Guide to Throwing the Best Fall Party

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Best Fall Party|Guide to Throwing the Best Fall PartyBackyard parties are on the way out with the summer months. This is your last chance to throw the best backyard party to celebrate fall and make those fun memories before the cold comes in and sends everyone inside for months. In many ways, the cooling air will make it easier to plan the party.

All you really need is to make it feel cozy and warm and it will be a big hit. But, keep in mind that it is still warm enough for bugs so consult a professional about a mosquito and tick control and preventionplan before the party date.

Once these details are out of the way you can concentrate on the fun stuff. Food and invitations and decorating. Everyone who enjoys entertaining knows that it is so important to have the right food in the correct amounts at a party. It is better to have too much and send covered plates home with guests than to have to call for pizza halfway through the festivities.

That will make your party memorable for all the wrong reasons. Sit down and start making a list of what you will need to make your party special so you can be sure to have a roaring good time.

Digital Invitations

You no longer need to go to the trouble of printing out matching invitations and finding envelopes and addresses etc. Those days of getting irritated with invitations are over. Now, you can design the best and most attractive invitation you could want online and send it out via social media.

You can even make one invitation and a Facebook group where you invite all your guests. They will see the invitation and can easily plan out who brings what and any ride-sharing arrangements in one convenient and easily accessible platform.

This is also a great avenue for conveniently informing everyone about the weather in your area. You can update the group easily about how to dress for the weather, the seating arrangements, and how you plan to occupy their children. They might be able to suggest better activities or volunteer babysitting duties on a schedule so everyone gets to have some fun and enjoy the food.

Get Enough Chairs

It might seem like an easy task to fulfill for the party but seating can be a hassle if you’re not careful. People use seating options to put down their stuff as well as settle their children and their supplies. If you have just enough seating for the exact number of people attending your party, you will have some grumpy people with nowhere to sit.

Look for multiple seating arrangements to accommodate tastes. Deck chairs are always popular but have some table seating as well for older folks who cannot hold a plate with one hand while eating with the other. These tables will also make it easier for any parents to feeds their children with less fuss and mess.

Make it Feel Cozy

Plenty of warm lighting is necessary for evoking that cozy and comfortable feel of fall. A great way to add some real warmth and amplify the coziness is to build a fire. This will be immensely popular with everyone from kids to adults. The appeal will skyrocket if you have plenty of supplies for making s’mores.

Make sure to have plenty of lighting even if you light a fire. A fire tends to draw so much attention that you may think it provides enough light to the backyard. But it will be surrounded by people and the glow will be dimmed. Lights outside the glow of the fire are necessary to make sure people see where they are stepping. Some people may also not be comfortable too close to the fire. They will appreciate a well-lit cozy area to enjoy the fire from afar.

Many Lighting Options

There are many types of lights that you can rent or even purchase for this and other uses. Fairy lights look great in a backyard and add a magical feel that children will love and appreciate. It is also a way to add some lighting to the trees and bushes without too much harshness.

People will be able to easily identify the trees and bushes and see if there are seating options, so they can sit there or avoid going towards those areas because there is clearly no well-lit seating. This is the best way you can ensure that no one trips and falls trying to wander around your garden.

Depending on the type of gathering you are planning, you may need some tents or large parasols as well. In some areas, it can rain towards the evening. If you do not want to be driven inside by a light shower, then some waterproof awnings are a necessity.You may need to find out if your patio has the room and load-bearing capacity for the numberof guests you want to have. This is one of those details that do not easily occur to someone till they hear the deck creaking from the number of people on it.

A party is fun because the party planner makes sure that everyone can concentrate on having fun. If all these details are too much for you, there is no harm in hiring an event planner to put it all together for you. That way, you can enjoy yourself at your party as well, without worrying about everyone else’s good time.

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hiring Your First Employee

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Hiring a First Employee|3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hiring Your First EmployeeHiring your first employee is a big step for a new business. Things are going well and the workload is increasing so you think that now is the right time to start bringing more people on board, but that isn’t always the case. If you start expanding the business and hiring people too early, you might end up in a difficult financial situation and it could be the end of the business entirely. You may also find that you hire the wrong person if you rush into things without really thinking about it properly first. If you want to avoid getting it wrong, you need to ask yourself these 3 questions before you hire your first employee.

Why Are You Hiring Them?

