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From Excel to the Cloud: Updating your HR Strategy

Posted on August 24 2017 | Author: Tiffany King

Over a decade ago, the Bioenterprise office started with one simple spreadsheet to track all HR processes. As our company continued to grow, the challenge of managing our employee information did as well. The spreadsheet method could not keep up or accurately track the increased HR needs of our expanding company.

Our solution came at the perfect time when I was introduced to Humi: a complete, cloud-based HR software designed for small to mid-sized Canadian companies. It integrates everything from recruiting and time-tracking to payroll and benefits. Humi has since made my work life more simple, clean and meaningful. 

Here are some of the ways Humi has helped me increase the value of my role in the company as an HR professional.

Efficiency: Recurring tasks that once took up many hours of my day, such as tracking vacation and locating signed employee documents, now takes me minutes to complete. With the automation of administrative tasks and a portal that holds all the information I need in one place, I can accomplish more in less time. 

Data-based decision making: I can generate all the reports I need to analyze employee trends in productivity, absenteeism, turnover and much more. Using real-time data intelligence has supported me in making smarter HR decisions that fit our overall business needs. 

Continuous improvement: Professional development is important to our employees. With the performance tools provided, it has never been easier to develop a culture of continuous improvement. Our staff now creates their own goals on Humi and tracks their progress as they work towards achieving them. With the use of 360 reviews and one-on-one interviews, I also have greater insight into the type of support and resources I need to provide to continue to foster their growth. 

Of the many benefits, we’ve acquired since utilizing Humi, we have also developed an additional strategic business partner. Humi operates as more than just a software service by assisting to grow our company and ensuring we have the tools needed to better manage our greatest asset.

If your company is growing and is ready to graduate from the paper method, be sure to do your research and find a method like Humi that works best for you and your company.

Tiffany King
HR Coordinator & General Administration






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Implementing a New App in Your Business

Posted on August 09 2017 | Author: Jessica Taylor

Now that you’ve decided what app is best for your business it’s time to implement!  [If you haven’t yet, check out my earlier blog, “Finding the Right App for Your Business”]

1. Start Small

Identify a few volunteers to be the early adopters of the technology. If your company is large enough, have employees in different departments pilot the app. Testing the waters with a pilot program will allow you to work out any kinks and identify issues without causing chaos for your team.

2. Have Ambassadors

Once you, and your pilot team, are confident that you understand how to use the app effectively within your business you are ready to bring everyone else on board. The pilot team can now act as ambassadors for the program, pairing an experienced user with a new user can allow for dialogue and training opportunities. As a bonus, this provides more junior employees training experience. Finally, the ambassadors can troubleshoot issues as they arise alleviating you of this responsibility.

3. Gather Feedback

Plan regular touch points with the ambassadors so you can identify common problems employees are having with the adoption. Gathering feedback will help you to understand timelines for when the team will be fully transitioned to the app. The anonymity of employee feedback caused by having your ambassador team compile feedback can be very helpful. If your team believes you hand selected and believe in this app they may be more reluctant to provide critical and candid feedback.

4. Be patient

Remember that you are changing the way people work which is not an easy task. Be patient with your team and actively listen to their feedback. Ultimately you want to make your team more efficient, and happy employees are much more apt to be productive and effective. The upfront investment in implementing a new app the right way will pay off in spades.

Now – go, implement and be more efficient than ever! 

Jessica Taylor 
Acting Regional Manager & Senior Analyst






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Google Keep: It Keeps You Organized

Posted on July 27 2017 | Author: Rattan Gill

With most of us leading a life ‘on the go,’ ideas may spark and brainwaves may occur at any time – and we need an effective tool to capture this ‘on the go’ productivity.

Personally, I love the good old post-it notes for their simplicity, and colour variety. However, post-it notes have a limited use unless I am at my desk. This is where Keep fits in. I started using it three years ago and haven’t looked back since.

