How businesses can benefit from green tech investments

StrategyDriven editorial perspective Article |Green Tech|How businesses can benefit from green tech investmentsAs the focus on the environment continues to grow, businesses are now seeking out ways to adopt eco-friendlier practices. But green technologies can actually offer benefits to businesses as well as the planet, and the great news is that there are several options for companies to choose from.

From remote working to digital tools, here are a few of the ways that businesses can benefit from green tech investments.

Solar panels

Solar energy is one of the best investments you can make for your business. It powers the entire building and during peak generating times, it can even make money back! According to Geo Green Power, specialists in large-scale commercial solar panel arrays, generating your own solar energy will significantly reduce your carbon footprint, increase your company’s sustainable credentials and improve your business reputation.

It’s a great way of ensuring your business is more environmentally-friendly for the foreseeable future and can help to cut down energy costs too.

Wind turbines

If your business is located in a windy area, and there’s enough space to house them, wind energy is a great renewable source that has the potential to power entire businesses. There’s a huge amount of electricity which can be generated from a wind turbine, even if a smaller commercial windmill is chosen.

Small windmills have a power rating of up to 5kW which can generate up to 13Mwh a year – this is plenty to cover the energy needs of up to four average-sized homes or a business with the same-sized premises. Have the space for a larger wind turbine? This could be enough to generate power for a warehouse or packing facility.

Cloud computing

Businesses can make the most of cloud computing which helps to reduce wasted office space on large servers. Cloud computing also reduces the environmental resources required to keep servers running, such as server-farm cooling systems, which will reduce your business’ environmental impact and improve efficiency.

With cloud providers such as Amazon and Google running such efficient systems, there will be very little impact to your business in terms of the operational processes.

Remote working technology

Remote working is something that many workers have had to adapt to in 2020, but it’s actually the greener choice. By making the most of technologies such as collaboration tools, communication software and cloud platforms, staff can continue to work as efficiently as if they were in the office, without the need for commuting.

In addition to removing the commute for all members of staff, remote working also removes the need for a physical office and the many costs that come with that.

Green data centres

Data centres account for a huge amount of electricity each year, which results in vast amounts of fossil fuels being used to keep businesses running. But they also play an important role in the economy and are essential to businesses in today’s digital climate.

Companies can actually continue to make use of data centres while still reducing their carbon footprint by switching to hosting sites and applications in green data centres, which make the most of renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels.

Go paper-free

We all know the importance of reducing our waste and that’s particularly important in businesses where paper documents and marketing materials can quickly build up. Switching to a unified communication system is a great way of helping businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and benefit the planet, while also saving money.
There are numerous tools and applications available now to create a streamlined communication system for businesses, from sharing documents in a paper-free way to storing files and information securely online instead of in paper form. Digital storage features don’t just benefit the planet by reducing waste and the need for paper, but they also ensure that information is easily accessible and safer from the risk of data theft or physical damage.

Final thoughts

Technology has the ability to provide innovative solutions to the environmental crisis, while also benefitting businesses in terms of convenience, efficiency and cost. From cloud computing to communication software and taking advantage of the ability to work from anywhere in the world successfully, businesses can become more sustainable without it impacting their productivity in a negative way.

How to Spot the Difference Between Webinars and Online Meetings

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Webinars and Online Meetings|How to Spot the Difference Between Webinars and Online MeetingsIn 2020 the business landscape has experienced a wild ride. In a matter of months, the tried and tested analogue working world has shifted almost entirely to a digital way of life. Gone were the conference halls and meeting rooms, in came the online meetings and webinars.

But with so many new users starting with virtual conferencing from scratch, there has been a lot of confusion surrounding the jargon. It’s like learning entirely new vocabulary: webcasts, screen sharing, virtual conferencing, remote access and more.

One key point of confusion surrounds the difference between webinars and online meetings. At first glance, they might seem remarkably similar, with many mistakenly using the words interchangeably. However, after this article, you will hopefully see there is a world of difference, and it’s vital to know what they are and when to use them.

So, let’s begin!

How to Tell the Difference

At the most basic level, it revolves around size. Online or virtual meetings are most often employed when a small group of people want to get together to discuss and idea or project. These meetings are collaborative with everyone taking a role in the proceedings, and they usually shouldn’t include more than twenty-five people.

