A guide into staff productivity and how to improve it…

Workwear is a topic regularly discussed. Over the years, employees have adapted their clothing for work with what employer’s think is practical for industrious-based jobs and smart in client-facing jobs.

But with rules and attitudes changing all the time on how we approach the way we dress our employees, how much does is affect productivity in the workplace? We explore this issue with Jermyn Street Design, corporate uniforms suppliers .

The history of the uniform

Employees that regularly deliver important items would have wore a badge showcasing the royalty of which they served. The badge would also indicate the exact role of the wearer.

It was a way of proving the legitimacy of the workers themselves, as well as giving workers such as merchants authority, to prove that their items are of higher quality. Though this was common centuries ago, the durability of them wasn’t up to the standards that they are today, so many of them did not survive. However, these badges were the start of the uniform tradition that would go onto become mainstream.

Liveries were a popular form of uniform throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and many retail uniforms today still have similarities where brand logos are concerned. Liveries were items of clothing that were fashioned with the colours and insignia of the families or countries they were serving.

Why are uniform seen so positively?

One of the main benefits of having a specific work uniform, is that some of the staff may not actually be able to afford a whole new outfit(s) for work. This helps the employee not only financially, but also keeps them in a working mindset.

Scientific research has also shown that those in formal clothes tend to perform better in situations than those in casual clothes, although this does not account for all industries. But opposing research has also found that 61% of employees are more productive at work when the dress code is relaxed.

In a study by Social Psychological and Personality Science, subjects were asked to dress in either casual, everyday clothing or formal business dress, before going on to take part in cognitive tests. It was found that those in business dress showed an increase of abstract thinking when compared to those who remained casual — the findings of the experiment suggest the effects are related to feelings of power and authority, in turn granting confidence.

Although it’s common to assume that allowing workers to wear what they want will make them work to a higher standard, providing uniforms is a great way to instil a sense of belonging. It reminds them that they’re part of a team too, proudly representing the brand. Deploying a uniform could also harness team spirit, creating unity and fostering that feeling of belonging.

It’s really important to build a great place to work to ensure that you’re ticking all of the ‘work positivity’ boxes, alongside the workwear. Another way you can add to the work experience, is displaying office plants to improve the ambiance.

How popular are dress codes?

There have been studies carried out which suggest that both having a dress code and not having one has its advantages. As a generalisation, dress codes in non-industry roles are approached differently by the individual; some people like the creativity and flexibility of not having a dress code enforced at their workplace, but others like dressing up to feel as though they are in a more formal working environment.

Some of the most successful people in the world decide to dress more or less the same every day, limiting the decision-making process. Steve Jobs was known for his black turtleneck jumper, jeans and New Balance trainers, and Mark Zuckerberg for his daily grey t-shirt, with their arguments stating that it lowers their decision-making process and allows for more brainpower on their day-to-day roles.

Certainly, uniforms are more apparent in customer-service based roles, as it helps customers distinguish authority from consumer, with hotels, leisure parks and airlines being the main examples. But if smaller businesses were to adopt a ‘wear what makes you comfortable’ dress code, where health and safety isn’t concerned, this would perhaps encourage a more relaxed environment in the workplace.

The Data Points You Didn’t Know They Had

Smartphones have become an everyday necessity for the majority of the population— a life without a smartphone is certainly an inconvenient one. Our lives are stored within these devices, from our calendar appointments to conversations with our closest friends and family.

With all our data stored in such a way, the issue of privacy is always paramount. It’s no surprise then that the media has been focused on GDPR, which was introduced in 2018 to protect EU citizens’ data from corporations. Previous data protection regulations from 1995 were outdated in a digital age, failing to scrutinise how data should be collected, stored, and transferred. An intense focus around data protection combined with revelations of data breaches from companies like Facebook and Equifax has made many of us aware that our information being disseminated with companies wanting to target us with better with personalised advertisements. But do we know which information is being used?

According to research, over 70 per cent of apps are recording and reporting personal data to third parties like Facebook and Google Analytics. Here, RedMosquito take a look how brands and technology are tracking what we do, and just how concerned we should really be.

Location Tracking

One of the more controversial issues is our location being tracked — even when we deny permission on our phone settings. Google Maps requires us to agree to sharing our location for the purpose of the app, however this tracking doesn’t stop when we finish our journey. A timeline of our daily routines and activities are mapped out, even recording minute by minute how long we spend at these locations. Did you spend the day at home, or have a busy day visiting family and friends? Google will likely know everywhere you’ve been, but that isn’t the most concerning and intrusive part; Google still records location information even when we turn it off in our settings.

Google takes this data to help advertise to people based on location, using local campaigns to boost in-store visits, measuring how effective a campaign is in driving traffic by taking data from user’s location histories.

A matter of privacy risks, many are concerned that this data is stored in cloud databases which could be hacked. So, is this sensitive information secure or should we be worried that this could be accessed in a cyber-attack?

To deny Google from saving your location data by turning off an option called ‘Web and App Activity’ in your Google apps, an arguably misleading title for those concerned about their own privacy who turned off location services.

What You Said

Google Home and Google Assistant are artificial intelligence virtual assistants that probably knows you better than your friends and family do. Voice commands that you give to these speakers are stored to help build a consumer behavioural profile around yourself. All commands are saved no matter how mundane you might think they are — if you commanded your Google Assistant to turn off a light, this will be saved alongside an audio recording.

Google’s speakers are supposed to be triggered by saying “Hey Google”, however at the beginning of 2019 people were unaware that these virtual assistants were eavesdropping on conversations people had in the privacy of their own homes. It was revealed in July 2019 that third-party contractors were listening to these recordings to help develop the artificial intelligence system’s understanding of speech and dialect. Regardless of the intent, whether it’s for advertising purposes or to simply improve technology, it’s safe to say nobody wants someone listening in on what you’re saying.

Track Your Behaviour on the Web

What we’ve seen so far is Google tracking us through their systems and applications, but what about what we do on other websites? A lot of Facebook’s revenue depends on finding out as much as it can about our likes and dislikes and gets this information from other websites we visit. Facebook Pixel is the feature that tracks our online activity to create accurate profiles of us, making it easier for advertisers to target us with our interests. To limit this access, it’s recommended to install extensions on your internet browsers such as Ghostery to disable trackers on your activity.

In-store purchases can also be tracked by Facebook, although not as easily as online shopping. By collaborating with payment providers such as Square, call centres, and loyalty programs, Facebook can find out whether advertisements are working on those targeted. If you have loyalty cards, use sign-up details that are unlinked to your Facebook account — request paper receipts over digital receipts to stop companies making the link between your in-store purchases and Facebook account.

If you’re concerned about how your personal information is being used, it’s worth taking a look at measures you can take to prevent your details being exploited by third parties – your privacy is important!

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewrossow/2018/05/25/the-birth-of-gdpr-what-is-it-and-what-you-need-to-know/#c028ab955e5b

https://eu.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2018/04/20/how-facebook-tracks-your-every-move-facts-vs-fiction/521613002/

3 Ways To Improve Your ROI For Online Marketing Campaigns

While having an effective marketing strategy is vital for the growth of your business, sometimes it can be hard to know which of your marketing efforts are really making a difference and which ones you could afford to scrap. Luckily, with online marketing, there’s so much data available that determining these answers is often easier than with other forms of marketing.

That being said, it can still be a challenge to know if the time, money, and effort you’re putting in is really having a good return for you. So to help you boost these numbers, here are three ways you can improve your ROI for your online marketing campaigns. 

Know How To Use Your Data

Just because you’re being given data for the marketing efforts you’re putting in online doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll know how to best use that data to your advantage in making future marketing decisions.

To help you with this, the Digital Marketing Institute recommends that you take the time to really learn about all the data you’re gathering and how that data can then be used for planning and executing marketing objectives in the future. By fully utilizing this data, you may be able to make some adjustments that could heavily impact your ROI from here on out. 

Focus On The Right Metrics

When you’re looking at the data you’ve gathered from your marketing efforts, it’s important that you spend your time focusing on the right metrics rather than the ones that you think sound most alluring. 

For example, Neil Patel, an online marketing guru, shares that while people are worried about things like their Twitter followers or how many views they’re getting on their blog, you should really be concerned with metrics like how much engagement you’re getting and what your cost per acquisition is. By focusing on the right metrics, you’ll be better able to focus your attention where it counts, especially with content marketing. And since there is typically a higher ROI with content marketing, this will be well worth your time. 

Run A/B Tests To Find What’s Most Effective

Once you think you’ve been able to find some areas where you can tweak to improve your ROI, it’s time to put your hypothesis to the test.

To best do this, David Gasparyan, a contributor to Business.com, recommends that you try running A/B tests to see what changes really are having an effect on your marketing success. With the information you glean from these tests, you’ll be able to get closer and closer to the optimal formula for a great ROI for your business. 

If you’re wanting to improve the ROI for your online marketing campaigns, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you accomplish this objective.

Top 3 promising industries for investment in 2020

Any investor in the UK worth their salt will be trying to work out which industries could do well in the coming year. This allows you to identify promising ones you expect to flourish early and invest in them to get the best return possible. Whether you are a business looking to invest in stocks or a private investor, this makes sense. But which are the hottest industries which could dazzle us in 2020?

Healthcare and pharmaceutical

On both domestic and global scales, the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector is set to be a tempting one for UK investors. This can be seen when looking at a country like China which is becoming increasingly keen to partner with Western drug companies. As well as a large population to run trials on, there is tight regulation by the CFDA (Chinese Federal Drug Administration) on Chinese companies who perform clinical trials. This makes it an attractive proposition for drug companies in the West looking to test out new products reliably and on a large scale before bringing them to market.

The net effect of global business like this could be more healthcare companies bringing new products to market and the people who invest in these companies achieving decent returns. The other factor which could make this sector a wise investment choice in 2020 is that the world’s population is growing older. This means that businesses in this industry will experience a greater demand for their services.

Tech

Canny investors will know that 2019 was a great year for the technology sector with growth of 29.4% recorded. The good news is that 2020 looks set to continue this trend. The major reason for this prediction is that we simply live in a tech-driven world where the latest innovations or gadgets are important to people. You only have to look at how the Internet of Things (IoT) has blossomed in recent years to see this in action. This global demand for tech in business and personal life should be enough to see this sector and the businesses in it have another great 12 months.

Renewable energy

It is thought that around a third of UK investors surveyed by GraniteShares pick renewable energy as the industry they expect to have a great 2020. When you think about it logically, this makes sense after the increased attention that climate change received in 2019. The next 12 months could see companies in this industry experience more demand for their services and products. This in turn could not only bring investors in them profits but also create a feel-good buzz around the sector which will in turn attract more money into it. Do not be surprised if this is one industry which will make 2020 its own.

2020 looks set to be an exciting year

Now that investors have reviewed 2019 and how it affected their portfolios, a new year is the ideal time to make fresh plans. For many, this will involve hunting out promising sectors to invest in. If you are a UK-based investor looking to branch out, the above are some great choices to think about.

Corporate vs casual: Which is best for your business?

In the past, workplace clothing regulations were strict; office workers were expected to show up to work looking as smart as possible in the traditional suit and tie combination. Nowadays however, businesses have been taking a more relaxed approach towards corporate clothing. Whilst it is important for employees to be comfortable in the workplace, relaxing uniform regulations can lead to potential issues. For example, making the switch towards more casual clothing could negatively impact your brand image. In this article, we take a look at corporate vs casual workplace clothing and evaluate which is best for your business. 

Changing demographics

Despite the fact that the younger demographic tends to prefer more casual workwear, this can be a problem for brands. Brands that have adopted the casual-clothing idea are seemingly allowing their staff to wear their own clothes that fit specific style/colour requirements at work, which could have a negative impact on their productivity, duties and other colleagues.

Your staff won’t fully understand what materials and styles work well for different jobs. If your staff decide to wear a tight material, this could prevent them from reaching up to a shelf for example — the limitations an item of clothing has on their abilities will be the last thing on their mind.

This doesn’t mean that staff shouldn’t be allowed to dress more comfortably or causally, there are just better ways to implement these rules. With technology and design opportunities advancing at a rapid rate, uniform providers are now able to facilitate any requirements when it comes to corporate workwear — whether you opt for professional or a more relaxed style of attire. By opting for a professional service, you’ll won’t have to worry about design regulations that are required for your working environment that have been set out by governing bodies; as the responsibility will fall with them. Not only this, they’ll likely organise a consultation with your business to fully understand the requirements of the job and how the uniform needs to be designed to meet them.

Branding

As competition on the high street increases, brands are having to change the way that they present themselves to customers. With reports suggesting that the high-street is experiencing a dramatic decline, stores are trying to become more innovative to improve customer and staff retention. Uniforms have recently become a big focus for many businesses. To connect with customers on a personal level, more organisations are allowing employees to ‘dress-down’, to encourage uniqueness and to show shoppers that they’re able to adapt with the times.

If you enjoy a coffee on your daily commute to work, you might have noticed that Starbucks have recently changes their uniform requirements. Previously, baristas would wear buttoned-up black or white shirts with name badges and black or khaki pants, accompanied with their signature green apron. But now, rules have become lax surrounding what they’re allowed to wear beneath the apron.

Starbucks staff now have the opportunity to express themselves through their workwear in a way that traditional uniforms never allowed. The Starbucks employee lookbook states that baristas can wear black, white, grey, navy and brown shirts as a solid or for a subdued, small-print, low-contrast pattern. However, sweatshirts, hooded shirts, cap-sleeve and short-sleeve V-neck or T-necks are forbidden. Although you may remember some baristas wearing caps with a Starbucks logo, their options have now varied too, with flat caps, trilby hats and beanies becoming an option. Employees are also allowed to wear scarves, but they must be tucked behind their apron!

Uniforms: An employee perspective

Rather than looking at uniforms as an additional expense, businesses should think of them as a long-term investment. Not only will uniforms allow you to stay within workwear regulations, it will also reduce the time you spend monitoring clothing if staff do choose to wear their own styles for work.

Although employees might enjoy the idea of wearing casual clothing to work, it could raise problems when you consider other expenses and factors. These could include rent, groceries as well as general clothing. If they have the responsibility to also purchase suitable workwear, this will be another deducting factor that comes out of their wage.

Having a set uniform for your business would help create a strong brand image and unify your employees.

Think before you print — a design guide

When you’re designing something that will help better market your business, it’s important to get it right first time. As you’ll likely be printing in bulk, one mistake can impact the entire production line and leave your end-product unusable. Together with Direct Letterbox Marketing, providers of leaflet distribution services, we investigate the best design techniques to make your print effective — from call to actions to bold lettering. We’ll also address what you shouldn’t do with your designs by looking at some of the biggest mistakes marketers have made with their printed materials.

The impact of print marketing

Surveys have found that 89% of people remember flyers they received through the door. On top of that, almost half of those who responded admitted that they keep leaflets in a drawer or on a board for future reference and 48% claimed to have visited a store, bought a product, or sent for information because of door-drop advertising.

Print marketing has a longer life than its marketing counterparts. The likes of social media might be great for short-term advertising, but the online world is a fast-paced environment. How often have you clicked away from a page to never be able to find it again? With print marketing, you’ll always have a hard copy at hand unless you physically get rid of it.

Think of the last time you picked up a magazine or brochure – or indeed any physical piece of print. Chances are you spent more time looking at this than you would at any online content. Print copy is certainly more engaging than digital.

There are also many forms of print marketing, whether it’s a leaflet, brochure, roll-up banner or any other form. This means you can grab your customers’ attention in a variety of ways, be it in long or short form, colourful or plain. It also helps your brand stand out from the crowd when used correctly, helping to build long-term trust and gain repeat customers. This is crucial as nine out of 10 customers would buy a brand they recognised if presented with two of the same offers.

Design must-haves

Designing the appropriate content is crucial. Every layout must engage the reader. After all, if it doesn’t draw the audience in and grab their attention, then you have failed and ultimately wasted time and money. You shouldn’t just settle for dull images – you want to stand out and make people take notice. At the same time, you want to guide the reader’s eye so it’s key to avoid images that distract from your message. Instead, pick images that will help guide them to the content your promoting. It’s necessary to have a pleasant balance of used and unused space. You don’t want to overpower your audience with too much activity, but you also don’t want to waste your opportunity to get information in front of them.

With this information, be sure to include a call to action. It’s no use producing an eye-catching document that has no end purpose. Without prompting an action from a potential customer, the marketing campaign hasn’t done its job. Another must-have, which may sound obvious, is correct spelling and grammar. We’ve all seen the signs or advertisings that have poor punctuation, and this is a sure-fire way to diminish your brand’s credibility.

Alongside a captivating logo, make sure you include your complete contact information. Without this, how do you expect your audience to find you? They are not going to go out of their way to search for your details if they are not on hand. Include this alongside your social media logos to give the audience all the relevant avenues to research your brand.

Print marketing mistakes

Print is here to stay – there’s no getting away from it. However, you don’t want to end up in the recycle bin or be just another sign. Many companies have fallen foul to an array of mistakes when it comes to print marketing.

Some companies forget to think about their audience when creating content and don’t ensure that it’s easy to read and has a simple message. Sometimes, graphics can explain your service better than words for those who have limited English skills. In an ideal campaign, you’ll cater to each audience and tweak your campaigns to suit the needs of each targeted mailing list.

However, such tweaks need to stay within consistent boundaries. It’s extremely important to use the same logos and styling throughout any campaign. This will allow you to speed up the revising and updating process and save you money as you won’t be reinventing the wheel every step of the way.

It’s also crucial to remember any logo and branding you choose will have to go across other marketing forums, such as online. Make sure that any logo and colour scheme you choose will work well across the board. This will make it easier for any potential customers to recognise and relate with your brand.

Sources

http://foundry-press.co.uk/why-is-print-marketing-still-important/

https://www.directletterboxmarketing.co.uk/faqs/

http://www.businesscomputingworld.co.uk/5-print-marketing-mistakes-you-should-avoid-at-all-costs/

https://www.gwayprint.com/resources/the-ideas-collection/5-must-haves-in-every-layout/

https://www.allegrahamilton.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/ALG36067-Mktg-Must-Haves-hires.pdf

Common Issues with Employees and How to Solve Them

To run a business efficiently, most companies, both small and large, will have several employees to support their processes and ensure that the quality of their services is high. However, managing employees can be difficult, and business owners may find that they experience a range of problems when it comes to ensuring employee happiness and motivation, which are vital to the success of your business.

1.   Personal Injury Claims

If your business does not have a sufficient health and safety policy in place to support your employees, you may find yourself on the receiving end of a personal injury claim made against you. Common workplace injuries that occur range from slip and falls caused by hazards such as wet floors and loose wires, as well as office-related injuries such as repetitive stress injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome. If a personal injury claim is made by your employee against you, Aston Knight Solicitors has a history of helping both employees and employers to negotiate the right solution for them, whether that be in terms of compensation, or defending themselves in court. If you want to prevent personal injuries in the workplace, you should create a strict health and safety policy and training regime for every staff member, which you should refresh on a regular basis and which should include elements such as the correct way to lift heavy objects.

2.   Motivation Issues

However, for many employees, their issues are less physical, but, as a business owner, you should be no less aware of these. With a third of employees feeling unmotivated, motivation issues in the workplace can occur for a variety of reasons, including a lack of praise or unsuitability for the job, as well as a lack of promotion. To ensure that you are able to motivate your employees at all times, you should set up rewards for hard work, such as seasonal events like summer barbecues or Christmas dinners, to celebrate your employee’s achievements throughout the year. You should also consider pay rises and promotions in order to show employees that they are valued. You could also set up prize schemes for those employees with the best stats, such as holidays and days out.  

3.   Skills Gaps

One of the major problems for managers dealing with employees is the skill gap, with many employers struggling to find employees who suit the needs of their company. However, even if you are unable to find employees on job boards that match your requirements, it is possible to combat the skills gap easily. To do this, you should create training schemes for your employees on a regular basis, as well as invest in exterior training courses or qualifications, which could boost your employee’s skills and strengthen their weaknesses. You could also consider investing in personal development by giving employees an afternoon off regularly to focus on improving skills that they are interested in, which they can then reinvest into your business.

4.   Human Resource Problems

Along with the skills gap, human resource issues are also becoming problematic, with many businesses unable to find the amount of staff that they need for certain tasks. To find a solution to this, you should consider out-sourcing employees to find the talent or amount of employees you need for a certain project, especially if they are only needed on a temporary basis.

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