The New Year is a great time to stand back and take stock of things. That’s something we can all do as individuals, but it’s also something we should do as business owners. So why not use this January to ask one simple question: are you getting as much out of your workforce as you should be? If the answer is no, then these suggestions could help you have a more productive 2019!

The New Year is a great time to stand back and take stock of things. That’s something we can all do as individuals, but it’s also something we should do as business owners. So why not use this January to ask one simple question: are you getting as much out of your workforce as you should be? If the answer is no, then these suggestions could help you have a more productive 2019!

Get more out of your workforce in 2019

1: Think about branded workwear
A workforce should look like a cohesive team, and it should be an advertisement for your business. High quality branded workwear can help your workers make the best first impression possible, and give your company another layer of visibility. That, of course, is in addition to all the normal health and safety benefits you might expect from your gear!

2: Even the best workman needs good tools
No matter how dedicated your staff is, they can only do so much if they haven’t got the tools they need. Everyday equipment, like envelopes, computer supplies, and more, are the oil that keeps your business running smoothly. Taking your stationery supplies in-hand and stocking up on the essentials is a sensible way for any business to start the year!

3: Comfort is king… and could be instrumental in better health
Are your staff as comfortable as they could be? That’s a more serious question than you might realise: back pain is the number one cause of absence from work, and one of the prime causes is sub-standard seating and workspace organisation, which plays havoc with our postures. The best time to have your seating and set-up appraised and ergonomically optimised is right now!

4: Is your office designed to work?
There is a huge difference between an office that has evolved naturally, adding and subtracting bits here and there as needed, and an office that has been consciously designed to be as productive as possible. Rethinking your work space to create a more team-focussed environment where everything is streamlined and falls into place is one of the best things you can do for your business.

5: Is it time to make some space with shredding?
Early in the year is a perfect time to clear out your old files and shred archived material you no longer need. This way, you’ve plenty of space for new work, and you can guarantee that you’re treating customers’ data with the respect it deserves. Remember, since new data protection laws came into force in May, shredding is the best solution.

At Streamline, we’ve got a long history helping businesses deliver on the above. If you want to explore branded workwear, stock up on stationery, book an ergonomic assessment, explore a workspace redesign, or get your shredding collected, we’re the perfect people to help. Call us on 01295 250171 and set your business on the right path in 2019.

Get your filing in order for 2019

With the end of the year just around the corner it’s time to make sure that all your filing is in order. That means making sure you’ve got the facilities required to store your sensitive documents, such as invoices, accounts, and more.

If you’re a business owner, you need to get your filing in order now. But it pays to get it right all the time. Studies show that 7.5% of documents get lost, and another 3% get misfiled. And professionals spend 5% to 15% of their time reading information – but finding that information can, in some instances, take up as much as 50% of their time!

Sorting out your filing is not as simple as piling all your documents up in an archive box and forgetting about them. You need a proven filing system that makes it easy to access documentation as-and-when you need it. And that system needs to be kept in a durable, secure, fire-proof, housing that you can trust. Getting it right could help you to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Some Top Filing Tips From Streamline:

  • Use colour-coded files – it might seem simple, but it’s a great way to differentiate between different types of document!
  • Set aside a portion of time every week – such as one hour on Friday afternoon – to make sure your filing is up-to-date
  • Implement a sensible structure, with categories, sub-categories, and alphabetisation. It should be the kind of system that a stranger (or new employee) could navigate with ease!

Different types of documentation have different lifecycles – so it’s important that your filing system can accommodate them all. That means keeping the data you need to hold for six years safe over that period – and it means being able to easily locate and remove data that you are obliged to destroy under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Streamline stocks a wide range of modern filing cabinets that meet regulatory standards, offer paramount security, and are fire proofed to ensure your files stay safe in a worst-case scenario. As the end of the year approaches, we’re offering businesses that purchase filing cabinets from us a full set of suspension files at no added cost – getting you closer to that perfect filing system.

