4 Tips to Help You Stay Productive Through Summer

Businessman blowing up a beach ballWith summer fast approaching, you may be finding it difficult to continue a high level of productivity at the office. Let’s face it, we’re only human. No matter your age – or how long you have been working a full-time office job – as soon as the weather warms up, ditching work and hanging out in the sun all day is tempting. Being stuck inside the office all day during summer is like have three months of “the Monday’s.” As the weather gets another degree warmer, your productivity decreases, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Here’s 4 tips to be productive through the summer months.

  1. Take the time to get outside.

No, you can’t ditch work and go to a baseball game, and going for a swim on your lunch break is tempting, but may not be plausible for most. However, make sure to take the time to get outside and enjoy the sunlight. Sunlight is a proven – obviously natural – remedy for anxiety, stress, and sleep deprivation.

By spending fifteen minutes outside, early in the morning, the sunlight communicates to your body that, “Hey, it’s time to wake up and get to work.” Melatonin – a natural hormone produced in the body – is what makes you feel tired whenever the sun is no longer out or you are in an enclosed, dark space, (hence why you get a better night’s sleep whenever there is no source of light entering your bedroom). Sunlight pauses melatonin production in the body, thus making you feel more awake. So, going for a walk on your lunch break or eating your lunch outside in the sunlight is a great way to stave off any drowsiness and get back to work.

  1. Stay on top of your work.

Things at the office can slow down during the summer. You may find yourself with less projects than usual, or you may find yourself online shopping and making plans for the weekend because of a lack of work. Don’t let your time in the office go to waste. There is always something you can do to stay busy.

Prepare for future projects, organize the files on your computer, or ask co-workers if they need help with any work. There’s always something that you can do, and by completing future work early, you won’t have to stress about completing work before going on vacation or other summer activities.

  1. Avoid social media during work hours.

We’re all guilty of getting sidetracked by social media while we’re at work. During the summertime, you may be more interested in making plans, or seeing how your friends or family may be enjoying time outdoors. Stay logged off of social media accounts during morning and afternoon hours and set your phone on silent.

If you are weak, and can’t resist the temptations, there are Apps you can download to help stave off temptations. For example, Get Concentrating is an App that can be programmed to block social media and other distractions between specific times. There are additional Apps designed to help block distractions. Choose the best options for your level of distraction, and reign in your urges to procrastinate.

  1. Keep work at work.

Stop taking work home. Taking work home – all year long, but especially when the weather is nice – prevents you from dedicating enough time to your personal life. Not only does bringing work home prevent you from leading a fulfilling and balanced lifestyle, but it also decreases the amount of work left for the next day. While it’s important to show initiative and motivation at work, you want to avoid burning yourself out.

If you do not have a dedicated work phone, make sure your customers, clients, coworkers, and any higher-ups understand what your work-times are. Refrain from answering the phone during your off hours, and leave checking your email for the morning hours before leaving the house the next day.

There will always be days where your productivity is compromised, or you have a “case of the Mondays.” Following these simple tips will help to maintain your efficiency at work and leave time for summer activities outside of office hours.

Share this Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

5 Steps to Protect Your Business from Cyber Attacks

Internet Security - BusinesSuitesWhile technology is getting smarter – unfortunately, so are the hackers. Some would even say that hackers have become much further advanced than the technology they hack into. There are an estimated 6,000 hacker groups, and an additional 50,000 hackers that wade the waters around the larger groups. Hackers vary in purpose, but all are guilty of breaking into company websites, stealing secrets, and disrupting a company’s services.

The question is, how do smaller businesses protect themselves and their company against cyber crime? Maybe you aren’t at risk of the larger groups – like the “hacktivist” group, Anonymous – but you may be at risk of having money, information, or business stolen from your company’s online accounts. No matter how rare it is for cyber crime to hit a small business, it’s still important to take measures to protect your money, assets, and business.

When a company manages customer information and sensitive business information online – over 80% of small business in the U.S. use the iCloud and are susceptible to a cyber attack – proper security measures should be put in place. The following are 5 tips to help you protect your business assets.

