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Should I Outsource My Business Back-Office?

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Outsourcing is often an excellent time save and money save for small and medium businesses. If you’re on a tighter budget than larger corporations, you need to find any way you can to run your business efficiently without wasting time or valuable funds. Many smaller companies have less manpower and aren’t able to use the resources they need to run a comprehensive enterprise with different departments and employees for each factor of their business. Outsourcing makes it easier to get things done without spending money on permanent employees or expensive solutions. However, you might be wondering whether outsourcing is the right choice for your business.

Outsourcing your business back-office might save you time and money, and there are various other benefits too. Before you look into outsourcing, see how it could benefit your company and the tasks you could outsource for a more efficient operation.

Save Money

One of the best benefits of outsourcing your business’s back-office is the money you can save. Some businesses start off having one person dedicate all their time to doing one particular task, whether it’s answering the phone or handling invoices. But this can get expensive, and you can’t always afford to pay for a permanent employee who could perhaps be better off doing something else with their time. Outsourcing often makes it cheaper to get things done because it offers a flexible solution. You only pay for what you need, and all the resources required are set up and ready to go.

Save Time

Another prominent benefit of using outsourcing services is that it can save your business a lot of time. You don’t have to redirect an existing employee to spend all their time completing a particular task, leaving them free to do what you hired them for. You won’t have to spend your time working on back-office tasks when you could be much more useful working on growing your business. You could reduce the need to work constantly on one thing down to a day’s work for your team. For example, some outsourcing services can provide the software and services you need to make it easier to track sales tax or manage your telecoms system.

Protect Your Business

Outsourcing can be vital for some tasks. If you want to ensure that everything runs smoothly and within the law, choosing to outsource can make it much easier. For example, outsourcing human resources, regulatory compliance, or legal work can all help to protect your company. As a small or medium business, you likely can’t afford to have a lawyer employed for you full time or on retainer. Outsourcing any legal issues you need to sort out will make sure you don’t get into any trouble while saving you time and money. Some industries can require a lot of work to ensure your business complies with regulations and standards and outsourcing can help to make it easier.

Access Skilled Workers

Choosing to outsource parts of your back-office gives you immediate access to skilled workers who know what they’re doing. There’s no need to spend time and money recruiting employees and trying to find the perfect match for your company. While you need to get the right outsourcing service, it will come complete with workers who have already been vetted to ensure they can do their job well.

Improve Accuracy and Consistency

Having all those skilled workers at your disposal means that you can ensure excellent quality. The job will get done right the first time, with professional results every time. You can make sure you receive a consistent service too, and you have the benefit of the outsourced service checking its own work to ensure quality. If you’re unhappy with the service you receive, it’s also easier to look for a new outsourcer than it would be to replace an employee.

Increased Organisation

Outsourcing will often help to make a business more organised and easier to manage. There are many tasks you might struggle to keep organised or that you require members of staff to spend their valuable time completing. With outsourcing, you can get it all sorted out without you or any of your permanent employees having to do anything. You can also ensure you have practical solutions to problems you were previously struggling to work around. For example, if you outsource your accounts, all you need to do is send them all the information they need. You can remain hands-off for the most part.

Is Outsourcing Right for Your Company?

There can be some drawbacks to outsourcing your back-office, so it’s important to decide if it’s right for your business. For example, you might be concerned about other services having access to confidential information or about coordinating services so that you can meet deadlines and targets. You can weigh up the benefits and the potential disadvantages to decide if outsourcing is the right choice. For some tasks, you might prefer to have one person dedicated to your company who can really understand your values and approach.

Back-office Tasks to Outsource

There are many different back-office tasks your business can outsource. It all depends on what sort of support services you need and where you think you could benefit from outsourcing the most. Consider some of these tasks to make the most of outsourcing:

Accounting – There is a wide range of accounting tasks that can be incredibly time-consuming, where accuracy is essential. Outsourcing makes it much easier to manage.
Payroll – Managing the taxes and regulations surrounding payroll is easier with outsourcing.
Social media – Social media is now a prominent form of marketing, but it can be very time-consuming. Outsourcing its management makes it easier to be more responsive to customers.
Telecommunication – Various telecommunications services can be outsourced to improve customer services and to make your office more organised. Having a service that forwards calls and takes messages is very convenient.
Content – Content marketing is also a major player in the marketing world today. Outsourcing it saves a lot of time and money on its creation and distribution.

