Support Your Employees with Top Tech Tools

Employees can sometimes find technology at work more of a hindrance than a help. They might not feel too confident using the tools that they’re given or they might feel that they’re just not necessary to get their work done. If you want your employees to feel like the technology you choose for them supports them instead of getting in their way, you need to know what sort of choices will make them happy. When you’re choosing technology for your business, you should pick tools that will help to make your employees’ jobs easier. Make sure you ask for their feedback to choose tech that will support them.

Improve the Recruitment Process

Before you even have your employees through the door, you can start off on the right foot. If you have the right tools for recruitment, you can immediately help them to feel that they will make the right choice by working for you. There are a few tech tools that will help you to make the recruitment process better for your candidates. For example, using video interviews can speed up recruitment so that there’s less chance of candidates dropping out or getting job offers from elsewhere before you can get to them. You can also make recruitment easier for existing employees who are involved in the process.

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Help Your Employees Be Mobile

Mobile working helps to keep your employees engaged, but you need to get the right balance. While it’s good to help your employees work from anywhere in the office or out in the field, and even at home, you have to be careful not to be too intrusive. They don’t want to be interrupted by notifications from work when they’re trying to eat dinner with their family. But they might want to be able to check in while on a business trip or still access all the information they need while in a meeting room, instead of at their desk.

Encourage Working Collaboratively

Most of your employees need to work together as a team at some point. Working collaboratively can be much easier with tech but you need to choose the right tools to really deliver a better experience. If you choose the wrong tools, they can end up leading to miscommunication or too many intrusive notifications, as well as confusion over who is doing what. You should work with your employees to find tools that work for them and help to make their work easier. There are plenty of collaborative tools to choose from that allow everything from task scheduling to collaborative working on a document.

Use Gamification for Training

Training can be extremely boring for employees. Even if they’re interested in learning something new, the process of doing it can still feel tedious. One way that technology can help is by using gamification to make training more fun. Gamification gives training stories, goals and objectives and rewards. It turns training into something that’s more like a game and a challenge so that employees feel like they have something to strive for. It helps to break down large tasks into smaller ones too. Training can become a friendly competition and a fun activity that everyone want to do.

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Speed Up HR

HR tends not to be the most popular department among employees. Many people feel that HR policies get in the way of them doing them work, and they don’t feel that HR is there to support them. Technology can help to make a difference in various ways, partly be simply making sure that the HR department is doing its job properly. The right HR software can help you to set up HR automation processes and manage all employee documents throughout any employees whole time with the company. By choosing software suitable for your company, you can be more supportive of employees and be more productive too.

Use Health Technology to Boost Wellness

Many companies are interested in how to support their employees’ health. They recognize that helping their employees to be healthy means that they can prevent too much time off work due to sickness and improve performance at work too. Technology can help employers to support the health and wellness of their employees. For example, there are apps that employees can use which give them coaching tips on how to lead healthier lifestyles. Tech can provide the support that employees need to stay healthy not just physically but also mentally.

Give Real-time Feedback

The annual or six-monthly performance review is a well-known occurrence in many workplaces. However, some employees feel that these reviews are spaced too far apart. It’s not an uncommon occurrence for an employee to think they’re doing just fine, and then be surprised by some big issues raised at their performance review. Instead, employers should think about how to offer more consistent feedback so that issues can be corrected more quickly. Not only can you get tools for providing real-time feedback to employees, but you can allow them to offer feedback in the other direction too.

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Improve the Workplace for Disabled Employees

Making the workplace more accessible for disabled employees helps to make your workplace more diverse and ensure you’re utilizing the skills and experience of everyone with something to offer your company. The are various tools that you can use to improve accessibility. For example, screen and document magnifiers help people with visual impairments, and so can screen readers.

Automate Customer Service

Automation can often improve productivity, but often it’s about working alongside technology, not just replacing people with it. For example, you can improve your customer service by introducing chatbots. These aren’t a replacement for human customer service representatives, but a tool to help them do their jobs better. Chatbots can take care of the routine questions, and customer service representatives can take over when someone needs extra help. People and tech can work together, and the people get more time to spend on other things.

Technology can provide support for your employees, instead of getting in the way of their work. Work with them to find the tools that are useful to them.

3 Reasons To Consider Starting A Medical Business

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If you believe that your future lies in entrepreneurship, arguably the most critical decision you will have to make is the type of business you will start. Common advice suggests that it’s always best to start a business based on your existing skill set; for example, if you are a digital marketer, then you should open a digital marketing agency.

