remote worker

3 Alternatives to the 4 Day Work Week

The four day work week has become a popular discussion among both employees and employers lately. With record-low unemployment rates, many companies are searching for ways to retain top talent by offering a variety of perks. A shorter workweek is one such benefit that’s attractive to employees. Who doesn’t want to have a longer weekend to spend more time with friends and family?

It’s not just employees who like the idea, either. Research has been conducted on the impact of a four day work week and shows that productivity can increase, so some employers are all ears to the idea.

But not all companies are created equal. Some, because of the industry or customer demand or a variety of factors, can’t just close the doors a day earlier. If that’s your company, what else can you do? Here are three options to consider in lieu of a four day work week.

3 Alternatives to the 4 Day Work Week

1. Offer More Flexibility

For a long time, salary was the most important factor when searching for a job. It almost always came down to money when a candidate was deciding on a job offer. When someone wanted to switch jobs, a better salary was often the reason. While salary is still important, other factors are now at play.

In today’s workplace, a good work-life balance is highly attractive, and it keeps both current employees happy and candidates engaged. Not only does making room for family, friends, and hobbies increase your overall happiness, it can improve your mental and physical health, and help prevent burnout.

If your company can’t provide a four day work week, consider giving employees more flexibility in their schedules. Allowing your employees to come and go as needed empowers them to be fully responsible for their own time and productivity. This can actually motivate them more.

Being flexible goes beyond employee happiness because when employees are happy, they tell everyone. Friends, family, and other potential candidates searching for a job will get their fill of stories about how awesome your company is, thereby attracting more talent.

2. Let Employees Work From Home

One of the core benefits of a four day work week is to reduce stress. But for companies that aren’t able to offer a shorter week, the next best thing is to allow employees to work from home.

A lot of managers are skeptical of work from home policies, as they envision employees lying around their house in their PJ’s and focusing more on laundry than important work matters. It can be scary implementing such a policy, for sure. But at the end of the day if you can’t trust your employees to do the work–whether they’re in the office, at home, or anywhere in the world–why hire them in the first place? The keyword here is trust.

In lieu of a shorter workweek, working from home can have a similar impact on employees. Some benefits include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Positive health impact
  • Better work-life balance

The real benefit of establishing a work from home policy, however, is productivity. Common office distractions like last-minute meetings and coworkers randomly dropping by to chat are a non-issue. Employees can work distraction-free to reach a level of productivity they’re unable to achieve while in the office.


Tips for Implementing a Work From Home Policy

Ground rules are important for implementing a work from home policy. But for a manager who’s never done so, it can be a bit nerve wracking and lead you to setting some guidelines that only frustrate employees, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. Some tips for creating a work from home policy include:

  1. Trust your employees to do the work.
  2. Schedule weekly meetings.
  3. Give them the right tools.

Working from home has so many positive implications that it’s almost crazy not to have some form of policy. There are also plenty of digital tools available to help manage remote workers.

3. Encourage Breaks

Another way to add flexibility and improve your employees’ work-life balance is by encouraging them to take a break. Stepping away from work throughout the day for a little bit helps them regroup and connect with their fellow colleagues. However, even though it’s the law to provide breaks, many don’t take one. One study found that 33% of people don’t take a break at work.

Breaks go beyond a few minutes to shovel food in their mouths. You can extend your lunch break time and even provide a relaxing break room where employees actually want to spend time. Offering free office snacks is also a great way to show employees they’re valued and will encourage them to get away from their desks every now and then.

team members high five each other for motivation

10 Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated

Whether you manage a small office with a handful of people or a large team in a corporate setting, keeping your team motivated is essential to success and overall happiness. Motivated employees have a better outlook, are more productive, and are generally happier.

But even the biggest go-getters come across the occasional lull. As a manager, part of your responsibility is to keep your team motivated and eager to do their best all the time. That’s no easy task, so we’ve compiled a list of ten areas to focus on to help give your team a little extra drive.

10 Ways to Motivate Your Team to be More Productive & Happier

1. Pay Them What They’re Worth

You don’t want to lose a great employee because they’re not paid enough. Make sure their salaries are consistent with their productivity. You also want to keep their pay in line with what other companies in your industry are paying to prevent them from jumping ship for higher pay.

2. Improve the Company Culture

In a study published in the Harvard Business Review, a company’s culture plays an important role in how motivated employees are. The research focused on three areas:

  • How culture affects performance
  • The worth of culture to an organization
  • The processes that influence culture

The key findings? Performance is largely tied to why we work. There are better customer outcomes when a culture fosters certain characteristics such as more play, potential, and purpose. As for certain processes that impact a company’s culture, it varies and how the role is designed can have a big affect.

A company’s culture directly impacts employees perspective on work. Make sure your organization is actively pursuing a culture that inherently motivates employees.

3. Recognize Success (For the Whole Team)

As a manager, taking time to celebrate achievements should be a priority. Recognizing success can be a powerful motivator as it fosters a sense of fulfillment for employees in their careers. It adds to their sense of purpose. Do this both on an individual level and for the whole team. Encourage team members to recognize achievements among each other.