And, when you find yourself holding on to documents that need to be disposed of, Streamline’s secure shredding service should be your first call. When it comes to sensitive data – particularly in our heavily regulated society – you can’t afford to take chances. Employing a professional shredder means you can focus on the things you’re good at, and rest assured that your back is covered.

If you’d like to make an order, learn more about our first-rate filing cabinets, or enquire about our secure shredding service, please call 01295 250171.

Help keep your office germ free this winter and fight off colds and flu

Did you know that keeping your hands clean this winter can reduce your chances of catching a cold by 45%? The reason is that our hands are so useful – we use them to open doors, throw out the trash, type up our work, eat our sandwiches, and more. This effectively makes them germ superhighways: 80% of all infections (not just coughs and colds) are transmitted by our hands. Bet that alcohol gel seems more important now, doesn’t it? But cleaning our hands is just part of a general cleanliness routine that can keep your office healthy, happy, and fully staffed over the next few months.

Taking hygiene seriously is vital if you want your business to run as effectively as possible all year round. Sick leave due to colds is estimated to cost British businesses £1.3 billion a year. To operate a truly hygienic office you need to do more than just provide hand sanitisers to employees – you need to own and use everything from buckets and mops to hoovers, bleach, keyboard wipes, and more. At Streamline, we have a long history of providing low-cost, high-quality, cleaning products perfectly suited for a variety of workplaces. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of them:

Always wash your hands and use hand sanitisers when necessary: don’t let your toilets or kitchen run out of soap, and make sure all workers have easy access to hand sanitisers.

Don’t share office equipment unless it’s really necessary: who knows whether the last pair of hands on that mouse were really as clean as they looked? When you do have to share equipment, make sure you use the appropriate cleaning materials for them (such as wipes).

Please don’t cough or sneeze on your colleagues! Use tissues, and dispose of them in a closed bin which is regularly emptied. Then sanitise your hands.

Keep surfaces clean. Use the right disinfectant spray or soap to keep all surfaces in the office germ free. And don’t forget the floors: they’ll need regular hoovering and / or mopping with bleach to maintain their cleanliness.

Don’t be rude, but don’t be too eager to shake hands either! Handshakes form part of important business etiquette when dealing with clients or interviewing new employees. Don’t skip them, and please don’t rush to use a hand sanitiser afterwards, right in front of the person whose hand you just shook. But do wash them when you’re alone again!

Toilets matter. Clean them. Clean them regularly, with products that are proven to be effective.

If you’re looking to stock up on cleaning products for winter, then you’re talking to the right people: we’ve got everything you could possibly need. To make an order, or discuss how you can keep your office free from the snuffles right through Christmas, just get in touch on 01295 250171, or drop us an email using our secure contact form.

Embrace sustainability with Streamline’s printer ink and toner cartridge recycling program

Sustainability is becoming a necessary practise for smart and ethical businesses today.

Partly, that’s down to changes in the market: we all know much more about the damage that’s being done to the planet than we used to – and environmental concerns are particularly important to younger consumers. A business that wants to be competitive can’t fall behind in embracing modern values.

But it’s also down to the underlying message behind that shift. The environment matters: we all have to live in it. Even the most cynical and selfish amongst us have to breathe the same air as everyone else. Climate change won’t affect them any less either.

Those are two great reasons for going green: protecting the Earth you live on (which the next generation will inherit), and staying competitive with other modern businesses. There’s a third reason too: it just makes better business sense. As technology has caught up to the environmental crisis, it’s increasingly more efficient to adopt sustainable practices in your workplace.

Streamline Office Services’ new printer ink and toner cartridge recycling program is a great example of how businesses can make a saving by doing the right thing. Don’t pay to trash your old cartridges – give them to us for free, and we’ll help the planet on your behalf!

