Ah, paper.

It’s a seemingly ubiquitous and never-ending aspect of business life. We have come a long way from typewritten receipts and library card catalogs, but despite our modern use of computers and electronic correspondence, paper still manages to sneak its way into piles on the desk, files in the drawer and often into every other conceivable nook and cranny of the office. How to stay organized?

In my career as a Professional Organizer, I have come across all manner of paper woes, most of which stem back to one identical origin story—there is no system in place.

Without a system for processing paper, it becomes all too easy to lose to-dos and action items amid other strains of correspondence. As a result, chaos ensues!

As professional organizers, Organizers NW specializes in helping folks to get their paper organized once and for all. The key is to create a system that works for each individual client—it has to fit your personal habits, workflow, and needs in order to be sustainable in the long term. We have some great step-by-step instructions over on our blog for how to organize and corral all of that paper.Today however, I’d like to provide you with some universal truths I’ve observed with my small business clients as we have organized their paper. My hope is that these will inspire you to go to town on your own office!

Truth #1: Horizontal is Hidden

One of the big issues our clients deal with is searching for paper. This often happens because their paper immediately goes into piles as it enters the office. We like to say “horizontal is hidden, vertical is visual.” If you look around you right now and see piles on your desk, chances are you sometimes have trouble finding what you need. Sound familiar? Keep reading!

Truth #2: Action vs. Reference

In order to keep your paper—and subsequently your business life—organized, it is very important to separate action-related paper from reference paper (items that can simply be filed). Setting up a small, vertical reference file on your desktop for action-oriented paper will help you to keep those items separate (directions for how to do that here), and keep it from going into mixed piles. All other paper can go into your file cabinet or drawer, or into an inbox or file on your desk marked “To File”. Setting up a system to separate these two categories is the first step toward getting organized.

Truth #3: Trim the F.A.T

As you are organizing your paper, keep Professional Organizer Barbara Hemphill’s rule in mind, “There are only three things that you can do with paper: File it, Act on it, or Toss it.” It’s that simple. Remember this as you are sorting and making decisions. Ask yourself whether you can find the information online or if it is stored somewhere else in the office. Keep only what you need.

Truth #4: Let your Paper Speak to You

As you create action-oriented files, add a sticky note with the date and instructions for what you need to do with that paper. That way, when you come back to it later, you will know exactly what is required of you—relieving your brain significantly. Writing down the to-do also helps to anchor it in your memory. Once all of your action-related paper is in one place, you can “batch” those tasks within one sitting.

Truth #5: File for Retrieval

As you file reference-oriented paper, choose file names that make sense to YOUR brain. Store-bought tabs don’t provide a customized reference system and often fail to keep you organized. Instead, create file tabs that make sense to you and how you think. Choose broad topics like “Office Manuals” rather than “Canon Printer.” Don’t make single files for one piece of paper—you will end up with too many files and a confusing system. Straight-line filing also makes tabs easy to see (choosing all center-cut tabs, for example).

Time to Make a Date!

Now that you have a nice starting point, you need to actually make the time to go through this process. Paper always takes more time to organize than other objects, so plan accordingly. Make the time to go through this process—block it off on your calendar, turn off the phone and focus on paper organizing. The time, energy, and stress you will save yourself will far outweigh the initial time investment. Your clients will be impressed by your organization, you will have more time in your day and be more present and focused on your current workload. Happy organizing!

As a Certified Lean Practitioner and 5S Expert, Veronica Bishop is trained to identify office place waste and to increase flow and functionality within a space. With an additional background in teaching and as a Certified Life coach, Veronica is driven to help clients set goals for projects and follow through to success. She loves helping people realize their objectives by asking powerful questions about their hopes and dreams for the space, and providing feedback and support when needed. Her motto is “clean out the closets of your mind”!

