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Dana R

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"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want."

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Living sustainably is not only the right thing to do for our environment, but it is also the smart thing to do overall. A more sustainable life is healthier for you and the world, and it will start saving you money down the road.

The same can be said for businesses. Many of the changes you make at home to be environmentally-friendly can also be done at the office. Plus, all the benefits you see and feel at home will also transfer into the corporate world, and then some.

Sustainable businesses will notice an improvement on their bottom line, be looked at as a leader in the push to be more environmentally-friendly, and likely see an increase in customer and clientele. Many people in the public will favor companies that work to be more sustainable than others because being environmentally-friendly becomes more important every day.

Don’t think that making a business sustainable has to be difficult. In fact, with the COMMERCIALCafé sustainability report recently released, we can see more states across the country making the switch.

Implement some of the following smart changes to your business to become more sustainable every day.

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Start With Office Supplies

Take a look at your supply cupboard or closet in the office. How many pens, pencils, and other stationery items are lying around, and how many are likely missing? Every day people lose their pens and go to the stationary room to grab another one. All that plastic turns into waste.

Instead, invest in reusable stationary supplies. Reusable pens allow you to refill their ink when they run out. Instead of throwing away old pens, refill them and continue. You’ll notice it will save you money in the long run.

Review Your Procurement Policies

If you outsource many of your supplies, review your procurement policies. Look to see what your supply company is like and what their stance is on being economically-friendly. You could make a significant adjustment in your sustainability plan by merely making your procurement policy reflects your environmental standards. Go with suppliers that recycle, work towards being energy-efficient and lower their carbon footprint, and refrain from using toxic substances.

Green Web Hosting

To keep all of the servers running for businesses across the country, it requires a significant amount of power. All of that power needed will continue to damage our environment. However, relies on having the serves operating at all times. Instead, make it a part of your company’s policy that you utilize green web hosting.

Green web hosting ensures that the environmental impact is considered when powering your server. The hosting company will utilize environmentally-friendly and renewable power sources. You’ll also find that this option will save you money in the long run as well.

Become Energy Efficient

Your company itself can work towards being more energy efficient as well. There are many easy ways to make the switch. First, simply turning off the lights in rooms no one is using will conserve energy. For areas that do not get used very often, install motion sensors for the lights. When no one is around, they eventually turn the lights off.

You can also change out all of the existing light bulbs with LED ones. LED bulbs are highly efficient and use incredibly less power than other bulbs on the market. Not only that, you will see savings on the utility bills for the company.

 

Turning green doesn’t have to be hard. With small, steady steps, you’ll change your business to be more sustainable every day.

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Human leukocyte antigen G, or HLA-G, is a protein from our main histocompatibility system. The histocompatibility system is responsible for identifying an invading organism and distinguishing self and non-self antigens. In this way, it is involved in the immune response.

In the past two decades, much research has been oriented towards understanding HLA-G behavior. Positive results are predicting a vast number of potential benefits in different therapies and treatments.

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HLA-G’s Involvement in Metabolic Networks

There are many isoforms of HLA-G that are part of the membranes of cells, such as the cytotrophoblast cells, fetal endothelial cells, amnios epithelial cells, and others (HLA-G1, HLA-G2, HLA-G3, and HLA-G4). There are three soluble isoforms of HLA-G (HLA-G5, HLA-G6, HLA-G7) that are present in the amniotic fluid, the umbilical cord, and the maternal peripheral blood (1). There is also evidence of transcription of HLA-G genes in some T and B cells found in the tissues of adults (1).

It has been determined that HLA-G inhibits the activity of cytotoxic T cells and natural killer (NK) cells of the immune system. In NK cell inhibition, HLA-G directly affects NK cytolytic activity by interacting with their receptors or indirectly, modulating their behaviour by interacting with the HLA-E receptors. HLA-E is another antigen that plays a pivotal role in cell recognition by NK cells (3). Modern protein purification techniques have proven that HLA-G is highly expressed in different malignancies and that there is a correlation between both antigens with many tumor metastasis (3). Evidence includes the fact that cytotoxic T cells and NK cells attack tumors. The transcription of HLA-G inhibits their activity and this consequently favors cancer progression.

The soluble isoforms of HLA-G may trigger the apoptosis of the CD8+ cells, and antigen-presenting cells expressing HLA-G can interrupt the proliferation of the CD4+ cells (2). HLA-G is also expressed by the cells of the cytotrophoblast during pregnancy and plays a crucial part in the protection of the fetus from NK and cytotoxic T cells (4). Scientists have proposed that the expression of HLA-G in macrophages is related to viral infection, and that this is one of the mechanisms utilized by the cytomegalovirus to break into the host and alter the immune response (5).

Potential Benefits of HLA-G

Further research is being done to fully understand the behavior of HLA-G and its role within complex metabolic pathways. However, it is already clear that its expression in the prognosis of some cancers is of high clinical value (6).

As a first step, gene therapy could be a useful technique for suppressing HLA-G expression in some tumors. More strategies need to be designed for inhibiting HLA-G expression in cancer immunotherapies (1). On the other hand, HLA-G can contribute to reducing the risk of transplant rejection (7). Recents findings have suggested that synthetic HLG-A proteins could be used in transplantation therapies to bring about benefits for the patients, lowering the required levels of immunosuppressive drugs and favoring tolerance.

These are just some of many more studies on HLA-G that are anticipating promissory results.

SOURCES:

Alegre, E, et al. Some Basic Aspects of HLA-G Biology. J Immunol Res. 2014: 657625. Published online 2014 Apr 9. doi:  10.1155/2014/657625

Rouas-Freiss N, et al. The Dual Role of HLA-G in Cancer. J Immunol Res. 2014: 359748. Published online 2014 Mar 31. doi:  10.1155/2014/359748

Guo, Z, et al. Predictive value of HLA-G and HLA-E in the prognosis of colorectal cancer patients. Cell Immunol. 2015 Jan;293(1):10-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2014.10.003. Epub 2014 Oct 28.

Zidi I, Amor B. Nanoparticles targeting HLA-G for gene therapy in cancer. Med Oncol. 2012 Jun;29(2):1384-90. doi: 10.1007/s12032-011-9942-8. Epub 2011 Apr 17.

Albayati Z, et al. The Influence of Cytomegalovirus on Expression of HLA-G and its Ligand KIR2DL4 by Human Peripheral Blood Leucocyte Subsets. Scand J Immunol. 2017 Nov;86(5):396-407. doi: 10.1111/sji.12594. Epub 2017 Sep 19.

Samadi R, et al.  Clinical Value of Human Leucocyte Antigen G (HLA-G) Expression in the Prognosis of Colorectal Cancer. Published Online: March 26, 2017. DOI: 10.5812/ ijcm.9346

  1. Le Maoult J. Synthetic HLA-G proteins for therapeutic use in transplantation. FASEB J. 2013 Sep; 27(9): 3643–3651. doi:  10.1096/fj.13-228247

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Like anyone other kind of skilled worker, roofers encounter competition in their hometowns. And like most other business owners, roofers have to be good at sales. How can you outsell the competition and take your roofing business to great heights? It’s a lot easier when you take these four strategies to heart.

  1. Create relationships with other small business owners.

From material suppliers to contractors, networking is very important to a roofer. After all, it’s much easier to navigate the business landscape when you have allies to point you in the right direction. From where to advertise locally to employee recommendations, staying plugged into the scene can get you far.

Most of all, you want them to recommend you to their customers. If your buddy in HVAC is with a homeowner who needs a leak in their roof fixed, you want them to pass your number along, and vice versa.

  1. Make customer service a priority.

The quality of the work you do is most important. However, you may not even get to this step if you don’t put enough emphasis on customer service. When a potential customer calls, they want someone to answer the phone, be personable, and be able to answer their questions.

If you don’t have customer service covered, know that another roofer will. Customers are going to choose the roofing company that makes them feel like they’re making a good decision, and being highly responsive and knowledgeable is the way to accomplish that.

  1. Stay legal.

One of the best things you can advertise is how solid and compliant your business is. Shady contractors are unfortunately everywhere, and letting customers know right out of the gate that you’re good to go on any required permits and licenses is a solid start.

