Common Signs of Internal Fraud in the Workplace

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Recent statistics show that employee theft is the single biggest loss to retailers in the US. This is an alarming insight into the criminal activity that is happening in workplaces across the country. However, fraud is not confined to the retail industry, and many cases of fraud are reported in businesses of all kinds on a regular basis.

Furthermore, internal fraud can be so well planned that it is difficult to spot. It is often made harder by the fact that the person committing the crime is someone that is trusted, and they may even be seen as a friend by many people in the company.

Unfortunately, for different reasons, people are tempted to commit internal fraud from taking a small amount of cash from the till and intending to replace it to stealing large sums of money. If you have been involved in or falsely accused of internal fraud, then you should seek the advice of a Dallas criminal defense attorney.

If you are running a business, then internal fraud can be a huge problem for your company. That is why it is important to set up policies and practices that will limit your vulnerability to be targeted by an act of internal fraud. There are so many shapes and forms of internal fraud that it is hard to know exactly what to look out for. However, there are some signs that you should take into account and be wary of:

  • Changes in lifestyle that are unusual for their level of income. For example, buying expensive cars or clothes. That is not to say that it is a clear sign as people may have received an inheritance, saved up, taken out a loan or have a partner that can afford the items.

  • Unusual behavior, especially if they are staying late or arriving early when no one else is in the office, and this is out of character, or you are not seeing any work output from the early/late hours.

  • Unwillingness to take holidays. If someone is committing a regular type of fraud, they are worried that they will get found out when they take a holiday.

  • Unusual expense claims. If your company doesn’t have a strict review process for any personal expense claims, then you might want to invest into it. People can submit over-exaggerated or completely false expense claims whether it is fuel costs that didn’t exist or other expenses that they didn’t pay out.

Internal fraud is not always a case of people stealing money or equipment. Some criminals make money out of stealing data, for example; selling on details of a motor claim to injury claim management companies. Therefore, there are many different forms of internal fraud that you need to be aware of.

Make sure that you have enough IT security processes and other preventions in place to avoid internal fraud in your business. Developing a Code of Conduct is a good way of making employees aware of what is classed as internal fraud and the potential consequences.

 

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Is Your Home Life Impacting Your Career?

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Spending time with your family and friends is what life is all about, but sometimes people find themselves in a situation where their home life is having a majorly negative impact on their work life and general health. Getting your work/home life balance right is certainly important, but if you have found yourself in a relationship that is putting a real strain on your productivity at work, then you need to reflect on it. If the relationship is worth working on then, you can make that decision and try to make changes to ensure your relationship is not affecting your work.

If you are constantly arguing with your partner or there are other relationship problems that are draining you, maybe even keeping you up at night, you can’t work at your optimum level. Many people think that they can compartmentalize their home life and their work life, and maybe that is true for some, but it is impossible for relationship problems not to cause any kind of distractions to your work life.

When people move home or change jobs, this can add extra pressure to a relationship. Changes like these can result in tensions running high, and when this is happening, your career will suffer. Of course, throughout life, there will usually be ups and downs, but if you are finding there are way more downs than ups, then you should address it before you regret it. Distractions of problems at home can mean that you miss out on that promotion or you fail to meet that important deadline. Or maybe your mind is wandering in meetings, and you’re not contributing in the way that you normally would.

You can take measures to fix your problems by either talking it through or if this doesn’t work then you may need to look into couple counselling. Many people are dubious of this form of intervention, but it has become increasingly popular over the last decade. Sometimes just having a third person to help you better understand each other’s point of view can have a real impact. While counselling does cost money, it is no doubt worthwhile if it means that you can go to work without these distractions holding you back.

The current divorce rate number stands at 3.2 per 1,000 population in the United States (compared to marriage stats at 6.9 per 1,000 population). Divorce is usually the last resort for most people, but if you do think this is something that you need to look at, then you should speak to a divorce lawyer like http://www.paulduron.net/ who claim to restore your peace of mind. Even if you are not sure about whether you want to go ahead, you can get advice around the financial impact and find out more about child custody if applicable.

It doesn’t help anyone to stay in a relationship that is having a negative impact in their life. Your mental health and your career shouldn’t suffer as a consequence of a bad relationship, so don’t let it hold you back any longer.

 

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The best way to protect the safety and security of your business

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When you are starting out in business, there are things that you might overlook. Not because you don’t care, but because you think your company doesn’t need to worry about them. However, there are increasing numbers of businesses large and small that are falling into this trap.

The security of your business should include everything within it. The computers, the building, other assets and of course, your workforce. Any one of them could become a victim of crime, and you might find it affecting your company as a result.