Outsourcing your business back-office can have many benefits to your company. As well as saving time and money, you can improve efficiency and quality within your business.

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Education

Importance of Employment Contracts to Employers and Employees

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In this modern world that we live in, everything needs to be done by the book. If not, then there can often be nasty repercussions, and when it comes to running a business, it’s best not to invite this willingly. In the public sector alone, around 31% of employees have some form of conflict that’s common in the workplace.

With that said, it’s good to do all you can legally and in the right manner. Most businesses and those in the position of hiring employees will have an employment contract in place. This article will discuss what an employment contract is and why it’s so important to have it in place.

There are also some helpful tips towards the end when creating an employment contract for the first time.

Employment Contracts

What is an employment contract?

Employment contracts are legal agreements between the employee and employer providing written acknowledgement of the terms between the two parties.

Depending on the type of employee the employer is hiring, this might affect the type of contract they provide. The employment contract will list the relevant information concerning the role and the various aspects of working for the employer.

You’d typically find the working hours, pay and terms of employment in general. Many employment agreement templates are available online for those who aren’t quite familiar with the structure and how to draft them up correctly.

Both parties are legally protected.

Any type of contract is good because it’s an agreement that’s legally binding. Whenever an employer wants to hire a person for their company, they want to ensure the person they’re hiring will benefit the company.

The same goes for the person looking for a job and wanting to join somewhere that does everything legally and legitimately. Both parties will be protected when this contract is drawn up, agreed upon, signed and dated. That way, both parties should have had the opportunity to dispute or negotiate anything within that first draft and be happy with the agreement.

Protecting both parties can help in keeping the relationship a trustworthy and respectful one. This contract can be seen as the foundation of any employee/employer relationship. Without that foundation, either party can find themselves running into some form of trouble as a result.

The contract can also assist either party in terminating the agreement should there be a reason to do so. For example,  maybe the employee wants to leave the job, or the employer uncovers a breach of the agreement.

Outlines everything expected from either party

An employment contract of any type is likely to be very detailed. It will contain everything that the employee needs to know before commencing their role within the company. For the employer, it’s a chance to detail everything that is needed to make the role valuable for the company.

Having communication is important, and the contract clearly outlines everything that’s expected from both parties. With 64% of businesses finding communication in their strategy, values and purpose as a key priority, there’s no doubt that this is essential.

There can often be somewhat of miscommunication or lack of in some businesses, and so to avoid this happening for yours, these contracts are beneficial. Having good communication in everything that’s done in a business will likely aid its success and growth.

From an employee’s perspective, it’s useful to know what the employer expects from them and everything they do for the business. It’s often detrimental to their own happiness and appreciation for the job.

Enforces accountability where necessary

If everything went as expected, then there would likely be very little that goes wrong. However, that’s wishful thinking when it comes to business and being part of a workforce.

Things won’t always go smoothly, and in the case of employment, not every employee or employer behaves appropriately. There may be times when workplace disputes occur, which may result in legal action from either party.

The employment contract is a written document that has been signed and dated. It, therefore, acts as proof of a mutual agreement and evidence that can be used if either party finds it necessary to do so.

It, therefore, enforces accountability to be taken should either party be found to have breached or broken their agreement with the other. For example, if you’re an employer, your employee may decide to take action against overtime that hasn’t been stipulated prior in the contract.

In the case of an employer, confidential data could have been stolen by an employee and used to damage the company’s reputation. Many cases have come up over the years relating to employment law.

Keeps confidentiality and maintains data security

data

For the average business, there is often a lot of confidential data that the company holds, whether concerning the company itself or their customers’ trust in storing.

An employment contract will ensure confidentiality is maintained when employees are accessing such data for work purposes.

Data security is one of the main concerns for businesses nowadays, especially as 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error. You really can’t be too careful!

In the contract, there will likely be more detail depending on what role the employee has and how much influence they may have regarding the company’s data. For example, some employees may have access to more data than others. It’s good to pay attention to this section of the contract for accuracy.