While you’re at it, flaunt your insurance. Everyone knows that roofing is a dangerous job, and roofers that are covered inspire more confidence. Checking out roofing insurance at Next-insurance.com is a quick, easy way to get started.

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  1. Identify what stands out about your business.

Good contacts, customer service, and compliance are all fantastic qualities. Still, there may be a competitor who hits those marks as well. Your final strategy is to define what it is about your company that shows you’re a cut above.

This can be something as simple as what materials you use. Are you using innovative new shingles that can save customers money on their energy bills? Put that front and center. Are you using nontoxic insulation? That’s attractive to many homeowners. If you can’t figure it out, share photos of your best work. Provide proof that not only are you customer-focused, but people are already hiring you because of your quality work.

There are all kinds of marketing tricks to try, from free estimates and discounts, to a great website. But you can separate yourself from the competition easily when you connect with other contractors, sharpen your customer service skills, and proudly display your credentials. From there, you’re free to get down to business and do the great work that will skyrocket your reputation.

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Negligence cannot be used as defense in a court of law. If you’re thinking that you could win any case because of your negligence, you’re misinformed. You need to stay safe at all times in order to smoothly battle it out in court. As a driver employed by a company, you may cause an accident and may be held liable. So, you need to know under what circumstances you’ll be held liable. Below are  cases in which you can be held liable in a civil suit.

1) If You Were Drank or Under the Influence of Drugs at the Time of the Accident

Drinking or use of any other drug while driving is prohibited in most countries. If you were drank or using any other drug while driving, the court will render their verdict stating that you’re liable. Therefore, it is advisable not to drink while driving or drink hours before you start driving. It will help you stay sober.

2) If You Were Over Speeding At the Time of the Accident

There is always a limit accepted by the authorities. Always try to drive within the limit accepted to stay out of trouble. Failure to drive within the accepted speed limit will lead to you being liable and some times may suffer arrest. For instance, if there’s a road sign at a certain point stating that you should drive at a certain speed, please comply. It will not only help reduce the cases of accidents, but it will also prevent you from facing charges.

3) Negligently Changing Lanes

This kind of behavior is common in the cities and towns. Car drivers will want to overtake unnecessarily even when they shouldn’t. It is important to note that when you drive into another lane and cause an accident, you will be liable and face charges. The rule states that you should keep left unless overtaking, but you shouldn’t use that as an excuse. Overtake only when it’s necessary. When it’s not, kindly stay on your lane. After all why the hurry? All the same, when you’re involved in such, you can get the help of a trucking accident lawyer.

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4) You Were Sleepy or Fatigued

If you are employed by any company, you should agree with your employers on the number of hours you’re supposed to drive. If you drive for too many hours, you may feel sleepy or fatigued which can lead to an accident. If you agree with your employer on the number of hours you should be driving, you’re not likely to cause accidents because of sleepiness or fatigue.

5) You Have No Driving License

Whenever you want to drive or be a driver, the first thing you should think of having is your driver’s license. In fact, if you don’t have a drivers’ license, you shouldn’t even drive because you will have trouble with the traffic police every time you get involved in an accident.

6) Truck Was Overloaded

You shouldn’t always agree that your truck be overloaded because at one point you’re going to be answerable to the traffic police. So, to stay safe, you need to pack or load your truck with the required number of stacks.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be negligent about some of these rules. You may face charges that may cost you. Always follow the rules and avoid falling into problems with the traffic police.

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In the cut-throat world of digital marketing, your business needs something to stand out from the crowd. The brain forgets 90% of the information we receive after three days. But if that information is presented with images, we remember it 65% of the time.

This means presenting information within images is essential for effective marketing. That is where infographics come in.

Infographics offer an opportunity to go a little deeper. It allows companies to provide a small chunk of information. Just enough to grab the reader’s attention. But not so much as to require more than a brief scan.

This is why more and more companies are turning to an Infographic Design Service to meet their marketing needs. Here are 4 ways that infographics can help your business grow.

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They increase web traffic

Infographics generate web traffic. On average, an infographic shared on social media increases web traffic to your page by 12%. How do I know? I read it in an infographic.

They increase social media reach and engagement

People are more likely to share an infographic than an image or text. Add an embed code to your infographic so viewers can quickly share it on social media. Be sure to include a link to your website and make your company name clearly visible in bold.

Infographics also increase user engagement. A social media post with images receives around 650% more social media engagement than those without.

They are a valuable tool to increase your mailing list

An extensive mailing list is a valuable marketing tool. It allows you to quickly send marketing material to potential clients users that have already expressed an interest in your website.

You can use infographics to quickly broaden your mailing list. By creating a unique landing page for each infographic clickthrough, users will be confronted with a prompt to sign up to receive more infographics like it.

These users are valuable. If a user likes your infographic, they are 67% more likely to be persuaded by your content. Getting these users on your mailing list converts to more sales.

Infographics keep visitors on your page for longer

Most page views last less than a minute. That means you have 60 seconds to show a visitor why they should stick around.

An infographic is an ideal way to do this. It delivers information quickly, allowing readers to extract everything they need to know while skimming through your site.

However, a word of caution. A page laden with heavy images will take longer to load. If your site takes longer than three seconds to load, it could be driving visitors away.

The key is finding a balance between creating informative and striking infographics while maintaining rapid loading speeds.

All of these benefits involve giving your audience the most information in the least possible time. Infographics get to the heart of the matter swiftly, and in a way that will stay with people far longer than text or a simple image will.

When you can quickly demonstrate why people should use your product or services, you get more sales, and ultimately, expand your business. If you aren’t using infographics, you should be!

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There can be times in your life where you hit a low point or a slump and feel like something needs to change. This is a feeling many people will experience and is entirely normal. When you begin to start realizing something has to change, it can be difficult to know where to start and what might make a real difference. It is more than likely you are feeling this way because of your current job. Perhaps it is going nowhere, or you want to do something new that excites you. Either way, the one thing that is guaranteed to open up doors for you is to go back into education and gain a new skill set and a whole load of inspiration to move forward into the great unknown of a new career.

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Getting a good education

Whether you have finished school and gone straight into a job that you no longer enjoy or are older and been in your position for years but want to try something else out, then the answer lies in education. Deciding to study at an institution such as New England College will give you the tools and skill set to begin building a new career for yourself. There is a wide variety of courses offered at NEC, alongside a number of options for courses you can do online. Doing a degree course online is a great way to keep your job and support yourself while also taking the first step towards your new life and job. By opting for an online course rather than a classroom-based degree, you can turn your life around and get that all-important education without having to uproot to a new place or quit your current job and risk not being able to afford the course.

What can a degree do for you?

Of course, if you are seriously beginning to think about getting a degree, it won’t have escaped your attention that this is a very big undertaking and the weight of this decision might be enough to put you off. However, you need to rest assured that the benefits of getting a degree are absolutely worth it. To begin with, graduates are far more likely to be on much higher salaries than those who do not continue into higher education, which means that a degree will improve your job opportunities and quality of life in the long run.

Making the most of it

Sometimes, people will put in all the hard work and long hours of getting a degree and then all they will do afterward is write it down on the same CV they were handing out before. You need to make sure that, instead of this, you are getting the most out of your degree. Make sure you take up any opportunities of internships or apprenticeships your university has to offer and do extra-curricular activities that will look good on future job applications.

A good education can change your whole life for the better, so what are you waiting for?

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Businesses are at risk every day due to the threat of cyber attacks and data hacking. From viruses to ransomware, to your information simply being stolen, there is a lot of harm that can come from any breach. These breaches can occur to any company, though small and medium-sized businesses are statistically hit the hardest. These businesses often don’t have a dedicated IT and security team on hand to optimize their security, and so they are left vulnerable.

Don’t let this deter you, by following this guide you can better secure your business’ data and information today:

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Only Keep Programs You Use

Old programs that are out of date and not used have no place on your servers. Though there is no inherent risk in keeping them, it does offer hackers a backdoor into your security. The reason this can happen is that old programs thataren’t used anymoreare generally not updated. Without the security updates, this can make old programs a risk to your company. Delete and unstill old programs entirely and ensure all your systems, programs, and extensions are updated regularly.

Regularly Scan Your System

A lot can slip past your firewall without you realizing it, which is why going through full system scans can help you to locate viruses and other suspicious files before they become a problem. Commit a full system scan, weed out problematic files, and keep your system secure.

