How Companies Are Transforming The Workplace Dining Experience

There was a time when corporations weren’t horribly concerned about what was on the menu at their employee cafeterias. Those workers who weren’t brown bagging it from home were lucky to get a hot meal served at work. More often than not, they were fed from company leased vending machines.

But the “foodie” movement of the last decade that has affected how meals are served everywhere from restaurants to public schools has at last come to the business world.

Research has shown that businesses that provide filling, nutritious, appealing meals to workers are more likely to have productive and focused ones. And the disappearance of employee automats aren’t the only in house dining changes employers are making these days. Read on to learn of new changes impacting corporate food services.

1. Employee Expectations Are Greater

The “foodie” movement is no longer a novelty. One no longer needs to be a nutritionist to be aware of calories and the risks and benefits of certain kinds of food. The popularity of cooking television programs, classes, and books means that people are far more knowledgeable about how food is prepared and where it came from. This means that corporate food services need to offer workers not only more healthy eating options, but more ethnic and cultural choices as well.

2. Micro Meals

Research indicates that it’s healthier to eat many small meals throughout the day as opposed to three larger ones. Combine this trend with the on the go habits of many workers, and changes are being seen to dining facilities themselves. These areas are becoming smaller and more informal. The fare served at them seems to be more along the lines of snacks. But don’t expect soda and potato chips. Options include organic juices and teas, healthy salads, soups, and granola.

3. Eating Healthy

You are what you eat, and employers have been taking this saying very seriously over the last decade. As a result, many corporations have instituted “wellness programs” that focus on exercise and diet. These programs have proved very successful, with many companies reporting a near 80 percent employee compliance rate. In many cases, corporations are now hiring staff nutritionists in addition to offering healthy dining choices.

4. Knowing Where That Food Is Coming From

Restaurants are doing it. So are schools. And households are increasingly taking long looks at where their groceries are coming from and how they are produced. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that many businesses have adopted “responsible and sustainable food” policies for their own dining facilities. These include:

  • providing food histories to employees
  • responsible reuse and disposal of leftovers
  • investing in projects like community gardens

5. If You Build It, They Would Come

Surveyed employees have indicated that they would use a new or upgraded dining facility if their corporation offered one. Employees who have utilized dining facilities made available through employers report more chances to professionally collaborate, and companies experience greater overall workplace morale. As a result, employers are making increasing dining facility investments including better food, new furnishings, and even WiFi.

One additional trend as a result of these other trends is the increasing use of offsite food services. Flexible, trendy, and often cheaper than in house food services, the use of these businesses is expected to increase over time. This is good news for such business owners, as corporations increasingly and appreciatively take another look at that lowly lunchroom.

Article Sources:

How Funding can Help a Small Business

Small businesses with limited cash often find themselves facing something of a conundrum. They need bigger premises, more staff, more equipment or more stock in order to take on new contracts, which will bring in lots of new revenue. However, before they can take on these contracts and generate this revenue, they need cash upfront to make all of the required improvements. The answer to this problem is funding, which can help to plug the financial shortfall.

A small business loan can help you to:

  • Employ talent. In many start-ups, there is one person trying to do everything by themselves. But to really thrive, your business needs specialists. For example, a marketing expert to properly promote your brand, or a sales consultant to help you bring home those big clients. While a loan isn’t usually used to pay someone’s wages, it can free up cash from other areas of spending (i.e. stock or equipment) that you can use to attract the talent you need to drive the business forward.
  • Buy equipment. If a new piece of equipment can help you double your productivity or vastly streamline tasks, this means far more revenue. Using funding to purchase it is a great idea, as the boost in revenue and productivity means it will pay for itself in no time.
  • Buy stock and fulfil more orders. If the potential is there to take on many new orders and contracts, but you’ll need a cash injection in order to buy the stock to fulfil these orders – it makes sense to use funding.
  • Move premises. Is your existing premises bursting at the seams? Would moving to a larger office space allow you to bring in more staff and equipment, to increase productivity and revenue? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you can use funding to be able to afford the lease or purchase of a more suitable property.

