By now Americans’ most prevalent New Year’s resolution, losing weight, has been discarded by 25% of dieters. In another month, about half of resolutions will be abandoned. Meanwhile, research findings in Forbes article, “Why Sitting at Work Can Be so Deadly” reveal an increase in mortality as positively correlated to an increase in body mass index (BMI). BMI surges as a result of spending long amounts of time sedentary, which in office environments, is the norm.
In “Sitting is the New Smoking”, sedentary lifestyles were found to contribute 10% to breast and colon cancer risks, 6% to heart disease and 7% to Type 2 diabetes. The national kidney foundation chimes in citing the strong link between sedentary lifestyles and the most common of chronic illnesses, kidney disease. Considering office workers gain about a stone or 14 pounds each year and since even those who regularly exercise will sustain an increased risk of death due to metabolic and cardiac diseases, it seems the office may be killing us.
From office “Biggest Loser” competitions, corporate gym memberships, to Lufthansa’s Fly-Robics videos, progressively more companies are taking notice of the damage sitting for long periods of time does to the human body. It seems the problem is two-fold, fewer calories are burned whilst sitting and more profoundly, marathon sitting sessions alter our bodies’ metabolisms. In between conference calls, emails and meetings, there are several exercises designed to be done right from your desk chair to build strength and flexibility and ward off the silent killer known as your office:
The Wooden Leg
While sitting in your chair, extend one leg out straight in front of you. Hold it up for two seconds and then raise it up as high as you can. Hold again for another 2 seconds and repeat with each leg 15 times to build lower-body strength.
The Magic Carpet Ride
To strengthen your core and arms, sit in your chair with your legs crossed and feet on the seat. Placing your hands on the armrests, raise yourself a few inches above the seat engaging your abdomen muscles and the muscles of your hands. Holding for 10-20 seconds and then resting for 30 seconds, complete 5 reps.
Copy Machine Catapults
Time spent waiting for your copies to feed is time wasted indeed. Next time you’re standing at the copy machine, standing with one leg straight try to kick your butt with the heel of your other leg. Repeat this ten times with each leg to stretch out your hamstrings and productively make copies.
Switch out your chair on wheels for a stationary seat for this whole-body work-out: Sit at the edge of your chair and press down on the table with both hands. Simultaneously, lift both legs as high as you can. Despite that you’re actually working-out you will appear attentive and alert to those around you.
Regardless of the resolution you’ve chosen for 2014 and whether or not you uphold it, your health and well-being are always paramount. Even if you don’t have the freedom to move about your office, there are plenty of isometrics you can append to your normal work-out routine to keep fit. Likewise if you’re still tied down to the ball-and-chain of a traditional office and don’t have the freedom to move about,New Years is the perfect time to revolutionize yourself and your business practices. Officense not only gives you the freedom to manage your business from anywhere in the world while still maintaining your professional image, our clients find comfort in knowing while they’re out on a run, we’re here exercising at our desks by running their business.
Posted in Baltimore, Business, Executive Assistant, Exercise, Fitness, New Year's, Small Business, Tips, Virtual Office
Tagged Business, Exercise, Fitness, New Year's, New Year's Resolutions, Office, Weight Loss, Work-Out
During the 19th Century, the “Wild West” of the United States saw dramatic growth. Towns arose seemingly overnight on the frontier landscapes and business minded individuals were quick to take advantage of the “booming business”, thus the term “boomtown”.
However, they also saw the advantage of prestigious appearances and low overhead costs; they constructed their stores with so-called “false fronts” which made their businesses appear to be larger, and thereby more successful, then they actually were. Yet, this concept had downsides; anyone who took a closer look could easily see the deception.
Unfortunately, many virtual office services operate based upon this concept. Businesses receive a professional phone number and address without the actual support of a staff.
That’s where Officense differs; we offer customized business services which provide all of the support of a hired staff without the overhead of hiring onsite staff. From call transfers to anywhere in the world, to transcription services, to appointment setting, Officense will make sense of your business needs.
Our staff is your staff.
Christmas has come and gone. You’ve collected all your gift cards, decided you’ll exchange that gift from your crazy aunt, and you still have your eye on that special item that wasn’t under your tree this year. So, what’s left to do? Shop the after-Christmas sales.
