The holidays are coming quickly, and it is a busy time for many. Before the holiday rush sets in, we have some ideas to help you relax and destress.
1 – Take “me time”
Take a minute for yourself to reflect, unwind and relax. This can be anything from setting aside some time to meditate, read a novel, or enjoy a relaxing bath. Pull out your favorite bubble bath, bath pillow and candles, and kick back and relax. Me time is a great way to destress anytime of year. Consider an aromatherapy diffuser with some essential oils or a salt lamp to add an extra layer of ambience for me time.
2 – Exercise
Exercise can help you detach from the overwhelming to do list. Get out and go for a run, take a bike ride, do yoga, or work out. All are great ways to help relax and reset your mind and body.
3 – Connect with nature
Going for a walk in the woods is a great way to reset. Be sure to turn your phone off, and take your time to observe the natural world around you.
4 – Prepare for the holidays ahead of time
Plan ahead for everything from Christmas shopping, to holiday baking. Making a timeline can dramatically reduce your stress level heading into the holiday season. Knowing who you need to shop for, and getting it done early gives you more time to enjoy the season. Planning your baking and cooking ensures you block out the time in the kitchen, and allows you to get all your ingredients well in advance.
5 – Unplug
Social media and the internet have dramatically changed our daily routines. It can add to your stress level by eating up your time, and taking away from the things you should be doing. Seeing everyone else holiday ready can also add to your anxiety about your preparation. Set limits on your screen time, or plan unplugged periods where you disconnect from your devices.
Hopefully these tips helped you relax.
Shop early and avoid the rush. Penny Wise has a wide selection of gift ideas, along with free delivery so that you can avoid traffic and waiting in long lines: www.penny-wise.com
The beginning of a new school year can be challenging for many kids – adapting to new classmates, a new teacher and, likely, a new environment altogether. Though initially exciting for some students, there are those who require a bit more time adjusting to back-to-school season, and the new physical and social situations that come with it.
There are steps you, as parents, can take within the home to help facilitate this transition using a variety of simple tools and products…some of which you may already have lying around. Discover a world of opportunities for introducing some much-needed positivity and year-round optimism back into your kids’ lives without breaking a sweat or breaking the bank. Here are our five best tips for bringing positivity into the house.
One of the most surefire ways to instill positive thinking in your child is by encouraging them to manifest gratitude. While that might sound like a tall order, it doesn’t have to be – sometimes, it can be as simple as jotting down a few words each day.
There is considerable power in writing out what’s on one’s mind. By creating a gratitude mural with the Post-it® Flex Write Surface in your house (somewhere communal, like the kitchen), you and your child can transcribe one or two things you both are grateful for at that moment. Once those moments are living in print, they become easier to remember and reference when life gets a little overwhelming. You can use dry erase AND permanent markers with the Post-it® Flex Write Surface, permanent marker wipes away with just water.
Back-to-school stressors are unbelievably common – for both students and parents. One of the most effective methods of easing your anxious child into a new school year is also one of the simplest: write an uplifting message on Post-it® Super Sticky Notes and put it in their lunchbox. It could be a funny joke, a charming family anecdote, or a simple “I love you”.
Or make things even more personal by laminating a favorite photograph of one of your child’s fondest memories with the Scotch® PRO Thermal Laminator. A simple gesture that takes no more than five minutes can leave a lasting impression on how your child thinks and adapts to their school day.
Make meaningful lists
Keeping kids busy, active and engaged throughout the weekend helps promote the stimulation and creativity needed to prepare them for the school week ahead! And, what a better time to start than on Saturday morning? By using some basic planning tools, you can help produce a different, more positive kind of day – one that encompasses your child’s physical and emotional needs.
Using organization products like Scotch® Double-Sided Tape to help secure motivational images or stickers, and Post-it® Super Sticky Easel Pads to safely stick to walls where you can see all of your work in action, you can create a calendar of daily tasks to help motivate your kids once they’re awake and ready to face the day. For example, “Morning Meditation from 9:00 am – 9:15 am” followed by “Breakfast Clean-Up at 10:30 am”. Meaningful tasks not only teach kids responsibility, but they also keep them busy. And staying “the right kind of busy” helps bolter moods and encourages overall positivity.