This is important and it seems like an obvious question but a lot of people don’t actually think about this before they start hiring people. If your answer to this question is simply that you’re making more money and the business is getting a bit bigger so it seems like the right thing to do, you probably aren’t making the right choice. You should be hiring employees to help in specific areas where you’re struggling. For example, if you’re struggling to handle the volume of sales that you’re seeing and you need a sales rep to take on some of that workload, that’s fine. Or maybe you aren’t very good at digital marketing and you think that the company would benefit from having somebody with more experience do it, that’s a great reason to hire somebody. Before you jump into anything, consider how hiring a new employee will actually improve the business in a specific way. If you can’t think of anything, it’s not the right time to start hiring.

Can You Actually Pay Them?

A lot of people have a good month and then decide that they’re financially stable enough to pay an employee. Then they hire somebody and the following month sales dip again and they’re struggling to find the money. It’s best to wait until you’re seeing stable growth over a period of a few months before you decide to hire somebody, and try to put some money aside to cover their salary for a while.

You don’t just need to think about whether you can afford to pay them, you need to think about the actual process of paying them. In other words, do you have a payroll system in place? You’ll need some software to handle that for you and choosing the best payroll software for your business isn’t something that you can just do overnight. If you don’t understand how to deal with payroll yourself, that’s a big problem as well and you’ll need to hire somebody to do that first. If you rush into it and find that you can’t actually pay your employees, you’re going to have a big problem on your hands.

Do You Have A Clear Hiring Process?

Hiring an employee is a lot harder than you might realize. You’re going to get a lot of applications and you need to know how to narrow it down to a few candidates for interview and then choose the perfect person. If your process isn’t good, your first employee won’t be the right fit for the position and you’ll be wasting money. So, before you do anything, you need to sort your hiring process out and make sure that you know how to pick the right candidate.

If you can’t confidently answer all of these questions, it might be best to hold off for a while before hiring your first employee.

How To Build A Successful Team

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Build a successful team|How To Build A Successful TeamFor most small businesses, there will come a time when it needs to expand. It could be that bigger premises are required, or that new products should be introduced to the line. Or it could be that more staff are needed. It is at this point that, if the business owner is not very careful indeed, things can start to go wrong. Putting a team together is one thing; putting the right team together is quite another. Without the right team, a small business can vanish overnight. The right team can boost it to the next level – and, in fact, as far as it needs to go. Read on to find out more.

It’s Not What You Know

When it comes to employing your core business team, it’s definitely more like ‘it’s who you know’. If you can possibly do it, you should always hire people you already know. Not family and friends (not necessarily anyway – if they have the requisite skills, then it isn’t a problem), but those you have worked for in the past and found to be professional and good at what they do. This way, you can be sure that the foundations of your team are strong and that they know what they are doing. Training new team members is the last thing you want to do when you are also running a business, unless it is absolutely necessary.

Make Sure They Have Experience

If you don’t know anyone suitable, or if no one is available, you will need to broaden your search. This can be worrisome, but remember that you are looking for experience. That’s the key point. Don’t hire someone just out of university who, despite their excellent degree, hasn’t done anything like what you’ll be asking them to do before. That will just take more of your time, and it will slow the progress of the business down too. If you get things right at the beginning, the time will come when you can afford to hire those who are just starting out to give them a chance. That time is not when you are building your first team.

Sales And Marketing

If there is any part of the team you should be looking at first, it’s the sales and marketing part. Without them, nothing else matters. You could have the best company in the world, but if no one knows about you, what’s the point? Sales and marketing need to get acquainted with the business and how it all works as early on as possible. They should definitely be part of your core team.

Find The Passionate Ones

As well as people who know what they’re talking about, whether they’re experts in trailer reflective tape or which social media platform to use for marketing, or what kind of coffee is best in the waiting room, you want people who are passionate about your business and want to see it succeed. This is partly down to you as the business owner, as the person who can show them your vision and ask them to get behind it. It’s about the rest of the business too. If these people can also have experience, then you will have the best of both worlds.
Therefore, it is down to you to instill that passion in the people you want around you. They’ll stay for longer, and they’ll do a better job for you.

Can You Improve Work By Improving Your Office Space?

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Improve Office Space|Can You Improve Work By Improving Your Office Space?In short, yes. Over the past 50+ years, our traditional office layouts have transformed from impersonal and claustrophobic cubicles to more open-concept spaces with performance in mind. These new spaces aren’t more advanced, but instead, they offer simple concepts and additions for your workers that boost their productivity.