Many of your favorite stores are offering deals and discounts for shoppers to take advantage of Thursday in an effort to clear store shelves of items not sold before the holiday. Major retailers including Macy’s, Target, Best Buy and Walmart are offering discounts up to 70 percent off select merchandise to entice shoppers on Dec. 26.
But this year, retailers are offering “after-Christmas” sales earlier than ever, some even beginning before Christmas. Or, as Forbes put it: “Just like Black Friday started the day before on Thanksgiving, after-Christmas sales won’t wait for their appointed day.”
Amazon.com began offering its sales on Christmas Day, along with OldNavy.com. Target.com and Kohls.com are slated to roll out their after-Christmas sales by midday. Other stores like Walmart will open on Thursday at 5 a.m. to cater to shoppers who are returning gifts, buying additional presents or using their gift cards.
So why so early this year? Given the short holiday shopping season, retailers have been coming up with all sorts of innovative ways to bring consumers into their stores or click on their web pages. Since Thanksgiving fell so late, cutting shopping time from four weeks down to three weeks, stores have been reporting “lackluster” sales, so they’ve responded by offering heavy discounts and gimmicky bargains to entice shoppers.
One result is that after-Christmas sales will be better than expected, according to DealNews.com, which said prices are expected to be slashed up to 70 percent off some items.
As Offers.com CEO Steve Schaffer told IBTimes earlier in the holiday season, Christmas decor and apparel will be the most heavily discounted after Christmas all the way through mid-January as retailers try to clear winter clothing and holiday decorations from their shelves.
So where are the greatest sales for Dec. 26? Here are 30 of the best after-Christmas deals and discounts.
JCPenney: 60 to 70% off men’s outwear, hats, gloves and scarves; $10 off athletic shoes; $9.99 women’s sweaters; 50 to 60% off sheets and sheet sets; $10 off purchases of $25 or more on apparel, shoes, accessories and home plus an extra 10% off furniture, mattresses, blinds, fine jewelry and watches using this coupon; Tons of Door Busters in store from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 26
Kohl’s: Spend $100 or more and save 20% or Spend under $100 and save 15% using this coupon; 10 to 33% off kitchen electrics; 60 to 70% off sweaters plus and extra 10% off holiday sweaters and fleece; 55 to 60% off fine and silvery jewelry; 60% off outerwear; 60 to 70% off sleepwear; 100+ more early bird savings
Macy’s: 15% off sale and clearance apparel, fine and fashion jewelry; 10% off sale and clearance watches, coats, suits, dresses, intimates, select shoes and home items using this coupon; Buy two bras, get two free; $10 off your purchase of $25 or more using this coupon or coupon code “AFTER25″
Target: $499.99 for XBox One; $399.99 for Sony PlayStation 4; $39.99 select video games; $199.99 Beats by Dre Solo HD Headphones; $99.99 FitBit Wireless Wristband; $15 select Blu-Ray movies; $199.99 32″ Element LED HDTV; $99.99 Apple TV; 50% off Christmas
Walmart: $143.92 Bissell ProHeat Pet Carpet Cleaner; Holiday organization from $4.97; $179 XBox 360; $998 Vizio 60″ Smart HDTV
APPAREL AND SHOES
Abercrombie & Fitch: 50% entire store; All jeans $39; Free shipping on all orders over $100
Aeropostale: Everything up to 70% off; Extra 15% off using coupon code “GIFT15″ until 11:59 p.m. EST 12/25
Aldo: 30% off everything for Boxing Day; 50% off original price of select styles
American Eagle: 25% off new arrivals using coupon code “82X978R1″; All jeans under $30; 50% off clearance #AEOsale
BCBGMAXAZRIA: 50% off regular-priced items at checkout; Free shipping on all orders; 60% off plus 20% extra off sale items
Bloomingdale’s: Through Jan. 1, 75% off women’s, contemporary, shoes, handbags, jewelry, accessories, men, kids, home and fine jewelry; Free shipping on online orders of $100 or more; Semi-annual handbag sale with 30% off select styles
The Children’s Place: 30% off and free shipping on all orders with coupon code “D5H30EM”; Up to 75% off clearance
Express: 50% off men’s and women’s shirts and jeans
Forever 21: Buy one, get one 50% off sale using coupon code “BOGO“; Free shipping on orders over $50
Gap: Up to 50% off winter apparel or 60% off in-stores; free shipping on all orders over $50; get $25 Gap cash when you spend $50, $50 when you spend $100 and $75 when you spend $150
