury.

Another way to avoid workplace injury is to be highly aware of your employees’ surroundings and the dangers they might pose. If they work with heavy machinery, they can become overly comfortable using it, forgetting the fact that it can cause serious damage if handled improperly. Encourage workers to be on the lookout for safety violations — if an individual see a coworker putting themselves into a dangerous situation, they must let them know of the danger and report the situation to their supervisor.

Avoiding workplace injuries isn’t glamorous, and it can often be downright boring. However, no matter your profession, getting injured at work is one of the worst things that can happen. Exercising just a bit more caution can keep your workforce happy, healthy, and working longer without worry.

How Office Design Can Inspire Employees and Keep Them Motivated

Close to one-third of your life will be spent in your chosen profession, in some cases probably more than that. If you’re going into a traditional office environment for work Monday through Friday, then you’ll be spending that third in the same place looking at the same walls for close to 90,000 hours. There’s a good chance that the way your work environment is designed can greatly impact how you feel coming in each day.

Office design is crucial for boosting employee morale and efficiency. People are more likely to accomplish more in a day if they enjoy the space that they’re in, which is why a modern design and comfortable atmosphere is key. You can feel free to embrace your company’s brand personality within the office as well — for example, if you’re a whimsical company, play with space to create that sense.

By creating a desirable atmosphere, you’ll be helping employees feel their best so they can work their best. You’ll also be helping to promote an office culture that takes regular breaks, believes in being comfortable while working, and offers employees the best environment you can. Your team will appreciate being in a space they enjoy and your company will see the results.

Design Impacts Productivity

You may not have initially realized it, but the actual floor plan of your company can communicate goals and objectives to your team. You’ll need to thoroughly understand and analyze your company’s needs and standards for the day-to-day workflow in order to design the best possible floor plan. Think of it like this: if your company needs teams to collaborate together frequently, you’ll want an open floor plan over rows of cubicles.

You’ll also want to be sure you’re incorporating encouragement to take breaks as a healthy work-life balance is important for equally healthy workers. Putting in a comfortable and accessible break room will encourage employees to take their regularly scheduled breaks and lunch hours. It may also be worth it to stock snacks regularly in the break room to further facilitate people spending time in there.

Between allowing coworkers to collaborate and talk with one another easily, and providing a comfortable place to take regular breaks, you’ll be giving your teams the best resources to be energized and encouraged in their day-to-day work. Just like the life of each team member, your office should be balanced and efficient — not burnt out and tired. In this way, the design of your office not only communicates objectives, but values.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Of course, you also don’t want your office to look just like everyone else’s. Having an office that stands out in people’s minds from others they’ve seen can be a competitive draw when hiring new talent. Remember: people are planning on spending 40 hours a week in their offices, they’re going to take design into account when deciding whether or not to work with your company.

One way to stand out is to bring a little greenery into the office and not just the run-of-the-mill office fern we see so much. Succulents are low-maintenance, come in many varieties, and can add a modern touch to any office. Also, it’s been shown that offices with greenery can boost positive physiological impacts in the people who work there.

Finally, consider hiring a local artist or muralist to create art especially for your office. Facebook, for example, has been commissioning artists to paint in its office since 2005 and the project has since expanded into a full-on artist residency program. Art can make your office unique while bringing in a diverse view of the world that can help to inspire your teams throughout the week.

Tips and Tricks

There is no wrong way to design your office, but going in with a plan is always a good idea. You should decide what kind of ambiance you want to create for your employees. For example, if you want the office to feel cozy and comfortable, installing a fireplace in a shared area could be a great place for people to curl up and enjoy their lunch or plug away on a project for the afternoon.

If you’re looking for a space that’s more sleek and modern, then clean lines and a strict color palette can help maintain this. You may also want to consider custom tables that you can design to your specifications to match the tone of each room in the office. It’s really all about what you want to evoke in people as they enter each room and set to work for the day.

Finally, having accessible entryways and ergonomic seating is always a must when it comes to employee access and safety. Working in an office may not seem like it’s dangerous, necessarily, but injuries like back pain and carpal tunnel are common if not given the proper positioning and seating. You also want to make it possible for all types of people to enter the workplace — for both employees and potential clients.

Overall, creating a beautiful and inviting office environment is worth the investment. You’ll have an easier time attracting new talent because they’ll want to be in the space you’ve created. Additionally, your current employees will be happier and more relaxed at work, helping to improve your company overall.

