Beyond Fitness: 5 Ways to Foster Well-Being in Your Workplace

Busy woman doing gymnastics for body relaxing

According to the World Health Organization, health is central to human happiness and well-being.

Healthy populations live longer, are more productive, save resources, and make important contributions to sustainability, a better world, and economic progress.

But well-being involves more than just fitness. It includes physical comfort, mental stability, and emotional connectivity. In short, well-being is the “feel-good factor.”

5 Workplace Well-Being Factors

Companies that prioritize safety, work environment, and the emotional well-being of employees will improve morale, reduce absenteeism, and be more productive in the long run.

Aside from fitness incentives, here are five factors that contribute to well-being in the workplace.

1. Physical Comfort and Safety

Do you do your best work when you are shivering or dripping with sweat?

The physical comfort of employees has a significant effect on company outputs each year. The design and “unwritten rules” of a workspace are key factors in meeting employees’ most basic needs – including everything from temperature control, air quality, access to daylight, ergonomics, noise control, and safety risks.

Allowing for discussions about problem areas and individual control for the adjustment of conditions can be critical to overall well-being.

2. Autonomy

Difficult co-workers are hard, but micro-managing bosses can be harder.

When managers are too controlling, employees fail to excel in their collaborative environments. This disengagement has high costs over time: studies show that apathetic workers have rates of absenteeism 37% higher than average, and they work with a dampened sense of creativity. Strategic leaders need to keep a close eye on how company managers are encouraging or squashing employee morale.

3. Remote Work Options

When autonomy is given full expression, there is a permissiveness for working off-site.

This may seem insignificant, but allowing employees to flex their schedule, work around a sick child, or extend family vacations with remote work days can do wonders to keep people motivated. When there is a greater balance between office and domestic life, conflict is reduced, and productivity grows.

4. Positive Culture

Do you work well when you’re having more fun?

Workplace well-being spikes when social connections are strong. The Harvard Business Review found this so necessary that they identified six characteristics of a supportive work culture:

  1. Caring for colleagues as you would friends
  2. Providing support and compassion
  3. Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes
  4. Inspiring one another
  5. Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work
  6. Instilling trust, integrity, and gratitude across all levels of the organization.

Whether it’s monthly lunch cookouts or goofy employee awards, strong companies prioritize transparent relationships from the top down.

5. Collaborative Competition

Why are shows like The Amazing Race or Dancing with the Stars so engaging?

Maybe it’s because watching teams work toward a common goal fosters community – even between reality TV stars and their audience!

When companies encourage supportive competition, it can build bridges between employees, generate untapped creativity, and spark engagement or support that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Whether you post department “step counting” challenges or have people compete for the best new marketing hook, collaborative competition is one of the easiest ways to boost the physical, mental, and social environment at work.

The Long View of Well-Being

The core of every strong well-being program is behavior change.

If you launch a well-being initiative, identify a long-term impact that you are targeting as well. The best programs are good at helping people adopt AND maintain healthy behaviors, including how they feel about work, and if they’re giving their best each day.

Addressing all levels of well-being optimizing company potential and allows each individual to be personally fulfilled.

Add Color and Charm with 3 Unique Banner Options

Vertical banner design

As a small business owner, you need ways to cultivate curiosity and look your best, and business signage is your foremost advertising tool.

Grab attention and set your business apart with gorgeous custom banners!

Banners are an inexpensive substitute for a permanent sign, allowing you the flexibility to change and move your materials as needed. Plus, banners are eye-catching, sophisticated, and fun.

Distinct Banner Options to Get All Eyes on You

Whether you want to highlight a promotion, organize your sales floor, or increase foot traffic at a trade show, consider some of these imaginative banner options for your next display.

1. Pole Banners

Pole Banners are vertical banners made from sturdy vinyl material and can affix to almost any type of light pole, street post, or sidewall mounting.

Pole banner advertising offers an excellent medium to market to pedestrians or drivers in locations with heavy traffic. Because they are located at or above eye level, they are easily noticed from a distance and offer an excellent way to strengthen your brand.

Use pole banners to display school colors, mount core values in your department, or promote community events. Enjoy easy, breezy visibility with this durable, colorful signage.

