The Benefits of Micro Breaks

micro breaks with standing desks

What are micro breaks? Rather than take a long lunch or 15 minutes during the day, imagine a short five-minute rest from work that could involve a variety of activities. It’s like the joke: “I told my doctor it hurts when I do this. My doctor said, then don’t do that.” It’s actually that simple. Stopping what ails you helps your body bounce back. You can also apply micro breaks to specific deskwork related issues.

A Break from Wrist Pain Relief

Typing and data entry tasks 8 hours a day can inflict long-term pain on wrists, including the lasting effects of carpal tunnel. Take 5-second micro breaks every 30 minutes. If you use extra padded wrist supports for your keyboard and mouse, you may extend your typing periods to 45 minutes before taking a micro break.

Simply Stand Up

Sitting glued to your computer terminal eventually leads to back pain and leg pain. Standing up for 5 to 10 seconds every 30 minutes keeps your muscles from becoming frozen in their sitting positions. If you feel that 5-10 seconds is an absolute loss of productivity, incorporate a standing desk into your routine. Recent Smooth Lift standing desk technology makes it easy to rise and sit easily throughout your day, making micro breaks effortless.

Take a Break and Stare

Long periods staring at your computer monitor means your eyes are probably adjusting too much to the screen’s illumination and possible glare. Most likely you will feel eye strain and headaches later and not relate it to your long day engaged with your flat screen.  Take micro breaks to literally stare off into space for 5-10 seconds every 30 minutes to help your eyes adjust to something more than digital two-dimensional space. Do you notice dry eye? Working at a computer actually reduces how much we blink, which can lead to eye dryness.  Your eye refresh micro break will do wonders.

Need More Micro Break Ideas?

Light Exercise at the Office: Organizing for Workplace Health

standing desk for office health

Organizing the office for better health only requires some initiative and open communication with your fellow office associates. May is Global and Health and Fitness Month­­—the perfect excuse to get everyone at work standing and walking for better health. It all starts with education.

Spreading the News about Sitting Too Much

Informing your colleagues about the many ways a sedentary office day can impact health is the first step toward motivating them to wellness actions.  Send out emails to colleagues letting them know about the detriment of sitting all day  at your desk including how prolonged sitting is associated with a significantly higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Muscle and joint problems

Some have gone on to say that the office chair is worse for your health than smoking!

Informing the Office About the Benefits of Walking

Now that you have educated them on the bad stuff, let them know about the good stuff.

Walking for about 20 minutes a day can cut your risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent.

Get Everyone Involved in an Office Walking Group

  1. Send out office email notifications regarding time and day so everyone can get involved easily walking together outside on nice days
  2. Have a set schedule with a destination in mind. Plan a walk at a local forest preserve during lunch hour or a walk around the office park before work starts in the morning
  3. Suggest walking apps. App pedometers ( many are free to download) have been found to encourage physical activity by offering real-time information on calories burned and walking distances achieved. You can also get competitive and make it fun. See who burns the most calories in half an hour!

Give Insight on the Benefits of Standing at Your Desk

Standing is another low impact approach for improving health at the office.  Along with informing the office staff about standing desks, also inform HR on the health benefits that sit-stand workstations can bring to the workplace.

Share the research: Employees who have used standing desks regularly report an 88% increase in productivity and a 69% reduction in discomfort at their workstation.

Learn more about the 7 health benefits of a Standing Desk 

Top Three Businesses Vulnerable to Dumpster Diving ID Theft

paper shredding to prevent dumpster diving identity theft

While most businesses secure their online properties with firewalls and encryption, there are still some industries that are exposed to the risks of identity theft through old-fashioned dumpster diving. The emphasis on digital security has caused many businesses to let their guard down when it comes to the adequate destruction of confidential documents. As a result, many identity thieves utilize dumpster diving tactics, focusing their activities on certain types of small businesses, hoping to score big with offices that have left gaps in their identity theft protection plan. Not only do businesses risk the identity theft of their customers and clients, they also risk litigation for improper disposal of confidential information: See the federal HIPAA and FATCA guidelines.

Medical and Dental Office Shredding

While most large hospitals incorporate shredding into their identity theft policy, smaller clinics and medical offices may not be taking the necessary steps to protect the identities of their patients.  A Denver area medical office settled for their identity theft violation which involved disposing of unshredded confidential patient information in an unsecured container: Read more about how  HIPPAA takes trash seriously.

Identity thieves will target small clinics and dental offices, looking for negligence in document shredding in the dumpster behind the office building. Another case involved a Georgia medical clinic in which documents containing patient Social Security numbers, bank account information and names and addresses were found freely accessible by anyone willing to climb inside the dumpster. Learn more about this  Dumpster Diving Case.

In some instances, as in this case in Bloomington, proper shredding can actually be an issue of personal safety to customers:  A drug addict stole Margie Kerr’s pain medication after showing up at the grandmother’s front door. According to police, the thief targeted Kerr after finding her prescription records in a dumpster behind her Bloomington drug store.*  What cross-cut office shredders are best for medical practices and pharmacies.