As the Summer of 2021 draws to a close, more and more people are returning to the office after working from home. It’s essential for business owners to bring the comfort and safety they felt at home back to the office. Below we’ll cover various additions and adjustments you can make to your office that will positively influence your employee’s productivity, creativity, and wellbeing.

Natural Light Goes a Long Way

While it may seem obvious, natural light is very beneficial for improving your productivity. According to an article by turnstone, workers who have natural light stay on-task for 15% longer than those without. It’s proven that natural light improves employee’s energy and creativity too.

For buildings that don’t get as much natural light or windowless offices, there are solutions. Installing interior windows can break down the barrier between workspaces and allow natural light in from other areas. If that’s not an option, there are several different types of natural light lamps available that can supplement your natural light needs somewhat.

Design a Better Workspace (Colors, Furniture)

It’s no surprise that specific colors evoke certain emotions and feelings. From furniture to newly painted walls, there are a wealth of opportunities for adding some color to your office. In a post from LinkedIn, they suggest that certain colors provide different benefits such as:

  • Blue: Known to help with concentration and can be calming.
  • Yellow: Associated with positive emotions like happiness, excitement, and creativity.
  • Red: Raises your heart rate and can energize your employees.
  • Green: Associated with nature and can ease anxiety and encourage relaxation.

In addition, comfortable seating options and standing desks are a must. When employees are comfortable with their workspaces, they’re more likely to stay at them longer. In an article by bureauone.com, they cite a study that shows that those who use height-adjustable desks were 45% more productive than those who don’t. However, you shouldn’t replace every desk with standing desks, but leave the option open for employees to request height-adjustable desks.

Allow Personalization

Personalization of workspaces can make a considerable difference in creating a connection to the workplace. There are effortless ways to personalize your workspace, from screensavers to knickknacks, company photos, and more. The idea is to make yourself more comfortable in your surroundings. Helping your employees feel more relaxed is a common theme of this article because they are more productive. Awards, certificates, and other forms of recognition are also good ways to remind your employees that they’re appreciated and that the team is proud of their accomplishments.

Plants

Due to the nature of office work, employees can be disconnected from nature. Plants have been proven to have many benefits for office workers. According to an article from ciphr.com, productivity increases by 15% when there are plants in the workplace. In addition, they clean the air, reduce noise, and in some cases, can lower the chance of sickness. By far, this is one of the easiest ways to boost productivity.

Investing in a New Office Space

According to an article from FNRP, around $38.9 billion in office space construction happened in 2020. Even though that number is down from 2019, it still shows a huge market for new office space! If your business is nearing the end of its current office lease, or if you’re looking to upgrade your space, there are definitely options. More modern workspaces may be more desirable for employees returning from remote work that are used to more relaxed environments.

If 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything, it’s that workers do not need traditional work environments to be productive. As employees ease back into office life, it may be beneficial for you to move to a more ergonomic office space or consider communal workspaces like co-working spaces.

No matter the size of your company, office, or sales you do, your employees matter. It’s essential in our conversion back to in-person work that we bring our employees back into safe, productive, and relaxing environments for them to work in. These tips and many more like them are guaranteed to improve productivity, and your employees will appreciate the office facelift.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Veronica BaxterVeronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.

13 Maintenance and Design Tips To Create a Healthy and Productive Workspace

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Healthy Workspace|13 Maintenance and Design Tips To Create a Healthy and Productive WorkspaceAfter the pandemic hit, a staggering number of professionals around the country had to abandon the office and start working from home. While the first few weeks came with all the challenges of an unpredicted adaptation period, most workers then managed to find a new balance.

Today, almost 60% of Americans work from home for most of the week, and they are planning to keep things that way. Organizations around the world have also enjoyed the benefits of this new trend – especially because they can now cut down on office space, reduce expenses, and tap into a worldwide talent pool.

Nonetheless, there are also some reasons for which companies still want employees to come into the office for a few days each month. And, if you are also trying to make this new hybrid work model work for your company, you need to make the experience of coming into the office productive and energizing. Start with the tips below.

Let Nature In

Spending time in nature is linked to lower stress levels and cortisol, better mood and morale, and higher productivity levels. So, we know that if you want to feel calmer and more serene, you have to spend time in a park, forest, or coastal area.

But how can you reap the benefits of nature while working in the office? Bringing nature indoors! You can do so by decorating with plants and natural materials such as wood, metal, and natural fabrics. Try to leave out cheap, single-use items!

