August 23, 2017

How To Avoid 3 Technological Office Time Sucks That Could Hurt Your Company’s Productivity In 2016

technological office time sucks

Technological Office Time Sucks

Your company needs to avoid technological office time sucks in 2016 to be more productive and profitable. Given the omnipresent role of technology in the modern world, Zephyr Networks understands how frustrating it can be when your productivity seems to be going down and not up.

With all of the wonders of modern computing and communication, shouldn’t your productivity be shooting through the roof? Shouldn’t you have more time than ever to get your job done?

Zephyr Networks wants to help your company avoid technological office time sucks in

Increasing Productivity In The Modern World

By facing up to and avoiding three modern time sucks, Zephyr Networks wants to offer you this easy guide to becoming more productive. By following these simple suggestions – we admit the first two are easier to implement than the third – you will discover that modern technology once again becomes a positive as opposed to a negative. You will be able to get out of your own way by ambushing these 3 productivity killers in advance, optimizing not just your workday, but increasing your personal happiness as well.

3 Technological Time Sucks To Avoid

By addressing these three technological office time sucks that Zephyr Networks can help your company avoid, you will be back on the road to optimizing your company’s productivity and profitability.

1) The Quicksand of Social Media

The simple truth is that 75% of the time that people spend on social media is just a big waste of time. But the addiction creeps up on you and takes over. It happens to the best of us. At work, you start wondering what might be happening on Facebook or Twitter. Why not take a quick peek? You just want to make sure that your significant other or your kids aren’t posting anything stupid or your friends aren’t planning a big party without you. Innocent, right? Not so much.

Zephyr Networks can provide content filtering for your office computers that prevent access to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and whatever other social media websites are distracting your employees.
When it comes to such filters, the preferences of marketing departments to use social media for research can be a problem. Selective filters for different departments can prevent such problems.

Social Media Filters = A More Productive Office

social media quicksand, technological office time sucks

Social Media Quicksand

Compulsive social media checks are a definite example of technological office time sucks. Checking Facebook and Twitter throughout the day can add up to hours a week of lost work time. More importantly, they take your employees out of the flow of their work.

If employees want to check Facebook or Twitter, they can schedule social media time during their lunch breaks and check Facebook and Twitter on their phones. Your employees might grumble a bit, but who cares if they end up being more productive and your company ends up being more profitable.

2) The Stampede Of Too Much Email

Email is impossible to avoid in today’s world, but the flood of spam, personal content and useless messages can hurt a business. Why is your workplace email box overflowing with hundreds of emails every day? Zephyr Networks have learned from experience that being too connected can be a major productivity killer. Why do you employees need to be connected to a flow of information that distracts them from their work? Such distractions are downright damaging.

social media stampede

The Stampede of Social Media

When it comes to your email inbox, you need to take a structured approach. Automate some basic email tasks to help you prioritize your inbox. Most emails don’t need to be replied to and many more don’t need to be read. If you are going through every email in your inbox every day, you are wasting a tremendous amount of time.

Your office email box should not be one more of the  technological office time sucks hurting your business. It should be segmented like a Gmail inbox where messages are divided between primary, social and promotional. The latter two should be ignored during the workday. By having your employees segment their Inboxes, they will save a lot of time. You also can have your employees use a separate email for work that focuses exclusively on business essentials.

3) The Freedom Of Cloud Computing

Okay, Zephyr Networks understands how this solution is the hardest to implement and it doesn’t have to be done overnight or in one fell swoop. However, isn’t it time for your company to embrace the freedom of cloud computing and remote work opportunities? Are both the morning and evening commute sucking valuable hours from your employee’s workdays? In most big cities, employees that commute to work five days a week lose over 10 hours of potential productivity.

Fortunately, thanks to cloud computing, working remotely is easier than ever. With web-based software and collaboration tools, office workers can get everything done even when they’re miles away from home base. Telecommuting is growing quickly as remote employees report higher productivity and morale.

Cloud Computing = Remote Productivity

cloud computing

Access The Freedom of Cloud Computing

Even if you can’t work remotely all the time, you may be able to slightly shift your work schedule so you’re not traveling at rush hour. Couldn’t some employees handle the first part of your workday from home before they make that commute? By avoiding rush hour, they’ll be saving time and relieving stress.

Working remotely can remove unwanted distractions at the office and help employees focus on what they do best. By giving them set goals to accomplish, they will become responsible for their own time on the clock. If they fail to accomplish the set goals, take away the privilege of being allowed to work remotely part time. When such a punishment becomes a reality, you will be amazed at how much more productive your employees become when working remotely.

