Working wherever – how to master the remote office life

The office – a place where distractions are disappeared, and work is done. To some, there must be a space that is the unchanging embodiment of this frame of mind. They think that they must be one among many with their heads buried in their laptops. Others are able to work in every space they inhabit; some, cannot escape the mind that pushes their productive efforts forward.

 

To work wherever is a possibility that has become reality for many people only recently. In the times before the internet filled communicative pauses, this remote work lifestyle was reserved for novelists, foreign correspondents, secret agents, private detectives, and those with enough clout to command people towards them. If most of your hours are spent in front of a computer, then you too may be a candidate for a remote office life.

 

How to work remotely?

 

If you’re considering moving towards a remote work lifestyle, you should begin by acknowledging that you will not master this ability immediately – nor should you think that your first pass at a work routine is the best that you can muster. The essential lesson of this post is to emphasise that you must test out different styles of work to discover a way that gets the most out of your working hours.

 

The key to this is experimenting with your processes, and cementing that which works through habituation.

 

Working remotely as a personal experiment

 

Self-supervision is the crucial element to this process – you must consistently spend a small portion of your day detached from your client-centric work, and critically evaluate your performance. Gather the objective facts – when you began work; how much time you spent working; how much time was spent distracted, at leisure, or on a break; which tasks you did; how much you managed to get done; where you were when working – as well as the subjective facts – how comfortable were you with the amount done; what level of concentration you achieved; how successfully you managed to solve problems; whether the day was good or bad.

 

Review and re-view yourself

 

This sort of data is best gathered in a spreadsheet. On Friday, conduct a brief review of the week, and at the month’s end, evaluate your performance more thoroughly. Documenting in this fashion can illuminate aspects of your working day that you might otherwise overlook – perhaps you’ll find that some tasks are better tackled in the morning, or that you work better when starting the day at noon.

 

The self-supervision process will give you a sense of yourself in the third-person, and will help you to identify which aspects of your work process to tweak in order to be more productive by breaking past your hidden subjective biases.

 

Habituation

 

The review process can be halted once you feel that you have settled on a way of working that brings out the best in you. You may discover, however, that the process is an intrinsically useful one. In your quest to find the best version of your working habits, you will have habituated yourself into a work habit that does something good for you. You may discover that you are a more dynamic creature than a fixed life routine can handle, and that keeping the work-tracking process as your key fixed feature works better than always beginning work at sunrise or following two cups of coffee ever could.

Four ways the cloud is transforming HR and payroll management

Cloud computing and mobility bring a range of powerful benefits for HR and payroll managers, enabling them to become more efficient while offering their employees and the business a better quality of service. With software solutions like Sage One Payroll, there are no annual licence fees or upfront costs, meaning that you don’t need to dip into your capital to afford a powerful, modern payroll solution.

Cloud computing and mobility bring a range of powerful benefits for HR and payroll managers, enabling them to become more efficient while offering their employees and the business a better quality of service.

With software solutions like Sage One Payroll, there are no annual licence fees or upfront costs, meaning that you don’t need to dip into your capital to afford a powerful, modern payroll solution.

Here are four ways that mobile solutions and the cloud are making a difference in payroll & HR environments.

1. Employee self-service for all

Employees today live on their smartphones, so it makes sense to deliver company information and services to them on their handsets. You should select an HR package that includes employee self-service functionality, enabling your employees to apply for leave, file business travel expenses, and update their personal information from their computers, smartphones or tablets. This is convenient for the employee, and also saves managers and the HR department a great deal of paperwork.

Another useful feature is a mobile app that allows your employees to access payslips and leave balances from a secure online environment. Each employee will have access to a secure online profile where they can access copies of historic payslips in PDF format as well as detailed information about their leave records.

2. E-learning everywhere

Electronic learning has gained massive traction in workplaces around the world, though some South African companies have been slower to embrace its potential. Today’s cloud and mobile e-learning solutions give companies even more flexibility to deliver training and education to their workforces, wherever they are.

3. Service mash-ups

Cloud-based payroll and HR solutions can easily integrate with a range of online services that extend their functionality – for example, bank account validations and ID verifications. This allows you to easily ensure that the ID number and banking details you have for an employee are valid and correct from within the payroll application. These services are especially valuable when making use of electronic services to pay salaries, ensuring that you are paying salaries into the correct accounts and to the correct recipients.