  1. The stronger the password, the harder a hacker has to work

Many people are guilty of using the same password for everything in order to commit it to memory. How annoying is it when you get locked out of your account because you can’t remember some crazy password you made up? Isn’t it easier to just use one for everything? Well, yes, it is easier. It’s easier for you, and it’s easier for a hacker.

Weigh your options – would you rather have someone steal your information, or would you rather have to send a help ticket to the website and reset your password? A password should be complicated, implementing letters, numbers, and special characters and you should change it regularly. Whether you change it once a month, four times a year, or once a week, you should make a habit of changing your passwords because it makes it harder for the hacker – which is what you want, right?

  1. Computer Security

Do you need every single software out there to make your computer the most secure computer in the world! – No. What you do need is to activate your computer’s firewall, purchase an anti-virus/malware software, and purchase an anti-spyware software. Some of these are free, and some of these you need to pay for. Regardless of which software you get, just make sure that it has good reviews, and all of the necessary features you need for your business.

As a suggestion, Malwarebytes offers a free and a premium service that’s rated at 4 ½ stars in PCMag.social media security - BusinesSuites

  1. Understand Social Media

Social Media is a double-edged sword. It can hurt you and it can help you, all depending on how well you understand it. If you asked your teenage son or daughter – if you have one – they can most likely show you how to use all of the basic tools. However, there are a lot of other features designed to protect business information that needs to be on your social media accounts – as well as some information best not recorded on Facebook or Twitter that can lead to a cyber crime. Before launching a social media campaign – or if you have questions about a current campaign – be sure to learn all that you can about that social platforms security features, and contact a professional if you have any questions.

Social Media account security should echo who you would want entering a brick-and-mortar location of your business. You probably wouldn’t want a thief to enter your store, right? The same goes for social media, you wouldn’t want a hacker finding your social media accounts completely vulnerable.

  1. The Mobile Device

Your phone is sensitive to hackers. Super sensitive. Why? Well, if you’re one of those people that finds a cool App, and downloads it without reading the Terms & Conditions – i.e. South Park CentiPad episode –  or without knowing what company created the App, you could be vulnerable to a lot of problems.

Viruses, hackers, and more are waiting for you to download that one App that can bulldoze through your phone’s security. Be sure to pay attention to what you download – a teenager could probably tell you all about obsessive App downloading as well.

  1. Update, update, update!

Do I need to say it again? Update!

Make sure that your computer, Notebook, iPad, tablet, iPhone, Android, Smart Watch, and any other electronic device connected to the internet has the latest updates. These updates often include bug fixes, software protection updates, and additional, new security measures that will help protect your information. It is important that you make sure your devices have the latest updates.

Educate yourself about technology before you decide to use it for your business information. Anything on the internet can be hacked into and stolen, and it’s possible for anyone to become a victim. Show those hackers that you aren’t going to invite them into your private files to have their pick of information and make sure you take necessary steps at protecting your business!

Share this Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

BusinesSuites Earth Day Celebration in Pittsburgh

Last week, BusinesSuites Grant Street joined many businesses in the Pittsburgh region on April 22, 2015 to celebrate the city’s first official International Earth Day.  The celebration was held in honor of the city’s ongoing initiatives to create sustainable living and working environments.

Blooming tulips and fresh green plants brightened up the gray downtown sky and despite a cool morning rain, the events attracted a large turnout. There were many indoor and outdoor events scheduled for this year’s Earth Day celebration, but the majority of events in Downtown Pittsburgh took place near or inside Mellon Square Park.  Mellon Square Park is a gem in Downtown Pittsburgh, and it is also the winner of the 2014’s Notable Developments in Landscape Architecture featuring a beautiful green oasis built atop a parking garage. Inside the park, local vendors set up food stands and sold organic salads, juices, and many other fresh treats during lunch on Earth Day. Barely a block away, the Food Truck Festival on Smithfield Street was in full force with well-known local food trucks like BRGR, Franktuary, Oh My Grill, and many others.