Keep is a note-taking app that syncs to Google Drive switches from one device to another effortlessly. In addition to text, you can also add photos, sketches, and voice memos to your Notes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few of my favourite features in Keep that help integrate ideas and keep everything in one place, no matter when or where the inspiration strikes.

Note-taking on the go: The colourful interface, which looks just like post-it notes, is very handy as an organizational tool. To keep the notes organized, you can file under one of the default labels (Inspiration, Travel, Work, Personal) or create a new one.

Start creating a List, Drawing, Audio, or an Image note by selecting the appropriate icon at the bottom of the screen.

Syncing across DevicesKeep uses your Google account for login, while syncing across all devices. Whether you’re on a desktop or a portable device, your access to Google Keep contents remains unhindered.

Reminders: Google Reminders are available across Inbox, Keep, and Calendar. Keep reminders automatically appear in the other two products while the opposite is not true. Therefore, Keep is a preferable tool for reminders within the Google ecosystem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set individual reminders for a Note in Keep by clicking the ‘circling finger’ icon. Capture links, photos, voice notes and other information associated with each activity available along with the reminder.

While the Time option works like any other reminder app, the Location reminder notifies the next time you’re in the vicinity of the selected Location – pretty handy for those shopping trips!

This feature is well integrated with Google Now, which makes the system run even smoother.

Transcribe Text from Images: Have you ever taken a picture of a brochure or a handwritten note or a business card just so that you have the information with you without packing the extra bulk of paper?

Well, Keep will take it to the next level. You could either take a picture within the app or import one from another folder and use the menu option ‘Grab Image text’ to transcribe the written part of the image as a note. If you want to save some precious storage space, you can delete the image and have the Note saved for later reference.

Here’s an example with a business card and another one with a handwritten post-it note:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Convert Notes to Google Docs: While Keep is a great catchall platform, it may not be suitable for downstream word processing or writing long articles. Luckily, Keep is now a part of Google’s G suite and the text from Keep Notes can be carried over to Google Docs where more intricate tasks can be accomplished.

Just open the Note and select the menu option Send > Copy to Google Docs to transfer the contents of the Note. This feature also allows for generating printable versions of the ideas captured within Keep.

Sending and Collaborating as Separate Options: The Send option allows sharing Notes with people via other apps such that the content is readable but the recipient cannot edit or contribute to the note. Select Send>Send via other apps to access this feature.

On the other hand, Collaborator option allows the recipient to edit and contribute to the Note in real-time. For example, if you share the grocery list with a friend and the two of you are shopping at two different locations, each person will be able to see as the items get checked off on both sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a very useful feature for various kinds of collaborative tasks. To access this feature, select Collaborator option in the menu and then choose the recipient from your contact list. You may make changes to the collaboration options as necessary.

Keep offers a multitude of additional tasks – you can pin, search, archive Notes and much more. This is definitely not an exhaustive list of features that Keep has to offer.

Go ahead, try it out for yourself – it’s a keeper!


Sources:
https://www.google.com/keep/
http://www.computerworld.com/article/3144450/enterprise-applications/why-you-should-start-using-google-keep-right-away.html
https://blog.google/products/g-suite/capture-ideas-google-keep-bring-them-life-google-http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2483841,00.asp
http://lifehacker.com/not-just-another-notes-app-why-you-should-use-google-k-509256637
http://www.greenbot.com/article/3058745/android/5-awesome-google-keep-features-you-arent-using-but-should-be.html

Rattan Gill
Analyst, Agriculture & Regulatory Affairs

 

 






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So You’re Not a Graphic Designer

Posted on July 14 2017 | Author: Jennifer Kalanda

So you’re not a graphic designer? Don’t worry, neither am I!  Honestly, you don’t have to be in order to create and incorporate basic graphic elements into your marketing activities.  Working for a very busy non-profit, I have to wear many hats in my role – one of which is graphic design.  Since these activities can sometimes be infrequent, it’s hard to justify the cost of graphic design software.  And as I am sure you can relate, it seems impossible that I could have any extra time to learn how to use the software.  Instead, I have become very resourceful!