IT and Data Security

Your computer systems and the data they contain could easily be a target for cyber-crime. You should be aware that customer’s personal information might be stolen and you might be accountable if the right security measures are not in place.

Limit the number of websites employees can access to only those needed for your business. Make sure your systems have adequate firewalls and virus software that is kept up to date. It’s also a good idea to have the company’s financial information on a separate computer with only those who need it having access.

Staff Security

You need to consider what measures are needed to protect your staff from attacks from the public if they occur. This doesn’t only apply to those companies dealing with money, as unhappy and aggressive customers can arise in any company, so it’s important that procedures are in place to deal with that.

It is also necessary to have an adequate procedure to deal with an attack if it happens in any branch or office you are responsible for.  If you were to get a call from an Orange County criminal defense attorney such as fakhimi.com regarding an incident, you need to know that all the evidence has been collected properly.

Building Security

Protecting your building from break-ins and damage is a vital part of your companies day-to-day running. You can employ a security company to look after the building after hours, or just to advise you on the best ways to secure your building.

It may be that all your assets including materials and expensive machinery are in your office, so you want to make sure that it’s protected.

You may be able to fit alarm systems that will automatically alert the Police if they are triggered. These will often notify you or a designated person as well.

Online Security

Much in the same way as IT and data security, you need to make sure that your online data is protected. This is especially the case if customers use your site to pay for goods or services. Ensuring that your site has the required encryption software will ensure that no customer bank details are lost.

When it comes to the security of your company, there are a great many things to be aware of. Working with security companies and IT firms will help you to make the correct decisions and protect everyone from criminal behaviour.

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4 Easy Ways Technology Leads People To You

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At a time where it becomes essential for businesses to reach new audiences – check http://glowingstart.com for more – there is no talk of working without a website or even without advertisement. However, while it is a business’s purpose to interact with its audience, there is a factor that is too often forgotten in modern business structures. It is equally important to give people, whether customers or employees, ways to be able to reach your business and interact with it on a daily basis if necessary. What this means is that business communication is a two-way road system where a message can be either sent from the organization or an individual. Here are 4 ways in which technology is your best ally to maintain both sides of the exchange.

Technology – by Pexel

By Keeping People Updated In Real Time

It is not uncommon for a company to wish to present its team to customers, but also internally if we are looking at a large organization. However, the challenge in introducing a team chart is to make it useful too. People who are looking at an org chart are looking for information, as to how to contact an employee or who can help with their issue. Interactive charts can allow a company to turn the team introduction into a useful tool for both customers and employees, such as explained here https://pingboard.com/org-charts/organizational-design. Not only do they keep the information updated in real time, but they are also a great help when it comes to increasing direct contacts.

By Supporting Work/Life Balance

For most customers, using a website or an email address to pass their order or manage their project allows for a better work/life balance. Often ignored by the company, the employees’ work/life balance matters just as much. Indeed, with people working longer hours, commuting a long distance to go to work, and being constantly available per phone or email, it can be tricky to keep a healthy family life. Repurposing technological tools to enable remote work is a fantastic way of helping employees to keep an active social life without losing their productivity. Additionally, as remote work has been proven to reduce sick leaves and delays, it’s ideal to keep employees focused, productive and engaged with the company.

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By Showing Them The Way

Simple the apparition of online maps, and especially Google Business Maps https://enterprise.google.com/maps/, companies have been able to measure a significant footfall increase in stores, restaurants, museums, and other entertainment centers. Indeed, using technology to directly guide people to your door, this is the promise that Google maps made – and they have certainly kept it. But there’s more to it, as it highlights your opening hours and can help you to streamline essential delivery operations too.

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By Giving Them Control

Finally, like in all exchange, sometimes it ends, or it needs to change. It is essential to provide customers with the ability to manage their order online. Indeed, when people can cancel, modify or postpone an order in a matter of a few clicks, they are also more likely to consider the company trustworthy. In short, the easiest you make it for customers to cancel, the more likely you are to notice an increase in customer retention and acquisition. Indeed, letting them in control of their business deal with you is the best way to show them that you are on their side.

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Modest Marketing Strategies Every Startup With A Tight Budget Should Utilize

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The truth of the matter is this: most startups have a modest budget to work with. There’s no doubt about it, running a business on a small budget builds creativity, as you have to think outside of the box to make a success of things. Being on a small budget when running a business encourages you to be innovative because you have no choice but to be. This puts you in good stead for the future of running your business.

