New Government-Backed Rating System Promotes Sit-Stand Desks for Healthier Workplaces

Developed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fitwel, a new workplace design standard seeks to improve office health and productivity through improvements in design and policy. The government certification analyzes and assesses facilities designed for work for well-being and health benefits including indoor air quality, well-being enhancements for employees, such as implementing sit stand workstations,  and even evaluating the overall design of the building itself. Fitwel will be used as a standard for new federal government construction projects.

Office workers Spend 5 Hours a Day at their Desk

New evidence shows that alternating between standing and sitting at your desk throughout the work day improves circulation and energy.  The design of the Lotus Sit-Stand allows for easier transition from sitting to standing positions.

Lotus Sit Stand Workstation  sit

In a recent poll by American City & County, 53% of government office workers agreed that standing desks boost productivity.

How Experts View the Value of Sit Stand Desks

Workplace Trends expert Jonathan Webb sees sit stand technology as a practical and healthy part of the new standard.  “The cost of sit-stand desks continues to drop as the product becomes more popular worldwide. The cost delta between sit-stand and static desks has dropped over 50 percent in recent years. Secondly, organizations see the benefits of allowing workers the ability to sit and stand throughout the day. For one, keeping knowledge workers at their most productive place – their computer – makes for a more productive employee. In addition, there are significant health benefits to altering postures throughout the day, including improved metabolism and heart rates, and reduced blood pressure.” Fitwel hopes  to provide a definitive outline of the essential characteristics of a healthy workplace more clearly for business owners, human resource departments and facility managers.

Learn more about the  Fitwel standard.

Sources: http://americancityandcounty.com/office-equipment/expert-expect-see-more-standing-desks-workplace-2017

 

Why Accountants Need To Review Their Shredder Policy During Tax Season

shredding during tax season

Digital identity theft is the primary concern for most business professionals, including accountants. Yet during tax time, strategic dumpster diving is a common technique used by identity thieves. Focused on dumpsters behind office buildings where accountants and tax preparers conduct business, identity thieves rely on the hectic busy season to create lapses in document-based identity theft prevention.

Shredding Policy Basics

  1. Ensure all employees know what documents must be shredded. Create a list of key documents as reference for all employees.
  2. Shred all documents during working hours. Avoid leaving slush piles of paper to shred while not in the office. Cleaning crews may accidentally toss these papers if they appear as trash.
  3. Ensure shredder bins are emptied regularly. When employees are busy, full shredder bins often lead to documents being set aside to be shredded later, only to be discarded as regular trash.

Choosing a Shredder for an Accounting Office

Select a paper shredder that accommodates the size of the office.  Large, commercial shredders are ideal for any size shared office as they require less frequent emptying. Small office shredders placed by employee desks work well too. Automatic shredding is the latest in shredder technology and allows documents to be safely destroyed even after office hours with computerized settings. Learn more about Automatic Shredding

Make sure to use cross-cut shredders. Strip cut shredders are okay for households, but do not provide adequate document destruction for businesses. Cross-cut shredders grind documents into 5/32” x 1-1/2” cross-cut particles.(Security Level P-4).  For greater peace of mind, consider a micro-cut shredder.

Learn more about shredding security levels

Lax  Tax Document Destruction in the News

 

Sanitizing the Air Against the Most Common Airborne Winter Illnesses

preventing airborne germs with an air purifier

A home air purifier does more than remove odors. By running an air cleaner in the most used rooms on a regular basis during the winter, you minimize some of the common germs floating in your home during the season.

Common cold

A cold is a viral infection marked by runny nose or nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, or headache. The germs are spread through the air and personal contact. Colds are caused by many different types of viruses and can occur year round, although they are most frequent in the winter months. Children often get 10 or more colds per year!  A combination of washing hands, sanitizing common surfaces and air purification help reduce the presence of cold germs.