H&M: Up to 70% off final sale items
Hollister: 50% off entire store; Free shipping on all orders over $75
J. Crew: 30% off regular-priced styles with coupon code “GIFTNO”; Extra 40% off sale items with coupon code “GIFTNOW”
Lord &Taylor: 20% off sale and clearance using coupon code “AFTER” or this coupon; 60% off coats; 50% off Lord & Taylor gloves, hats and scarves; Extra 50% off already-reduced handbags and accessories;
Nordstrom: Up to 50% off sale items; Earn double points through Dec. 27
Old Navy: Up to 75% off in store or up to 60% off online until Dec. 31
Payless Shoe Source: 30% off clearance; 30% off entire stock of Champion sneakers
Saks Fifth Avenue: 70% off designer sale online Dec. 25 and in stores Dec. 26 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Free shipping using coupon code “HOLIDAY”
Victoria’s Secret: Semi-annual sale with 25 to 40% off bras, up to 40% off sleep, up to 70% off clothing and clearance bras and panties; Free shipping on orders of $100 or more using code “100SHIP”
Barnes & Noble: 50% off best-selling Nook Books; 40% off covers for Nook HD; free shipping on orders of $25 or more
Best Buy: 50% off select Samsung Galaxy flip covers; $10 off all modal iPhone 5/5s and iPhone 5c cases; $15 off Bose sport earbud headphones; $99.99 Fitbit wireless activity and sleep tracker wristband
Bath & Body Works: Semi-annual sale with up to 75% off everything
Gander Mountain: Up to 75% off select footwear; Save up to $200 on new firearms; Save up to 75% off blowout sale; Free shipping on orders of $50 or more
Sephora: Extra 20% off sale items using coupon code “EXTRA20″ until Jan. 1
Toys R Us: Buy one, get one 40% off select video games; Buy one, get one 40% off select movies; Buy one, get one 40% off all Skylander figures; Buy one, get one 40% off all Disney Infinity figures
Let Officense handle all your business needs so you can free up some extra holiday time for yourself and cash in on all the big sale savings.
One of the best ways to improve your business is retrospection. The need to look forward is often emphasized; however, as the old adage says, hindsight is 20/20. Success, failure and general client feedback are a business owner’s curriculum for discovering ways of improving processes, expanding the clientele base and maintaining patron satisfaction.
Failure is Fertile Ground for the Seeds of Success
You may have excellent business processes, trustworthy, efficient staff and an overall excellent rapport with clientele; yet, where humanity is, human error will follow. The important part is the response. If a business owner is willing to be honest about a mistake and take immediate action towards a solution, then a problem can be transformed into an opportunity to build client trust.
Don’t Let Success Make You Overly Confident
When a business owner meets with great success at the launch of a new product or service, this may influence him or her to develop a cocksure attitude which can be deadly for a company. When results are achieved from doing something in a certain way it can easily be assumed that the process will repeat itself; however, “correlation does not imply causation”.
Your Clients Are like Teeth, Ignore them and They’ll Go Away
Client statements that begin with “You know it would be great if…” or “I wish you guys offered…” can be the start of the next successful product launch or service offering. Your customers see your business from an entirely different perspective than you and your employees; however, business owners often don’t hear them unless they’re bringing a negative report. While addressing complaints is important, hearing from your clients in a positive environment and responding can be even more powerful. Also, when you do implement changes according to customer feedback, don’t forget to tell them. Imagine how great a client will feel when you send them a letter saying, “Remember when you asked for this? We listened.”
Finally, don’t forget the reason you are striving for success. Many entrepreneurs start their business to enable them to spend more time with their family and loved ones; however, as business grows and needs mount, the original purpose can be forgotten. So remember to reflect on what you’ve learned this year, prepare for 2014, gather with those you love and “have yourself a merry little Christmas”.
