Category Archives: Appointment

Ways to Have Some Fun While in Virtual Meetings

By | Appointment | No Comments
Ways to Have Fun Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings have become a weekly or even daily affair for many professionals as firms have transitioned to entirely or partly remote work arrangements in the past several years. These hybrid virtual meetings bother some employees, but you may as well lighten up and have some fun. You can remain professional while you have fun in a virtual meeting.

While virtual meetings are a crucial method to keep communication lines open, they may be difficult for people who are not used to appearing and speaking on video. Furthermore, everything from technical difficulties to the increasing problem of “reading the room” can lead to stiffness and formality in proceedings — making it difficult to inject the personal interactions and “little bit of fun” that make in-person meetings so beneficial for relationship-building.

Remote meetings can be made less formal and more engaging for attendees using the following components. The most essential element of our meetings is not to get to business and not waste time — so keep that fact in mind as you plan to lighten the mood of virtual meetings. Try a few different variations of the themes below and find the best fit for your team.

1. Begin with some one-on-one conversation.

One firm decided to make it a practice to begin each meeting with some personal banter — meaning, nothing work-related. Not having continual work topics at the beginning of the meetings helps employees unwind, share an intriguing anecdote or two, and maybe even chuckle. Casual conversation is stimulating and refreshing and it helps attendees to slip in a few minutes of humanity before getting down to business. Touching base as humans, and not simply coworkers will bring warmth to virtual meetings.

2. Post photographs that are irrelevant to your job.

Request that team members contribute a non-work-related picture. Whether it’s a photo of a pastime, family, or pet, it helps team members to see another side of their colleagues’ personalities. Indeed, it may help each person relate to and understand each other better. Showing a photo will also create a comfortable environment for team members to be open and honest since they choose what to share. Transparency, in turn, aids in the development of connections.

When you first start showing photos you will notice that are bland. With the continual practice of showing photos, your employees will warm up to you and each other, and you will notice a change in the nature of the photos.

3. Show off your pets.

Do you have a lot of pet owners in your workplace? When you host a meeting in the future, start by having everyone introduce their furry companions. It’s a terrific way to bond with your team, and it always results in a grin. We’ve always had the ability to bring our pets to work in the office — and a photo of the furry friends brings back these memories and good times.

4. Pose a virtual meeting “connection inquiry.”

Before the meeting, connect with individuals by asking “connection questions” that bring everyone together. Ask everyone to tell a story around a common theme (give them a time limit). People like talking about themselves and sharing information about themselves.

5. Honor birthdays.

One office manager noted, “We celebrate one other’s birthdays by sending something special (usually food-related) on that day or week of the birthday — and having a sing-a-long song. It is consistently well-received. We spend the remainder of the catch-up time talking about things other than work, which is refreshing and vital.                             

After your sing-along and chat, you can dive into work information and topics.

6. Experiment with different backgrounds.

Getting creative with your video backdrop is one way to add extra fun and boost relationship-building in virtual meetings. A new subject for each meeting, such as a favorite location visited or a bucket list trip destination may help break up the monotony of the day. Indeed, act as a meeting icebreaker, and allow for more in-depth relationships among team members. These change-ups don’t have to take a ton of time.

7. Play around with virtual reality.

Another office manager said, “We experimented with virtual reality, and the results were unexpected. We had meetings, played games, and even attended Virtual Burning Man as a group. The experiences of being in the same place are pretty effective in forming relationships. This is subconscious and highly ancient: but it means we belong to the same tribe.”

8. Hold virtual meetings coffee and lunch get-togethers.

Virtual coffee or lunch meetings with two to four team members may benefit relationship development. Center the plan on connecting rather than addressing work matters. These ties often result in better professional partnerships. Do you allow anyone on your team to do virtual meetings invites? For casual get-togethers — consider allowing others on the team to be the host.

9. Include a ‘human’ aspect.

Adding a “human” factor to virtual meetings is one approach to make them more enjoyable. You can hold video meetings at workers’ homes. Moreover, this is something that is physically left behind while working from the office. Use meetings hosted at individual team member homes to your advantage by asking “about me” questions. Or you could engage in scavenger hunts. Indeed come up with other innovative methods to engage people. It’s the small things that count.

10. Hold competitions and happy hours.

Make meetings more enjoyable by hosting virtual happy hours or competitions, such as “Best Zoom Background” or “Best Home Office.” The distinction between home and workplace has blurred, so have fun with it. During Zoom meetings, we get to meet family members and pets. We’ve moved the office into the houses where we live. Working connections have grown more casual as a result of this new phenomenon. On a personal level, people have reported that they are feeling more connected.

11. Assign various team members to serve as virtual meeting hosts.

Building camaraderie isn’t intricate in theory, but it does need work. Try having various members of your team host. This encourages involvement and introduces fresh ideas to the discussion. Utilize internet games on occasion. Encourage members to give each other informal acknowledgment at the start or finish of each meeting. Most importantly, don’t take anything too seriously. It’s simply a gathering. And sometimes, as a leader — you should let your team have meetings without you.

12. Allow everyone a turn in the spotlight.

When there are a lot of workers in the virtual meetings, strive to close the sessions with activities that give each employee a chance to shine. One amusing example is ending meetings with newborn images of staff. Indeed, asking everyone to vote on who that baby grew up to be.

Image Credit: Ivan Samkov; Pexels; Thank you!

Ways to Have Some Fun While in Virtual Meetings was originally published on Calendar by Hunter Meine.

4 Ways to Spring-Clean Your Business Processes

By | Appointment | No Comments
4 Ways Spring Clean Business Processes

Spring cleaning isn’t necessarily the year’s most fun activity, but it’s certainly one of the most important. We all need a little motivation to clean those hard-to-reach areas and finally organize the coat closet we’ve avoided all year. After all the hard work, it’s nice to feel more comfortable in our homes again.