Use your head
A playful home is a positive home, and you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest board games or handheld gaming consoles to get together as a family and create lasting memories. Sometimes, impromptu play can be the best kind.
One of our favorites involves a piece of construction paper, a marker, some Scotch® Double-Sided Tape and a pad of Post-it® Super Sticky Notes from the new Summer Joy Collection: simply cut a long strip from the construction paper and wrap it around your child’s head (like you’re fitting him or her for a crown). Once the strip fits snugly on their head, fasten the ends together with a piece of tape. Then, write a word or phrase on the note, stick it onto their construction paper headband, and, using only hand actions, have your child act out the clue until the right answer is guessed. Alternate back and forth and make a night of it!
Say it loud
At home, kids can benefit from learning how to train their minds to recognize their own positive traits. One of the best ways to aid in this self-training is by writing and reciting daily affirmations.
Using Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, encourage your kids to form their own self-affirmations and write them down. Then, stick these notes on their bedroom desks or on the bathroom mirror so that they can recite them aloud while getting ready for school. Simple, yet effective ways of manifesting positivity.
We hope you enjoyed these creative tips for bringing positivity into the home. Discover more products for encouraging year-round optimism that your kids can take with them back to school – and beyond!
This month’s blog comes to us from author Pamela Bump and our friends at HUBSpot. They have a huge selection of resources to help balance your work and personal life.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you love your job, you’ll never have to work again.”?
Well, that myth is both false and incredibly misleading. In fact, research shows that the more passionate you are about a job, the more work you’ll actually do.
The truth is a successful career takes time, initiative, and hours of hard work. And, while some companies enable employees to successfully execute on their roles within 40 hours each week, you’ll occasionally need to work later or longer to excel at other organizations
When you think you have the perfect job, you might tell yourself, “I clock in 70 hours a week because I’m doing what I love,” or “The family dinners I’m missing will be worth it in the long run.” But, while your role might not “feel” like a job, working long hours without making time for yourself eventually takes a major toll.
In fact, research shows that throwing yourself into work too heavily could cause stress, burnout, and — commonly — a lonely personal life.
Yes — Managers value employees who take initiative and put in extra effort when needed. However, your personal life is important to your
physical, psychological, and emotional well-being
So, how do you continue to excel in your career while making time for yourself and your loved ones?
The truth is there’s no simple trick to achieving an ideal work-life balance. But luckily, there are a handful of strategies that can get you pretty close.
To help you juggle your work and personal life, even if you work remotely, here are six tips that I collected from a few highly motivated HubSpot marketing managers.
While the tips below work well for in-office employees, these can be especially helpful if you’re working remotely and finding it hard to separate your work life from your personal life.
6 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance
1. Set hard-stops for each workday.
Despite the thought that successful employees will work late into the night, studies show that you’re least productive at night. Additionally, working late hours can make you tired in times of peak productivity during the day.
If your role revolves around large projects or long to-do lists, you might be tempted to work late or on weekends to get more done. However, our marketing managers suggest setting hard stops so you don’t overexert yourself.
“When working on a long-term project, it’s very easy to keep going into the night thinking, ‘I can get the whole thing done today,’ which was obviously bad for work-life balance,” says Joe Mayall, an associate product marketing manager at HubSpot. “Setting hard stops for myself in the evening really helped me balance things out.”
“Set (and abide by) your own boundaries and accept that a task is usually not THAT important that it can’t wait until tomorrow,” advises Lisa Toner
To prevent any tasks that you can’t plausibly complete in normal work hours, Toner says, “You should manage expectations with your manager about how much can actually be done during business hours.”
When you’re working remotely, setting hard stops can be even more import.
My blog colleague Christina Perricone explained that knowing when to stop working is a common struggle of remote employees who usually work where they live.