Influenza

Influenza comes on quickly with high fever, cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches and pains.  Most flu viruses are transmitted by personal contact and airborne respiratory droplets, which means a sneeze or cough can quickly and easily contaminate a closed up home for winter. Along with the annual flu vaccine, keeping hand sanitizer available and running an air purifier with a fresh filter helps reduce the spread of these pesky germs.

Croup

Croup often comes on suddenly in the middle of the night. You may wake up to your child coughing loudly. The croup cough often is described as “barking” or “like a seal”. Croup is caused by viruses that can be spread easily through coughing, sneezing, and respiratory secretions (mucus and droplets from coughing or sneezing). Children with croup should be considered contagious for three days after the illness begins or until the fever is gone. Most likely this infection will be brought home from school. To prevent it from spreading to other kids at home or yourself, air purification in the home and quarantine measures can help minimize the impact of the infection.

Strep Throat

Streptococcal bacteria are highly contagious. They can spread through airborne droplets when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes, or through shared food or drinks. Minimizing contact while the infected person recovers with antibiotics is one preventive measure against the spread of germs. Also, keeping the air clean in their bedroom or in common areas helps as well.

The Best Shredders For a Tax Time Paper Purge

tax time paper purge

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A year end paper purge is the perfect time to think about getting a new shredder. If you allowed that slush pile of old and irrelevant files to become a monumental heap, then your current paper shredder may not be up to the daunting task.

Four Shredder Upgrades That Will Make a Happier New Year

  1. Greater Run Time Shredder

Your smaller, occasional use personal shredder is designed for shredding the daily junk mail, not three years of obsolete records. Your old shredder may overheat and frequent breaks will be required for cooldowns. Shredding could take days!

longer run time shredder

Get a shredder with longer run time so you can shred more and shred longer. This one runs for 30 minutes!

2. Go Automatic

So little time, so much to shred. Standing over your old shredder feeding papers into it seems like a waste of a day.

automatic shredder for home office

Get an automatic shredder and save time. Simply load the drawer, push the button and walk away.

 

3.  A Quieter Paper Shredder

If you’re intent on a major de-clutter of your home office, you may be shredding into the wee hours of the night. That old shredder isn’t getting any quieter.

 

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Get a shredder with silent performance features so you can shred all night without waking the family.

   4A Safer Paper Shredder

Weekends, snow days and kids home sick means your home office may be over run with little ones. You may have to delay your shredding tasks as your old shredder simply isn’t safe to operate around the kids.

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Get a shredder with safety features so you can keep shredding with  peace of mind.

How Tax Preparers Add Extra Security During Tax Time

privacy filter for tax preparers

 

With tax time comes the increased risk of identity theft. Many accountants and tax preparers ramp up their digital security with malware protection, encryption and high security networks. Yet often visual security is overlooked. The tactic of gleaning information from computer screens in a glance is one of many used by the modern hacker.  A privacy filter is the best way to thwart this information hunting expedition.

Why Privacy Filters Are Not Used

In many instances, workers complaint that privacy filters are inconvenient. After all, sometimes it is necessary to show your screen to a coworker and the privacy screen has to be removed and put back on. For this reason, Fellowes created the PrivaScreen Filter with Quick Reveal Tabs, making the screen easier to attach and remove as needed.

Learn more about PrivaScreen:

Financial Professionals at Risk

Accountants in corporate offices are especially vulnerable. Feeling secure in their department, they lower their guard, reviewing sensitive information on their screens at computers that are within visual range of office traffic areas. And the larger the office the better, as unidentified workers from different departments, mailroom workers and building maintenance can wander through without suspicion. Many IT professionals recommend the use of blackout privacy filters on computer screens company wide. Blackout screens conceal visual content when viewed from side angles, while keeping the straight on views completely clear.

Many independent tax preparers, not having the traffic concerns of a busy corporate office are vulnerable as well. With a storefront office and a steady stream of clients during tax time, a quick glimpse at a screen may go unnoticed. Maintaining security with a privacy screen is a simple and effective measure that minimizes the risk for freelance preparers who can’t afford the liability.