For business owners, spring cleaning is for much more than just routine tidying and organizing. Businesses need to continue to improve and become more efficient if they want to remain relevant with their customers. If you’re not spring cleaning your business processes, you can fall behind.

This spring, it’s time to look for ways to streamline and improve your business processes. This means keeping the processes that help your businesses to be more efficient and getting rid of what’s not working so you can take on more customers, retain new and existing ones, and increase business revenue. Let’s get started:

1. Out With the Old

It can be unfortunately easy to fall into the trap of amassing subscription services with the intent to use all of them. However, more often than not, there will be at least one service that you continue to pay for without getting much value in return. You’re going to have to learn to let go of some of these services even if it’s difficult to do so.

Start by inventorying all of the services you pay for. Include every piece of customer relationship management software, payment program, and streaming service listed under your business. Which ones are you actually using regularly? If your knowledge management software is only getting updated once every month or two, you’re probably better off saving that money and canceling the subscription.

Even if some of the products you have look useful on paper, too many moving parts can be difficult to manage and even counterproductive. Your business will run a lot more smoothly when it only has what is necessary pushing it forward.

2. In With the New

In some cases, your problem might be that you’re not using enough subscription software services to your advantage. Technology is wonderful, and it can add a lot to your business when implemented properly. In this scenario, spring cleaning is accomplished by adding something new.

Take online appointment software, for example. This tech solution will keep track of customer information and make it much easier for customers to book appointments on their own. You can get rid of stacks of paper and can free up your phone lines by enabling more self-service. Just by adding this one solution, you can make your business process flow a lot more easily.

Be careful not to overload your business, though, or you’ll have to go back to step one again. Less can be more in some cases, but something is almost always better than nothing.

3. Get an Audit

A business audit will put a fresh set of eyes on the inner workings of your organization. A trained professional can take a look at your business and tell you exactly where your inefficiencies lie and give recommendations on how to fix them. Just having their expert opinion and insight can be a helpful place to start.

An auditor can also tell you what you’re doing right. In the process of spring cleaning your business processes, you don’t want to inadvertently mess with something that was working before. Your audit will help you take note of the good aspects of your business processes so you can preserve and enhance them.

An annual business audit may be the spring tradition that your company needs to reach the next level. Such audits can help you stay on top of your game by placing a trusted professional by your side for guidance and support.

4. Reevaluate Your Goals

The goals that you set in the first year you started your business are probably outdated now. When your goals change, so should your processes. Otherwise, you’ll end up treading water instead of making real progress forward.

When you launched your business, your goal might have simply been to break even and get back your investment. Once you’ve accomplished that, your next goal should be to start turning a profit. In order to do so, you’ll need to make changes to your business processes that either cut down on expenses or generate more revenue.

Inflation must also be taken into account. Prices fluctuate over time, and the business process that worked years ago might be too expensive to maintain now. With the rising price of gas, for example, in-person sales calls may need to go virtual. Not only can you make your business more efficient with process changes like these, you can help it to become more cost-effective as well.

Spring only lasts so long, so make some plans to start cleaning up your business processes as soon as you can. This will put you in a great position for success throughout the rest of the year.

Image Credit: Julia Filirovska; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Boost Your Productivity Game in 2022

By | Appointment | No Comments
How Boost Productivity Game 2022

If you are one of those people who make New Year’s resolutions, being more productive likely made the list. In fact, it probably makes the list for all people — year after year after year — because productivity can be elusive for all.

Even if you started 2022 with a constructive few months — by April, you may already be waning. The commitment to productivity in your job and personal life may be as unused as your gym membership. “Maybe tomorrow” turns into “maybe next week,” then “maybe next month,” and so on.

Before you allow your good intentions to pave that road to you-know-where, take note. There are ways you can restore that drive for productivity and make it a habit rather than a hope. Don’t just resolve to boost your productivity game in 2022; make it happen.

Establish Some Boundaries

If you don’t set limits on what you do and don’t want to do, you’ll keep landing out of bounds. Deciding what you’re not going to do in 2022 will keep you focused on what you do. Those limits will help you say “no” to wasting time and “yes” to getting things done.

Boundaries are rules used to guide interactions with others. Those interactions could be with family, friends, co-workers, or even the barista at your favorite coffee joint. That means they are personal, professional, and transactional.

You may decide this is the year to not indulge in office gossip. Or perhaps you’ll choose to not run to the bathroom and hide every time that annoying co-worker approaches you. Imagine what you could accomplish just by placing those two activities out of bounds.

Your productivity will rise if you are centered rather than lurking on the periphery. Obviously, you need to set some boundaries to know where they are. But once you do, you can focus on what matters and leave what doesn’t outside the lines.

Breathe Life Into That To-Do List

Now that you’ve set some rules for what you aren’t going to do, make a list of what you are. To-do lists come in all forms and lengths, so begin by deciding what format will work best for you. If you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to try a few on for size.

Make sure your list doesn’t linger on your desk like the company’s last strategic plan that’s sitting on the shelf. A good list should be consulted and revised every single day, marking items off, and adding new ones. If that isn’t happening, adjust the way you’re doing the list or don’t bother having one.

You can add structure to your list by using your calendar instead of a series of sticky notes. It will force you to think realistically about the time it will take to accomplish a task. Moreover, you’re less likely to overschedule the volume of tasks on a day filled with meetings.

To-do lists may do more harm than good if they overwhelm rather than encourage. If your current method isn’t working, give it some oxygen. Done correctly, your list, (and that strategic plan), should be a living, breathing thing.

Free Up Your Prime Time

Everyone is more productive at some times than others. The time of day, day of the week, or month of the year are all variables. The trick is determining where your productivity sweet spot is and using it to your advantage.

If Monday morning at 11 with two cups of coffee down is your prime time, block it off your calendar. Schedule a task for that time instead, especially one that’s important, on a tight deadline, or difficult. It’s a great opportunity to check off a loitering assignment.

