Stories | Small Business


Energy Efficiency In Small Businesses : A Comprehensive Guide

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Most people know the compelling reasons for keeping your energy usage low as a small business, not least the positive effect that this will have on your budget, as well as the support it can offer to the environment. However, what they are less sure of are the practical method of doing this.

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What Would Your Dream Headquarters Be Like?

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Small businesses are always challenging themselves and being challenged by their professional environment. There will come a time when every new business owner will have to decide what kind of HQ they want? Their headquarters will be the base of operations for the time being, it will be ‘office no.1’ essentially, as all other things flow from this central nervous system. Look all around the world and you can see the major companies taking a lot of pride in their own HQs. Take a gander at Apple, Samsung, HSBC, Playstation, Gucci and a whole raft of other colossal giants in their respective industries. They spend tens of millions on their HQ because it’s not just an office but a symbol of who they are. So if you had a chance to build your very first headquarters, what would you include? Be mindful that once you do set the foundations, if you ever want to expand you will have to build another office wherever your target location is. After spending a lot of money on your HQ, you cannot or should not abandon it in the near future.

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Tips that will Help you to Rapidly Expand your Small Business

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Growing a business can be difficult, but not when you know the steps that you need to take. In fact, it’s now easier than ever for you to get a positive result out of your business expansion without having to worry about a thing.

Invest in a Good System

If you want to expand your business, then you have to make sure that you have a good system in place. If you don’t, you could be limiting yourself for the future and this is the last thing that you need. One way to get around this would be for you to invest in a solid CRM system. This will help you to focus on the more important aspects of your growth and it will also help you to review your current operation too. This will help you to see which aspects of your company are repetitive and it will also streamline the processes that you do have.

Improve your Home Page

It’s so important that you improve your SEO and that you make signing up to your site very easy. Your home page also needs to look perfect, as this is the first thing that your visitors see when they come to your site. If your site is slow to load or if you don’t have a good level of navigation then this will put them off and you may even find that your business sales suffer as a result To render this situation, you need to try and avoid adding too much clutter to your home page. You also need to try and improve your CTA too, as this will help your customers to know which action they need to be taking when they do come to your site.

Analytics

There is a lot of value in data. Tech giants rely on it more than anything else, and if you want to expand then you have to make sure that you utilise it as well. The more data you have, the more you will understand your customers and the more you’ll be able to cater your service to meet their needs. If you want to help yourself here, then it is so important that you focus on newsletter signups and even analytics too. Knowing your bounce rate is also crucial, as it gives you the chance to find out which area of your site needs improving. Having a system in place will really help you out here, and you’d be surprised at what an impact it could have on both your growth and your sales.

Make your Blog Stand Out

53% of marketers state that their blogs are the most important marketing activity that they have. There is a good reason for this, and that’s because a blog is one of the best ways for you to drive both traffic and leads. One way for you to boost the overall potential of your blog would be for you to make sure that it is evergreen. This means posting content that doesn’t need updating regularly.  It also helps to add pictures and even links to blog posts too. This will help you to appeal to your customers more and it will also help you to respond to their needs much more efficiently.

Make a Plan

It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting an email marketing campaign or whether you are trying to encourage more online reviews because you have to make sure that you have a solid plan. Nearly half of entrepreneurs try and market without having a plan and this isn’t a good way to ensure good results. If you do want to create a plan, then you need to make sure that you detail the steps that you are going to take and even the deadline that you want to achieve your results by too. This will help you to scale your marketing to meet the needs of your company and it will also help you to market much more efficiently.

Be Scalable

If your money, expertise and time are in very short supply then it can be tempting to go for a cheap fix here. Consider investing in a basic scalable solution that won’t require a huge financial investment. This can include automatic scheduling software, or anything else similar. When you have something like this in place, you will then be able to scale your operation according to how busy you are, and this is a fantastic way for you to really make sure that you are staying on top of everything.

Watch your Purchases

Another thing that you need to do is try and keep an eye on the purchases that you are making. For example, if you know that you need to buy water tanks then make sure that you buy ones that will serve your business for years to come, rather than just for now. If you know that you have to move offices so that you can expand, don’t just rent a space that would serve your immediate needs. Instead, find somewhere that will last for years, so that you can expand again without uprooting your entire company.

Have a Backup Plan

If you’re a single person running a small operation, you’ll be able to pivot quickly when things don’t go to plan. As your business grows however, things will become more complicated and those adjustments won’t be as easy to make. For this reason, you have to make sure that you have a plan in place that will serve you in the event of an emergency or even if a power failure were to happen. This will help you to deal with those bumps in the road and it will also help you to run a much more efficient operation.

Take Calculated Risks

You will never be able to expand your business if you don’t take calculated risks. Sometimes it may be necessary for you to move out of your comfort zone, as this is the only way for you to truly know if you are able to take things to that next level. Before you do decide to take a risk, you need to do some calculations to see if it is the right thing to do. If you don’t then this will cause you even more issues in the future.

Invest in your Staff Culture

Growing beyond a small business is a hard and difficult step. If you talk to other people who have grown their small business, then you may be able to learn more about your own company. You might be able to make your expansion a reality too, by gaining the information you need to find out that next step. One thing that you need to take note of is that any expansion will come with a small adjustment period. After all, you may need to train new staff, move to a new office or even establish a new office culture. This will take quite a while, but if you take your time then everything will pay off in the long-run.

Forecast your International Growth

Sometimes your business growth may take you by surprise. You may find that your sales suddenly increase or even that you come across an unexpected opportunity. In these instances, you may find yourself trying to scramble or even playing catch-up more often than you’d like. If you want to stop things like this from becoming an issue, then you need to take a slow and steady approach to your planning. This will stop you from being reactive and it will also help you to have more control over your company in general.

Stay Focused on your Core Strengths

Think about it, what do you bring to the table that other people don’t? If you can keep your focus on that then this will really help you in the future. Even when you expand, you have to make sure that you are still aware of your USP so that you can carry on providing the service that you are known for.

Be Financially Savvy

Even the biggest of companies have to watch their bottom line. You always have to make sure that you leave some extra padding in your budget so you can cover anything that you might not have accounted for in your expansion. If you constantly go up to your absolute maximum budget then this won’t be doing you any favours and you may even end up in a tight spot as a result.

Expanding your business doesn’t have to be difficult, and when you’re able to take your time and budget, you will soon find that it’s easier than ever for you to make the most out of your operation. If you want to get some additional support, then it helps to look to influencers in your chosen industry. They’ll be able to connect you with the right people and they may even be able to give your company the publicity it needs to not only grow bigger but to also be better.

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How to Switch From Being an Employee to a Sole Trader

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If you’re tired of taking orders from your boss and you wish you could just go it alone, you need to think about operating your own small business as a sole trader. This is when you make yourself self-employed, and most people carry on the same job they were doing before but they simply do it by themselves rather than relying on an employer. It could offer you the freedom and flexibility you crave.

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Key Challenges New SME Owners Are Not Prepared For

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If you’re running a business for the first time, there are always going to be issues that you aren’t prepared for. Here are some of the common challenges and information on how to deal with them effectively. Continue Reading

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Counting The Pennies? How To Save Money With Your Small Business

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Every penny counts, especially when you’re running a small business. Expenses such as office supplies, equipment, and even training courses soon add up and could leave your funds running a little low. However, did you know that you could save yourself a lot more money than you think on your business expenses? With a few clever tips and tricks, you could no longer have to worry about overspending, regardless of how relevant it is for your business. Continue Reading

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Making Your Business More Eco-Friendly

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Businesses are stepping up to the mark when it comes to making themselves more eco-friendly. They have a slightly bigger responsibility, especially when they begin to grow bigger as a company. If your business is looking to make a few changes this year in favour of the environment, here are some tips to make it more eco-friendly. Continue Reading

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Battling For Your Business

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Starting your own business and getting off the ground may have been a struggle, it may have been a piece of cake, but either way now that you’re up and running the last thing you need is for anything to go wrong and destroy all your hard work. Continue Reading

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5 Professional Business Tips For First-Timers

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If you’re thinking of setting up a business and you don’t know where to start the don’t worry, you have come to the right place. Whilst there is a lot of advice available online when it comes to starting your own venture, it is important you know whether or not the advice you are taking is sound, trustworthy advice. At the end of the day, you need to ensure that you’re going to be getting your business off to a professional start. With that in mind, here are 5 professional business tips for first-timers: Continue Reading

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Why Do Small Businesses Run Out Of Money?

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The most important thing to remember when you’re starting a new business is that you need to manage your money sensibly. It will take a long while before you’re bringing in enough revenue to cover all of your overheads and until then, you’ll be working with a limited amount of money. So many businesses fail before they even get off the ground because they simply spend all of their money and they can’t secure any more funding, so they’re forced to close down. In some cases, this is just because their product isn’t right and they can’t bring in any revenue, but more often than not, it’s because they’re making poor financial decisions. If you’re going to avoid falling into the same trap, it’s important that you understand these common reasons that businesses run out of money and how you can avoid them. Continue Reading

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Taking Your Small Business To The Next Level

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Progression is a fact of life, and certainly a fact of business. We want to do better, be better and achieve better results, year on year. Successful small business owners generally have a great ability to envision positive outcomes, but it’s not enough to just have vision – you also need to know how to get there. Small actions can have a big impact, so making a few key adjustments could well be enough to set you on the path to ever greater heights. Continue Reading

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The Dos and Don’ts Of Office Renovations

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An office renovation is an awesome way of providing your small business with a better workplace. It’s a fantastic alternative to moving offices as you don’t need to change your business address, you can keep most of your stuff, and so on. Continue Reading

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7 Ways To Stay Productive When Running A Home Business

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Running a home business definitely has its perks. You can set your own hours, wear whatever you want to, and don’t have to waste your time or money commuting to the office each morning. Unfortunately, while many entrepreneurs enjoy this freedom and convenience, they also struggle to remain productive with it. After all, it’s much easier to be lazy at home than it is in a traditional work environment. With distractions all around the house, you have to put in more of an effort to tackle the workload. Keeping that in mind, here are seven things you can do to stay productive. Continue Reading

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Don’t Let Your Startup Drag Your Finances Down

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Being able to strike out on your own and start your own business is something that more and more people find themselves wanting to do in the modern world and for good reason. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to take their lives into their own hands rather than spending their time working for someone else? And the great thing is that it has never been easier to do that thanks to the internet. However, there’s no denying that starting any kind of small business also has the potential to be seriously expensive. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can make sure that your startup doesn’t end up dragging down your finances.  Continue Reading

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3 Essential Focal Points In Any Marketing Campaign

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When you are starting to market your business, you need to make sure that you are doing so in the most logical way possible. Of course, marketing is something that takes a lot of time to master, and you need to just go with it before you do matter it if you hope for your business to do well. But there are many things you can take on board if you hope to market your business effectively in the meantime, and some of those are easier than you might think to do. In this article, we are going to try and make this a little easier by looking at just three of the most important focal points that you need to look at if you are to improve your marketing campaign. As long as you are working on these specifically, you should find that you marketing is made much better. Continue Reading

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Business Storage: Expanding Is Better Than Multiplying

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Part of your challenge as a business owner is to make sure you are independent in as many ways as you possibly can. You don’t want to be too exposed to another business. This means you cannot always rely on others to give you what you need and instead choose to be self-reliant. Being able to supply your distributors, your partners and customers with your products is one such way in which you should determine to stay self-sufficient. Storage warehouses thus come into your framework and they bring along with them benefits but also some logistical issues of their own. What happens when you are selling more than your storage space can handle? You need to stock more and more inventory and eventually your warehouse is going to be too small for you to cope with demand. The question will spring up, should you expand or multiply? Here is the case that suggests you should expand instead of the latter.

Control of space and money

Expanding your warehouse can be given the greenlight if you have enough room to do so. Bear in mind many storage warehouses for businesses are in specific parts of the country. Usually you’ll find big companies use a central location in a region so that distance between all relevant major cities is equal. A distinct zone is thus created for warehouses, often called a business park. If you have the space to build another warehouse or a contingent on your existing warehouse, you should expand the current warehouse. The best two reasons for this are because you can control the amount of space you actually want or need. Contracting a warehouse construction company means you’re only given certain wholesale options such as 300m x 400m. What if you want 150m x 50m instead? You can control the amount of money being spent on the warehouse also, by choosing your own materials, hiring your own team to build it and also only spending how much you need to for each additional square meter.

Helping in the construction

Expanding your current warehouse means you can keep the warehouse fully operational while extra work is being done outside. However, you need to take direct control of the situation and help in the construction. Don’t leave a hired team on their own all the time, as workers and the warehouse itself need to be monitored as construction is going on for safety reasons. You can use your own equipment such as Franna Crane Hire that supplies all kinds of heavy duty vehicles to move things around. If you have a pallet of raw concrete to move then you can do so yourself using this kind of equipment. If you need to move other things like storage racks or even pump trucks then you can use something like this to get the ball rolling. Again, an expansion gives you more control over how and what you build.

Business storage is constantly evolving. However this happens in the background for many businesses which is why expenses can get out of control when you don’t take full control yourself.

 

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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Moving Office

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Moving to a brand new office is an exciting time for your entire business. Not just because it’s probably a bit newer and fancier, though, but also because it’s the next big step in making your business grow and prosper. You may make it or break it in the new area but you’ll never know unless you actually make the move.

It helps a bit to do some thorough planning first, however, and you can certainly increase your chances of making the move successful by following the tips below.

It won’t guarantee you from experiencing any hiccups along the way but at least you know that you’ve covered everything on the checklist – and you’re ready to move.

First: Use a spreadsheet for planning

While online articles can give you generic advice and try to help you with making the transformation fuss-free, every business is different and you need to go through all the tasks that are specific to yours. A spreadsheet will help you out with this; write down all your tasks, compile them into bite-size chunks, and tick them off as you go.

That way, you can feel a lot more confident that you’ve got everything covered before it’s time to get a hold of a Ute hire or a van hire to get all of your office stuff to the next location. Remember to use a sharing software as well, by the way, so that everyone in the office is able to stay up to date on what remains to be done and what’s already taken care of.

Next: Time your move

This is definitely a part of the planning process but you need to decide on this sooner rather than later. Moving is definitely a disruptive time for your business but you will still need to operate and keep those doors open, so to speak; by timing your move perfectly, you’ll avoid going through this during the busiest time of the year.

Plan it for a time when you expect that traffic is a bit slower so that you’re able to get back on your feet as soon as you’re settled into the new office. Making this move in the middle of your busiest period will not only ensure that you forget about something in the rush – but you’ll risk losing out on quite a lot of money as well.

Take care of your business processes

Finally, you can’t even think about moving before you’ve handled the most important processes of your business and had a chat with your suppliers. They need to know where to find you, after all, and it’s important in order to maintain a good relationship with them as well.

Don’t forget to let your cleaning company know as well, by the way, as well as anything else you usually get delivered to your office.

Go through your office furniture and consider what you’re bringing with and what you’re purchasing, have a look at your new office contract to see exactly what it covers in terms of essential amenities and talk to your current suppliers for their support during the move as well.

While there is a lot to take care of before you can move office, the rewards are definitely worth it whether you’re doing it for the sake of having more space or just taking back control over your brand and environment. Get the steps above over with as soon as possible and you’ll be able to settle in a bit quicker.

 

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Get Your Business Going Global

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If you can get your business to go global, you can open the door to so many different possibilities. Going global is the ultimate challenge, as well as goal, for any company. But not just any company could make it there. There’s so many factors to think about, and so many risks that your business could face if the gamble just doesn’t pay off. Because at the end of the day, we definitely do think that it is a gamble. But if the gamble pays off, there’s no end to the things that could happen to your business. The potential to earn would increase more than you’ve ever known, and the possibilities you’ll give your employees would grow and grow. We definitely do think that trying to go global is something you should think about starting, or even better put the wheels in motion for. If you want to try and put the wheels in motion, read our article, and get your business going global.

When Would Be The Right Time?

You really do have to know when the right time is for something like this. It most definitely isn’t something that you can just dive right into, or you really will risk coming into some big financial trouble because of it. We also think that you will just know when it is the right time. You’ll see the figures that your company is bringing in, and you should be able to see a way into the overseas markets. If you just sell online services, then everything gets so much easier. All you would need to do is market in that country. But if you were to sell products abroad, it’s all about finding the right trade deals and the right companies to facilitate them. You might have every idea about the products you want to sell over there, and where you want to sell them, but it’s never going to happen unless you secure yourself a trade deal. Get researching today, and see what you can find! The right time is most definitely when you’ve got the profits to do so as well. You have to be super comfortable, and have plenty of money spare to facilitate an idea like this!

Get Your Business Overseas

Moving your business overseas is going to he hard because you’re going to have to consider two things. Where will you base yourself, and where will you base your overseas company. If you’re moving an entire office there because you have staff that want to follow you, you’re going to need an overseas office relocations company to help you with the move. It’s going to be expensive, but as we’ve said, the gamble should eventually pay off. Once your business is overseas, there’s so many people that you’re going to have to make connections with aside from the trade deal. Employees, fellow companies , it all needs to be thought of!

Managing A Global Company

Finally, you need to make sure you have the right mindset to run a global company. You have to think about how busy your company is at the minute, and how busy it would be if you were running it in two or more locations. It is a huge commitment you can’t really back out of.

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7 Ways to Make Your Home Office Safer

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When we work as employees out of the home, our workplaces are subject to rigorous health and safety checks and risk assessments. Every layout is inspected. Every piece of equipment has a safety check, and anything that could pose even the slightest risk or threat to our health and safety undergoes a risk assessment, to ensure that those risks are kept to an absolute minimum.

When we work at home, we take our safety into our own hands, as we do in all other areas of our houses. You probably don’t worry about your safety outside of making sure you are comfortable. You assume that you are safe because you are at home. But, this might not be the case. Your home office could be posing more dangers than you might imagine. Here are seven ways that you could make it safer.

Get a Chairmat

You probably don’t think your office chair poses much of a threat. But the addition of chairmats can make moving around smoother and softer. Your chair won’t get caught on the carpet, and it won’t be able to tip over if you get it stuck and put too much pressure on the wheels as you try to move. A chairmat will also protect your floors.

Think Ergonomics

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time can damage your back, your neck, and your legs. It can lead to long-term issues with your posture, as well as sore wrists and achy legs. Lay your desk out ergonomically. So that you can see your screen without straining either your eyes or your neck. So that you can sit straight and comfortably while being able to reach everything. Set things up so that your wrists can rest comfortably when you type. Just a few small changes can make things much more comfortable and prevent long-term risks.

Clean Up

Clutter and spills cause a lot of accidents. Keep your office space clean and tidy and mop up spills as they happen. Get into good habits, and you’ll be much safer.

Maintenance

Another leading cause of injuries and accidents is faulty equipment and machinery. Clean these regularly, have them serviced once a year, and fix any faults as soon as you can.

Keep it Bright

A dark office is never good. You won’t feel alert and focused. You will get sleepy and distracted. You’ll strain your eyes, and you’ll risk tripping. Keeping things light and bright is a much better option for your health and your mood.

Clear the Air

If your office is a smaller room, it might quickly become musty and dusty. This can be bad for your health. Open a window if you’ve got one, keep the air clean, and add a leafy green plant to help.

Lock it Up

Your health isn’t the only thing that can be unsafe in your office. You might assume that it’s secure because it’s in your home. But, if your office contains expensive equipment, it’s worth updating your home insurance, looking at your home safety and adding some extra security measures.

 

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Is Your Office Comfortable?

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Something which is important to staff, guests and partners alike is just how comfortable your office is, and yet this is something that is often something of a last minute concern when business owners are setting up their offices. If you have come to realize that you could probably make your office considerably more comfortable, and that there would be many benefits to doing so, then you are on the right track. The truth is that a comfortable office tends to have higher morale, and is much more likely to be the home of good work as a result. If you are wondering what you can actually do in practical terms to make sure that your office is comfortable, then read on. Here are some of the best ways to go about that, so that you can make sure that your employees and your guests are as happy as possible in the workplace.

The Right Furniture

The furniture is hugely important if you are to make sure that you office is comfortable, and it is probably going to be the first place you look and the first thing you think of changing if you want to make this particular change in your office. By playing around with the furniture, you can hope to keep your people as comfortable as possible, but you will want to consider how much of a difference it will make to treat yourself and your staff to some really good quality comfortable furniture like that from civic australia. You will find that that really does help to make the office much more comfortable, and fast, so it is something that you should think about first and foremost if you are hoping to achieve that in particular.

Enough Space

You will also need to ensure that you are providing plenty of space if you want your office to be truly comfortable, as this is just as important as what kind of furniture you happen to be providing for your employees. By ensuring there is enough space, you can be sure that your employees and guests are not going to feel too crowded, and that the office itself will have a generally calmer atmosphere, which also helps with such matters. Often this is a simple case of playing around with how things are laid out, but sometimes you will need to downsize or do away with some of the items in the office too.

Light Levels

There are a whole range of subtle things which affect comfort levels too, and you need to pay attention to them as well if you are to keep your office as comfortable as possible. One in particular which can make a difference is the light levels in the office, which can really dramatically affect how comfortable or not people feel. Fortunately, it’s also something you can control fairly easily, so make sure that you are doing so if you want everyone to be as comfortable as possible in the office.

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