Real Estate Office Shredding

Prospective home buyers fill out credit applications every day in real estate offices, assuming the sensitive information is properly handled. In many cases it is, but in some instances, busy agents may not take the time to shred confidential documents. Often large volumes of credit applications are piled up by a shredder, only to be discarded without being destroyed. A smart identity thief only has to wait until after hours to see what the dumpster behind a real estate office contains.   Automatic Shredding Solutions for Busy Real Estate Offices

Retail Business Shredding

When you apply for a car loan or fill out paperwork for financing at a furniture store, your completed credit applications may not be handled properly either. In one case at a closed North Atlanta car dealer, Social Security numbers, federal tax information and bank account information were found by authorities. Often closed businesses, having kept confidential files for long periods of time, will dump these documents without shredding­­–an illegal act in most states! Use an office paper shredder to keep your business legal.

Using the Binding Machine as a Realtor Marketing Tool

real estate marketing binding machine

With spring the housing market goes into full bloom, houses for sale, and buyers house hunting at a frenzied pace. With this competitive environment and limited resources, realtors struggle to create a distinctive point of difference with customers.

Thinking strategically, realtors on a budget can create remarkable property listings using low-cost, easy-to-use binding equipment.

Choosing The Look of Your Property Listing Design

Along with high-quality photography and a professional layout, the impression a good property listing booklet makes also comes from the quality of the binding. Selecting comb or wire binding may be adequate for some listings, but others may require the sleek look and feel of thermal binding. This is especially true for commercial property listings.

Advantages for Different Types of Binding

Comb Binding

  • Offers the flexibility to switch out pages after the document is bound
  • Ideal for bigger presentations—up to 500 pages
  • Lies flat when open for easy presentation

Wire

  • Offers a more secure, permanently bound document at a low cost
  • Lies flat when open
  • Bound pages rotate 360 degrees

 

Thermal

  • The highest quality binding, offering a book-like finish
  • The square binding edge makes it ideal for on-shelf storage
  • Lies flat for mailing. Great as a direct mail piece!

For many realtors, thermal binding is the best choice if you can incur a slightly additional cost in equipment and materials. In a review for the Helios 60 Thermal Binding Machine this realtor explains the value:

“We own a small real estate company in Park Slope Brooklyn. We purchased the thermal binder because we wanted to be able to create wire free and punch free property pitch books. The binder heats up fast and does a thorough job of adhering the glue to the pages of books. It’s quick, easy and very effective.”

 

Why Employees Prefer Better Office Equipment Over a Foosball Table

Sometimes, workplace perks aren’t always about more fun and games for employees. In a survey of  1,200 full-time office workers conducted by Versta Research, 78% would prefer better office equipment over downtime entertainment like a foosball table. The eye-opening study reveals a desire for less frustrating experiences that come with inferior office machines.

 

automatic shredders preferred by employees

This is good news for employers, as it shows a genuine motivation for greater productivity. Employees are willing to giving their opinion on what they think will make the an office more efficient. The same study also revealed that 59% of employees believe that more up-to-date technology would be among the best ways to increase efficiency.

Where Office Equipment Falls Short & How to Improve it

Business machines like paper shredders are usually ignored until they break. This can mean a loss of productive work hours when an employee needs to contend with a shredder issue, such as a paper jam, or is working with a shredder that has limitations, like a short run time or restrictions on what it can shred. If a machine has shredding restrictions, employees may be forced to spend time removing paper clips and staples from documents prior to shredding.

Being proactive as a business owner or office manager means identifying weak performing equipment and replacing it with something better.

 

Upgrading to an Automatic Shredder and its Productivity Perks

  • Automatic Shredders like the AutoMax™ 500CL boosts productivity by offering a hands-free shredding experience. Simply load the drawer, press start and walk away.
  • With continuous run time, there is no delay in shredding caused by waiting for the machine to cool down.
  • The 500CL also features a JamGuard System™ that prevents interruption due to paper jams, ending forever the frustration of extracting half-shredded documents from the jaws of the office shredder.
  • No more need to sort through pre-shred documents, either. The 500CL also automatically shreds stacks of paper with wrinkles, staples, plastic credit cards, CDs/DVDs, junk mail and even documents with paper clips

 

For smaller offices, AutoMax automatic shredders also come in more compact models designed for small businesses and even home offices.

 

Learn More about improving productivity in the workplace.

 

Know the Four Stages of Your Office Files and Always Stay Organized

Bankers Box document life cycle

The documents in your business actually have a life cycle, passing through different stages of development. Understanding these phases gives you a better grip on records organization for your business, improves overall workplace productivity and gives you the peace of mind of an orderly office.

Stage 1: Active Files

Active files are always in use, need to be  kept close at hand and play a daily and often critical role in your workplace.  Active files are never stored or archived, of course, yet they still need to remain organized so that in the flurry of a bustling office they do not become lost or accidentally discarded.

Active File Solutions

Depending on the number of active files used, different types of filing systems keep records accessible and organized.

Open Sorters for Shared Active Files

Sorters display critical files openly for shared office use, while labelled shelves on the sorter maintain organization. Policies regarding shared active files may include a sign in and sign out process to track important documents around the office.