Keeping confidentiality and data security at the top of your list as a business will also strengthen the relationship and trust with your customers.

Creates a trustful working relationship

A successful company is often down to the happiness and productivity of its workforce. Companies with a highly engaged workforce are seen to have around 21% more profit as a result.

As mentioned above, with a contract in place, there’s this trust and reliance created between the two parties.

You must do everything possible to cement this relationship from the beginning. Your employees are an integral part of the business, and if you’re not willing to put a legal contract in place or one that isn’t detailed enough, that’s not a good start to the working relationship.

The creation of the contract should be open for discussion. Even though the employee has accepted the job and the employer has offered it to the employee, there can still be some room for negotiation if either party isn’t happy with the agreement.

Tips for creating an employment contract

So now that you know the importance of employment contracts, it’s imperative to include every detail. With that said, here are a few top tips when creating one.

Remember the basics

Some basics are essential to include, and these will be the key information regarding the role itself. Usually, this will be the job title, the department and the head of that department or manager for the employee.

There will also be the location of the business included here, so don’t forget that!

Pay and benefits package

It’s not all about the money, but it’s important for your employment contract to include details and pay.  Remember, the detail here may change depending on the type of employee you’re hiring and whether or not they’ll also be incorporated into the benefits package that a company provides.

There may also be levels of benefits that are available depending on the role.

Annual leave, sick pay and parental leave

There are certain entitlements that an employee is allowed to have regarding matters of annual leave, sick pay and parental leave. In this section of the contract, you can outline the individual benefits that the employee has when it comes to taking time off.

Employment type and duration

For your employees, not all of them might be working full-time, and there might be some who are on fixed-term contracts and others on temporary.

The employment contract will mention the type of employment and duration, as well as any mention of overtime.

Policies and terminations

Most businesses will have privacy policies relating to the internet and use of data, as well as termination procedures should either party want to terminate the contract. Notice periods will also be mentioned here.

An employment contract is a must-have and having one, and it’ll protect both parties. Not only that, but it’ll be useful should either party need to refer back to it.

Editor’s note: A shout-out to Natalie Redman for her contribution – thanks.

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How To Know If Your Factory Or Workplace Needs A Ventilation Solution

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You’d be hard pushed to find anyone on Earth who isn’t aware of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ventilation in the factory or workplace is the concern of all workers who value their health and wellbeing. So unless you work in the great outdoors, you should concern yourself with how fresh the air is in your work environment.

Who hasn’t taken fresh air for granted? Pre-pandemic, ventilation and air quality indoors didn’t get the same attention that it’s getting now. What’s changed? The real experiences of catching airborne COVID-19 via small droplets and particles. Today business owners realise to keep their staff safe at work, the factory or office must have an effective ventilation system.

Had to step up and take ownership of righting the wrong with ineffective ventilation systems in the workplace. However, there are steps you can take to make the air indoors cleaner and purer, too. Furthermore, there are plenty of good reasons you want to improve indoor air quality in your factory by improving ventilation. Here are 6 reasons why factories must be well ventilated.

Studies also confirm good air quality can improve productivity and vice versa, i.e. air pollution can stifle both the quality of work and how much of it is done. Remote working is now preferred by workers the world over, so to get them back to the workplace for some if not all the work week will require your business to prove you’re taking their health and wellbeing seriously with great air quality.

Health and Safety

Governments require businesses to look after workers health and safety in the workplace, so it is a must-do for every organisation. There’s no escaping climate change and how we pollute the air with industry. When in confined spaces, the quality of air has a bigger impact on our health and productivity. Therefore ventilation systems are needed to remove hazardous pollutants and fumes, including:

  • Chemicals
  • Fuel-burning
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Moisture

There are many negative side effects of poor air quality, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin rashes
  • Headaches
  • Coughing, sneezing
  • Sinuses
  • Dizziness

Plus, where there is a high mold, employees prone to asthma attacks and respiratory infections will suffer and take more sick days.

While there’s the investment to improve the ventilation system, the upside is not only fewer sick days and higher productivity, businesses will likely see an improvement in energy use.