While the above advice is generally sound, to follow it, you have to have an existing skill set that transfers well to business – and for many people, this is a real downside. If you’ve yet to develop a niche skill set, or you’re looking to start a business in order to escape your existing skill set and do something entirely different, doing “what you know” is not a viable choice. Instead, you have to focus on finding a business idea that may be based in an unfamiliar sector, but which is likely to generate the success you have been hoping for – which essentially means you have the entire business world to choose from.

There is, however, one particular type of business that you may wish to consider: the medical sector. Here’s why.

#1 – Your business will always be needed

A simple point, but nevertheless crucial: where there are people, medical businesses will always have their place in the world. Whether you choose to look into opening a single medical clinic, or think big and imagine a time when you run a hospital, you can always be sure that there will be people ready and waiting to use your company in order to access essential medical care.

#2 – Your business can benefit from constant advances

The medical world is constantly evolving. No matter how good a test, a device, or a treatment is, there will always be something new. Whether it’s through incision-less surgeries, new side-effect free medications, electronic record keeping, or mobile computer carts hospital and clinic staff can use to access information at the point of care, your business will always be able to access exciting innovations that will only make life easier and more successful in future. Millions of people around the world are, right now, working on products and ideas that will improve healthcare; and your business can benefit from this incredible collective effort in order to achieve success.

#3 – Your business is inherently rewarding

Times have changed since the 1980s and their “greed is good” philosophy, and more and more entrepreneurs are seeking to ensure that their business is good for them, but also the world. If you want to ensure that your business satisfies this criterion, then the medical industry is just about the best option available, allowing you to play a role in delivering the single most fundamental human need. If you’re looking for a rewarding business, you really can’t do much better than a medical practice.

To conclude

Hopefully, the above points have helped to showcase why a medical business could be the right choice for you – even if you don’t have any medical experience or qualifications at all. The doctors, nurses, and experts you hire can take care of the medical side, while you can focus your business mind on ensuring all runs smoothly behind the scenes.

How Technology Is Changing The Face Of Policing

Technology moves fast and robotics and artificial intelligence are set to change our lives in so many different ways. People are already using artificial intelligence in their homes in the form of assistants like Google Home or Amazon Echo, which can control all manner of smart devices around the house. There are big leaps in robotics happening at the moment and, while we’re still a long way off having a personal robot butler in the house, the technology is being developed. These advancements are surely going to completely change the way that we live our lives on a day to day basis, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

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Artificial intelligence has been adopted by so many different industries and organizations to streamline operations and change the way that they operate. The police are one of the organizations that are benefiting most from artificial intelligence at the moment and it looks set to alter the way that they investigate crimes and pursue criminals in so many different ways. There have already been cases that used evidence taken from an Amazon Echo and a Fitbit. All of this technology is in its early stages still so we can’t be sure exactly what the long term effects will be but there is no doubt that it will change the face of policing forever.

This is usually seen as a good thing because the police can use this technology to find criminals faster and bring them to justice, but there is a lot of debate around it. In the wake of revelations about social media sites like Facebook misusing personal data, the issue of privacy is a hot topic. A lot of people fear that advancements in artificial intelligence will lead to stronger police surveillance and more invasions of privacy. The law has not yet caught up with recent developments in technology and that is a big problem.

Whatever your views on artificial intelligence and robotics in the police force, there’s no denying that it’s going to be an important change. These are just some of the potential ways that the police could make use of artificial intelligence and robotics.

Predictive Policing

Predictive policing is a very important part of the justice system that aims to stop crimes before they happen. That means monitoring known criminals to see whether they are likely to reoffend and using evidence to uncover planned crimes and stop them before they are carried out. Traditionally, this work is carried out by trained professionals with a bachelor’s in criminology who have a good understanding of how the mind of a criminal works. It’s up to them to look at evidence and intelligence and try to predict the actions of criminals. There is always going to be a place for that human touch, but artificial intelligence can really help here.

Predictive policing often involves the analysis of a huge amount of raw data and that’s difficult for a human to do on their own. But artificial intelligence will be able to do it faster and more effectively to some extent. However, current artificial intelligence cannot recreate the human mind exactly and we don’t yet know whether it will ever be able to. It can help police identify patterns in the evidence but it cannot understand how a person thinks. Identifying those patterns is particularly useful when trying to identify serial criminals because artificial intelligence can pick up on similar traits that appear in different crimes.

Artificial intelligence is also useful when it comes to monitoring previous offenders. It can help police to gauge how likely somebody is to commit another crime based on all of the available data. However, there are some big problems with this technology at the moment. A police force in the UK have already started using it but the results were very skewed. It identified minorities as being a far higher risk than white offenders, regardless of whether the other evidence suggested that was the case. But this technology is still in its infancy and hopefully, it will be able to come up with more accurate predictions in the future.