4. Keep Them Fueled

The infamous mid-afternoon slump can wipe out all the motivation in even the most determined employees. Help them maintain momentum to power through the day with the right snacks and beverages. A quality snack delivery service will do the trick without impacting your overall productivity.

5. Help Them Reach Their Full Potential

Leading a team is about more than just balancing workloads among each member. A good manager helps employees develop themselves professionally. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses becomes critical. Challenge them to go further in areas in which you know they struggle.

6. Provide the Right Tools

One major frustration that can deteriorate any team’s motivation at work is being asked to complete tasks without the proper tools available. It can wear employees down. For example, in today’s workplace, there are endless digital tools available to help manage and complete work. Make them available so your team can be more productive.

7. Ask Questions, Don’t Just Give Answers

One of the main factors of having a sense of purpose is finding solutions on your own. Instead of laying out the path to solving problems for them, ask questions that will energize them to figure out the solution by themselves. Nobody likes to be told exactly how to do their job.

8. Show Them How & Why Their Work Matters

When employees fail to see how their work impacts the big picture within an organization, engagement and productivity begin to decline. When leading a team, remember to always include them or their work in the company’s broader strategy.

9. Offer Opportunity for Growth

Not providing pathways to more opportunities leads to complacency, which will only breed unmotivated employees. Offer plenty of opportunities for your team members to grow where they can eventually take on new and bigger challenges.

10. Have Fun Together

People that get along well with one another also work well together. Help your team foster good relations among each other through team building exercises or something as simple as regular lunch meetings together.

resolving workplace conflicts

Resolving Conflicts in the Workplace

Workplace conflicts are inevitable. With so many different personalities crammed into one space day after day, there are bound to be issues–big and small–that arise. If you’re a manager, chances are you’ve spent some time solving problems between employees. In fact, most managers spend 10-26% of their time handling conflicts.

In most cases the issues are work-related, but sometimes it’s personal.

Regardless of the problem, there’s one thing that’s certain: if a conflict is ignored for too long, it can lead to larger issues and ultimately affect office morale.

So, what causes conflicts in the workplace and how do you resolve them?

Common Causes of Workplace Conflicts

Communication issues. Poor communication is perhaps the most common cause of conflicts in the workplace. Sometimes it’s a misunderstanding, other times it’s a failure to communicate at all.

Structural issues. Differences between two departments can lead to problems, particularly when either side is unwilling to compromise.

Personality differences. A clash in personalities can lead to conflict as well. This includes the way one person handles a situation or a difference in values.

Whatever the issue, it is essential for managers and supervisors to recognize the problem and work to resolve it as soon as possible.

How To Resolve Conflicts In The Workplace

According to clinical psychologist Susan Heitler Ph.D., a collaborative effort is the best approach to handling problems between two people. This process works in three steps:

1. Recognition of the problem

2. Exploration of underlying concerns

3. Create a mutually agreeable solution

“For this process to work,” Heitler explains, “participants need to stay collaborative, like they are sitting on the same side of the table facing the problem, never flipping into oppositional or hostile stances toward each other.”

3 Tips To Help Manage Conflicts

1. Wait until both parties are calm. Getting two people to try and resolve the problem while they’re still angry or upset is not effective. Let some time pass to keep tempers from flaring up.

2. Be an active listener. When you sit down with someone to solve a problem, listen to understand. Try and see it their way.

3. Stay focused on the problem, not the individuals involved. By focusing on the problem and not the individual, you will avoid a personality clash that might cause even more problems.

Woman enjoying office snack service

3 Ways to Provide Office Snacks For Employees

There’s no doubt that every workplace needs some form of office snack service. Whether your employees got stuck in a long meeting and didn’t have time for lunch or simply need a tasty pick-me-up towards the end of the day, providing snacks in your office makes for a better workplace culture.

  • Productivity
  • Engagement
  • Happiness

These are the results of offering snacks for employees. But the question is, how can you provide them? Here are three approaches to an office snack plan.

1. Vending Machines

Provided your office has space, vending machines are a good option if you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive way to offer snacks and beverages in your office. If you choose a full-service vending program, the machines will be delivered, installed, and maintained all at no cost.

2. Micro Market

Micro markets are great for larger office and workplace settings and allow for employees to purchase items through a kiosk. The convenience of a micro market is what makes it an attractive option for an office snack service.

3. Snack Delivery Service

Many employers are providing snacks as a perk to help attract and retain employees. There are several ways to go about purchasing the items, including a snack delivery service. This helps eliminate the hassle of sending an employee to the store to purchase all the product. The Supply Wizards online ordering platform connects you with a local vending operator that has hundreds of products to choose from and can deliver your choices in 1-2 days.

employees enjoying office snacks

6 Mistakes To Avoid When Creating A Break Room Your Employees Will Love

There are few places where people spend more of their waking hours than at work, which makes the company break room the primary location of comfort for a significant portion of the workweek. It’s a place where they can regroup after a bad phone call or getting yelled at for a mistake. That’s why it’s so important to do it right.

Some companies, like Google and Facebook, are known for elaborate break rooms. Games, TV’s, and modern furniture are some features that employees get to enjoy. The reason these companies approached their break room design int his way wasn’t simply because it’s cool or fun. It’s because they recognize the benefits for a well-designed shared space.