Leverage Natural Light and Fresh Air

Just as important as decorating with natural and sustainable elements is letting in some fresh air and natural light. Over the past years, a rising number of employees have started to suffer from Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). This condition is not immediately evident but, in the long term, it can cause respiratory problems, skin conditions, low morale, excessive tiredness, and mental health issues.

You can prevent all of this by opening curtains and windows and letting fresh air and sunshine into the office. Your teams will feel much happier and more energized!

Insulate the Building

Insulating the building is essential to create a comfortable and adequate working environment while making the whole building more sustainable. Insulation is especially important if the premises are in an area subjected to drastic temperature changes, and it allows you to save over 15% on heating and cooling costs. All this, while allowing your employees to feel comfortable when at their desks.

Maintain Gutters and Roof

The building’s gutters and roof are elements that are not often in sight and can be overlooked. However, it is important to inspect them at least once or twice a year. Gutters can get clogged and, with the first heavy downpours, they can cause rainwater to overflow or stagnate, which can lead to rotting of the fascia board.

Maintaining the roof is just as important! Through regular checks, you can ensure that the whole building is structurally sound and insulated. You should also carry out emergency inspections after a natural disaster or if you suspect that something is wrong with the roof.

Read more here about the maintenance, inspection, and replacement options you have!

Keep Up to Date With the Latest Regulations

Your employees are one of the company’s main assets, and it is your duty and responsibility to provide them with a safe and healthy workplace. Whether the commercial building your offices occupy has been recently built or not, make sure you are up to date with the latest regulations and safety requirements.

Invest in Technology

The pandemic initiated some important trends and sped up some that were already happening. But what it has made obvious is that we all rely more on technology than ever before. Make sure your office has all the technology needed to ensure it remains productive and competitive. Aside from industry-based technological solutions that you should have, you might consider investing in:

  • Cloud system that helps you with daily operations, waste management, remote collaboration, and compliance
  • High-speed internet connection
  • The latest cybersecurity features for you and your employees
  • Team collaboration software that allows you to switch from on-site to remote working seamlessly.

Allow for Flexibility

As we have seen, over half of all employees in the US and abroad are working from home most of the week. While for some this has been a drastic and uncomfortable change, for many it was a happy change. Whatever your employees prefer, they might expect flexibility from your end. So, you should adapt the office space to welcome this hybrid workforce. If your team is too small for you to have – and pay for – office spaces, you should consider the coworking or shared office model.

Carve Out Green Spaces

Whether it is one of the walls, on the roof, or outside the premises, consider creating a green space where your employees can spend their lunch break and relax away from the four walls of the office. Green space does not have to necessarily be a perfectly designed garden – it could also be a small patch of land or an urban garden on the top of the building.

Make It Easily Accessible

Thanks to the advent of remote working, many companies have opted to move their offices to locations that are less central and, often, more affordable. Since many employees don’t need to commute to the office anymore, this change makes sense for many organizations. However, some of your employees will still travel to and from the office. So, if you want to encourage them to come into the office at least a few days every week, you should make this option easy and accessible for them!

Consider the Benefits of Pet Therapy

Welcoming pets in the office could be a great way to keep your employees engaged and entertained, and this experience can help them develop a caring attitude towards the company itself! Studies have found that there are several benefits to bringing pets into the office premises, including reducing stress, increasing productivity, improving resiliency, and preventing aggressive reactions in situations of stress.

Include Areas for Relaxation and Socialization

The era of the rat race is over. Today, employees want to be valued and recognized for their hard work, personality, and unique touch. Of course, you need them to be in their best shape, energized, and motivated.

However, productivity does not always come from just sitting in front of a laptop for nine hours! New studies have seen that short breaks of ten minutes or less every hour allow the brain to recharge and can significantly increase productivity.

Introducing strategic stations for relaxation and socialization in the office can pay you back in productivity and better outcomes after all!

Create a Range of Workstations

In the past, the focus has always been on finding the best type of furniture, chair, and desks for employees to be comfortable and focus – all while also keeping an eye on the budget. However, today, we know that working in a fixed position does not help productivity, and can contribute to all the issues that a sedentary life can cause.

Instead, make sure to create a variety of seating options and workstations across the office space. These can include benches, conference rooms, quiet areas, standing desks, cafes, and standard seats.

Invest in Activities

Scheduling group activities such as yoga and meditation can help employees better manage stress, feel more energized, and optimize productivity. Whether you can organize weekly sessions or you just encourage your employees to take five to ten minutes out of their day to practice mindfulness, don’t underestimate the power of these activities on health, mood, emotional well-being, and productivity levels. Try it out today!