My favourite tool has saved me time and money, and there is a good chance you have even used it before – PowerPoint!  Yes, Microsoft’s PowerPoint has enabled me to create numerous advertisements, brochures, Christmas cards, business cards and even a roll-up banner.  That’s just for Bioenterprise and our clients!  In my spare time, I have used PowerPoint to create the graphic elements of countless gifts, signs and favours for my wedding, and floor plan mock-ups for my home renovations. 

 


Here are some features that help me get the most out of PowerPoint.

Images

You can format and edit images in several ways, from removing the background of an image, cropping out what you don’t need, to brightening or sharpening the image, and other great effects.

The feature I circled is one of my favourites because the shadow it adds makes images look like they’re floating. 

Quality

Your work can maintain a high-resolution when you save it as a PDF (assuming the images within your work are high-resolution and match the scale).  You can save the entire slide as a PDF or you can select the specific elements and save those only.  You can save your work in other image formats, but the format should be chosen based on where your work will be used (ex. prints vs. online). 

Colours

If you have some basic marketing materials, hopefully, your marketing firm provided you with a branding guide.  You can closely render your brand colours for both text and objects.  When you select the “More Colours” option and the ‘slider’ image, you can add your brand’s colours in CMYK, RGB or HSB.  Once you have made the colour formula, you can then save the sample in the empty boxes and your brand colours will be easily accessed for new projects.

Layers

When I am creating just about anything, there is usually a lot going on.  One of the “Arrange” features allows you to reorder the objects you are working with as it converts into a visual stack of objects.  By bringing the item forward, it allows you to tweak specific items without moving something you have already placed perfectly!

Slide Size

Now you may already be familiar with some of these Office features, especially if you’re a Microsoft Publisher fan, but one thing I like about PowerPoint is the ability to set a custom size for your work.  I often have to remake the same advertisement, but to different specs over and over again.  Publisher will only let you chose between formal paper sizes.  In PowerPoint, you can modify the size from as small as 1”x1” up to 55” x 55”.  With that kind of range, you really have the opportunity to make a lot of different kinds of projects.

If you have never thought to make anything on your own, consider starting with something small.  Recently, I had the pleasure of working with one of our clients to help improve their digital newsletter.  With a lot of important information to convey every quarter, it was essential to ensure the visual elements supported their content.  I created these headers simply by:

  • adding the high-resolution image to a blank slide
  • cropping the top and bottom to create a header bar
  • adding and formatting text over top.  (If the text is difficult to read, try adding or increasing the size of the shadow)
  • Selecting all the elements of my new header, right click and saving it as an image.  As mentioned before, I find PDF helps maintain the highest resolution, but since these images were for an email platform, I saved them in my second preferred format, png.

So far, I have found no limit to what I can create in PowerPoint.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have to outsource the big projects – but the amount of money I have saved, just being able to do my own design projects every year, is easily in the tens of thousands!

Happy designing!

Jennifer Kalanda
Marketing Manager


Sites Referenced:
https://pixabay.com
https://www.shutterstock.com
https://products.office.com/en-ca/powerpoint

 

 






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Time Efficiency Hack: Feedly

Posted on June 29 2017 | Author: Johanna Simco

A key component of successfully growing a business is conducting market research. However, keeping up-to-date with industry news, developing social media strategies, investigating competitor activities, and any other kind of research often involves countless Google searches. If only there was a tool to keep all of your favourite sources in one location… Readers, meet Feedly.com!

Feedly is a free RSS tool, meaning that it provides users with headlines from the websites they choose to follow. It allows you to gather, sort, share, and save content, keeping it all in one space. You can follow various sources, such as blogs, news sites, and even podcasts and YouTube accounts. The platform keeps track of the content you have read and saved, maximizing your knowledge gathering efforts. Feedly provides a clean and easy-to-read feed, and offers different layouts to fit your preference (e.g., magazine style, titles only, etc.). Feedly is one of my favourite productivity tools since it saves valuable time when searching for specific content online. Instead of bookmarking numerous websites and opening an overwhelming amount of tabs and windows, I can keep track of the web pages I have visited on one platform. I no longer spend time realizing that I’ve read a certain article already or open a website that doesn’t relate to my interest. Feedly has several useful applications. Here are a few that have made my research process more pleasant:. 