Is Investing in Gold a Good Idea in 2018?

Since the dawn of time, people have kept their assets in precious metals. Sure, gold and silver were also a currency, yet, even when this was not the case, the appeal of gold was widely accepted. Nowadays, with so many other investment options (foreign currencies, stocks and cryptocurrencies), it may seem as if investing in gold may not be such a good idea. This notion is further supported by the fact that gold is currently on a slight decline. However, where some see a negative trend to stay away from, others see an opportunity to buy cheap. With this in mind and without further ado, here’s why investing in gold might still be a good idea in 2018.

Diversifying your portfolio

One of the things that a lot of people know is the fact that the price of gold skyrockets in the state of crisis. Because of this, investing in gold might be a perfect way to diversify your portfolio. According to some estimates, it is recommended to keep at least 20 to 30 percent of your assets in gold and silver, while 10 percent is considered to be the bare minimum. The way in which this works is quite simple. Even in the moments of financial crisis, some people have a surplus of capital that they intend to invest.

Seeing as how the value of most stocks seems quite volatile in those moments, they are more likely to invest in gold. After all, it is only natural for people in these situations to show more faith in commodity than in currency, especially due to the fact that most global currencies are no longer backed by gold. As the demand for gold increases, its price skyrockets. Nevertheless, this is something you need to think about in time, which is why it is usually smart to buy when the price is on a decline.

Savings, wealth or investment

Another thing you need to understand is that gold is not only efficient as an investment but also as a way of saving your assets or wealth. While some may find this trend outdated, buying gold coins allows you to place them in your own safe, without having to rely on a third-party. In an era of cryptocurrencies and stocks, where all your assets are in digital form, you can go to bed one day as a wealthy man and wake up the next as a pauper.

Even in the worst-case scenario, where the gold that you’ve invested in loses all its value, you still have it in physical form. This means that all you have to do is sit on top of it for a while and wait for its value to bounce back. Unlike companies whose stocks you buy, gold is not here for years and decades but for millennia. During this period of time, it managed to maintain hard value, which makes it into one of the most consistent wealth trends in the history.

The issue of jewelry demand

One of the things that affect the price of gold the most is the global jewelry market. In fact, one of the reasons for this decline in price is the fact that the jewelry demand is currently down in China. China and India together make up 60 percent of the global jewelry demand, however, with the impending trade war between the U.S. and China, a lot of things got a bit more complex.

Namely, one of the direct results was the loss of Chinese consumer confidence. To make matters even worse, last year, there was a cash crisis in India, where the government prohibited the use of large-denomination bills. Needless to say, jewelry was one of the commodities that were hit by this the most. Nevertheless, it isn’t unrealistic to expect that the jewelry market will recover from this in the nearest future.

Lawsuit proof

Another thing you need to understand is the fact that most lawsuit rulings and settlement offers work on a basis of your overall assets worth. The great thing about gold is the fact that no one can really know how much gold you actually have. Sure, someone determined can look for your previous purchases but most (if not all) gold retailers keep this information confidential. Aside from this, you can leave your gold in a bank vault, lock it in your bedroom safe, bury it in your backyard or display it in the living room. You can even do all of these things at the same time, which makes it virtually impossible for anyone else to know just how much gold you have.

Incredibly portable

One more thing you need to keep in mind is the issue of practicality and portability. In the past, we stated that gold can be left for safekeeping in a vault or on a shelf. However, a lot of people have no idea just how much space gold takes up. This is hard to precisely pinpoint, yet a bullion that is a size of a VHS tape can be as expensive as $200,000. This means that you could literally take all your assets in a briefcase to another country. Sure, one may argue that it’s easier to do this in a bank, yet, this way, it’s much harder to get your hands on the same amount of cash. In the ideal-case scenario, you would have to give your bank a 72-hour notice, which doesn’t sound that bad, unless it’s a situation in which every minute counts.

A legacy

In one of the previous sections, we mentioned that the price of gold is bound to bounce back, however, there’s no guarantee that that will happen in the next year or even next several years (while it is quite likely). On the other hand, for those who bought gold to protect their assets, this shouldn’t pose a significant problem. All in all, you can pass on all your gold to your children and your children’s children (which is something that a lot of people do). Sure, this same amount of gold might be worth more or less but its sheer quantity will remain unchanged.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, from this standpoint, it seems inevitable that 2018 and 2019 will be much better for gold investors than 2017, however, even if this wasn’t the case, buying gold still wouldn’t be a missed investment. All in all, this is a trend that is definitely worth your consideration.