BusinesSuites PGH Earth Day

In the spirit of Earth Day, our team at BusinesSuites Grant Street decided to host our own mini-celebration in the center café.  We made one of our popular desserts, Dirt Pie, which included Oreos and pudding topped with gummy worms. While this might not sound very appetizing, it turned out to be a big hit with our clients! We also provided a basket full of flower seeds for our clients to take home and plant in their gardens.

bs123

Not many realize that our Grant Street center is located in one of a few LEED-certified buildings in Pittsburgh—the Bank of New York Mellon building. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, and it is an honorable mark of achievement in green building with worldwide recognition.  You can take a virtual tour of our Pittsburgh center here and don’t forget to give us a call at 412-515-1600!

Share this Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Are Office Phone Calls Making a Comeback?

New Phone TechnologyIn an era where it’s more common to receive a Tweet, a direct message on Facebook, or a connection on LinkedIn, it’s not surprising that companies are rarely engaging with customers or potential clients over the phone. If making phone calls to friends and loved ones has become secondary to text messages in a person’s personal life, it’s not surprising that the same mentality is carried over into the work place. However, new advances in technology and software is giving phone calls a comeback in office culture.

With new technology, conference calls can dial through a person’s computer automatically, making long 1-800 numbers or pin codes to enter a conference call obsolete. With phone calls and voice communication making a reemergence in corporate culture and business philosophy, technology companies are competing for control of the market for business calls. These companies are replacing normal voice technology – physically replacing the office phone – with web-based voice communication software. While it’s certainly not going to bring back the retro business call, it is challenging large communication technology providers such as AT&T and Cisco Systems.

The idea with these new voice communication systems and software, is to make it a fully integrated experience where you can share documents on the computer, while speaking through a headset, and recording the conversation directly to your computer system. Since we are still a society that prefers the impersonal communication that smart phones have allowed us, some of these new technologies offer automated texting services as well. For instance, if you are familiar with the new taxi-craze Uber, you are also familiar with their automated texting service that alerts riders when their driver has arrived. This automated texting service is powered by Twilio, a company that also provides other services such as video, voice, phone number lookup, and toll-free and local phone numbers.

Though some people born before the millennium would say that nothing can replace the person-to-person connectivity of a phone call, there are some very distinct advantages in this new technology. For instance, how many times have you found yourself stuck on the phone with a client, needing to leave for another obligation, but you couldn’t hang up the phone in fear of being rude or seeming disinterested? With this new conference technology, you can leave your desk and “transfer a conversation mid-call to a smartphone.” With this capability, you can decrease the amount of times you are late for another obligation due to a busy work schedule with only a short amount of time between tasks. If that was never an issue for you – which I am sure it has been at least once – this new technology will obliterate the time spent waiting for so-and-so to arrive in the conference room for a team meeting and call with an important client.

This new era of business phone calls is said to decrease costs while increasing productivity. These types of web-based calls allow employees to be mobile, gaining access to information easily and sharing information and documents with clients immediately, all while speaking to them on the phone. Imagine how these new web-based calling features can improve your business, and also reinstall the charm of a phone call, while decreasing the necessity of formal emails.

Share this Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Business Mentality Meets “Yinzer” Hospitality

BusinesSuites Grant StreetTo create a successful business, you need happy customers who appreciate the amount of effort you put into providing them with genuinely helpful products and services. To have happy customers, it’s important that your employees – and yourself – look forward to coming into work because you love what you do. At BusinesSuites Grant Street, we take showing our appreciation to the next level with none other than Pittsburgh’s famous Primanti Brothers sandwiches!

We like to show our clients a little “yinzer” hospitality, and the best way to create friendships in the Burgh is over some delicious Primanti’s sandwiches. Even though Pittsburgh may be able to boast serving the biggest and “almost famous” sandwiches, providing a snack day, or regularly delivering breakfast or lunch to our clients is a service every BusinesSuites office enjoys partaking in. It’s all about retaining the long-time customers that we love, and attracting new customers with our above-and-beyond services.

Are you not going to be in the office the day we order lunch? Or maybe doing business that requires you to be out of the office? Don’t worry about missing anything! We’ll wrap up a sandwich and save it in the fridge for you!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to become part of the BusinesSuites Grant Street community in Pittsburgh, PA! We treat our clients with the famous Pittsburgh hospitality with the “almost famous” Pittsburgh Primanti Brothers sandwiches.

Share this Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn