Oiko Times

Oiko Times
04
July
2020

How to Improve Business Productivity with Technology

Improving the productivity and efficiency of a business is one the key things which can lead to business growth. It doesn’t have to cost the earth (or even cost anything) and can be more about being creative and thinking outside of the box.

Over the past decade, the way in which technology has helped businesses to be even more productive has excelled at a dramatic rate. A wide variety of apps and software packages designed to help businesses improve productivity and efficiency have hit the market, with some providing better options than others.

First, Understand Existing Productivity

There are several different apps available which can help you to understand the productivity of your workforce, particularly for those within an office environment. These include free options such as Clockify, which can be used to measure the time taken for completing individual tasks across a working day.

Once you have an understanding of existing efficiency, you can begin to spot gaps and areas for improvement.

Using Project Collaboration Tools

For many businesses, they will have projects which require input from several areas of the business, and many different people. Some of these people may even be working from a different location, such as another office or remotely.

Using collaboration tools for business projects, such as Trello (https://trello.com/), can help to improve the efficiency of the project as all members can contribute at the same time, saving time spent on regular meetings and project catch ups to update on progress.

Keep Teams in Communication

In the modern business world, communication apps like Slack are widely used.. They help to keep teams connected and allow for instant communication between employees, both by text chat and voice / video calls. Most of these types of communication apps come with the option to create channels or groups for specific teams or activities.

Invest in an All-in-One System for the Ultimate Boost in Productivity

For the large number of businesses with team members working in the field, such as contractors, investing in a full scale field service management software solution, such as Red Zebra Software, can provide a significant increase in productivity and efficiency.

Field service management software connects employees working in the field to the full business systems, providing them with customer information, job scheduling, and stock databases. It also allows field agents to provide customer invoices and comes with reporting functionality via the app, rather than relying on length handwritten reports which can be prone to error.

Categories: Oiko Times

01
July
2020

How a Pro Cleans a Desk

We spend most of our lives sitting at our desks. Though you might think yours tidy, germs and bugs can be found throughout your workspace, hiding under the mountains of paper or amongst the old coffee cups. That’s not to mention the bugs lurking in the crevices of your keyboard.

Office cleaning is harder than it looks, but it is necessary given the age of the Coronavirus that we find ourselves in.

You might be surprised to learn; the average office desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. That’s 800 bacteria per square inch!

Interestingly, which bugs grow can be different depending on the local environment – and certain environments can breed some pretty nasty bacteria. So, whether you’re scrubbing down your desk in Timbuktu or you’re just doing a bit of office cleaning in Cambridge, it pays to know what you’re doing. You don’t need to hire commercial cleaners; follow this guide, and you’ll be a pro in no time.

Why Keep My Desk Clean?

If the risk of stomach bugs and other infections doesn’t motivate you, then perhaps your colleagues’ opinion will. No one expects perfection, but a tidy desk helps keep a tidy mind. It also helps maintain a professional image. If your workspace is littered with coffee cups and dirty plates, papers piles and a blur of post-its, then your colleagues might think you’re disorganised. You might even get a reputation as a slob, even if your appearance is immaculate.

Plus, it’s so much easier to function when you know where everything is, increasing efficiency and giving you plenty of room to lay out your work.

It’s not just about cleaning your desk like a pro; instead, a clean office desk is the sign of a pro!

Things You’ll Need

Now that you’re ready to start cleaning let’s work out what supplies you need to keep in your desk drawers.

  • Antibacterial wipes: the modern miracle of office cleaning, a cloth and cleaner all-in-one!
  • A regular cloth: if you prefer the old-fashioned way, a good jay cloth will do the job, though micro-fibre cloths are significantly better
  • Cotton swabs: ideal for getting into those tiny nooks on your keyboard
  • Compressed air: a can of compressed air is useful for clearing out dust from hard to get to spaces
  • Cleaning agent: a good quality cleaning spray will ensure your desk is disinfected
  • Polish: polish is very useful, particularly if your desk is made from wood
  • Water and white vinegar: a classic concoction, however, it does the job better than almost anything – add a dash of lemon juice to help improve the smell

Avoid waxes and oils on desks, even if wooden, as these can lead to further accumulation of dust. The only grease you’ll need is elbow grease.

Areas to be Disinfected

Keyboards

Every day our fingers clatter away on our keyboards, spreading all the germs we’ve picked up on our travels. It’s hardly surprising that 96% of keyboards in one study were contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria, such as E. Coli and the antibiotic-resistant MRSA! But you don’t have to be a commercial cleaner to get rid of these bugs.