The fact that starting a business on a small budget encourages you to flex your creative muscle aside, if there’s one area that most entrepreneurs struggle with when on a budget it’s marketing. As anyone with even the smallest knowledge of the business industry knows, marketing is the key to success. You could have the most incredible product or service, but if no one knows about it, your chances of success are low, which is why marketing is so crucial. The good news is that there are plenty of modest marketing strategies, so even if money is tight, it doesn’t have to impact your success.

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The use of SEO

One of the most important marketing strategies for online success is the use of SEO – aka search engine optimization. This is the use of keywords and phrases that allow your website and any content on it, to rank higher in search engines like Google, increasing the amount of traffic your site gets. SEO is something that needs to be taken into account when creating your business website and choosing a domain name for it. Take domain names as an example; your website needs a domain name that says what your company does so that when someone searches for the service or product that you sell, your site will be one of the highest ranking ones. The domain name SEO.com recently sold for millions because it’s so well SEO optimized. If your business sells beauty products, you want the term ‘beauty’ in the domain. If you offer PR services, you want ‘PR’ in the domain. To learn more about SEO, there are plenty of online resources that you can use.

Advertising via social media

Now, the reason that social media is such a popular advertising platform is because it offers free marketing, as well as affordable advertising. You can utilize sites like Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, and Twitter, among others, to market your brand and products or services for free or for a low price, making social media advertising a great modest marketing option, if you know how to utilize these sites, that is. A lot of startups outsource the task to a social media specialist, but if money is tight, this may not be an option. The good news is that social media marketing is easier than ever before, because there is so much help online, including free courses and ebooks. If you’re willing to take the time to learn how to utilize social media, you can use it to successfully market your brand for free or for a low price, depending which methods you opt to use.

Team up with other local businesses

Can’t afford to pay for advertising space? Another option is to team up with other local businesses. What you want to do is find local businesses that are linked to your business in some way but aren’t direct competitors. Say, for example, you run a business that offers energy saving advice, you could look for other businesses in the area that sell eco-friendly products, such as distributors of LED lights. Then you could advertise them on your website, and they could do the same for you, increasing your reach and hopefully your customer base.

See, money isn’t the be all and end all of marketing, creative thinking is. These are just a few examples of modest marketing strategies; there are plenty of other options to take advantage of, these are just to get you started.

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Easy Ways To Reach More People

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Business is all about numbers. The most obvious and important is how much your business brings in relative to how much it has to spend to operate. If the result is positive then congratulations: you are making a profit. If it is negative, then that is not necessarily the end of your business. Many small businesses report losses in the first few years. One of the reasons for this is that every business requires money to get started. You have to hire or buy an office as well as all of the equipment that you’ll need. This is likely to include all sorts of things from computers, chairs and desks, to the more modest office supplies that you’ll need such as paperclips and pens. There is then the issue of hiring employees which can be a massive expense in and of itself. It is estimated that the cost is as much as £30614 (or about $39000).

However, the idea is to always make more. Once you become successful and you make enough money to live comfortably, you may be tempted to settle down and just try to maintain what you have. The only problem with this is that if Bill Gates had done that, he would not currently be the richest person on earth and have the ability to help do great work like eradicating diseases. There are lots of ways to make your business more successful, but one of the best is to try to reach more customers. This can be more difficult than it sounds. Here are a few tips for increasing your exposure:

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If you are part of the 46% of small businesses that do not have a website, then you are simply failing to adapt to the modern market. If you are part of other 54%, but you want to reach more people. you may want to consider why you’re website is not as effective as it could be. A central tacit of any brand is the name that you use. If yours is not as engaging or memorable as possible, you should consider investing in a new one. Reconstructing the infrastructure of your online presence may sound like a lot of work but it does not need to be (you can find out more here). Once you’ve got a site that you’re happy with, you need to get people to visit it. Taking out online advertising and promoting yourself on social media sites are both great ways of attracting more potential customers.

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While the internet is an indispensable resource, it is not the only effective way to get your business noticed. Developing a good corporate reputation is crucial. You could think about sponsoring a sports team or a local charity event. Other good options include donating money to good causes such as schools or hospitals.

You should also consider using the greatest resource that you already have: your existing customers. If you incentivise them to tell their friends and family about you, you can quickly reach lots of people. It is particularly effective because they will have heard your name from someone they like and trust.

 

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Ingredients Of An Great Business Owner

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What’s the real difference between a superstar of the industry and every other middling business owner following their trail? A great product is a part of it, but that’s not all. There have been loads of businesses that have blazed a trail but never been the ones to truly enjoy the spoils of being the first. It’s all about who’s at the helm of the business. You need to be the right person and that means picking up a few traits on the journey.