“Since you miss out on the social cues to head out for lunch or end the workday that are inherent in in-office settings, you have to create them,” says Perricone. “Set calendar appointments for lunch or a walk or a midday workout. Otherwise, you might find yourself sitting in front of your computer for 10+ hours a day.”
2. Make time for self-care and breaks each day.
Whether you’re working remotely or in an office, you can take steps towards managing your personal life without getting distracted from work. If your schedule allows, one way to do this is by blocking time for breaks or short self-care activities, such as taking a walk, on your calendar.
“Schedule personal things in your calendar like workouts, phone calls with family or friends, or coffee breaks. Then honor those commitments. This will force you to take a break in your workday and do the things that will recharge and fulfill you,” says Jennifer Stefancik, a marketing manager in our acquisitions department.
“When I get back to work after doing something personally fulfilling, like going on a run, I always feel more focused and energized.” Stefancik shares.
3. Be transparent with your manager and colleagues about your personal-life boundaries.
While you need to set work-life balance boundaries for yourself, you should also be transparent about boundaries you’ve set with your team or manager.
One way to do this is by noting your work and off-work hours on your company’s internal calendar. Additionally, you should also talk to your manager to come up with a schedule that enables you to experience and manage important moments in your personal life.
One HubSpot manager who’s transparent with his team and creates a public schedule to embrace his life as a parent is Victor Pan, HubSpot’s Head of Technical SEO.
“I cherish the small talk I do when I drop off my daughter at school and with other parents. To do this, I talked to my manager about blocking out time in my work calendar — which is shared externally to my peers and colleagues,” Pan explains.
However, Pan notes that establishing a flexible schedule with managers won’t always be doable at other companies.
“Being able to engage in work-life design is a privilege for teams with safe spaces, but it’s also something someone engaged in part-time work can consciously control,” says Pan. “At the end of the day, we’re here to make the most out of the time we have given to us.”
4. Prioritize and audit your to-do list.
Along with establishing a transparent schedule that fits in both time for life and work, you can prevent yourself from instances where you’ll need to work overtime by taking on prioritization tactics and auditing your to-do list to ensure that you’re working efficiently.
“So many of us get bogged down by never-ending to-do lists and as you check off one item, three more gets added. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to focus on the high impact activities and reduce or cease the activities that do not drive significant results,” says Toner.
To help her prioritize her tasks so that the most important items fit smoothly into her work hours, she draws out an “Impact/Effort Matrix”: a four-by-four chart where you list all your tasks on scales related to the effort needed to complete them and the impact they’ll create.
Once she’s done filling out her matrix, Toner follows these steps:
• Review the activities in the high effort low impact bucket and assess if you can simply stop doing them — these are usually not worth your time.
• Take the activities in the low impact, low effort bucket. Determine if you need to keep doing them or if they can be delegated to someone else.
• Look at the high impact, high effort bucket and research more efficient ways to achieve the same results. If so, move those items into the high impact, low effort square.
When you’re done using the matrix, “you should have one to two items remaining in the high effort, high impact bucket that you continue to work on over a longer period of time,” says Toner.
“Everything in the low effort, high impact bucket should be the work you prioritize,” Toner adds. “By doing this exercise regularly you can learn if your to-do list is actually worth the time it takes to do it. Then, you can decide if you should stop, delegate, improve efficiency, or keep going.”
5. Schedule time off as needed.
In a recent blog post where HubSpot marketers revealed how they prevent burnout, Irina Nica, a community and influencer relations manager, noted that taking time off can help you eliminate stress while also adhering to your personal life.
“I was one of those people who would rarely take any time off because ‘there are so many things to be done,'” Nica said. “Even when I did, I still let some work slip into my day, even if that meant only checking my emails.”
“Over time, I’ve changed my views on time off and it’s been great for my productivity,” Nica explained, adding, “I learned to disconnect in the evenings and during weekends. Now, aside from the regular summer and winter holidays, I take long weekends off every now and then. That helps me relax and refreshes my perspective.”