Using funding to invest in these crucial areas of your business should soon start to show benefits, helping you to grow and expand your operation. However, it’s very important to be realistic, practical and cautious about how much you borrow and how fast you expand. Gradual and carefully considered expansion is often the best method to adopt.

Types of funding

There are several routes you can go down to secure the funding you need for any of the aforementioned goals. You can use an ordinary small business loan or consider cash advance loans – or even go down the crowd-funding route.

Before you start searching for funding, it’s important to sit down and assess exactly how much you need and what you need it for. An investor or funder will need to see precisely how the money will be spent, how it will help the business and how the money will be repaid.

In short, you need a solid plan in place for business growth. It may be a good idea to seek professional financial advice, and to take your time considering your options before applying for funding.

How to Reward Your Staff After Christmas

Offices can be very chaotic and stressful just before Christmas, with everyone scrambling to get all of the work done before the festive break. This may leave you with no time to stop and reflect on the year’s successes, and to thank your hard-working team for all their efforts over the last 12 months.

With Christmas comfortably out of the way, the first weeks of the New Year can be the perfect time to reward, motivate and incentivise your team. Here are just a few ways you can say thank you…

Launch a new corporate rewards scheme

Sometimes, the occasional thank you gift isn’t quite enough to make your staff feel valued, motivated and enthusiastic. You may want to consider implementing a more comprehensive recognition and rewards scheme such as those provided by These schemes can be hugely inspiring for employees, rewarding best behaviours and making the people most valuable to your business want to stick around.

Hold an employee awards ceremony

It may seem superficial, but most people really do like to win prizes. This is especially true for those who have worked very hard on a particular project in the run-up to Christmas and feel that nobody has noticed. Put together a number of categories and choose the winners yourself based on feedback from your management team, then hold a party to announce the winners. Your employees will love the occasion as well as the chance to be recognised for their hard work.

Put new sales targets and prizes in place

Sales professionals love challenges and targets, so your reward to them this January is to give them a shiny new prize to aim for. Set new targets and attractive prizes for those that achieve them. This will motivate your team, give them a personal reward and of course – help to boost your sales figures for the new year.

Implement feedback

Staff like to feel that they have been listened to and their feedback taken on board. The start of the new year is the perfect time to ask for thoughts, opinions and suggestions from your team, on everything from workplace practices to the systems and processes used to do the work itself. Take these ideas seriously and aim to implement at least a handful, giving special mention to the staff that suggested them. If some ideas aren’t financially or practically viable to do right away, let your team know that you’re considering ways in which you can implement their suggestion in the future. This is a golden opportunity to say to your team – ‘you’ve given us your feedback, and we have listened’.

Throw a party

Didn’t get round to having an office Christmas party in December? Many firms do it in January when there is less of a rush to get everything organised, and it can be cheaper and quieter too. This is also a good chance to get everyone enthused about the year ahead, as well as to say thank you for their efforts in the previous year.

7 Smart Moving Tips for the Budget Conscious Business

Relocating your business can be a headache, there’s no doubt about it. But if you look past the challenge, you can see an opportunity. What are the problems with your current location? Bad positioning, awkward layout, too far from your customers—these are all things you have a shot at improving when relocating your business.

Not only that, but it’s a chance to save a little money—can you get a better deal on rent, a workspace more conducive to your business model, a better location? We’ve put together a little guide to make sure you not only save money on your move, but you put your business in a better position—both physically and financially!

Moving office

1. Leverage Your Network

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know as the old chestnut goes. When it comes to real estate this is especially true. Figure out who you know that might be able to land you a plum space—real estate agents, people in local government, other bigger businesses who might have a spare office floating around—and give them a call. Do you really want to turn up to viewings and put your name down on a list with all the other losers and wait for the agent to call back? I don’t think so, so pick up the phone and get cracking!

2. High Street Branding Opportunities

Is your current location in a back alley, the 50th floor of a building, or an outer suburban business park? You might be missing out on walk-ins and the opportunity to get your brand in people’s faces. Picking a high-traffic area can have significant benefits, including the positive association with well-known brands. Given, if you’re running a meat packing or chemical company this might not be the place for you, but everyone else should take it into consideration.