Zephyr Networks Can Help

Zephyr Networks specializes in helping our client companies take advantage of cloud computing opportunities that can help their business. Our goal is to help make modern technology work for you. By avoiding the above time sucks and optimizing your office’s relationship to modern technology and networking, you can increase productivity and profitability.

To learn more about how Zephyr Networks can help your company avoid technological office time sucks in 2016, please contact us today by calling (800) 884-7559.

IT Infrastructure, Computer Networking & Data Storage Predictions For 2014

data storage predictions, it infrastructure, zephyr

2014 IT & Data Storage Predictions

As an Orange County provider of proactive technology solutions, Zephyr Networks offers a series of IT infrastructure, computer networking and data storage predictions for 2014. Following the trends of 2013, small to mid-sized companies will continue to move toward virtualization, mobile diversity and cloud-based storage and applications. Given the security implications of the NSA disclosures over the past year, there also will be a remarkable shift to private cloud options to provide a greater sense of data and network security.

Zephyr Networks outlines in brief our IT infrastructure, computer networking and data storagepredictions for 2014.

2014 Information Technology & Data Storage Predictions:

1) The private cloud will be embraced by small to mid-sized businesses to guarantee greater security. Zephyr Networks is expanding our business in 2014 into data center management to enable private cloud options for our client base. Private cloud options allow for virtualized storage while avoiding the snooping eyes that seem to be all over the public and corporate versions of the cloud.

2) Virtualization goes from being the business exception to the business norm for small to mid-sized companies. Through virtualization, a company can run multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single machine. There will be a sharp rise in network virtualization, server virtualization and application-desktop virtualization through Google Apps.

3) VMware will be the number one option embraced by small to mid-sized business to address their virtualization needs. VMware, the industry-leading virtualization software company, streamlines IT operations by virtualizing the IT infrastructure. From the data center virtualization to the private cloud to mobile devices, VMware enables access to a company’s essential data and applications from any device, anytime, anywhere. Such access is not only going to be what is wanted, but it is going to be what companies need to stay competitive in 2014.

4) Application and desktop virtualization will become the norm as companies move away from traditional isolated software on individual computers and embrace virtualization. By taking full advantage of virtualization, small to mid-sized companies will be able to save money. Although it began in 2013, such a shift will become commonplace in 2014 as small to mid-sized companies recognize the value, the security and the universal access provided by application and desktop virtualization.

5) IT infrastructure growth and the expansion of virtualization in all business arenas will call for the dual need of both greater bandwidth and expert help. As a result, IT providers like Zephyr Networks will be needed to manage and secure all of the new options available. Although less expensive and more utilitarian, the new options will still be new, demanding a greater need for external support and management. With the support offered by companies like Zephyr Networks, the technology advances of 2014 will allow small to mid-sized businesses to truly thrive as the year progresses.

 

 

The Google Drive Suite Of Google Apps Part 2 – 13 Premium Apps

Beyond allowing a company to store and access files from anywhere, Google Drive allows access to an amazing suite of Google Apps

This is the second part of a two-part blog focusing on the remote access potential of Google Drive and the variety of Google Apps available in the cloud. Zephyr Networks has seen first-hand with our clients that Google’s cloud-storage solution is a valuable resource for small to mid-sized businesses. Beyond allowing a company to store and access files from anywhere, the first 5 GB of cloud storage are free. What is even more impressive is that Google Drive allows access to an amazing suite of Google Apps, including full integration with third-party applications.

In Part 2 of this article, Zephyr Networks extends the list of productivity applications that work with Google Drive to include the Google Apps that have to be paid for on an ongoing basis. You can find the comprehensive list of all of the apps available, including those in the Beta-testing phase, at the Chrome Web Store. Zephyr Networks helps to guide our client companies in knowing what Google Apps makes the most sense for their business model and needs.

Part 1 of this article focused on 20 completely free Google Apps. Part 2 focuses on 13 Google Apps that need to be paid for based on usage rates, monthly subscriptions and premium plans. The majority of these paid apps are free to try, and some of the apps continue to be free if the usage rates remain beneath the pay threshold.