Follow sources: When searching for content, you can either search for specific sources (e.g., The Entrepreneur, Forbes, CBC) or enter keywords in the search bar. If you are interested in a particular subject, such as agriculture, you can perform a search and a list of sources will appear related to the topic. Clicking ‘follow’ next to the source will result in the latest headlines from that source appearing on your feed, giving you easy access to its content. For example, instead of going to the Forbes website and having to actively search for articles of interest, their headlines will be shown in one place, easily recognized.

Organize your content into categories: Now that you have multiple headlines from various sources in your news feed, you may want to organize them into categories. Feedly allows you to label your followed sources so that you can browse specific topics. For example, a user working at an agri-tech start-up may label their website with “Industry News,” “Business Tips,” etc. – customize the content into relevant categories, there are no restrictions! This feature allows you to view articles within a single category, thus making your browsing activity more efficient. However, you still have the option to view all websites if you prefer. By clicking ‘Today’ at the top of the sidebar, you will be provided with current content. These options will appear on the left sidebar (shown to the left).

Save your favourite items: See a headline that caught your eye but want to read later? Tag the article as ‘Read Later’ and enjoy reading it anytime. No more having to make note of the URL or keeping it open in a window, it’ll be kept safe in your Feedly account available on any device. Articles that you have read can be ‘Marked as Read,’ allowing you to track articles you have already seen. You can choose to keep these items in your feed or have them disappear.

With the abundance of information on the Internet, it can be time-consuming to navigate through search results. Feedly has the ability to optimize efficiency during your search activities. It is a true time-saver and makes research—whether for business or everyday purposes—a little more enjoyable.

Happy researching!

Sources:
http://ow.ly/Fg1T30d7urL
http://ow.ly/TDsP30d7unH 

Johanna Simco
Strategic Partnership Assistant






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Task Management Hack: Todoist

Posted on June 16 2017 | Author: Alexandra Coccari

If your job is anything like mine, no two days are the same. Tasks are constantly changing and priorities adjust to accommodate new responsibilities in order to meet deadlines. In this type of environment, it can be very easy to lose track of your timelines and become overwhelmed. In order to maintain my productivity, I use an essential project management tool that often gets overlooked – a simple, but effective, to-do list.

Todoist is my favourite task management app. The layout of the app is simple, clean, and extremely user-friendly. It’s available on all devices including: smartphone, desktop computer, laptop, or tablet. It allows me to visualize assignments, prioritize tasks accordingly, and most importantly meet deadlines. Don’t be fooled – this app has many more capabilities than the traditional to-do list. Here are some tips and tricks on how to navigate Todoist and optimize your productivity:

Break it down: One of the great features of Todoist is the ability to create a task and break it down further into sub-tasks. When completing larger projects, this feature is extremely helpful. For example, the task “complete market research report” may stay on your to-do list for weeks and seem quite daunting. By breaking this project down into sub-tasks such as “gather market reports”, “create template”, or “edit introduction”, it will make the large project seem less intimidating.

Assign due dates: Todoist allows you to assign due dates to certain tasks. Once you assign a deadline for a task, the app will send you a notification the day the task is due to remind you to complete it. This can be extremely useful if you have numerous deadlines and need assistance managing your time effectively. Additionally, you can modify when Todoist sends you notifications. For example, if you want to be reminded to complete the market report due on Friday at the beginning of the week, just adjust the notification settings in the app.

Create recurring tasks: If you have tasks that you have to complete weekly, Todoist allows you to create recurring tasks. For myself, updating our database is a task that I should complete bi-weekly, however it often slips my mind. Thus, I created a recurring task to “update the database” in the Todoist app. Simply type in “Update the database every other Friday” and Todoist will remind me to complete the task bi-weekly.