3. Finding the Right Space Can Be Great for Your Work Culture

Opting for the cheapest rent may save you money in the short term, but is it really worthwhile in the long term? Research shows that an optimal work environment can serve as the foundation for an effective workforce. Happy employees are productive employees, so why not do your best to facilitate this? Of course, different industries have different needs when it comes to space, for example tech workers might prefer an open plan environment, while other industries may require that workers have more privacy. Why not talk to your staff about their preferences before you move? It could have an impact on your bottom line in the long run.

4. Neighborhood Trends

You might get a great rent deal in an up and coming neighborhood, but if the area is in flux you might spend the next 6 months trying to concentrate with a jackhammer outside your window. Similarly, if you have a young, hip workforce, moving to a quiet, outer suburban neighborhood might not fit your company’s culture (and may even result in a loss of staff). Make sure you do your research before deciding on a space.

5. Legal Issues

Does your business handle dangerous chemicals or involve loud noise? Many neighborhoods have restrictions on the types of activities that can be performed in specific areas. Contact the local government or ask other businesses in the area. You don’t want to sign a lease only to realize that you’re trapped in an area where you can’t run your business properly.

6. Negotiate a Long-Term Lease

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years even? We all know that long term planning is important but can get put on the back burner while we deal with the more urgent day-to-day issues that inevitably crop up. If you’re moving office, now’s the time to sit down and do a little planning. If you know what type of space you’ll need over the long term, it gives you leverage to negotiate a better deal on rent. Landlords love stability, so if they know you’re in for the long haul, they’ll do everything they can to get you to sign that lease—perhaps even giving you a little discount.

7. Move On a Weekend

When you’re planning your move, getting a free moving quote, and getting your staff organized—make sure you schedule your move over the weekend. You’ll be hiring professional movers anyway, and they’re available 7 days a week. So why not make an effort to cause as little disruption you can to your day-to-day operations?

How Employee Training Can Benefit Your Company in the Long Run

Employee training is an essential part of a company’s growth and development. There are many different benefits to investing time and money into this area. There are plenty of studies that show employees who are trained well tend to be happier and more effective for a company. Here are several ways that employee training can benefit a company and how it can be implemented.

Employee training

Worker Productivity

One of the biggest ways that employee training can increase the bottom line of a company is through increased worker productivity. Workers who are trained well in their position can get the job done in less time with fewer resources.

In the information economy, workers are one of the most valuable assets to a business. It only makes sense to increase this productivity in any way possible. Increased employee training is usually a small investment up front that pays off over the long term. Any company wanting to increase worker productivity should consider investing more time and resources into this area of their business.

Higher Morale

Workers who know how to get their job done effectively have higher morale than those who do not. This is a great selling point for any company in increasing its employee training.

The culture of a company starts with the employees and how they feel at work. Anyone who works in a company with happy employees knows how much of a difference this can make over time.

Investing in employee training will increase employee morale and benefit the company overall.

Better Job Candidates

The best workers want to work at a company that invests in the employees’ growth and development. There are many ways in which this can be accomplished, but one of the best ways is through better employee training.

With all of the free online training material today, it is vital that workers feel as though they are being developed. The best job candidates want to work at a company that has a culture of pouring in to their employees. By investing in the employee training program, this can show future employees how much the company truly cares about their growth and development.


Increased employee training is not something that is free. There are training materials to purchase and man hours to spend on the project. However, it is vital to invest in this area for many reasons. The pay off on employee training can be felt for years down the line. Anytime employees can perform a job more efficiently, this is time that can be reinvested in other projects that benefit the business.

There is a huge financial payoff for any company that invests time and money in employee training. Not only will employee training help the workers, but the business will increase its financial position as well.

How to Maintain Safe Money Transfer Between Small Business Owners and Customers

Money makes the business world spin. Cash flows are the bloodstream of companies both big and small, and nobody wants to see it become clogged. With the current economic climate, where most people are still tightening their belts, it is important to account for an each penny, and a ballpark number does not suffice.

Even customers who live high off the hog want a safe and fast money transfer system. It can be easily established online, as the digital world offers countless opportunities to improve operations, cut the costs and reach a broader customer base. But, keeping the integrity of the payment service is linked with many security challenges and risks.