Now, this isn’t to say you need a huge budget to do up the break room like Google. In fact, you can do it for a fairly low cost (relatively speaking, of course). What’s important is that you do it right and avoid these mistakes when creating a break room your employees will love.

1. Buying Uncomfortable Furniture

Budgeting is always a concern when designing a break room, and it’s often why companies skimp on the furniture. But if the break room is a place for employees to relax for a few minutes, don’t you want them to be comfortable? When choosing furniture, be sure to do some research. Check out the reviews online or better yet test the furniture out yourself.

2. Choosing The Wrong Decorations

Research has shown that the right artwork in the workplace not only makes people happier but increases their productivity by 32%. That means avoiding cheesy posters of a mountain top with the word “courage” or “determination” written on them. Pick artwork that reflects your company’s culture and is inspirational without having to say it outright.

3. Not Having A Message Board

The break room is the one part of the workplace where everyone is welcome at any time. It’s where your work-community gathers on a daily basis, and this provides an opportunity for everyone to share important information and announcements. Every break room should have a message board for this reason.

4. Not Keeping It Food-Friendly

Large companies often have full kitchens that make up part of their break rooms. For smaller companies that don’t have that luxury, offering snacks through an office snack delivery service is more common. Either way, your break room should be a place where employees can easily enjoy lunch or a quick snack to help them power through the day.

5. Providing Bad Coffee

…or no coffee at all. As more Americans are drinking coffee now more than ever, it’s essential that you provide it in the office. It’s expected. Here at Supply Wizards, we offer a full variety of artisan and gourmet coffee options.

6. Ignoring Input From Employees

Since the break room is for all employees, you should involve them in the process. Listen to what they have to say and decide if the ideas are something to consider. You could take votes on specific things like paint color, lighting fixtures, or artwork. Involving them in this way makes them feel included and helps create a dynamic workplace culture.

comparing cost of snack delivery services

How Much Does A Snack Delivery Service Cost?

One of the main concerns of using a snack delivery service is how much it will cost. The answer, however, isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Different factors can influence how much you’ll pay for snacks and beverages, so we’ll do our best to address them all to help you best judge what the approximate cost will be for your company.

Many office managers have come to realize the benefits of providing free snacks for employees. This office perk can help increase:

  • productivity
  • happiness
  • efficiency

But the problem most offices run into is finding a way to purchase the products. Often, an employee is tasked with going to the grocery store and/or a wholesale supplier like Costco or BJ’s to get the items desired. This approach is time-consuming and can add stress to the employee.

A snack delivery service helps eliminate those problems. But, like many other products or services, there are different options for having snack and beverage items delivered to your office, each with its own unique approach that can affect the price of the service.

What Factors Affect The Cost Of Snack Delivery Service

The two biggest factors that affect the price of a snack delivery service are:

  • Number of employees
  • Snack preferences

It’s really no surprise that the number of people that work in your office will influence how much you pay for snacks. The more employees, the higher the cost.

Additionally, the kinds of snacks your employees want will also affect the price. Some products are more expensive than others. For example, healthy snacks are in high demand, but that could mean they’re going to cost more.

The type of service you choose will also factor into the cost. Let’s discuss the types of snack delivery services available for your office.

The Different Types Of Snack Delivery Services

Subscription Box

This type of snack delivery service provides customers with a monthly order of snacks via a subscription payment. There are many different options when it comes to subscription boxes, and a lot of them tend to focus more on healthy items. For example, Healthy Surprise offers snack bars, nuts, exotic fruits, and vegetables. Others provide brands like Clif Energy Bars and Pipcorn. The cost for a subscription box varies, but generally will be between $50 for smaller offices and can run up to $250 or more for larger locations.

Grocery Delivery

Another way to get the snacks you want to be delivered to your office is through grocery delivery services. Companies like Shipt, Instacart, and Amazon Fresh are some of the more popular companies in this space. These services have become popular of late, as you’re able to select the exact items you want. With grocery delivery, an employee of the service you choose will get your list of requested items, go to the store themselves to get them, then deliver everything. Pricing varies for grocery delivery services as well, and is typically a yearly subscription. The only downside to this is that it can be difficult for shoppers to find enough individual sized bags of products.

Wholesale Product Delivery

A wholesale snack delivery service is sort of a combination of both grocery delivery and subscription boxes. It enables you to order the products you want and have them shipped to your office right from the supplier’s warehouse. Here at Supply Wizards, we connect you with a local vending operator via our online platform so you can choose all the items you want and have it delivered from a local company. The cost is only as much as the amount of items you choose to have delivered.

The Bottom Line

The cost of a snack delivery service varies. When looking for a service, it’s important to know what will influence the price and understand all your options so you can choose the best service for your office.

Is An Office Coffee Service Right For Your Business?

An office coffee service could be the solution you need if you’re looking to increase productivity, improve company culture, or give employee satisfaction a boost. But with all the choices out there, it can be a challenge to decide which service would be a good fit for your office. This guide will help you answer questions like:

  • Who will supply the coffee?
  • What type of coffee equipment should your office use?
  • Which flavors should you order?