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A mobile office gives you a level of autonomy you can’t achieve in a traditional office. While this can be liberating, it can also be inconvenient if you’re not equipped with the equivalent of items you would have available in a regular office. Whether you’re transitioning or looking for ideas to make your mobile office more efficient, we’re here to help!

Hardware

The most important element to your mobile office is your computer! Having a machine that can handle your workload on the go is imperative, so you must determine if your laptop has the required specs. Consider battery life, storage, graphics, WiFi and Ethernet capabilities, as well as the number of USB ports you’ll have available. Laptop Mag has an easy-to-follow buying guide that discusses everything from choosing an operating system, to size, and even what to look for in customer support.

Next, think about how much printing, scanning, and faxing you’ll be doing. If making a trip to Kinkos every once in a while will cover you, that’s one less piece of equipment to worry about. Otherwise, can find a relatively inexpensive All-in-One machine to keep at home.

There’s also a number of other helpful components to consider. For example, I spend most of my time on a desktop, so when I’m working on my laptop the touchpad slows me down. A wireless mouse is cheap and can slip right into a laptop bag. Most are battery powered and require only a USB port to send information from your mouse to your laptop. Of course, this may require a bit of coordination if you use flash drives or other USB devices simultaneously.

Even with an excellent battery life, available public outlets are scarce, so think about grabbing a backup battery for emergencies.

Aside from security software (which we’ll get to in a moment), there are a variety of locks and security cases to prevent laptop theft while on the go. For PC users, check out PCWorld’s article providing an overview of locks and tracking software. Apple consumers can visit sites like Maclocks, which provides a number of cable and security case options.

Software

Most new laptops come pre-programmed with a hefty amount of junk you may never use that slows down your system. A free program called PC Decrapifier will scan your computer and give you a list of programs they recommend kicking to the curb. I recently downloaded this program to test it out, and it worked like a dream! It shows the percentage of users who chose to delete each program, which made me more confident about getting rid of them. In case you get a bit trigger happy, you have the option of creating a restore point each time you delete something. You can also download another free software program called Recuva to retrieve lost items.

As for cyber security, you can find a lot of great free antivirus software, as well as free encryption tools to keep your personal and confidential information safe. File storage can be messy, but using cloud storage allows you to tag your files for easy retrieval and share them instantly. PCWorld’s article on integrating cloud storage into your workflow will help you decide if, and how, you can use it to your advantage.

For added security (and to clear some space off your computer, an external hard drive is great for the mobile office. Digitizing physical files allows you to access them on the go and send to clients in a convenient format, which can be accomplished with an OCR (optical character recognition) program used in conjunction with a scanner, and sometimes even a smart phone.

Beyond the basic software you’ll need to run your business, Tech Hive has compiled a list of great free programs that will enhance your computer’s capabilities. I personally use CCleaner to keep my hard drive in tip top shape, and VLC to play audio and video files that aren’t compatible with other pre-installed programs. Lastly, if you’re planning on grabbing a bunch of new software, the Ninite Installer is a simple way to download or update many programs all at once.

Funware

An office is a reflection of your personality and preferred working style—and a mobile office is no different.

  • For those with the gift of gab: When giving presentations and hosting virtual meetings, Bluetooth headsets cut down on delay/echo, improve sound quality, and minimize background noise.
  • For the fashion-conscious: Travel in style with a custom messenger bag or attaché that will protect your equipment and keep you organized
  • For the couch-surfers:  Keep yourself and your computer comfortable with a laptop stand and fan combo. You’ll keep your laptop cool and give yourself an ergonomic edge. Also, a clip-on light provides a better lighting source when you’re in a public place.
  • For the textile types: Griffin’s stylus/pen/laser pointer is super sleek and will take you from jotting down notes, to navigating your smart phone, to presenting in style.
  • For the multitaskers: Juggling a bunch of tasks at once? A virtual receptionist frees you up to meet with other clients or work on a deadline by handling your calls. Instead of getting voicemail, your clients get to speak with a friendly voice that can relay information and take detailed messages—allowing you to focus.
  • For everyone: You spend countless hours staring at your laptop screen—make it personal! Keep a folder with pictures that inspire, calm, or motivate you and set up your desktop image to rotate between the images. In need of a few ideas? Desktoppr has thousands of free wallpapers to choose from that sync right to your desktop.
  • A mobile office doesn’t mean depriving yourself of what you need. When preparing to go mobile, be sure to read up on consumer reviews to find the best technology options for you, as well as talk to colleagues in your industry. Start with your equipment, then move on to software individualized to your needs. Once those are in place, you can choose fun extras to give you all of the convenient features of a regular office!