  1. Shake your keyboard over a bin to remove any crumbs stuck inside.
  2. Use compressed air to clean any remaining crumbs
  3. Use a cotton swab to run through the crevices – dip the swab in a cleaning agent
  4. Wipe the keyboard down with an antibacterial wipe or a damp cloth – remember not to make it too wet or else the moisture will affect the keyboard’s functioning

Mouse

Follow similar steps as described for the keyboard, however, remember to remove the batteries before cleaning. Ensure all sides are cleaned, particularly under the buttons and mouse wheel, as these are often overlooked.

If you’ve got a touchpad on your laptop, be careful not to use too much cleaning liquid, as this can damage the laptop.

Phone and Headsets

Your phone and headset both pass from hand to mouth, meaning any bacteria can easily lead to infections. It also harbours bacteria from your saliva. One study found your mobile has ten times more bacteria than most toilet seats, and you wouldn’t put your face near one of those!

  1. If your phone has a case, remove and set aside
  2. Turn your phone off
  3. Using an antibacterial wipe or a cloth and cleaning agent, wipe down all the sides of your phone, paying close attention to any buttons or ports
  4. Wash phone case thoroughly and set aside to dry

For headsets, use compressed air to clean any crevices, alongside a cotton swab. Then wipe down the entirety of the headset as you did the phone. If a piece of the headset can be removed, do so and clean separately, before reassembling.

Stationery and Ornaments

For pens and other stationery, wipe down with antibacterial wipes or with a cloth and cleaning agent. If you’ve got a pen holder, use compressed air or a cotton swab to get into the hard to reach places, or else wash in a sink with water and soap. Ornaments can be polished clean with a cloth, or use a damp cloth and a cleaning agent.

Desk and Screens

Be careful when cleaning LCD screens, as chemical cleaners and some cleaning cloths can damage them. Instead, use a microfiber cloth with a small amount of diluted soap and water to clean the screen. Make sure there is not an excess of water, as the moisture will affect the screen’s performance.

For your desk, wipe down with an antibacterial wipes/cloth and cleaning agent. Make sure to remove all the clutter beforehand.

Papers and Other Clutter

Organise. Organise. Organise. Nothing looks more professional than a filing system. Don’t just put your papers back where you find them, create a system. Use stacked trays to develop a triaging system, so your office cleaning never becomes overwhelming again. Use ring bound folders or laminated files. If you don’t need some of the papers, throw them away. Any old paper cups can definitely be thrown out, as well as any other remaining rubbish.

Now your desk is clean and pristine, keep it that way. Adding a few personal ornaments can be a great motivator to keep your office clean. Remember to clean your hands, that way you won’t be spreading as many germs either way.

Categories: Oiko Times

23
June
2020

5 Plastic Surgery Tips for First-Time Patients

Making the decision to go under the knife is not one that anyone should take lightly. Surgery can be complex and if some of today’s reality shows are anything to go by, there’s a lot that can go wrong if you don’t approach it correctly.

With this being said, surgery can also be a positive, life-changing experience when you take the time to do your homework and partner with the right surgeon.

Getting plastic surgery for the first time can feel like a daunting thought but it doesn’t have to be.

Top Plastic Surgery Tips for First-Timers

1. Choose Your Surgeon Carefully

This honestly can’t be stressed enough. The surgeon you choose to assist you will make the biggest difference to your results as well as your overall experience. First-time patients should only ever consult with a board-certified surgeon who has the necessary experience and qualifications. Surgeons train for years for a reason. It’s what allows them to produce superior results, while still making patient safety a top priority. According to a plastic surgeon from Perth, WA Dr Anh, a good surgeon is also someone who takes the time to listen to your needs and concerns. They should also explain all of your options to you and gives you time to think things through. A surgeon who tries to talk you into scheduling a procedure or doesn’t take you through all your options isn’t always the best choice.

2. Get Another Opinion

While at least three different opinions are recommended, patients should always aim to at least get a second opinion. What one surgeon tells you is best, might not always be the truth. If you haven’t received a referral from someone you know, it’s always in your best interest to get a second and third opinion from other reputable surgeons. At the end of the day, when you’re able to walk away with amazing results, this extra effort will seem well worth it.

3. Understand What Can Be Achieved

Having realistic expectations is a must before pursuing any kind of surgical procedure. There’s a difference between what you would like to achieve and what can realistically be achieved. Plastic surgery results are, for the most part, permanent, so you also want to be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you’re choosing to undergo surgery because someone else convinced you to, take a step back and think again. Plastic surgery is about what you want, not what somebody else thinks will look good. Plastic surgery is a big deal, so treat it as such. Along with understanding what can be achieved, you should also understand any risks associated with the procedure you’re considering.

