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Communication Key to a Better Work Environment Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carole. On Christmas Eve, poor Bob Cratchit, who is working late again, spends his day working up the courage to ask his boss, Mr. Scrooge, if he can have Christmas Day off from work to spend with his family. When he finally does get up the nerve to ask, Mr. Scrooge lets forth a tirade over lazy people using Christmas as an excuse to have a day a off from work. This fictional story unfortunately rings true for a lot of people who have to work up the courage to ask for things from their employers. An employee who has to feel about their employer the way Bob Cratchit felt about Mr. Scrooge is not a very happy and productive employee. To get the most of out of your workers, you have to create a much more hospitable working environment. To create a better working environment, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. How does communication work in your office? Do you get the impression that everyone is walking around on eggshells around you? While this kind of fear from your employees may be good for your ego in some senses, it is really bad for your business. When your employees don?t feel like they can talk to you, you will lose control over what is going on with your business. You may be the boss, but your employees are the ones who are actually on the front lines. To know what is really going on out there, you need your employees to communicate honestly with you. If they feel that you are unapproachable, they will hide problems and concerns from you, and you won?t be able to act to fix them. You can?t expect to run your business with half of the information about what is actually going on, and so your business will suffer for your ?mean boss? routine. There are still other problems with creating an office environment in which your employees feel like you are unapproachable. In general, there will be a dark cloud over the office when you are around. The stress will keep employee morale low, and employees with low morale are employees with low productivity. Besides, who wants to work hard for someone they cannot approach or who doesn?t show they any respect? Shutting down those lines of communication will definitely affect your bottom line as employees ?phone it in? because they don?t feel invested in making your business a success. If you want a better working environment, you have to improve the lines of communication. If there has been a communication breakdown in the past, take the time to address it with your staff. If you staff is small, talk to them each one on one, letting them know that your door is always open and that you want more regular communication with them. If you have a larger staff, schedule a meeting to address the issue. Weekly office meetings are a great way to keep communication channels open and swap ideas in the office environment. If weekly meetings are not feasible, find some way of touching base with your staff on a regular basis, either through weekly emails or a weekly newsletter. Also, you should encourage your staff to communicate with each other. Sharing information among the staff is a great way to generate fresh ideas and fresh approaches to problems. If your office is suffering from a communication problem, make nipping it in the bud a priority. The pay off will be more productive workers and a whole lot less stress. Who knew work could actually be a pleasant place to be?

Web Hosting - Email Issues When you build a web site, you often provide a means for users to communicate with you. One of the most common 'add-ons' to a web site is the addition of some kind of email access. Email is used to sign users up for newsletters, provide communication for administrative issues and a hundred other uses. But, as everyone sadly knows, email problems can occur. Virus infection is among the most common, though the situation is actually better today than in the past. Huge efforts, and some progress, has been made over the past 10 years to reduce the number and severity of virus attacks. Hackers haven't surrendered, far from it. But they're on the defensive like never before. Many of those viruses were (and are) spread through email, usually in the form of email attachments. That's the source of the now-common advice never to open an attachment from someone you don't know. Professionals will often extend that advice to suggest you never open an attachment that's unexpected, even if it's from someone you know. Well-meaning, but computer-challenged friends often accidentally forward virus infected emails. Spam has taken over the top spot for email annoyances. It's estimated by various different professional sources that 92-97% of all email sent today is spam. While the definition varies, spam is generally regarded as any unwanted commercial email sent by someone whom the recipient doesn't know or have a business relationship with. Spam clutters email inboxes, requires people to sift through to find valid messages, and often contains offensive messages in some form. But, it's a fact of life and isn't going away anytime soon. Even though laws are in place, thousands of spammers continue to risk fines or jail for the chance of making money from that small percentage who will open the unwanted email. Other forms of email problems are even more severe for many web site owners. When the mechanisms fail that they rely on to send and receive messages to and from their users, that's a problem. Dealing with those problems can range from sending an email or instant message to an administrator, to tracking down the right person to get your site removed from a blacklist. Email is the communications vehicle of choice for millions everyday. When the system burps, someone has to take time to do something about it. Often, that means relying on a person who is already overburdened with too many issues to resolve. So, besides pointing out some sad facts or complaining, what's the point? All of the above shows just one more area you should look at when selecting a web host or deciding whether to move to another. Just as with server or network administration, companies vary in their ability to deal with email-related issues. Some are responsive and super-competent. Others, are simply indifferent or worse. And many are in between. Email administration, like server maintenance or network management, is a professional specialty. Skill in one does not necessarily mean quality work in another. Finding a web hosting company and/or system that has few email problems, and solves them quickly when they occur, is an important task. Spend some time researching who provides superior support in email. You'll be happy you did.

