When Telecommuting is a Must: Work From Home Tips for Success

As the novel coronavirus grips the United States, virtually every business has had to make significant work from home accommodations for millions of employees across the country, with little or no time to plan. While mandatory telecommuting may not be ideal for many companies, there are a multitude of ways that businesses and their team members can make the best of an unforeseen remote working situation, and enjoy a few work from home perks along the way.

Create a Routine That Works for You

Whether you’re an early bird who enjoys watching the day wake up, or you’re a night owl who enjoys working well into the evening, creating a workday routine that works for you will ensure you get the job done while keeping your home life happy and your work-life balance in check.


Create Your Office Space

Especially if working from home became necessary because of COVID-19 work from home mandates, you may not be prepared – or have the room – to designate a formal office space. A small desk, a dining room table, or a kitchen nook – anywhere that you can make your own and keep consistent – will work well.

Finding a spot in a well-lit room, or a room with lots of natural light, will help to create a light, bright work area. Be sure you have the essentials: a comfortable chair, a strong internet connection, a mouse for your laptop (game changer!), and a printer stocked with paper and ink if printing documents is a regular part of your work day.

Make your ad-hoc office space your own! Add a small vase of fresh flowers, your favorite scented candle, a few favorite photos, or anything that sparks a bit of joy throughout your busy work day.

To present a more formal setting when video conferencing with external clients or customers, visibly displaying your name plate in your video chat window is an easy way to set a professional tone while you’re working from home.

When your work day is over, tuck all of your office ‘supplies’ away and out of sight till the next day.

Set Regular Work Hours

What’s most important when working from home is to achieve your responsibilities, which will help to keep your company running smoothly and working toward its objectives. It’s less about clocking in and out, and more about ensuring that you are able to commit to accomplishing quality work in a timely manner.

It is equally as important to completely log off at the end of your work day, resisting the urge to log back in after dinner, or on evenings or weekends. Just as you put in the time expected of you during the work day, keeping work and home life separate are key to your quality of life.

Be Comfortable

While some people feel best ‘dressed for success’ whether they commute to the office or are working from home, others prefer comfy tees and yoga pants during a busy at-home work day. Work however you’re most comfortable, the more comfortable you are, the more productive you’ll be!

Keep in mind, when video conferencing with other team members, clients, or customers, be sure that what you’ve chosen to wear for the day presents the same appearance as if you were working at the office, perhaps even adding your name tag to complete your look.

Set Rules with Others Sharing Your Space

If you’re not alone during the work hours you’ve set, and must share limited space with family members, roommates, or others, set rules that will respect your privacy while you’re ‘at the office’. One easy way to avoid shared quarters distractions is to put those noise canceling headphones or super-charged ear buds to good use!

Communicate with Colleagues

Many people enjoy the camaraderie of a bustling office. Not everyone prefers to work from home, and doing so may add an extra layer of stress or anxiety to the work day. Providing your virtual teams with as much valuable information as possible will lessen the worry caused by this unexpected disruption.

Additionally, make it a priority to check in often and ‘attend’ your regularly scheduled meetings. Technology offers many easy video conferencing ways to join meetings from virtually anywhere, and continuing meetings as planned will help to keep workflows moving along and keep everyone on the same page. There are many easy to use, free video chat platforms available via social media, including Skype and FaceTime.

Keep the Social in Social Distancing

While it may be easier to be productive without the chatter of coworkers buzzing in your ear, thoughtfully interacting with coworkers via phone calls, video conferencing, or online intranet chat platforms can alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation and keeps the sense of teamwork thriving when social distancing is a must.

Get Up! Move Around!

Once you’re settled in and working from home, it’s easy to see how much you’re used to getting up and walking around at work, whether it’s down the hall to the conference room or covering several floors throughout the day collaborating with colleagues. It’s essential to get up and move around no matter where your new ‘office’ happens to be.

Several short breaks – of even five or ten minutes at a time – are essential to clear your mind and reset your concentration. Play a few rounds of fetch with your dog, grab the day’s mail, or take a walk around the neighborhood, enjoying a few minutes of fresh air and nature as often as you can.

At a minimum, take a few minutes several times an hour to get up, stretch, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Opening your windows for some fresh air is also a wonderful way to bring a bit of the outside in.

Take Advantage of Your Perks

While working from home offers its own set of challenges, including transitioning to a single-screen laptop, slower home internet connections, and a laggy virtual private network, there are many work from home perks to be enjoyed.