Safe money transfer

Playing hard, killing them softly

It is crucial to have a clean machine with powerful hardware and appropriate software platforms. Make good use of the latest security software solutions and up-to-date operating system and web browser. Several strong layers of defense can repel any malware, virus, cyber attack or other threat. Passwords should be long and strong, and encryption methods considered. Pay attention to Wi-Fi hotspots as well and never use an unsecure wireless network to make payments.


Apart from being protected, your data should also be backed-up. Losing valuable information is something that could happen in cases of hosting failure, hardware problems, hacker attacks and other unpredictable hazards. To prevent this, you can use external hard drives and other equipment, or cloud computing software. One of the most popular ones is Dropbox, and millions of content customers speak in favor of this option you can use for free or as a paid service.

Doing the research

Sending money overseas for international payments is a convenience, but also a process that can be hard to control. To keep your foreign transactions secure, you can work with an online exchange provider. However, doing a thorough, independent research beforehand is highly advisable. There are a lot of malicious sites that may appear legitimate, and customers should also have this in mind. These schemers want to trick you into submitting personal or financial information, so stay vigilant.

Embracing transparency

When you do not meet and see people you are doing business with, there are some serious trust issues present. Transparency is just as important as reliability, and providers that offer options for both the sender and receiver to track the money are to be trusted. So, educate your staff to use the internet in a safe and secure way, and to provide the necessary information to clients. A clear return policy is something that makes them feel safe, and the same goes for handy online tools and educational resources.

Choosing a safe payment options

Credit cards are one of the safest options, as they have a limit on the amount of money that needs to be paid if something goes wrong. The most popular online payment solution is perhaps PayPal, although it’s not available in all countries. Another option is to use an escrow method which introduces a neutral third party that holds and disburses money. This makes sure there are no ill-gotten gains or random losses due to imperfections in the system or human error. For example, PromisePay is one of those payment solutions that provides the escrow method.

Safe and sound

Conducting business online has never been easier, and there is no shortage of efficient and safe ways to go about it. Online payments are not taboo anymore, but one should be on the safe side here to prevent money loss and other inconveniences. Keeping the privacy of sensitive information is of the utmost importance, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

It is crucial to find a payment system as sound as a dollar, and as safe as houses. Manage the risk associated with such transactions, see if you can find a reliable middleman, and deploy strategies and measures to thwart cyber threats. This is the best way to obtain loyal customers and to see your business flourishing. We all want our money to be in safe hands, don’t we?

Here’s How to Get Free SharePoint Hosting

Small business owners – if you are new to SharePoint and want to test its various features and functionalities first, the best way is get a free SharePoint site. Just make sure that the free version is fully functional, like the one at

Sharepoint free hosting service

Easy SharePoint site setup

Once you get your SharePoint site up and running, the initial step to take would be the inclusion of a project description that tells the visitors about the purpose of your site. SharePoint sites come with wiki editing and the editing operations are displayed in a ribbon, just the way you see them on the Microsoft Office 2007.

After you have the project description put up, add a link on the home page to your project workbook as the next standard step. Using this link, any of your user/team mate can easily navigate to the workbook and get additional details about the project.

Image storage and management

Uploading, storing and managing of images in SharePoint is quite easy. In fact, you will just need to spend a couple of minutes for adding a logo to your site, which will get positioned above the project description. There are actually six ways to add images to a SharePoint page – here’s the how-to.

You can also choose to replace the standard template image with a more interesting one that is better suited to your site; this is strongly recommended for branding purposes.


When you feel that a video must go up to add impact, it would be a good idea to create a totally new page for it, and the web part need to show the video – things that you can easily do it using SharePoint.

Adding a video is as easy as 1-2-3. What you need to do is to open Asset Picker and browse for your videos. Choose the one that you want and click ‘Insert’. That would be all.

Document groups

Likewise, you can use SharePoint Document Set feature to manage large collections/groups of documents as an aggregated entity, or quite simply, a single document set. When a document set is checked out, all of the documents within the set also get checked out and can be managed conveniently as a single item.

