Happy Memorial Day! Smart Office Talks About Memorial Day History and Meaning

Happy Memorial Day everybody! I am so looking forward to the long Memorial Day weekend and my mama’s barbeque! It’s been almost a whole year since I chowed down on some ribs! I hope you get to spend the holiday with your family. If you’re one of the millions who have to work, well I hope someone saves you a plate! Is it obvious from allthis talk about BBQ that I am ready for lunch!

So right after I got through thanking God that it’s not only Friday, but the Friday that begins the long holiday weekend, I realized that I didn’t know exactly what Memorial Day commemorates. I thought it had something to do with our veterans, but then what about Veterans Day? I felt a little guilty about my ignorance. Luckily, I am a master at of the Google-fu, so now I have that information and can share it with you!

Memorial Day is the day we set aside to remember the men and women who’ve died in our wars and thank them for their sacrifice. It began after the Civil War, and was originally called Decoration Day because mourners would visit and decorate the graves of the war dead. Decoration Day events sprung up in communities across the country, so it’s hard to know for sure where it was first observed. My favorite Decoration Day origin story comes from Charleston’s Post and Courier newspaper. The paper credibly claims that the first Decoration Day events happened there, May 1, 1865. Around 10,000 former Charleston slaves marched to the city’s Washington Race Course, the site of a prison camp, to bury the Union soldiers who died there. It took the former slaves two weeks to bury the Union dead. After completing the somber and arduous task, it was time for a proper funeral. A procession 2800 black school children sang “John Browns Body” as they made their way to the new graveyard. After sermons and prayers of the funeral service,  the former slaves held a picnic. The mix of celebration and solemn remembrance became Charleston’s first Decoration Day. The day grew to recognize the soldiers who died in all of America’s wars after World War I, and became known as Memorial Day. Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Today, we celebrate Memorial Day by remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and by taking much needed time away from the hectic work world to spend time with our families and loved ones. At OnTimeSupplies.com, we like to take the opportunity to thank our customers with free and discount shipping. Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of the summer, ushering in the season of Popsicles, freshly cut grass and Saturdays at the beach. I hope you have a great Memorial Day and a great summer!

It’s Easy to Buy Office Supplies Online at OnTimeSupplies.com

In this economic climate, nothing is more important to a business than customer loyalty. On Time Supplies is no different. They want to be the only place you order office supplies and furniture. Competitive pricing and stellar customer service goes a long way towards accomplishing that goal, as does the new, more user friendly OnTimeSupplies.com. The response to the new site has been amazing, and overwhelmingly positive. However, smart businesses like On Time Supplies knows that there’s always room for improvement! Continue reading

How to choose a file cabinet: Smart Office shows you how.

Maybe you’re tired of stacking the important files in your home office in piles on your desk, or worse yet, your floor. Or perhaps the file cabinets in your office are aging as gracefully as Ms. Havisham. You nearly dislocate your shoulder every time you yank one file drawer open, and can’t remember the last time any of them closed completely. In other words, it’s time to buy a filing cabinet.Now that you’re ready to properly store, organize and protect your office files and documents, don’t whip out the company credit card just yet. There a few important considerations to make before you buy. How much room do you have in your office? How many files does the cabinet need to hold? How long do you need your file cabinet to last? If you like making significant office furniture purchases only once, slow down and pay attention. Smart Office is going to show you how to choose a filing cabinet.
First decide whether your office needs a vertical or lateral file cabinet. Vertical file cabinets are the most traditional, and offer between two and five drawers. Files run front to back in vertical file cabinets and face the user. Vertical file cabinets are nice because they take up little wall space, but aren’t the best office file cabinet if you need to access your files every day, or don’t have much walk around room. Your office needs to be able accomadate the depth of vertical file cabinets, usually around 29 inches, plus the length of the open drawer, another 29 inches. If the the area you keep your office files in is crammed already, vertical file cabinets aren’t the way to go.
Lateral file cabinets take up more wall space, but less interior space than vertical file cabinets. That’s because lateral file drawers are usually only about 20 inches deep, so require less room to open. Lateral files are great for high volume offices that need to access files several times a day, and for crowded work areas. Lateral file cabinets are also extremely versatile. You can arrange your files so they face the sides of  the file drawers and run left to right, or face your files toward the front of the cabinet to create organized rows of files. Many two-drawer lateral file cabinets are small enough to fit under your desk, supplying a great way to expand the storage capacity of small offices. Or place a lateral file cabinet against your desk to create a new work surface.
Once you’ve settled on the type of file cabinet your want, check out how the cabinets are put together. File cabinets come in two varieties: metal file cabinets and wood file cabinets. Metal is the most popular choice for file cabinets because it can handle heavy use and still look good. Metal file cabinets are the best choice for busy offices that need to access files often. Plus, these days you have a lot more color options that drab olives and khaki. For example, you can get great heavy duty metal file cabinets from HON and Safco in colors like black, gray and putty. Ok, metal file cabinets are will never be the flashy office show pieces, but they do offer a long term storage and protection for your office files and documents. Just make sure you choose a file cabinet with a protective coating to prevent rust. If you want to bring the beauty of wood furniture to your office, be aware that wood file cabinets are less resilient that metal cabinets. They work best and last the longest in home and small offices. The sturdiest metal and wood file cabinets are designed with double–walled steel sides.
Your new file cabinet should be as safe as it is sturdy. Shoddily constructed file cabinets can tip over on users, causing injury or death. Choosing a file cabinet with a few key safety features is worth the investment. Look for file cabinets with an anti-tip mechanism, such as  interlocking drawers that prevent your file cabinet from tipping over when multiple drawers are open. File cabinets designed with ball bearing suspension systems, and other strong drawer suspension systems, open and close smoothly even when fully loaded  to prevent frustration and injury. Fire and impact resistant file cabinets are also available for offices that need the extra protection. Look for file cabinets with the Underwriters’ Labratory Class 350 rating. UL Class 350 rated file cabinets will maintain an interior temperature of 350 degrees in fires of up to 1700 degrees for one hour. They can also withstand the impact of a 30-foot drop. However, a Class 350 rated file cabinets costs hundreds of dollars more than standard file cabinets, so you might just want to get an office safe if you’re concerned about fires.