Understand How to Protect Your Cloud Account

Cloud computing has really improved how businesses function and how productive they are. All of your information can be in one place, allowing real-time data sharing amongst your employees. The threat, of course, is that for every employee, there is a chance for a breach upon your data. There are also issues where account holders don’t utilize their account to its fullest, and therefore only actually protect a small amount of their overall data instead of the full breadth of it. That is why you need to follow this guide on Azure security best practices so that you can optimize your cloud’s security and better protect your business’ data.

Train Your Employees on Digital Security

There are many digital security threats that can occur because your employees don’t take their own cybersecurity seriously. For example, having old information and accounts on sites, you don’t use any more is a serious risk. The same can be said of having the same one or two passwords for everything. By hosting workshops to train your employees on how they can better protect themselves online and digitally, you can improve your company’s cybersecurity. The last thing you want is for a virus to be downloaded to your system because an employee accidentally opened a phishingemail.

Don’t underestimate the damage a hack can do to either your company or its reputation. By doing all you can to improve the safety and security of your company, you make yourself less of a target.

Note taking is a must if you want to excel in school, and it can also be a huge help for many businesspeople. You may never have used a voice recorder in the past, but you would likely be surprised how useful they truly are should you invest in one and put it to regular use.

In general, for most purposes, you can take better notes with a voice recorder, provided it’s a high quality device and you use it correctly. But you’ll find that note taking in the strict sense is only one of many possible uses for this kind of machine.

Here are 10 ideas on how you might be able to use a digital voice recorder on a regular basis to make your life easier:

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1. Take Notes In School

We mention the most obvious, and perhaps most common, use of a voice recorder device first: simple note taking by students. Why use a recorder? Because it’s faster than writing it out by hand, you might lose or misplace the page if you write it on paper, and quite frankly, it saves a tree.

A high-end voice recorder has a lot of storage space – much more than your cell phone. And it will get a much higher quality of sound than your cell phone too. Plus, it’s easy to listen to your notes anywhere, anytime without fumbling through a bulky notebook.

2. Capture “Passing” Ideas

We’ve all experienced the pain of having forgotten that great idea that was passing through our heads for a moment but then it was gone forever. A voice recorder at your side can prevent that from ever happening again.

Artists, students, businesspeople, home renovators, and anyone who has any kind of passion or project they are working on long term in life – or even temporarily, will find many instances where “idea capturing” is a huge help. You can’t always have a pen and paper ready nor always be by your computer – but a pocket can always be filled with a compact voice recorder!

3. Business & Professional Use

Business plans and schedules are conveniently “jotted down” on an audio recorder, and what better place to sum up the results of a business meeting or a sales interaction with a client?

Also, many doctors, lawyers, investigators, and forensics experts use voice recorders regularly when they meet with clients or while they’re on the scene to ensure they remember things exactly as they were said or as they appeared.

4. Transcriptions

Voice recorders are obviously indispensable to those who transcribe audio content into text. Given sufficient storage space, whole conversations or speeches can be conveniently and accurately transcribed by this method by a professional in the field.

Additionally, translators can base their translations on the actual voice recordings of native speakers, and language research experts can do the same.

5. Improve Speaking/Listening Skills

To really become aware of how you sound to other people, it’s important to record yourself and then be able to quickly play back each sentence or phrase. Then you can do another corrective recording, and another, and another – until you’re satisfied with the results.

If you’re learning a foreign language, you can record native speakers during a conversation (let them know they’re being recorded ahead of time and get permission!) and then keep listening to and playing back the content later on till you recognize the sounds and meanings with ease. This can also help you learn good native-style pronunciation.

6. Make a Voice-over Portfolio

Those who make a living by using their voice need to get serious about perfecting their pronunciation and tone. A voice recorder is the perfect practice device for that purpose. But it’s also a great place to store 5 to 10 of your best voice-over productions as samples for your prospective employers/clients.

7. Work on an Audio Book

You don’t need the most advanced equipment and a fortune to spend on electronics to get started making audio books.

You can begin by making them off of a voice recorder and letting friends and family listen to them and give you feedback. Then, you can transfer content from voice recorder to digital files and self-publish an audiobook online!

8. Create Audio Ads & Podcasts

Along with the right software for digitizing audio content, improving it, and editing it, you can create high-quality podcasts and audio ads for Youtube or other popular social media sites. With the right kind of voice recorder, this king of goal is well within reach of the average person.

If you have an online business or online following, regardless of what interest area it’s in, there’s a place for giving explanations or making audio announcements online. It’s not just for big businesses anymore.

9. Karaoke Music

If you love to sing karaoke but often find the music for some of your favorite songs isn’t on the machine – then consider recording it on a voice recorder device that can connect to speakers and provide the background music you need to sound your best!

Never again will you have to come to a party unprepared. Check out the specs of the voice recorder ahead of time and see if you need any accompanying software, but once you have it set up, it will revolutionize your karaoke performances.

10. Make Your Own Ringtones

Depending on what kind of cell phone you have, it’s possible to record unique sounds on your voice recorder to upload onto your phone and use as ringtone options.

Maybe you want to record yourself singing in the shower – or your spouse doing so; record a dorm room quartet for use as a wake-up alarm at college; or create a ringtone based on your own or a friend’s musical talents? A voice recorder will make it fun and practical at the same time.

We cannot hope to give an exhaustive list of the possible uses of a digital voice recorder, but these 10 rank among the most common, most important, or most fun ways to use this very versatile, very helpful little device!

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The Human Resources department is often overlooked as one of the most important aspects of a business. After all, it’s the employees that keep the company moving forward. Ensuring that employees feel appreciated and cared for will improve their productivity and the business’s bottom line.

When it comes to both the short and long-term tasks of your HR department, there are a few tasks that stand above the rest in terms of prioritization. Here are the five things your HR department should be prioritizing (that they probably aren’t).

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Streamlining Processes

Streamlining processes through the implementation of technology and automation is something that often gets put on the back burner. The research phase for these processes can be extensive, and HR professionals often worry that they’ll work themselves out of a job. However, many of the streamlined processes will free up time for HR professionals to handle other aspects of the job, rather than getting caught up in the day-to-day work.

There are various platforms available to help streamline processes. Humanity is a scheduling platform that empowers employees to manage their own schedules while using analytics to assist with the scheduling process. JazzHR is an online applicant tracking system that streamlines the hiring process, from candidate applications to onboarding. HR should be highlighting these applications to help improve the company’s efficiency.

Developing an HR Strategy

Believe it or not, there are a lot of organizations that don’t have a planned out HR strategy. To ensure cohesion between the needs of the business and the deliverables of the HR department, the members of said department should be working diligently to create a strong HR strategy.

For an HR strategy to be effective, it should outline important business processes that will be overseen by the HR department, as well as KPIs to measure their effectiveness. For example, the employee performance review protocol would be mentioned in this strategy, as well as measurements for success, and compensation. This document would also outline the hierarchy of the organization and the reporting structure.

Sharing the Burden

Your HR department should not be the primary point of contact for managing your employees on a day-to-day basis. Rather, they should be the foundation and support for the managers of your organization as they manage their subordinates. In many cases, especially in smaller or startup businesses, the HR staff members take on a large part of the management process.

Ensuring the proper chain of command is in place (often outlined in the aforementioned HR strategy document) ensures that the workload is divided accordingly and expectations are managed at all levels.

Connecting on a Human Level

HR represents an important connection between the business and its people. To be able to feel confident that employees will bring forth their concerns and pay attention to policy, it’s essential that HR professionals take time to connect on a human level.

There are many ways that an HR professional can connect. Having strong communication skills is of the utmost importance while maintaining an aura of authenticity and trustworthiness will assist in rapport building efforts. Getting on the ground level and having an open door policy is also key.

Keeping Policies Aligned with Social Needs

Society is evolving rapidly, and the past few years have brought to light a lot of issues regarding policies that keep employees happy and safe. It’s time for HR professionals to ensure that the company is aligned with societal and cultural values by implementing strong policies regarding sexual harassment, as well as adding practices to encourage diversity and inclusion.

By keeping policies up to date and relevant, you reduce the risk of a costly, damaging scandal within the organization.

Ultimately, it’s important to make sure that your HR department is taking a high-level approach to the running of the organization, rather than getting caught up in the day-to-day work. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your company’s greatest asset is protected and nurtured.