4. Consider Combining Procedures

If you are considering more than one procedure, you may want to look into the option of a combination procedure. There are a number of benefits associated with a combination procedure. For one, you will only need to pay one set of hospital, surgeon and anaesthetist fees. You will also only need to plan for one recovery period, which is especially convenient if you have children or a demanding career. A mummy makeover is one popular example of a combination surgery that is often undertaken.

5. Prepare Your Body and Mind

The healthier your body and mind are (especially in this time of coronavirus), the better your surgical experience will be. A healthy body results in fewer complications and a smoother recovery. For example, by not smoking in the weeks leading up to and after your surgery, your blood flow and oxygen levels are better and your immune system is stronger. Eating right, staying hydrated and exercising are all small steps that you can take to have a more positive surgical experience. Preparing yourself mentally for your procedure and getting support from friends and family will also make a difference before and after your surgery.

Being prepared for plastic surgery is one of the best first steps you can take and these basic tips will get you off to a good start. Find a surgeon and medical team who make you feel comfortable throughout the surgical process. This means being able to ask questions and voice your concerns at any stage.

Categories: Oiko Times

11
June
2020

Top Technologies Disrupting Residential Construction in 2020

Residential construction is ripe for disruption. For too long the industry has been plagued with mistrust, risk, and inefficiencies. We live in 2020 and yet the systems and processes used in residential construction are archaic and lack innovation.

Why can’t the home buyer or person looking to renovate enjoy a seamless experience from start to finish? Why are estimates static, vague and not dynamic? Why can’t consumers make their selections in real-time right within the estimate? Why do most contractors take so long to provide a vague estimate with allowance based pricing? Why are change orders so disorganized? Why does the consumer pay the general contractor directly and lose visibility and control over their money? Why do subcontractors get paid last and often late? Why is it so hard to take measurements and get a 3D model representation of the home?

There are some glaring problems in the industry and yet it seems like most technology solutions are not really advancing the industry forward in a big way, instead the technology is only slightly better than before. In other words, most technology solutions for residential construction are simply “digitizing” the same old process. It’s rare to see real innovation happen that is truly a “game changer”.

The good news is that smart, innovative companies are starting to realize the construction industry is one of the last trillion dollar industries that hans’t been disrupted by technology and is ripe for change. In 2020 there are more promising technology solutions that have the potential to disrupt than ever before. Let’s take a look at a few of those technologies:

CostCertified – The first eCommerce platform for contractors with an Amazon-like buying experience. Consumers can make their selections in real-time right within the estimate while seeing the difference in price (i.e. pick their floor type, countertops, backsplash, lights, etc). It’s a platform that is bridging the gap between consumers, contractors and construction retail.

hover.to – Taking measurements can be a pain in the butt for any contractor. Hover makes it easy so that all you need to do is snap a few photos and the app takes care of the rest. It allows the contractor to be more efficient and it’s a lot more safe. Plus, they get a full 3D rendering of the home to help with visualizing.

LevelSet.com – Makes it easier for contractors to put liens on homes where they haven’t been paid. There’s a lot of subcontractors who don’t get paid after they do their work so the law lets them put liens on the residence they worked on. Even though LevelSet makes this easier, other innovative companies like CostCertified.com are reinventing the entire way money is managed which will reduce the likelihood of a subcontractor not getting paid to begin with.

FollowUpBoss.com – Leads are extremely important for any residential construction company. FollowUpBoss has made it so that managing those leads are a lot easier. The idea of a CRM has been applied to many industries but construction is one of those industries where it isn’t uncommon for contractors to forget to follow up with their leads resulting in frustration from the consumer and a loss of opportunity for the contractor.

These are just a handful of upcoming companies who are doing their best to revolutionize and disrupt a certain aspect of residential construction. It’s good to see innovative technology starting to impact the construction industry. We need more of it!

Categories: Oiko Times

11
June
2020

8 Ways to Supercharge Your Startup with Software

When launching a new business, one of the key things to get right from day one is efficiency. You don’t want your team of fresh new recruits wasting their time on repetitive tasks or manual work which can otherwise be taken care of by the machines.

Adopting software can also help to improve employee engagement, by freeing up the time of staff and allowing them to focus on what they actually enjoy – another tick for business efficiency. 

Take a look at the 8 types of software below which you might benefit from for your startup.

  1. Communication Software

When starting a business, communication with customers and suppliers is important, but so is communication between your employees. Thankfully, there are a wide choice of free communication software options available, such as Slack and Zoom to name two popular choices.