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Know-how

You can’t lead a business effectively unless you really know what it is to run a business. Beyond experience, the only way to really get that know-how is through education. An MBA from places like Maryville University Online doesn’t just add some flourish to a title. You need to learn, one way or another, about accounting, about marketing, project management, HR and much more. Whether it’s at university, through a mentor, through taking management positions in preparation, you need to build that know-how.

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Resourcefulness

Even with that know-how, you have to work on your personal resourcefulness. For instance, you need to learn how to make time management a part of your every day in order to properly deal with all your different responsibilities in the thick of it. You have to have the mental skill to figure the return on investment of every decision you make and efficiency has to always be a concern of yours.

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Leadership

Those qualities need to spread to the rest of the team as well. Being a leader isn’t only about spotting skilled individuals, getting them on your team, and giving them work. Understanding that employees need value, that they need advancement, and they need engagement is crucial. The human side of leading a team is very much crucial even in the most professional of environments.

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Salesmanship

Winning your team over is one thing. You have to be able to win people outside the business, as well. Beyond knowing the value of your product or the value of the business to potential partners, you need insight into what they want. With customers, for instance, you need to research their lives and their needs. With businesses, you have to know what they’re all about and what you can provide them. Specializing your offer is the most important part of selling anyone on anything.

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Ambition

Every business needs direction. Without it, a business can’t succeed and your team will only be doing enough work to keep the status quo going. You might be happy just to get a place in the industry, but the team needs goals to strive for better results. You need to think about potential major goals like bringing in more customers, aiming at expansion, or making a more efficient business.

You have to learn how to make the traits above a part of your person if you want to truly be a great business owner. Otherwise, no matter how good your idea, you might very well be what’s holding the business back.

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There’s No Second Chance To Make A First Impression

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Are you familiar with the saying ‘first impressions count?’ In business, it’s imperative to make a fantastic first impression. You never get a second chance to make the right first impression. If you run a new business or you’re trying to recruit new clients and customers, here are some tips to help you get it right first time.

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Personal presentation

If you run the show, and you’re involved in meeting with potential investors, clients, and buyers, you should always remember that you are part of the marketing strategy. The people you talk to will make decisions based not only on what you tell them, but also on how you carry yourself, whether you look the part, and what kind of impression you give them. Are you a passionate person who can convince investors that you’ll do everything you can to make the business a success? Or do you leave clients in two minds? You have to know your stuff, but you also have to look professional and have conviction in what you say.

If you’re pitching to a buyer, for example, make sure you are prepared. You are trying to convince that person to place an order, but also to put their trust in you. Run through your presentation over and over again, and ensure you have the answers to questions that are likely to pop up. Pin down the numbers, and make sure you can rattle through projected sales figures, market values and proposed RRPs without taking a breath. It’s so important to be slick, but also to be passionate. Share your story, and make your pitch interesting and personal. The panel will sit through endless presentations, so don’t make yours blend in. Dress smartly, make sure you smell fresh, and always arrive on time.

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Your team

If you employ a sales team or you have people going out and meeting clients as part of their day job, the same rules should apply. Promote a dress code, make sure any branded vehicles look smart and well-maintained and encourage your team to be punctual and professional. Whether you run a plumbing business or a restaurant, your clients will judge the company based on the service they receive, and it’s essential that the people who provide that service are on board with what you’re trying to achieve. The food in your restaurant could be fantastic, but if it takes ages or the server is rude or unhelpful, you’re not going to get anywhere.

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Marketing material

If you’ve created a brilliant brand, the last thing you want is your marketing material to let you down. You don’t want an incredible tagline and great imaging to be let down by cheap looking or run of the mill brochures, pens, key rings, notepads or posters. Anything that bears your company name, from a professional looking invoice template to flyers you put through the door and Facebook pages you use to advertise your services, should send the right message. When you’re drawing up a marketing strategy, always bear the aesthetics in mind. Don’t just go for the cheapest options. Think about how you feel when you look at different flyers, adverts or websites. If you were looking for a printing firm, a bar or a building company, what would make you choose one business over another? Put yourself in the client’s shoes, and don’t underestimate the importance of feedback and market research.

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Your business premises

If your day to day business involves people coming into your offices, you don’t want them to walk through the door and be greeted with dirty carpets, unpleasant odours or lifts that are out of order. Your office should set the right tone, and it should be a clean, modern space, which is inviting for clients and comfortable for your employees. If you’re currently renting an office space, which is in serious need of TLC, consider moving or hosting client meetings in alternative settings. You don’t want people to have negative impressions before you’ve even opened your mouth to introduce yourself.