Entrepreneurs should never discount the importance of human interaction when it comes to making a sale. Despite the many technological advancements of the past twenty years, it’s unwise to rely solely on automated programs generate leads and make sales. Instead, progressive business owners should look for smart ways to integrate tools like chatbots into their customer-service strategy. To that end, here are three tips to deploy chatbots to their maximum effect –– while also avoiding some of the pitfalls normally associated with the technology:

Engaging with Visitors After Hours

A well-maintained professional website can be the greatest asset a modern business has at its disposal. And one of the main benefits websites and blog posts offer is the potential to draw in leads at any time. What’s more, chatbots will allow your business to engage with visitors outside of “normal” hours. By enabling automatic responses to common queries after hours, you can respond to potential customers immediately and let them know you’re going to address their issue. Establishing trust this early on is critical to building a successful relationship with a potential customer.

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Leverage Essential Data

Monitoring your chatbots’ interactions with visitors is a tremendous way to pool transaction-related data. People have no problem speaking candidly with chatbots, and, as such, you can use those transcripts to develop in-depth client profiles. With chatbots you can identify common issues and also keep track of your ecommerce store’s inventory.

Streamline Sales Interactions

While valuable, chatbots are not without their foibles. The key to achieving success with a chatbots, then, is to understand their limitations. It’s vital to recognize which queries your chatbot can and can’t handle. Don’t expect to program a chatbot with the ability to answer every question about your online store or specific products. That’s where your sales professionals can excel. The best chatbots are upfront with visitors when they don’t know how to solve a problem. When a chatbot can no longer help, it’s time to let one of your team members take over. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a bad thing. After all, if your chatbot correctly identifies a qualified lead and passes them off to your sales team, the interaction is already a success.

The Bottom Line

Whether your business manufactures intricate lab equipment like lithium heparin tubes, or everyday office supplies, well-constructed chatbots can help consolidate your sales process and improve lead engagement. Just remember to utilize chatbots with caution. Though they provide massive benefits when built properly, poorly designed chatbots can have a profound, negative effect on your customer service. This mostly occurs when programmers try to do too much with their automated features. Never forget that chatbots are meant to supplement your employees’ efforts –– not replace them entirely.

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For women, that dreaded time of the month can be uncomfortable and painful anyway, without being given the wrong information. Even so, there are so many myths about periods that get passed down from generation to generation or are perpetuated online. Here are some of the most popular ones:

1. You are more likely to get attacked by a shark if you are on your period

This one is one of the more common old wives tales circulating periods. If you live near a beach it may be a concern, but unless you are going on holiday somewhere there are likely to be sharks it will probably not come up. There is literally no data to support the idea that sharks are more likely to attack when someone has their period.

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Photo source: Medical Daily

2. Women who are on their period are “unclean” and will contaminate food

This is widely believed in countries like India, but yet again there is no evidence to support this. As long as standard hand hygiene is practised there is no reason women who are menstruating cannot prepare food.

3. Showering while you are on your period can cause infertility

This may sound a bit crazy, but it is widely believed in Afghanistan that if you shower while you are menstruating this will make you infertile. Unfortunately for Afghanistan women not showering during menstruation is a pretty bad idea. It can lead to all sorts of infections and the time of the month is actually one of the times you should shower MORE, not less.

4. Periods are absolutely debilitating for women

Many women remember first learning about periods and thinking they sound pretty bad, and even if they are, normal life can resume if you prepare adequately. Many Asian countries let women have sick leave when they are on their period, but this is more because of it being taboo rather than an actual physical issue. Strong painkillers and a hot water bottle will usually see women through the worst.

5. You cannot participate in sports/classes

Many people often think that women are unable to take part in sports, especially things like swimming if they are having their period. As long as proper sanitary products are used, women should have no problem taking part in their favourite sports or classes, even if they are in the water.

6. You shouldn’t wash your hair when you are on your period

One of the myths about menstruation is that is you wash your hair while you are menstruating it will go limp. There is absolutely zero science to back this up.

7. You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period

Possibly one of the most dangerous myths about periods. You can absolutely get pregnant if you are on your period and you have sex, so you should still use proper protection. Sperm can survive in the body for up to 7 days, and if you ovulate a little early, you could become pregnant.

8. You have to see a doctor after your first period

A lot of people believe you should see your doctor after your first period. If you experience a very bad period you might do this, but it really isn’t necessary. You only need to see a doctor if you are concerned about your period or if it starts having an impact on your life i.e. bad period pains etc.

9. Periods should last exactly one week

Everyone is different. Although the menstruation period is usually around one week, this may not be the case for everyone. Some (lucky) women experience periods for just 3 days and some have slightly longer periods. It is only a concern if it is not your regular cycle. If you are using period delay medication or the contraceptive pill you may also experience different timings during your menstrual period.

10. Virgins shouldn’t wear tampons

It is a common myth that tampons will hurt virgins, but this usually doesn’t tend to be the case. A tampon can break the hymen, which is sometimes used as a cultural indicator of virginity. But the hymen can also break at other times too. Everyone is different, but tampons are designed with all women in mind, not just those who have had sex. It is all about finding what works for you.

If you run an industrial-based business, you know all too well how important maintaining your machinery is. Fail to do so and it’s only a matter of time before it breaks down.

Did you realize that cost of a machine breakdown is usually 4 to 15 times higher than routine maintenance costs? Rather than waiting until a machine falls into a state of disrepair, you need to work with professionals to keep them in good shape.

In some instances, the maintenance that your machines require will be cosmetic. If your machinery is looking a bit worn, having professionals use abrasive blasting to remove the paint is a must. Once the paint has been removed, you can then get the machinery repainted.

Read below to find out more about the benefits of using abrasive blasting.

What is Abrasive Blasting?

Before delving into the benefits of abrasive blasting, you probably want to find out more about what this process entails. In short, abrasive blasting using high air pressure and abrasive materials like sand or beads to remove rust, dirt and surface coatings without causing damage to the underlying material. For the most part, abrasive blasting is used in applications like:

  • Prepping a surface prior to bonding or painting

 

  • Removing rust or scale from existing coatings

 

  • Getting rid of edge profiling or burrs on various machined components

 

  • During the finishing of precision parts

A number of different abrasive mediums are us during this process like:

  • Sand

 

  • Grit or steel shot

 

  • Crushed glass
  • Aluminum oxide

 

  • Walnut shell

 

  • Plastic

 

  • Copper Slag

The only way to get the premium results you are after with abrasive blasting is by working with seasoned professionals who use the right equipment and materials

Avoid Chemical Reactions

One of the biggest benefits of using abrasive blasting is that you do not have to worry about chemical reactions occurring. Since the materials used during this process are basically inert, they will not damage the surface they are being used on with harmful reactions.

The chemical cleaners on the market that are designed to remove surface rust and other imperfections have a tendency to create problems due to the reactive properties they contain. Rather than ruining the surface of an expensive machine with this type of reaction, you’re much better off using abrasive blasting.

Keep Your Cleaning Eco-Friendly

Are you passionate about doing your part to keep the Earth healthy and pollution-free? If so, utilizing the power of abrasive blasting is ideal. The materials using during the blasting process are eco-friendly and do not emit any greenhouse gases. Rather than using hazardous chemical cleaners, abrasive blasting allows you to get better results without releasing harmful pollutants into the atmosphere.

Abrasive Blasting is Extremely Efficient

Another benefit of using abrasive blasting is that it is very efficient. By using this method you’re able to get into every nook and cranny of the surface. This makes the cleaning process go much faster and will produce better results. Chemical cleaning will often require a lot of labour intensive scraping and metal brushing. Instead of working twice as hard for less than stellar results, you can hire professionals to use an abrasive cleaning to get your surfaces spotless in a fraction of the time.

Before hiring a company to do this type of work, be sure to do your homework. Ideally, you want to hire a someone that has a lot of previous experience and a proven track record of achieving outstanding results with the abrasive blasting process.

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A car accident occurs every minute of every day. And brain injuries are one of the most common aftermaths of these accidents. If you’ve been involved in an accident, you need immediate medical checkup to rule out any injuries to your brain.   

