A TIMELY REMINDER

Time is precious – that’s nothing new!

Whatever hours we work within the week, there is an element of certainty around the constant workflow, ongoing client relationships to manage, juggling tasks to complete and of course in property management, the interruptions that occur throughout the day! It’s simply our reality.

The first step to productivity, efficiency and less stress, is to identify the inefficiencies in your day and recognising where your time is being spent. It’s about understanding priorities and removing distractions to help you make the most of your working week.

Firstly, think about how much time you actually have available daily, weekly, monthly and annually? Considering things like annual leave, public holidays, travel time and non-negotiable meetings helps you to realise the actual amount of time you have available to complete tasks. And when you are thinking daily, remember nothing take 5 minutes, so overestimate the time tasks take.

If you are uncertain, take our time log challenge! You’ll be surprised that what you think takes up the most time if your day, may be different to what actually does.

Then, look at the way you structure your workload. Block out time for like tasks and deal with one task at a time. This will help keep you mind clear and avoid trying to do too many things at once, because we all know that multitasking is a myth!

Of course, many of our inefficiencies come from distraction, which may be the interruption by colleagues, the constant beep of technology or our own procrastination. So be aware of these distractions, learn to say no when you need to and allow time for the unexpected!

If you would like further help in productivity and efficiency, feel free to get in touch.

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Let’s talk security…

By our friends at Chill IT

…Not the physical type, where locks and alarms and cameras can help protect your premise, but IT security, easier to underestimate because you cannot actually see it at work.

IT security is a very complex field, and it it should be seen as a spectrum, just like physical security; and just like physical security you should consider the minimum standard below which risk becomes unacceptable; let’s look at simple measures to get your business at least to that level.

Passwords

There are schools of thought regarding regular password changes: those that are against it claim that frequent changes lead to the choice of easier passwords, while those in favour claim that changing regularly makes it harder for brute force attacks to crack the password; regardless, nobody argues against the importance of complex passwords – really complex. Forget using @ instead of the letter a, or 3 instead of the letter e, just make stuff up! Use symbols, chuck a capital letter or two in the middle, a sprinkle of numbers and your passwords will be almost un-crack-able – unless you share it (you shouldn’t), then you will have to do it all over again. It goes without saying that no password should be used more than once –a password manager to help with that.

Multi factor authentication

Although it can sometimes be annoying to have to confirm login by entering a code received on the mobile, or by answering additional questions, it adds a very important level of security. It is a bit like locking the door on the way out instead of just of pulling it shut – worth the extra step!

Admin access

Does everybody in the company have download rights and the permissions to modify settings? Best practice recommends restricting admin access as much as possible as a key to maintaining control of the network and reduce risk.

Backups

This should be a chapter in itself but, to make a long story short, backups should definitely be:

  • Scheduled regularly
  • In multiple copies on different media and in different locations
  • Monitored and tested to confirm success and veracity
  • Encrypted

Antivirus

Not all antivirus are equal, so choosing the right product for the job is paramount to ensure maximum protection; antivirus should also be monitored for prompt action if needed, and regularly updated to cover for the always-evolving threats.

Firewall

A firewall can either be a software or a hardware device, and it acts as a filter for data both entering and leaving the network (or just a computer). Like a security guard, it decides who enters or exits the premise.

Patching, patching, patching!

The importance of regular software updates cannot be overstated. Software vendors are always releasing patches as soon as they find a new weakness. The outbreak of the Crypto-Locker Wannacry in 2017 would have had a significantly smaller footprint had all machines been updated!

Contact the experts at Chill IT for a conversation around any of the above issues!

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Generation Alexa

It’s no secret that the needs of the consumer have changed.

Our expectations and that of the people that walk through our doors are far greater than ever before. This is something that is not going to change as we transition into a world where AI is a reality.

In a world where we are surrounded by the latest gadgets that beep, jingle and make us slave to the beck and call of others, the human psyche is adapting itself to cope with the new “normal”.