As more and more people consider themselves coffee drinkers, it’s time you consider providing quality coffee in your office. Your employees will be thankful, and you’re likely to see an overall improvement in your day-to-day functions of the office.

The Benefits of An Office Coffee Service

When it comes to improving the workplace, coffee might not be the first idea that comes to mind. But study after study shows that coffee has many benefits, health-related ones aside. Here are some areas where coffee can improve your office.


Coffee keeps you alert and helps improve mental performance. The caffeine it contains blocks a compound that causes drowsiness call adenosine. This is how coffee drinkers get an extra boost of energy in the morning, and how–during the lulls of the workday–employees can pick up the pace of their work.


How far is the closest coffee shop from your office? Unless you work in one, the answer is too far. Providing coffee in the office helps prevent employees from spending too much time trekking to the nearest Starbucks to get their cup o’ joe.

Office Culture

While you don’t want employees leaving the office for long stretches of time, coffee gives them a reason (and place) to gather for breaks. This might sound counterproductive, but taking short breaks are actually beneficial as they help clear your mind when working on a difficult task or give you an energy boost.


Low morale in any work environment will stifle productivity. There are a lot of ways to make employees feel valued and appreciated, and providing access to good coffee is one of them.

Different Types of Office Coffee Services

Now that you understand the value of having coffee in the office, which kind of service should you choose? The answer depends on a few factors, such as how many employees are in your office and what preferences they have. Here are some things to consider when searching for an office coffee service.

Coffee Equipment

There are endless options for coffee equipment to choose from, but they fall into one of these four categories:

  • Commercial grade
  • Consumer grade
  • Keurig machine
  • Coffee vending machine

Your particular office (the number of employees, space available, and personal preferences) will largely determine which route you should go.


A major benefit of choosing an office coffee service is the variety. From light roast to dark roast, regular to gourmet, you can get virtually any type of coffee delivered right to your office.

So, should you hire an office coffee service? The answer is certainly yes, but it’s important to choose a service that suits your needs. Variety and timely delivery should be paramount in your search.

Choosing the best snack delivery service

What To Look For In A Quality Snack Delivery Service

So you’ve been providing free snacks for employees in your office for a while now. And you’ve been going to the store to purchase the products yourself, but you’ve finally had it. Work’s busy and you don’t have the time, energy, or even the desire to do it anymore. Not to mention the complaints you get for not getting the super obscure drink that’s always so hard to find. What can you do?

A snack delivery service is the next logical step. Everything that everyone wants delivered right to your office. It’s a no-brainer. Except…where do you start? How does such a program work? What kind of items can you get? Most importantly, how do you choose the best service? As with any other decision, it takes a little research and planning. Below are six things to look for when choosing a snack delivery service.

6 Signs of Quality Snack Delivery Services

1. Variety

When choosing a service to use, you don’t want to sign up with one that offers half of what you were able to purchase on your own. Be sure to find out what types of products they have. Ask for a product list so you can see if what they offer aligns with the needs and wants of your employees. A company worth using should be able to offer a full range of items to please the many palates in your office.

2. Healthy Products

In that vast variety of yummy goodness full of sugar or salt that a snack delivery service provides should also be healthy items. It’s fine to indulge in a candy bar or bag of chips here and there, but every day? Not so much. Ask if the company you’re considering offers healthier products as well, including yogurt, peanuts, granola bars, or gluten free products.

3. Fast Delivery

For the most part, there will be a natural rhythm to your office’s snacking habits, and orders will be fairly routine. But what happens when there’s a big meeting (including people from outside your office) and suddenly your cabinets are empty? You don’t want to wait too long for the next order. Choose a service that can deliver quickly. At Supply Wizards, our ordering platform connects you with a local vending supplier in your area that can deliver your order within 1-2 days.

4. Lenient Ordering Policy

One of the complaints office managers have about snack delivery is having to order in bulk. This often leads to cases of product having to be stored somewhere. Being able to order by individual items versus by the case is a huge benefit for some offices. This isn’t to say a supplier will make a special trip just to deliver a few items. But once your order reaches a high enough price point, they can replenish your stock for specific items instead of having to order an entire case.

5. Online Ordering

An easy-to-use platform to place an order should always be considered. Aside from making the ordering process easier, online ordering helps in other perhaps more important ways:

  • Keeps orders right
  • Reduces human error
  • Easier to monitor expenses
  • Mobile friendly

6. Flexible

Every business or office operates a little differently from one another. In order to meet the requests of each customer, a good snack delivery service should be able to adapt and react quickly. This flexibility helps personalize your experience in using their service, which further leads to greater satisfaction.

office snacks for meeting

10 Snacks To Include In Your Next Office Meeting

Holding the attention of employees throughout an office meeting can sometimes be a real challenge. No matter how hard you try you can see their minds wander and eyelids begin to droop.

One of the best ways to increase employee engagement during a meeting is to provide snacks. Food gives your body the strength and energy to stay focused. If you’re scheduling a meeting soon, consider putting some of these items on the table for employees.