More importantly, it’s critical that you determine the type and severity of the damage, if brain injury is detected. This will help your doctor swiftly prescribe the right course of treatment as well as help your attorneys in demanding a fair compensation for damages. The brain injuries are broadly classified into five categories;

 

  • Concussions

 

A concussion is damage to the brain resulting from a direct blow to the head. It’s especially common in whiplash accidents. It can occur in open or closed head injuries. The most important thing to note is that patients rarely show symptoms and even if symptoms are present, they may not be severe. This makes it very important to hire a brain injury lawyer so detailed scans can be done to establish severity of damage. If scans aren’t done, it may appear like you didn’t suffer a brain injury.

 

  • Contusion

 

A contusion is also an injury to the brain caused by a direct blow to the head. In car accidents, it can occur if the driver hits his or her head on the steering wheel or against the window. The main difference between contusions and concussions is that in concussions, internal bleeding is very rare while with contusions, blooding is always present and can be severe. While it’s not usually the first option on the list, surgery is sometimes required to treat a contusion.

 

  • Coup-contrecoup

 

Coup-contrecoups are essentially contusions, the only difference being that here, the impact causes damage at both ends of the brain. For instance, if the original impact was situated at the front of the head, a similar impact would be detected at the exact opposite location at the back of the head. This normally occurs when the impact is large enough to cause damage at the site of impact as well as to move the brain at the opposite end of the head.

 

  • Diffuse axonal

 

Diffuse axonal injuries are mostly caused by shaking or a strong rotation of the head. Injury occurs because a sudden movement of the head often leaves the brain lagging behind. When the brain lags behind, the muscles attaching the brain to the skull can be torn. Often, extensive tearing of nerve tissue will be detected throughout the brain, potentially resulting in small masses of brain tissue being released which can cause additional injury.

 

  • Penetration injuries

 

Finally, a penetration injury is where a foreign object forces its way into the brain. Of brain injuries, this is the deadiest. Fatality rates are as high as 90%. The good news is that penetration injuries aren’t as common in car accidents as they are in violent acts of crime such as shootings and stabbings.

If you’re injured in a car accident, make sure that you get immediate medical attention and necessary scans to rule out brain injury. Even if there are no visible symptoms, it’s in your best interest to get the scans anyway for peace of mind.

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On the morning of August 28th, 2018 Odell Beckham Jr. signed a record-breaking deal worth $95 million with the New York Giants. You don’t have to be a sports fan to see this is an astronomical sum of money. But in the wake of the contract signing, Giants General Manager, Dave Gettleman, was not signing Odell Beckham Jr’s praises on the field, but those of Zeke Sandhu, Beckham’s agent. “It was great negotiating”, was about all Gettleman could muster.

You don’t have to be a professional sports agent to walk away from negotiations with the best deal possible. Part art form, part science, negotiating is an underrated skill to have. Everything is negotiable; it is just a matter of how taxing and difficult the negotiation is.

But few people excel in contract negotiation settings. Many people fall into the same pitfalls and mistakes. These five contract negotiation tips will ensure, like Zeke Sandhu, you walk away from every negotiation confident you got the best deal available.

Odell Beckham of the New York Giants talks with a referee after a play with Josh Norman of the Carolina Panthers during their game at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 20, 2015, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Take Your Time

The vast majority of people would rather settle for a bad deal than spend time at the negotiating table. Whether a contract is legally binding for a lifetime, or even just a year or two, it is worth taking the time to hash out the best deal possible. Take your time and come to an agreement that you are happy with.

Get an Attorney

For high-stakes negotiations, sometimes it is best to call in the cavalry. An experienced attorney can be a valuable addition at your negotiating table. Choose an attorney that specialises in business law and has experience in negotiating substantial contracts, like Hampton & Royce, LC.

Use Current Market Prices to Help Your Argument

If you can draw on the industry standard practices and rates, or the current market prices to support your side of the negotiations, it puts the onus on the other party to demonstrate why the deal they are offering should not be considered the market standard. This gives you the edge and tips the balance in your favour. It demonstrates you are clearly asking for a “fair price” while the other party is trying to negotiate the upper hand.

Break it Into Sections

If you have a complex contract to negotiate, break it into sections. Start with the terms that will be easiest to negotiate. Once you have some momentum and have found common ground in the early stage of negotiations, the later stages become much easier. By the time the most challenging terms of the deal come to the table, both parties will have become invested in the deal and will be hoping to come to an acceptable arrangement.

Be Willing to Walk Away

It has been said that in any negotiation, your source of power derives from your ability to walk away from negotiations. If you can’t walk away and the other party senses that, they will use it as leverage to gain the upper hand.

Have a backup plan so you don’t feel the pressure in the negotiating room, and don’t be scared to walk away from negotiations if the terms are unacceptable.

Finally, bear in mind the wise words of John F. Kennedy. “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate”. Keep your end goal in sight at all times to secure a better deal on each and every negotiation.

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When it comes to your physical well-being, what you don’t know can very much hurt you. And while the internet has provided society with a myriad of benefits, it also contributes to the spread of some very silly rumors. Unfortunately, certain health-related myths have been perpetuated across the web for years and have convinced many people of their veracity. That’s why we’re here to sift through four common myths and separate fact from fiction. Check these out now and learn how to start handling your health better today:

Cracking Joints Leads to Arthritis

Simply put, cracking your knuckles won’t make you any more prone to developing arthritis later on in life. People who do crack their knuckles, like those who don’t, have about the same probability. So crack away if you feel like it!

You Can Catch an STD from a Toilet Seat

STDs are some of the most common, yet misunderstood infections around, and this is just one outlandish rumor associated with them. The truth is though, in just about every case, STDs can’t persist outside of the body. That means casual contact with an infected person –– or sitting on a toilet seat –– won’t put you at risk for contracting an STD.

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Weight Loss is all about Willpower

In one sense, yes, it does require strong force of will to stick to a dietary regimen within a busy schedule, but to think that all weight loss is down to forcing yourself to exercise and eat healthy is incorrect. A number of biological and genealogical factors influence a person’s weight, and it’s highly reductive to suggest losing weight is as easy as adopting a new mindset.

Mental Health Issues are Rare

Fortunately, we’ve come a long way toward destigmatizing mental-health issues from a cultural standpoint. Nevertheless, the falsehood that mental-health problems are rare still persists. The opposite, in fact, is true. Around twenty percent of Americans deal with some form of mental health issue, and many children (around one in ten) experience serious depression during adolescence.

The Bottom Line

Many people don’t understand certain health and science intricacies because they don’t want to educate themselves. After all, it can be frightening to see a doctor –– even for something as routine as a checkup. The truth is though, there’s nothing to fear from a stethoscope or a luer adapter or any other medical instrument. And the more active a role you take in learning about your health and seeking sound medical advice, the better off you’ll be for it.

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Sleep — the most basic of things to do to keep your body healthy and your mind sharp. But it seems that even this is as difficult as pushing ourselves to go to the gym every week. There are many reasons why sleep is difficult for us like a condition that prevents us from doing so, or due to mountains of work that needs finishing.

Regardless of the reason, not getting enough sleep exposes us to serious illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. For this reason, tracking devices for sleep are becoming increasingly popular. In a fast-paced world where sleep has become a privilege, it is important that we consciously keep track of it.

Tracking devices like the FitBit Versa, is equipped with technology that can help us get the best sleep possible. It seems you will not be getting one just to count your steps for the day, but to track your “ZZZs” at night too.

How does the FitBit Sleep Feature work?

When you consult a sleep specialist, you will be asked to stay in the hospital so they can measure your stages of rest. They will use an instrument called an electroencephalogram which measures brain activity and muscle movements.

The FitBit technology works mostly in the same way as the electroencephalogram. What it does is measure your heart rate and movement all night. Based on those the data gathered, it will make intelligent guesses on your sleep cycle.

Of course, this does not mean a FitBit is a viable replacement for a sleep doctor. But it can give you a general idea on how often you get to the deep sleep level and for how long.

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Different levels of sleep

To give users a better picture of what their sleeping cycle looks like, FitBit worked with the National Sleep Foundation to show the four different stages of sleep. These are what you will expect to see when your FitBit shows you your sleep data.

Awake  – Waking up in the middle of the night is completely normal, especially if you are going to take care of bodily needs such as peeing or drinking water. It is also normal to wake up from a dream or move around a few times.