You’re not commuting! If your commute was only 30 minutes each way, you’ve just gained five extra hours per week, giving you plenty of bonus time to do the little things that inevitably pile up, or simply spend more time living your best life.

Consider the extra savings. Not only will you save the additional gasoline or mass transit costs when working from home, you can enjoy making workday meals and snacks from the comfort of your kitchen, which is a cost that adds up when eating out for lunch even a few days a week.

Speaking of saving money, be your own barista and set up a coffee shop in your kitchen. In just minutes, your favorite latte will be brewed and ready to enjoy!

Enjoy moments that you wouldn’t necessarily have at the office. Listen to your music or podcasts sans headphones, cuddle your kitty to relieve stress (or to remove her from your keyboard!), and enjoy a few minutes of extra sleep instead of sitting in morning traffic.

Stay Healthy!

During stressful times, and especially being so close to a kitchen and pantry full of tempting treats, it’s easy to go for the salty, sweet snacks too often! Instead, focus on healthful fruits, nuts, and nutritious lunches, and then reward yourself with your favorite treat as a bonus at the end of the day.

For Managers

As mangers that are faced with heading up an unplanned virtual workforce, effective communication and a positive tone from the top are key to encouraging productivity and reducing stress for remote workers.

Sharing the message that the company expects challenges and knows they will pass, and that you’re all in this together, will help calm anxieties and create a feeling of camaraderie among team members during times of uncertainty.

Be sure to stress the importance of work-life balance when your team members are working from home. If employees feel that they have to overcompensate because they do not commute to the office every day, they risk becoming worn out and resenting what could and should be a positive remote working situation.

Let Happy Hour Begin!

If happy hour is a trend you wish could continue amid coronavirus social distancing and self-quarantines, why not give a virtual happy hour a go? One of Bloomberg’s Hong Kong employees says that, after several weeks of working from home, a manager set up a video chat for 20 team members. With drinks in hand, conversations were enjoyed, including family updates, casual conversations, and even a pet or two made an appearance!

This recently unimaginable coronavirus outbreak has sparked a mandatory telecommuting trial run for thousands of businesses and employees across the country and around the world, creating a work from home labor force on a grand scale. While there are obvious work from home perks, including no commutes and a more relaxed remote working home office space, heightened anxieties and uncertainties about what the future holds abound.

Remembering that we’re all in this together will go a long way in keeping the circle of collaboration flowing and our successes rising, at work, at home, and everywhere in between.

Top 10 Employee Appreciation Day Gift Ideas

What is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day began as a day to show appreciation to employees everywhere and to strengthen relationships between employers and employees. The first Friday in March marks this unofficial annual holiday, celebrated this year on March 6.

Not only are recognition and appreciation key for motivating employees, showing your sincere, genuine appreciation for valued personnel goes a long way in maintaining employee job satisfaction. We’ve compiled our favorite 10 ways to show employees how much they’re appreciated. There’s something for everyone!

Put Pen to Paper! Write Employee Thank You Notes

Pen a genuine, sincere, handwritten thank you note for each of your employees expressing your thanks for their dedication and a job well done all year long! A personally penned thank you is more meaningful than a standard email destined for a future in cyberspace!

 

Personalize Gifts for Your Employees

Give personalized gifts to your employees they’re sure to appreciate. From engraved desk plates to personalized pens, tumblers, and more, they will enjoy putting your thoughtfully chosen gifts to good use!

Enjoy a Team Outing

Gather the team for some out-of-office fun. If your crew is competitive, think trivia, a darts competition, or mini golf. If they’re all about the circle of collaboration, give an escape room or an obstacle course a go!

Arrange a Volunteer Day

Giving back to your local community (or creating packages to be shared around the world) is a winner for volunteers and recipients alike. You will not only fulfill an essential need, your team will enjoy strengthening social bonds with one another along the way!

 

Plan an Extraordinary Treat

Whether it’s a special delivery of warm, freshly baked cookies from a local bake shop or hiring your team’s favorite food truck for a made-to-order lunch, your employees will appreciate you as much as you appreciate them!

Thank Your Staff by Bringing in Temporary Assistance

Share a few temporary workers between employees and departments for a few days or even a week. Catching up on the piles of busywork that have been pushed aside will have employees humming a happy tune all week long!

Enjoy the Local Lunch Scene

Explore your local cuisine by assigning each person on your team a restaurant to visit and write a review about afterward. And of course, have the company pick up the tab!

