Archive for Organisation

10 tips for Better Team Work

Posted in Business start up, Human Resources, Management / Leadership with tags , , , on December 21, 2010 by virtualcitypa
Have you ever wondered how some groups work and some don’t? Effective team work is both profoundly simple and difficult at the same time.  Susan Heathfield of About.com published this article regarding team building that we thought is relevant for all small businesses..
Keys to Successful Team Work
  • The team understands the goals and is committed to attaining them. This clear direction and agreement on mission and purpose is essential for effective team work.
  • The team creates an environment in which people are comfortable taking reasonable risks in communicating, advocating positions, and taking action. Team members trust each other. Team members are not punished for disagreeing.
  • Communication is open, honest, and respectful. People feel free to express their thoughts, opinions, and potential solutions to problems. People feel as if they are heard out and listened to by team members who are attempting to understand.
  • Team members have a strong sense of belonging to the group. They experience a deep commitment to the group’s decisions and actions.
  • Team members are viewed as unique people with irreplaceable experiences, points of view, knowledge, and opinions to contribute.
  • Creativity, innovation, and different viewpoints are expected and encouraged.
  • The team is able to constantly examine itself and continuously improve its processes, practices, and the interaction of team members. The team openly discusses team norms and what may be hindering its ability to move forward and progress in areas of effort, talent, and strategy.
  • The team has agreed upon procedures for diagnosing, analysing, and resolving team work problems and conflicts. The team does not support member personality conflicts and clashes nor do team members pick sides in a disagreement. Rather, members work towards mutual resolution.
  • Participative leadership is practiced in leading meetings, assigning tasks, recording decisions and commitments, assessing progress, holding team members accountable, and providing direction for the team.
  • Members of the team make high quality decisions together and have the support and commitment of the group to carry out the decisions made.

If a team can get these ten factors right, success and a rewarding sense of team work will follow.

Susan Heathfield is a Human Resources expert. She is a management and organisation development consultant who specialises in human resources issues and in management development to create forward thinking workplaces. Susan is also a professional facilitator, speaker, trainer, and writer.

http://humanresources.about.com/od/teambuilding/f/team_work.htm

Office organisation tips

Posted in Office Management with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2010 by virtualcitypa

With the ever increasing workloads that companies are putting on employees, staying organised is vital. Here are some tips on how you can have better office organisation, more productivity and a little peace of mind.

1. Know the times of day that you’re at your best

We all have times of the day that we’re more productive than others. Use those better periods of the day to spend on the toughest tasks you need to accomplish. Leave the easier things for the times you’re less energetic.

For example, if you’re not a morning person then don’t schedule an important meeting early in the morning if possible. Push it back to 10:00 a.m. or later. Using your time wisely is one of the keys to better office organisation.

When you’re not feeling your best it’s nearly impossible to get anything of substance accomplished. This is where flex schedules can be a big asset. If your office doesn’t have that, talk to the boss about it and try selling him on the idea.

2. Deadlines are good

Set deadlines for yourself on important tasks. By doing this you’ll notice yourself getting more done in less time. Even if you really don’t have a deadline for a certain project, set one anyway. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you can be with just this tip.

3. Control your day instead of your day controlling you.

Think about how much time you lose every day due to office distractions. Perhaps its emails that co-workers send, others who pop into your office and proceed to camp out for 15 minutes and the list goes on.

Let others know that unless their needs are an emergency, that you’re busy and don’t want to be disturbed. That’s not being rude, it’s being productive.

Every time you become distracted, not only do you lose the time during the distraction, but it’s difficult to get re-focused again. When this happens throughout the day it makes getting anything accomplished nearly impossible.

4. Cut the fat.

No, I’m not talking about a diet. Good office organisation is going to require the elimination of these things which are not of any value.

For example, if you are writing out reports that other co-workers don’t need, then stop doing it. Put out one report and send it to everyone by email.

Get with your boss and discuss the areas that you are spending unproductive time in. Let them know you could be utilising that time on the areas you are strongest in.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/123924/office_organization_tips_to_being_more.html

Office essentials checklist

Posted in Office Management with tags , , on November 12, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Whether you’re equipping your first office or just re-stocking your current one, this checklist will help you determine and track which furniture, equipment, technologies and supplies you need to help your business run more smoothly.

