Fellowes Brands Acquires ESI Ergonomic Solutions.

Itasca, IL November 14, 2017-Fellowes Brands, a global leader in business products since 1917, announced today its acquisition of ESI Ergonomic Solutions, of Phoenix, Arizona.  ESI is a leading provider of monitor arms, height adjustable tables, sit-stand workstations, lighting, and other ergonomic. solutions which promote a healthy working environment. The combination of Fellowes Brands and ESI advances Fellowes Brands’ strategic expansion toward broad business solutions that help professionals be at their best through organization, productivity and wellness.

Earlier this year Fellowes launched the Lotus Sit-Stand Workstation which was recognized with an Industrial Designers Society of America Award for its innovative design. In July, Fellowes took an equity position in Posturite, a U.K. Based Ergonomic Furniture Company. The ESI acquisition represents Fellowes’ commitment to further strengthen its position in the growing office wellness space.

“We are excited to welcome the ESI Ergonomic Solutions team into the Fellowes Brands family.  ESI is a high-growth company serving the increasingly health conscious professional who is seeking a work environment which promotes wellness.” notes John Fellowes, CEO of Fellowes Brands. “ESI principally serves the contract furniture market which nicely complements Fellowes strength in the business products channel.  ESI strategically expands our portfolio and further establishes Fellowes as an emerging leader of workplace wellness solutions both in the US and internationally.”

Carol and John Keogh have been owners of ESI for the past 20 years.  They have built a culture of dynamic growth and strong partnerships.  “We are very pleased that we have been able to find a partner like Fellowes which shares common business values and an entrepreneurial spirit to drive the business forward. As we move into the next phase of life, it gives us confidence that the business will continue to grow and prosper and our people will have great opportunities”, commented Carol Keogh.

ESI will continue to operate from Phoenix, Arizona, under the leadership of Mark Rhoades, who joined ESI as President 2 years ago. “The ESI team is proud to be a part of the Fellowes family of brands. We look forward to the continued leverage of ESI’s outstanding independent rep sales force and strong dealer relationships.” stated Rhoades. Fellowes envisions ESI continuing as a channel specific division serving the contract office furniture segment.

About Fellowes:

Celebrating its 100th year under the ownership and executive leadership of the Fellowes family, Fellowes Brands is a global leader of broad based business solutions which help office workers be their best. Based in Itasca, Illinois, USA, about half of Fellowes revenues come from international markets.  For more information, please visit: www.fellowesbrands.com

Media Contacts:

Jeff Dryfhout, Vice President, Global Branding

1789 Norwood Avenue Itasca, IL 60143-1095

Phone: 1-630-539-5642

jdryfhout@fellowes.com

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?

Creating Small Biz DIY Shop Signs On A Budget

laminating signs for business

While in-store marketing is essential for your retail business, it doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor.  You can personalize your retail environment with laminated signs you make yourself.

Why Signs?

  • 68% of customers believe that signage reflects the quality of a business and their product
  • On average, one additional on-premise sign results in an increase in annual sales revenue of 4.75%
  • 68% of American consumers have made a purchase because a sign caught their interest
  • At-retail advertising drives additional sales 70% of the time

 

Advantages of DIY Signs for Small Business

  • Laminated signs are easy to make: a computer, a printer, a laminator, and scissors is all you really need
  • Save money- no costly sign shops or generic store-bought signs
  • Go customizable and creative- create signs that are unique to your shop’s look and feel

What Kind of Signs You May Need

Directional

Directional signage leads customers through your store and guides them to key locations

Branded

Branding your unique product offerings with a distinctive sign sets your products apart. Also, use branded signs to promote well-known brands you offer in your store.

Informational

Along with knowledgeable salespeople, easy to read signs that help customers make purchasing decisions keeps patrons engaged.

Sales

Announcing sales with window signage brings customers in. Make sale signs clear and simple with specific dollar-off or percentage off statements.

New Items

New arrivals in the store need to be promoted. Words like “fresh”, “just in” and “new” get the attention of customers.

Themes

Keeping your store environment in sync with seasons and annual events harmonizes your product offering with customer expectations. Holiday store signs remind customers of gift purchases they need to make and seasonal signs for spring and summer sales put customers in the right mood for buying.

Five Steps To Making Your Own Signs

Design

Word processing software or art software on your computer allows you create any customized sign to fit your promotional purposes. Think creatively and put yourself in the shoes of your customer when writing and designing the sign.

Print

Print the sign on your computer printer. You don’t need to use heavy stock paper, as laminating the sign will make it durable.

Laminate

Laminate the sign so it lasts. If you have frequent or seasonal sales that are similar, laminating keeps your most heavily used signs in good condition, so you don’t have to create new ones. Also, laminating is ideal for creating weather-resistant signs displayed outdoors.

Use a laminator with at least a 9″ wide entry for laminating larger documents

Cut

Trim the edges of the sign after laminating so you have a clean, crisp edge.

Display

Decide where and how you will display your sign. Dangle it from the ceiling, tape it up in your store window or display along with a grouping of products. For shelf displays, use card size laminating pouches and fasten to the edge of the shelf just beneath a special product offer.

Pouch Thickness To Use For Signs

3 mil laminating pouches are rigid and durable enough for signs. Any signs that may encounter frequent handling should be laminated with 5 mil pouches. If displayed outdoors, a more durable 10 mil pouch is best. Select from a variety of pouches.

Choosing a Laminator for Making Retail Signs

How many signs you make determines the laminator you need. Heavier usage laminators are more expensive but hold up under frequent use. For moderate laminating, the Saturn 3i 95 has received good reviews from business owners who make their own signs.