Taking time off doesn’t necessarily need to be devoted to vacations or travel. For example, if you live with family, time off can be used for staycations, where you stay in and spend time with loved ones. Or, if you live alone, you could simply take a few days off to relax, video call friends, binge some TV, and perform self-care.
6. Physically separate work from your personal life.
If you occasionally or regularly work from home, the lines between work and life can get incredibly blurry. Because of this, you might find yourself working too late or thinking about work when you try to relax in your home. Luckily, one strategy that can help with this is creating a workspace for yourself.
“Try to designate a space in your home exclusively for work,” Perricone advised. “Taking calls from your bed or writing memos in front of your TV likely won’t be very effective. You need a space that allows you to focus and be productive. That way, you can keep your work and home life as separate as possible.”
Finding a Good Balance
While the five tips were all slightly different, they all followed just a few major themes that you can keep in mind when aiming to achieve a work-life balance:
• Time off: Everyone needs breaks or time to disconnect from work. Even if you work remotely, be realistic with yourself about when you’ll need a break from work and schedule break times in your day or longer PTO accordingly.
• Setting boundaries: Schedule hard stops and breaks for yourself, while also setting boundaries related to your work hours with your team and manager.
• Prioritization: Recognize the tasks you can save until tomorrow and how to complete your weekly to-do list more efficiently.
• Separate work from life at home: When you work from home, the lines between work and life can get blurry. Be sure to use the tips above to help separate your work life from your personal life at home.
Happy New Year! There’s no better time than now to declutter your workspace. Brighten your workspace and improve your efficiency with these clever office organization ideas using Avery products. Labels, Ultra Tabs® and markers are all you need to try out these brilliant life hacks. You can also use these ideas and products as a springboard for imagining your own desk organization ideas.
Is there something that keeps slipping your mind? For some people it’s an extension number or a shortcut key or an important date. Make sure to keep these details within your view with colorful, repositionable Ultra Tabs on the edge of your monitor. Ultra Tabs are great office organization supplies and are available in a variety of colors, finishes and sizes.
A brilliant file folder hack is to write down the contents of the folder on to a label on the front. Avery shipping labels with TrueBlock® material blocks out everything underneath the label so that you can easily place one over the other without having the previous list bleed through. Ultra fine tip Marks-A-Lot™ markers also work perfectly for clean and compact writing.
It’s easy for a plain, black and white to-do list to blend into the background of your desk. Adding round color coding labels is a fantastic way to bring color into your routine while also making it easier for you to parse your schedule visually. If you’re interested in creating your own color coding system take a look at our article on how to improve your day with color coding for some great office organizing ideas
Skip the work of scouring through hanging file folder tabs by creating your own top-view tab markers. Print onto clear labels and center them on the top of binder clips for improved tabs that are easier to view. Clear labels are also great for marking your supplies, addressing envelopes and creating your own DIY labels.
Every charging cable looks the same behind your desk and it’s easy to lose track of which one is which. Barbell labels are ideal for identifying cables since they are easy to wrap around, will stick in one place without sliding and allow you print out double-sided tags.
Concerned about your privacy? An extra use for round color coding labels is to block out your webcam so that it only works when you need it. They’re also easily removable to keep your screen clean or if you feel like changing up the color.
These labels and more can be ordered from Penny Wise Office Products. Contact us today at 1-800-942-3311 or shop online at www.penny-wise.com
With the growing availability of COVID-19 vaccines, 2021 is opening the door for many businesses to consider a partial or full return of employees to the workplace. While small and medium-sized business owners feel a sense of urgency to return to business as usual, there are facts to consider about where we are now in the pandemic and practices that can help to ensure the safety of everyone in your workplace.
By March 15, more than 38 million Americans had been fully vaccinated, or 11.5% percent of the country’s population. The Biden administration has announced goals to get all Americans eligible for vaccinations by May 1 and to get the nation “closer to normal” by July 4. While vaccinations have helped to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and many of those at high risk for serious health consequences have been vaccinated, 88.5% of the country is still waiting (or worried about taking the vaccines). There is still much to be done before we reach herd immunity, but progress is happening quickly.