 

Elevate Your Employee Break Room and Coffee Stations

Offer complimentary fruit or snacks and upgrade your coffee post with ceramic mugs and spoons, a selection of hot teas, and a variety of creamers, syrups, and coffee toppings. Don’t forget to include weekly Friday treats to start the weekend on a sweet note!

Create an Employee Recognition Campaign

Design a platform where employees can enjoy cheers from their peers! Whether it’s an intranet platform where employees can give a personal shout out to a colleague for a job well done, or actual certificates that are awarded, meaningful gestures of recognition are sure to be appreciated.

Start a Holiday Weekend Early

Surprise employees the morning before a long weekend and call it a day a little early. Whether it’s just before lunch or a little later, this is one surprise everyone will love!

 

 

Make employee appreciation an everyday event!

Simple gestures like being polite, saying hello, or flashing a smile to whomever crosses your path are effortless ways to show employees individual respect and appreciation all year long!

Wood Name Tags – An Ecofriendly Choice for Your Business

From neighborhood businesses lining Main Streets in small town America to international corporations spanning the globe, companies are reshaping their images to be seen as sustainably focused and ecofriendly in the eyes of their valued customers. Known as green marketing, these efforts are made to earn the trust, respect, and business of increasingly environmentally savvy consumers.

Going green is arguably the best practice competitive businesses can implement today.

 

Show Sustainability Matters to your Business

There are countless ways for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to caring for the planet, beginning with that first face-to-face interaction with potential customers or clients. Employees who greet guests wearing wood name tags make an ecofriendly impression with every handshake.

Additionally, wood name tags offer an exceptionally professional look, are laser engraved from a variety of wood types, and can include images or logos to compliment just about any business.

 

 

Wooden name tags are especially nice for complimenting uniforms for outdoor and sporting goods stores, garden nurseries, parks, campgrounds, and other outdoor recreation areas, coffee shops, health food stores, and more!

Wood – A Natural Choice

A renewable natural resource, wood is plentiful, durable, eye-catching, and economical. Additionally, wood grows cleanly, gathering its energy naturally from the sun.

Wood is a sustainable, ecofriendly material that requires minimal processing and emits some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution rates for harvesting and milling. By choosing this renewable resource, harmful carbon is kept from the atmosphere, helping to lessen the effects of climate change.

 

 

In addition to wood being a naturally renewable resource, this ‘green’ choice is good business that also offers benefits to neighborhoods and communities across the country. The production of wood creates zero waste because it grows from, and returns to, nature. The entire tree can be used for economic and environmental purposes, including bark as mulch for landscaping.

 

Additional Benefits of Wearing Name Tags

In addition to displaying a professional appearance, name tags play a role in branding your business, encourage interaction between employees and customers, and provide an added level of security by identifying employees authorized to represent your business.

Whether you’re a local small business or an international corporation, name tags offer unique benefits from that initial greeting through completed transactions, and more. Designing thoughtful name tags for your business is a small investment in time and resources that has the potential to grow your relationships, and your bottom line, for years to come!

Five Tips to Prepare for Small Business Saturday

What is Small Business Saturday?

Started as a way to bring attention (and shoppers!) to the thousands of small businesses across America during the holiday shopping season, Small Business Saturday is celebrated each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. This year, on November 30, 2019 (Small Business Saturday’s 10th anniversary!), small businesses everywhere will open their doors to shoppers looking for those extra special gifts this holiday season!

How Can I Prepare for Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is a wonderful opportunity to welcome new shoppers, inspire customer loyalty, and increase holiday sales! These are some of our favorite ways to create a winning Small Business Saturday strategy.

Host or Participate in a Small Business Saturday Event

Many local neighborhoods and small business organizations come together to plan creative Small Business Saturday events that add an extra bit of fun to this festive holiday shopping weekend. For example, Visit Jacksonville, the official travel website for this beach side city, offers a #SmallBizSat passport where shoppers earn stamps by visiting local small businesses that can be entered into a drawing for exciting holiday giveaways.

Include holiday treats for everyone! Offer hot chocolate and cookies to weary shoppers, and delight the little ones with surprise visits and photo opportunities – straight from the North Pole – from Santa Claus himself! Keep the festivities bustling by piping holiday music throughout the store or by featuring live performances by local Christmas carolers throughout the day or evening.

Advertise! Advertise! Advertise!