Prioritize: This is my favourite feature on the Todoist app. This allows you to manage your time effectively according to due dates and level of importance. You can drag and drop each task in the order in which you’d like to complete them; categorize the tasks by colour, and group high, moderate, and low priority tasks together. This feature has helped me visualize what responsibilities need to be addressed immediately and complete them before their deadlines.  

Visualize your productivity: I find this last feature very unique. It allows you to review your previous tasks and visualize how many assignments you’ve completed on any given day. Looking back at my productivity motivates me to complete more tasks than the day before and also allows me to stay focused.

In my professional opinion, having an ongoing to-do list is essential. It helps me remember all aspects of a project that needs to be completed and most importantly, it keeps me focused. Whether you use to-do lists in your everyday life, at work, or both, I would suggest checking “Download Todoist” off your list.

Sources:
http://ow.ly/asYv30cEHXU
http://ow.ly/QRxn30cEI3J

Alexandra Coccari
Analyst, Food & Food Systems






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Time Tracking Hack: Toggl

Posted on May 17 2017 | Author: Poonam Patel

Start timer.

Whether you are an entrepreneur with your own start-up, an employee of a small business, or the CEO of a multinational corporation, understanding how your time is being spent can help optimize your productivity at work.

Tracking your time can tell you exactly how many hours you spend sending emails, reading articles, working on specific projects, or writing a blog. By logging your hours, you have a record of what you are spending the most time on and where you need to put in a bit more work. Knowing how you are spending your time will assist in planning and managing your time for the future.

Toggl is one of my favourite apps to keep track of how I spend my time at work because of how simple and user-friendly it is. Here are some features of Toggl that have helped me track my time and make my days more efficient.

Interactive One-click Time Tracking.

Just download the Toggl desktop app and open up the logger. With just one click, you can input what you are currently working on and the timer automatically starts recording. When you move onto a different task, simply enter the title of the next project and the timer will begin again. All your tasks of the day are listed in the logger, that way if you decide to stop a project and go back to it later, all you have to do is start the timer for that task again and toggle will sum it up for you.

Tracking Reminders.
It’s easy to get consumed in your work and forget to enter your projects into the app. That’s why Toggl allows you to set timed reminders for when and how often you would like a notification to track your hours. You can set it for every 30 minutes from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, to ensure that your entire workday gets recorded. This feature is especially helpful for new users who are just starting to use the app and have a hard time remembering to start the timer.

If you forget to start timer – that’s okay you can always manually add it in later.
 

Reports.
Toggl summarizes your time into a daily or weekly report with a detailed breakdown of time spent on each activity. This can be compared to previous weeks and be used to set realistic deadlines or allocate accurate time towards similar tasks in the future.


Pomodoro timer.

This is a feature that is based on a theory that people work best in 25-minute bursts with a 5-minute break in between. Toggl allows you to set your timers and schedule
your breaks to help maximize your productivity and efficiency throughout the day. The time intervals can also be customized to suit your personal workflow.

Unlimited projects.
Even with the free version of the app, you can log your hours for an unlimited number of projects or clients.

This app acts as a tool to keep track of how you are spending your time at work. It is important to keep a log of your hours but this is only useful if you analyze the data! Be sure to reflect on your time, compare your reports to previous logs, identify what time of day you are most productive, understand how long it takes to complete specific projects, and use all of this information to manage your time better in the future.
 

How Toggle has helped me.

1) Forces me to stay focused on the task at hand. Sometimes multi-tasking isn’t always the most productive way to work and time tracking allows me to focus my attention on a specific project without being distracted by my other tasks.

2) Helps me stay organized. Toggl allows me to keep track of all my on-going projects and clients to make sure none of them fall off the radar.

 3) Makes my to-do list more effective. I now add estimated times next to each of my tasks based on previously recorded Toggl times to plan my schedules and make my day more efficient.