7 Ways to Become a More Successful Recruiter

7 Ways to Become a More Successful Recruiter

7 Ways to Become a More Successful Recruiter

How to become a more successful recruiter is a major concern of today’s modern recruiters.

The war for talent is raging on, and recruiters are facing new challenges. Do you have what it takes to thrive in today’s highly-competitive recruiting industry?

What makes a successful recruiter?

Recruiting industry has been going through a period of immense change in the last few years.

Unlike before, today’s labor market is completely candidate-driven.

According to research, 90% of recruiting professionals think that today’s labour market is candidate driven.

Candidate-driven-market

Consequently, finding and hiring ideal job candidates, especially those with in-demand skills, has become an extremely hard, expensive and time-consuming endeavor.

As the “War for talent” is getting more and more intense, recruiters are faced with new challenges which have changed the way we recruit.

The recruiters who are ready to embrace these new challenges will be successful, while the others will be left behind.

How to become a more successful recruiter?

In order to successfully tackle these new challenges and get ahead in the talent game, recruiters must adopt new recruiting strategies, tactics and tools.

Here is the list of the 7 most important recruiting strategies that will help you become a more successful recruiter.

1. Build talent pools

Gone is the time when you could post your job opening on a job board and wait for a great candidate to come to you.

Why?

Because only active job seekers visit job boards.

The war for talent is raging on, so your best job candidates are passive job seekers. These passive job seekers are candidates who aren’t actively looking for a new job, but would be willing to accept a better offer.

73% of candidates are passive job seekers who are not actively looking for new job opportunities.

passive-candidates

In order to become a more successful recruiter, you need to go out there and proactively source and attract these passive job seekers. You need to become a talent sourcing pro.

You can’t afford to wait for the new positions to open to start recruiting.

You need to constantly build pools with great talent.

That way you will have the perfect candidates even before you have a new job opening!

2. Focus on candidates

When job market was employer driven, it made sense to focus on the wishes, wants and needs of employers.

But things have changed.

Now the job market is candidate driven, so you have to focus on your candidates.

In order to become a more successful recruiter, you have to focus on candidate’s wants and needs, hopes and fears. You need to understand what candidates are looking for from employers.

Why is this important?

First, when you know what really motivates your candidates, you can use that knowledge to attract them. You can turn your company’s employee value proposition (EVP) into a real magnet for attracting candidates.

Second, getting to know your candidates on a deeper level can help you build and maintain relationships not only with current, but also past and potential future candidates.

You will excel at candidate relationship management and build better talent pools.

Finally, you can encourage candidate engagement and significantly improve candidate experience.

candidate-experience-recruiting-tool

3. Utilize specialized recruiting software

Today’s technology offers a great variety of specialized recruiting software which can automate, streamline and improve different stages of your recruiting process.

There are modern HR tools that offer all-in-one solution for finding attracting, engaging, nurturing and converting candidates into job applicants.

Adopting these tools will give you a huge competitive advantage in the war for talent.  

Benefits-oF-using-an-applicant-tracking-system-ATS

Before getting a recruiting tool,  you should first identify your recruiting goals and challenges.

This way, you will be able to better understand if you need solutions offered by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or solutions offered by Recruitment Marketing Software.

4. Use data-driven approach

To become a more successful recruiter, you need to make better and more informed recruiting decisions.

You can do that based on the data form your recruiting software.

By tracking and reviewing the most important recruiting metrics, such as time to hire, cost to hire and quality of hire, you can get a clear and precise, data-backed evaluation of your recruiting efforts.

HR-guide-recruiting-metrics

Based on insights that you get form data, you can adjust your recruiting strategies to improve your ROI.

For example, if your data shows that your best job candidates come from referrals, you can stop wasting your money on job boards.

In other words, you can save your time and money by investing in the channels that bring the best results.

5. Use social recruiting

When we say social recruiting, you probably think of posting your job ads on Facebook. Everybody does that these days. If you want to stand out and attract top talent, you need to go a lot further.

In order to become a more successful recruiter, you need to become aware of the power that social media networks hold, and be quick to utilize it.