If you’re still on the fence, here are some environmental facts to consider:

It takes 1000 years for a printer cartridge to decompose

350 million cartridges are dumped into landfill sites every year

But, recycling just 100,000 printer cartridges would save the following resources:

9,599 kilograms of aluminium

40 tons of plastic

1,000,000 litres of oil

Whichever way you look at it, that’s a win for the planet!

As millennial consumers (now aged between 26 and 41) become more prominent, their values will become increasingly important in business. Environmentalism is a big one for this cohort! You can stay competitive in the market, run a leaner business, and help the planet, with just one simple decision.

When you’ve made it, give us a call on 01295 250171

Streamline supplies clients with top-quality workwear

Streamline Office Services is proud to announce that it has signed a new deal that will let it fit-out workers across a wide range of industries in the highest quality workwear available.

What this means for our customers is that they can trust Streamline to supply stylish, comfortable, high-quality workwear that meets recognised international standards, and is perfectly suited to the individual needs of the business in question. And all of our clothing comes with the option of personalised embroidery showcasing your logo.

The importance of clothing that can perform a number of functions, from safety footwear to flame-resistant and high-visibility workwear, cannot be overstated: style matters, but safety is a must. With Streamline, you get both.

The reason that high quality workwear is a safety must is clearly illustrated by the statistics. Around 13,000 people die each year from work-related illnesses caused by harmful dust or chemicals, and around 8,000 of these deaths are related to cancer from “poor working environments.” Proper protective clothing is your first – and often only – line of defence against these factors.

Likewise, high-visibility (hi-vis) clothing is a known lifesaver. Perhaps the most informative study to deal with effects of hi-vis clothing was published a year ago in Denmark. Researchers tracked 6,793 cyclists and found a 47% reduction in “incidents involving other road users” when participants were garbed in hi-vis gear.

Beyond safety, there are of course a myriad of other reasons to ensure your staff is correctly kitted out. Comfort is important – a happy worker is a productive worker – and so is branding. Having the best website and waiting room in the country only goes so far if your staff look unkempt and unprofessional.

Whatever your needs as a business – whether you’re looking for style, safety, or a combination of the two – Streamline is committed to providing you with the very best the market has to offer.

Streamline is proud to sponsor a rising star of British racing, Jac Maybin

Streamline Office Services is always on the lookout for excellence – it’s a quality we bring to workplaces, and an ethos we live by. So when we see it in another, we like to get involved. That’s why, when we heard about Jac Maybin, we were eager to sponsor him.

Jac is a young motorsport star with a passion for the sport and a family pedigree that goes back generations. Jac’s grandfather was a racer, and his father works within the industry. In fact, Jac’s father races at the highest level for HAAS F1 Team – one of Streamline’s clients. So it’s no surprise that Jac takes it seriously – he works hard on his conditioning and preparation while studying at Silverstone University Technical College.

All this training has paid off, and Jac’s ambitions look closer than ever to being realised. He’s achieved great successes on some of the biggest racetracks in the Country, including Silverstone and Brands Hatch. Later this year, he’ll look to add more achievements to his resume, as he will compete in the premier class within the Mini Challenge series.

See a bit more of Jac below

Jac, who says he admires racing legend Ayrton Senna more than anyone else in racing or life, is well on the way to making a name for himself and bolstering British driving for the next generation. We’re proud to be along for the ride, and can’t wait to see more big things from him throughout the year.

Streamline offers FREE DSE Workstation Assessments to Banbury workers

When it comes to this type of service, we’re really sticking to what we know, as our decades of experience supplying ergonomic office equipment and thinking practically about the design of various workspaces gives us an expertise and familiarity with the subject that is hard to find elsewhere.

What is a DSE Workstation Assessment? In short, it’s a crucial protective tool for anyone who works at least some of the time in an office environment. That could be anything from back room in a hospital or canteen, all the way up to working in a bank or creative agency. So, the vast majority of us!

We tend to think of office environments as “easy going” on the body – after all, how hard is sitting, and typing? However, while this might seem intuitively right, the reality could not be further from the truth.