Web Hosting - All About Domain Names "What's in a name?" Shakespeare asks in Romeo and Juliet. In the case of your web site the answer is: quite a lot. A domain name is the English (or other) language designator for your site. Because of the way the Internet functions, that name is associated with an IP address, a numeric identifier that computers and network components use to connect a browser to a web site. It's not mandatory that a site has a name. But directing visitors by IP address can quickly generate difficulties. Having an IP address IS mandatory, since it's ultimately the way a web site is located by other computers and network software. In the early days of the Internet the name was chosen carefully in order to help a person remember the URL. That made it easier to type, too. With hotspots on a page, great search engines, social networking and other contemporary tools, that's not as important now. But from a marketing perspective, it still helps to have a good name. It's still beneficial to have a site called 'CheapTVs.com' if what you sell are inexpensive TV sets. Calling your site, 'InexpensiveElectronicVisualDisplayDevices.com' may describe your business in some way, but it's a little harder to refer a new person to your site. Which name you choose can, therefore, affect how much traffic your site gets, how soon. Sooner or later, if you have information and/or products/services that people want, word will get around. But having a good name can certainly help. Love them or hate them, the Google company chose well. Of course, the fact is that there are millions of web sites around the world. That means, you don't necessarily get the name of your first choice. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the internationally recognized authority for managing IP addresses across the worldwide Internet, along with the top-level domain name-parts (.com, .net, .org, .edu, and so forth). But registering a name is done by simply contacting any of a hundred organizations that work as intermediaries to establish and track the names. GoDaddy, Register.com, Network Solutions and a great many others provide the service for anywhere from free to a few dollars per month or year. You contact them by navigating to their web site. Then, using a feature they all provide, you can select a possible name. They use something called whois and other software to determine if the name is already claimed. Or, you can check yourself at www.whois.com. Registration is for a limited time, but typically renewable in perpetuity provided you pay the (usually annual) fee. You may have to go through several choices to find a domain name that isn't already in use. With so many millions of sites, the odds of you getting your first choice is slim, unless you have a highly unusual imagination. But, it's also true that domains tend to die or expire. As they do, the name becomes available for use by someone new. A method for getting on a 'waiting list' is available. You register the name you want and if and when the name becomes available, you are offered the chance to claim it. Naturally, there's competition even on the waiting list for 'good' names. There are many different ways of establishing priority that vary by company. At any given time there are thousands of so-called auctions going on to bid on names. Give some thought to your new domain name and research its availability, but don't stress over it. The name isn't everything. After all, if Google had built a search engine that delivered usable results only 10% of the time, their name would be mud.

Reduce Employee Turnover and Produce a Great Employee For so many businesses in the United States it is the same picture they see year in and year out. Employees come, get trained, start to be efficient at work and then they leave. The company needs to train somebody new. To reduce employee turnover and produce a great employee, many things need to be established within a company as a support structure. Many companies so often neglect to ask and wonder what their employees might like or think would be helpful to make their work environment and conditions positive ones. Whether owning a small or a large company, your immediate concerns probably lie within making profits to be able to keep the company running and to be able to pay your employees. Of course, running a company takes a lot of effort and work hours spent solely on that. But every time one of your employees leaves, you loose capital--capital you have invested in his or her training and knowledge. The knowledge capital you loose is all the information that the employee has absorbed during his or her employment at your company and all the new skills he or she might have added during the course of his employment. So how can you make your company and working for your company more attractive and also produce great employees? There are many ways that this can be accomplished, most of them are rewards to the employee, but others that are just as important include the atmosphere and conditions at the workplace. This article will discuss just a few of the many possibilities you as an employer have to keep employee turnover low. For most employees, considering that they have an expectation towards the standard of living they have, a competitive salary is an important point. If you only pay minimum wages or never give raises and rewards, it is very unlikely to hold good employees that can make a lot more money somewhere else. To make their time worthwhile after hiring, you need to know what a competitive pay is and pay them either the average pay or slightly more. As for raises, raises together with evaluations will tell the employee that his or her effort and all the hard work he or she put into your company is appreciated. It also tells the employee how good his work is and what you will expect from him in the years to come. To produce a good employee, it is important to give the employee feedback on his work. Some companies reward their employees with bonuses for accomplished tasks or finished projects. Other companies will give their employees an award at the end of the month or year and generally attach a small bonus to that. Also consider a good benefit package. Many employees look for the benefits that companies offer to them and their family to make a decision whether they should work for this company or choose a different one. Often times, vacation is very important to employees. To be a motivated and good worker, employees need to spend time with their families or the things they love, like hobbies or sports. Yes, of course you would like them to work 60 hours for the 40 you pay, but consider this: an overworked overtired employee is most likely not able to work fast and efficient. That person also tends to be more error prone and unmotivated. Time off work to relax or regenerate is very important. Companies that offer ten days are often at the top of the list for employee turnover. Some companies offer flexible work times to accommodate for many different characters and situations at home. The employee that likes to come early and leave early versus the employee that likes to sleep long and then leave somewhat later feels just as welcome in this company or setting. Besides all these added factors, the work environment also plays a great role in producing great employees and reducing turnover. A respectful and good working environment is very important to keep employees happy and motivated. You know that a happy, motivated employee works better, faster and makes fewer mistakes.