Social recruiting goes beyond posting current vacant jobs ads on your company’s social network profiles.

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You can use social recruiting to proactively search for potential candidates, build relationships with them and encourage them to apply to your vacant job positions.

6. Use employee referrals

To become a more successful recruiter, you have to set up a structured employee referral program.

By using a structured employee referral program, you can find talented people with the help of existing employees. You ask existing employees to recommend candidates from their networks, and you offer them employee referral awards in return.

employee-referrals-stats

Employee referral program is your best bet for finding and hiring the ideal job candidate and improving the most important hiring metrics such as time and cost per hire, quality of hire and employee retention.

7. Use marketing tactics

In order to become a more successful recruiter, you need to start using marketing tactics to attract talent. This new trend of using marketing tactics in recruiting is called Recruitment Marketing.

The main goal of Recruitment Marketing is to drive talent to apply for the open positions. In other words, it makes talent come to you.

In order to achieve this goal, you need to develop inventive Employer Branding strategies to build a picture of your company as a desirable employer.

Another important method for attracting top talent is Inbound Recruiting. Inbound Recruiting is a method of creating targeted, branded content to attract and engage talent.

This content needs to be informative and useful for talented professionals you want to attract. It can come in different forms, such as company’s career blog, team blogging about interesting projects, employer branding videos, interesting social media posts, employee stories and career advice.

If you’re looking for some inspiration and best practice examples, check out these great Employer Branding ideas.

Are you ready to become a more successful recruiter?

The above mentioned recruiting strategies are created in order to overcome new challenges in the recruiting industry.

If you follow this 7 recruiting strategies, we guarantee you will upgrade your hiring game, get better results and become a more successful recruiter!

How Good Web Design Can Boost Your Business

How Good Web Design Can Boost Your Business

Whether as a striking web page, or a persuasive package, design can have a powerful impact on the world around us. The craft and creativity of web and graphic designers are practically everywhere – from books, product packaging, to websites, digital advertisements, design for mobile apps, and interactive installations. However, effective design is not just mere appearance. It’s a way to communicate in a contemporary way, to make everything – from logo, colours, to typography, and visuals work together by and large to capture the attention of potential customers and leave an abiding impression.

To be seen in the digital media and have your site reach a high rank you can use marketing technology, which offers several ways for boosting the business. However, first and foremost, it is imperative to build a website that brings information about the company, which is simple enough to find via all mobile devices as well as on desktop browsers. Also, while launching your website, you need to ensure you can answer these questions with a “YES”: Is your website easy to navigate? Are your website visitors able to understand what your business is about? Do you maintain high-quality services at a competitive price rate?

If your answer is “No” to all, then you need to improve your website design and layout, because a business owner should not only focus on content or design. What is more, an entrepreneur needs to advance the design, performance and, above all, make sure the web design is responsive. Experts from Web Agency Sydney point out that you need to improve its reach in order to grow your customer base, no matter the size of your business. Luckily, there are hundreds of options to boost your web designing part. We bring you some of these options to help you start.

Simplicity & Minimalism

Web design always opts for the most uncomplicated approach and gives importance to minimalism. Your target audience will not be attracted by a complex design, while the clean and flat design will strike the right nerve. Nowadays, most brands are using simple designs in their online business presence. Therefore, if you wish to improve your options, you should, by all means, avoid stuffing your website with long and complicated animations as well as with bulky website images. Additionally, you should keep in mind that an extravagant website may slack off your website.

Visual Appeal

More than anything, visual appeal can attract attention. It is the key to attain visitors, which will engage with your website. Captivating images and videos enhance the business operation and invite more customers. Some studies show that for users to form an opinion about a website takes about 50 milliseconds. In those milliseconds they are able to determine whether they’ll stay or leave. And, due to the fact that visual aids are 43% more effective in enhancing your credibility than other means, you should think of creating a catchy business logo (if not already) and visually appealing colors, which will help your brand stand out from the crowd.

Do the Thinking

Visitors are coming to your website to solve an issue they might have. Hence, your business website should provide the answer to their question as quickly and as easily as possible. You also need to show your visitors what they are looking for and what value it has for them. Why should they choose to make a purchase from your website? Is there a special offer? Make sure you follow your wording by a clearly visible call-to-action, such as “Find the right product, now!” The users should not try to figure out anything on their own. You need to do it for them.