Advertising has never been easier – or more economical – with opportunities like the many social media platforms available to reach potential customers. Create festive posts and tweets to keep your followers informed about exclusive Small Business Saturday deals and events and how they can take part.

Like, love, and share other Small Business Saturday social media posts to spread the word to others. Be sure to include the holiday hash tags #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSat, and #ShopSmall to connect with others in the small business community and beyond!

Emphasize Personal Interactions and Build Relationships

Small businesses have the valuable opportunity to offer personalized interaction with their customers, unlike large retail stores where finding employees is often challenging or via chatbot conversations when shopping online. Personal conversation is at the heart (and the start!) of creating meaningful, lasting relationships.

Welcome conversation by wearing an eye-catching name badge and greeting each guest that comes into your store. Rather than the usual ‘May I help you?’ offer a heartfelt ‘Season’s greetings!’ or ‘Welcome in!’ to start a festive conversation. Sincere, professional interaction with customers often leads to increased holiday sales and returning customers throughout the year.

Offer Valuable Sales and Deals

Valuable offers don’t have to mean deep discounts like the big box stores use to lure customers on Black Friday. Small businesses typically don’t have the sales volume to support such substantial markdowns, even for a short time. Small business patrons generally shop to support their local communities rather than dashing in just for that sought-after door buster.

Begin by aligning your holiday promotions with your store’s sales goals. Restaurateurs may consider offering special Small Business Saturday menus, including discounts on holiday-inspired meals. Retail shops could offer small denomination gift cards with purchases of a specific dollar amount that will inspire customers to return throughout the shopping season.

Show Your Appreciation

There are multitudes of ways to show your appreciation while building customer loyalty. Begin by offering a heartfelt thank you to every shopper who visits your store and send handwritten thank you notes to those customers who purchase from you all year.

Make shopping easier by extending your hours during the bustling holiday season, on the weekends or all week long. Set up a festive gift wrapping station and offer free gift wrapping for all in-store purchases. For an added bit of seasonal marketing, use gift wrap or seals printed with your shop’s name and logo, sure to signal to the gift recipient that something special is in store!

Show your support for local charities. In addition to promoting these charities from within your small business, make a donation in your customers’ honor as a special thank you for shopping with you.

Voting 101: Your Election Day Questions Answered

While the 2020 presidential election is still more than a year away, the primaries are in full swing! As voters study the candidates and prepare to cast votes for their favorite nominees, this is the perfect time to review voting do’s and don’ts, including US voting laws and the rules upheld at voting stations across the country.

What are the qualifications to vote in the US?

To legally vote in the United States, you must be:

  • A United States citizen
  • 18 years of age on or before election day
  • Registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline

You also must meet your state’s residency requirements. You can be homeless and still qualify to vote.

What can I wear to a polling station?

Proper attire is required at most polling places across the country, but defining what this means has come up for debate.

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that a Minnesota law effectively banning all political apparel, including campaign buttons and name tags, from voting sites is too vague.  While the court did not specifically define what is or is not considered proper voting apparel, it concluded that Minnesota’s rule was not specific enough and too challenging to enforce.

 

 

 

Most states have laws that ban electioneering within a certain area of a polling station. These laws may include promoting your candidate or expressing your political views on clothing and accessories, like buttons and hats.

Rather than taking a chance that you may be turned away from the voting booths for wearing questionable clothing, it may be best to save your favorite political garb for that election night celebration.

Are cell phones allowed in polling stations?

Don’t snap that #IVoted selfie just yet!

Rules governing the use of smart phones, cameras, and other recording devices at voting stations are informal, at best. Varying from state to state and even precinct to precinct, state officials often are left to subjectively interpret outdated statues or to haphazardly enforce existing rules or adopted practices.

Often interpreted as a form of voter intimidation, it is best to tuck that recording device away while at the voting booth to avoid a frustrating confrontation with voting officials. In addition, many states have laws forbidding the sharing of your completed ballot with anyone, via photograph, through social media, or by any other means.

What is early voting?

Early voting allows registered voters to cast their votes prior to Election Day during a public election season in order to increase voter participation and decrease Election Day congestion at voting sites. Early voting rules differ from state to state, including some that require a reason for requesting an absentee ballot, while some states do not offer early voting at all.

What forms of ID are required to vote?

While voter ID laws vary by state, these laws have become a hotly contested, nationwide debate over the past several years. Advocates of voter ID laws argue that legally issued photo IDs are required to prevent voter fraud. Alternatively, opponents contend that these photo ID requirements disenfranchise minorities and others who are unable to acquire them.