So where do we stand now in terms of what we should and should not do in our workplaces? The CDC recently advised that fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or physically distancing. They may also gather with a small group, such as coworkers, even if that group has not been vaccinated. Those who haven’t been vaccinated are advised to continue to minimize the number of people they are in physical contact with and to wear masks in public.
If your business is like most others, most of your employees, customers, and visitors have not yet been vaccinated. With this in mind, here are some key safety considerations for gradually returning employees and visitors to your workplace:
1. Promote vaccinations: Over the next few weeks, the Biden Administration will deliver vaccines directly to up to 700 community health centers and will double the number of pharmacies and community vaccination centers operating. Simply communicating the availability of vaccines in your local area and the eligibility criteria as they are announced will maximize the number of employees who can gather without masks or physically distancing.
2. Require face masks for all employees and visitors, including those who are vaccinated, since the findings on whether vaccinated people can transmit the virus are still unclear. Keep spare face masks on hand and educate employees on the proper way to wear and handle masks. Noses must be covered!
3. Stagger a return to work: Some of your employees have been vaccinated. Others can only work effectively in the workplace. Bring these two groups back to work first, then stagger the rest according to vaccinations and need to be in the workplace in order to execute their roles. If an employee lives in an at-risk community or immune-compromised household, extend their ability to work from home.
4. Have a pre-screening policy: If you can prevent sick employees from putting others at risk, you are taking the most important step in ensuring a safe workplace. Consider having someone check temperatures at the door and turning away employees running a fever. Ask all employees to stay home if they are experiencing symptoms including body aches, a fever over 100 degrees, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell.
5. Seek emergency medical attention for anyone in your workplace exhibiting sudden signs of trouble breathing; persistent pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion; inability to wake or stay awake; or pale gray or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone.
6. Routinely sanitize and disinfect the workplace, carefully following these CDC guidelines for the materials to use, surfaces to clean, and frequency of cleaning.
7. Adjust your floor plan to reduce congestion and the potential for face-to-face contact as people pass one another. Consider using tape to mark areas where people can walk to ensure that there are six feet of width between people as they pass one another, especially in intersections. If there are areas where congestion or face-to-face contact is almost impossible to avoid, use partitions to reduce the potential for viral transmission.
8. Promote physical distancing by not holding meetings in closed rooms, if possible. Use open spaces instead. If this isn’t possible, use the largest possible rooms for in-person meetings and limit the number of attendees to only those that must be present. Consider holding virtual meetings or hybrid virtual/present meetings.
9. Post signage reminding workers of proper protocols including individual mask-wearing, handwashing, avoiding handshaking, not sharing objects, and other hygienic practices.
10. Be ready to adjust your protocols and plans as the situation changes. While it is highly likely the pandemic will continue to subside as more people are vaccinated, there is a possibility that COVID-19 variants could complicate the situation. Be prepared to reverse course and let your workers return to remote work temporarily, as necessary.
There is no doubt the impact of COVID-19 has been greatest for smaller businesses. As a small-to-midsize business, you have fewer resources to deal with an unexpected crisis. These ten guidelines can be implemented by businesses of all sizes. When put into place as a matter of policy, they should be all you need to gradually and safely return employees to your workplace.
The warmer weather and the longer days intensify our desire to clean and organize. While many people take the time to clean out their wardrobes and organize their homes, one area that is often neglected is an office or desk space. Since your work area is a place where you spend 8+ hours per day, it is important to take the time to clean out these spots, as well. Use these tips to get the most out of your spring cleaning and prepare yourself for the rest of the year.
1. Digital Declutter
Digital clutter slows down your computer over time and leaves you with little space to store your work files, which is why a routine e-cleanup is necessary for top performance. Start by going through your files and transferring ones you want to keep but don’t actively use to a server or an external hard drive. If there are files that you do not need at all, go ahead and delete them! After completing these steps, organize your desktop and folders to simplify your file search.