Learn more…

As you can see, there are plenty of possibilities when you set up a SharePoint site from SharePoint Hosting. It’s certainly not bad for free – plus there are the loads of support articles and guides that should help you and your business further with the out-of-the-box platform.

Take Control of Your Business Communications

Communications is a vital part of every business, and also one of the most difficult to get right. Things have really changed recently in the way people conduct business and of course also in the expectations of customers. Even suppliers now sometimes have different expectations.

Business communications

For one thing, it is vital these days for businesses to have a website and email address available for contact. Social media is also good to have, but it’s actually not as essential as email and a good website. For some people, especially those on a low budget, social media is best avoided. When handled incorrectly, it can prove to be very costly.

The reason for this is that some customers prefer to have all communications in written form. You really do need to ensure that you can accommodate their preferences or they will take their business elsewhere.

Equally important, of course, are voice communications. Many customers prefer to be able to interact with a live person and get quick responses to their concerns. The problem is that, except for a few really small businesses that cater only to the local area, in the modern world there is a global marketplace and it never closes. There is no opening hours on the Internet. Customers expect you to be available 24/7 and when you are not, they take their business elsewhere.

According to Reuben Singh, CEO of alldayPA, you can’t rely on voice mail to cover you. In fact, he says: “Research shows that 70% of callers will not leave a message if they are directed to voice mail. Most will only try once, and then go elsewhere, never to return.”

If the shocking fact that you could be losing 7 out of 10 potential customers isn’t scary enough, then consider that it is estimated that the average cost of losing a customer in this way is £1200. Over the course of a lifetime, this could potentially add up to millions!

The smart way to handle the situation is to outsource your communications, which will ensure a consistent customer service experience all day, every day. There are many obvious advantages to doing so, but the two most important ones are:

  • Your customers never feel they are unimportant or disrespected. They can always speak with a real live person who represents your business and will handle their call in a professional manner.
  • You get your time back. Instead of wasting time on non-productive activities, you can dedicate yourself fully to activities that earn revenue directly. You also can have more of your own time… no more missing your child’s birthday party or having to say no to social invitations.

As a professional entrepreneur, you simply must realise that customer service is the real foundation of everything you do, and unless you get it right, your competitors can easily gain an advantage over you.

Good service helps build loyalty and besides that, it’s something you can be proud of. When a business sincerely strives to deliver great value and service, it becomes an elite and noble venture that people will respect. The contrast between this and a business that only cares about taking money from customers is so dramatic that it really does usually mean the difference between success and failure.

Are You Really Safe?

Over the past several years, the internet and online marketing have become an increasingly critical part of the survival of not only individuals, but businesses as well. Technology has made it easier for them to connect with their customers, making their relationships more intimate and allowing for a buildup of trust and loyalty. However, there are countless risks associated with the internet and “smarter” technology.

The finer tech brings us a world of good, but it can also be used for evil. We’ve all heard of cases where things go horribly awry – computer viruses make their rounds through whole communities, someone’s credit is ruined by identity theft, etc. These threats are just as serious for businesses as they are for civilians. So, how do you know if you’re really safe?

In truth, security is an arms race; as new technology surfaces, so do ways of manipulating it. You are never truly safe, but neither are the people trying to harm you.

IT Security

Luckily, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself from the clutches of would-be hackers.

Computer Security

The first is computer security. Workplace PCs are not immune to viruses or malware simply because they are corporate hardware. Just like any home console, a workplace computer needs to have a multifaceted protection system, including firewalls, antivirus, and network intrusion detection. In fact, the person using the workplace PC should be even more vigilant about unsafe internet practices because the equipment is company-owned.

Workers should not open suspicious links in their personal or work emails or download games or pornography onto public devices. These are prime sources of mal and spyware.

Employees should keep their personal and company information away from internet strangers in order to prevent breaches of trust or potentially dangerous activity. Many stalkers operate over the internet, and a large percentage of violent crime, such as rape and murder, involve the web.

If your business has a website with old or insecure code, it is an easy target for hackers. Once inside, they can easily access personal and confidential information and use it to their advantage. It is helpful to limit and monitor access to the network, including flash drives, CDs, and other components of data storage, as these can be used to steal information.

