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Keeping Passwords Safe

by Administrator 7. June 2012 18:34

Its very easy in our busy lives to remember to change our passwords on some of the applications, systems and email facilities we have.

Simply changing your passwords on a regular basis is a great way to prevent or limit the chances of having your valuable email addresses and social media applications hacked or compromised.

It may sound like a tall order, especially as most business people have a growing amount of passwords to remember, but keeping each password different and not in a similar format is a great way to increase the security of your passwords.

There are sites on the internet that allow you to check the security of your email addresses by simply adding your address, it can be checked to see whether your email address has been compromised so that you can take the appropriate actions to protect you emails in the future.

Such sites as https://shouldichangemypassword.com are a credible way of checking out your details.

It is not just emails that we must protect, but for anyone using applications that include personal details such as date of birth and personal information, these should not be forgotten and passwords changed on a regular basis.


best working practices | Business

Solopreneurs – Keeping Sociable when working from home

by Administrator 9. November 2011 09:59

Working from home can be a rewarding and positive workplace, but it is not without its trying times!

Whilst getting up in the morning and walking into your office can be convenient there can be a time (especially for the sociable Soloprenuers) can feel quite cut off from the normal social elements of working in an office.

When you work hard in your office all day, sometimes the last thing you want to do is go out or organise something in the evening. Please do not get into this habit as you will find that all work and no play can soon build up and become quite a hard rut to break out of.

Whilst a majority of your time is probably spent in the office, keep to a strict timetable of scheduled work time and scheduled ‘down time’. When you feel you are feeling a bit cut off socially but should be concentrating on business matters consider arrange going to a networking group. This is a good way of getting away from the office, meeting new and likeminded business people and is still part of a business.

We spoke a business woman who works as a recruitment consultant. One of the things she mentioned is that she speaks to a lot of people during the day but doesn’t have the normal non work chatter that she missed in the office. One thing she recommended was to arrange once a week to catch up with another like minded business person to talk generally of any challenges that you both face.

Working from home works for a lot of people but making a strict schedule will stop it becoming all work and no play!


best working practices | Business

Managing Staff – An insight into the psychology by “type”

by Barry 8. November 2011 16:01

There are many grey areas when trying to put individuals into certain categories, but I believe the following is as good a yardstick as any in identifying the category and the approach you should adopt in dealing with each of these types:

A Competent Competent

This person is extremely competent and recognises that fact

Do not over praise this person as they will see it as condescending – In general LEAVE THEM ALONE TO DO THEIR JOB.

An Unconscious Competent

This person is extremely competent but doubts that fact.

They need reassurance, so praise them regularly on a task well done in order that their self esteem is raised enough for them to progress to the next level.

A Conscious Incompetent

This person knows that they have failings and it is likely they will dodge any form of decision making.

These people are crying out for training in order to boost their confidence level – SO GIVE THEM THE RELEVENT TRAINING

An Unconscious Incompetent

This person is DANGEROUS for they believe they are highly competent but in fact are highly incompetent.

Give them a task that you believe they cannot complete satisfactorily, for they will believe they can. The objective being, to make them aware of their deficiencies and to accept the need for training.


best working practices | Business

Don’t Blog for Blogs Sake!

by Administrator 8. November 2011 12:05

With the internet providing an extra window for customers to display their services and products, it is important to look at the importance of blogging and its effects on bringing quality internet traffic, rather than just window shoppers.

We have used our blog as a portal for relevant and sometimes fun articles based around businesses so that we can engage with people over business related matters. With a growing need for companies to promote their services using SEO sometimes there can be too much emphasis on quantity rather than quality. Although an article on say Justin Beiber may be a great way of increasing traffic, is this traffic absolutely relevant to your business? If you are a Justin Beiber memorabilia store, perhaps but if you are a financial advisor or IT consultant does it really benefit your business?

If you consider your website or blog as your shop window, what things would you put in it to attract passing trade? Obviously things that show what you do and what you are about and items that would attract passers by into looking into you further. With this in mind it is always a good idea to carefully think out what topics you want to cover on your blogs and what effect you hope they will have. Put it this way, if you were a shop store, say a greengrocer and you put sweets in the windows because it would attract lots of glances, how fed up would you be with people coming into your shop to ask you about sweets rather than what you do sell?

Enjoy blogging, it’s a great way to reach people that you wouldn’t normally reach but make it effective for you by concentrating on who you want to reach.


best working practices | Blog | Business

Getting Started in Business

by nickey 18. October 2011 12:44

Getting Started in Business

Although times are hard for businesses we have been approached a lot recently with people wanting to start up their own small business.

We thought we would help by supplying some useful places to start for advice on setting up a business, and support for those venturing into business for themselves.

There is a great leaflet available from Tax offices which guides you through the steps involved in working for yourself. Please follow the link here www.hmrc.gov.uk

You may want to start a Limited company and for that we recommend going straight to companies house. Please do not get weighed down with the forms as there are Agents and groups that can help with completing the forms for you if you prefer. The link for companies house is www.companieshouse.gov.uk which takes you straight to their Starting a Company forms.

Business link is an online resource for businesses from startups to existing companies and they can be found using this link www.businesslink.gov.uk They give practical online guides which answer most of the questions you may have. 

Although information on how to start working for yourself is valuable, the  importance of using local business facilities as emotional and business guidance is also a valuable tool. Do get in touch with your local Chamber of Commerce group who can offer support and networking with other local companies. Get involved locally with other local networking groups too as this really helps you meet other people who may have answers and practical advise to problems or questions you may have.