2. Tabletop Banners

Think banners have to be huge to be effective? Think again!

Tabletop banners are a compact, portable option that can easily travel with you to any trade show or event. With retractable stands included, tabletop banners stretch anywhere from eight to 17 inches in height, which is perfectly formatted to dress up any presentation with minimal hassle. Use them for conventions, boutiques, banks, restaurant tables, point-of-purchase displays, and more. Though small, tabletop banners can make a big impact for your business!

3. Step and Repeat Banners

Looking for a fun way to build a social media presence for your business?

Try step and repeat banners and offer people a creative photo op they can hashtag!

Step and repeat banners are a publicity backdrop used primarily for event photography. They are printed with a repeating pattern or branding design that makes its design very visible in the photographs of the individuals standing in front of it. From red carpet events and concerts to galas and company parties, step and repeat banners give a “celebrity-like” experience for your guests to engage with.

For every picture taken in front of the banner, you can count on more people to see your logo once the photos are released to the press and social media. This builds word-of-mouth marketing and spreads your image far and wide!

Flex Some Marketing Muscle with Extraordinary Custom Banners

Whether you go big and beautiful or nifty and portable, banners are a superb marketing tool that can help attract more customers to your business.

Want to talk options? No matter the display size or budget, we’ll help you find the perfect banner for your business. Contact us today about promoting your business professionally and elegantly, so you stand out!

Design Trends to Look Forward to in 2020

2020 trend concept. Hand flip wood cube change year 2019 to 2020

2019 was a year where taking risks in design was considered normal.

What design trends can you look forward to this year? As we round the corner into a new decade, we may see a softening of some of 2019’s more abrasive trends and a shift toward simplified contrasts when designers want to be bold.

Here’s a sneak peek at five design trends to watch for in 2020:

1. Beautiful Flowing Shapes & Lines

The last few years have brought an abundance of geometric, rigid, proper shapes.

In the new year, these designs will be replaced by more flowing shapes, patterns, and lines. Flowing shapes can convey a natural, abstract, peaceful feel on a page. Whether you use a soft speech bubble to surround text or place images overflowing water or lava currents in your backgrounds, this shift toward flowing lines brings a down-to-earth, creative, and authentic tone.

2. Neutral, Natural-Looking Stock Photos

Several years ago, bright, colorful stock images were all the rage.

Graphic artists were boosting saturating and enriching color contrasts, to the point that some photos didn’t even look real. But as color trends have relaxed, audiences are embracing more muted palates, colors similar to what you might find in a soft sunset, a misty morning, or the corner of a woodworker’s craft shop.

As stock photos follow, this year, you can expect to see more muted, genuine, and neutral stock photos. This includes a focus on candid faces, shadowed silhouettes, and seemingly unfiltered photos. A step back from air-brushed perfection, look to use stock photos that seem more reserved, harmonious, and real.

3. Textured Bevels and Chisels

While designers seek to bring a more authentic vibe in 2020, one way they can do this is through texture.

By creating 3-D forms like buttons, icons, or coins, bevels and chisels create a 3-D effect on a 2-D (flat) surface. Typically, this is done with tight layering, shadowing, and some degree of opacity. Look for beveled knock-offs of real-life objects. The result will be a flat image that looks tantalizingly real enough to touch.

4. Creative Typography

Creativity is just not limited to vibrant designs and unusual color combinations.

Font choices also play a prominent role in the tone and personality of every design.

Whether it is a paper coffee cup, a wild banner, or a funky poster, sometimes creative typography is all it takes to drive home your message. And while typography can stand alone as its own design (like this), it can also be woven into the image itself to give unique expression to the artwork (like this). With great font selection, sometimes the words are the graphic, and just a small amount of creativity can truly spice up the project.

5. Bold, Clean Colors

Finally, with a move toward expediency, simple, bold colors are taking the stage once again.

We’re not talking about 80’s neon vaporwave, but dreamy, vibrant, full colors like enchanting blues, tomato reds, and radiating purples. Colors are a key driver of attractive designs, and 2020 will see an emphasis on gradient blends replaced with things like filled color canvases with no white space between hues.