Light Sleep – This stage is when you are still aware of your surroundings even if you are asleep — the early stage of the sleep cycle. You can still be easily woken up in this stage, and may still even lose sleep. Light sleep already has the capacity to re-energize your mind and body, which is why power naps are helpful at times when you cannot sleep for long.

Deep Sleep – In deep sleep, you will become less responsive to outside stimuli because your body is in its most relaxed state. This is when your body starts healing and recovering from the day’s activities. While sleeping patterns are different from person to person, as observed, we get lesser deep sleep when get older.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) – This is the second stage of deep sleep where you brain becomes active even when you are sound asleep. Dreams happen in this stage, but your muscles are inactive so that you will not act out what you are seeing. Additionally, this is when your brain starts storing your memories in your long-term memory bank.

When you access the sleep cycle data on or FitBit Versa, these are the four stages you will be seeing. Pay close attention to how long it took you to get to deep sleep and REM, because that will determine whether you will need to consult with a specialist or just need to take a leave from work to get a much needed rest.

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As victorious as recovery feels, it doesn’t end with rehab. It continues one day at a time for the rest of your life. Along the way, most addicts do relapse. But whether or not this turns out being a temporary misstep, or a complete backslide in your former life, is up to you. Here are four principles that will help you stay clean.

  1. Develop a new routine.

No one knows the power of habit quite like an addict. Some aren’t even aware of how deeply substance abuse is ingrained into their daily lives until they try to do routine tasks while sober. This can be incredibly challenging, which is why you must create a fresh daily routine to match your new start.

This includes healthier sleep habits and regular meals, but can also impact what routes we drive, which stores we visit, and where we decide to work. Many in recovery find that moving away and beginning in an entirely new place is the most effective way they can avoid prompt relapse.

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  1. End toxic relationships.

It goes without saying that one clean and sober partner will be incredibly challenged staying with one who still uses. Still, any relationship where emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse takes place is a trigger.

It’s not just about avoiding the addictive substance; you must extricate yourself from relationships that could lead you into wanting to use. On top of this, you no longer have room for relationships with people who don’t take your addiction seriously and are unsupportive of your sobriety.

  1. Connect with other people and activities.   

For some people in recovery, the ending of toxic relationships can find them feeling rather lonely, like there is no one left who knows what they’re going through. But on the bright side, here’s an opportunity to forge new relationships, or strengthen existing ones with people who want to be there for you and support you.

Speak about how you’re feeling with people you trust. Don’t assume that they’re not interested, or won’t “get it”. They can only be supportive if you let them in. And while you’re at it, try something new to fill your free time. Running, knitting, fixing cars – it only matters that you enjoy the distraction.

  1. Keep up with your treatment.

Far and away, this is the one rule that can make or break your recovery. Follow the advice of your therapist or doctor when it comes to counseling, medication, and more. Rehab facilities like those found at https://arcproject.org.uk/rehab-centres know that the work you do after rehab is every bit as important.

Attend group sessions and meetings if recommended, and actively stay on top of your steps. Becoming complacent and “forgetting” your addiction is a sure way to suddenly find yourself back at the bottom.

Finally, always remember what we said at the start – relapses of all sizes and scales are very common. If you do relapse, it’s vital that you don’t lose hope or feel as though you’ve “ruined” your progress. Revisit your guiding principles often, and you can get clean as many times as is necessary.

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Source: Pixabay.com

The recent news that Apple has become the first trillion-dollar company by market cap in history is indicative of how much technology has revolutionized the world. While IT has infiltrated virtually every part of everyday living, nowhere else has it had as much of an impact as in the business world.

Technology has improved the efficiency and impact of business processes by several orders of magnitude. Communication in particular has seen dramatic changes. Here is a look at how workplace team communication is no longer the same thanks to IT.

 

  • Speed

 

Electronic communication has long displaced snail mail as the primary means of business communication. It’s actually difficult to imagine how companies communicate with one another and with their remote branches just three decades ago.

Electronic communication via email, IP telephony, live chat, social media platforms, shared file servers and more has slashed the time it took to relay a document from several hours or days to just a couple of seconds. In more technical teams, tools for analyzing logs and aggregating data have also made hastened decision-making.

 

  • Seamless Collaboration

 

Technology has simplified collaboration in teams. Apps like Slack have made it possible for one to communicate with multiple teams quickly. Team members can disseminate information to the entire group or target it to an individual or a subset of the wider team.

Communication is not limited to voice and text-based messages. Files, images and videos can be shared with the team in order to clarify things that may be hard to explain in speech or writing only.

 

  • Increased Morale

 

Millennials are gradually becoming the most dominant generation at the workplace. For the advancement of technology, this is a positive development. Millennials have spent the majority of their lives depending on and interacting with IT.

They are not only less likely than preceding generations to resist workplace changes brought about by technology but are also more keen to celebrate such transitions. With majority of office team members bound to be Millennials, IT is therefore proving to be a great morale booster.

 

  • Remote Supervision

 

One of the benefits of the Internet has been to shrink the world into a small interconnected virtual village. This has made coordination between remote branches of multinational organizations easier and even facilitated telecommuting as a viable way to work.

Through tech, managers can better lead and personally supervise remote team members. Email, messaging apps, file sharing and video conferencing have all added multiple layers of communication features that make those working from far feel more connected to the rest of the team. This enhances camaraderie.

 

  • Decentralization

 

Social media networks like Facebook initially started as a fun informal way for people to keep in touch with their friends and family. That has changed and not only is social media now a tool of business but has also influenced how proprietary business communication tools are designed.

Social media features like mentions, news feeds, informalism and cross-level participation are increasingly incorporated in business communication thus changing how decisions are made and work is executed.

One of the consequences of this is the disintegration of bureaucracy. This creates a more informal and ad hoc structure thus ensuring majority of team decisions are made lower down in the hierarchy.

 

  • Effective Coaching

 

‘This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance and training purposes.’ We’ve all heard this phrase in its various forms numerous times before and perhaps don’t pay too much attention to it anymore. Yet, this is just another example of how technology is bettering team communication.

The call libraries companies create from these recorded conversations are used in training sales teams, demonstrating best practice and cautioning on how a call could go wrong. Using actual calls is a much more effective training tool than role-playing.

It’s not possible to cover here all the ways IT has transformed communication. These examples only scratch the surface. What is certain is that the influence of technology on communication will only continue to grow.

According to The Balance (a personal finance website), a healthy economy is where unemployment and inflation are in balance. That is, the “natural rate of unemployment will be between 4.7 percent and 5.8 percent” while the “target inflation rate will be 2.0 percent.”

A healthy economy is traditionally defined and measured in terms of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or “the total value of everything produced by all people and companies in the country.” Therefore, if the GDP growth rate is healthy and thereby sustainable, “the economy stays in the expansion phase of the business cycle as long as possible” which leads to a positive change in the level of goods and services production, high level of employment, and ultimately, increased standard of living – thus, economic growth.

However, on a side note, more growth isn’t always better or healthier. Think about it as a body temperature – If the temperature is lower than the ideal, the body is sick. If too low, it is near death. Similarly, a higher temperature could mean fever. If beyond that, the body is deathly ill.

There is, therefore, a need for balance. And there are several key components that are detrimental to achieve this. In one way or another, they affect the economic growth in a helpful or hampering way but without them, it is quite impossible for a country’s economy to stay in the “ideal zone”.

Following are the important factors that make a strong economy:

Natural Resources

“Natural resources are materials from the earth that people use to meet their needs” and therefore, an abundance of it can give a head start as it could increase a country’s production capacity.

Natural resources can be categorized into two major types being renewable and non-renewable.

Renewable resources are “those that are used at a slower rate than they are replaced” which include water, animals, plants, wind, and the sun. Whilst non-renewable resources are “those that are used faster than Nature can create” like natural gas and minerals.

A country that is blessed with rich natural resources could give it an advantage towards the growth path. But it does not necessarily mean that countries with lesser natural resources will not. The exploitation and utilization of these resources depend on the skills and abilities of the labor force, technology, and availability of capital. A country with a skilled and educated workforce could spur growth, otherwise, it is most likely to struggle.

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Human Resource

Countries (especially the less-developed ones), even those with high amounts of natural resources, will lag behind if they fail to improve the skills and education of their workers.

Human resource is defined as “the people that staff and operates an organization.” The same as in a company setting, a country with skilled, well-trained, and well-educated workforce is more likely to be more productive and could produce high-quality outputs that add efficiency to the economy.

On the other hand, an under-utilized, illiterate, and unskilled workforce could be a deterrent to economic growth as it will become a drag on the economy and could lead to higher possibilities of unemployment.

Physical Capital

Reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of economic output will lead to higher productivity. Thus, capital formation is necessary for a country’s economic progress. It includes producing and acquiring land, building, machinery, power, transportation, and medium of communication.

“Capital formation increases the availability of capital per worker” which consequently raises the productivity of labor and results in an efficient output and economic growth.

Political and social factors

To a considerable extent, political and social factors contribute to making a stronger and healthier economy.

According to a research study titled “The Impact of Political Determinants on Economic Growth in CEE Countries”, “it is impossible to analyze a country’s economy by taking into account only the market factors.” Therefore, political factors are important to analyze the economic process and observe “to what extent and in what direction the political determinants of a state government affect its economic performance.”

Such determinants include regime type, political stability and instability, policy management, corruption, and the laws.

Meanwhile, social factors or (as it is commonly referred to) social economics examine the relationship between social behavior and economics. These include the following factors,

Lifestyles. A country’s way of living plays a crucial role in economic growth. For instance, a society that resists the adoption of modern ways of living and continues with conventional beliefs and superstitions will less likely to achieve improvement.

Sex distribution. Sex ratio, also, has pervasive effects on humans because it influences consumer behavior and economic decisions. In a study (based on a male-biased sex ratio) done in 2012, it was found that “monetary decisions and consumer spending are related to mating effort – increased mating effort is associated with increased male desire for immediate rewards and increased male spending on conspicuous consumption products.”

Family size and structure. The place of a family within the society largely depends on the economic functions it performs. Specifically, the size of a family which relationship with economic growth is quite controversial. A low-income country with larger family sizes may have slow development, whilst smaller family sizes in high-income countries could create social and economic problems.

Additionally, family structure and economic well-being are correlated. For example, the U.S. economy is strongly related to marriage.

According to a research – marriage, which creates intact family structures, are found to “outperform all other sexual partnering structures; hence the economy rises with intactness” and encounters fewer difficulties and inefficiencies. Divorce, on the other hand, rises poverty – that is, non-intact family structures are six times more impoverished than the married families.

Similarly, Ted Khalaf, an experienced family divorce lawyer of Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles, believes that “divorce is bad for the economy.” Speaking from experience and concerned with the growing divorce rate,, Khalaf explained that throughout the divorce process, the rate of income increase for a man drops almost to that of his always-single counterpart. “It is common misconception that higher divorce rate will lead to stronger economy. This is simply not true.”

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Manufacturing competition creates a cutthroat environment on the global stage, and there are only so many cuts you can make when you’re dealing with direct competition for clients. What can manufacturers do to set themselves apart, and to find cost-saving measures that will help lead to a more efficient workforce?

Here are a few ideas on how you can deal with your competition effectively, without the dramatic and obvious cuts.

Cut Down on Waste

A.J. Weller manufacturers use wear plates, devices that are fit over machinery that experiences heavy friction. The plates, made of environmentally friendly materials, wear down over time and typically before the machinery wears down but are easy to replace.

Modular thinking in engineering is enabling more of this kind of re-use in manufacturing, where small parts made of environmentally friendly materials are regularly replaced to allow for the larger pieces to remain intact.

This waste reduction also translates to the production line, where improved technology means less downtime for machinery. CNC machinery, for instance, requires computers to render and execute a design. This operation requires a great deal of computing power and tends to run on technology that may be decades behind modern standards. Upgrading that infrastructure reduces system crashes and processing downtime that are often passed onto the customer, resulting in a leaner operation that provides better value.

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Standardize Parts

Standardizing parts is another method used to reduce costs. Screws or housings are a good example, where clients may require two pieces held together with screws. Standardizing sizes, and having a selection to fit multiple spaces (down to the millimeter), allows manufacturers to meet client specs with improved fulfillment.

It’s helpful to maintain good communication with your client to see what their needs might be. If you work with them on the design, you can incorporate your standards into their work early on, which can also help solve some of the more irksome problems that come with designing a new product.

Another helpful benefit to parts standardization is inventory maintenance. If you don’t need to order special parts, you’re not at the mercy of supply chains who manufacture and deliver specialized parts or materials. You save on shipping costs and, since you order in bulk, and you can pass those savings on to customers while still adding to your profit margins.

Automate Strategically

Factory automation is a useful strategy for improving production efficiency, but it requires its own infrastructure. Especially when deployed at scale. A factory that is entirely automated can do interesting things with its space, but it requires an IT backbone full of techs and engineers constantly maintaining and supporting it.

Instead, start small. Improve the time it takes to process a design, or automate some of the simpler tasks associated with manufacturing. Create requirements up front that reduce the amount of input on your end. If the client can prepare specs that align better with your systems, you can promise faster fulfillment.

Automating strategically cuts costs in your workforce, but not in the ways you might think. You can reduce overtime costs with some process optimization, and reduce wasted hours by training certain members on multiple tasks. A small increase in pay is usually less than the cost of hiring a new worker.

Final Thoughts

Today, there are multiple options companies can use to reduce the cost of operating a factory. Some of those methods require an upfront cost but have ample downstream savings. Changing to LED bulbs, for example, might carry a high upfront cost but will result in lower energy bills. Less ambient heat also means a cooler factory floor.

Prioritizing sustainability is better for your company in every area of your business. It will help you reduce costs, better serve your clients, and improve your profit margin. If you haven’t started to make the shift toward sustainability, now is the time to change that!

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If you’re not satisfied with the look of your chest, tummy, thigh, or hips, you may be the perfect candidate for laser liposuction treatment. Find out more here.

We live in a world where looks might not be everything but they come pretty close to it. How many times have you seen a more attractive or skinnier person receive that job promotion or get chosen for a date first? If you don’t feel good about how you look and it’s negatively affecting your professional and personal lives, it may behoove you to look into micro-laser liposuction. This cosmetic surgery procedure is available through companies such as Sono Bello, which offers a peek at it on its website.

Advanced laser liposuction treatment allows you to pursue your beauty goals quickly and confidently. Board-certified plastic surgeons often hear from clients that their most problematic areas include their hips, love handles, tummies, thighs, and chests. Why? Because the fat deposits located in these parts of the body have a tendency to be stubborn. Their clients have tried diets and workouts targeting these areas of the body but to no avail. They’ve also tried pills and other products that claim to melt away that stubborn, also to no avail.

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Finally, they try liposuction. And that’s when they experience their long-awaited breakthrough. They finally regain hope and get to see the change they’ve wanted all along.

The results you can expect from advanced liposuction treatment include a leaner and more toned look that looks all natural. And the best part? This is possible in a single office visit. As a result, in a way, you can literally change shape overnight. This is perfect if you’re gearing up for a summer trip or a fall wedding and don’t have months and months to try to get the body shape of your youth back.

Sometimes years of dieting and years in the gym just aren’t enough. That’s when it couldn’t hurt to try liposuction. After all, you have nothing to lose but a few unwanted pounds.

*This article has no affiliation with Sono Bello and is strictly opinion based.*

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Have you ever heard of a registered agent? If you are trying to form an LLC, the answer is probably a resounding “yes.” However, do you know what this is, or what it is so important?

If not, you are in the right place. Here you can learn about what a registered agent is, as well as how it can help ensure you are on the right path during the creation and formation of your LLC.

Keep reading to get started. Having some of the most common questions answered can help ensure you are informed and knowledgeable before moving forward.

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Register Agent: Explained

Registered agents are responsible for receiving any type of important or essential legal documents for your business. Some papers they may receive include state filings (i.e. annual reports) or service of process for legal action (i.e. a lawsuit).

There are some states where the registered agent is also referred to as the agent for service of process, statutory agent or resident agent.

Why Do You Need a Registered Agent for Your LLC?

Having a registered agent is necessary to create an LLC. When you are filing the articles of organization, each LLC has to nominate a registered agent for their company. Also, the registered agent has to have a physical address that is within the state where the business is located.

