Break These 6 Bad Habits To Be More Productive At Work

October 17, 2017

Nothing kills your productivity at work than bad habits.

The solution does not lie in ingesting more caffeine. Instead, being more productive while at work lies in working smarter, not harder. Essentially, you simply need to make the most of each day.

While it is certainly much easier said than done, getting more done within a short amount of time is still achievable. Well, if you are not sabotaging yourself with bad habits.

Not only do bad habits make you less productive, they affect your mood and stifle your performance. Breaking out of your bad habits make you more productive, and more importantly, provides you with that sense of self-accomplishment.

Bad habits are aplenty, some of which are more harmful than others. Here are 6 bad habits which you definitely have to break to be more productive at work:

1. Impulsive web browsing

Granted that most of us would have access to the internet at work, it is easy to get side-tracked looking up random things that just popped in your head. Several studies have shown that it takes about 15 to 25 minutes to get back into the “flow” after being distracted. Together with the time spent browsing the web to check the news, a soccer game’s score or whatever else you have, it amounts to quite a fair bit of time without getting any work done.

Instead, write down your thoughts or question on a notepad. You can then look up the information after you have completed your work.

2. Checking your social media accounts

Most of us would impulsively reach for our phones to scroll through Instagram, watch funny videos on Snapchat or read funny tweets. Sure, it is a welcoming distraction after staring at the computer screen for too long. But when a particularly interesting tweet leads to another and so on, before you know it, an hour would have passed.

Essentially, stop checking your social media accounts every half an hour. The posts and tweets are likely to be the same anyway.

Related reading: Put in place a social media policy at your workplace

3. Taking on too many meetings

Meetings gobble up your time like no other. Furthermore, most meetings tend to drag on forever if time permits. Instead, inform everyone at the onset that you intend to keep the meeting to the intended schedule. That way, it sets the expectation for everyone to be more efficient and focus on the key points for the meeting.

4. A messy desk

You might be convincing yourself and perhaps your colleagues that you know exactly where everything is on your desk. However, a messy desk clearly shows your inability to be organised and do things in an efficient manner. Furthermore, you are more likely to end up waste thing searching for even the most basic necessities such as a pen buried under your pile of documents.

5. Keeping your work phone by your bed

The one thing that most people do not realise are impeding their sleep and productivity is keeping your work phone by your bed. With the constant buzzing or vibration, chances are you will be up immediately checking the incoming email or message. Remember that your work phone is simply there for convenience and not the other way round.

Related reading: 6 things you can do right now to improve workplace productivity

6. Having a junk food lunch

Having a junk food lunch regularly set you on the path towards an unhealthy lifestyle. Additionally, it impedes your energy level in the afternoon, setting us up for a “food coma” after lunch. Instead of being a post-lunch zombie, eat a healthy meal for lunch. Not only do you get that much-needed energy boost to do work for the afternoon, it is definitely beneficial for your health in the long run as well.

While these bad habits may seem minor, they will certainly add up. It all boils down to your personal choice, between instant gratification or lasting ones. Essentially, making these small changes would set you on track for a more productive lifestyle at work!

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This is a guest post from RenQun Huang at Gpayroll
Want to read more articles related to payroll, HR & technology? Visit us at Gpayroll

The Risk Of Payroll Fraud Is Real

October 15, 2017

Broadly defined, payroll fraud is the theft of cash from a business via the payroll processing system. Contrary to popular belief, payroll fraud is a widespread issue that is not defeated by technology. Rather, technology is the main perpetrator of payroll frauds.

With the rapid advancements in technology today, payroll frauds these days go beyond a case whereby an employee requests for a cash advancement and fails to pay back the company. In fact, payroll crimes have evolved alongside technology, becoming more stealth and difficult to nab.

Based on a 2016 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), it revealed that payroll fraud and cheque tampering are the two most common fraud cases out of 2,400 instances of fraud globally. Moreover, cheque tampering is considered the most costly type of fraud case, with companies incurring a median cost of approximately USD158,000 per instance! Additionally, the study also reported that the occurrence of cheque tampering and payroll fraud were twice as common in small organisations as opposed to large organisations.

Related reading: Using Technology for other HR Functions Besides Payroll

However, payroll fraud can take any form – from creating a ghost employee to photographing cheques with a smartphone for deposit purposes. Moreover, organisations of all sizes are susceptible to the various types of payroll fraud. This could ultimately result in hefty revenue losses, sky-high legal fees, reputation damage and in worst cases, closure of a business.

Nevertheless, there are various strategies that can be implemented to combat payroll fraud. Here are some ways that can help to prevent and detect payroll fraud.

1. Payroll analytics reports

Engaging a payroll outsourcing vendor to help generate audit and payroll analytics report can assist in spotting any fraudulent activity and ghost employees. For instance, it can help to identify any duplicate employees or analyse monthly overtime pay or employee claims.