Robocop

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When the movie Robocop was released, people probably didn’t think that it was going to become a reality, but it has in a way. You don’t have a robot policeman walking around ruthlessly killing criminals without question, but police robots are a thing. In Dubai, there are already robotic policemen patrolling the streets. They’re programmed to read facial expressions and they have a built in camera that sends a feed back to the police station so they can identify any wanted criminals that are out on the streets. They also have a touch screen on them so members of the public can easily report crimes. Most of them are deployed in tourist areas and act more as a deterrent than anything else. Arrests are still left to the human officers at the moment but that could change in the future when robotics technology is more advanced. Dubai has plans to make a quarter of their police force up with robot officers by 2030.

Now that the technology is there, it’s likely that other countries are going to follow suit at some point and start using robots in their police forces as well. The major benefit of this is that it puts more police officers on the streets and it’s more cost effective. That means robots can deal with a lot of the basic stuff, freeing up the time of human officers to deal with more serious crimes.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is a great piece of technology that has had a huge impact on the tech industry, but police are making use of it as well. By filming crime scenes and recreating them in augmented reality, police officers that are not available in person can still help with the investigation. This is a massive help in the face of funding and manpower issues in police forces around the world.

We can’t be sure exactly how artificial intelligence and robotics will change policing because we’re on the cusp of a technological revolution, but there’s no doubt that it will have a massive impact.

5 Ways To Make Your Home Into A Safe Haven

Superheroes have all one thing in common – aside from the cape and the skin-tight costume that nobody in the whole universe would be able to wear comfortably. They keep people like you and me safe.

You know that with a Batman or a Superman in town, you would feel a whole lot safer at night than you already do. Unfortunately, if there’s one thing we’ve all learned from adulting here and there, it’s that superheroes don’t exist in the way of the Marvel comics. Of course, every day, ordinary people continue to do extraordinary things and to prove that the real heroes of today don’t need to wear a cape – or even a uniquely designed crime-fighting outfit. But do they make you feel safe at night?

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In truth, ordinary people make the world a little better with their kindness, their courage, and their generosity. They put others first. They pay for the grocery bills of the single mother. They donate to children’s charities. They help their relatives to pay off their debt. They rescue abandoned puppies. The tales of good samaritans are endless, and it would be unfair not to mention the difference they make to the world. Nevertheless, you know in your heart that a good samaritan a superhero does not make. Their good deeds can give us all faith in humanity. Knowing that a single mom will be able to feed her children tonight or that a small and hungry puppy has found a caring foster parent doesn’t exactly make you feel safe at home. Safety doesn’t come from a place of kindness and good. It comes from a place of practical and smartly-thought solutions.  

#1. Add security solutions

There is no place like home. It’s a sanctuary of peace and coziness you build for your family and yourself. Homeowners all over the world report that they consider their home to be the one place they can truly let go and be themselves. Now imagine waking up in the middle of the night. You hear a loud sound coming from downstairs. You’re too scared to leave your bedroom. So, as quietly as you can, you dial 999 and whisper your address on the phone.

‘Please,’ you say ‘I think there are burglars in my home.’

And, as soon as the siren echoes in your street, you hear anxious footsteps running away. The burglars are gone. With them, your home cinema, your stereo, your gaming station and even the charger to your camera. They’ve left dirty footprints all over the floor. The police tell you they’ll do their best to find the culprits. In the meantime, you struggle with your insurance cover to get compensation. More importantly, you feel as if your safe and cozy bubble has been violated. You can’t sleep at night anymore. You wake up each time you hear a car driving down your road. Unfortunately, there’s no Batman to call to the rescue. But a home security system can not only help you to identify burglars and inform the police in real time, but it can also deter criminal activities. After all, your safety is worth a few smart CCTV cameras.

#2. Secure the foundation in unsturdy soils

Did you know that the soil beneath your home might not be as stable and sturdy as you first thought? Indeed, when the ground becomes unstable, your home is at risk of serious structural issues. Poor drainage and heavy precipitation are notoriously harmful to both the foundation of your property and the overall condition of the structure, as it can affect the building materials. Another common risk is for homeowners who have fallen in love with an old property; as additional extensions and equipment can dramatically increase the weight on the foundation and lead to instability. You can use rammed aggregate piers to strengthen your foundation in such buildings. Similarly, the piers can also bring the necessary stabilization in poor and soft soil.