10 Snacks To Offer In Business Meetings

Perks of free snacks in the workplace

  • Greek yogurt

  • Fresh fruit

  • Hardboiled eggs

  • Cheese (sticks or bites)

  • Crackers

  • Granola bars

  • Hummus and pita bread

  • Pretzels

  • Nuts

  • Trail-mix

If your company regularly holds meetings, it would be beneficial to use a snack delivery service to get these products. That way everything you need to keep everyone motivated throughout the meeting can be brought right to your office, saving you the time and hassle of doing the grocery shopping yourself.

Office snack delivery is the new way to provide snacks for employees.

Vending Machines Are Out. Snack Delivery Is In.

Office vending machines have been the staple of many break rooms for decades. They were a convenient way to provide employees with popular snacks and beverages, and (for the most part) vending worked well. But times have changed. As more and more companies move toward providing free snacks for employees as a workplace perk, the era of the office vending machine seems to have met its match. Office snack delivery services are on the rise.

Two Reasons The Vending Machine is Dead

1. Problems With The Equipment

We’ve all been there. Craving a candy bar or in desperate need of a caffeine kick, and upon giving the vending machine your money, the machine doesn’t hold up its end of the deal and it robs you. Even though vending companies typically do a great job at handling these types of service problems, that’s just what they are–problems. In today’s fast-paced business world, ain’t nobody got time for that.

2. Lack Of Variety

A vending machine can only hold so much. It can also only hold certain items due to the size and/or shape of the packaging. If ‘variety is the spice of life,’ then it’s also what gives an office its flavor, or, in other words, its culture.

Enter Office Snack Delivery Services

Like we said, times have changed. The workforce is more competitive and picky about where they work. As recruiting the best talent becomes more challenging, companies are looking for ways to lure in candidates. Offering free snacks as a perk has become common.

But it’s not all games and gimmicks: Managers recognize that a productive workforce is an energetic one. Without proper nutrition, productivity can wane.

The problem, however, lies in having to buy snacks for the company break room. It’s time-consuming for employees to go grocery shopping themselves. That’s where a snack delivery service comes in. You can get what you want and when you want it, without having to leave the office.

There are several different companies that deliver products right to your office. Some are a pre-set assortment of items and amounts, while others, like Supply Wizards, allows you to choose from a full variety of snacks and beverages available from a local vendor in your area…and it allows you to order just about any number of items. So if you know only a few people like a certain kind of granola bar, you don’t have to order a huge box every month. Instead, you can request just enough for those employees.

It’s a win-win situation. Managers save time and can increase productivity, while employees get to enjoy the benefits of free and delicious snacks.

Order office snacks and coffee online

3 Reasons You Need an Office Snack Delivery Service

Offering free snacks in the workplace has become a standard practice. The benefits are plentiful, and it behooves any company who hasn’t begun offering free food for employees to start…now.

One of the biggest challenges, however, is purchasing the product. A lot of offices have a designated employee that will do the grocery shopping, but his approach is not exactly the most efficient. Over time, it can put a strain on productivity. Here are three reasons why your office needs a snack delivery service.

1. You’re spending too much time on grocery shopping.

It’s great that your office provides free snacks for employees, but the reality is that grocery shopping can take up a good deal of your time. That means a loss in productivity and potentially getting behind on some of your core responsibilities. By using a snack delivery service, you can save a tremendous amount of time.

2. You’re spending too much money on grocery shopping.

Grocery stores are specifically designed to encourage impulse purchases. It’s what merchandising is all about. Think about the last time you went to the store. How many items did you buy that weren’t requested by anyone in the office? Maybe it’s more than you’d care to admit. A snack delivery service can help prevent these types of purchases and save the company money.

3. Keeping track of receipts has become cumbersome.

How many times has accounting asked for the receipt from the grocery store and then you couldn’t find it? That’s definitely an issue when it comes to monitoring monthly expenses. With a snack delivery service like Supply Wizards, it’s easy to go back and see what your previous order was.

Being able to order product online, have it delivered right to your door, and keep track of purchases is the efficient way to providing free coffee and snacks for employees. Forget the lengthy trips to the grocery store. Contact us today to get started.


technology for hotel managers

The Digital Tools Every Office Manager Needs

As an office manager, you’re responsible for how well the office runs. You keep everything in line. And when something breaks, you fix it. It’s not exactly a flashy job, but it’s integral to the success of any company, and requires a whole host of skills. You’re at once an expert communicator, problem solver, psychologist, and (sometimes) referee.

Just like any other job, you need the right tools to keep it all running like a fine-tuned engine in order to achieve the company’s overall goals and objectives. So what tools would those be? This list provides some of the best and most popular digital tools that you should be using.


Managing expenses is a top priority for office managers. There are plenty of platforms to help simplify the process. Below are three of the most popular choices to keep your spending under control.

Expensify. Expense reports can suck. Unless you use Expensify, which helps simplify the expense management process.

Abacus. A real-time expense reporting system designed to reimburse employees quickly.

Concur. “When you can see all your spending, you can control all your costs.”

Productivity Tools

Keeping track of employee progress is essential to a productive office. Thankfully, there are lots of tools to use to keep up and collaborate with employees. Here are some good choices:

Google Calendar. Perhaps the most comprehensive calendar available, Google Calendar helps you manage a busy schedule and coordinate with employees.

Trello. When it comes to collaborating with employees, Trello is one of the best. Create as many boards and cards you need, and easily communicate with team members on progress.

OneNote. This tool by Microsoft syncs with outlook, making it easy to keep track of things. It allows you to create as many ‘pages’ as you need to divide up notes or checklists for a variety of tasks.

Professional Development

Udemy. This online learning platform offers more than 65,000 courses in a wide variety of categories, including business. Classes such as organization, customer services skills, and time management are helpful for even the most seasoned office managers.

General Assembly. Geared more towards web development, product management, and data science, General Assembly is great for those seeking practical technological skills.

Human Resources

Vacation. Sick leave. PTO. Managing human resources can be stressful. But if you’re using the right tool(s), it’s much more simple.

Zenefits. Manage your entire HR process with one, easy-to-use platform.

Gusto. Much like Zenefits, Gusto is a one-stop shop for everything HR, but it’s geared more towards small businesses as its user limit is 100 people.

Deputy. If you work for a larger company, a service like Deputy will be a better choice. Enterprise businesses like McDonald’s and UPS use this service.

Break Room Technology

You might not think the break room is an important part of your job. But plenty of studies show that productivity and happiness are linked to companies that offer a great culture, which includes providing free snacks.

Enplug. Digital signage that can keep your employees informed and entertained and your break room sleek and inviting.

Supply Wizards. Snack delivery software to keep your employees satisfied with their favorite snacks and beverages. Ordering is simple and delivery is quick. No more grocery shopping!

Perks of free snacks in the workplace

Why Offering Free Snacks is a Great Perk for the Office

A recent article in the New York Times discussed how micro-progress can help improve productivity and keep you going. The idea is this: for one task that needs to be completed, you set multiple ‘mini goals’ that you can achieve along the way to help complete the entire task. It’s an interesting approach and partly based on Newton’s 1st Law, which, in essence, means that an object in motion stays in motion.

What does this have to do with free snacks and office perks?

Well, in an effort to improve office morale, a lot of ideas are thrown around. Some of them are big (perhaps too big) and are nearly impossible carry out or too expensive. But there are smaller steps that office managers can take to help reach the ultimate goal of boosting morale. In other words, sometimes it’s the little wins that count. One such win would be offering free snacks. It’s a relatively easy perk to implement and offers a variety of benefits.

Benefits of Offering Free Snacks in the Workplace

Could improve productivity. Food gives us energy, and if employees don’t have the fuel they need to complete their tasks each day, then their productivity can be affected. That mid-morning or afternoon snack can be a real life-saver sometimes and give you enough of a boost to finish up an important task. Also, providing free snacks keeps them on-site and prevents them from wasting time having to leave the building just to find a snack.

Makes people happier. People love free stuff. What’s more is that people love free food. A recent survey found that workplaces that happiness increases among employees when free snacks are offered. Free snacks as a perk are often more important to millennials than other age groups, and with millennials now the largest group in the workforce, it’s a perk that should not be overlooked. It shows a sense of personal investment on behalf of the company in their employees, an element to workplace culture that’s so desirable by millennials that it’s essential for companies to consider.

Healthier snacks can help improve moods. Want to help prevent that afternoon slump? Offer a variety of healthier options, like yogurt, fresh fruit, or nuts. Candy and chips are nice to indulge in sometimes, but the sudden increase in sugar can leave you feeling tired. Healthy foods will keep your employees from fizzling out right when they need to power up.

Some office managers might be skeptical about this approach to their company break room. After all, offering free snacks and food to employees means someone has to purchase them. But there are plenty of snack delivery services out there to choose from that make it simple.

work distractions

5 Distractions That Kill Productivity at Work

Productivity is a high priority for most businesses. Many leaders (82% of them) consider productivity to be a top indicator of financial success or failure. Why, then, is workplace productivity only mediocre in most companies? There are many factors that are attributed to a loss in productivity, among them are distractions.

As an office manager, there is perhaps nothing more frustrating for you than employees who are unable to complete their work. Especially because of unnecessary distractions. To mitigate these interruptions, you first need to identify them, then decide how (and if) you can prevent them from causing problems among staff. The list below offers a good place to start.

5 Workplace Distractions to Eliminate to Improve Productivity

1. Cell Phone Notifications

Social media, game notifications, and text messages are endless. As most people keep their cell phones on their desks, within arms reach, it’s inevitable that interruptions will occur more than once throughout the day–if only for even a second. While you don’t want to run the risk of micro managing too much, it’s well within reason to encourage employees to keep their cell phones out of reach and out of sight. Not only will it stop employees from jumping at every notification that comes through, it also prevents them from checking their phones for no reason out of habit.

2. Politics

We’re not talking office politics here. NPR previously reported on increased political tensions in workplaces for the 2016 election compared to past cycles, resulting an increase in workplace arguments and stress due to politics. As The Atlantic reported:

  • 87% read political social-media posts during the day
  • nearly 50% reported witnessing a political discussion turn into an argument
  • 29% say they’re less productive post election*

Let those stats sink in a bit.

The amount of stress and distractions accrued just from receiving a steady dose of news throughout the day can (and likely will) derail your entire workflow. Managers need to help their employees focus on work to keep productivity levels where they need to be. Encourage employees to keep political opinions to themselves to avoid any arguments.

3. Toxicity

Just about any workplace can become toxic, either in an instant (as noted above with politics) or over time. Constant drama, gossip, dysfunctional competition, and disrespect are just some of the signs of a toxic workplace. Such environments are often attributed to poor leadership. As Annie McKee, a company leadership advisor, writes in her book “How To Be Happy At Work,” such toxic conditions “result in fear, cynicism, lack of trust, anger and withholding of time, energy and talent, not to mention deep and pervasive unhappiness.” This doesn’t really set the groundwork for a productive office, does it? It’s essential that office managers recognize any and all elements that can cause a once-healthy workplace into a toxic one, then quickly provide solutions to the problems at hand.

4. Hunger

Consider this from Harvard Business Review: “Imagine a world where filling up at Mobil meant avoiding all traffic and using BP meant driving no faster than 20 miles an hour. Would you then be so cavalier about where you purchased your gas?” In context, the article suggests that fueling your body with food and getting gas for your car are not the same–what you eat impacts your productivity at work. As a manager, you should encourage employees to eat well so they can stay energized to complete their tasks. There are days, of course, when time just gets away from you. In these instances, it’s great to offer employees snack options. You can have wholesale snacks delivered right to your office, or go the more traditional route and get vending machines.

5. Not Planning

At the heart of being productive is having a plan. Coming into work on Monday morning without any vision for what needs to be accomplished that week will lead to a ‘reactive’ approach to work, where employees just respond to what’s being thrown at them. Not only should employees organize and plan their work week in advance, but they should have a plan ready for when they are inevitably interrupted throughout the day. New research shows that creating a plan for when you’re interrupted can help you easily get back on track and increase your productivity.

How to Make the Workplace More Fun & Engaging

Employees having fun in the office

Let’s get one thing straight: work shouldn’t be a drag. Sure, employees are there to do a specific job and help the company succeed, but it shouldn’t be an accomplishment just to make into the office. After all, they spend most of their waking hours during the week at work, so why not make it a place that’s exciting? Or where employees look forward to going each day? It might sound counterproductive, but a fun workplace can actually increase productivity.

So if you’re looking for ways to add a little fun to your workplace, here are some ideas to get you started.

7 Ways to Make Your Office Fun

1. Make People Laugh

When’s the last time you laughed–really laughed–at work? Chances are it was a long time ago. Even the most serious of jobs need a little humor every now and then. Laughing has some great benefits. Try instituting a humor bulletin board where employees can pin cartoons or jokes for others to see.

2. Team Building Activities

A good manager can recognize when their team is just not, well, a team. One of the best ways to build a cohesive unit is through team building exercises. These activities foster positive relationships among your employees that lead to better employee relationships and an increase in productivity. Try a group lunch outside of the office, or an after-work activities like bowling or trivia.

3. Celebrate Birthdays

Who doesn’t like birthday parties? Depending on how large or small your office is, you can either celebrate individual birthdays, or have a party once a month to celebrate multiple birthdays at one time. You can even include a fun little game for everyone to play.

4. Decorate

Nobody likes to feel like they’re just another face in the crowd. Promoting individualism is great for morale. One way to do this is by allowing employees to decorate their workspace. Encourage them to get creative and to create a space that’s unique to their personality.

5. Create an Engaging Break Room

We’ve written about the benefits of an engaging break room before, and it’s always high on the list of what makes a workplace fun. Free snacks, comfy chairs, and a unique design encourage employees to mix and mingle, which further develops their work relationships with other employees.

6. Company Lunches

Depending on the size of your company, you can do weekly or monthly lunches for the whole office. This is a great way to get employees from various departments to sit down together and engage in conversations outside of work topics. It’s great for morale.

7. Host Contests

Some healthy competition is good for the soul. Whether it’s a raffle of sorts or a chili cook-off, a little contest from time to time spices things up for employees. Just be sure to take a quick survey to see which type of contests most people are interested in. Not everyone will like the same ones.

A Quick Guide to Buying Snacks for Your Office

Employee Perks Snacks

One of the biggest challenges that companies big and small face is keeping employees happy. The change in dynamics of the workplace in recent years has potentially made it even more difficult, that change being what’s commonly referred to as perks. Companies are no longer fighting for customers, but for employees as well. In order to attract the best candidates, companies are raising the stakes by offering a multitude of perks such as:

  • Remote working schedules
  • Transportation reimbursement
  • On-site fitness centers

But one of the biggest perks is providing access to free beverages and snacks. As noted in this Time article, 10% of employees are more likely to be happy with their employers when free snacks are offered. And, perhaps to no surprise, access to free food in the office is most important to millennials. As they are now the largest group in the workforce, passing Generation-Xers, office managers should take heed in these statistics to help attract (and keep) the best employees for your business.

Providing snacks to help employees get through the workday is quickly becoming standard practice, so where do you begin?