All voting laws, however, require voters to provide at least one from of official identification before being allowed to register to vote, receive an election ballot, or to cast a vote in any US election.

If a voter’s identity cannot be immediately confirmed, he or she will receive a provisional ballot. This ballot will be counted after a voter’s identity is confirmed.

Is campaigning allowed at or near a polling station?

Generally speaking, electioneering, or campaigning for a specific candidate, political party, or political issue, is prohibited within a certain distance of every polling station. Review your state laws on electioneering boundaries for specific information.

What is absentee voting?

Absentee voting allows registered voters to request a mail-in ballot, rather than visiting a polling station, to cast a vote on Election Day. Each state has rules governing who is eligible to receive an absentee ballot.

How do I vote from abroad?

If you are a US citizen living overseas or are a member of the military or his or her family stationed outside your legal voting residence, and are a registered voter, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

Each year, you must submit a completed Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) to election officials in the precinct where you are registered to vote AND request an absentee ballot. Remember to submit a new application every time your address, email, and/or name changes.

Once your local election officials have confirmed that you are eligible to vote, you will receive absentee ballots for each election held that calendar year electronically or by mail.

Voting With a Disability

There are numerous federal laws in place to protect the voting rights of Americans with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Every voter with a disability must have a wheelchair accessible voting booth furnished with voting equipment for those who are blind or visually impaired.

Further, some states allow people with disabilities to vote by mail or offer curbside voting, where an election official will bring everything needed to cast a ballot to that voter’s vehicle. Disabled voters also are allowed to get assistance from an election official familiar with using the handicap accessible voting machine or bring someone with them to help them vote.

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Conducting Job Interviews

When it comes to finding – and hiring – that perfect job candidate, the competition can be fierce. Since a significant part of the hiring decision comes from the face-to-face interview, doing a bit of homework and preparation beforehand is sure to help you, and your company, make your best first impression.

What is the Interviewer’s Role?

As one of the first people an interviewee will come into contact with when applying for a job with your company, you will most likely be representing and making the first impression for your company to your job candidate. This is a wonderful opportunity to create goodwill with your applicant, whether he or she is hired or not.

Make your interviewee as comfortable as possible, depending on your company’s culture. If your organization is formal and wears business attire, then pass that information along. If, on the other hand, your atmosphere is very relaxed and even you, as the interviewer, will be wearing jeans or other casual clothing, let your interviewee know so that he or she will fit in with your company culture and feel comfortable from the start. No matter the attire, always present yourself in a polished manner, including wearing a professional name tag. Your candidate will likely be nervous enough. Being able to glance at your name tag, or even a desk plate, and address you by name will take the pressure off trying to remember it throughout the interview and create a more relaxed, friendly environment.

Create a Relaxed and Welcoming Interview Setting

Conducting the interview at your place of business is a wise choice. When an interviewee comes to (and takes part in a tour of) your office, this provides the best opportunity to see how he or she reacts to your daily work environment. While it may seem like a more relaxing idea to have the interview at the local coffee shop or somewhere over lunch, these places tend to be full of noise and distractions that will hinder both you and your applicant from having the most productive conversation and from learning about one another.

Begin your interview with somewhat casual, yet specific questions. Opening the conversation with an open-ended statement like “Tell me about yourself” probably will not put your interviewee at ease. Rather, ask “Given what you know about our company, what personal qualities of yours would make you a good fit?”

What are Illegal Interview Questions?

As an interviewer, it is unlawful to ask any of the following questions –

  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • What is your religion? Where and/or when do you worship? Do you celebrate religious holidays?
  • Are you a citizen of the US? It seems that you have an accent, where are you from?
  • When were you born? What year did you graduate from high school or college? How old are you?
  • Do you have a disability that has the ability to affect your job performance? (This includes specific questions pertaining to former number of sick days, workers’ compensation claims, mental health diagnoses, or other pre-existing health conditions, including that of family history)
  • Do you use drugs, alcohol, or smoke?
  • Do you belong to a union or do you have an interest in joining one?
  • Are you willing to take a polygraph test? (You cannot be denied employment, disciplined, or fired for refusing to take a polygraph test)
  • Are you pregnant or do you plan to become pregnant, foster, or adopt a child?
  • What does your husband or wife do? Or do you have a spouse or significant other?

Note – When considering an applicant for a position, if your organization’s primary purpose is religious-based, you are legally permitted to favor hiring individuals who practice that same religion.