End timer.

Blog – 1hour 56minutes added to timesheet.

Thank you Toggl!

* Toggl can be integrated directly into other productivity tools like Asana, Todoist, Trello (read our blog from last month) and many others!

 
Sources:
 
Poonam Patel
Analyst, Bioproducts 





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Outlook Hacks for Efficiency and Organization

Posted on May 08 2017 | Author: Laura Millson

As a project coordinator for many specialized tasks, managing and tracking emails is an interesting challenge, especially when coordinating multiple inboxes.  I receive emails with varying subject content from all facets of our organization and beyond. 

I would like to share a few functions that simplify my day. Give them a try to see if they work for you and share your feedback.

Often email conversations mask important references and attachments, but most importantly the “true subject” gets buried and is no longer part of the email subject line. Emails that you have been copied on, or forwarded can also become time wasters – having to open every email because the subject or focus is submerged.  It can all become confusing!

I routinely use a feature to edit subject lines.  This allows me to search more accurately and efficiently and makes filing precise and clear for others.

All emails with prefaces “ FW: or RE:” and all lengthy long subject lines do not add to the email …it becomes clutter.  In our busy days, we don’t have the time to read through multiple emails to find content.  You want the purpose…the point, the jist!

As a project coordinator, keeping track of emails can challenging, but there are a few tools I use that help me manage my “clutter”.  Let me begin by clarifying that my mouse is set up with a secondary click on the right side to give me quick access to features within Outlook 2011.

Here are my top Go-To’s….5 features to test out for yourself…

1. Edit the Subject Line.

Help manage your inbox and avoid inbox overload.

Click on an email and go to Message> Edit Message Edit Subject

Edit the subject line, close the window and it will update automatically in your inbox. This allows you to change the email subject line…try it once and you will use it every day!

 

2. Move Emails.

Store emails in folders directly from the inbox without dragging and dropping them in the wrong folder.

Click on an email and go to Message > Move

A list of recent folders or the option to choose a folder will appear. Alternatively, you could set up a rule for instant filing.

 

3. Flags and Reminders.

Flagging emails reminds me to check on action items by date – this creates a task list and is helpful for time sensitive reminders.

Your task list is generated as separate activity located under Calendar in your Outlook Navigation menu.

Click on an email and go to Message > Follow - Up

 

4. Forward an Email.

Quickly send an email as an attachment without the search, drag and drop delay.

Right click on the Message > Forward as an attachment

I use this in conjunction with ‘Editing the Subject Line’.

 

5. Create a Rule.

Set up a protocol for auto-delete of recurring emails or set unique criteria for filing, this is useful for subscription and industry references, newsletters or repetitive emails.

Click on an email and go to Message > Rules

At the end of the day, it’s about finding something helpful that works for you, makes your day productive, and gives you the confidence that everything is in its place. I hope you find value in my tried and true tricks for controlling, tracking and organizing.

 

Sources:

http://logonoid.com/images/outlook-logo.png

https://unsplash.com/collections/794479/do-more?photo=KE0nC8-58MQ

 

Laura Millson
Special Projects Coordinator






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Time Management and Communication Hack: Trello

Posted on April 28 2017 | Author: Sophie Wotten

In any organization, it is critical to optimize employee's time and skills. Organizations are continually looking for a way to streamline processes and improving communication within a team.

Trello is a solution that can simplify the way your team communicates. Whether you are working from home, another province or in the office, you are able to collaborate and organize projects from anywhere, anytime! Trello is a free project management tool that is easy to sign up for on your web browser. It provides a simple and sophisticated way to organize projects. As a visual learner myself, the project plans it creates are easy to follow and fun at the same time.

Trello makes it very easy to collaborate on various projects. The user is able to create a "board" which is known as the specific project. Once the board is created, the user can invite team members that are also working on the project. As an organization, you are able to create several boards for your staff, depending on the tasks at hand, and there is no limit!

