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Palindrome Consulting Blog

Palindrome Consulting has been serving the Hollywood area since 1999, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Be productive for work-life balance

The dream of many corporate employees is to go into business for themselves and do something they want to do. One of the main reasons employees want to stop 'working for the man' is for a chance to have a better work-life balance. While this is achievable, a small business owner needs to ensure they are as productive as possible, or they will quickly find out that the balance is 99% work and 1% life.

Here are three tips to help small business owners or managers be more productive and from that achieve a more desirable work-life balance.

Learn how you spend your time To be productive, you need to know how you spend your time. The easiest way to do this is to keep a log, or journal, of what you do each day. You should include everything you do in relation to work, including: travel time, Facebook breaks, time spent checking emails, meetings, etc.

The goal here is twofold. Firstly, you get a solid glimpse of how you spend each day; secondly, you can see if there is anything you do that takes up way too much time. Some experts suggest you do this for a week at least. To get the best results though, it would be better to do this for at least two weeks to a month.

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Buying tech made less overwhelming

Historically, Q1 has been one of the best months in which to replace old tech. For many companies, the issue with this is that there is so much technology available, that issuing a desktop computer isn't going to cut it anymore. So what can a company that wants to update do?

When shopping for new technology it's beneficial to know what types of devices are out there and what circumstances they are ideal for. Below is a list of the major categories of technical devices available.

Thin clients Thin clients are a type of computer where the computing power is stored on a server. On an employee's desk there will usually be a monitor, mouse and keyboard that they use to access the system - hosted on the server. These systems are typically low power, but are generally cheap to run and maintain. Any updates are done on the server and are instantly accessible to all users. The beauty of thin clients is that the servers don't have to be in your office. They can be in another location, managed by another company - where everything runs in the cloud. Because of this, thin clients are becoming an increasingly popular option.

Due to shared resources, thin clients are ideal for positions that only require minimal computing power. For example: retail operations, restaurants, sales departments, finance departments, etc. For positions that rely on computer processing power, use programs like CAD, or use legacy systems thin clients aren't a good choice.

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The difference between BCC, CC and To

There are many advantages to using email over any other form of communication. The biggest is that you can send the same message to a large number of recipients regardless of their location. Because of its near instant nature and large reach, a new set of rules and etiquette has been established. While we largely have the body of emails down, it's the To; CC and BCC fields that can cause a bit of a problem, even for the pros.

Below are some tips on how to properly use the To; CC and BCC fields in emails.

To The To field is typically used for contacts who you want to communicate directly with. If you add a few people here then you need to put their names in the salutation part of your email e.g., Hi Tom, Neena and Irina. If you are sending out a company wide announcement, or an email to your team, you can put the individual addresses in the To field and instead of addressing everyone individually use something like: Hello Team.

One of the unwritten but largely accepted email rules is that if an email address is in the To field, you're saying it's ok for other recipients to email one another regarding the email. There is a common perception that you should limit the number of people in the To field. There's no real limit on how many addresses can be included, as long as all the recipients are directly involved in the subject of the email. Even if it's 1,000 people you can still put them in.

Where this view of limiting addresses in the To box stems from is that more email addresses make the email look unwieldy and could anger people who want their email address kept private. Many users create groups and give each group a name which will show in the To field to all users. This will often eliminate the issue of people wanting their email addresses kept private while simultaneously cutting the number of email addresses people have to scroll through.

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Too much technology kills productivity

Technology and all the services related to it are without a doubt incredible. One of the biggest changes technological advancements have brought about is an increase in the speed with which we do our jobs, communicate and even relax. This is a double-edged sword: Yes, we can get stuff done quickly, but we have also come to expect everything to be instant.

This insatiable need for the ‘instant’ has arguably led to a decrease in the overall attention span of many people. We no longer focus on one thing and are constantly multi-tasking. Think of the last time you went out for a team lunch, what was the conversation like? More than likely you were sat around a table, talking for about five minutes before almost everyone resorted to looking at their phones, while kind of listening. Beyond that, think of the last time you had to wait for something, anything. If you're like a lot of people, you probably mumbled some comment or question as to why it was taking so long.

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5 tips to encourage remote productivity

There are many positive benefits the Internet brings to organizations of all sizes. One of them is the ability of employees to connect to the office from almost anywhere, a practice commonly referred to as working remotely. Working from home, or anywhere that isn’t the office, can be attractive to many employees, but it can cause problems for managers though.

Here’s five tips on how you can better connect with and manage your remote workers, freelance or otherwise, to help ensure optimal productivity.

Establish workflow As your employees work off site, they will set their own hours. This means they have to rely on their own discipline to get work done. Because of this, it will be hard for you to set/control their hours, which means you’ll have to trust them to get their work done. You should be aware of when they prefer to work, simply by talking with them, and be flexible with their schedules.

Working with remote workers is a two-way street, and while you should know your remote employee’s schedules, they should also know your schedule, and how you work. If you answer emails in the morning and have meetings in the afternoons, be sure to let them know that you expect/will answer their requests before lunch, for example.

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