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It’s human nature to make judgements very quickly. Sadly, in business, first impressions often count for everything. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so it’s essential to understand how to succeed the first time around. Make sure you look the part and set a good example for your team. Arrive on time, and ensure you look smart. If you’re pitching or meeting potential customers, rehearse your presentation until you’re confident that you know everything there is to know, and you’ll be able to stand up, speak clearly, and tackle any tricky questions. Focus on producing professional looking marketing materials, and ensure that anything that carries your brand name or logo conveys the message you want to go out there.

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It’s The Little Things In Life, And Business

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When you’re starting out in business is important to nail the finer details. Without them, you can’t begin to be taken seriously as a credible business, or boss. Too many startups walk before they can run and end up skipping the basics and falling flat on their face. That’s not to say that the right office furniture, staff, and uniform policy will hugely impact on your business. However, start as you mean to go on. Take pride in the smaller things and the rest will follow. Here are some of the smaller details that can go overlooked.

Staff Uniform

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For some jobs, this is easier to decide on than others. However, every business needs to have a policy on uniform. It doesn’t matter if you’re for it or against it, but you need to take a clear stand. If you do have strict ideas about what your staff can and can’t wear this needs to be made clear. A uniform section in a staff handbook is a good idea. Be realistic and give reasons for your decisions. If your staff are dealing with clients and customers you may want them to wear shirts, blouses, and smart shoes. If you want to appeal to a younger, more laid-back audience, you may allow your staff do wear whatever they like. These kind of decisions are important and do matter. If your workforce is disjointed and not ‘on brand’ it could affect your work atmosphere and business.

Security And Safety

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These are two words not to be trifled with! What some business fail to understand, at their detriment, is that staff are under their responsibility whilst on the premises. All staff must be kept safe at all times. This could mean having a receptionist or security guard at the point of entry. This forces all visitors to check-in as it were. That way you have a log of who is in the building at what time. It’s also a good idea to issue staffers and visitors lanyards. This company makes custom lanyards for all kinds of businesses. That way visitors are easily identifiable, and if someone doesn’t have a lanyard they can’t have been through security.

Office Furniture

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This also might sound like a minor point, especially when you have a new business to run, but you have to start from the feet up. The more cared for and comfortable staff feel, the better results you’ll get. Happy and looked after members of staff can be more efficient, passionate, and happy with their work and job. Take care of your staff and you’ll soon see results. That includes their comfort as they work. This is particularly important for staffers who are desk bound for large portions of the day. Comfortable computer chairs will be needed. It’s also important to create desks at the right level. This is so that staff don’t have to crane their neck to stare at a screen.

 

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Why Comfort Is Key In The Office

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There are plenty of things in the workplace that are key to success in the workplace. Communication is one – you need to be able to speak to your staff in the workplace and get the moving towards a joint goal to boost the business. Money is another, a business needs its incoming cash to balance out its outgoing expenses so that it may break even and survive.

One other thing is key though! Comfort. Yes, that’s right. If staff aren’t comfortable in the workplace then they won’t be able to be productive in the office. If you want to get the best out of your employees, the most basic thing you can do is to ensure that the workplace is a comfortable environment for your workforce.

How can you make your office space more comfortable? Well – firstly check your actions. Work should be a safe space for your employees – that means they have a right not to be offended in the workspace. Your office needs to be a safe space for employees of every age, gender, sexuality, race, religion and ability. The thing is, offensive behaviors and discriminatory behaviors and languages really have no place in the workplace – at all. Even as jokes. If you want to isolate, offend and hurt your employees, then you’ll be heading fast towards a lawsuit. What’s more, as a leader you have a responsibility to curb this sort of behavior. As the leader of the workplace, you’ve also got a responsibility to help your employees out. An open door policy works best here and staff should feel comfortable coming to your door with all sorts of problems ranging from problems at home to issues with work and the workplace. If you’re a leader, you need to care for your employees.

It isn’t just your actions though – despite their critical importance in the comfortability of your staff, you should also ensure the office is actually comfortable. Physically.

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This starts with ensuring that the office is cleaned. Nobody wants to work in a dirty office, so keep workspaces free from dust, dirt, rubbish and grime. Also, make sure your furniture is comfortable – this doesn’t just apply to your office chairs only, but also the desk and other pieces of furniture. Temperature regulation is key as well – ensure the office is cool in the summer and warm in the winter to keep your staff happy. If you’ve done all of this, interview your staff on what could be improved and action their requests.

These are the keys to running a happy business. If you staff are comfortable and working in a nice and comfortable environment, not much can go wrong. Build a solid foundation with a great office and some welcoming and inclusive company policy and make your company a great company to work for. You want your staff to be comfortable so that you can get the most out of them, and thus the most out of your business! It makes sense, right? So put comfort first!

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