Use the Perfect Fit Selector Tool to find the right size to fit your computer screen.

 

Twelve Flexible File Storage Categories for Your Small Business

 

Categories for File Organization

Records storage may seem an incidental part of your small business operation. But flexibility in records management plays an important role in the scale of your business.  Just think of the smaller space of your offices and how a sudden surge in business means more paper records and the need to fill up your limited space with bulky filing cabinets. File boxes offer a more flexible option, as they can be stacked, stored and transported quickly and easily as your business needs change. Providing a box for each category of your business paperwork also creates a self-contained and highly organized file that can moved to a back office or to off-site storage with ease.

Here are twelve box categories to keep your business nimbly organized.

Accounting

Create and fill this box with sales and expense info including balance sheets and cash flow statements.

Banking

This box contains cancelled checks, bank statements, deposit slips and loan documents

Contracts

Keep all of your business contracts in this box including those for equipment leases and purchase agreements. You may also include work-for-hire contacts joint venture agreements.

Corporate Documents

If your business is incorporated you will need a box for articles of incorporation, bylaws and shareholder records such as minutes and consents.

Business Forms

This box is specially essential for accountants and attorneys who use standards forms daily. You may want to include sales agreements, tax forms, purchase order forms and employee applications here.

IPO

If you work with intellectual property, even on a small scale, you need to stay organized. A box containing trademark applications, patents,  licenses and non-disclosure agreements go in this file.

Marketing and Advertising

If you are promoting your business, you will need to keep records of your marketing brochures, past ads for print and web, press releases and other materials.  You may need to refer back to this file as you continue to market your company to see what produced the best ROI.

Permits and Licenses

The documentation to operate your business needs its own file. Use this box to keep operating permits, business licenses and other documents that you may need quick and easy access to for legal verification.

Last Minute Deductions for Your Business

 

office tax deductions

As the new year approaches, it’s a good time to review any office needs so you can add those deductions as business expenses. Here are some suggestions to improve productivity for your workplace while saving money during tax season.

Upgrading Your Office Shredder

Have you noticed that you can’t make a phone call while shredding because it’s so noisy, or perhaps you are constantly tearing jammed paper from the shredder’s jaws. Or when emptying the shredder bin, you notice that the paper isn’t quite shredded, more half-eaten? These are all signs that it is time for a new office shredder.  Upgrade to an office shredder that is jam proof, quiet and sure to turn documents to dust before 2017 starts. Shredder tax deductions.

best size paper shredder

 

Adding New Business Machines to the Office

Every time there is an important presentation and you need fifty bound PowerPoints, your first thought is usually that this is an occasional need so you might as well just take the project to your local print shop for binding. If you find yourself saying this often, then you may be throwing money away on expensive outsourced binding costs when you can do it quickly and easily yourself.

Pick out a reasonably priced binding machine and create impressive presentations for every big meeting. Plus, it’s an easy business write-off. Binding Machine tax deductions.

comb binding for business

The same goes for those pesky laminating tasks you sometimes need. If you calculated all the costs accrued every time when you needed laminated handouts for an event or laminated badges for a trade show, you would realize how much you would save with the minor cost of an office laminating machine, which is tax deductible. Laminating Machine tax deductions.

2015 Starlet2_Plus_P_R

Flexible Storage Solutions

Bankers Box tax deduction

As your business grows, so does the amount of paper records you may have to store. Your initial consideration may be metal filing cabinets, which are bulky and take up a lot of space. But more importantly steel cabinets aren’t flexible, offering solid but rigid records storage.

With Bankers Box file boxes, you can easily add more boxes as your business grows, move them to back rooms or easily take them to outside storage units without a lot of fuss. As some of your files get outdated, you can easily discard unneeded boxes. The perfect storage solution for any small business and an ideal deductible business cost: Bankers Box Tax Deductions.