Sitting in an upright position in front of a screen all day is not natural behavior. As such, it comes with a number of postural risks. These risks are manageable, and an office environment can be structured as to be safe, healthy, and happy – but it takes someone with specialist knowledge to ensure it.

The risks undoubtedly justify getting the experts in. 60% of adults in Britain area affected by back pain, and the cost to British industry is around £5 billion a year. That’s a lot of unhappy workers, and a lot of unhappy business owners.

A DSE Workstation Assessment is a simple process that checks over your workstation for potential risks to your postural health. It involves looking at your office chair, the equipment you use on a day-to-day basis (like computers and telephones), takes into consideration things like the height of your desk and the lighting, and more.

It’s a quick, easy, and painless experience that could save you significant discomfort (if you’re a worker) or significant financial losses due to sick leave (if you’re a boss). And best of all, Streamline is providing it absolutely free of charge. To book an assessment, simply get in touch on 01295 250171.

Streamline is your local provider of office solutions. We have a long history in Banbury, and offer consultation services to a wide number of organisations, from public bodies to private businesses, and individuals. Our clients include Oxford Brookes University, Spratt Endicott Solicitors, Ellacotts LLP, and Haas F1 Team amongst others.

GDPR protects you online, our shredding service can protect you offline

May is a big month for data protection, as the European Union has imposed its long-awaited GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) upon businesses that come under its remit.

But – as crucial as these regulations are for the protection of information – they don’t go all the way. Offline data protection is, always has been, and always will be, a vital part of future proofing your business from trouble down the line.

One of the most sensible things you can do to protect yourself and your business from data leaks and fraud is to use a secure, professional, shredding service.

Even given the rise of digital business documentation and records, the elimination of sensitive paper trails is a long way off. The reason for keeping paper records vary widely – sometimes, businesses fall under mandated documentation laws. Sometimes, there just might not have been time to scan something in, so it’s sitting, half-remembered, in file underneath someone’s desk.

Whatever the reason for the retention of these documents, once they have outlived their usefulness, they become a risk factor that you should take seriously. How you deal with particular documents may vary, but many experts suggest a “shred all” policy, leaving nothing to chance.

So – why not just buy a shredder and do it all in-house?

There’s no denying that some businesses can, and do, take responsibility for their own shredding, and do a fantastic job of it. But even if you don’t mind the large one-time purchase, or doing the extra work, you should be aware that doing your own shredding opens you up to more risk, not less.

For one thing, a company-wide shredding policy has instant ramifications for the security of the data you pass around within your company: the team responsible for shredding will now have access to all of the most sensitive information in the company.

A second risk factor is whether your employees will actually shred the right things: we all know that busy workers, if given a task they deem “unimportant” and which cannot be checked, might fall short. Can you guarantee that they put those bank details in the shredder rather than the bin – or, if it accidentally wound up in their briefcase, the bin of their apartment block?

It should go without saying that the penalty for data for falling into the wrong hands is a strong deterrent, but there is an undoubted upside to getting it right: in a privacy obsessed and data-driven world, a clean record when it comes to handling customers’ information is a strong selling point.

Streamline’s professional and secure shredding service is the perfect solution to the risk of keeping hard copies. Don’t leave your security to chance – use a professional service to deal with it, and turn it into a selling point.

An onsite shredding service with certification, which can be tailored to, your requirements, with the option of shredding complete files, including the binders!

Streamline offers the highest quality shredding service on the market, at highly competitive rates. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us on 01295 250171, or use the contact form on this website.