Freeing up those chunks of time when you are most productive also means eliminating corresponding distractions. Close your office door (if you have one) and hang up a “do not disturb” sign. Stick your phone in a drawer and silence those pesky notifications so you aren’t tempted to look.

If you can develop a habit of preserving your most productive times for actual production, even your coworkers will notice. That may help them avoid distracting you despite working in a cubicle or an open office space. You’ll be more than ready for prime time.

Employ Some Tools of the Productivity Trade

Productivity apps have become ubiquitous. They’re all designed to boost productivity at work, at home, among individuals, or teams. In fact, you can skewer your productivity by spending too much time figuring out which ones you want to use.

Nonetheless, if you find an app that makes you more focused, more organized, and more productive, use it. You may find some are handy for everything from working out to whittling down the honey-do list at home. Using productivity apps for more than your job will make you more adept at using them.

Employing apps and productivity hacks for more than one purpose at a time may make you more productive on multiple fronts. For example, kill two birds with one pomodoro technique that you’re using to maintain focus on tasks. During those five-minute breaks, do some squats or sit-ups and get your workout done too.

The fact is that productivity devices don’t work for everyone. But if you haven’t tried any because you don’t think they’re your thing, you should. Any job is always easier if you’re using the right tool to get it done.

Give Your Productivity a Leg Up

Everyone needs a little help sometimes to keep their resolutions going — or to start over. It’s okay to ask for help, stumble a bit, and restart when necessary. Abandoning the attempt to become more productive is the only real failure.

As you focus on your resolve to improve, celebrate your wins, and don’t beat yourself up over the losses. Productivity is, after all, work. Boost yours even a little this year, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

How to Boost Your Productivity Game in 2022 was originally published on Calendar by Max Palmer.

Image Credit: Olia Danilevich; Pexels; Thank you!

The Profound Impact of Productivity on Your Soul

By | Appointment | No Comments
Profound Impact Productivity Soul

People are constantly looking for new ways to improve their productivity. This is because there are only so many hours in the day, and yet there is always so much to do in the allotted time. Productivity habits not only motivate us but also help us lay claim to time that is slipping away, unused, or wasted on activities that are done out of boredom — time we actually want.

Productivity should be an essential focal point for anyone who wants to live a more fulfilling life. This article will discuss productivity and its impact, far beyond simply checking tasks off your list. It will address how productivity can evoke positive thoughts about ourselves and our work, which will allow us to grow into more productive people in the long term — and help us fill our time with soul-filling activities.

Productivity and Its Impact Beyond Work

Finishing what you set out to do feels great. Have you ever had a rush of satisfaction after checking off that last item on your to-do list? Feeling satisfied and fulfilled about what you are doing is the essence of great productivity. Of course, it means you are getting stuff done, but you are also getting stuff that is actually important and meaningful.

Here is why productivity can mean much more than simply crossing something off your list of things to do.

Helps You Contribute to Society

We feel more fulfilled when we contribute to something more than ourselves. Lazy days can help us visualize our impact better. We all have these lazy days, and sometimes they are nice — but they can leave us with a sluggish feeling, sometimes nagging thoughts, and a guilty feeling of lost time.

While it is important to treat ourselves to a break, and wisely use some time for self-care — being a productive person can rid us of the dissatisfaction of not being a contributor. In addition, productivity can make us feel overall better as individuals because we have a sense of accomplishment.

Encourages You to Embrace Yourself

When we “do,” we share a piece of ourselves with the world. Our work can speak volumes about ourselves. Every time we decide to be productive and take action to complete something, we are embracing our identity and who we are. Being able to choose our efforts and be who we want to be is a rewarding feeling.

However, it is also essential to ensure you are doing it for yourself and are not trying to meet someone else’s expectations of you. For example, some younger kids will play sports that they hate to ensure the happiness of their parents. The kids are doing it for their parents, rather than themselves.

What happens when you don’t do it for yourself is twofold; First, you become dependent on someone else’s validation. Second, you cannot truly embrace who you are as a person. Productivity can be a fulfilling tool, but if you are not being productive for the right reasons, then it can backfire and hurt your wellbeing.

Helps You Achieve Balance

For example, productivity applies to many more areas in your life than work. Productivity can apply to sitting down and reading that book you have always had on your nightstand. Or, further, it can apply to prioritizing time to spend with your family.

Productivity isn’t just about getting work done; It’s about using your time effectively to live the balanced, fulfilling life you want to live. You shouldn’t stretch yourself thin to get an impossible amount of tasks done. Instead, try to focus on the things that give you the most happiness and satisfaction.

Below are several actionable steps you can take to be more productive.

Actionable Tips to Be More Productive

1. Understand the 80/20 Rule

Learn how to use the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states: “20% of your efforts actually contribute to 80% of your results.” For instance, 20% of your effort in a sales role may contribute to 80% of actual sales. To understand this rule in your life, write down all the tasks you do daily.

Afterward, try figuring out how each task relates to concrete results. While the rule is certainly not infallible, it does help us think about how we use our time. For example, what are the 20% of efforts that actually lead to results? How can we prioritize these efforts and minimize the other 80% of actions that do not lead to anything?

Understanding more about how our efforts contribute to actual results helps us get more out of our actions and, in turn, will help us achieve a more accomplished and fulfilling life.

2. Organize Your Schedule

Develop a schedule that works for you. If you get specific tasks better at certain times in the day, it might make sense to align those times with the tasks on your schedule. Productivity may be more about planning out an excellent strategy for getting things done rather than complete execution. If we embrace a plan to organize our time, we’re setting ourselves up to accomplish the tasks we have set out for ourselves — and this is productivity.

We become less worried about whether we’re using our time in the most productive way because we’ve already pre-optimized our schedule. From your schedule organization efforts, you’ll be able to organize your day into something that works well for you.