Cabinet style, construction and safety are the most important considerations while shopping for a file cabinet, but these days, there are a range of other features available. If you regularly transport a large number of files, consider a mobile file cart. Most offices file storage needs expand over time. If you select your file cabinet from a furniture collection, you can always get a matching cabinet if you need to, as well as complimentary hutches, bookcases and other storage and display options.

If you’ve got more questions on choosing an office file cabinet, or office furniture in general, fell free to call on the experts at On Time Supplies. They can be reach toll free at 1-866-501-6055, or via the live chat feature at OnTimeSupplies.com

The New Old Way to Save Money on Office Supplies

The newspapers tell us that the economic climate is better than it was this time last year. However, I know I’m still in a cost-saving mode, and polls show that most of you are too. We here at Smart Office are always on the look out for new and creative ways to save money. The internet yields helpful tips, such as new uses for vinegar (is there anything that liquid can’t do?) as well as impractical tips. After all, are time so tough that I really have to join the Amish in making my own office furniture? While looking for new ways to cut expenses, it’s easy to overlook one method that makes great sense in any economic climate: buying in bulk.

Bulk buying isn’t just for stocking up on enormous bottles of ketchup, or in my case, coffee in bags the size of newborn child.  No, bulk buying is often the most economical way to stock up on the supplies you use the most, including a wide variety of office supplies. For example, every office needs a good supply of pens. BIC Clic Stic pens are among the most popular pens sold at OnTimeSupplies.com. A 12-pack of BIC Clic Stic pens sets you back $6.49 at OnTimeSupplies.com, unless you buy in bulk. You only spend $4.57 when you order BIC Clic Stic pens in bulk, a savings of 30%. Why wouldn’t you wouldn’t you cut your recurring expenses by 30%? It’s not just pens. You reap significant savings on a wide variety of office supplies when you buy in bulk. At OnTimeSupplies.com, you’ll pay between six and 31% less when you order clipboards in bulk, and on bulk orders of virtually every other office supply.

Buying in bulk is an even bigger money saver when you target the supplies you use at home and in the office, or the supplies that both you and your school-age children need. For example, sheet protectors in bulk, pocket folders in bulk and other school and office supplies all cost significantly less than purchasing those items individually. Since you go through those supplies like water anyway, do your self a favor and stock up.

After all, you don’t just save money when you buy office supplies in bulk — you save time and frustration too. The office supplies you use every day are always on hand when you need them when you buy in bulk.  So look out for bulk order discounts when you’re shopping for office supplies. It’s not just your wallet that will thank you.

Cut Printing Costs in One Easy Step

Cost-cutting is always a business priority. Smart business have adopted a number of cost cutting measures during this recession, from common sense approaches such as making sure all the office computers and lights are shut off at the end of the day, to more elaborate approaches, including equipment upgrades and green initiatives. We’ve been tightening our belts at home too, as all of us, business owners and consumers, weather this recession.