Office Furniture and Equipment

  • Desk
  • Comfortable chair
  • File cabinets
  • Overhead and work lighting
  • Client seating
  • Fireproof safe
  • Desktop and pocket calculators
  • Bookcases
  • Postage meter
  • Worktable (s)
  • Office decorations
  • Labeling machine
  • Wall whiteboard and markers
  • Radio
  • Paper shredder
  • Photocopier
  • Wastepaper basket
  • Recycling bin
  • Alarm system
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First-aid kit

Computer Hardware and Accessories

  • Desktop computer and monitor
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Printer
  • Modem
  • Notebook computer
  • CD writer
  • PowerPoint projector
  • Digital camera
  • Handheld organiser
  • Surge protector
  • Computer locks
  • Scanner

Computer Software

  • Word processing software
  • Virus protection software
  • Accounting software
  • Desktop publishing software
  • Contact management software
  • Website building and maintenance software
  • Payment processing software
  • E-commerce software
  • Inventory management software

Communications

  • Telephone line
  • Internet connection
  • Toll-free line
  • Desk telephone
  • Fax machine
  • Cordless telephone
  • Answering machine/service
  • Cordless headset
  • Speakerphone
  • Tape recorder
  • Mobile phone(s)

General Office Supplies

  • Business cards
  • Envelopes
  • Stationery
  • Imprinted advertising specialties
  • Postage stamps
  • Printer cartridges
  • CD and USB memory sticks
  • Pencils and pens
  • Printer paper
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Fax paper
  • Notepads
  • File folders
  • Stapler
  • Scissors

This checklist was revised from 202 Services You Can Sell for Big Profits by James Stephenson.

Budgeting effectively

Posted in Finance with tags , , , on September 2, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Business budgeting is very important in every company regardless of its size. Good business budgeting plan can business owners and executives achieve their goals and stay in competition despite difficult or unexpected financial situations.

Business budgeting is basically financial planning. It can be simple or complex depending on the nature of your business but it is best if you keep the budget presentation simple and clear. Above all, use caution when creating your budget. Make sure all information is accurate and up-to-date for effective business budgeting.

Below are several budgeting tips that you can try:

• Be realistic

Business budgeting should be based on numbers that is backed up by sensible expectations. These expectations should be based on both previous business financial performance and projected business developments.

• Business budgeting should be time-bound

Business budgeting should be prepared under a specific timeframe. The budget is most of the time based on the company’s fiscal year or you can also project a budget on a monthly or quarterly basis.

It is recommended that you break down your budget on a monthly basis even if you have already prepared it on your business’ fiscal year. To make your business budgeting easy, consider using a financial program or software.

• Make an estimate on your income and expenses

Business budgeting relies on your expenses and income within a specified timeframe. Your income should include the payments gathered from sales, interests, accounts receivable and other sources. For the company expenses, all funds that leave the company should be included. Such expenses include payroll, materials, utilities, real estate so on and so forth.
Regardless of how cautiously you plan, there is not doubt that you will come across with unexpected expenses as you run your business. This makes it very important for you to save some allowance for them in your business financial plan.

Also, it is a good thing to consider the time when both income and operating costs will be incurred. For instance, if you run a business that is seasonal, there are months wherein your sales will definitely go down. In this case, it is important to make sure to adjust the budget accordingly for the lean months.

These are just some business budgeting tips that you can try. To be honest, business budgeting is not easy but if you master it, you can be sure that you will encounter lesser financial problems in your company.

http://www.linkroll.com/budgeting/tips-for-an-effective-business-budgeting.php

Time management tips

Posted in Time Management with tags , , , , on June 30, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Plan your actions
Changing time management habits takes time and effort, and it is always much easier when you have a simple system of practical rules and hints that are easy to keep in mind.

Know what you want from your time
The proven way to do it is to set goals, and to set them SMART. The rest of the time management tips below will help you be effective in achieving your goals and making time management decisions.

Learn to see the difference between urgent and important
The important tasks are those that lead you to your goals, and give you most of the long term progress and reward. Those tasks are very often not urgent. Many urgent tasks are not really important.

Know and respect your priorities
Aim to do the important things first. Remember the 80-20 rule: 80 percent of reward comes from 20 percent of effort. One of the aims of time management tips is to help you refocus your mind to give more attention and time to those most important 20 percent.

Plan your actions for achieving your goals
Convert your goals into a system of specific actions to be done. The first significant point of planning is the planning process itself. It is a known fact, and you will see it for yourself, that the planning process stimulates your brain to come up with new efficient solutions. It programs your subconscious mind to search for shortcuts. It makes you much more prepared for each specific action. Besides, planning will help you to identify potential conflicts and crises, minimizing the number of urgent tasks.

Planning can also significantly lower the time spent on routine maintenance tasks, leaving you more time on what you like to do or for what you think is important for your long term success.

Also remember that planning and related time management tips work best when you review your plans regularly.

Schedule time for your tasks
Your concentration can be easily lost in the sea of many boring or less important things waiting to be done in your head. Undone things circulating in your mind are also a big drain of your mental energy. Most often, there is no way to get those things out of your mind except of either doing them or scheduling them in a trustable system, convincing your mind that they will be done in due time.