4. Value-added apps for employees

Once you’re interacting online and on mobile devices with your employees through employee self-service, you can build a range of value-added services into your apps and internal websites. For example, a salary tax calculator could allow employees to perform comparative calculations using this year’s and last year’s income tax rates. This will allow employees to answer many questions for themselves instead of asking your payroll & HR departments for help. It can also improve employee satisfaction.

Four ways the cloud will help your small business

As an SME, you know that you need solid computer systems such as payroll and accounting to effectively grow and manage your business. Yet the newest technology can seem prohibitively expensive when you’re just starting out. This where cloud computing can help you to enjoy the benefits of technology while freeing you from many of the costs and complications. 

As an SME, you know that you need solid computer systems such as payroll and accounting to effectively grow and manage your business. Yet the newest technology can seem prohibitively expensive when you’re just starting out.

This where cloud computing can help you to enjoy the benefits of technology while freeing you from many of the costs and complications. Cloud computing is about consuming computing as a service rather than a product that runs on a system on your premises. Here are four ways the cloud will help you succeed:

Work anyplace and anytime

When you choose to run your accounting or payroll system in the cloud, you can work nearly anywhere you have an Internet connection available. That means you can check on your financials and keep business running smoothly, even when you’re spending a day dashing from meeting to meeting.

And on nearly any device

Your accounting or payroll package is no longer tied to one licensed computer when you opt for a cloud application. If your hard drive crashes or your computer is stolen, it will not be a problem. Simply log in through nearly any device with a modern web browser – including your tablet – and you can keep working as if nothing happened.

Enjoy peace of mind

Keeping a technology environment running smoothly involves a lot of drudgery. You need to do backups to make sure that you don’t lose any data if something goes wrong. You must patch your applications software with the latest security updates as well as install new versions as they come along.

And you need to maintain your server hardware. With cloud computing, these tasks all are the service provider’s job. You can keep focused on running your business rather than on running your IT.

Pay as you grow

If you decided to install and run software at your own premises, you’ll need to pay upfront for the licences. Depending on your needs, you might need to invest in servers and other infrastructure. And you may need professional help getting all of this technology up-and-running.

With the cloud, all you need to do is sign up for a service on a website and pay a modest fee for it each month. If your business grows and someone else needs to use the software, adding them is as easy as signing up for a new user name. The best part is that you get to keep your capital so you can invest it in growing your business.

Sage One for mobile

This month saw the release of a range of updated mobile applications by Sage One as its mission continues to try and take customers’ business connectivity to the next level. In a world of ever-changing technology, Sage One knows the importance of staying up-to-date and providing business leaders with the relevant tools they require to run their businesses more efficiently and easily.

This month saw the release of a range of updated mobile applications by Sage One as its mission continues to try and take customers’ business connectivity to the next level. In a world of ever-changing technology, Sage One knows the importance of staying up-to-date and providing business leaders with the relevant tools they require to run their businesses more efficiently and easily. Forming part of the Sage One add-ons, these smart apps have been designed to keep you connected to your data, anytime, anywhere, on most smart devices. Committed to keeping you connected while on-the-go, this range of mobile apps are going to change the way you do business… for the better.

Sage One on the iPhone

iPhones have soared in popularity over the last few years and now you can access your Sage One data using this iPhone app. Log on to view customer information, record important notes and contact clients using your standard phone and email applications. Revolutionise the way you use your iPhone for business with the Sage One iPhone app.

Sage One on the iPad

When you log on using the Sage One iPad app, you’ll have immediate access to your Dashboard which will enable you to see your company’s performance at the touch of a button. Once again, you’ll also be able to get customer information, take notes and view any balances that are outstanding. Most importantly, you’ll be able to create quotes and invoices on the spot, and then e-mail those off to your customers directly. What could be easier?

Sage One on your Android Device

Available from the Google Play Store, the Sage One app for android is the one that will put you ahead of the rest. View a variety of customer information, create quotes and then convert them to invoices, and record notes in the To Do section on your Dashboard. You’ll even be able to find your way to your customers’ offices with the help of the map links made available – the options are endless when it comes to this ingenious app. Doing business on-the-go has never been simpler.

Sage One on the Windows Phone and Sage One Windows 8 App

Get an overview of your business when you use either of these apps. Keep track of your sales and purchases for the day, check your due and over-due tasks and have immediate access to your customer information. Of course you’ll also able to issue quotes and invoices directly to clients, all while on-the-go. Both of these are available from either the Windows App Store or the Windows Phone Store.