Recently while visiting some friends I listened to my 5 year old and her friend quite confidently and gleefully asking their ‘Alexa’ all manner of questions and giggling away at the responses that she would provide for their ever growing minds. Although I think that she was disappointed that even Alexa and her infinite wisdom could still not provide her with that ever coveted unicorn…. Yet…

This got me to thinking about what the next generation is growing up with and the development of their expectations while growing up in this environment. While humans are thought to have an attention span that is less than that of a goldfish, in the current climate, imagine a world with a generation who is now more informed than ever before and who have minimal patience and have never had to wait.

To keep up with this constant advancement, we also need to be improving our systems, processes and ultimately communication to provide the best possible services to our consumer while not only surviving, but also thriving.

If you were to think about the customer experience provided by you and your office, would it be a seamless experience? Do you ask the customer how they would like to be communicated with? How do you go the extra mile and what steps do you provide to make their lives easier?

The future landscape in a world with Generation Alexa, means that to be experts in the field, we will need to be providing a customised user experience that is seamless, effortless, simple and almost instantaneous.

Now, if you were to think about the future of your office, does it provide for that customer who is after that unicorn?

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It’s time to plan for EOFY

Before you know it, the end of financial year will be here. Scary thought, considering it just feels like yesterday that it was January!

We all know the importance of having the processes in place for End of Financial Year so that it all runs smoothly and we want to help you get organised, so there isn’t a last minute rush to get everything organised.

While a lot of you are thinking its just another report to run after end of month at June 30, now is the time to review your data and ensure it is correct for when the reports are run. Most real estate agencies charge for these reports so if they are not correct, it’s difficult to justify that fee.

Here are some items to look at:

  • Fees – Check owners are set up with the correct fees especially if you are charging an income & expenditure fee.
  • Lost Managements – Properties that have been lost are marked as lost and archived so that we don’t send an EOFY reports to owners who will not be paying the fee.
  • Creditor Invoices – Advise your owner if there are not enough funds to pay outstanding invoices in June. They may want to transfer funds so they can claim the expense in this tax year.
  • Rent increases – Check that any rental reviews that have been approved this year have been updated in the system.

By doing these pre-checks you are ensuring a smoother EOFY process and will minimise the amount of changes needed to these reports after they have been sent.

Need some help? Give us a call on 02 8355 4999.

Our Outsourced team are here to help you with your Trust Accounts. Click here to see some of the other services we offer.

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Destress – A happier, healthier you

This week, Kate Benjamin from our team, caught up with Health & Wellness Coach, Bec Weeden, from IN2U Health & Wellness, here are Bec’s tips for reducing stress and creating a healthier, happier you:

More often than not it’s hard to get someone’s attention. Jump on a train or bus and everyone is looking down at their smart phones, it’s standard practice, accepted and often goes unnoticed.

Time and time again we hear the concept of being addicted to technology, smothered by social media and living online lives. But what is this doing to our health?

Is the ability to go online and Dr Google, access health practitioners at our fingertips and find ways to de-stress and get support for depression and anxiety revolutionizing overall health and wellness or…

Is the fact that we are replacing human connection and mother-nature for online chat rooms, artificial intelligence and quick fix solutions to our heath problems enabling us to disconnect from those elements that keep us healthy and happy?

It’s a great debate and one that can be argued well either way.  Increasingly we are seeing an influx of over-worked, highly stressed and un-happy people turning to wellness travel escapes for a digital detox. A way for them to be forced from their online addictions and back into the real world.

As a health, nutrition, lifestyle and yoga coach, I see how much of an impact just 7 days of reconnecting to our bodies, emotions and nature can have on peoples overall energy, posture, engagement and happiness.

It is overwhelming to see the instant benefits people can get from spending such a short time off social media and their online world and learning how to reconnect and tune in to listen to the signals their bodies are sending them.

Technology isn’t going away and nor is its presence in our world today evil, but it is having a negative effect on our overall health and happiness.  Below are ten ways you can learn to live with technology and create a balance to maintain a healthy, happy and connected body, mind and soul:

  • Limit online time

Limit your online hours by using an app to see how many hours you are actually spending on your phone like moment – screen time. If you’re an office worker determine how many hours per day you sit at your computer add on the amount of hours you are on your phone and you would be very shocked at the accurate number of hours you’re sitting in front of a screen per day. Make sure you’re taking frequent breaks at work by taking time out in a meeting room or break out area and go old school and work with paper and pen for an hour while you brainstorm your new ideas. Leave your laptop and phone at your desk whilst in a meeting or leave your phone behind while at lunch. Trust me the world wont end in that hour that you’re away from technology.