Relevant Content

Every so often you should consider refreshing the content of your homepage and landing pages. It is the same story as with store window display, consumers don’t like to see the same thing time and again. You can immediately convey the relevant message and become up-to-the-minute retailer by freshening the offerings with some new deals, sales, and new content. On top of that, you should also take into account how important it is to provide your visitors with the ability to share your content. In that way, you will grant them the possibility to become your brand’s biggest marketing emissaries. Furthermore, your ranking on search engine result pages may greatly enhance with the sharing of your content.

There are no other mediums that have such a geographical reach more than the website. And, if you do not have a clean, simple and functional design, then your competitors are surely winning your prospective customers. Being that you need to calculate your expenses and budget while developing a striking website you should reach out to a reputable web design company to provide you with an extensive number of business web design services. The website not only boosts your brand’s look, it also makes it alluring and impressive.

Mum’s with careers, is that a joke? Bet you would agree

Mum’s with careers, is that a joke? Bet you would agree

maternity_and_mums_blog

So, you have had a good career before leaving for maternity, in many cases great career with lots of options on going back to work, or you are self-employed, an entrepreneur or an established business woman. Especially with the number of initiatives for flexible working, part-time hours, job share, freelancing etc. similar opportunities – how hard could it really be as a returning mum after a substantial break? The answer, unfortunately, is VERY!

From what I have read and heard, including opinions of women I have consulted with these circumstances are extremely personal, full of emotions and overwhelming with the feeling of doing the right thing. Like many have expressed, they would like to have it all – a family, a child and a career but the reality is still on the contrary. Here is what some women had to tell us:

Gemma Guise, Managing Director, online media and publishing platform JurnoLink:

I am a new mum! My little boy is one and I have seen how difficult it is to run a business and have a child. I think returning to work as a new mum is really hard because child care is so expensive. As a small business owner, I can’t afford to put my child in full-time child care but at the same time, I need to be working full time to ensure the business succeeds…

Working from home is not feasible with a little one as you feel guilty splitting your time 50% with your child 50% of the business. You either need to be at work or at home with a child. I am very lucky that I have a great team that supports the fact that I cannot be available 24-7 and puts up with a baby in the office the odd day. I honestly don’t know what the answer is for small businesses owners that want a family. 

I have been told “you can’t have everything” but I cannot accept this. It would be an easy option to forget about working but there is still the financial aspect of living to consider! Currently, I have been in a fortunate position where I could sacrifice my salary, this meant that I could put the money towards someone who could fill my shoes full time. I still work on the company but only one day a week as that’s all I can justify for child care!

Alison Bullman, Principal (and business owner) at Stagecoach Fulham, a performing arts school for children:

working_mum_blog

I’m not sure I’m fully “qualified” to answer those questions as I didn’t return to a “normal” job following the birth of Phoebe, my first child. I chose to start my own business to give myself the flexibility I needed to support my family. What I would say, however, is the reason I didn’t want a 9-5 office job was because of the pressure that is put on you to work hours that simply don’t fit with children – such as early or late meetings, last-minute demands such as business trips, the need to work late when projects aren’t finished or overrun and sometimes multiple social/networking events.

The pressure this puts on mums and working parents is a significant strain on family life, which can ultimately damage the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and parents. Having said all that, owning your own business does mean no maternity leave or the associated employment benefits, so business had to continue as normal regardless of sleepless nights and tiny babies when I had my second child, Teddy. You also don’t get access to certain benefits such as Child Care Voucher schemes, so childcare costs and taking time off when self-employed is hard to manage. 

I think women are much better placed now than ever before in terms of most companies acknowledging the demands of juggling work and motherhood, and there is support and advice within big companies. I believe what would make caring for children whilst working better would be following the footsteps of those countries where men and women share working hours and caring for their children. There needs to be a better balance and options between both parents.

Anonymous:

I am a qualified accountant by profession however when I was looking to return to work in London following the birth of my second child the flexibility I was afforded in my in between period (I returned to work after my first 3 months pregnant with my second and they needed me for an office move, team recruitment and training so allowed me to work 7.30-4pm) was removed, citing business needs (even though I also worked 7-11pm at night for them). 

With no family nearby for the support, I couldn’t see how we could manage to have two children and both working in London. I began my own keepsake business, however, it became very popular and I couldn’t balance customer demand with the needs of my children. I decided to specialise but again the products I was making were so labour intensive that even specialising didn’t really help. 