Office Design Trends for 2018

Office design is getting more and more intricate, and no doubt some people find it all a bit unnecessary. But these naysayers disguise an important fact: we live in an age of unparalleled technological advancement, and office design is benefiting massively because of it. Innovations in furniture and accessories are helping designers reconsider the spaces they sit within, letting us evolve our idea of what an office should look like. Five key trends are likely to take shape in 2018:

Green is the New Black

Green is in this year. By that, we don’t necessarily mean the colour green – instead, we mean the concept. Sustainability is becoming more and more important to businesses, as environmentally aware CEOs realise that they can care for the planet and cut costs in their business simultaneously. Last year, we saw nature enter the office – with rooftop gardens, nature-based wall dividers, a plethora of foliage – and this year it will grow. Being in nature has proven health benefits when it comes to staying calm and creative, and it will continue to have an impact on office design in 2018.

Texture, Texture, Texture

Minimalism is returning as an office design trend, meaning once-cluttered offices are now spartan rooms painted in neutral tones. One way around the fact that, this can get a little boring, is to experiment with textures that can add sensory depth to an office space. Some of the tactile materials you can expect to see in offices this year include faux sheepskin chair throws, woven rugs, and beach shell wall dividers.

Colour is Making a Comeback

2017 might have bought us minimalist designs and neutral tones, but 2018 promises to be a year where colour returns to workspaces around the country. Pantone’s recently released “eight trend palettes for 2018” has something for every type of business imaginable, from striking blues and oranges to neutral metallic shades.

Offices Become More Accessible Than Ever Before

There are new ways to improve office accessibility for disabled workers coming in 2018! From devices that can help hearing-impaired staff members hear their colleagues in meetings, to a wider range of adjustable furniture to take every body type – including those with a physical impairment – into account, this year holds some big things in store when it comes to office inclusion.

AR and VR are on Their Way

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR and VR, respectively) are making waves all around the world. In 2018, those waves will be felt in offices. The technology could be used to demonstrate product development models, conduct “face to face” meetings with clients in virtual space, or offer virtual office tours to prospective employees. The only question is how they will be deployed: functionality at every desk? Dedicated areas? Time will tell!


Why invest in specialist back care chair?

Many of us spend more time sitting on an office chair than anything else – often upwards of eight hours a day. So a well-designed, comfortable seating option is essential, both for improving posture and performance, not to mention keeping a bad back and other types of pain such as neck ache at bay.

According to Mark Steel, Managing Director of Streamline Office Services, there are three things to be mindful of when buying one. “Ideally, look for a chair with lumbar support, seat depth adjustment and a free float tilt mechanism, as these ensure that the chair can be adjusted to suit you as well as encourage movement. And for the same reasons, although it may cost you more, it’s also good to choose one with armrest adjustability and different size options. Second, find a supplier who will show you how to use your chair and fit it for you on delivery. Third, remember a good ergonomic chair should have a warranty of at least five years and should last well beyond that.”

While you can find office chairs that are classed as ergonomic for as little as £45, one of the most common mistakes people make is buying cheap, he says. “It’s a false economy, given how vital a good quality ergonomic chair is for your work. Another easy mistake is not using a chair correctly – the most ergonomic chair in the world is of little value if you are not using it properly.”  Never buy on looks alone, he adds. “Some of the most stunning office chairs aren’t designed for the way we work now in the digital age.”

In order to position yourself correctly in your office chair and avoid back pain either now or in the future, you need to first adjust the height, back position and tilt to ensure your back is well supported, with your bottom pressed against the back of your chair, your lower back slightly arched and well cushioned and your knees slightly lower than your hips. Ideally, your feet should be flat on the floor – or you could use a footrest if you find it more comfortable.

Your wrists and forearms shouldn’t tilt up or down – but instead go straight out in front of you – which helps prevent RSI (repetitive strain injury). And your screen should be an arm’s length away, with the centre of the screen at eye level, which helps prevent neck pain. Your keyboard should have around four to six inches at the front of the desk so you can rest your wrists when you’re not actually typing and your mouse should be as close as possible.

Adjust the armrest of your chair so that it lifts your arms very slightly at the shoulders. This will take some of the strain away from your upper spine and shoulders, as well as helping to prevent slouching. Finally, move around and take as many short breaks as possible so that your muscles get a chance to relax from time to time.