2. Direct salary deposits through a vendor

Most small businesses might still be issuing traditional salary cheques to employees. Disbursing salary to employees through a vendor might mitigate risks of unapproved or unauthorised wire transfers. While it might impose additional costs to the organisation, it could help reduce the number of hefty losses due to payroll frauds in the long run.

3. Beef up security on the payroll system

Employees in the payroll department should impose strict security and password protocols. Access to the payroll department should be controlled and printers as well as copiers should be kept in secured areas. Similarly, organisations that engage a payroll vendor should reach out to find out about their payroll system security protocols as well.

As mentioned, all companies are prone to payroll fraud, from both internal and external sources. As the payroll schemes continue to evolve, organisations should always be on the ball to defend against fraudulent activity by understanding the potential weaknesses within their payroll processes or systems. That way, organisations can always be one step ahead in preventing opportunities for these perpetrators to commit payroll crimes.

Claim your free trial. Start drafting legal documents with Dragon Law today.

This is a guest post from RenQun Huang at Gpayroll
Want to read more articles related to payroll, HR & technology? Visit us at Gpayroll

3 Gigantic Signs You’re a Cruel Boss and How to Change It

October 10, 2017

Let me set this straight. It’s not your employees; it’s YOU. The problem is with YOU, the boss!

I bet you swore to yourself that when the time comes where you’re already the boss, you will do things in a different manner. Let’s face it. We have so many things in mind that we want to do when we’re already the one managing people. And luckily, that time came in your life – you’re already the boss.

Of course, no one started their career wanting to be a monstrous boss. You perhaps even planned to reward the set of people who perform well or to rent a whole beach resort for your company’s founding anniversary.

But how can you even make all your plans possible when the phone rings every single minute, emails are popping now and then, and clients are threatening to cancel the deal with you? Can you still maintain your cool even when every single thing that’s happening in the workplace seems to push your buttons?

With all that’s going on, do you even have the energy and most importantly the time to think about implementing all of the plans you have for the company and think about how to be  a compassionate boss?

I know you would probably tell us this: “Imagine how hard it is to balance everything – the success of the company, the employees’ jobs, which includes those that complain about their jobs and those you want to fire, and retaining the clients?”

But if you agree with the things written above, congratulations, you just turned out to be the person you promised yourself you would never be.

A perfect job is not only about a competitive salary package or doing what you’re passionate about, but it also has to have a peaceful working environment and a boss that understands his employees.

However, not all companies have this overall complete package. Whether we admit it or not, this will affect our employees’ attitude towards work and may even make our employees want to quit their jobs.

So, in this article, we gathered three signs of being a horrible boss and how to correct it. Check this out and do a self-assessment afterward.

1. You’re scaring everyone (even the delivery boy from the courier).

You’ve seen these things in the movies or TV. You know, when everyone laughs so much at your joke that even you think it’s stupid. Also, do you notice that whenever you pass through the hallway, everyone stops talking and goes back to their cubicles even if they’re discussing the marketing plan they’ll present to you a little moment from now?

Stop being clueless! If this happens frequently, then you just turned out to be the horrible boss you had despised before you became a person who manages people.

What you have to do is to assure your employees that you’re a very approachable person. There are bad days, for sure, but make them understand that whenever you go through these days, they can still come freely inside your office if they need clarifications or have suggestions.

2. You noticed that the workers in the company are busier whenever you are around.

You’ll surely see this when you’re checking the CCTV. Some employees may be gathering in a circle and laughing, and when you go out to check them, they seem to go back to their desks and pretend that they’re busy. Sometimes, you also notice that they are already making huge decisions without consulting you first.

They don’t think you’re incompetent. Of course, you wouldn’t be a boss without your skills. They are just scared of asking questions since you’re a horrible boss. What do you expect? Do you expect that they would still approach you even if your mood swings are just as horrifying as you are?

What you can do is to try making small talk with your employees. Build relationships with them. If you have time, join them for lunch. Or better yet, treat your whole team to lunch and dinner. Show appreciation for their hard work. Show them that you value everything they’ve done for the entire team.

You can also stage a team building exercise where you can bond with your employees. A team building exercise is a good way to build trust within the team. Another way is to go into a huddle on Monday mornings and check in your employees. Ask them about their weekend activities. It’s a good way to prep them for the grind ahead. Or you could do it on Fridays, after a tiring week of work. Treat your employees to a dinner or night out to unwind and cool down.

By creating such opportunities for interaction, you’re creating a personal connection with them. This makes it easy for them to open up to you and see you as a friendly and approachable manager.