Part 2 – 13 Premium Google Apps

  1. HelloFax makes it easy to sign documents and send faxes online. Send and receive faxes. Sign documents and fill out forms. Price: Up to 5 fax pages per month free.
  2. SlideRocket creates stunning presentations. Save and share directly from Google Drive. Manage a library of presentations, slides and assets. Price: Lite is free; Pro is $24/month.
  3. Balsamiq Mockups lets you create, edit and share sketch-quality wireframes, all within Drive. Price: Full functionality starts at $5/month.
  4. Floorplanner gives you the tools to make floor plans fast. Recreate your home, garden or office with a library of objects to reshape, resize and rotate. Price: 1 project is free; 5 projects is $14.95/year.
  5. Conceptboard is an app for visual online collaboration using whiteboards. Price: Individual plans range from free to $9/month.
  6. MindMeister Create, edit and share mind maps. Plan projects, manage meetings and sketch out business plans online with partners and colleagues, all in real time. Price: Personal plan is $4.99/month.
  7. Smartsheet Project Management combines a familiar spreadsheet interface with automated workflows, sub-tasks, dependencies, and collaborative worksheets with interactive file sharing and notifications. Smartsheet Price: Paid plans start at $15.95/month.
  8. WeVideo makes video editing easy for everyone and accessible from anywhere. Features optional storyboard mode for quick and easy editing. Style your video with creative and professional themes. Price: Up to 15 min export is free; 1-hour export is $4.99/month.
  9. Zoho Writer is an online word processor that lets you access, edit and share your documents online. Features instant collaboration, inline commenting and chat facilities. Price: Personal plan is free; Standard plan is $3 per user/month.
  10. Zoho Sheet is an app to create and edit spreadsheets from anywhere. Share spreadsheets and collaborate in real time. Price: Personal plan is free; Standard plan is $3 per user/month.
  11. Zoho Show is an online tool for making powerful presentations. It allows users to collaborate on presentations and make remote presentations to clients. Price: Personal plan is free; Standard plan is $3 per user/month.
  12. Heap Note is a note-taking, task-managing, and task-scheduling app, all in one. Price: Up to 5 tables free; Premium plan is $1.99/month.
  13. PowToon is a video animation and presentation application. Create an animated video, and then convert it into an animated presentation. Price: Monthly plans start at $9/month.

The Google Drive Suite Of Google Apps Part 1 – 20 Free Apps

With a vast variety of Google Apps in the cloud, remote access can be taken to a new level of excellence

Zephyr Networks knows from experience that Google’s cloud-storage solution is a valuable resource for small to mid-sized businesses. Beyond allowing you to store and access your files from anywhere with the first 5 GB of cloud storage free, it also allows access to an amazing suite of Google Apps, including full integration with third-party applications. With the vast variety of Google Apps in the cloud, remote access has been taken to a new level of excellence.

In this two-part article, Zephyr Networks offers a list of productivity applications that work with Google Drive. You can find the comprehensive list of all of the apps available, including those in the Beta-testing phase, at the Chrome Web Store. Zephyr Networks helps to guide our client companies in knowing what Google Apps makes the most sense for their business model and needs.

Below is the first part of the article that covers the available free Google Apps offered in the Google Drive Suite of Applications. Part 1 focuses on 20 completely free Google Apps. Part 2 focuses on 13 Google Apps that need to be paid for based on usage rates, monthly subscriptions and premium plans.

Part 1 – 20 Free Google Apps

1. Google Docs Access, create, and edit old Google docs in Google Drive. Edit documents with collaborators, and see changes as they type. Price: Free.

2. Google Slides creates presentations with rich animations, drawings, transitions, themes, and more. Presentations are automatically saved and stored in Google Drive. Price: Free.

3. Google Sheets creates and shares spreadsheets. Then publish them publicly, share them with others, or keep them private. Price: Free.

4. Google Drawings builds diagrams, and creates flowcharts. Easily add them to other documents, or embed them on a website. Price: Free.

5. Google Forms creates online forms and surveys, and then check the results in a neatly organized spreadsheet. Share forms from a link, embed them on your website, or right inside an email. Price: Free.

6. Google Apps Script is a JavaScript cloud scripting language that provides easy ways to automate tasks, across Google products and third-party services, and build web applications. Price: Free.

7. RealtimeBoard is an easy to use whiteboard that helps you visualize and collaborate. With markup tools and mini-chats, work on your projects and discuss in real time. Price: Free.

8. Pixlr Express is a photo editor with nearly 250 effects, including borders, overlays, color adjustments, crop and rotation editors. Price: Free.

9. PicMonkey is a free photo editor with collage, touch-up, fonts, effects, filters, frames, and stickers. Price: Free.

10. draw.io. draw.io is a free diagramming application that enables you to draw flowcharts, network diagrams, wire framing and mockups, and more. Price: Free.