Different Ways to Purchase Snacks

There are different ways to get snacks for your office. How your business operates, and the time and money available, will largely determine what approach you take to providing free snacks for employees. Here are three options:

Vending Machines

Vending machines are the old school way of providing snacks and beverages for employees. Even though most vending machines require payment for items, you can avoid this by purchasing the equipment and maintaining it yourself, or subsidizing the items and have a vending company service the machines.

Grocery Shopping

Some offices have a designated employee that will go grocery shopping for everyone. This person will go to a local grocery store as often as necessary to get the items requested. Wholesalers like Costco and Sam’s Club are good for this strategy because you can buy product in bulk and save money.

These two options might work well for certain offices, but they aren’t without one major shortcoming: they’re time-consuming. It takes at least a couple of hours to go grocery shopping, and vending machines can be a hassle to manager on your own.

That’s where the third option comes in.

Snack Delivery Service

Many companies are finding office coffee and refreshment services as the answer to providing snacks. With this option, you have access to a full range of snacks, beverages, and coffee products that can be delivered right to your office.

Which Approach to Offering Free Snacks is Right For Your Office?

There are some important questions to ask before making a final decision about how your company will go about providing beverages and snacks for your employees.

  • What is your budget?
  • How much time can you allot to ordering snacks?
  • What kind of items do your employees want?

The cost of getting product delivered to your location varies and will largely depend on how many employees are in your office, and the time it takes to get all the items and put them on the shelves or in the cabinets needs to be considered. You’ll want to take a survey from your employees and see what kind of drinks and snacks they like. The answers to these questions will guide you towards a final decision.

Just Be Sure To Avoid These Mistakes

Mistake # 1: Choosing a service that delivers in bulk.

Some services can provide all the items you want, but can only deliver in large quantities. Unless you have the space to store all the extra product, this approach can be cumbersome. It could also lead to expired products if employees aren’t going through them fast enough.

Mistake # 2: Not keeping track of your orders.

When signing up for an office coffee or snack delivery service, you want an easy way to keep records of everything you purchased. This makes it easy for accounting to process invoices, and for insights into what type of products your employees prefer. A platform like Supply Wizards provides an easy way to order and track your purchases.

Where to From Here?

You should have a pretty good idea of what direction your office wants to take when it comes to providing snacks and beverages for employees. Each one is a good choice if it works for your office. Whichever path you choose, just be sure that it benefits employees and the business altogether.

5 Simple Tips to Make Your Company Break Room More Engaging

Google’s doing it. Facebook’s doing it. Your competitors are doing it. Everyone’s doing it: creating a company break room that resembles more of a lounge or coffee shop than a, well, break room. While you might scoff at the idea at first and think, “employees are here to work, not relax or play,” you’d be remiss not to consider the benefits of a well-designed break room:

  • Increased productivity
  • Impressing clients
  • Boosting morale
  • Promoting socialization among employees

Wait…what? How does a break room that encourages socializing lead to a more productive workplace?

Glad you asked. See, it’s all about engagement. The more engaged your employees are, the more productive they tend to be. And, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, a whopping 70% of workers are disengaged. Not good.

What is good, however, is that there are ways to improve engagement among your employees…your break room being one of them. So here are some quick tips to help your create a break room that your employees will love.

5 Ways to Create a More Engaging Company Break Room

1. Free Snacks & Coffee

While this might seem like a costly endeavor, it’s really an investment. Employees will feel more valued and develop a stronger connection with your organization. This connection leads to better engagement, and better engagement leads to higher productivity. Companies are increasingly embracing the pantry system, wherein they can order wholesale snacks and supplies and have them delivered to their office then keep them stocked in their own break rooms.

2. Games & Entertainment

Sometimes you just need to let out a little stress. What better way than a quick game of ping-pong with a colleague, or getting lost for a few minutes in a video game. New research shows that such activities can actually improve productivity while helping relieve stress. Plus, it can build a sense of camaraderie among employees, fostering stronger work relationships.

3. Stimulating Decor

Those big tech companies probably spent a lot of money on their break room design. We’re not saying that’s what needs to be done, but how the room is designed does play an important role in how effective it is in keeping employees engaged. Here are a few simple ways to achieve this:

  • Natural elements (plants, trees, etc.)
  • Different color wall paint
  • Stimulating artwork

The break room needs to have a different feel to it than the rest of the office so employees get the sense they’re getting away from work for a few minutes and actually taking a break.

4. Comfortable Seating

While all these elements work together in harmony, comfortable seating is perhaps the key ingredient. Invest in some comfy, plush seating. None of that hard plastic or wooden stuff. A chair that envelops you in it’s plushy goodness like a venus fly trap made of pillows is what you’re after.

5. Books & Magazines

Good ones. Not the stuff you see at your dentist’s office that people flip through only to find the sample strip of the latest Gucci fragrance. (Except for maybe Highlights.) Take a survey and see what people like…what their interests are. Encourage everyone to bring in the latest book they finished to share. While there won’t be time to start and finish a novel in one sitting, even just reading for a few minutes can help lower stress, which is what your employees need from time to time.