2. Clear the Unnecessary
Your desk should hold your most important items such as a computer, phone, notepad, and a reliable pen or mechanical pencil. If your desk has drawers, use them to sort any paperwork you have on the top surface away, to keep your surface clear and streamlined. The trick is to keep your most used items within arm’s reach. Being organized and having a clean slate can help you become more productive during the workday.
3. Wipe it Down
Now that your workspace is tidy and streamlined, it is time to clean it. Start by using a disinfectant wipe to sanitize your work tabletop and then move on to using a screen cleaner spray for any electronical surfaces like your computer and phone screens. One area you’ll want to make sure not to forget—your keyboard! Using a microfiber towel and cotton swabs can help you get into all the spaces between the keys. Try making cleaning part of your weekly routine to truly feel a difference.
4. New Supplies
Now that you have gotten rid of all the clutter, it is time to take inventory of your supplies and make a list of what you still need. At the top of that list should be new pens and mechanical pencils for the rest of the year. The Sarasa Grand Retractable Gel Pen comes in 6 aesthetically pleasing barrel colors and rapid drying gel ink for an effortless writing experience. For a mechanical pencil option, try out the DelGuard Mechanical Pencil. Its lead won’t break under pressure and is refillable.
5. Add Some Pizzazz
Finally, don’t forget to make the space your own by injecting your personality into it. Show off your style with a potted faux plant, sleek metal mousepad, or a few framed photographs. No matter how you do it, adding your own personality to your workspace is a great way to breathe in new life and help you (and your desk) feel refreshed.
Even if it isn’t spring, adding some personality to your newly cleaned and organized office can help you refocus and improve your productivity. We hope these tips help you organize, clean, and refresh your workspace.
All the supplies mentioned here are available from Penny Wise Office Products. Call to Order – (800) 942-3311 or Shop Online www.penny-wise.com
If Wellness in 2021 is your goal, we’ve got 4 great Work Day Wellness Activities for you, even if you are working from home.
Most of the work from home guides you may have read focus on productivity, with tips about how to concentrate on work and better utilize tech, such as external monitors or laptop docking stations. But productivity is just one half of the recipe for WFH success.
Wellness is also a crucial ingredient. After all, it’s not easy to perform at your best if you’re feeling unhealthy or stressed-out. There are some easy wellness activities that you can take advantage of during your lunch break to stay active and engaged.
Activity #1: Eat Lunch Somewhere Other Than Where You Work
When you work from home, time can seem very fluid, with no clear boundaries between work and leisure periods. Similarly, the lines between “workspace” and “leisure space” can become blurred.
But you still need clear differentiation as well as regular breaks to avoid long, uninterrupted periods of staring at a screen in the same spot, which can quickly put you into a lull. In other words: Don’t eat lunch in your WFH workspace, or deprioritize doing so just because you feel like you’re “in the zone.”
A survey from hygiene and health company Tork found that employees who regularly took lunch breaks felt more engaged on the job than those who did not. It might seem counterintuitive that people who work fewer hours overall, and do so more sporadically with interspersed breaks, are more productive than ones who just power through all day at their desk, but it makes sense in a way:
• Leaving your workspace for a kitchen or patio table lets you switch contexts and can help recharge your mental energy.
• It also spares you from literal multitasking – for example, trying to eat and respond to emails simultaneously – that taxes the brain and decreases the quality of any attempted work.
Activity #2: Take a Walk or Do Other Exercise During Your Break
Going for a walk offers multiple benefits to productivity, health, and wellness.
First, like eating lunch somewhere else, it provides a clear break from sitting in front of your computer. That’s important for resetting your mind. Walking helps sharpen the senses and improve key brain functions for memory, learning, and cognition.
Second, if you can walk outside, you can give your immune system a boost. Georgetown University researchers once found that sunlight boosts T-cell activity.