I was struck by an idea at Christmas for a fully automated product that would need only website development, promotion and marketing and so the personalised handwriting practice workbook for 3-7-year-olds was created. I got the copyright and the domain name secured. I am launching Write My Name at the start of April and hoping that this will be the answer to my working needs while forever striving to achieve that work/kids balance. I hope it works otherwise I’ll have to go back to my profession and pay for another woman to take care of my children. Something I’ve been very against from the start.

Gerry So, the Co-Founder of Okappy Ltd.:

I gave birth to my first son last year in July. Being a first-time mum, running a start-up (incorporated July 2015) and working in a male-dominated industry is one by far the toughest thing I have ever done. It’s like doing the impossible especially I previously worked in a Tier 1 Investment banking for 10 years where I used to see people going on maternity leave, working part time etc. where the workplace would provide excellent support for mum’s returning from maternity.

Working for yourself is completely different. On one hand, you’d be so exhausted from looking after your baby yet you’d have to keep the business going as it’s your own business, let alone it’s a startup with limited resource and funds. My comment to all the mums and entrepreneurs out there is never giving up and everything is just a phase, it will get better. Communication is the key, be open about what you can do and can’t do so that you can manage your team’s expectations. Even to your clients as well, be bold to suggest your deliverables. You’d rather be honest about what’s doable within the timeframe rather than under deliver. 

What I found the hardest is our office is based in Bethnal Green, one of the buildings owned by Work Space. They don’t have any rooms or facilities available for mums if you want to express while at work or to sterilise your breast pumps etc. I had to buy a microwave for our office. Unfortunately, I have to sit on the toilet to express every 4 hours. It’s not the place you’d want to be, as one of the friends said, ‘it’s like you’re cooking in the toilet’. That’s probably the most off-putting thing. Hence, I spend a few days in the office and a few days at home. I think definitely all offices should have facilities for mums, similar to having disabled access. 

Anonymous, Marketing Manager, a premium virtual assistant company:
startups_hiring_blogs

As the ability for companies to offer flexible working conditions increases, the demand will also continue to increase. There’s a shift that has come with advances in technology that is making it easier and easier for employees to work more flexible schedules, whether that means working from home or flexing hours. For new mothers returning from maternity leave, this shift is especially important as they begin to sort out the best way to handle conflicting priorities and a new way of life. If companies want to retain new mothers, they need to fully understand and embrace the need for flexibility during the transition from worker to working mum.

While I planned to return to work after having my first child, it was difficult to completely define what that return would look like 6 or 9 months out. I think if companies want to improve the working culture for new mothers, there has to be complete acceptance around that. Plans can change and flexibility desperately needs to be at the forefront. Luckily, I work for a company that really values working mothers and work/life balance, and they worked with me to figure out a plan that worked for everyone involved. I was able to start part-time and work back into full-time as I felt ready. I wish every working mother could have the same type of experience, and I hope to see it more the focus on work flexibility increases globally. 

Steph, Managing Director, Don’t Buy Her Flowers:

The biggest issue I faced after returning from maternity leave is the juggle of childcare and work. I found the job itself wasn’t a problem – if anything I was far more efficient with my time and focused when at work. Though my kids were at nursery age when I started the business, I was looking ahead and couldn’t see how we were going to manage any of the school runs along with my commute. Most offices work with 9-5 expectations, which are limiting especially when you add on commuting times either side. 

I think something fundamental to the debate is flexibility for men as well as women. If it’s always a woman’s role to pick up the childcare side of things, they will always be ‘lesser’ in the workplace because they are limited to certain hours. In certain traditionally male industries, such as banking and sales roles, there’s often an assumption that there is no flexibility – it’s not even a discussion – and the mother will be picking up the childcare. In addition, more businesses should employ a person to do a job as opposed to being at a desk within certain hours. As an online business, we are able to provide flexible working across a number of roles because we don’t have opening hours as such. I think more and more businesses will move that way.

Lisa Fisher, 4D Business Coaching:

I think it is important for workplaces to support and value working women for a variety of reasons and that this supportive culture attracts, retains and engages working mum’s valuable contribution. Having a flexible working environment will ensure women such as myself are able to return to work and still have an effective work-life balance. I am not sure if companies are legally required to ensure flexibility but have heard horror stories from some friends who have not experienced a welcome return to work! 