Need Officense to wrap up business details while you engage in retrospection?
Call Officense! 410-814-7500
With today being one of the busiest online shopping days of the year, James Lyne, cyber security contributor to Forbes, offers very sound advice for your holiday online shopping excursion. Sales today are expected to yield a staggering $1.8 billion in sales. So be sure to shop smart and keep your finances protected when shopping for that PS4 or the Xbox One.
“Stores online are expected to be at their busiest this Monday with online shopping hitting a high for the year (it is a shame that Amazon Prime Air delivery drones aren’t quite in service yet). As with any noteworthy event on the Internet cyber criminals will be out to make the most of shoppers’ click happy fingers with all manor of fake products, discounts and phishing mails to distribute their own evil wares. Most of the cyber-crime that occurs on days like today tend to be due to people making basic mistakes rather than elaborate hacks that look like a scene from the movie WarGames. Whilst you are shopping you might want to take a look at these top tips to keep yourself and your friends safe – spread the word and remember friends don’t let friends hand over credit card details to cyber criminals.
1. Make sure your computer is patched and up to date. Your operating system (Windows or Mac OS X for example) should be updated to the latest version and you should make sure your web browser and major applications are fully up to date. This will help prevent malware being installed on your computer without your permission. You can find more information on how to check this here (or click check for updates in most applications).
2. Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true. If you receive an unsolicited e-mail from AmazingShopping.tld offering you 70% off an iPad it probably won’t go well for you. We all like a good deal, but be a little cynical and remember if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
3. People lie on the Internet. Really. If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from your bank or from a common provider like Amazon don’t use the link but rather go directly to the website by typing it in to your browser. If you are really unsure you can call the bank/provider but get their contact details directly from their site – don’t trust the ones in an e-mail.
4. Configure your web browser to help you stay safe. Whether you use Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer they each have features to detect scam sites and malicious code. For example, Internet Explorer information can be found here. Check these controls are enabled to prevent you visiting a nasty page. Some endpoint security suites also have browser protection capabilities.
5. Use a credit card, not debit. Whilst I’m not one to advocate debt, always use a credit card rather than debit. Credit cards have more insurance by default than debit cards so if a criminal does steal your details you are far more likely to get your money back. Double check the terms and conditions with your bank before taking advantage of those deals. You could also look at alternative providers like PayPal. Be aware that some secure payment schemes where you enter a pin or password when you buy have terms that waiver the responsibility in the event of fraud so you take the hit – double check and save yourself some money.
6. Use websites that support encryption. A website where you log in or share financial information should start with ‘https://’ and should have a padlock icon. If this is not present the information being sent is not encrypted and may be intercepted by third parties who steal your information. Be aware though, some cyber criminals also encrypt their websites so you need to both check for the ‘https://’ and be aware of the legitimacy of the brand you are dealing with.
7. Ask your friends and check with other Internet users. If you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of a website or a provider try searching for them on Google. Have others dealt with them successfully? Have your friends and family heard of them? There is safety in numbers when it comes to shopping online.
8. Run good endpoint security software including anti-virus. SophosLabs [Disclosure: I work for Sophos] sees over 250,000 new pieces of malicious code every day circulating on the Internet and decent security software can help filter out the majority of these before they get anywhere near your data.
9. Give a quick thought to password security. A number of these providers will store your financial information or passwords and whilst they mean well they might lose this information (or have it stolen from them). Make sure you use a different password on each website so that if one provider is hacked criminals can’t make it in to your entire digital life, just one part of it.
10. Backup. If it all goes wrong you will want to make sure you can recover your data and easily cancel your cards with the bank. Some malicious code once installed will hold your data to ransom and the damage can’t be undone. So why not just prepare in advance and press that little backup button just in case things go wrong.
With all of that said enjoy shopping on Cyber Monday… “
And have a happy holiday season.
Be sure to check back often for interesting tips and informative articles. We love referrals, so spread the word about our premium Class A meeting/office space and professional live answer service at great prices.