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Blackberry Blackout Continues

by Administrator 12. October 2011 12:13

Blackberry have long since been known for their secure email, web browsing and messaging service (BBM), but what happens when it goes wrong? Well blackberry users across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India found out around 11:00am on Monday 10th October 2011. The problems then spread to Brazil, Chile and Argentina during Tuesday 12th Oct. So what caused this widespread disruption? RIM place the blame with one of their core switches failing, this on it's own wouldn't  have caused widespread disruption, but when the fail-over switch failed to come online, Blackberry users were plunged into darkness. 


Many of Blackberry's customers feel let down by the company who have been very sketchy about the problems and when they are likely to be resolved. This will do nothing to aid the companies battle for market share in this very competitive market. It's perfect timing however for Apple as they launch their iMessage today (Wed 12th Oct) that works just like Blackberry's messenger.

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Business | Smart Phones

DDS – Dirty Desk Syndrome!

by Administrator 4. October 2011 10:25

Here at the Reception Bureau know the importance of keeping a clean working space but we have been known to leave the odd mouldy cup. We were quite pleased to know its not just us when we saw this article in the Telegraph yesterday.

So what are the real dangers of having a messy desk? We looked at our office spaces to see how DDS could cause problems.

For our call handlers probably the biggest problem is not necessarily desk area but more the telephones. We have anti-bacterial wipes for our call handlers to be able to clean the phones and head sets each time they start and finish work. We were impressed on how neat and tidy the desks are kept.

We have a large open plan office so we know how quickly a cold or flu bug can do the rounds, so we do encourage people to use the good old fashioned ‘use a hanky’ approach if they cough or sneeze. It tends to be the old ideas that are the most effective,  with washing hands after using the toilet or eating being a simple but an effective way of keeping bugs at bay.

We ventured to the I.T. department, and yes, their desks are chaotic but rather than being messy they are full of various technical gadgets and equipment. No mouldy cups or half eaten sandwiches!

So who was the largest culprit? Well sadly that appeared to be my desk! I normally have a variety of projects on the go at once and am notorious in the office for having at least several cups of tea on the go at the same time. So what ways will I improve my working space?
I have a date with the shredder and a drawer that is long past a good clear out – so I think today a clean out is a must!

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The Office Gardener

by nickey 5. September 2011 10:43

Here at the Reception Bureau we like to make sure we have a relaxing atmosphere to work in. 

There are a couple of ways that you can make your desk areas feel a bit less sparse and we have added a few well chosen plants just to make it feel a bit more homely.

If you want to buy some plants that are ideal for the office without being high maintenance then follow the following tips.

Succulent plants are water retaining plants and are ideal to bring some colour to the sparsest desk AND be able to go without being watered for a few days.

If you aren’t that keen on succulent plants then do have a look at Celosia plants such as ferns, spider plants etc. Quite a few plants that thrive in more arid climates such as South African plants can be quite a good choice.

We have found that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a difference, with quite a few grocery stores offering affordable options and the abundance of cuttings that can be taken.

If you are going for larger more feature plants then do consider using a contractor who can maintain the plants. This normally means they come into your office and feed, water and generally maintain the plants so that you can sit back and enjoy the results rather than the toil! There are even companies that ‘hire’ out their plants, which is ideal for companies that have a lot of customers visiting their work environment.




What is an Apprenticeship?

by nickey 2. September 2011 12:20

Firstly some companies may have heard about apprenticeships already but what does it actually mean?
Well, an apprenticeship is basically on the job training with the benefit of a nationally recognised qualification within that particular industry.

An apprenticeship involves a minimum of 16 hours paid employment per week, although most apprentices tend to work 30 hours. This is made up of a mixture of working and on the job learning. An apprentice is placed in a job that is suitable for their required industry so that they get a real insight to the job and trade they are interested in.

The length of an apprenticeship varies depending on what qualification they are aiming for but in most cases the apprenticeship lasts between two to four years.
For employers it is a great way of increasing their staffing and having an enthusiastic member of staff that is looking to learn over a period of time.



Rewards & Competitions

by Administrator 1. September 2011 12:05

Every company knows and appreciates the importance and interest that a well thought out reward or competition campaign can achieve for your business and an awareness of your company and its products.

With so many ways to generate new customers some people often give the good old competition a miss but there are many benefits to be had. Firstly think of what you want to achieve by running a competition.
If its just an awareness of your company locally then maybe look to a local good cause or campaign where you can offer a prize if appropriate. Local papers and radio stations often run competitions for the readers and listeners so get involved and offer some form of prize that would be appreciated by both their customers and get a mention at the same time. This type of competition is particularly beneficial if your product or service is aimed at the general public, but what can you do about business to business competitions?

If you are looking to run a competition that benefits your current customers look at how and what would benefit your business customers the most. If you are looking to launch a new product then maybe look at a way of tying that in with a competition. For example a draw based on orders that month and a ticket per company option.
If you are looking to increase companies using your service then reward your current customers with a chance to win a sample or hamper of your products every time they introduce another new customer to you.

Don’t be caught out thinking that you have to offer the latest technology etc. Most companies will have their technology in place already and if you are promoting your own company what better way than with the products you are known for. After all, if you don’t sell ipods etc why would you offer that for a competition prize?

However you decide to run a prize or competition make sure you stick within a budget and within the markets that you deal with, after all whoever wins your prize will become almost a spokesman for your product.



Reception Bureau Blog

So what’s this blog all about?

Well, this blog is going to be an useful resource for anyone running a small to medium size business.

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