It would be helpful if a woman’s overall productivity could be looked at and that might not mean working the standard 9 to 5. For example, some talented working mum’s might prefer to work shorter days, in the evenings or even a weekend which will enable them to have some form of flexibility. However, homeworking comes with both advantages and disadvantages so working women need to have an awareness of the blurring boundaries that may come from working in their home and some employer’s expectations of the permanent “on call” culture which fortunately I do not experience.

Working from home has enabled me to have more of a work-life balance as I am not commuting, feel that I am more productive as am not tired from the travel to and from work and can balance my client’s needs with working the hours that are more suited to family life. My employer has supported me in this role and I am very fortunate to be able to work 4 days a week Monday to Thursday in term time and this reduces to 3 days a week in the school holidays so we only require childcare for our 6-year-old daughter 2 days a week.

Once when speaking with a mum of two young boys she advised how she had to give up a 15-year successful career within property sales and business development as she could not do justice to her kids and felt guilty of neglecting family due to long working hours of estate agencies. Not surprisingly her employers were least interested in providing any form of a job share, flexibility or support. In a nutshell, it is still very hard and an almost discriminatory for returning mums into the world of work in many ways.

I am sure a lot is being done and it may be better than what it was 20 years ago, but times are changing fast and women’s involvement in businesses at every level is far greater than ever so I believe we need to push employers and businesses on how fast they can accommodate the personal lives of talented, versatile professionals and let them feel “not left behind” because they are actually capable of bringing life into this world, surely that should be rewarded not punished.

At InteriMarket we are pioneering in becoming the hub for all mid-senior interim, consulting and longer term contracting roles. If you wish for a solid pipeline of work, eliminate wasted time and efforts – you need to stop hunting on several job boards and join us. We bring opportunities.


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NCC Home Learning | The HR Tech Weekly®

Simple Steps to Subside Stress

Performed by NCC Home Learning.

What Is Stress?

Stress is something we have all heard of and may have also experienced at home or at work. We assume that stress is a bad thing but it can also be an important factor in driving us forward.

What is stress?

Without stress, humankind would not have survived. Cavemen and women needed stress to alert them to possible danger.

Stress is a physical response. When the body is under attack it switches to fight or flight mode. This causes a mixture of hormones and chemicals to be released, preparing the body for physical action. This causes several reactions, including blood being diverted to muscles and shutting down unnecessary bodily functions, such as digestion.

In other words, we gain a rush of energy, preparing us to either fight the danger or run from it. The heart pounds, breathing quickens and we focus our immediate attention on the situation.

In the modern world, we may no longer be pursued by predators like our cave-dwelling ancestors but there are still plenty of times when a stressful situation needs dealing with, such as a pedestrian stepping out in front of your car.

The challenge with stress is when our body goes into stress at inappropriate times. When blood surges to our muscles preparing for fight or flight, brain function is minimised, leading to the inability to ‘think straight’.

This hinders us at work and at home. If we stay in this stressed state for long periods, it will eventually be detrimental to our health. And this is when stress turns bad.

What causes stress?

Triggers differ from one person to another, although there are commonalities. Many people name money – usually lack of – as the main source of stress in their lives, followed by worries over health and relationships.

For many people, stress is linked closely with work, with the feeling of being overloaded and overburdened as being the main source of their stress.

How many people suffer from stress?

It is difficult to get a complete and accurate picture of how many people in the UK suffer from long-term, negative stress.

This is because there is still a stigma attached to stress. At one time, it was commonplace that anyone seen to be suffering from stress was perceived as weak. Slowly, attitudes are changing but many employees are still not ‘admitting’ to their employers when they take time off due to stress, telling them that it was a physical illness instead.

Surveys and research findings however, all point to long term stress as having a significant impact. 1 in 4 people admit to feeling stressed, with a quarter of those surveyed admitting that they had been feeling this way for a year or more.

What effects does stress have on your health?

Long-term, negative stress can impact on your health in many ways;

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Raised blood pressure, sometimes to dangerous levels
  • Chest pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression

What is the impact of stress on personal and work life?

Stress doesn’t only affect someone physically and emotionally – it affects personal relationships too.

Many people who are stressed present a negative attitude. They can be irritable which places relationships under stress. Many people take time off work, unable to face another day of stress at work.