Bankers Box sorters for active files

Desktop Organizers Keep Active Files Handy

If files are not shared, a desktop organizer can provide easy and quick accessibility for specific documents used exclusively by certain employees. These types of organizers also offer the flexibility for managing different document types from binders of information to folders of multi-page records, to single page documents.

active file organizers

Managing the “In-Between” Nature of Semi-Active Files

Semi-active documents are those that are no longer vital to the everyday operations of the business, yet need to be retained for legal reasons. These types of documents are the most likely to become lost or accidentally discarded as their lack of importance to everyday business puts them “out of sight and out of mind” until an incident occurs in which they are required and they are nowhere to be found.

Basic and Extra Space Saving Systems for Semi-Active Files

Storage for those types of files still keeps them accessible, yet out of the way, most likely in a records room or in an office.

Only have a few files? Use the basic space-saving solutions that stack two units high for desk side or in the back of an office for infrequent access and storage.

semi-active file storage

Have lots of semi-active files? Use an extra spacing-saving solution, stacking 5 units high, storing quite a few semi-active files and always keeping them ready for unexpected and urgent office needs.

semi-active file drawer system

Archival Records Storage

Archival documents lose their semi-active urgency yet still have importance and need to be retained long-term. These may include tax documentation, employee records, including past employees, and long-term legal documents such as contracts.

Archival records may be stored on or off-site. Using the flexibility of storage boxes allows easy access to these files even though they are in storage. The lightweight design also allows the boxes to be easily transported and stacked , whether in a large records room or in a storage unit. They can be labelled for quick identification when they need to be opened up as well.

The average business purchases up to 12 of these Bankers Boxes a year to archive important documents. Maintaining a retention policy helps keep these documents from simply taking up space without a purpose. Know what files are put in archival storage, how long they have been there and when it is determined that they should be destroyed, especially if they contain any confidential information.

Records Destruction

Most documents reach the document destruction stage. Here are the list of the most common documents, outlined by the IRS, that are ready to be shredded by a business after archival storage.*

  • Business Income Tax Returns and Supporting Documents.-7 years
  • Employee Tax Records- 4 years
  • Human Resources Files 7-10 years
  • Bank account and credit card statements- 7 years
*IRS http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p583.pdf

 

 

Do You Know Paper Shredder Security Levels?

shredder security

When selecting a new paper shredder, think about your identity theft prevention needs and how it applies to shredding. A shredder cut size can range from strips to infinitesimal particles. Choose from one of these four levels of shredding security.

 

Strip-Cut Shredders-Security level P-2

If you only shred junk mail or are shredding just to declutter your home office, a simple strip-cut shredder is useful. A strip-cut machine reduces documents to 7/32″ strips of paper.

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Cross-Cut Shredders-Security Level 3-4

Cross-cut shredders are the first choice among most small offices and homes for destroying confidential information. Cross-cuts reduce documents to 5/32″ x 1-1/2″ particles, roughly 397 particles per sheet of paper, making them practically impossible to reassemble.

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Micro-Cut Shredders-Security Level P-5

Micro-cut shredders are growing in popularity, especially after former con man and security expert Frank Abnagle indicated that he “shreds everything with a micro-cut.” Micro-cuts are the highest level of document destruction, meeting many federal guidelines for shredding, literally turning documents to dust and leaving behind 5/64″ x 5/16″ particles in your shredder bin—that’s 3,770 particles per sheet! If you manage confidential documents including financial papers or documents containing personal information like social security numbers, than the micro-cut is the best choice for your business.

micro cut shredder

 

Government Approved Shredders-Security Level P-7

The government isn’t satisfied with micro-cut. When it comes to classified and top secret documents, government agencies use high-security shredders, transforming paper into 1/32″ x3/16″ particles. If you are looking for absolute peace of mind when it comes to shredding, selecting a government shredder ensures nothing will be left behind to piece back together.

The Risks of the Ready-to-Shred Slush Pile

shredder slush pile

Many busy offices may not shred daily. In fact, Fellowes consumer research shows that as much 30% of offices still shred only a few times a week rather than everyday, which means confidential documents are accumulating in a ready-to-shred slush pile. When you consider that 43% of data losses were directly accountable to internal factors, ranging from disgruntled employees to corporate spies, the unattended slush pile becomes an overlooked risk.

Slush Pile Solutions

An office of any size can still manage a daily shredding policy without compromising productivity. Using an automatic shredder, makes the process easy.

Automatic shredders can handle loads of shredding all at once hands-free, eliminating the need for hand-feeding documents into the machine. This is the most common cause of the slush pile, as papers are typically set aside for a time when an office employee can handle a large shredding task.

Some models of automatic shredders feature scheduled shredding options, allowing automatic shredding to be done after business hours on a daily basis. Piles of confidential documents left exposed overnight are vulnerable to identity thieves who often take jobs with cleaning crews for the very purpose of gaining access to these documents.

Automatic Shredding-Not Just for the Big Corporate Office

Add automatic shredders to a small business as well. With the 130C  automatic shredder, small offices can also improve productivity and eliminate the risk of the ready-to-shred slush pile.

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

 

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.