What are Legal Interview Questions?

  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony or crime other than a traffic violation?
  • Do your religious practices prohibit you from working on weekends (ask only if weekend work is required of the position)
  • Are you legally authorized to work in the US?
  • Do you speak any other languages (ask only if relevant to the position)
  • Are you able to put in the long hours and significant amount of travel this job requires?
  • Are you willing and able to relocate, if the opportunity arises?

What is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification as Related to a Job or a Career?

A Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) is a specific qualification that will allow a potential employer to make an employment decision based on protected classes of citizens ONLY if it is determined to be necessary to operate a specific business successfully. For example, commercial airline pilots MUST retire at age 65 since studies have shown that older pilots’ production declines and, therefore, becomes a greater public risk.

Key Points to Keep in Mind During the Interview and Beyond

Keep in mind the position you are interviewing to fill. While skills and education certainly are important, many job specifics can be learned through on the job training, apprenticeships, and job shadowing. Things that are more difficult to teach are fitting in with the culture, departmental employees, and generally with the company as a whole.

Refrain from asking hypothetical questions. Most often for an interviewee who may not have an immediate answer, this is cause for a moment of panic and he or she may make up an answer. Rather, ask specific questions that relate to real situations that he or she has most likely encountered in the workplace, for example, “Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict between two employees and how that worked out.”

For more information about federal laws regarding prohibited or illegal employment policies and practices, please visit the US Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.

Effective Onboarding Techniques and Strategies for Your Workplace

Why Onboarding Matters

Attracting the best and brightest job applicants and turning them into longstanding employees is a lofty goal that virtually every successful organization aims to achieve. From that first initial contact with applicants through the onboarding process and beyond, you are beginning to build professional relationships designed to last for years to come. As the first official steps toward becoming valued members of your company, the onboarding experiences that you provide are likely to be some of new employees’ most memorable company impressions.

Ensuring Onboarding Success

Effective employee onboarding can mean the difference between a successful start and a challenging transition to a new job. From orientation and training to becoming socially acclimated to your company’s culture, your new hire onboarding process matters.

Begin Onboarding Before You Hire

Bringing your new employees successfully on board begins with the first time you contact your applicants. Whether via phone call, email, or social media, exposure to your organization starts with the recruitment process.  Be sure that all avenues of communication accurately represent your company and its culture and values. When recruiting methods don’t line up with your organization’s culture, new hires can experience culture shock, leading to a disappointing first impression and perhaps even an unexpected resignation.

Create a Welcoming Work Area

Once the paperwork is complete and your new hires are ready to get to work, show them you’re happy they’re here by creating a welcoming work space that includes all of the necessities they’ll need to get off to a terrific start. From pens, paperclips and notepads to custom welcome boxes, new hire name tags and desk plates that are personalized and practical, your newest team members will be ready to go!

Build an Onboarding Network

During the onboarding process, human resources is there to guide employees through the new hire process. Once they’re ready to begin work, assigning each new employee a peer mentor who has the experience and enthusiasm to provide support during the first few weeks or months of employment will go a long way in creating strong professional and working relationships. Scheduling some time for meet-and-greets and lunches with other employees and company leaders can also be a terrific way for new hires to get to know a variety of people throughout the company in a more relaxed social setting.

Make Short Term Goals

Setting short term goals for your new employees that are well defined, measurable, achievable, and relevant to their specific responsibilities will help them to develop confidence in their new positions, become familiar with your organization’s workflow processes, and learn the appropriate people to go to when questions or challenges arise.  Consider setting short term goals for 30, 60, and 90 day time frames.

Develop Long Term Goals

As short term goals are met, begin to create longer term goals that will encourage learning and professional growth over time. These goals will give new employees something specific to strive for, keeping them interested, engaged, and productive.

Investing in your newest employees from the start of the onboarding process is one of the best ways to ensure that they are off to a wonderful start and a successful transition to becoming contributing members of your team. Whether your onboarding program is three weeks, three months, or longer, when employees are offered the tools, training, and information tailored to their specific jobs, they’re sure to be off to their best start!

Building Professional Relationships with Name Tags and Badges

Your name is more than the grouping of letters that have adorned your birth certificate since the day you were born. Your name is a part of your identity that becomes an element of who you are like nothing else will. Names are shared everywhere, especially via name tags in the workplace. As commonplace as they seem, are name badges really worth all the fuss? Absolutely!