Completing projects is more than just checking an item off your "to-do" list. Each project involves planning, development, revision and communication. It takes an entire team’s devotion to making a single project successful. Trello provides a platform to consolidate ideas and assist the best outcomes possible. It is a great tool that moves projects forward and can assist with keeping your staff on track.

Since using the Trello system, it has become a great system to use not only at work but also at home as well. Here are some of the features that make this system function for me.

Keyboard Shortcuts: Just like using your laptop, there are specific shortcuts designed to save you time and frustration. These functions are as easy as moving a board, creating a new list and pasting items.

Copy and Paste Multiple Items: Trello has the capability to copy and paste items from Excel and Word. It also can separate each line item into its own checklist – re-typing information no more!

Turn Emails into Action Items: Trello makes organizing your time and work tasks easy by transforming emails into board items – saving time from having to look for that "one" email.

Export to Excel: Exporting to Excel can generate a snapshot of a project or provide a status update.  is a fantastic way to take a snapshot of a specific project or the status of your workload. Before a meeting, you can easily download the information and a workflow chart.

Trello is a very user-friendly system with multiple capabilities. Once learning of this organizational tool, I have not used any other system. These few features have made using Trello stand out from its competitors. So why do I like using Trello more than any other project organizer?

 

  1. It is simple and very user-friendly.
  2. It's free! Once you sign up using your email address, you can start using Trello immediately. The system provides great tutorial videos making the learning process very simple.
  3. Trello can be used on any size of screen. It does not matter if you are using your cell phone, tablet or computer; the Trello site actually looks like an app!
  4. If you are working on a project in a team, you do not want to wait to review updates a day later. With Trello, it provides real time updates!
  5. Trello is compatible with other programs such as Excel and Word. Instead of typing in lists individually, you are able to import the list into Trello and it creates a new chart or checklist for you.

Trello is a great organizational tool that can assist with team communication and project management. Its user-friendly capabilities can allow for staff to learn the system easily. With numerous features that can assist with time management, Trello could benefit your team with their next project. If you are looking for an easy to use tool to help organize your workload, maybe Trello could work for you too!

 

Click below to Get Started:

https://trello.com

Sources:

https://trello.com

https://screen.cloud/app-store/trello

 

Sophie Wotten
Events & Marketing Coordinator






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Productivity Hack: Boomerang for Gmail and Outlook

Posted on April 04 2017 | Author: Kelly Laidlaw

In March, the Bioenterprise team launched our productivity hacks blog series. We are always on the lookout for innovative tips and tricks that we can share with our entrepreneurial network. In my blog, I will share one of my favourite productivity tools called Boomerang. Boomerang is a free email add-on that helps me manage emails and increase productivity. Not only can it assist in replying and following-up on messages, but it also helps to ensure that every email is perfectly crafted. Here are the main reasons why I use Boomerang:

Get reminders to follow up. Boomerang, which works with Gmail and Outlook, will send reminders if you have not received a reply to your email after a certain amount of time. You can then react by sending another email to follow-up. This can help ensure important conversations do not fall off your radar.

Another useful feature of Boomerang is the ability to write and schedule a follow-up email concurrently as you compose the original email. If the recipient does not reply to your email, Boomerang will send the second pre-written email to follow-up for you. If you do receive a response, Boomerang will not send the follow-up email.

Schedule outgoing emails. Boomerang allows you to schedule messages to be sent at any time you choose. This means you are able to send emails when they are most likely to be opened. This is important since a well-timed email is 30% more likely to be read than a poorly timed email. For example, Boomerang generally recommends sending emails on Tuesday mornings since that is when emails tend to have the highest open rate. This feature is also handy for communicating with people in different time zones. Boomerang even understands language that is contained in the text such as “tomorrow morning” to suggest times to send your message, or you can select it yourself.