A solid security policy should also make things easier. In addition to avoiding strange links, spam, and downloads, passwords should be kept confidential and should be changed often.


In terms of security equipment, antivirus, antiphishing and antispam software are critical. There are a multitude of these available either for purchase or download (though caution is necessary if you are taking the ‘free download’ option). Several companies offer packages for internet security, including Sophos, Norton, Trend Micro, and others. Some of these even monitor the safety of the sites that appear in your search browser before you even click on them.


Extra steps to take include full disk data encryption, which will secure any information on a computer’s hard drive, and biometric fingerprint recognition, which keeps a log of different users’ fingerprints. Similar to a Kronos machine, which allows users to punch in and out of the work place by reading their fingerprints, biometric recognition software on a computer allows access to certain individuals alone, and locks out all others, often erasing all sensitive data when a thief tries to sign in. This technology is now available on certain laptops.

Up to Date

The third and final step to take is to keep your operating systems up to date. Oftentimes, systems like Windows will become aware of security issues within their frameworks and provide their customers with updates to better protect them. If an operating system becomes outdated or is no longer supported by the more cutting-edge security software, it is recommended you upgrade to a better system.

With your business you need to make sure that you stay on top of the latest technology to keep you and your business safe. Digital security, unlike physical security, is something that you need to constantly be working on and keep on top of. With physical security all you need is one company like Pro-Vigil in order to keep on top of things, whereas with digital security you need to be constantly questioning what the best new services are.

Ultimately, it comes down to prudence and a little luck.

Happy surfing!


About the Author:

Lee Ying has over 10 years experience in the tech and security industry. He currently writes for various websites, if you would like to contact him you can find him on LinkedIn: Follow me on Twitter @LeeYing101

Finding Suitable Office Space: The 5 Most Helpful Tips

If you run a small to medium sized business and need to move to bigger premises because you have outgrown your current office space, there are a few things to consider in making the move a successful one. A good place to start is to make a list of what you love about your current office set up, you can then complete this list by noting everything your staff have always requested or needed. This will be a great starting place to getting an idea of some of the features that your new office space must have. In addition to following this practice, the tips below will help you find that perfect new setting for your business.

Work in an office

1. Think about Convenience

This applies to your staff as well as your customers or clients. Does your new office space need to be in the same area as your existing one or can you provide your services from elsewhere? Your new location will need to answer these questions by accommodating your worker’s commute as well as the people that rely on your services. If your business is location specific and you need to stay in the same area, then finding a bigger space may be easy although being able to look in different areas has the advantage of providing more variety.

2. Building Security and Access

If you are staying local you will already have a good idea of the best places to locate your new offices, but this may be more difficult to ascertain in a new town or city however. The security of your new office building hinges on a number of factors such as location, or whether there are security solutions in place. No one likes to work in an insecure environment so some research on your new location as well as a consideration of your organisation’s level of risk will help in your decision-making.

Your staff requirements will also need to be considered in terms of access to the building. For instance, will you be able to get into the building late at night if your worker’s need 24 hr. access? If you are looking at the options of Office space Belgravia has to offer for example, canvassing similar local business as well as realty experts in that area will provide a wealth of information with which you can use to make an informed decision.

3. Energy Efficiency and Costs

We all need to do our bit to save the environment and most companies now place great emphasis on green initiatives. With buildings and vehicles being the main focus of carbon footprint reduction, a good idea is to choose energy efficient buildings because not only are they better for the environment, they also lower your energy costs!

4. Plan for the Future

You are probably looking for new office space because your business or organisation has outgrown its current location. Therefore, when you choose your new office space, it has to accommodate your business as it stands currently as well as any short term forecasted growth. This approach will save costs and disruptions to your business in the long run as it eliminates the constant need to move.

5. Check the Terms of the Lease Agreement

Finally, when you find a property you are interested in, you will need to understand the specific details of the proposed rental or lease agreement. Check and confirm the length of the lease, compliance with local building and council regulations, as well as the agreed rental amount. Other things to look out for include building maintenance responsibilities, parking space allocation, and all the charges you will be expected to cover. Once you are satisfied, all that will be left to do is to sign the document and get started on your company’s new beginning!