3. Find Ways to Prioritize

Prioritize what’s important, and focus your efforts on that. For instance, you could write down the single most important thing to get done for the day, and then plan on making it the first task item you start your day with. Understanding what is most important each day can help you avoid meaningless tasks. In addition, you will begin to feel better about yourself when you start focusing on what you deem meaningful and vital.

4. Write Down Your Why

Take some time to write down your why. In other words, try understanding the reason behind all that you want to accomplish. For example, you might write that your why is “providing for family.” Or, perhaps your why might be “getting to do exciting things in life.”

That piano is not going to practice itself, the gym will not come to you, Babbel isn’t going to finish your Spanish lesson, your next research paper won’t be written if you don’t do it, the drawing sitting in your creative room will not complete itself, and a visit to a sick friend won’t happen without you. And are you missing out on this level of productivity because you got sucked into a video game? Well, I do, and most people I know admit to doing the same time-suck activities.

You want a life lived in the present.

No matter what you write for your why — this exercise helps you understand what drives you. You’ll be motivated and driven with a revitalized understanding of why you started something in the first place. This also enables you to ensure that what you are doing actually provides fulfillment and purpose in your life. If you are doing something that does not align with your true whys — it might be a good idea to eliminate it from your life.

5. Listen to Music

Listen to music more. Next time you’re doing dishes, you could try playing some upbeat music in the background from top-hit artists, such as Pitbull, to get some energetic beats going. Science shows that listening to music while working actually makes people more productive. So not only can music be fun, relaxing, and exciting to listen to, It’s also going to make you feel great as you see yourself in a new, productive, and music-loving light.

6. Be More Consistent in Communicating Tasks

Be more consistent in communicating tasks with teammates. For example, let coworkers with whom you work closely know when you start a new project. You want to avoid any miscommunication or potential duplication of project efforts.

This goes back to the idea that productivity is not just about getting things done; it is about getting things done with a purpose. Knowing that you are starting a fresh, new project makes you feel like a more fulfilled teammate since you know you’re doing something valuable.

7. Use Time Tracking Tools

Using time tracking tools is excellent for productivity – and accountability. For example, you could set a 25-minute focus timer on an alarm clock to get a task out of the way. Many apps even have AI to help analyze how you are spending your time. There are plenty of time-tracking tools out there to find.

Final Thoughts

Find which productivity method works for you, and start reaping the benefits to your soul.

You’ll find yourself feeling more focused and level-headed — and happy. When you start getting more done, you’ll feel satisfied knowing that your planning efforts have been successful. Overall, your productivity will reflect in more areas in your life than just one, giving you more time to spend on what truly matters.

The Profound Impact of Productivity on Your Soul was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie.

Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!

Did We Forget to Give Teams a Remote Working Playbook?

By | Appointment | No Comments
Did We Forget Give Teams Remote Working Playbook

Imagine you’re a new employee at a time when many people are starting their careers remotely. Where is the remote work playbook? Are employees ready for remote work routines? How do they feel about their remote working routines?

Maybe you felt a little uneasy and didn’t know how to blend in when you started your first job. Perhaps you didn’t know who to ask questions from or seek support — or even how or what to ask, in the first place? After a while, you gained a feel for how things operated in the business you were in and whom you could turn to ask questions within the organization.

Where is the Teams Remote Working Playbook?

Imagine you’re a new employee at a time when many people are starting their careers remotely. Your first coding, writing, or new internship is your job. How do you handle your schedule with college, study, and work? Who’s going to help you navigate this new form of time management? Hopefully, if you are an employer, parent, or mentor you will know how-to guide this new person.

But as a young new employee — how will you understand office culture if you’d never worked?

Interpersonal issues

It’s difficult for first-time remote workers to stay motivated, especially if their boss only occasionally calls but rarely meets them. Their superiors and coworkers aren’t as accessible as they would be if you were in the office each day — or if you had had a relationship in the past (before COVID) as a full-time employee.

Finding the knowledge these new workers need will take more effort and time than has previously been addressed.

Many firm policies, procedures, and onboarding programs provide guidance but lack cultural awareness. New remote employees may be overwhelmed and have questions, but are hesitant to ask. New employees and their employers often believe an individual should resolve matters independently and avoid drawing attention to themselves. Some businesses don’t realize that everything has changed over the last couple of years and new protocols need to be in place.

Changing channels to remote work

Managers should explore daily check-ins with remote new employees.

An onslaught of messages and responsibilities throughout the day may not offer a new hire a sense of belonging. Consider combining emails, phone conversations, video meetings, and online collaboration portals.

Encourage questions and use blunders as learning opportunities. Consider providing a “virtual buddy” who will furnish informal support to your new team member along with virtual coaching. Always think about the career growth of your new employee — and specify possible career routes and milestones. Teaching a career path and the acquired learning helps the new team member feel a ray of hope.

Prescribe working part-time at the office or on the job site if your less experienced employees can accommodate the schedule. One-third of workers aged 18-24 preferred working offsite only one day a week, according to PwC, and only a fifth of those polled agreed.

Onboarding and rapport development are great — but organizational knowledge is likely best shared by more senior teams.

Working it with remote work

As an example, consider the case of Emily who started as an IT apprentice for an international horticultural company during the pandemic. She initially shadowed her mentor online and his calls and team meetings helped her master IT troubleshooting. She spent a few days in the office before Covid-19 forced its closure.

Emily admits she was initially intimidated. “I was afraid I’d make a mistake or remove a file from the company but my team is fantastic. If I have questions, I can easily reach someone remotely.”

Within four months, she was working solo, more confident, and well-versed in the process of helping staff with IT challenges. Emily excels in her work due to her management and team’s support, continual IT studies, and her personal drive to grow.

But this type of achievement may not be shared by others who work remotely for the first time.