New Fellowes Brands® Patent Takes Automatic Shredding to the Next Level

Fellowes Brands®  has been granted a patent protecting its unique auto feed shredder technology which improves the automatic paper delivery process for hands-free shredding. The innovation covered by the patent allows for smoother, faster, more reliable processing of paper toward the cutters. This adds to the expansive Fellowes patent portfolio, including more than 50 shredder utility and design issued patents and numerous patent applications.

As a leader and innovator in the shredder category, The Fellowes AutoMax™ line has already been highly successful with the business sector, companies both large and small, who have learned that the automated shredding capabilities of AutoMax are more efficient and contribute to greater productivity in their workplace. One law office user commented: “Very quiet and efficient. Not to mention that it shreds everything with a touch of a button. We had used several other shredders at the office and this one is bar none the best at the price point and for its ease of use. “Others have emphasized the “handsfree” performance.” I had so much shredding it seemed liked a nightmare, standing and feeding a shredder. Now I fill the bin and walk away.” The introduction of this advanced technology will continue to broaden a customer base seeking progressive time-saving approaches to shredding. The new patented circular disk technology is available on the small office/home office auto feed shredders, the AutoMax 130C, 150C and 200C.

Fellowes GIVE Program Brings Holiday Cheer Through its Employees

Fellowes charitable giving

 

The employees of Fellowes achieved greatness this holiday season with numerous acts of giving and support for several of our charity partners.Their efforts created life-changing opportunities for many local and global families in need.

Operation Christmas has been able to provide 79 girls and boys with warm clothing and toys to wear and enjoy…

Hanover Park Adopt-A-Senior was able to provide 150 gifts to 15 seniors who would otherwise not have a present under the tree…

People’s Resource Center in Aurora IL will be able to distribute 10 large boxes of food and other essentials to families to enjoy a nice holiday season.

Feed My Starving Children will be able to deliver 165,000 meals to hungry children throughout the world.

Thanks to all the Fellowes employees who participated.

Santa’s Workshop Increases Productivity for Holiday Season

 

Santa's management strategy

As the Christmas season grows more demanding each year, Santa’s Workshop strives to continually improve efficiency and productivity. New products have been introduced to minimize fatigue and injury in the workshop, as well as streamline the operation overall.

Elves Turn to Ergonomics for Admin Duties

“With a lot of toys, comes a lot of data,” says Santa. “All that information has to be processed.”  In the administrative offices of the workshop, elves complained of back pain, wrist pain and neck strain, leading to lost productivity and days out of the workshop recovering. Santa implemented company-wide back rests for all admin elves as well as the latest in office keyboard managers to reduce incidents of wrist pain.  Also the latest and greatest monitor arms put screens at the proper height and distance from elves to make computing duties easier.

Improving Workshop Air Quality Concerns

“Elves aren’t immune to colds and flu, and being at the North Pole doesn’t help,” Santa indicated. He implemented a commercial air purification system to keep the workshop free of airborne germs. The system features a true HEPA filter, which  captures 99.97% of airborne contaminants including viruses and allergens. The activated carbon filter also reduces odors, which is helpful for those elves stationed near the reindeer stables.

Archiving Past Holidays-Storing Records On-Site at North Pole

As a global one-night only distributor, Santa found reviewing past performance crucial for future productivity. Storing all past archives off-site led to long delays in records retrieval, “especially when you are headquartered at the North Pole,” indicates Santa. “It got to the point where we were just stuffing records in stockings and toy chests. That’s no good.” Converting to on-site archiving reduced costs and made records readily available for review.

Naughty List Record Destruction

Santa’s Naughty & Nice spreadsheet is an ever-changing dynamic.  “Those who were once naughty and now are nice don’t deserve that bad record following them around.” Santa explains.  “We keep auto feed shredders at every list review station for maximum identity theft protection. Because they are automatic, productivity is increased as the elves spend less time shredding and more time making toys.”