Looking for more tips on how to go virtual? Download our resource “What is a virtual office?” for the full scoop.

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5 ways to improve your listening skills.

Reading time:
How to improve your listening skills

What’s the worst customer service experience you’ve ever had?

I bet there’s an experience that immediately comes to your mind. One definitely comes to mind for me. Actually, I have several. Maybe you have a few, too—or a few dozen.

I could tell you all about my worst-ever customer service experience but, honestly, I’d rather not revisit it. Just thinking about it makes me grit my teeth. And it’s not like the internet is lacking in horror stories from both sides of the customer service equation. 

The sad truth is that bad customer service is common. We’ve all felt frustrated, powerless, and ignored when trying to get an issue resolved or hunting down an answer to a question. We’ve all called or chatted with a company at one point and gotten the runaround—transferred from person to person, department to department, with no one willing or able to actually help.

And then there are those times when we call and get placed on hold forever. This one time, I called my internet provider and waited over two hours to talk to a human being, and when I finally did get to speak to someone…

No.

Nevermind. Like I said, I really don’t want to revisit it.

Whew, okay, deep breaths.

Anyway. The point is that virtually all customer service issues center on a simple human need:

We want someone to listen.

The first thing—and often, the only thing—anyone wants when they have a problem is to be heard. 

We don’t always need solutions, or even explanations. Sometimes, we’re willing to accept that certain problems are unsolvable, unavoidable, and outside of anyone’s control. 

But we always, always deserve to be listened to. To be understood. To be cared about. 

This is one of the most basic and important forms of human kindness we can offer each other. And you don’t need any specialized training or tools to offer it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the first customer service call of the day or the 1200th; whether it’s the CEO or an intern answering the phone. 

Anyone, in any conversation, has the ability—and the responsibility!—to listen to the other person.

I’m talking about more than literally hearing the person when they’re talking to you. I’m talking about active listening.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of active listening, here’s a great definition from Indeed:

“Active listening is the ability to focus completely on a speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information and respond thoughtfully.” Contrast that with passive listening, which is “the act of hearing a speaker without retaining their message.” 

Active listening requires ears, a brain, and a heart. You need to hear the other person, recognize what they’re telling you, and care about it.

Active listening is a foundational customer service skill. It’s arguably the most important element of your customer service operations.

Here are a few reasons active listening is pivotal for the success of your business:

Listening builds trust. If you prove to your client or customer base that you are actively listening, and respond with empathy, the people you serve will feel taken care of and continue to build a relationship with your company. 

For example, consider this compliment from a caller, which one of our receptionists recently received: “You are one of the nicest people I have talked to. So many people forget nowadays to be courteous on the phone. I hope I get to meet you when I come by the office.” If your clients or customers trust that you’re listening to them, they’ll become your loyal supporters and advocates.

Listening fuels company growth. Having a listening ear does more than improve customer service. It also provides insights into how your company is performing and aids in decision-making. Are customers or clients expressing certain pain points more often than others? Or, on the flip side, are you receiving a number of compliments on a certain aspect of your company? The only way to find out is to listen.

5 ways to improve your company’s customer service through listening.

So, how do you become a better listener? How can you embed a culture of listening in your company? Here are five ways to improve.