Energy Efficiency

Good ventilation will eliminate hot and cold spots in the building. By increasing the airflow and maintaining an even temperature throughout the building, temperature and humidity – i.e. the moisture in the air are controlled. It may seem counterproductive to use energy to run a ventilation system; however, it can use less energy when it’s optimised for your environment.

Plus, you could say there’s a trade-off when you use energy to maintain air quality and flow versus not doing so and using time and resources to replace workers on sick leave and damaged goods.

Protect Your Inventory

High-quality ventilation is also good for your assets and inventory. With low humidity and dust, your physical assets, raw materials and inventory ready for distribution are protected.

Moisture can get in anywhere, and when it does, it compromises the quality of materials and products. Avoid the unnecessary need for replacements and associated costs with a ventilation system fit for purpose in your workplace.

There will be a need for managing worker habits so they don’t interfere with the optimum settings for good air circulation. Plus, you don’t want HVAC equipment working longer and harder than it has to, so you will need to educate staff on its use.

What may also assist you is knowing how to read fan curves so your engineer designs an energy-efficient ventilation system with the right fans for optimum air quality in your factory or workplace without wasting energy.

Summary

There is no escaping our activities are degrading air quality, and with the threat of pandemics like COVID-19, there is a sense of urgency to ensure our workplaces are safe and healthy for work.

Ventilation systems control temperature, humidity, and air motion. A good ventilation system combined with HVAC equipment is not a luxury item. Instead, it’s essential to the continuation of business-as-usual. Read our next article on often you need to deep clean your work environment.

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General

Benefits of Team Building Activities at Work

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Off-site team building events are recognised in my businesses as pivotal to keeping staff focused, productive, and happy in the workplace. Also, the change of routine encourages employees to unwind and learn more about their work peers. You may not want to know this statistic, but on average, all workers spend over 13 years of their life working. This fact may depress some of you while it may have the opposite effect and motivate you, and this is due to the different personalities we spend a lot of time with, in the workplace.

A day out of the office with management and colleagues can be fun and provide other benefits. Team building activities for work have been proven to encourage better communication and lift productivity.

Here’s another interesting opinion, did you know experts say there are only five types of people from which 16 personalities are construed? The ‘five-factor’ model gives you insight into your staff’s personality types and their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they can perform in teams. It’s worth researching into the basic personality types of your staff before witnessing how they get on together during a group event.

Regular Team Building Exercises Benefits

Get to know the different personalities in your office

Employees are not robots, and they react in their own way to change and how they interact with their colleagues and management.

How a team member deals with challenges and the new environment will reveal more of their personality. Using an offsite location for team building will encourage more openness and present the leaders from the followers among your staff.

Increasing productivity and motivation

The camaraderie among workmates increasing productivity as well as foster individual performance. Self-confidence and feeling at ease in the company of other people will lift overall company output, and future proof the business as a strong competitor.

Improving communication

Working in a team means everyone has to deal with personal and opinion differences. And that is the reason why effective communication is critical. Not every worker has a friendly or outgoing personality, and this is something that needs to be acknowledged. Some people are shy and timid, while others are naturally extroverted.

A team-building activity is one of the best solutions to break these barriers and gaps in communication. Team building involves games and other recreational activities forcing everyone to connect on a deeper level. It is one of the simplest ways to get everyone talking and conveniently align their precepts according to the values of the company.

As such, when staff return to work, there will be less reluctance to share their opinions openly in communication and transparency speeds up the identification of issues that need resolving, thus improving overall productivity.

Reinforcing a positive work culture

We all need to know how we perform outside our comfort zone, yet most personalities shy away from putting ourselves to the test. When the team day out is ‘work’ there’s no way out, with attendance compulsory, so we look for commonality, familiarity and find our group culture. Plus there’s time to work on the goals and visions of a company with the whole team altogether. On returning to the workplace the renewed energy among the workers, even the more introverted personality types who are expressing their emotions more freely, is proof these days offsite are good for business.

There’s little doubt that happy and satisfied staff is the foundation of every successful business and investing in regular company-wide team building is a low-risk strategy for apositive work culture.

Summary

Start the new year with an offsite activity or event, so your workers can come together, share their holiday experiences and reignite their focus on their job and how your business will meet its targets.

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