Perceptions and Health with remote work

During Covid-19, researchers studied teleworking to see how it influenced employees’ job performance, job happiness, and physical and mental health. The researchers found exciting data. You can find their comments in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The research plan Implementation was thorough. The main thing that the subjects said helped them to adjust to their new work schedule was how widely people embraced them. Remote work isolation and conflicts with family and work commitments were the main issues that stopped the new team members’ growth and adaptation.

Those new employees who were the best at adjusting were the ones who had prior remote working experience and thus expertise. Those who were starting their first full-time job and had never worked remotely were not as successful.

Recommendations for making remote work less stressful for new hires: Improve teamwork by teaching everyone at the same level and the same time — and supply a mentor.

Helps for the new employee for remote work — especially if they are young

Discuss communication with all coworkers and superiors together. Teach employees how to use databases to manage tasks and address fundamental IT issues.

Include remote workers in the creation of remote work schedules and the schedules of the in-office staff — review remote work initiatives and have your onboarding team help.

Look for “charge agents’” who will mentor and coach new remote workers. Collaborate with other organizations in your network or sector to share best practices.

In terms of mentorship, the trend toward virtual will likely continue even after all employees return to the office. Virtual mentoring can help employees feel valued, acknowledged, and empowered to perform at their best. Some of the practices of the past for office protocol will never be the same again — so get used to and encourage innovation in your teams.

Making your work programs accessible requires learning communities, communities of practice, and staff resource groups. To provide these services remotely was practically unheard of in the past and has been a challenge. But these practices are becoming normalized in many businesses and institutions since the pandemic.

Rewards and recognition in remote work

Consider rewarding and recognizing remote workers who show initiative and inventiveness. Also, explicitly nurture soft skills in new hires by understanding the need for human interaction to develop these talents.

Giving a new employee some early wins can help develop confidence. Let them co-chair a meeting or deliver a topic of interest to the company. Any leadership opportunities you provide will begin to build trust and credibility among the new employees’ peers.

As you work with your new employee or team member — especially if they are at university, or part-time — your scheduling conflicts will become much less common.

Your current new employees will help you rewrite the playbook for your future remote employees.

Take the awkwardness out of the scenario by using Covid-19’s two years of experience to greet new employees from anywhere — and help them become creative and productive.

Did We Forget to Give Teams a Remote Working Playbook? was originally published on Calendar by Max Palmer.

Image Credit: Olia Danilevich; Pexels; Thank you!

 

5 Tips for Using Appointment-Based Businesses in 2022

By | Appointment | No Comments
Tips For Using Appointment Based Businesses 2022

New year, same bookings you’ll need to keep scheduling at your appointment-based business. Celebrating the turn of the calendar is always fun and exciting, but now it’s time to get back to the old grind. That includes scheduling any upcoming appointments for services you’re going to need in the coming days.

Whether it’s a check-up at the dentist’s office or getting an oil change for your car, there are a few things you should remember as you schedule your appointments. By following these five tips, you can be sure you’ll be well received — and well served — in 2022.

1. Be on Time

This should be a no-brainer, but try to be on time to your appointments whenever possible. Being punctual limits the number of variables that appointment-based businesses have to deal with. If you arrive late to your appointment, you end up pushing back everyone else’s appointment bookings as well. This makes it difficult for appointment-based businesses to keep up with their schedules and keep everybody happy, even though they didn’t do anything wrong.

If you have a problem making your appointments on time, elect to receive appointment reminders directly from the business. Through online appointment software, establishments can send you automated reminders specifically for your bookings. You can choose to receive them via text, email, or phone call.

If you’re not already using an online calendar, consider doing so. There’s already one installed in your smartphone, with dozens more available to download. Online calendars are perfect tools for the perennially tardy, helping to develop better time management habits — including getting to appointments on time.

2. Double-Check Everything

One thing that will really help you stay on time is to double-check the time of your appointment bookings. Even if you’re getting appointment reminders, a passing glance and a wrong idea could cause you to miss your appointment by as much as a day or as little as an hour. If you make it a habit to always double-check when you’re scheduling appointments, you’ll be able to fix the commitment in your head accurately.

You should also double-check the information you provide when scheduling an appointment. This ensures you can be contacted if something changes and that you’ll be getting the service you need when you arrive.

Say you’re looking to have your hair colored by your favorite stylist. If you accidentally select a bang trim when booking the appointment online, you might be able to fix the error when you show up. Chances are you’ll need to reschedule your appointment, though, as your stylist probably won’t be able to complete a full color treatment in the time she allotted for snipping a half-inch off your bangs. Even if she does have the time, it will be an inconvenient last-second switch.

3. Be Patient

We live in a world where convenience is no longer considered a luxury, but a requirement. Answers to questions can be Googled in an instant, entire meals prepared and purchased in minutes, and the latest movie streamed from any device the moment it comes out. Even with that expectation of instant gratification, you shouldn’t let a hiccup in your appointment experience cause you to lose patience with your service provider.

Try not to get upset with the person at the front desk when you have to wait, even if you were on time. They cannot help that your doctor is seeing another patient at the moment. Perhaps the person before you arrived late, or the examination revealed a significant problem that required immediate treatment.

Stay in good standing with those at appointment-based businesses because they are still working during uncertain times to serve you. Working through waves of a pandemic isn’t easy, especially if many of the staff are home sick or getting tested for COVID, leaving the rest of the workforce stretched thin.

4. Practice Good Hygiene

Whether or not you attend appointments regularly, maintaining good hygiene is always important. This will help minimize the spreading of germs, especially during the winter when the cold and flu are more common.

Be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when the opportunity presents itself. The point isn’t to engage in health-and-safety theater, but to help prevent any illness from spreading, which is the courteous thing to do. After all, wouldn’t you hate to attend your scheduled appointment only to get sick the next day?