Printing costs are a significant and recurring expense at home and in the office.  You may have already started thinking before you print and using duplex printers that print on both sides of a page. Yesterday, the Associated Press offered another practical, money saving solution you can adopt at home and at work. To save money on printer ink, the AP recommends changing your font. I didn’t know this, but some fonts use more ink to print. According to the AP, Century Gothic and Times New Roman use the least amount of ink to print.  In fact, Century Gothic uses 30% less ink than Arial. Depending on how large your organization is, making the switch could save you thousands of dollars a year. Furthermore, Serif fonts use less ink than Sans Serif fonts because the lines of the characters are usually thinner.

The AP article provides a few more ink and money saving solutions any office can adopt, including printing in draft mode whenever possible. Of course, best, greenest way to cut your printing costs is to print less. After all, we do live in a technological age. Use email.

Use Office Politics to Help Your Career!

If you thought your left the cliques and drama behind when you graduated from high school, the reality of the work world must have come as a surprise. Anytime you take the same group of people and lock them into a building together eight hours a day, five days a week, things will get a little hairy, especially when you add the competition and hierarchies of the work place. Failing to successfully navigate the social scene in high school just means you don’t get to sit at the cool kids lunch table. If you don’t get a handle on the politics in your workplace it can cost you your career in the form of lost promotions and poor working relationships.

Officepolitics.com, a great site that features an advice column offering solutions to workplace dilemmas, recently featured a reader letter in which a woman said she felt psychologically scarred by the backbiting and gossip in her office. The phrase “office politics” leaves a poor taste in everyone’s mouth, but the reality is, most of us have to participate to get ahead and get noticed at work. Successful office politicians aren’t rumor-mongers or back stabbers; they’re people who understand that actively pursuing power and prestige is just one of the steps to a successful career.

So how do you become a successful office politician? Louellen Essex, co-author of “Manager’s Desktop Consultant: Just-in-Time Solutions to the Top People Problems That Keep You Up at Night,” says one the first things you have to do is  emulate the movers and shakers. “Think of playing office politics as a game of strategy through which you are able to get the resources and influence you need to accomplish your goals. Most often those who are diplomatic, respectful and build coalitions with effective people win,” she says at CNN.com. Essex offers more great advice, including: don’t get sucked into one faction or another and don’t hesitate to talk about your own successes in the work place. A word of caution — tooting your own horn as Essex recommends is great. Bashing your co-workers is not. Office politics is for advancing your own career, not hindering someone else. If you are constantly running down you colleagues, you look unprofessional and you create a miserable work environment. Don’t be that person! Office politics also turns nasty when it turns personal. For that reason, the folks over at Suite101.com recommend drawing a bright red line between your work life and your private life. In the modern office, that includes not friending your co-workers on Facebook. That’s what the relatively staid LinkedIn is for.

The best way to be an office politics winner? Be a good employee. Take initiative, do your work well and talk about your successes. Those are the best ways to separate yourself from the pack.

It’s Spring. Time to Clean Your Office!

The weather took a turn towards balmy here in Chicago yesterday. Then it rained all this morning. It’s not official until March 20th, but I think it’s safe to say that spring is here. This past winter was the first I spent working from home, and while I was thrilled about not having to commute to work through the ice, I don’t relish the prospect of spending the warmer months cooped up in my home office. Especially since my office got a little…let’s say cluttered over the long winter months. I know I’m not the only one. There’s a reason Spring Cleaning is a widely observed yearly ritual. Spring is the time to throw open the windows, snap on the rubber gloves, grab a bucket a wash rag and get cleaning. Even if your office isn’t in your home, it could probably use a little sprucing up, particularly if you don’t engage a janitorial service.

Every task is easier to accomplish if you approach it methodically. So attack your messy office with a plan! Realsimple.com put together a great checklist for people who work from home. It starts with the bookshelves and ends with your window blinds. By the time you’re done, your home office will look and smell great. You’re at your productive best working in a clean and organized office.

It’s even more important to keep public offices looking great. Your clients and customers will judge your business by the cobwebs in the corner, the state of your restrooms and your office’s general appearance. You may want to hire a cleaning crew and leave it to the professionals, but even if that is not an option for your business, you can still have a great looking office. Just take your cue from the work-from-home folks and start with a plan. MrsCleanUSA.com recommends making a list of priorities — foyer, restrooms, reception area, etc. — and offers some great tips for tackling each one.

Once you’ve done the big Spring Clean, maintaining your office’s neat and tidy appearance is a breeze. Just hit the windows, mirrors and restroom fixtures once a day, run the vacuum before you leave on Fridays and dust your desk, shelves and electronics from time to time and you’re good until next spring. You’ll also make a good impression on your clients and you’ll work more comfortably and efficiently.