As you play with bold shades in your graphics, avoid using too many bright colors that make designs hard to read. Instead, use bright, energetic colors with simple, clean design to create contrast.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Ready to kickstart the year with a new style?

To do so, it’s helpful to reflect on the past and decide what you’ll do differently in the future. Stay ahead of the curve with these design trends and let us know if we can help you infuse your designs with a fresh look in the months to come!

4 Small Adjustments that Bring 5-Star Customer Service

Feedback and rating concept

Did you know it only takes seven seconds to make a lasting impression on new people that you meet?

If this is true in personal relationships, how significant are the impressions your business makes with customers? Great entrepreneurs know that if you want long-lasting, loyal clients (who spend AND who voluntarily advertise your excellent service by word of mouth), then you must prioritize customer relationships and consistently offer superior service.

Going From Good to Great

What does five-star service look like from a patron’s perspective?

Here is a snapshot of where a business moves from average to above-average:

3 — Service is average, fair, “the usual” satisfactory, expected, etc.

4 — Customer is very satisfied. Service is average, above average, exceeded expectations, etc.

5 — The client is delighted and amazed. Service is extraordinary because employees “walk on water” for customers.

To elevate your customer experience, you have to be proactive, not reactive. Five-star customer service gives extra attention to the smallest of details and does this with an authentic care for each individual you serve.

Here are four areas of focus to grow a culture of excellent service in your team:

1. Be Visible

Whether you respond to clients through e-mail, phone, or live service, be accessible and prompt in every response.

Let clients know they can always reach out to you and where you can be reached if they need anything. Never break communication – whether clients are pleased, waiting, or upset, don’t leave any attempt to communicate unanswered. Acknowledge the feelings behind the communication, and – in difficult situations – offer creative customer reparations (refunds, replacements, bonus items, etc.) if possible.

2. Anticipate Unexpressed Needs

Five-star service providers seek to surprise and delight their clients.

Here employees deliver not only “at” the level expected, but above and beyond what is promised. When you check in with a client, what do you expect they MIGHT need (i.e., help navigating your new software)? Can you have the solution ready before they ask (i.e., a tutorial video attached to your check-in e-mail)? Seek to bring solutions, even if the client is at fault, and your business will be more memorable and responsive.

Anticipating needs is a way you tangibly care for people, and when you do this, it touches emotions. One general manager with five-star hotel experience put it perfectly:

“It is the small, simple, special moments that we create through personal engagement with each guest that they will recall when they return home. To accomplish this type of sustainability, we carefully and methodically select our employees, and then continuously train. It’s not about the tactical as much as it is about speaking the language of the guest.”

3. Train Your Team to Employ Creative Problem-Solving Skills

Five-star service includes the ability to think outside the box and create unique solutions to problems.

Customer service is primarily about problem-solving, so train your team to embrace problems rather than dreading them, and you will shift the culture in your business. A great team member isn’t afraid to come up with creative solutions. Give them the authority to do this and see what happens!

Publicly commend employees who do, and you’ll reinforce this attitude for everyone.

4. Use the Feedback You Receive

Five-star teams are never satisfied with the status quo.

Teams that excel in service are ruthless about gathering feedback and doing something with it. Do you collect customer comments? If so, how do you review it and identify areas for improvement? Companies that make specific changes in response to feedback are strategic, dynamic, and are genuinely customer-focused.

Build “Every Day” Excellence

Excellent service is something that happens consistently, so challenge your team to create memorable experiences that are repeatable every day.

Be visible, creative, and proactive, and challenge everyone on your team to take ownership as they follow through on guest requests every time.

How Innovative Print Partnerships Save You Time and Money

Woman with print operator at the printing manufacturing

Almost every business needs paper products (like brochures, letterhead, and large-scale marketing) to build and strengthen their brand.

Between graphic design, production presets, and regular re-orders, keeping things organized can be a challenge. Consistently partnering with the same printer can make things much more efficient and convenient.

Creative, Collaborative Marketing

Since each company has its own unique needs, a professional printer can work with you on an individual basis to design and print materials that are just right for your business.