How does stress affect business?

For employers, stress is a hidden issue and one that they are concerned to deal with. This includes ensuring that employees have opportunities to discuss issues that may be causing them concern or stress at work.

Stress is the cause of millions of lost working days every year which has a detrimental effect on a business. Many employers are keen to take steps to reduce the impact of stress on their staff and thus their business.

What are the techniques to relieve stress?

There are many techniques that you can use to release stress at work and at home. As stress is a very personal issue, the methods and techniques that work for one person, may not work for another.

However, experts agree that the first step is identify what stress is that person, and to identify the cause or triggers to a stress reaction.

The ‘Managing Stress Programme’ from NCC Home Learning is for those students who wish to understand the principles of stress management and how to include these at work, or any situation that causes stress.

Like all our courses, this can be studied from home or at work, giving you the freedom to complete your studies in your own time and at your own pace.

[INFOGRAPHIC] Simple Steps to Subside Stress | by NCC Home Learning

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15 Stress-Busting Jobs to Kickstart Your Career

15 Stress-Busting Jobs to Kickstart Your Career

15 Dream Jobs that Pay Well and are Low in Stress

Are you looking for a low-stress job that does not require you to compromise on the money you bring in home? Well, you are in luck because we have just the thing for you! The below infographic from Quantum Binders is a treasure trove of information when it comes to dream jobs that rank low in stress, rakes in the big bucks, and can get you well set on the path to success. While some of the jobs on this list may require you to get advanced degrees, a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and some previous work experience are all you require in most cases.

About the Author

Toby Dean works on behalf of Quantum Binders in content creation and marketing. He creates engaging graphics and content that help businesses stand out from the crowd. Over the past 7 years has worked with dozens of SME’s in both an agency and freelance capacity.


Source: 15 Stress-Busting Jobs to Kickstart Your Career – Quantum Binders Ltd

How to Create Eye-Grabbing Posters [Infographic]

Venngage Infographics Templates

As an HR professional, you probably don’t have a whole lot of graphic design experience.

But with so much attention being given to the benefits of visual modes of communication, it’s worth it to try your hand at some design. After all, many companies don’t have an in-house graphic designer handy for quick projects like posters and handouts.

Say your team is planning a workplace event. You could seek out an external designer but that will be time consuming and costlier than if you were to just design the poster yourself. Even if you’re not a designer by vocation, you can still create beautiful poster designs.

All you need is an understanding of some basic principles of design and a bit of practice.

It also helps if you start with a template, especially if you’ve never designed anything before. There are plenty of sites offering poster templates. 

Here are the four main things you need to keep in mind when designing a poster.

Create a hierarchy of information

Because the purpose of an event poster is to get the attention of passers-by and to inform them about an event, you don’t need a lot of text. Generally, all you need to include is:

  1. Name of event.
  2. Company or department title.
  3. Short description of the event or a catchy tagline.
  4. Date and time of the event.
  5. Location of event.
  6. If necessary, where they can find more information (like a website or social media page).

Grab readers’ attention with a beautiful design

There are a couple of easy hacks for creating a beautiful design that you can keep in your back pocket.

  1. Make the title the focus of the poster. Use a bold, easy to read font, big sized enough to read from a few meters away.
  2. Use one focal image. The image should be bright and not have too many small details that will be hard to see from far away.
  3. Pick a color scheme that communicates the mood of the event.
  4. Use borders to section information.
  5. Leave ample negative space (space between design elements) so that your poster design isn’t cluttered.

Design specifically for print

If you’re designing your poster to pin it up on a wall, there are a couple of print-specific tips to keep in mind:

  1. Use CMYK colors, since printers print in CMYK color palettes.
  2. Design your poster for a standard A1-A5 printer paper, so it will be cheaper and easier to print.
  3. Export your image in a high resolution; no less than 300 dpi.
  4. Set crop marks to accommodate bleed (when your design touches the edge of the page).

Design specifically for email

There are less restrictions when designing to web.

The most important thing to consider is the size of the image. An image that is too big will be annoying to receive in, say, an email.When in doubt, an 1080 x 1080 dpi square is a safe size.

You also have the option of animating your poster! An easy way to animate your design is to create a series of images with different colored background and to turn the image series into a GIF.

This infographic walks you through the steps for creating a beautiful poster:

Event Poster

Event Poster Design | Infographics


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