1. Teach your employees to be active listeners.

Teach every employee active listening skills—not just those employees who interact with clients the most. Engage your employees through fun exercises like these:

Group Storytelling: This is a group activity in which participants tell a story one sentence at a time, with each person adding a new element. Every participant must listen carefully to ensure they tell the story correctly, while also adding an element that fits with the storyline.

My Vacation Spot: This is a two-person activity. One person describes their ideal vacation spot, providing subtle hints as to the specific location. The other person must then recommend a vacation destination based on their explanation, with the speaker confirming or denying the suggestion’s usefulness.

So You’re Saying: This is another two-person activity. Have one person explain a common customer complaint or issue. The second person must then summarize what has been heard, and repeat this summary back to the speaker for confirmation.

2. Listen to your employees.

A culture of listening starts at the top. By being accessible and willing to listen, you encourage your employees to speak up on issues and share ideas on how to take action. 

Here at Ruby, for instance, we offer a number of outlets for team members to offer feedback about their roles and the company—and we take suggestions seriously. This has led to fitness classes, our WOW program, a dragon boat racing team, and lots of other cool ideas and cultural elements coming to life.

3. Give your customers a voice.

Empower your clients or customers to communicate their experiences and feedback:

4. Show empathy.

Empathy is at the core of active listening. It starts with the listener. The more open you are with yourself, the more open you’ll be to others. 

In other words, it’s vital to embrace vulnerability. Emotions make us human—and customers are increasingly looking for more personal, human experiences. By tapping into your emotions, you’ll make yourself vulnerable and approachable, and boost your ability to really listen to others and understand where they’re coming from. 

5. Take action.

Once you’ve earned feedback from your customers or clients, acknowledge it. Take the time to respond personally to comments you receive, address any issues raised, and let them know the plan moving forward. This goes beyond providing updates on company changes or products. Share the story of where those changes originated, and the benefits they will bring to your customers. If you’re a service-based company, consider creating a blog series, podcast, or video series dedicated to addressing common customer questions.

The best part about active listening is how easy it is to do. Not doing it actually takes more effort. Think about all the brainpower someone has to use to ignore another person! 

Ultimately, it boils down to one simple rule—the Golden Rule: treat other people as you would like other people to treat you. Take the time to listen to your clients and employees; make them feel heard, cared for, and empowered. It’s the right thing to do—and it’s good for business.

Ruby Heart

Listening creates a positive experience for your clients, but what you say (and how you say it) is equally important. Which reminds of the worst customer service phone call I ever had, where the agent I was talking to told me…

Nope. Not going there.

For more customer service tips, check out our Small Business Resource Hub!

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Paging Dr. Ruby

Dear Dr. Ruby,
What sorts of things can I do on my end to optimize my use of Ruby? Are there any settings or updates I can use to make sure I’m getting the most bang for my buck? Are there services you offer I may not know about?

What a phenomenal question; I’m so glad you asked! You happen to be in luck as there are a number of things you can do to optimize your use of Ruby’s service.

As a huge fan of acronyms, I couldn’t resist the urge to put one together for just this scenario. To get the most from your service, just remember R-U-B-Y:

R – Regular Check-ins
U – Update Your Information
B – Benefit From Additional Offerings
Y – You and Ruby are a Team

So simple, right? Let’s dive into the details!

R – Regular Check-ins

Clearly communicating your availability to your callers is just one of the ways you can practice doing what you say you will do—and Ruby can help! Planning to be in a meeting all day? Jumping on an afternoon conference call? Traveling to a remote tropical island with no access to phone or email (and can we come, too?) Let us know! We’ll create temporary instructions for you that will deliver a great experience to your callers, gather all the information you need to take care of business, and make it seem like our receptionist is sitting right in your office.

U – Update Your Information

In today’s world, a business owner has to be ready and willing to make changes at any given moment. And we’re no strangers to change! We know it can be tough to remember all of the things to update when any kind of shift takes place, but if any changes are made in your office (an office move, a promotion, a new employee, or even a new fax number), it’s a great idea to let us know as soon as possible. Our receptionists use those details to knowledgably and skillfully assist your callers, as well as make personal connections. After all, it’s difficult to sound like we’re in your office if we don’t have the correct address!