Posted in 2013, Business, Business Address, Community, Holidays, Office, Uncategorized
Tagged amazon.com, Christmas, cyber Monday, cyber security, finance, hanukkah, Holidays, online security, online shopping, ps4, safe online shopping, Shopping, xbox one
You can have everything…
As companies and technology evolve, working “remotely” has become the norm. It’s fantastic, if you are afforded the opportunity. And when you are a high powered executive with a disposable income, fantastic is putting it mildly. Your home office is the Rolls Royce of personal space with every accoutrement imaginable.
Joann Lublin, of the Wall Street Journal, explains how home offices have become more than a place to work. Many now serve double duty as a recreational status symbol.
Ron Kaplan spent $85,000 finishing and decorating his basement; $12,000 of that was on the home office. From a black leather chair, Mr. Kaplan gazes at prized possessions such as his late father’s eight World War II medals and a model of the veteran’s Flying Tiger bomber plane, plus a collection of 100 leather-bound, gilt-edged classics.
Jim Butterfield spent $90,000 assembling and decorating his unfinished garage with nautical details everywhere. The space features decorative porthole windows, a dock hanging lamp and a custom nautical door with a relief of King Neptune that hides a full bathroom. The bathroom is revealed with a pull of his scepter.
But it’s still not enough.
Even with all the best amenities like a top notch treadmill, multiple television screens or treasured collectibles, you are missing vital pieces you need to be truly successful.
We can complete the puzzle.
One caveat to a home office is your mailing address. With Officense, you can have a prestigious address for your mail as well as an impressive place to meet your clients that is NOT your personal residence, which is a great way to protect your privacy.
Let’s not forget phone calls. You are bombarded with communications all day. And a mere 30 percent involve information pertinent to your business. Yet you feel the need to answer the phone, everyone does, interrupting work throughout the day. You may be surprised to learn the average desk worker loses over two hours daily because of workplace distractions, costing businesses nearly $1 billion annually in lost productivity.
How much time do you waste with unnecessary calls? Statistics show it takes as much as 23 minutes to get back on track once you’ve interrupted your work. Plus the non-stop flow of communication disruptions adds stress to your work day. Officense can help you take control of your communications so you can focus your time and energy on the important things, like growing your business. We can call your leads. Make your appointments. We can seamlessly connect callers to you when you’re available, wherever you are.
The solution is simple.
So even without the disposable income and a bathroom revealed by a King Neptune scepter, we can help you have it all.
A slideshow of the amazing home offices can be found here.
Posted in 2013, Administrative Assistant, Big Business, Business, Business Address, Economy, Executive Assistant, Office, Receptionist, Small Business, Virtual Office
Tagged administrative assistant, big business, Business, business address, custom business solutions, economy, executive assistants, live answer service, mail service, meeting space, Office, office space, premium space, receptionist, start ups, Virtual office
Don’t Skip Breakfast!
When you’re rushing out the door to get to work, it’s easy to pass off the first meal of the day until lunch. However, what you’ve saved in time may return in extra pounds. Having breakfast in the morning starts your metabolism which will help your body burn calories throughout the day. Plus, the body needs the energy to perform well. Something as quick and simple as a granola bar and a piece of fruit can be a great morning start leading to an excellent finish for the day.
It doesn’t have to be two hours at the gym, it can be ten minutes in your bedroom; but, however long you choose to exercise, you need to get moving! Research shows that squeezing just ten minutes of exercise per day into your busy schedule can be the boost you need to stay fit and gain energy to thrive during your work day. If your day is so busy that you just don’t think you can fit it in, try taking the stairs when you get to your office, or parking further away from the supermarket. Those couple of minutes throughout the day can add up to substantial exercise!
You have a meeting at nine, a presentation at one; one of the kids has soccer practice at five, another has a piano recital at seven, and will this phone ever stop ringing?! All the concerns of daily living can lead to stress. Research has proven that stress often leads to expanding waist lines and lessening energy. Officense can help! Located in downtown Baltimore, we offer innovative office and communication solutions to take the load off of your mind. From office space, to mailboxes, to live executive assistants for your corporate needs, Officense just makes sense for your business. Now, who’s going to get the kids to practice? Well…that would have to be you.