When you’re setting up a business, or moving into a new office, there are a dozens of things to sort out. Putting a sign up above the door is a moment that few small business owners forget – but what other information do you need to display to staff and customers? John Davies, Managing Director from custom signage, graphics and visual communication specialist, FASTSIGNS, has these tips to help you meet your legal requirements.
Get your name out there
People need to know the location of your company, each of your registered addresses must have a sign with your company name on it unless it is also a place of residence.
This sign should have clear characters that can be easily understood and visible at all times, not just during business hours. If you are sharing the site or building with more than six other companies, the company name has to be shown for at least 15 seconds every three minutes if it is not permanently displayed.
Keeping your team safe and healthy
The health and safety of your employees is of paramount importance; this means ensuring they are aware of potential risks and your obligations to them as employees. Whether you employ one person or a team, you must ensure the health and safety law poster is able to be viewed by everyone, either displayed on the wall or as a pocket card handed out to staff members.
Employees need to know who to turn to in an emergency, so make sure you display a sign with a full list of first aiders’ names and indicates where the first aid kits are stored.
To help your employees understand the level of insurance cover your business has, you’re required to either display or share The Employer’s Liability Insurance Certificate. Failure to do so and you could be liable for a £1,000 fine, so it’s essential that you get this right.
Should a fire break out in the building, you’ll need to make sure people know where to go and where the fire fighting equipment is.
Clear signage of fire action notices (preferably next to all fire alarms) should tell people who to call if they see a blaze, what escape routes to take and where the assembly point is once they have left the building. It’s also important to point out the location of each fire alarm.
If your workplace is small and the fire escape route is ‘obvious’, such as the front door to a shop, then you won’t necessarily need fire escape signs. For larger and more complex buildings, you will need to make sure that the fire escape routes are clearly highlighted with directional and wayfinding signage. Alongside this, all fire doors should be labeled with instructions on how to use them.
Assembly points, fire fighting equipment instructions, no smoking and warning signs should also be displayed throughout the building.
Protecting people’s data
Under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), images that identify someone count as capturing personal data – which means you have to inform anyone on your premises about CCTV monitoring. Most businesses have legitimate reasons for using CCTV, such as security, but you’ll still need to be open and transparent.
Make sure you have a sign that tells people why you are capturing their data, where they are being monitored, and the steps they can take to find out more information.
For more details on FASTSIGNS and its full range of business services click here.
Productivity is vital for the success and longevity of a business. Unfortunately, employees will struggle to be productive and stay on track if they’re distracted. In this post, we’ll take a look at a few common workplace distractions — from employees experiencing personal issues, such as divorce, to the overuse of social media — and how to fix them.
Although technology has become one of the most essential resources in the business world, the efficiency and hard work of employees is still very much the bread and butter of any company. It’s for this reason that it’s vital to make sure that your team is focused, productive and motivated on a daily basis — all of which can prove to be a problem if your employees are regularly distracted.
There is a wide range of things that distract employees, and many are specific to the industry or sector they work in, but, in this post, we’ll be discussing the issues that are commonplace in many businesses.
The Internet and Social Media
Let’s start with the big one! While there’s no doubt that the internet is a godsend for modern companies — especially those in eCommerce and marketing — it can also be a huge distraction for employees. The majority of companies — if not all — use computers in some way, and when employees have access to online shopping, blogs and YouTube, they can quickly find themselves in a rabbit hole — and work takes the back seat.
Not only does endless scrolling through timelines and feeds destroy productivity, but many also use social media to chat with their friends. This becomes a bigger issue with smartphones making internet and social media access so simple — more than half of people (52%) now use a mobile device to access the internet.
The problem for many employers is that they can’t take away internet access, as this will hinder their team’s ability to work. However, time-tracking and productivity apps, such as Hubstaff, monitor employee activity and time spent working. If your staff have to turn off their timer to use social media, they simply won’t get paid — it’s an effective deterrent.