B – Benefit From Additional Offerings

Do callers to your office tend to call repeatedly to conduct business? Then you’re in luck! With Ruby’s familiar caller ID database, we can WOW your repeat callers by having their basic information available to receptionists instantaneously. This allows us to act with more familiarity toward your regular clients. With our caller ID database, we’re able to tag their number (the number—or numbers—from which they’re most likely to call you) with their name, company name (if applicable), and to whom they most often wish to speak. As a result, when ol’ Bob calls in and says, “Hi there! It’s Bob,” our receptionists can impress him with a dazzling, “Great to hear from you, Bob! Would you like to speak with Joe?” Win-win!

Ruby can also make outbound calls on your behalf, saving you precious time each day. Let our outbound call specialists handle appointment reminders, retrieving that email address Bob keeps forgetting to give you, or even scheduling your cat’s veterinary appointments. We’re here to help take some of the work off your plate, and phone calls are what we do best.

Y – You and Ruby are a Team

Our goal is to help your business succeed by creating a lasting first impression of friendliness, charm, and professionalism for your callers. We want to do everything in our power to ensure your business is set up for WOW-worthy service. By keeping us in the loop and treating us as a member of your team, we’ll know how to best customize your service to keep you focused on growing your business.

We also promise to keep you in the loop! For more details about how Ruby works (and how that applies to your business), check out our blog posts on that very topic. And as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our Client Happiness team at 866-611-7829, or via email at staff@callruby.com. We are truly delighted to help!

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When you’re in an office environment, it’s easy to create an ideal work space. Your chair will always be just so, your keyboard and screen at the optimal heights. In other words, your environment adapts to you. When your office is anywhere you can find reliable WiFi and a power outlet, however, you often are forced to adapt your work style to your environment.

Often when people think about ergonomics, images of wrist pads and properly adjusted chairs come to mind. Yet, ergonomics is more than simply sitting up straight or reducing the risk of carpel tunnel syndrome. Ergonomics seeks to understand the interactions between humans and the elements of a system, and then uses this knowledge to design a work space that maximizes productivity. If you aren’t considering ergonomics when you set up your space, you likely aren’t creating your best work.

Fortunately, there are a few easy tricks you can use to optimize your work space no matter where you go—a coffee shop, a hotel, even an airplane.

1. Carry an External Keyboard

Laptop keyboards are often smaller than your average desktop computer, which means your wrists have to turn inward in order to type. Additionally, having the screen connected to your keyboard means the angle of your typing is at the mercy of wherever your computer comes to rest—a table, shelf, or your lap.

With an external keyboard, you can adjust the screen and keyboard separately. Plus, the additional space allows you to straighten your wrists. When setting up your work area, your keyboard should be placed directly in front of you with your elbows close to your body. Then, move your wrists in-line with your forearms so they are straight. Voila! You’re ready to type away.

2. Use Keyboard Shortcuts & Voice Activation

No space for an extra keyboard? Incorporate keyboard shortcuts into your routine to reduce the amount of keystrokes you need to make! Shortcuts also can help you avoid repetitive angling of your wrist to reach the touchpad.

For those whose smartphones are their primary work device, voice activation apps come in handy in warding off “Blackberry Thumb” and “iHurt” syndrome. Use these apps to draft emails, respond to texts, as well as perform basic research.

3. Protect Your Neck

Reducing your head motion can greatly affect your mood and energy levels. To achieve the ideal neck position, arrange the top of your screen at or slightly below eye level.

Ergonomic Remote Office

When you’re out and about, this may mean propping your laptop up on a laptop stand, a few books, or locating a higher table. The goals is to avoid looking down whenever possible.