It’s possible for a member of your LLC to act as the registered agent for your business. However, your company is not able to act as its own registered agent.

Can You be Your Own LLC’s Registered Agent?

Yes, you can opt to elect yourself, or one of your employees, or person outside of your business to serve as the company’s registered agent.

However, there are a few reasons you should consider hiring professional registered agent services for this. One reason it’s good to choose a professional service is the additional measure of privacy it provides. If you opt to act as your own registered agent and you use your home address as the registered agent, then it is going to be publicly listed for any and everyone to see. When you hire a professional registered agent service, you can avoid possible lapses in your privacy that result from having to use your personal, home address.

Another consideration is the fact that registered agents need to be available at the physical location during what is considered “normal business hours.” Also, an agent must be present in every state where the company does business.

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Creating genuine human connections between employees is of the utmost importance to ensure success during collaborative exercises. Many businesses facilitate this by hosting a team building event. For a team building event to be successful, it has to be both informative and fun, giving your employees a balance between structured and unstructured interactions.

To ensure everyone is getting the most out of the event, you need to ensure the team building exercises have a few core components. Here’s how to host an employee team building event that doesn’t suck.

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Have an Icebreaker

Icebreakers aren’t just for people who haven’t worked together or met before. They’re also a great way to get comfortable with the team building exercises and get everyone feeling loose and relaxed. When it comes to icebreakers, it’s best to do an exercise that will teach you about the people you work with while incorporating as many laughs as possible.

Some of the best icebreaker events incorporate games like Would You Rather (find inspiration at https://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2014/07/50-would-you-rathers-that-will-destroy-you-forever/), word association, or a bingo game that requires participants to ask others about their hobbies, personalities, and skills to mark off as many boxes as possible. The icebreaker portion of the break should be brief as to not detract from the rest of the day.

Play a Game of Silver Linings

One of the most fun and effective team building games is the Game of Silver Linings. In this game, everyone will have a partner. If you have a large team, you can set it up like a speed dating event, giving limited time with each pair before moving onto the next.

In this game, person A will share a negative experience either from their personal life or their work life. The caveat is that it must be true. Person B will reflect upon what person A has told them and try to point out a positive lesson learned from the experience. Person A reframes their experience with positive language to highlight the silver lining of the situation. Then person B shares and person A reflects.

The Human Knot

The Human Knot is an exercise that will introduce problem-solving skills while getting people in an uncomfortable situation that will leave them more comfortable with each other by the end. In this activity, everyone stands shoulder to shoulder in a circle. Everyone reaches around and grabs the hand of someone else. Then, they must untangle themselves into a hand-holding circle without letting go of each other.

This is a great activity to incorporate near the beginning of an event before everyone has opened up. It’s the perfect follow up to an icebreaker.

Use Activities Specific to Your Business

While fun icebreakers and brain games are a fun, non-work related way to get people interacting, it’s important to tie the experiences back into your business. Incorporate real-world scenarios that relate to things that have happened, or could happen, at work. Pull people together from different teams to apply fresh perspectives to problem-solving.

Shared Meals

Shared meals are a fantastic form of unstructured interaction amongst employees and have great cultural significance when it comes to forming a human connection. The social implications surrounding food are one of the reasons why dieting is such a challenge for many; there are emotions tied to the experience.

A nice team dinner is the perfect way to wrap up a day of team building activities and give people a chance to unwind after a day of hard work. If possible, book a restaurant separate from the meeting facility to create a degree of separation between the clinical environment and encourage relaxation and mingling.

By incorporating these different elements into your team building efforts, you ensure that everyone enjoys themselves and learns something about their role in the company, the people they work with, and how they can be a better employee.

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Business webinars can serve many different purposes for those that hold them. Unfortunately, small companies believe that it is impossible to actually hold and record such webinars. This is incorrect. In reality, there are different software options available for holding live business webinars. The only problem appears in the fact that the webinars have to be recorded for future use. This is where qualitative screen capture software comes into place though and solves a problem. You can always use programs of high-quality like Movavi Screen Recorder for that.

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The one thing that is rarely understood is why record the live webinars in the first place. After all, these are meant just for those that attend, right? Wrong! You can use the recording of the live webinar for many different reasons. For instance, you can easily keep the video and give it to new employees in the future.

There are also many other uses that you might consider. Some modern businessmen actually upload them to video sharing websites like YouTube. This is mainly done in order to promote some sort of service or product and works particularly well with training webinars.

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After you record the business webinars, make sure you keep them in a safe place for future use. You never know when you are going to use them. One thing you should understand is that the internet revolves around video content at the moment. Unfortunately, many businesses just rely on a lot of text and on images. If you want to do something that is perfect for any online target audience, video works well.

Keep in mind that you do not have to use the video for the entire live webinar. You can even use it as a preview of what happens during such events. This is perfect for external use, when you want people to subscribe to a newsletter. You can release some of the live webinars or parts of them to get people to join. They, in return, will receive access to the webinars that are held in the future. Do be sure you keep your eyes open as there are always ways in which you can use the recorded webinars!

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Have you been diagnosed with a medical condition and you’re worried or concerned that you may need surgery? There are several medical problems that can only be resolved through surgery. While physical therapy and pain medications are often the first resort for most musculoskeletal issues, it may not be enough to completely heal your condition or improve your quality of life. If this is the case, your doctor will refer you to a surgeon. Here are a few conditions that may require you to get a surgical consultation.

Hip Replacement

Hip and leg pain can make it extremely difficult to move around and be as mobile as you would like to be. If shooting leg pain, stiffness and numbness are getting in the way of everyday life, you need to see your doctor. They may rule out common problems such as stiffness or arthritis. They may utilize surgery to correct your condition if you make an appointment to inquire about how to fix knock knees or another joint condition. If they determine that the joints in your hip and legs are deteriorating or impinging on nerves, they may suggest hip replacement surgery. An orthopedic surgeon will consult with you to determine if you need a partial or full hip replacement. It depends on your age and the severity of your pain and limited range of motion. The surgery will require an overnight hospital stay and weeks of physical therapy. On a positive note, you may be able to reduce the number of pain medications you’re on and you’ll be able to function throughout the day with a pain-free lifestyle.

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Rotator Cuff Surgery

Have you been experiencing a lot of pain lately, especially in your shoulder? If you’ve tried to treat it with over the counter pain medications and you’ve been unsuccessful, you need to consult with your doctor. After doing a physical exam and some diagnostic testing, they may determine that you need surgery on your rotator cuff. This type of surgery is done in most major hospitals and your recovery time depends on the severity of the injury. Rotator cuff surgery includes trimming any bone spur and removing away loose cartilage that is causing the bone to rub against the joint. For cases of advanced arthritis or disc degeneration, metal plates or bone grafts may be used to stabilize the area and improve overall range of motion. Most shoulder surgeries are either outpatient or only require a day or two in the hospital. It depends on any underlying medical problems or complications that may arise.

Unforeseen Emergencies

Sometimes an emergency comes up and it’s imperative that you have surgery right away to save your life or reduce complications. This may include:

  • Ruptured appendix
  • Heart attack or heart blockage
  • Stroke
  • Broken bones

If you find yourself in an emergency situation, your doctor will prepare you for what to expect. It can be emotionally challenging to face an unexpected surgery or procedure. Make sure you let your family know ahead of time if you can what your preference is for a hospital. It’s also good to have a DPOA or medical durable power of attorney in place before surgery. This also includes a living will and a Do Not Resuscitate order if you decide to have one signed. Seeking a qualified attorney to have these things in place sooner rather than later, can avoid scrambling around and being indecisive during a medical emergency.

Heart-Related Conditions

When you have something going on that is cardiovascular in nature, it can really bring you down physically as well as mentally. In some cases, a heart problem is diagnosed through routine testing, such as blood work or when you have your vital signs taken at the doctor’s office. A cardiovascular surgeon will be able to perform most routine surgeries such as heart valve replacements and defibrillators. Because of technological advancements, most cardiovascular related procedures are outpatient or have a minimal postoperative hospital stay. The key is not to delay getting the surgery done, your quality of life may depend on it.

There are many types of surgeries and procedures that all humans may face at one point or time in life. Being armed with the facts is the best way to deal with the issue head on and come up with the best resolution for your situation.