3. You’re threatening your employees, and you think it’s motivation.

Telling your employee that if you lose this client, you’ll fire him, or telling them that if any employee arrives late (for the first time) will merit a 3-day suspension without pay, is not a good way of motivating your employee. If you do these acts, then guess what, you just became “that” boss.

Motivation comes in different forms. It may be either a bonus, commission, paid vacation leave or even a commendation. One concrete example is to give them constant feedback, be it good or encouraging or critical. Either way, an employee will know which aspect of his work he or she needs to improve.

Acknowledging your employee’s achievements is also a potent moral-booster. Don’t hesitate to congratulate your employee whenever he or she does something good that benefits the whole team and the company. Let your employees know that you appreciate and value the things they have done for you, the team and the company.

Related reading: 5 ways to incentivise employees without burning a hole in your pocket

Don’t forget the power of communication. Good communication is everything. It’s the first step towards transparency and a harmonious work relationship with your employees. For instance, you can greet your employees every morning or bid them goodbye after work. It will show that you’re a boss who knows his or her way around people.

What’s best is to use the other forms of motivation just like those mentioned above. Choosing the latter will not only scare your employees. In some instances, it may also damage their passion for their job, and worse, they might quit. Losing people is never good.

Takeaway

Becoming a boss is never easy, and no one said it is. You’ve got a wide array of responsibilities, and you need to play different roles: a boss, a friend, a shock absorber, a HR personnel, and sometimes a guidance counselor.

Aside from that, you also have to think about the future of the company, the jobs of your employees, and the business of your clients. But instead of taking it as an opportunity to scold and scare everyone in the office, why not take it as a challenge to be the boss you’ve always dreamed of becoming?

Be the person who clears away tension in the workplace, not the one starting it.

 

Author Bio

This is a guest post submitted by Patrick Panuncillon, and edited by Dragon Law.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Dragon Law may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view. Learn more about guest blogging for Dragon Law here.

As an entrepreneur, Patrick Panuncillon has years of experience in SEO campaign management and he’s the heart and brain of LinkVista Digital Inc., a digital marketing and online solutions company in the Philippines. He also has an excellent track record in entrepreneurship. Patrick handled several campaigns for local and international companies. He also loves to help and guide young people to become effective leaders in their field.

Using Technology For Other HR Functions Besides Payroll

October 8, 2017

Unsurprisingly, most people think that HR technology simply means enhancing payroll with technological tools. With the buzz around Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) or cloud-based payroll, there is no denying that technology has certainly streamlined and enhance payroll processes by leaps and bounds. However, there are other numerous HR functions that actually adopt technological tools to help optimise operations and improve efficiency. Here are other HR functions besides payroll whereby technology have a significant impact on.

Recruitment

Before the internet, recruiters have to rely on print publications such as newspapers or job flyers to advertise and get prospects for open positions. With the rise of networking applications such as LinkedIn and JobStreet, this is has certainly made recruiting much more effective. Not only does it help recruiters to reach out to a wider pool of candidates, it helps them narrow down to specific talents pools for the various job positions as well.

Related reading: Optimise your hiring process: A guide for small businesses

Data Storage and Retrieval

Given the number of employees that HR has to handle, it is expected that there would be a considerable amount of paperwork involved. Moreover, the HR department also have to keep most of these paperwork on file for a considerable period of time. Thanks to cloud-based applications, there is no longer the problem of “lack of storage space”. Technology has made it extremely easy for HR professionals to store large amounts of employees’ data online and easily retrieve this information whenever possible. Moreover, with the advancements in cyber security, the HR department can easily set up a strong online security system to prevent other employees from snooping around to gain access to these confidential information.

Training

Information technology has made it possible for HR professionals to train new and existing employees in a more efficient manner. The ability to access company information and training materials from remote locations eliminates the need for HR trainers to travel down just for a one hour session explaining the company’s HR policies. Moreover, the option of virtual classrooms makes it easier for the HR professional to train a large number of employees quickly and assess their progress through computerized testing programs as well.

Related reading: 5 top tips for onboarding new hires

Performance Management

Enhanced performance management is another by-product of technological improvements in the HR space. A formal employee review every half a year is fast becoming obsolete. HR professionals are now using software to assess employee performance and collect real-time employee feedback for the betterment of the company. Additionally, there are various software programs that allow HR professionals to analyse employee performance on a more granular level using metrics. This then helps the HR department to determine if employees are meeting the performance standards.

With properly deployed technology within the HR department, companies can reap the benefits of improved efficiency and lower costs. Additionally, it is key for employees to also equip themselves with the necessary technological skills in order to thrive in the digital age that we now live in. With a proper technology strategy within the HR department, it can in turn help the company to stay solvent in the tech-drive future.

Claim your free trial. Start drafting legal documents with Dragon Law today.