In contrast, a webinar is for the masses, with some platforms allowing the organiser to host five-hundred people or more. In these sessions, one person or group typically talks to the rest. Think of it less like a meeting and more as a conference. Or as the name suggests, a seminar.

When to Use an Online Meeting?

Such meetings are great on a number of occasions. Firstly, if you need to liaise with one person or a small team, they are the perfect way to exchange ideas quickly and in real-time. They’re much quicker than email. They can also be suitable for larger conferences; however, consider the aim of the meeting. Are you here to display a product to others, or is the meeting primarily a collaborative approach? Do you want everyone to contribute?

If the answer is yes, then an online meeting is the perfect medium. They’re all about discussion.

As such, the tools available during the meeting are designed to facilitate the exchange of ideas. Virtual whiteboards allow attendees to sketch out their ideas for all to see. If you’re struggling to explain a complicated topic or you want to make notes as you speak, use the whiteboard to draw diagrams and connect ideas. They’re also fantastic for a quick brainstorming session. Meanwhile, screen sharing enables each meeting participant to show their work or to switch slides in a presentation smoothly.

As you might imagine, such meetings are brilliant for connecting with a client half-way around the world (they also save on travel costs). However, the downside comes with the home backdrop, which can look unprofessional to a client. Choose a Zoom virtual background for your next interview with a client, selecting from stylish offices to swanky boardrooms. To give the meeting an exceptionally professional feel, have the entire team use the same backdrop, for a sense of continuity.

When to Use a Webinar?

As mentioned, webinars are designed for big crowds. They’re the virtual equivalent of a conference hall. If the meeting isn’t a discussion, but rather a large-scale presentation: pick a webinar. They prevent any interruptions, allowing a speaker to showcase their product or idea.

People have used webinars for lectures, training seminars, or for a companywide update on progress. However, one concern is often raised: audience participation. While the speaker doesn’t want to be interrupted every minute, they want to keep the audience engaged.
Thankfully, with polls and surveys, speakers can test the mood in the room. Or they can use a curated Q&A to answer questions in real-time, clarifying any confusions.

As promised, you now know the critical differences between online meetings and webinars. Are you planning a cosy collaboration with your team, or do you need to present your product to the world? Either way, you have the tools at your disposal.

Solutions For When Cabin Fever Sets In At Your Home Office

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Home Office|Solutions For When Cabin Fever Sets In At Your Home OfficeWorking from home is a great way to run your own business, enjoy a better work/life balance, save business costs and more. With more and more people adapting to home working as a result of COVID-19, it could soon be the new normal for a lot of people.

But despite the many benefits of working from home, it can be difficult to focus at times. It can also become difficult to separate your work and home life, creating an imbalance that can be hard to break. So what can you do when cabin fever sets in at your home office? Here are some things you can do to shake things up.

Move into a bigger space

Sometimes a home office can be a temporary solution, or you can soon find yourself outgrowing your space. Expanding your office or moving to a different space can help make things feel more permanent, as well as make your office better fit for purpose. If you’re looking for a larger space, why not convert your garage into a home office? You’ll be away from the house itself, putting a bit of distance between your work and home life. From your garage, you can benefit from some peace and quiet, helping you enjoy a more productive workday.

Consider a co-working office

It’s easy to miss the office environment once you start working from home. One way you can solve this is to use a co-working office, even if it’s only a couple of days a week or month. By renting an office, you could meet some like-minded people, benefit from some great facilities and enjoy a break from your home office. Co-working can be an affordable solution for freelancers and small business owners, working as a great alternative to renting a space full time.

Improve how you manage your schedule

If you’re struggling to find a work/life balance when working from home, you might need to look at your schedule to see if you could work more productively. From choosing different working hours to making sure you take a break during the day, you can change your routine to help you find the right balance.

Lighten your workload

If you find yourself working late into the evenings or having to work weekends, your workload could be too much. In these situations, outsourcing some of your work could help make things more manageable, freeing up your time to focus on running your business. You can outsource admin, accounting, and other business functions, helping you to do the best for your business.

Your home office can be an excellent way for you to work, giving you some freedom and flexibility. But when things get too much or you need a change of scenery, it’s good to know that you’ve got options. Reevaluate your home office space to see how you can improve your work environment to help you work more effectively, and get to make the most of your life outside of work too.

Managing Your Business Better In A Post-COVID World

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Post-Covid|Managing Your Business Better In A Post-COVID WorldThe battle with COVID-19 is far from over. There is a long way to go before the world can confidently say that it has a handle on the virus and that life can return to normal. However, many businesses are cautiously looking towards the future, and how they can adapt the way that they work in light of the pandemic, and the changes that we may have to make in the future.

The way we work has changed completely. While most companies were already moving towards being digital, this has accelerated the process somewhat. What other changes can you implement in a post-COVID world to help you to manage your business better?

Take feedback on board

It can be difficult to ask for feedback. After all, no one wants to hear what they are doing wrong, even if it is for the good of their business, but it really can make a significant difference.

The most obvious place to start with this is on your reviews and social media pages. If the same comments and criticisms about a particular product or business product keep cropping up, take heed and do something about it.

However, you can also create a focus group, made up of your target audience, and ask them what they think you are doing well and where they think you could improve. Above all else, take the feedback on board. Customers like to know that their opinions matter, so show them and tell them of the improvements that you have made based on their feedback.

Outsource tasks

Small business owners wear so many hats, and sometimes, one can slip and make the whole thing fall apart. Stop trying to do everything yourself and outsource. What is the point of you sitting there staring at a spreadsheet full of numbers that you do not understand when you can search for things like ‘a bookkeeper near me’ to do the hard work for you – and do it better!

Aim for a better work-life balance

If there is one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has taught us, it is that nothing is more important than our health. When you are not healthy, you can’t work as productively or efficiently as you could, so it is not only in the best interests of yourself and your family to stay healthy, but your business too.

One of the biggest health issues affecting business owners is burnout. As mentioned above, they wear so many hats and try to do so many things that you can end up burning out, which can be terrible for our health. Make sure you take time to be you, and not just a business owner.

Stay positive

We are in a situation like no other, and no one has any idea what the future is going to hold. There are undoubtedly going to many challenges in the road ahead, and sometimes, you may well feel like quitting. However, try to stay positive. You are far from the only person or business experiencing feelings like this, and while some will end up closing, many will survive, and come back stronger than ever.

Here’s What CEOs Say on Working From Home Without Compromising Productivity!

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Working from Home|Here's What CEOs Say on Working From Home Without Compromising Productivity!How many of us realize that we are experiencing history? This is the most unprecedented and unforgettable time of our lives. The outbreak of the pandemic has left for us nothing but experiments, challenges and learning opportunities. Mid May Twitter announced its employees can work indefinitely from home, being the first big tech company to come up with such a policy. For over a long time, a lot of employees who thought of #wfh as a luxury are now compelled to stick to it overnight for the time as long as eternal.

Amid this crisis, a lot of CEOs are coming up with various ideas and offers for their employees to not only ensure their productivity but also their mental well being.

1.Stay Organized: It Is Going to Help in the Long Run

Having a fixed schedule and creating boundaries between professional and personal life is the key to maintain productivity and be efficient when working from home. It is comprehensive that one needs to look after their home and work simultaneously in this tough situation. It is important that people identify when to work and where to work without being pulled into domestic chores or personal matters when working from home. If you start your day with a proper schedule and stick to it strictly, you would surely be comfortable with the new normal.

Do Not Just Work! Work! Work!

Plan your breaks too as you would at the office premises. But remember not to leeway and stretch these breaks.

2. Have a Plan Before You Begin

Well moving your workstations overnight to your home was surely a big thing to do. It is important for the organizations to gather a cross-functional team that includes business-line leaders, IT, HR, communications, and facilities, to plan for the worst and the good to come. It is important that the business is least affected by the employees working remotely. A lot of software development firms that had been providing remote services had an experience of handling clients remotely, but handling the teams remotely is a completely different chapter. Also, it is vital to ensure that employees have a good infrastructure back home to support their tasks and meet the business process.

Lack of communication is going to be a major drawback here. It is important that your team bridges the gap between them and doesn’t let its productivity be affected. Trusting the team in such times is very important. Provide your team members guard rails with the flexibility to deliver their defined targets in the defined time.

3. Short Breaks and One at a Time Approach

It is crucial to take care of your mental well being when working from home. Taking short breaks while staying connected to your colleagues always helps in remote working culture. This is not the time to take it all together. Understand this is not a productivity competition. This is pandemic and not regular work from home exercise. With no domestic help and lots of things being messed it is always difficult to find the right schedule, In the initial days experimenting a little is cool. No one knows how long we are going to stay out of the office, so making temporary adjustments won’t help. Employees and even the managers and leads need to have a plan where they can easily connect and enjoy their work. Enjoying your work is the priority here. Push yourselves and enjoy your work, maintain your productivity and keep calm.

4. Millennial Workforce Are the Key Drivers

The on-the-go technology helps the millennials be more productive and available all the time. They have better ideas to stay connected and hold meetings. With various apps put to function, we can easily predict their productivity. Working from home is quite beneficial for employees as it eliminates their daily commutes. It also helps them to lead a better and healthier life with their family around all the while. A lot of employees relish the model for the flexibility it has to offer. It is always a great choice to work when you are comfortable. This adds to productivity and better results.

A lot of millennials are making the best of the opportunity by joining e-learning classes and certification courses. They are making the most of their time and coming up with some great ideas to hone their skills and contribute to the organizations.

5. Discipline and Dedication Drive the Results

When at home, many of the employees go lethargic with their work. It is important to put your laziness in the backseat and work in a disciplined manner. It is always important to have a balance between work and personal life. Remote developers and other employees often struggle with a stringent deadline. It is important to deliver your customers a world-class service you are available as per their ease and strictly stick to the deadline that you have asked them. This not only makes you look professional but reflects your sincerity for your work too. To make sure you stick to this, the magic trick is to have a well-designed work set up and be dressed smartly. If you take things seriously and work dedicatedly the work hours at work from home won’t be as long as at the office because of the cozy set up and support of being at home. Initial work from home is going to be all kinds of a mess, taking more time than ever, but once you adjust to it, you will realize how easily you can be through your day.

6. A Separate Work Station Gets You Halfway Through

This advice actually works wonders. Get a separate work corner for yourself. This makes it easier for you to realize what and where you need to focus. Keep all your work-related documents, notes, and other accessories together so that you don’t waste hours looking for them each time you want to use them. Add some beautiful quirky elements in the place to ensure that you like the place and it helps you stay concentrated. A cool workstation is always an inspiration to work well and work hard. It becomes a little corner that you would always want to be at. Be at your office on time, take short coffee breaks, and don’t let the pandemic affect your productivity.

7. Trust Your Team

A lot of organizations that have experience in providing remote IT consultation service and development services understand how important it is for them to trust their team in the situation. The head of mobile app development team at A3logics quotes,

“We have been providing remote services for over two decades now, and we never had complaints from our clients’ end. We thought working from home would be the same, but it wasn’t. When in office the team was available on the go and discussed ideas and we knew we were all working. Being home made things a little uneasy initially. But gradually we realized it is almost similar to working remotely where our clients trusted us to deliver their projects. When working from home we need to trust each other that they are dedicatedly working on their parts and things would be in line. This small shift in thought process has actually made working from home quite easy.”

The Final Words

With the outbreak of the pandemic, we have experienced the world’s largest Work From Home experiment. Maybe the organizations won’t go 100% work from home forever but they will certainly enjoy much support from the virtual environments. With so much good and bad going around the business leaders are expected to support their employees and show some empathy towards them. Surely, this is the first time most of your employees are working from home and are connected virtually, but if this works then you are surely going to appreciate the way the results turn out to be with a happier workforce.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Scarlett BrownScarlett Brown is associated with the Content Writing team at A3logics for over a couple of years. She has been working on projects related to mobile app development and closely follows the trends in the field. She loves to read about the technical advancements and incorporate them into her work. She has been publishing a few articles on employee well being and work from home productivity hacks lately. When not at her writing desk she is often found enjoying her coffee in the nearby cafe and enjoying some storytelling shows.