Think of everyone that represents your company, small business, or any other defined group as ambassadors of your brand. Hired for their knowledge and abilities to help your organization succeed, well-designed name tags will help these employees, volunteers, and others make their best first impression and inspire meaningful conversation between staff and guests.

Name Tags Build Brand Identity

Creating a memorable company identity is at the core of every successful business. Branding and company recognition often begins with that first face-to-face introduction where names become a key component of this introductory conversation. Name tags and badges that include your company’s logo that include your company’s logo will immediately link your employee’s name and face with your business, reinforcing your brand and identity. Be sure your team’s name tags are free of scratches, faded text, or other imperfections so their professional best is proudly on display!

Name Tags Encourage Personal Interaction

Once you’re introduced to someone by name, you’re both more likely to feel an immediate level of comfort and approachability. And whether your business has a few employees, hundreds, or even thousands, personal interaction goes a long way toward making everyone feel that ‘We’re all on the same team!’ and are working together toward a common goal. For volunteers and other guests, visitor name badges are a wonderful way to make them feel welcome and a part of the interaction.

Name Tags Inspire Personal Expression and Confidence

If your business is one that allows a bit of freedom with personal name tags, they can be a terrific way to learn a fun fact or two about the person wearing the badge while increasing a bit of self-confidence along the way. Perhaps a name tag could display a museum guide’s favorite exhibit. An airline employee’s badge may include the location of that once-in-a-lifetime trip. Or a name tag could include a restaurant employee’s favorite food. The creative possibilities are endless!

Name Tags Display Status, Promotions, and Growth

Name tags offer a terrific way for new employees to quickly recognize others and their respective roles within the workplace. In addition to learning who fulfills which job, specialized name badges are wonderful ways to highlight those well-deserved promotions and other avenues of growth within an organization.

Name Tags Provide an Added Level of Security

When everyone is required to wear name badges, including employees, volunteers, and guests, it is easy to identify others at a glance to be sure they have permission to be where they are – and especially easy to spot someone not wearing a badge who should not be in a specified area.

Whether yours is a corner bakery, the neighborhood’s favorite pizza parlor, or a multinational company, name tags are ideal for associating your respected employees with your valued guests and potential customers.

10 Meaningful Ideas for Honoring Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week and All Year Long

As Teacher Appreciation Week gets underway, this marks the perfect opportunity to show our beloved teachers just how much they’re valued throughout the school year. Teachers have that special way of caring for our children every day, so we’ve compiled a list of our favorite thoughtful ways to show how much they’re appreciated all year long!

Create a Year of Celebration

What better way to show teachers how much they’re loved than by honoring them each month with an unexpected surprise? These are our favorites for a year-long appreciation celebration.

August – Host a ‘Welcome Back’ Breakfast

Welcome teachers back to the classroom by hosting a ‘Back to School’ breakfast. If you’ve got a gourmet doughnut and coffee shop nearby, an array of sweet treats and lattes are sure to be a delightful morning surprise. If you have access to a nearby kitchen, prepare a hot breakfast of Belgian waffles, bacon and eggs, and fresh fruit and juice to begin their busy day.

September – Let’s Get Acquainted

Click Here to Order Your Teacher's Name BadgeAs the new school year gets underway, what better way to help students and teachers to get acquainted than by giving your teachers personalized name tags or desk plates designed especially for them? Whether you’re looking for design your own name tags that reflect your teacher’s personal style or predesigned name tag templates, your teachers are sure to wear their badges proudly all year long.

October – Host a Pot Luck Dinner before Parent/Teacher Conferences

Between parent/teacher conferences or PTA meetings that are usually scheduled during weeknight evenings, provide a pot luck dinner for teachers at school, where they can relax together, share a hot meal, and be ready to continue their workday as the evening meetings get underway. They’re sure to appreciate a warm, homemade meal prepared especially for them.

November – Thanks and Giving

As Thanksgiving draws near, November is the perfect time to provide your teachers with a pilgrim’s picnic for lunch. Whether you’re planning a traditional turkey feast with all the trimmings or creating a feast of your teachers’ mealtime favorites, this banquet is one they’re sure to be thankful for!

December – Home Cooked Meals for the Holidays

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, make your teachers’ lives just a bit easier by ordering a week of free dinner deliveries. Whether a group of parents takes turns bringing a home cooked casserole or meal that teachers can take home and pop in the oven on a busy weeknight, or the class contributes funds to order a week of dinner deliveries from a local meal delivery service, a nutritious and delicious meal will be ready to heat, eat, and enjoy!