5. Practice COVID (and Common Cold) Courtesy

If you yourself are feeling unwell, reschedule your appointment. During this unpredictable time, many businesses are more willing to accommodate clients who need to make last-minute adjustments to their bookings. Try to give a heads up at least 24 hours in advance if you can. Most businesses are likely to understand and be willing to work with you on a scheduling solution.

If you do end up having to go out, try to be courteous by wearing a mask when inside business property. COVID-19 is still a pressing concern for much of the nation, and nobody wants to get sick, even if it’s just a nasty 24-hour bug and not the latest coronavirus variant. Wearing a mask for an hour is such a small sacrifice when it can help your community stay healthy and strong.

Keep these tips in mind, and every appointment you make in 2022 will run smoothly. There are bound to be some challenges that you will face with appointment-setting, but after everything you’ve endured these past few years, it shouldn’t be anything that you can’t handle with ease.

Image Credit: Alex Green; Pexels; Thank you!

4 Security Measures Appointment-Based Businesses Should Implement This Year

By | Appointment | No Comments
Security Measures Appointment Based Businesses Implement

Many modern businesses are placing a heavy emphasis on cybersecurity, and with good reason. With so many aspects of life taking place in the digital realm these days, it’s more important than ever to be careful with company data and personal information on the internet. However, this doesn’t mean that you should slack off on physical security measures for your appointment-based business.

Sad though it is, there are real dangers in the world you need to be ready for. It’s best to adopt the attitude of expecting the best while preparing for the worst. With that thought in mind, here are some security measures that your appointment-based business should consider putting in place this year:

1. After-Hours Security

Depending on the nature of your business, you may carry stock or supplies that offer an attractive target for thieves. For example, hair salons across the country have long been victimized by crooks who steal costly hair extensions, causing thousands of dollars in losses. Most such incidents will occur after hours when there’s no human presence to deter mischief. You can keep your guard up and dissuade misbehavior by installing a few gadgets and security measures in your place of business.

Auto-locks on doors will ensure that a back door for employees is never left unlocked by accident. Security cameras on the exterior and interior of your business will catch thieves or vandals in the act and also act as a deterrent that will cause those up to no good to think twice before trying anything. Motion-sensor lights are often enough to spook potential robbers away, illuminating faces for security cameras and giving the impression that someone might be nearby.

You can also install cameras and a lighting system on the inside of your business that will at least help you track down anyone who successfully breaks into your building. Be sure to have adequate locks on filing cabinets and any other places critical information might be stored. A break-in could result in information being stolen, so you want to make sure your business is protected. You might even go as far as to store customer information on hard drives that are locked up separately.

2. First Responder Connections

Establishing a good relationship with your local first responders is always a good idea. With this relationship in place, you can share plans you have developed in case of any sort of emergency situation. Being familiar with your place of business means that responders can be exactly in the right place at the right time when needed.

For example, you might reach out to your local police station and ask to arrange a short meeting with a representative. You can give them a walkthrough of your business, its alarm system, exit points, and any other factors that seem worth pointing out. This outreach will enable officers to more effectively address any security issues that occur even if they beat you to the site. Trained responders can also provide an accurate risk assessment to help you strengthen the security of your business.

3. Emergency Planning

As noted, an emergency plan is something you can share with first responders, but it’s also something you should always have on hand for yourself and your employees. Consider the emergencies you could potentially face — a catastrophic weather event, a hostile intruder, a flood, etc. — and develop response protocols for each. You never want to have to face an active shooter or an incoming tornado, but you’ll be much better off if you have a plan set beforehand.

A common example many establishments have is a fire escape plan posted throughout the building. The next time you take a trip, you might notice that your hotel room has a map showing you where the nearest fire exit is located. This isn’t because the hotel is expecting a fire to occur, but because they want to ensure everyone is kept safe should disaster ever strike. You should follow their lead to help ensure the safety of your customers and employees.

4. Adequate Insurance

You might not be able to thwart every single security threat you face. In that case, you’d better be insured. Insurance will help mitigate the cost of theft and damage that might occur to your business so that you don’t take too many financial hits.

There are several different types of business insurance you should look into, such as liability insurance, practitioner’s insurance, and auto insurance if you use a company car. You can even get data breach insurance for a cyberattack. Your insurance agent can explain the types of coverage you need, including some you may not have thought of. Then you can take the steps required to get protection as soon as possible.

It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry you didn’t do more to boost the security of your business. Rather than wait until the worst occurs, start implementing security measures today that will keep your business, your employees, and your customers safe.

Image Credit: Dan Nelson; Pexels; Thank you!

3 Ways to Be Productive Despite Uncertainty

By | Appointment | No Comments
Stay Productive Despite Uncertainty

Humans tend to be creatures of habit, setting up and following routines that make them feel comfortable and safe. Within those routines is a sense of predictability that helps individuals find and keep their bearings. But what happens when consistency goes out the window or a lot of uncertainty starts to creep in? Every human being on this planet has had uncertainty in these last two years. But what can we do about it now?

Not knowing where things are headed and pivoting away from well-established routines leads to stress and anxiety. Magnifying that stress is the fear of the unknown and the pressure to respond to situations without guidelines. In addition, the energy it takes to manage ambiguity, and the unease that goes along with that ambiguity make it more challenging to stay focused. As a result, productivity can take a hit, whether your stress involves team issues, personal objectives, or stuff at home.

You Can Be Productive Despite Uncertainty

Despite the constant change around you, there are ways to work with it and establish some sense of normalcy. For example, you may need to redefine what productivity means, help reshape your environment, set different boundaries, or shift your focus. If you’re finding it challenging to stay on task during uncertain times, here are three ways to reclaim a sense of direction.

1. Adjust Your Work Environment and Schedule

When things change on a dime, you’re expected to respond urgently and rearrange your plans. Suddenly, your kids may not be attending in-person classes today and will need supervision while they learn from home. In addition, you might need to schedule critical appointments during working hours, care for sick family members, or practice social distancing.

Adjusting your work environment to accommodate unpredictable shifts in responsibilities and precautions can be an effective way to respond. For example, you could negotiate remote or hybrid work schedules for yourself and your team. In addition, having the ability to work from anywhere — like a remote worker — helps employees handle personal and professional obligations without stressing about them.

You won’t have to worry about finding someone to watch the kids or ill loved ones. The need to use sick time or PTO to take care of your well-being also won’t be as frequent. With remote or hybrid schedules, it’s easier to juggle doctor’s appointments and family events without losing productivity.

Focus on work assignments for a few hours, take care of personal responsibilities, and go back to your home office. You’ll probably find that you get more done in less time without as many distractions from colleagues. And with hybrid work arrangements, you’ll still maintain a sense of connection with the office and your co-workers.

2. Try New Time Management Strategies

You might already be practicing some form of time management on your Calendar, whether that’s block scheduling or prioritizing your tasks. But when your environment becomes more chaotic or uncertain, you may find that some of your techniques don’t work as well. For instance, the Eisenhower Matrix won’t necessarily apply to scenarios where priorities are constantly changing.

Everything could become an immediate task in a single day. And by Friday, you might have several former high-priority assignments scrapped or buried by five new ones. There could also be days when there’s not enough information to determine what’s urgent and what can wait.

Instead of relying on familiar strategies, you can look for redundancies and repetition. Time management techniques like the DRY Principle can help you improve efficiency regardless of what you’re tasked with. This technique involves tracking your time to identify what tasks you’re repeating.

Perhaps you’re sending the same emails to clients or co-workers. Repetition could also be occurring with scheduling, content creation, or meeting agendas. Productivity can be lost because managers and experienced employees aren’t delegating tasks or training others. Under the DRY Principle, you can establish ways to automate repetition, eliminate redundancy, and balance workloads. You can set up productivity protocols for these situations.

3. Make Contingency Plans

As a leader, how will you respond if several employees walk out the door at once? Or you lose someone who’s fulfilling a critical role or working on a high-profile project? Turnover has an immediate impact on employees because someone has to fill the gaps left by others.

Filling those gaps could mean temporarily redistributing responsibilities and increasing workloads. However, it could also entail restructuring positions, bringing more vendors into the mix, or relying more on existing external partnerships. If temporary assignment shifts or permanent restructuring will occur, how you communicate and plan those changes will impact the productivity of anyone involved.

In the face of uncertainty, don’t spring changes on any member of your team. For example, telling an employee that they are now responsible for website management on top of everything else is not productive. Just because you think someone has the skills to handle the tasks doesn’t mean they can, and they may currently be overwhelmed with tasks. More than likely, they’ll feel caught off guard and perhaps resentful that they weren’t asked in the first place.

Your employee may find themselves unprepared to juggle a new set of tasks or meet the demands those new assignments require.

Implementing fly-by-night solutions for staffing shortages that seem convenient might lead to more turnover. That’s why it’s more effective to develop several solutions in a well-documented and communicated contingency proposal. Then, although you can’t predict every two-week notice, you can plan for it at all levels.

Line up backup vendors or freelancers for departments that already have skeleton crews. Build relationships with temp or staffing agencies for front-line positions. Also, create a pipeline of internal and external successors for leadership roles. Most importantly, communicate the reasons and tactics behind contingency staffing plans. Be sure to solicit buy-in from employees willing to step up instead of assuming they’ll embrace anything you throw at them.

Stay the Course

Maintaining productivity is tough during uncertainty because the unknown often consumes your thoughts. The stress of many “what-ifs” can result in confusion, an inability to concentrate, and conflicting priorities. Accomplishing tasks with determination and efficiency isn’t as simple as going with the flow when chaos seems to be surrounding you.

However, you can reestablish control by adjusting work environments and schedules, trying new time management strategies, and making contingency plans. Putting these methods into practice will help keep productivity at acceptable levels in the face of ambiguity. While the shifts that occur during constant change aren’t always predictable, the ways you respond can be.

Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Ways to Customize Your Customer’s Experience When Making Appointments

By | Appointment | No Comments
Customer Experience Making Appointments

Customers today like to have control over their interactions with businesses. Customizing their encounters helps them to ensure that they’re getting the exact experience they want. Businesses that are flexible in providing customization options to their customers are likely to draw in and retain new clients.

For appointment-based businesses, being customizable sometimes requires thinking outside of the box. There are certain aspects of appointment setting that are rigid and, to remain optimal, can’t be changed. However, there are a few ways you can customize the appointment experience for customers if you’re open to trying some new things:

1. Offer Plenty of Options

Appointment customization won’t be possible if customers don’t have options to choose from. This should be your starting point. Think of some ways you can make appointments special for your customers, from exclusive deals to surprise discounts.

Some industries have loads of options already at their disposal. For instance, hair salons have all sorts of different products, hairstyles, and stylists to choose from. For the adventurous customer, every appointment can be a new experience.

Other businesses might need to get a little more creative. A dentist might mix up regular checkups by offering different types of prizes for kids to choose from for good brushing skills. A mechanic’s shop can offer different drinks or entertainment options in the lobby while customers wait for an oil change. All of these will contribute to the customization of the customer experience.

2. Include a Survey

After every appointment, send customers home with an optional survey regarding their visit. In this survey, you can ask each customer about any individual preferences they would like to include for their next visit. For example, one survey response might state that a customer would like the same dental technician for their next visit because they had a great experience with them.

With this knowledge, you can help clients customize their future appointments. Not every request can be granted, but assure your customers that you’ll do your best to accommodate them. Keep notes within a customer portal so your team can remember these individual details and carry them over from appointment to appointment.

Survey responses will also be useful for finding out which areas of your business need the most improvement. Feedback might show that your check-in process runs slowly or that the guest bathroom isn’t cleaned as often as patrons would like. Now that you know what customers are noticing, you can make real changes to improve the appointment experience for them.