This principle applies to your smartphone as well. Instead of holding your mobile phone near your lap and looking down, prop your elbows on the counter or table and hold your phone in both hands at eye level.

Using Your Smartphone When Working Remotely

4. Change Your Position

Movement is key to keeping your body alert and prevent muscles from cramping. Laptop users are more at risk of developing muscloskeletal disorders, so it is even more important to get up and move around. A simple solution is to set a timer or alarm reminding you to get up and walk around every 30 minutes. If you’re working from a coffee shop, switch from a lower chair and table to a bar stool. For situations with more restricted movement, such as a plane, cross and uncross your legs repeatedly or switch lifting and dropping your heels.

If you’re truly motivated to move, Greatist has 33 fun examples of how to exercise while on the job. Be sure to check out The Flapper, The Shoulder Shrug and, my personal favorite, The Twinkle Toe!

5. Be Prepared

The biggest challenge of a moving workspace is the lack of control. While you can’t change the lack of available power outlets or the blasting air conditioning vent, you can prepare for these common situations.

Wear comfortable clothing. Layers are great choice, as you’ll be ready for any environment—frigid coffee shop, stifling car, or the spectrum of temperatures experienced while flying. Wearing an undershirt or camisole while also carrying a sweater or light coat will have you prepared for the majority of working climates.

Bring Headphones. Some folks love a noisy environment, while others work best in silence. Regardless, headphones are a must-have ergo-on-the-go item. They allow you to control the level and type of noise you allow in your environment—whether that be dubstep turned up to 11, or the sound of a fan from your white noise app.

You have the power! There’s a good chance you aren’t the only one at the coffee shop frustrated by the lack of outlets. Ensure your equipment is always charged by carrying a multi-outlet adapter or small power strip. These handy little devices easily fit into a laptop bag and are great way to make a friend or two with your fellow remote workers.

Ergonomics is about more than comfort—it’s about maximizing your productivity. Remember these five tricks and you’ll be practicing ergo-on-the-go in no time!

Do you have tips and tricks that work for you while working on the go? Share them in the comments below!

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Have you ever walked into a messy room and immediately felt stressed or overwhelmed? It’s amazing how environment can so easily affect your frame of mind. Often, we are so focused on taking care of business we neglect to make ourselves comfortable first.

Here at Ruby, we have the opportunity to personalize our own individual spaces as a way of Fostering Happiness and Creating Community. After speaking with several members of my team, I discovered most feel being able to surround themselves with things that matter to them has a great impact on their morale. If you’re looking to improve your—or your team’s—productivity, we have seven simple steps to help you maximize the full potential of your work space.

First, a note on general guidelines.

Whether you’re the CEO or the receptionist, it’s important to stick to the expectations and standards that have been established by your company. Sometimes, though it may feel that your office or cubicle is your own private bubble, coworkers and clients will be sharing that space with you. One person’s adorable DIY shabby chic pencil holder is another person’s empty pickle jar…you get the idea. Finding the right balance of professionalism and personal touch will make a great impression on anyone that walks into that space.

Step 1: Organize and De-clutter!

This is the foundation for a happy, healthy work space—but where do you start? The answer is piles and files. What are you working on now? Pile it! What have you finished? Pile it! What can wait? Pile it! If you are holding a physical copy of something you can access on your computer, ditch it. Next—file those piles. If you already have a system in place, but find yourself swimming in an unforgiving sea of 8.5” x 11” waves, then it’s time to re-evaluate your method. Figuring out what is not working for you will get you a lot closer to what will. If you don’t have a system in place, start by deciding what should be on your desk and what should be in a designated storage area. Do you really use every single color of highlighter? Store ’em. Are all those sticky notes on your monitor helping you focus, or distracting you? Keep a legal notepad devoted to your to-do list, or set alerts on your phone or desktop.