  • Install an app that manages your computers light output

A great way to set an auto reminder to get off your laptop or PC is a light saving app such as f.lux it manages the light your screen omits to match your daylight meaning as the sun goes down your computer screen fades out and reminds you its bed time. Screen light can have an impact on your sleep patterns which directly impacts your overall health.

“ Exposure to excessive light at night, including extended use of various electronic media, can disrupt sleep or exacerbate sleep disorders, especially in children and adolescents.” AMA 2012

  • Replace watching TV and movies with nature

Just the simple act of going for a walk each evening when you get home with a family member or friend instead of turning on the tv can offset the build up in our bodies of electro magnetic energy, in particular walking barefoot in nature (grass or sand) is a great way to get grounded and neutralize the subtle energy output from the earth. We form a habit to flick on the tv so hide the remote from yourself for 21 days and start a new habit.

  • Read a book

We spend hours searching for something to watch on Netflix, after spending all day on our computers. Our eyes are paying the price for constantly looking at screens and bright lights. I love to read and I find reading a book so much easier than on screen. So switch off your latest series and pick up a book again I think we ALL agree a good book far out weighs the movie or series version anyway. It’s also therapeutic and often sends you to sleep allowing you to naturally unwind from your day.

  • Integrate more movement

Get moving! Doesn’t matter what it is any movement is good so choose something you love to do I often tell my retreat guests to brainstorm all the activities they did as a kid and absolutely loved, now work out when and why you gave each of these up. Then decide three new things you can commit to trying out again this month, movement is easy when you find something you love! Doesn’t matter what is just move and do more of it.

  • Be more social

Stop replacing online chat and social media for real conversation. You may feel like you’re connected but are you? Our social media lives are the highlights, the best of the best. Having an online relationship is a little like buying a new dress online. You can see it, it looks good but you cant actually touch it or try it on. Friendships are a little the same online, they are full of highlights, high level conversations but they aren’t the same as connecting in real life, sharing energy, emotion and intimacy. Get back to seeing your friends and family more often. Make time, its important for your health and happiness.

  • Limit social media apps

There are hundreds of social media apps. Just like you wouldn’t have seven cars and have to choose each day which one to drive and keep the maintenance, insurance and registration up on all seven, why do we feel the need to have every social media app available. Limit yourself to just three. Go through your phone now and choose your top three and delete the rest, this will help you manage your time more effectively on social media

  • Leave your phone at home

WWHHHHAAAAAATTTTT? Yes that’s right, the world wont end, your mother won’t leave the country, your boyfriend wont run away, your wife wont set the house on fire. NOTHING will happen if you leave your phone at home occasionally. Especially when going to catch up with friends in a social environment, set the place, day and time and just commit to going without your phone (let your friends know you wont have your phone on you so to make sure they are there). Having a forced few hours away from technology is a great way to give yourself a break and actually be completely present with your friends and family.

  • Go off the grid

A retreat is a great way to spend some time off the grid. No internet, no phone, no laptop, no tablet, no Netflix but definitely chill….relax and unwind with no distractions. Completely immerse yourself and commit to learning more about your body, your health and your wellness. If you cant afford a 3 or 7 day retreat then book a remote cabin where you cant get any signal on your phone and wifi is inaccessible. Go camping, get out in nature and reconnect to yourself, to the earth, to the things you enjoy doing when you’re not in front of a screen.

  • Be mindful

Just being aware of the time you are online and your engagement with those around you whilst you are online can start to make a huge difference to how much time you allocate to it each day. Awareness brings more responsibility and you will notice you will naturally start to replace old bad habits with new ones by just being conscious of how you are spending your time.

Remember with technology brings us an abundance of resources and positive influences in living a healthier, happier life. It’s just how well we balance our online time with good connections to friends, family and most of all to ourselves. Lets all aim to reconnect.

Bec Weeden
Health, Nutrition, Lifestyle and Yoga coach
IN2URLIFE

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