No matter how professional or motivated an employee is, personal problems can severely impact their ability to work efficiently. The death of a family member or friend, as well as stressful situations like money problems, are issues that can’t be fixed overnight. If an employee is clearly struggling, it’s crucial that they take the necessary time off work, with the reassurance that it won’t affect their position at the company.
One of — if not the most — common personal problems that affects the workplace is divorce. The breakdown of any relationship can be stressful, but this is amplified when the division of marital assets comes into play, and it’s easy to see why a person’s career can take a big hit. During this time, an employee's most valuable ally will be their family lawyer, however, you can add yourself to that list by providing assistance and support.
Compared to the two previous points, this may seem trivial. However, when employees go outside to smoke a cigarette and have a quick chat, it takes time out of their working day and interrupts everyone else. It may only seem like a five or ten-minute break, but, over long periods, this adds up, culminating in a shocking amount of time being wasted.
Nicotine is very addictive, and preventing smokers from popping out for a cigarette could actually make productivity worse — your employees will feel grouchy and morale could plummet. Some employers have tackled the issue by allowing their employees to use e-cigarettes at work. If you have been keeping up with vaping news as of late, you will be aware that the NHS has included e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative in its quit smoking campaign.
Although meetings are undoubtedly useful for relaying information, some companies fall into the habit of holding meetings out routine, rather than necessity. Team or company-wide meetings not only take time out of everyone’s day, but, in many cases, the discussion point could just as easily be sent by email.
If you’ve noticed that meetings tend to kill productivity in the workplace, it’s crucial to fix the problem. Raising topics in a memo not only saves time, but it also provides you and your team with a written record that can be referred to. For items that must be discussed in person, an alternative is to host concise one-on-one catch-ups with employees to discuss the points relevant to them. While you’re hosting a meeting with one employee, the rest can crack on with what they’re supposed to be doing — work.
The current business world is more advanced, progressive and creative than ever. Today’s generation is in tune with technology, the internet and many other aspects of modern life, so it’s safe to say that hiring an apprentice is an enormous benefit to small business owners looking to succeed in the digital age.
Apprentices have been a valuable asset to companies for hundreds of years — apprenticeships not only give a young person a step onto the career ladder, but they also provide businesses with a young person who possesses enthusiasm and eagerness to succeed. For small business owners, this can be a unique and effective way to improve their company.
In this post, we’ll highlight a few of the advantages of taking on an apprentice and how they can impact the everyday and long-term success of a business.
Apprentices Are Known to Increase Productivity
While there’s a lot to be said about the importance of technology, marketing and establishing a brand — the attitude and quality of employees are key aspects of running a business that should never be underestimated. Productivity is a vital trait of any successful workforce, and it just so happens that taking on an apprentice can be a great way to improve the motivation and output of your employees.
Research by the Department of Education has revealed that 75% of small business owners who hired apprentices enjoyed a noticeable boost in productivity. This means that, along with having a new, enthusiastic member on your team, by hiring an apprentice, you will be positively impacting your entire company.
A New Face Is Always Good for Morale
Low morale is something that affects every business from time to time. And while some business owners attempt to resolve the issue with team-building activities and incentive schemes, others have managed to improve workplace morale by introducing a fresh face to the office.
As someone who is about to embark on a new and exciting career, an apprentice will cultivate an attitude of motivation and eagerness to succeed, with their infectious excitement for the job. Taking on an apprentice also creates mentoring opportunities and can open the door for current employees to move into more senior roles.
Adept Use of Technology
In an era when technology is very much a cornerstone of modern society, young people who are comfortable and skilled with using computers and other forms of tech are an enormous asset to any business. Today’s apprentices were born and raised in the digital age, which means this generation has the key skills they need to prosper in the professional realm.
For businesses, hiring an apprentice who is adept and highly skilled at using technology — often more so than experienced professionals — is hugely advantageous. This means they require less tech-related basic training, have the ability to use computers and other devices efficiently, and can be a genuine asset to a wide range of industries from the get go.
Paul Fegan is the Managing Director of Capital City College Training — London’s largest provider of further education — which has trained over 2,000 apprentices on behalf of more than 1,000 employers.