Step 2: Make it Flow

This part is so easy—get ready. Right handed? Put your writing utensils on the right hand side! Sometimes our intuition overrides common sense and we do silly things like put our most commonly used items in an area that is harder to access. When you arrange your desk strategically, you can save the brainpower you would normally use on searching for the thing that is right in front of you, and work seamlessly in your space.

Step 3: Dress Up the Essentials

Now that your desk is organized and streamlined, it’s time to have fun! Using creative vessels for those items on your desk can make your space feel less utilitarian.
For example, a decorative glass jar to house your writing utensils is a quick and easy way to marry form and function. Woven baskets are perfect for disguising your piles, and vintage coffee and tea containers are great for miscellaneous necessities.

If creativity is not your strong suit, there are always decorative options available at most retailers that carry office supplies and storage. If you are short on surface space, try using an over-the-sink kitchen shelf to create vertical storage. The possibilities are endless!

Step 4: Focus on Your Line of Vision

Focus

Even though you may spend a lot of your time staring at a computer screen, your peripheral vision is more important than you think. Consider re-positioning yourself to face a window or, if that’s not possible, adjusting your setup to allow for a wider range of view. Others may find this distracting, and prefer to feel secluded in order to focus. The important thing is to recognize what would feel the best for you, and do what you can to make it happen.

Step 5: Create Atmosphere

While you may be unable to change your overhead lighting source, paint all the walls your favorite color, or blast Enya all day, you can still create a mood that promotes the best work environment for you. Adding a small lamp or a string of lights can soften the lighting around you, which is commonly fluorescent and harsh for the eyes. If you are in a cubicle, you can add color to your work life by using tacks or double-sided tape to cover the inside walls with wallpaper or gift wrap. Plants purify the air and are statistically proven to increase your energy. Try a terrarium, which are easy to make and require minimal watering and upkeep.

 Step 6: Eliminate Distractions

Distractions

Distractions are an inevitable part of every office, but you can help cut down on the ones that really throw you off your game. It’s in our nature to be alerted to changes in volume, or movement in our periphery, and turn our attention to it. A strategically placed mirror or shiny metal object can allow you to quickly glance up and see what the commotion is about, then go straight back to work. If your office allows for white noise like a desk fan, or a small water fountain—both of which have USB powered options—you can insulate your space sonically and absorb the office noise.

Step 7: Motivate and Inspire!

It’s time to recap:

Style—check.
Class—check.

Now for the final step in your office transformation. Surround yourself with things that make you happy! If a picture of your dream vacation motivates you to work hard, frame it and put it in a space where you will see it often. When you need a pick me up, framed pictures of your family and friends can bring you back down to earth. While observing another receptionist taking calls, he offered some great advice—when you have a frustrated caller on the line, imagine you are speaking with one of your grandparents. This paves the way for heightened empathy and encourages you to be the most respectful and patient version of yourself. Now I have a small porcelain buffalo my grandmother gave me underneath my monitor to keep me in check.

And that’s it! These are just a few suggestions to help you on your way to creating a work space you’ll look forward to working in each day. Now go make it happen, and remember these things:

  • Know your company’s rules about desk décor.
  • Start fresh with an organized, clutter-free zone.
  • Make it easy on yourself by placing your frequently used items in a convenient place.
  • Replace your utilitarian containers and organizers with more unique options.
  • Pay attention to what is in the area of your desk you look at for most of the day.
  • Use a desk fan or fountain to absorb distracting noises, and a mirror to allow you to see what is going on behind you without taking your attention completely away from your work.
  • Add a lamp to soften your lighting, purify your air with plants, and add color where you can.
  • Keep yourself grounded by surrounding yourself with photos and mementos of the people and things you love.

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*Ruby is delighted to offer a money-back guarantee to first time users of both our virtual receptionist service and our chat service. To cancel your service and obtain a full refund for the cancelled service (less any multi-service discount), please notify us of the service you wish to cancel either within 21 days of your purchase of that service or before your usage exceeds 500 receptionist minutes/50 billable chats, as applicable, whichever occurs sooner.