Great purchase for my business!

“Out of the box to first finished laminated sign in under 10 minutes! Easy instructions and very easy operation! I would recommend this product to anyone who needs a laminator for small-business use!”

 

Sources: Point of Purchase Advertising International

 

Programmers and Sit-Stand Workstations

programmers and sit-stand desks

As a programmer, you can spend 7-10 hours a day focused on coding, which also means all that time seated at a traditional computer workstation. The unhealthy impact of chronic sitting can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Standing is an ideal solution for healthier work at a computer. However, if you decide to stand at work, what equipment should you consider that specifically fits your profession?

Sit-Stand Workstations That Adjust Easily

A static sit-stand desk forces you to either stand entirely while working or take a break, while some adjustable sit-stands may require interrupting your task to make the manual changes to height. When as a programmer you are engaged with a piece of intense code, that may not be an option. Select a sit-stand workstation that easily adjusts from sitting to standing positions, so no focus on a task is lost. Smooth Lift Technology sit-stands feature that intuitive adjustability so you need only rise while grasping the lift adjustment lever, then grasping the adjustment lever once again to lower the desk back to a seated position. Make sure your sit-stand also has a good spectrum of height adjustment options, which is especially important for tall programmers.

The Flexibility of Multiple Monitors

As a coder you definitely need more than one monitor, so converting to a sit-stand desk shouldn’t mean a compromise.  Make sure your standing desk offers the option for multiple-monitor arms.

Storage Space

Changing over to a standing desk also shouldn’t mean giving up on other advantages of a standard computer workstation, like storage space. Storage space and work surfaces are still essential, so having a standing desk designed with added work and storage spaces allows you to incorporate a hot cup of coffee, notepads, pens and your smartphone into your standing workspace.

standing desk with workspace

Cord Management

One of the big advantages of a static workstation is that all the wires running to your electronics stay still. With a standing desk, continual movement up and down can lead to stress on power cables, tangled cords, and sometimes accidental unplugged peripherals as you change position. Check your sit-stand for cord management design features so that wires move seamlessly with your changing position.

A Homeschooling Tool for Personalized Teaching

homeschool laminating

In his 2015 book “Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education,” veteran teacher Ken Robinson emphasizes that students learn best at their preferred speeds and in their preferred manner. Engaging them as individuals is the heart of raising achievement.”

The personalization of education is limited in the classroom setting, yet in homeschool scenarios it allows learning to thrive.

According to a 2009 study of standardized testing, homeschoolers scored in the 86th percentile, regardless of  parents’ income, amount of education, teaching credentials, and level of state regulation. Research also suggests that homeschooled kids get into college more often and do better at the university level.

Tools for Home School Personalized Teaching

Laminating Customized Flashcards

Flashcards of been a standard for teaching for many years. They engage active recall and help students self-evaluate personal progress.  On the subject of languages, 93% of teachers say that flashcards help students learn more effectively.  Yet due to costs and limited classroom budgets, flashcards provided for schools tend toward more generic subjects and the most common lesson plans.  Offering customized flash cards in a homeschool setting, allows the teacher to “learn” what engages the student most in different subjects  and create customized flashcards that fit the student’s learning path. For example, creating alphabet printables that incorporate a child’s love of animals makes the lesson more accessible. Similar free printables can be found online or created for math, science and other subjects.

Personalizing Worksheets

A creative homeschool teacher can also craft an assignment that fits a student’s daily experiences with personalized worksheets. For example, play time, crafts and other school activities can become a lesson in telling time. Laminate this telling time printable (which is dry erase, so it can be reused every day) so that activities help a student learn scheduling and  time.

By laminating the personal projects you create for your student, you provide durable learning tools that align with the student’s aspirations and interests and make learning more than just fun–they make it personal!

Select one of these personal laminators  for your homeschool teaching tools.

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

 

 

How Restaurants Save Money by Laminating Menus

laminating menus

Laminating menus reduces costs.

 

Running a restaurant has its share of hurdles, including the cost of supplies. The endless re-ordering of soda straws and napkins are part of doing business. Certainly, no restaurant owner wants to reduce quality by cutting costs. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize waste in the restaurant business such as paper menu reproduction. Assuming your menu remains fairly consistent, you can reduce your costs of reprinting menus by laminating them. And there are other benefits as well.

Benefits of a Laminated Menu

Durability

Overall, your paper menus, once laminated, are now completely waterproof, protecting them from customer drink spills. Also, they are resistant to stains and greasy fingerprints, tears, and wrinkles. If you analyze the cost of reordering paper menus due to this daily loss, you will soon realize the value of laminated menus. They last longer and remain durable until you change the contents.

Easy to Clean

Yes, laminated menus can be sanitized. Simply spritz with disinfectant and wipe clean. These simple measure keeps your laminated menus pristine and protects against germs transferred through contact.

Impressive Presentation

Laminated menus also enhance the vibrancy of food images with their shining surface, creating a more appealing marketing tool for your business.A nice-looking photo of an entrée or appetizer increases sales by 30%! Why not protect and enhance those succulent images with laminating?

Low Cost and Easy to Do Yourself

Lamination is DIY, which saves on print shop costs and ends the constant reordering of paper menus.

How to Create Laminated Menus

After printing your menus, enclose each one in a  3 mil menu laminating pouch. The 3 mil thickness will protect the menu from all the hazards of a messy customer or busboy including moisture and grease.

Pass each menu through your laminator. If you have a lot of menus to produce, select a laminator that heats up quickly and laminates quickly so you can get the job done. Good laminator for menu-making.  Show off your new menus to customers and enjoy the savings.

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.