Pause incoming messages. There are times when we need to focus on the task at hand without being distracted by the constant flow of incoming emails. Boomerang offers a productivity solution that allows you to temporarily pause the flow of emails. You can even schedule emails to be delivered to you at certain times of the day. Attending to emails in blocks of time is more effective than constantly checking your inbox – it takes about 64 seconds to recover from each message that interrupts you and return to productive work.

Craft highly effective emails. Boomerang’s new Respondable feature uses artificial intelligence to help you write more actionable emails. Respondable sits in the lower corner of your browser and rates your message. This feature lets you know how likely you are to receive a response based on factors such as subject length, word count, politeness, and more.

This add-on has made my workday more efficient because I spend less time searching for messages to follow-up on and has significantly decreased the likelihood of important things falling through the cracks. If you are looking for a way to manage your emails more effectively, give Boomerang a try. It simplifies and improves my workday and it may help you, too!

 

 

 

 

 

Click below to download:

Boomerang for Gmail

Boomerang for Outlook

 

Sources:

http://www.boomeranggmail.com/

http://www.boomerangoutlook.com/

https://techcrunch.com/2014/03/06/newly-updated-inbox-pause-utility-lets-you-check-email-on-your-schedule-not-theirs/

http://www.inc.com/janine-popick/3-free-gmail-plug-ins-im-using-right-now.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/502106/inbox-zero-enlightenment/

 

Kelly Laidlaw

Program Manager, Corporate Relations






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Finding the Right App for Your Business

Posted on March 14 2017 | Author: Jessica Taylor

Time is money. Money sustains our businesses. So it is no surprise that, as business leaders, we are constantly trying to fit more into less time. We strive to be as productive as possible in both our personal and professional lives, and as our organizations grow, we quickly realize how important productivity is to team success as well.

Many tech companies, some new like Slack and Trello, and some household names, such as Google and Apple, have capitalized on our desire to be as efficient as possible by creating apps. A quick Google search of “productivity apps” lands you 41,700,000 results in a mere 0.60 seconds. I’m stating the obvious here, but that’s a LOT of options. So where do you start? How to you begin to narrow down your options and determine what is best for your organization’s specific needs? Start with these considerations:

1. Analyze your workflows.

Reflect on your current workflows and processes. Where are bottlenecks occurring? What issues have arisen? Don’t do this alone, talk to your team. Each of your team members has a different role than yours and, in turn, a different perspective.

2. Identify your needs.

Following your analysis create a list of your needs and prioritize them. Have your team do this too. An anonymous survey through a free site like Survey Monkey is a quick and effective way to capture honest feedback.

3. Research

With these prioritized needs front of mind – research! Do simple Google searches to identify apps. Read reviews – good and bad, from multiple sources. Research companies similar to yours and determine what apps (if any) they are using. Do primary research. Call people. Use the power of your network to get candid feedback – seek out differing opinions so that you end up with a well-rounded overview. This is particularly important for apps that you have short-listed.

4. Decide in haste repent at your leisure.

Just because a new app is trendy and “everyone” is using it doesn’t mean it’s right for your organization. Implementing new apps takes time and effort and it is much harder to get the support of your team to support a switch to a new app three months down the road when you realize your first choice wasn’t a good fit. 

5. Do NOT be cheap.

When used properly, many applications can have a significant impact on the productivity and culture of your company. While there are a number of free apps that can be incredibly effective, don’t automatically pass up options that have a price tag. If it is the right option you will make your money back in spades.

6. Ask for help.

You will quickly find that your network is happy to spread the word about their experience with apps they have tried – the good, the bad, the ugly. As well, don’t hesitate to reach out to the creators of the apps you are considering. They are often happy to provide insights including customization options – you don’t have to settle for the default settings!

Choosing what tools to work with on a daily basis is a process. Enjoy it. Work with your team, listen to their opinions – they are working at the front lines and can often identify needs and issues you hadn’t considered yet. While there is an upfront investment to get a new application up and running in your organization you will reap the benefits quickly.

Work smarter, not harder. 

 

Jessica Taylor

Senior Analyst, Bioenterprise BC






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