#3. Reconsider your firewall needs

There is no Internet without firewall protection. For anybody who grew up in the late 90s and early 2000s, you’re probably used to surf the online world with your firewall on. The problem about firewalls, however, is that they’re designed to keep your data and devices safe from unwanted and criminal access. When, in the old days, your firewall acted as a shield to block Trojan Horse virus attacks from suspicious ports before they occurred, the 21st century has brought new data privacy risks that your good old firewall can’t tackle. Hackers can easily gain access to your smart home system data and learn your routine for future references – think something along the line of smart burglary. In other words, if you haven’t upgraded your firewall to be as smart as modern cybercriminals, your home will never be safe.

#4. Make room for your greens

Don’t you feel safe at home, watching the gray clouds of pollution surrounding the traffic? Thankfully, you can breathe freely at home. Or can you really?

In reality, indoor pollution has been ignored for too long. While it’s unlikely to cause sudden death, it can lead to respiratory illnesses, concentration and mood issues, as well as a shortened life expectancy. Where does it all come from? Indoor air pollution is the combination of dust, vapors of chemical products, synthetic fragrances, paints, carpet, toxic material compounds, etc. Every household has some level of indoor pollution, which you can address by introducing air purifying houseplants.

#5. Check for water infiltration

From a recurring cough to a room that can never get warm, water can affect both your health and your home structure. Water infiltration is one of the most common causes for mold patches and asthma in modern homes. Indeed, temperature variations throughout the year can encourage external cracks and let water in. Similarly, the lack of drainage maintenance or material research can also aggravate issues. However, too many water leaks remain unnoticed by homeowners as they occur in between walls, under the roof or in any other inaccessible areas. Keep your eyes open to keep your home safe!

When Batman doesn’t answer your calls, you need to take your home safety into your own hands. A safe home is about keeping unwanted guests away, from criminals – cyber or not – to air pollution and cracking structures. Your safety needs work.

10 Ways to Improve Your Work/Life Balance

When it comes to improving your work life this new year, what it really comes down to is improving your efficiency, as whilst many people focus on the term ‘productivity’ the underlying principle that drives productivity is efficiency.

Productivity is essentially about producing output, whereas efficiency pertains to the speed at which you produce output – therefore the two are intrinsically linked.  In this article we’re going to take a look at some of the best ways to improve your work/life balance.

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1. GET REALLY CLEAR ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION

The first step is to clearly define where it is you want to be – after all, unless you know precisely where you are wanting to go it will be very hard to get there in the most efficient way.  Unfortunately, many people live their life without a true sense of purpose and direction, which makes it very hard to get to where they want to be.

If you imagine a car trying to drive to a destination – the first thing you need to do is work out where that destination is, and then you can plan an efficient route… but without a clear idea of where is “there” for you, there’s a good chance you will spend a lot of time running around in circles like a headless chicken… or perhaps putting a lot of energy into things, but it will be like treading water rather than swimming toward your final goal.

Therefore, get really clear on what it is you want to achieve; whether it is a promotion or a more flexible working life where you can work from home on flexi-time.

2.  CHUNK IT DOWN

Just like how a college course is chunked down into modules, you need to chunk your goal down into manageable bitesize pieces.  This way you won’t feel overwhelmed. One of the worst emotional states you can be in, with regard to productivity, is that of overwhelm.  

The challenge when you feel overwhelmed is that it has a tendency to paralyse your productivity – most people, when they feel overwhelmed tend to want to put their head back under the sheets and do not feel motivated to jump out of bed and start their day.

3.  PLAN AN EFFICIENT ROUTE

Think of how a GPS system plans out the most efficient  route for you to get from where you are to where you want to be.  You now need to do the same for yourself. See, whilst many of the proceeding tips will be about practical  ways you can improve your work life balance, for instance getting a free phone number and using a virtual assistant to answer calls there are a few fundamental first steps required.

The steps we have covered so far are that of getting really clear on your destination, chunking down the goal into manageable chunks to avoid the paralysis people feel when they procrastinate as a result of feeling overwhelmed… and, now, the importance of planning an efficient route.

This means looking at the key tasks that need to be completed in the sense of the most important and fundamental tasks that will help you get to where you want to go – the trick, then, is to focus most of your attention and effort in the areas that are going to propel you forward the most.

4. STOP BEING A PERFECTIONIST

Perfectionism is one of the most chronic emotional states and mental patterns people face, in the modern world, rooted in the fear of not being good enough.  The challenge, is that perfectionism is like a prison that paralyses you from taking the necessary action required to change your life – it keeps you stuck.