3. Implement Multiple Tools

If you have multiple tools at your disposal, you can offer different forms of service to your customers. Let’s use appointment reminders as an example. If you have the tools to send reminders via email, text message, phone call, or even a social media message, you can provide a unique appointment booking experience to each customer based on how they best receive such messages.

Offering multiple payment options is another tool you can use to provide more flexibility for clients. Some customers will prefer to pay with cash, while others will want to use a card. Others may prefer to pay with a mobile app or simply want to prepay for their appointment online. Have the tools for all of these options, and every appointment experience can be a different one.

4. Track Key Data Metrics

Customers won’t always know going into an appointment what sort of customization options they would like. Neither will you without getting to know them better. Keeping track of all of your customers and their personal tastes is a tall order, but it can be done in part by tracking some key data metrics.

Data can tell you a lot about your customers, their habits, and future trends they might follow. Take a look at your customer demographics, for starters. The customization options you provide can reflect your primary demographics. If most of your customers are students from a local college, they might like different options in the lobby for getting some studies done or accessing the internet from their personal devices.

You can also look at different behavioral statistics. Your morning customers might enjoy a fully customizable coffee bar to perk up their appointments, while customers who arrive late in the evening might prefer various entertainment options toward the end of their day.

5. Let Customers Take a Stance

You can enable your customers to take a stance for what they believe in without forcing ideals upon anyone who is uninterested. Take recycling, for example. Some of your customers might be into recycling and other renewable efforts. Having that option at your place of business will really speak to them without pushing away those customers who feel indifferent.

How about customizing a donation program? Allowing customers to round up their charges to the nearest dollar and putting that money toward a good cause can make for a gratifying end to an appointment. Support multiple charities and outreach programs, and your customers will be able to choose where they wish to donate should they feel inclined to do so. Once again, customers who don’t feel like donating at the moment won’t be required to.

Be careful not to provide too many customization options, or your customers and staff might get overwhelmed. However, including some personalization to each appointment will go a long way toward building firm relationships with your clientele and boosting those retention numbers for years to come.

Image Credit: Alex Green; Pexels; Thank you!

How Appointment-Based Businesses Can Prioritize Convenience Today

By | Appointment | No Comments
Appointment Business Convenience

Have you ever tested your appointment-based business’s appointment service? Even with an excellent hosting service, there are likely steps that are inconvenient for customers. Of course, it’s important to offer high-quality service. But sometimes customers want the most convenient option rather than whatever is top-of-the-line.

This article will help turn your appointment-based business into an organization that is both high-end and convenient for your customers. The ease with which they’ll be able to access your services and resources will help them to enjoy their experience so much more.

Put Everything Online

Digital advances have made life more convenient in many ways that your business can leverage. Providing as many resources as possible that your customers can access online is one surefire way to make the experience more convenient. For instance, you might enable your customers to access their records at any time and from anywhere.

When looking to provide resources, start by making sure your website is updated with all necessary information. This includes hours of operation, appointment availability, and even your late or no-show policy. Customers will be able to answer many questions on their own in an instant rather than waiting on hold to ask a representative.

Online payment methods are convenient for customers and save employees time. You can even add online prepay options. Being able to quickly prepay for upcoming appointments is a huge plus for many customers. It can speed things along at checkout and streamline the in-person appointment experience. With online payment methods, customers can complete required tasks while they’re taking the subway, eating lunch, or even while on their smartphone in bed.

Make Scheduling Fast and Easy

The scheduling process is a vital part of an appointment-based business, and it’s also the area where many customers get hung up. A frustrating booking process will turn customers away before you even get the chance to wow them with your service. Convenient and easy scheduling is what your business should strive for right out the gate.

One of the most tedious aspects of appointment scheduling is inputting all of the needed information. This might be necessary the first time a customer visits your business, but it shouldn’t be required after the initial visit. You can make return scheduling more convenient by creating customer profiles that save important information. This way, customers only need to log in to start scheduling their next appointment.

Making it possible to book appointments online, as mentioned previously, is a great start, but you’ll need to stay on top of a few things. Slow loading times on your website can be just as frustrating, if not more so, than waiting on hold. Look for ways to keep your website running smoothly and avoid outages so that customers can always easily book their appointments.

Manage Your Time to Perfection

As an appointment-based business, it is vital for you to respect your customers’ time. Otherwise, you’ll become an inconvenience to them. To avoid this, ensure that appointments start and end on time. This means you need to successfully juggle a number of variables, ranging from streamlining the check-in process to working with late arrivals.

As a leader of an appointment-based business, you need to be ready for anything. For example, you can include buffer times in between bookings. This way, late appointments don’t bleed into the next appointment slot. There is nothing more inconvenient than arriving for an appointment on time and having to wait because of a tardy fellow customer.

As another helpful aid, consider posting wait times on your website for customers to be able to view en route. Knowing that appointments are running slower than usual will inform customers that they can hit the road slightly later instead of wasting time in your lobby.

Solicit Customer Feedback

Want to know how to prioritize convenience today? Just ask your customers. They know exactly how they would like your business to improve. Give them a chance to speak their mind, and you can gain some valuable insight on how to rework your appointment experience.

Include an optional survey at the end of each appointment. This could be attached to a thank-you email or a payment confirmation. Your survey should be concise and ask a few specific questions but also allow customers to voice their opinions in a fill-in-the-blank option.

Say you take a poll of your customers and learn that it’s difficult to find your office in the business complex where you’re located. That can tip you off to the need for better signage and more thorough directions. This simple solution helps to reduce late appointments and makes the entire business function more efficiently. One suggestion has now turned into a substantial resolution.

If you’re struggling to find more ways to promote convenience in your appointment-based business, just put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What would bug you about the appointment process or experience if you were interacting with the business? This will provide additional insight into how you can continually improve your company.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!

Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now