January – Let it Snow!

If your school is in an area that transforms into a blizzardy winter wonderland this time of year, grab your safety patrol team, warm winter coats, and a few snow brushes and head outside shortly before the afternoon bell to brush your teachers’ cars off. This thoughtful gesture is sure to ‘warm’ their hearts!

If there’s no snow in your local forecast, be ready on a rainy day with a bucket of large umbrellas placed conveniently by the door so teachers can easily grab one on their way out the door on a  showery afternoon.

February – Lights! Camera! Action!

Create a movie night bucket for a fun filled at home film fest. When the weather outside is frightful, a bucket of movie night essentials is ‘just the ticket’! Fill a popcorn bowl with microwave popcorn (or a sampling of gourmet popcorn from a local popcorn shop), popular movie munchies, and perhaps a soda or two. Everything your teachers need to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

March – Celebrate Spring

Welcome spring to your teachers’ classrooms with a bouquet of freshly picked flowers or a bushel of locally grown fruits and vegetables. A small bunch of wildflowers straight from your garden or a basket filled with freshly picked produce is a wonderful way to bring a bit of nature’s bounty to your child’s teachers.

April – Create Handwritten Note Cards

As the school year begins to wind down, give your teachers a meaningful gift that highlights the impression they’ve made on every student they’ve taught throughout the year. Have the students each fill out a card that says ‘I love my teacher because…’ in their own handwriting (and spelling!), something they’re sure to treasure for years to come.

May – Create a Classroom Memory Book

Just before summer vacation begins, give your teachers a gift that will remind them of the fun-filled happenings of the past year. Creating a class scrapbook is a perfect way to highlight special things that took place throughout the year, share favorite photos, or add handmade notes or artwork from each student. Handmade gifts are a meaningful, creative way to thank teachers for the unwavering enthusiasm and dedication they’ve given students all year long.

Connect With Others by Celebrating National Name Tag Day

What’s in a Name?

From the day we’re born, our name becomes a core part of our identity. Names can have religious roots, family ties, cultural influences, or reveal trends of the moment (think Apple, Blue Ivy, North or Saint, even Pilot Inspektor). Our names are how we’re recognized by others and what we respond to. On our planet of more than 7.5 billion people, each one of us, and our name, is one of a kind!

What Is National Name Tag Day?

Name lovers everywhere will celebrate National Name Tag Day on March 5th, 2020. National Name Tag Day, a part of Celebrate Your Name Week (CYNW),  is observed each year during the first full week of March. The premise is simple: everyone wears a name tag. Started by American onomatology enthusiast Jerry Hill as a way for people to celebrate and appreciate their names, CYNW includes Name Tag Day, Namesake Day, Name Fun Facts Day, Unique Names Day, Learn What Your Name Means Day, Middle Names Pride Day, and Genealogy Day. Hill believed that names should get the attention and recognition they deserve.

Many countries around the world celebrate names each year. Name days, as they’re commonly known, are predominantly European traditions that assign names to particular days of the year. Often, these days correspond to Christian celebrations of the feast days of saints. Small gifts are given and, in some countries, name days hold more significance than birthdays!

Why Wear Name Tags?

Imagine if everyone that crossed your path each day wore a name tag. Who would you meet? What kinds of stories or conversations would unfold? More days than not, we are more focused on the virtual people living inside our little blue screens rather than on the actual humans around us. We miss valuable opportunities to connect with others, share a few smiles, and perhaps meet someone who will change the trajectory of our lives in wonderful ways!

So, this year, take the time to add a dash of inspired human interaction to your day by proudly wearing a personalized name tag and celebrating the name that is uniquely yours!

Affordable Name Tag Options

At Name Tag Wizard, we’re passionate about names and offer a variety of the highest quality name tags, ID badges, and more. Whether you’re looking for full color name tags with your company’s logo, uniquely shaped name badges, engraved name tags or even name tags adorned with rhinestones, Name Tag Wizard is your one stop shop for quality, affordability, and fast, efficient service. Most orders ship next business day!

In celebration of National Name Tag Day, Name Tag Wizard is pleased to offer 50% off all name tags and photo ID badges for one day only, March 7, 2019. Simply use coupon code NATIONAL50 at checkout.

For more ways that name tags can bring us together, please see our related blog:

What’s in a Name? Turn Your Name Tags Into Conversation Starters