This is a guest post from RenQun Huang at Gpayroll
Want to read more articles related to payroll, HR & technology? Visit us at Gpayroll

3 tips for managing your virtual office

Once your business establishes itself in one market, your next step as an entrepreneur is to think about expanding your business into new markets. This is important for the survival of your business especially when you hail from a country with a small market. Governments around the world are also realising the importance of supporting businesses in expanding internationally, as evident from the SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF) in Hong Kong and the International Partnership Fund in Singapore.

Related reading: International Growth: Getting It Right

Regardless of whether your expansion efforts are supported by government grants, regionalisation can be a costly effort. One way to manage the costs of expansion is to set up a virtual office, instead of renting a physical space in every new country that you enter. A virtual office refers to an office that operates primarily online.  There are various benefits to operating from a virtual office, including reduced operating costs and therefore reduced risk as you test a new market. Giving your employees the flexibility of working remotely can also improve employee happiness.

1. Ensure that your company projects a professional image

While not having a physical office is increasingly common today, it is important to ensure that the lack of physical operations in a country does not compromise your image. For a start, ensure that you have a proper corporate mailing address. As a professional business, you would need to have a mailing address so that you can receive mail and showcase your credibility as a business.

It is also good to get a dedicated local telephone number as well as a live receptionist. Having a live person answer incoming calls, as well as manage appointments and correspondence, demonstrates your commitment to potential clients. Even if you wish to save costs by skipping on a dedicated receptionist, ensure that there is an employee in your new team whose job scope involves managing phone enquiries.

2. Set up strong processes to build communication, coordination & culture

Having a virtual office means that your employees may not have as much face time and opportunities to interact with others in the business. It is therefore important that you put in place platforms and processes that ensure your team members have the opportunities to collaborate when the need arises. While many companies have great tools that allow them to videoconference or collaborate on shared documents, the problem is that many companies focus too much on technology and not enough on process. According to a Harvard Business Review study, three core principles are essential for the success of remote work:

  1. Communication: This refers to the ability to exchange information. As remote teams have less face-to-face interaction, there are less opportunities to read social cues and this may lead to misunderstandings and conflict. The solution is to match the message with the medium. Small, non-urgent requests can be handled via e-mail, instant messaging, or work messaging platforms such as Slack. On the other hand, in order to communicate complex or personal information where it is important to observe body language, a platform like videoconferencing is ideal.
  2. Coordination: This refers to the ability to work toward a common goal. It is all the more important when team members are not physically collocated for managers to clearly articulate shared goals, assign roles and responsibilities, develop detailed project plans, and set performance metrics. These should be documented on easily accessible platforms such as Basecamp or Asana.
  3. Culture: This refers to the shared customs that foster trust and engagement. In order to establish trust between coworkers, it may be beneficial to have new hires spend at least a week at your company’s HQ to develop an understanding of the company’s culture before returning to work remotely. If this is not possible, create online platforms such as a #watercooler channel within your team’s Slack platform for casual conversations or for team members to share little accomplishments.

Adapted from Harvard Business Review

While managing a virtual office can be challenging, keeping a focus on the three core elements of communication, coordination and culture will go a long way in building a cohesive virtual team.

3. Plan a strategy for leveraging the cloud   

Now that you don’t have a physical office space to store your documents, you will have to look into digital storage options. Many businesses have now moved onto cloud storage. The key benefits include increased business agility, more flexible capacity and faster adoption of new technology. Common cloud storage options include Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.

Related reading: Is the cloud safe?

However, companies that take an ad hoc approach to cloud services may miss out on many of the cloud’s benefits. It is thus important for companies to devise a clear strategy for leveraging the cloud. The following three-stage process is a helpful framework for making effective use of the cloud:

  1. Define at the outset how the cloud will support your company. Think about which applications and processes will be moved onto it and which cloud infrastructure will best need your company’s needs.
  2. Migrate your applications onto a cloud environment in a disciplined way. This requires a fundamental understanding of the application itself, what it is supporting and the business services it is delivering.
  3. Embrace the agile approach to project management. The agile approach aims to achieve small goals quickly and is better suited to fast-moving technology projects.

One way to maximise the benefits of the cloud is to enable integrations. Much online software for a range of business processes, such as accounting and legal, also have integrations with cloud storage options. For instance, cloud-based accounting software Xero has a range of apps that connect with Xero. This allows you to use different apps for various parts of your workflow while ensuring that all your online tools are an integrated part of a larger system.

Here at Dragon Law, we have developed a range of integrations to make sure that managing your legal needs is more seamlessly connected to other business processes.  Our Xero Integration allows you to easily generate invoices from certain documents, thus saving you time and reducing data entry. You can enable also the Google Drive Integration and OneDrive Integration in your Dragon Law account.  

Claim your free trial. Start drafting legal documents with Dragon Law today.

Do you have any tips for managing a virtual office?

Share with us in the comments below!

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