11. Pixlr Editor is a full-featured web-based photo editor. Tools include drawing, clone, sharpen and blur, filters and adjustments. Price: Free.

12. Gantter is an enterprise cloud-based project scheduling application. Easily import and open existing Microsoft Project files. Price: Free.

13. Marqueed is a collaboration tool to discuss and work on images and designs. Price: Free.

14. PDF Mergy provides a simple way to merge PDF files. You can either select the files you want to merge from you computer or drop them on the app using drag and drop. Price: Free.

15. Open Drive is a collective encyclopedia project based on cloud public files. It’s designed to provide free reusable contents. Price: Free.

16. Form+ provides an interface to create forms by just dragging and dropping components. Supports the creation of forms with a wide variety of input types. Price: Free.

17. Ultradox generate contracts, invoices and much more from Google Docs templates. Create personalized documents from your own templates by turning Google Docs into a template engine. Price: Free.

18. Presentation Remote enables you to use a smartphone as a remote control for presentations. Price: Free.

19. TwistedWave is a full-featured audio editor that allows you to edit audio files from your computer or Google Drive. Save in one of the many supported file formats with multiple export capabilities. Price: Free.

20. Revisu enables creative teams to share their designs, track versions, and collect feedback. Automatically keep collaborators in the loop whenever a new version is uploaded. Price: Free.

Updating Technology And IT Maintenance Is No Longer A Choice For Orange County Businesses Needing To Stay Competitive

If you are asking whether it is time to give your Orange County business a technology update to focus on IT maintenance, Zephyr Networks knows from experience that the time probably has long passed. Technology innovation, network updates and information tech security are progressing faster and faster. The question of IT maintenance and the need to  update your office technology is not a choice to consider every couple of years or so. Instead, IT maintenance and technological updates should be maintained and monitored on a regular basis.  Zephyr Networks is here to help make that information technology challenge for your Orange County-based company into a profitable and secure reality.

The Importance of IT Maintenance

Research from the Federation of Small Businesses suggests that firms that spent just $4,500 on average to update their hardware – desktops, mobiles, printers and the like – saw their turnover and profits rise 35 per cent after a year. The dual reason for this increase in profitability is very simple: productivity and security. Old hardware is not just slower; it is a setback because it fails to take advantage of new applications and updated network capabilities. Zephyr Networks can promise you that a small investment into IT maintenance through updating your information technology will help your company in the long run.

IT maintennace

Update Technology And Avoid Orange County Business Hassles

There is nothing worse than having to wait 15 minutes for your personal computer to turn on in the morning. It is extremely frustrating. There comes a point when you are just throwing good money away by trying to fix hardware that is simply too old. Invest in some new laptops or desktop PCs and you will immediately see happier employees. This will naturally lead to happier customers and open the door to launching a new information technology program in your office with first-class network security.

By using Google Apps and other virtualization technologies, you can save money while increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of your business. Zephyr Networks prides itself on being able to show our client companies how to access and employ the latest developments in modern technologies. By turning your technology services into an asset as opposed to a headache, we give you the freedom to work on expanding your business without being lost in the minutiae of your business.

What else should an Orange County business spend its money on? The next thing to sort out is the website. It’s what everyone uses nowadays to find out about your business. They will simply search for your business name on Google and, if they don’t find you, they will move on to the next one. Don’t forget the ubiquitous social media sites like Facebook (www.facebook.com) and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com), which are just as important nowadays for a business presence on the World Wide Web. As your needs grow, it’s best to speak with a professional IT company for advice on finding the right website optimization strategy and quality vendors.

Another important thing for a business to be able to do is connect with its customers. As you know, connecting is much more than phone and email these days. There is nothing like a face-to-face meeting,  but such meetings are not always possible and can become very expensive. There are, however, a wide range of online collaboration tools which allow sharing of documents, on-screen presentation sharing, voice and even video. These tools like Skype and mobile networking devices are essential to the modern business. By taking advantage of iPads and communication-focused apps, Zephyr Networks has lowered Wi-Fi costs for our clients when needed.

Updating Technology Is IT Maintenance

Zephyr Networks can guide you in the process of updating your business technology needs and helping you put in place an ongoing program of monitoring, maintenance and security. Our goal is to make sure that your business stays competitive by keeping up with current technological trends and advantages. At the same time, we help to guarantee your cyber security and avoid data breaches. To learn more, please call Zephyr Networks toll free at (800) 884-7559 or fill out our handy contact form.