Beyond commercial printing, today’s print professionals can make a huge difference through graphic design services, brand building creative elements (like logo and packaging design options), or through securing “extra” promotional products (like magnets, notebooks, or water bottles). Innovative printers serve as true marketing partners, often costing less than you would pay to individually produce or order these items yourself.

Most businesses don’t have the capacity to produce and develop high-quality marketing on their own, so it is vital to consider a collaborative partnership with a print and design company. A professional printer can easily adapt your designs or logos to work for professional booklets and brochures, banners and flags, letterhead and business cards, presentation folders and flyers, and more.

And craftsmanship is paramount in printing, which ensures your projects receive meticulous attention to detail, seamless color matching, and superior finishes. Collaborative printers stand behind their products as they combine an experienced eye, a skillful touch, and unrivaled personal service.

Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Professional Print Partnership

To be successful with graphic print production you need a close working relationship with a quality provider. How do you find the right printer? Here are six questions to consider:

1. What Level of Competence and Quality is Needed?

Competence and quality are often the most important factors in weighing commercial print options.

Although it can be difficult to evaluate skill levels before you’ve worked with someone, there are several indicators to look for. Request to see samples of jobs done for other customers. Inquire about areas of specialization and if bundled pricing or services are included. Also, ask your printer what work steps they see as critical for obtaining good results. If you know in advance how they prefer to manage projects, it helps ensure good workflow and communication along the way.

2. Does This Printer Have a Large Personnel or Production Capacity?

How large is the printing staff? If you need substantial output in a short time, does the printer have the equipment or workforce to handle this?

3. How Will We Optimize Communication?

Is there a key contact person you will always correspond with? What is the preferred method of communication?

4. Does This Printer Offer Concrete Delivery Times or Guarantees?

How dependable is the printer and how quickly can projects be delivered? Is there a time frame guarantee?

5. What is the Level of Environmental Consciousness?

Is your printer committed to eco-friendly standards or procedures? Some companies may have special requirements in regard to environmental impact issues, and this may influence the printing practices they are able to approve.

6. Are Proximity and Availability Important to Me?

How geographically close do you want your printer to be? If high-quality service and fast delivery times are important, proximity may be more of an issue.

A Wise Long-Term Investment

Your time is valuable, so making wise choices is of utmost importance. Taking time to enter a print partnership that maximizes your investment is well worth your consideration. Often, choosing the right printer means you are beginning a relationship that will last for years.

How Re-Purposed Malls Can Teach Entrepreneurs a Lesson

interior of modern hallway

Have you been to a dying mall lately?

It can be pretty depressing. Empty storefronts litter the hallways like missing teeth in a hockey player’s mouth. Dim lighting seems to permeate each corner, and mall walkers bring more energy than any hint of retail activity. What was booming 30 years ago now feels like a bust.

With consumers shifting more of their shopping from physical to online spaces, young generations have a different perspective on what a buying experience should bring. This explains why some malls are dying, while others are thriving. What’s the difference?

In Maryland, one mall is renting space to a theater company while, in Michigan, one mall is now home to a cultural association that sponsors Chinese festivals. Some malls have transformed parts of their space to offer thriving art schools for walk-in shoppers. Others have created customer-centric experiences, like combining fashion consultants with on-site purchasing options.

Like most other sales venues, there is still a future for brick-and-mortar businesses. But this requires companies to sell strategically to young generations through methods that resonate.

What lessons can we learn from our friends in the mall?

Engaging, Experiential Shopping

There are numerous definitions of experiential purchasing.

Generally, this idea refers to stores where “extra” things happen in addition to selling, and where shoppers do more than just buying. As an entrepreneur, how can you offer people a chance to buy an experience or a memory rather than just an object or service? This may include massage chairs at the gym, in-store skills classes, or lifestyle opportunities (like art galleries in malls) that can be combined with a shopping experience.

Added Online Convenience

If you want people to visit your business, can you ease their journey by adding online convenience?

Like store pickups for pre-ordered groceries, merchants that simplify the purchasing experience will have more success. One business took orders for online samples then had three options ready and waiting when the customer came to preview them in the store.

Digital Campaigns with On-Site Flash Sales

One benefit of physical stores is strengthening emotional connections between consumers and brands.

While it is nice to order things online, sometimes swooping in to nab a deal brings a huge adrenaline rush (think Black Friday!). Can your business combine timely print or digital ads to promote 24-hour flash sales on the hottest items in your store? This creates the opportunity to lock in a client while potentially up-selling other products when people visit in person.

Lively, Professional Environments

People don’t just crave convenience; they crave connections.

When asked why people choose physical stores over online retailers, the number one response was a “need to see, touch, feel, and try out items.” How can you offer people better opportunities to interact directly with your products? When you do this, the physical shopping experience provides a tactile experience that simply can’t be matched online.

Your displays are a huge part of this. From oversized banners and full-panel window displays to music, lighting, and even scents, the environment you create must be better than ever. And with today’s print and digital technology, everything can be customized to immerse your clients in the most authentic brand experience possible!

The Definition of Success

While online shopping has re-written the rules of purchasing, buyers still crave experiences that can only be delivered in person. Remember, a successful space is one that people want to visit, so give people a reason to be there.

When they’re spending their time somewhere, they’re more likely to spend their money as well.

4 “No Fail” Strategies for Organizing Your Next Big Event

Man and Woman Sharing Information Leaflet over Exhibition Stand

Do you have any “nightmare” trade show experiences?

Maybe you worry that an impending disaster is ahead. Everyone who manages a big event knows the feeling.

You know . . . the nagging sense that you’ve forgotten something crucial (but have no idea what).

Or . . . one of several million things is about to go wrong (but there is no way to prevent it).

4 “No-Fail” Strategies for Organizing Your Next Big Event

Large events can be stressful, but most large-scale events can be managed with confidence if you have a plan.

Here are four “no-fail” strategies for navigating your next conference, convention, or trade show.

1. Generate an Event Checklist

Early planning and great organization are the keys to a stress-free event.

Make a master list of marketing and print deadlines, reservation dates, and travel coordination details. Months in advance, nail down every date possible and organize your task list in chronological order. Then you can work from a checklist with physical guidelines that keep your team grounded.

2. Create Beautiful Displays

Your exhibits are often the fulcrum of your entire event.

Don’t skimp! Take the time (or get help) to arrange the backdrops, banners, and lighting so a fabulous display of your brand and personality takes center stage. Depending on your budget, you may have anything from a small pop-up booth to a grand multi-sensory exhibit.

Whatever the scale, your graphics need to be eye-catching, clean, and crisp to make your exhibit as open and welcoming as possible.

3. Empower the Right People

The staff at your exhibits are the face of your company and culture.

As your most visible brand ambassadors, their interaction with potential clients can make or break your big day. Have clearly defined roles for each team member and train them to be friendly, outgoing, and equipped to address diverse audiences.

Pro-tip: Be intentional about including a technically gifted team member to answer in-depth product questions or to handle unexpected display glitches.

4. Prepare Excellent Follow-Up Materials

In some cases, the amount of preparation required for a big event can cause you to overlook the most crucial marketing materials needed for good follow up.

Often the success of an event is not fleshed out for months afterward, so it is essential that you come ready with several printed materials. Your “Big Five” may include:

  1. Professionally Printed Business Cards – Include a hand-written note at the close of your conversations to add a personal touch.
  2. Sell Sheets and Rack Cards – Like a walking billboard for your business, these grab-and-go items can keep your prospects considering after the conversation has concluded.
  3. Eye-catching Notepads or Sticky Notes – Everyone loves a good freebie, and swag items increase the longevity of your name and your impression.
  4. Loyalty Coupons or Cards – Offer exclusive coupon codes or punch cards for your products or services.
  5. Best-Quality Brochures – Events typically offer an introduction to a longer conversation. Brochures are a pocket-friendly advertisement that offers vital product details, informative graphics, and a compelling call to action.

One Final Freebie

Think you’re ready?

If you still have that niggling sense of dread, here’s one last tip — pack duct tape. Beyond great team members, displays, and print materials, duct tape can fix about anything that could go wrong on the side.