Know how you spend your time
Keep a time log during some time interval, like a week, and then analyse it to see where your time goes. For example, what percentage of time you spend on urgent and on important activities, what people you devote most time to. You are likely to be surprised, and you will see much better if you could use more time management tips. This is also an effective way to get a feedback on how well time management tips and techniques are working for you, and where you need some adjustments.

Personal time management leads to building a stronger foundation for your success.
www.time-management-guide.com

Office Setup Tips

Posted in Office Management with tags , , on June 24, 2010 by virtualcitypa

This article from Susan Ward’s “7 Ways to Control Chaos in Your Small Business”,  I found particularly helpful as an easy to follow guide to good office management

1. Establish office management routines and stick to them.

Routine tasks need routine procedures if you want to stay organised and keep things running smoothly. Set up routines for handling paperwork and office systems. For instance, every piece of paper that comes into your office should be handled once, acted upon, and filed – not haphazardly piled on a desk. Office systems, such as computers, will need both administration and what I call panic mode procedures. When the system crashes or a computer-related piece of equipment fails, everyone in your office needs to know who to call and what not to do (such as try to fix the problem themselves). These data management articles provide helpful tips for everything from office filing systems through computer backup procedures.

2. Set up clearly delineated responsibilities.

Good office management depends on people knowing who is responsible for what – it’s people who are accountable who get things done. What would happen, for example, if the purchasing for your small business was done by whoever whenever? Would you be able to find a paper clip when you wanted one? Or print off a report when you needed to? Putting one person in charge of ordering all equipment and supplies solves the problem and keeps things running smoothly. It’s the same with (computer) systems administration. You need to have one person responsible for the security of your computer system and keeping track of things such as accounts, passwords and software. Otherwise, chaos will proliferate.

3. Keep records – and keep your business records updated.

Keeping records sounds like the easiest part of good office management – until you consider the need to keep those records both accessible and updated. But my first rule for controlling chaos will help you get a grip on this; make updating records an office routine. When you get a new customer or client, for instance, it only takes a moment to enter him into your contacts database. Then it will only take another moment or two to update the record after you’ve spoken to them on the phone.

4. Take a walk through your office and have a sit.

Is your office an example of space management or space mis-management? When you walk through the office, do you have to detour around obstacles or run the risk of tripping over something? When you sit down at a desk, could you actually work comfortably there? Are things logically arranged so that the things that you would use most at the desk are closest to hand? There are a lot of things crammed into offices nowadays, from printer stands through filing cabinets. For good office management, you need to be sure that all the things in the office are arranged for maximum efficiency – and maximum safety. The Basics of Small or Home Office Design provides tips for safely meeting the power, lighting and ventilation needs of your office space.

5. Schedule the menial tasks.

It’s too easy to put off things that you don’t like doing, and I don’t know very many people that enjoy menial tasks. Unfortunately, an office, like a kitchen, won’t function well without a certain amount of maintenance work being done. If you are a small business owner who’s in the position of not being able to assign whatever you view as menial tasks to someone else, force yourself to get to it regularly by scheduling time each week for it. Take a morning or afternoon, for instance, and spend it making the cold calls or catching up on the accounting (or updating the records).

6. Delegate and outsource.

In a perfect world, everyone would only be doing what he or she had time to do and did well. As the world is not perfect, instead a lot of people are doing things that they don’t have the time or talent to do well. Delegating and outsourcing can not only improve your small business’s office management, but free you to focus on your talents as well, thereby improving your bottom line. Virtual assistants can handle many of your office or administrative tasks.

7. Make business planning a priority.

Many small business owners spend their days acting and reacting – and then wonder why they seem to be spinning their wheels. Business planning is an important component of good office management and needs to be part of your regular office management routine. Successful small business owners spend time every week on business planning, and many use daily business planning sessions as a tool for goal setting and growth. If you have staff, involve them in business planning, either formally or informally.

Don’t let chaos interfere with doing business. Once you start applying these seven principles of good office management, you’ll be amazed at the difference good office management makes – and how much more business you do.

http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/smallofficehomeoffice/a/officemgt1.htm

http://sbinfocanada.about.com/bio/Susan-Ward-6453.htm

What does a Virtual assistant do?

Posted in Outsourcing, Virtual Assistance with tags , , on October 22, 2009 by virtualcitypa

A Virtual Assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is an entrepreneur who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients from a home office.  They usually work for other small businesses, brokers and consultancy groups. It is estimated that there are as few as 5,000-8,000 or as many as 35,000 Virtual Assistants worldwide; the profession is growing in centralized economies with “fly-in, fly-out” (FIFO) staffing practices.

Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, e-mail and phonecall conferences, online work spaces, and fax machine. Professionals in this business work on a contractual basis and a long-lasting cooperation is standard.

Typically 5 years of administrative experience in an office is expected at such positions as executive assistant, office manager/supervisor, secretary, legal assistant, paralegal, legal secretary or real estate assistant.