Please note: This app is for Windows 8 phones only.

The Latest Feature – Processing Business Expenses on the Go

This new feature allows you to process expenses even when you’re not in the office. In three simple steps, you’ll be able to transform the way in which you process expenses:

Step 1: Add a new expense from your phone and complete the expense details

Step 2: Take a photograph of the slip relating to a particular expense and then attach the image to the new expense you’ve created.

Step 3: Click save to process the transaction after which it will be reflected automatically on your Sage One Accounting banking screen.

You can then simply accept the transaction as is or you can reclassify it if necessary. Either way, the expense is captured together with the slip so that you can take a look whenever you need to do so.

Beta users have started to use this feature to capture supplier invoices as well, even when they’re in the office. This just goes to show how Sage One can transform the way you do business, in the office and beyond.

See all the add-ons available from Sage One, including all of the above mobile options, and discover how you can have your business at your fingertips wherever you are.

 

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E-commerce websites: The essential tools you need to get your online business up and running

Starting your own business requires a lot of planning, research and investigation. There are many things you need to consider and arrange before launch, such as devising a clear business plan, refining your product and registering the business. When it comes to starting your own online business, most of the same steps apply, yet added to those is also a string of other boxes to tick.

Starting your own business requires a lot of planning, research and investigation. There are many things you need to consider and arrange before launch, such as devising a clear business plan, refining your product and registering the business. When it comes to starting your own online business, most of the same steps apply, yet added to those is also a string of other boxes to tick. Because the Internet is so vast, it offers a variety of different opportunities for aspiring online business entrepreneurs, but it also brings with it a whole new space to navigate through. Read on to find out the essential tools you’ll need to get your e-commerce site up and running.

Web host

First thing’s first: arranging a suitable web host. Since it’s the web host that will form the technical backbone of your site, it’s important that it’s of a high standard. Whilst there are many free web hosting options available out there, you’d be better off looking into enlisting the services of a professional web hosting company because in this way, you secure a dedicated space in which your venture can exist through a virtual private server (VPS). Going this route almost always ensures you’ll get a high quality, sleek-looking site and you’ll avoid having to share any resources, as is often the case when using a free option.

Helpful hint: Before even looking for a web host, be sure to secure a domain name for your business. It should be concise – make it something easy to remember and fast to type (for example, avoid using hyphens).

Content management platform

Once you have your chosen web host, you’ll want to consider where the content you create will live. Having a platform that is easy to use and versatile is key, so you may want to go with something like Sage Online Tools. From the market leaders in business management software, Sage Pastel comes a platform that allows you to build an entire site,  Also, because it’s fully customisable, business owners are able to mould their site into whatever they want. However, if you have specific needs or a particular vision in mind, then you may want to consider hiring a professional developer who you can work alongside as they build the site for you.

Simple check-out system

Especially if as a small business, your main source of revenue comes from selling products online, a simple, quick check-out system is a must. Part of creating the best possible user experience (UX) for customers is ensuring that once they’ve found what they were looking for and added items to their shopping cart, they can easily pay and then leave the site. The last thing you want as a business is to make it complicated for your customers to get what they need. Offering a wide variety of payment options will also help make the check-out process as smooth as possible.

Social media presence

Since your business lives online, it only makes sense to utilise it as much as possible. As it is, most successful businesses make sure they use social media to their full potential as it is one of the most effective marketing tools. Establishing a solid social media presence is an important part of your online business model, as it will allow you to connect and interact with current and potential customers or clients, thereby marketing your business and ensuring your customer service is of a high standard. It can be used to build your community, as well as a social listening tool that can help you make changes to your online business so as to deliver maximum customer satisfaction.

Newsletter and mailing list

Consider putting together a mailing list and weekly/monthly/quarterly newsletter for those on the list. You can get visitors to sign up on your site to receive the newsletter and in so doing, provide you with an excellent opportunity to form a strong connection with your customer base. Having a mailing list will allow you to contact customers en masse and inform them of any deals or promotions, whilst also sharing any information from which you feel they may benefit.

Once your online business gets off the ground, why not consider another online tool such as Sage One to assist with all your financial business needs? Easily one of the most efficient systems available, having Sage One on your side will help you take your online business to greater heights.

 

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