  1. Project Management Software

Gone are the days of teams gathered round a whiteboard and the dread of important project information being wiped off by mistake. Like communication tools, project management software is widely available for free, with options such as Trello and Asana which come packed with features to run business projects of all sizes.

  1. HR Software

A HR team is one of the most important areas of a business, as they manage the businesses most important asset – it’s people. Proving the right HR solutions to your team will allow them to cut out manual and repetitive tasks, and focus on the more important areas, such as helping to improve employee engagement and staff retention.

  1. Office Software

The world of business is very familiar with Microsoft Office, and many can’t operate without it. But for startups with limited budgets, or perhaps more frugal teams, there are free options available which do just as good of a job, such as Google Docs – which come with the added bonus of being in the cloud and allow for collaborative working.

  1. Sales Software

Depending on your business type and size, there are a lot of sales tools and applications on the market to help supercharge your conversion rate and get closer to that end of month target. This allows you to create a successful strategy. Some focus on lead conversion such as SalesForce, and can be plugged in to associated marketing software, while others are strictly sales focused and help to improve efficiency for your sales team.

  1. Marketing Software

Over the last 10 years, marketing software has completely changed the game for marketing teams up and down the country. With the advent of marketing automation with software such as Hubspot and Marketo, marketeers can now spend much more of their time focused on creative tasks, and leave the repetitive tasks, such as sending and monitoring email campaigns, to the machines.

  1. Customer Service Software

The way in which customers want to make contact with businesses has changed, and thankfully, so has the software available to customer service teams. With apps like Zen Desk, customers can now reach a business, discuss their issue, and have it resolved – all without having to pick up the phone and wait in lengthy queues.

  1. Fun Software

Last but certainly not least, fun software. Launching a startup isn’t all about driving revenue and hitting the sales figure. It’s also about looking after it’s people and ensuring they’re engaged in the workplace. For just a few hundred pounds, consider investing in a games console for the office, which will likely provide a return on investment over time like nothing else.

Categories: Oiko Times

11
June
2020

Biography of Kenny Everett

Only a few people can live a lifestyle that is spoken about years later. Kenny Everett is certainly one of them. Kenny Everett started out as a DJ in the early 1960s. However, his story was far from ordinary…

Kenny Everett followed his passion for music and a dream to become a DJ. He sent in mixed tapes to the top radio stations at the time, and eventually got hired by one of the top pirate Radio stations named Radio London in 1964. And four years later, his official career as a DJ with BBC Radio 1 started. From then on, Kenny Everett conquered the world of Radio.

Life on the Radio

On radio, Kenny Everett was a revered voice – his radio shows, which included lunchtime shows and musical programs, gathered huge audiences. Kenny Everett was able to easily hold his audience spellbound with good music and his weird sense of humour.

Before securing an official job with BBC Radio 1, Kenny Everett attempted to run his own pirate radio station in 1966 called “Radio Luxembourg”.

Eventually, he gained his big break on BBC Radio 1, and built up quite a following. As well as radio broadcasting, he was known to create advertisement jingles and voice-overs. He also won a Gold Award at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.

It was impossible to ignore this versatile and talented radio broadcaster, and it did not take long before Kenny Everett featured on TV aswell…

Career on TV

After earning a title as one of the most popular radio personalities, Kenny Everett went on to become a notable face on TV across the UK.

Kenny Everett was featured on TV chat shows, and he later launched two TV shows named “The Kenny Everett Video Show”, and “The Kenny Everett TV show”.

It was an exciting viewing experience for many, trying to keep up with the funny, unpredictable, and bold character that Kenny Everett portrayed. While it seemed like Kenny was enjoying the attention drawn by his complicated character, inside, he fought many battles.

Personal Life of Kenny Everett

Kenny Everett was married to Lee Middleton for over a decade. However, he eventually came out as gay. Kenny Everett had made two attempts to end his life. He later revealed that those incidents happened due to his conflicting sexual preferences, and his fight to deny how he really felt regarding his sexuality.

After coming out as gay, there was a mixed reaction from Kenny Everett’s audience. Unperturbed by the harsh words, Everett publicly participated in rallies and protests demanding gay rights.

Kenny Everett’s controversial views regarding politics, his support for the Conservatives, and rude jokes did not go unnoticed. He was fired for different types of misconducts and rude comments, but Kenny Everett always found his way back to the media.

The Final Days of Kenny Everett

In 1993, at the age of 48, Kenny Everett announced that he was HIV positive. He found out that he had contracted the virus at the age of 44. Kenny Everett continued working as a radio broadcaster, until his death in 1995, from a HIV related illness. His life is still celebrated by many today, and his legacy will not be forgotten…

Categories: Oiko Times

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