Often, you’ll find perfectionists are very intelligent people that feel an insatiable, almost obsessive, need to produce such ridiculously high quality outputs that they end up never getting anything done; often leading to a state of  despair and low self-confidence, they start to see themselves as incapable, which adds to the downward spiral of perfectionism.

The antidote to perfectionism is to realise that nothing in life is ‘perfect’ there’s always room for improvement… and to free yourself from the shackles of trying to create the finished  article by adopting the more Japanese like philosophy of Kaizen, which is the idea of never ending improvement.

Indeed, when you consider something like the iPhone, once upon a time, that was viewed by people as a miraculous solution – whereas, in reality, it wasn’t finished, it was never complete as it remains improving through various stages of iteration.  The point being that perfectionism is a myth, and it’s like chasing the bottom of the rainbow – you’re going to live a life full of frustration.

It’s much better to adopt the approach of something being “good enough for now” and to then work at making it even better.  The trick is, as Nike says, to “just do it”… otherwise, you’ll look back on your life and think about all the things that could have been but never were.

5. OUTSOURCE TIME CONSUMING TASKS

There are many domestic tasks that are very time consuming, yet necessary, and often we find ourselves investing a lot of our precious time doing things such as cleaning the house or going to the supermarket.

In the film “About a Boy” Hugh Grant plays a character that discusses how he breaks down his time into units, for instance, going for a haircut, might be one unit of time, whereas doing a class in gym might be two units.  It can be a good idea to do an inventory, just for one week, to track where each of your half hour units of time go.

In doing this, you’ll find you spend a surprising amount of time driving, in the bathroom, watching TV, cleaning, and shopping.  Whilst you can’t outsource the time spent in the bathroom, you can cut down on the time spent watching TV and can certainly outsource tasks such as shopping and cleaning.

If you consider that your time is worth X amount per hour, the question you need to ask is that is X is, say $30 per hour, then would it not make sense to hire a cleaner for a couple of hours a week at $15 per hour – thus freeing your time to be more productive with your business?

A lot of people are reluctant to pay for things they can do themselves, yet, when you break this down into simple economics, it actually makes a lot more sense to pay people to do certain tasks so that your time is freed up to earn more revenue.

Similarly, there are dog walkers and even people who will go to the supermarket and get your groceries… yet, in reality, online shopping seems to fulfil that purpose with greater efficiency than hiring someone.

6. ORGANIZE YOUR TIME

We often live in reaction rather than response.  This means we have a feeling of running around, chasing our tail, sometimes like a headless chicken – putting fires out… rather than consciously creating our day and not letting ourselves get distracted.

Starting the day with a sense of purpose; working out what your highest goal and most significant task to achieve is can be a great way to organize your time, as this way, you can work backwards.

For instance, if you know that a particular aspect of content needs to be taken care of as your most important task, then you can focus on this – batting away distractions, such as emails and social media notifications.  It’s like a ship with a destination in mind; you are moving toward the direction of your goal – rather than being steered off course by the tide.

Therefore, when it comes to organising your time, it’s about first working out what are your most important tasks for the day, then, what are the necessary tasks, that might not move you particularly close to your goal but are necessary.  This way, it’s like defining the boulders of focus, the stones that are necessary, and seeing everything else as pebbles that must fit around the boulders and stones.

7. RELY ON A TEAM

If you have a business, then it’s imperative you start relying on a team of competent people to help you achieve your goals.  Today, this doesn’t need to be a physical team of people in a physical location – it can be virtual assistants that work remotely from all over the world; which provide the added benefit of flexibility and less administrative burden.

8.  THE PARETO PRINCIPLE

The Pareto Principle suggests 20% of our activities will account for 80% of our desired outcome.  This means that 20% of the tasks on your to-do list are worth a huge amount of your attention, as these produce the most significant results.

The first step, is to work out what these priority tasks are, and then focus on the 20% of tasks that generate 80% of the results – as this will move you much closer to your goals at a much greater speed.

9.  USE LISTS

The world’s most successful people tend to use lists for everything.  There are a wide variety of apps available to help with this, such as Wunderlist, that can help you keep track of your most important tasks.  There’s something psychologically rewarding about ticking items off of your to-do list as this builds momentum, in that if you’ve ticked 3 out of 5 of your items off that list for the day, then you feel very motivated to get the other two finished.

10.  PRIORITISE DOWN TIME

Even the fittest of athletes require rest in order to perform at their best – so make sure you prioritize having enough rest, on a daily basis in terms of sleep and relaxation, but also in terms of having a weekend  and vacation from time to time. This down time will replenish you and make you much sharper when you are working.