Third, it’s good for keeping up with a formal health and wellness program or regimen, if you follow one. Specific requirements of these programs – such as getting in a sufficient number of steps each day or achieving a certain heart rate – can be more easily met with some lunchtime physical activity.
If walking isn’t your favorite thing, you can still do some other beneficial exercises with minimal setup:
• Bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and pushups require nothing but a little space and can pay dividends right away in how physically and mentally alert you feel.
• Consider getting a pair of dumbbells and a yoga mat to add more challenge and create a more comfortable surface, respectively.
• Track your time so that the exercise routine doesn’t run too long or make it more difficult to fulfill your work-related commitments.
Activity #3: Eat a Prepared Meal
Switching from a commute-based job to working remotely can dramatically change your eating habits, and not necessarily for the better. Since snacks might be readily available from your WFH workspace, it can be easy to eat junk food throughout the day. On top of the risks already present from sitting for too long (like higher blood pressure), there are possible downsides for your health.
Planning your meals is one way to avoid falling into this trap of impulsive and stress-induced snacking (plus, it’s good dietary advice in general). Enjoy a meal that was prepped in advance, like you might have done before if you packed your own lunch for the office. This helps instill structure in your workday, too, helping avoid the boundary-less work-life muddle discussed earlier.
Consistent hydration is also important, so keep a water bottle nearby as well as grab your favorite drink of choice at the beginning of each workday. Making these kinds of preparations benefits your health as well as your productivity, since they reduce the time you spend on tasks such as getting up from your desk to get a drink.
That said, do take breaks as needed, perhaps on a schedule aligned with a time management technique like the Pomodoro Technique. This particular technique entails intentionally breaking the workday down into 25-minute increments, with frequent 5-minute breaks and less frequent 15- to 30-minute ones.
Activity #4: Listen to Music or Look at Art
Every lunch break is an opportunity to do something positive for your health and wellness – and that “something” doesn’t have to be physically strenuous.
If you don’t listen to music while working (maybe because it’s disruptive to others at home, or has to be paused/stopped frequently for meetings), try doing so during a break to give yourself a boost of endorphins that elevate your mood. Music may be good for productivity because of its mood-enhancing effects. A study of software engineers found that programmers who listened to music while working felt better and produced higher-quality code.
Likewise, looking at art or – better yet – creating it is a proven health and wellness activity. Even a 10-minute art break with just a pencil and some paper can get the creative juices flowing, with a spillover effect on your productivity and your overall wellbeing.
Check out all our Work From Home Products for Improved Productivity and Comfort at www.penny-wise.com
Until now, there have been conflicting messages related to the risk of the airborne transmission of COVID-19. A group of 239 scientists in 32 countries have published their open letter to global health community to present the evidence.
In their letter, the highly qualified group state:
• Multiple studies “have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking, and coughing in microdoplets small enough to remain aloft in the air”.
• These microdroplets “pose a risk of exposure at distances beyond [3 to 6 feet] from an infected individual”.
• “we are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission.”
As discussed above, the highly qualified group of 239 scientists highlight in their open letter that multiple studies:
“have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking, and coughing in microdoplets small enough to remain aloft in the air”
Surfaces and COVID-19
While it’s believed that COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person contact, officials haven’t ruled out surface contact as a potential source of contagion. It’s just too early to tell.
In fact, recent tests on the coronavirus COVID-19 showed it can stay active on various surfaces. Researchers found viable coronavirus samples could live for up to:
• 24 hours on cardboard
• four hours on copper surfaces
• two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
During tests, the researchers also found the coronavirus could be detected in the air up to three hours after emission, making it vital that people clean the air.
The importance of cleaning
While the majority of COVID-19 cases are derived from person-to-person contact, we can’t overemphasize the importance of proper room cleaning.
So, while many people have stressing surface and hand cleaning, the addition of cleaning the air will undoubtedly help manage enclosed spaces. AeraMax Professional’s four-stage system, with True HEPA filtration, can effectively and efficiently build on the hand and surface cleaning routines.
Where AeraMax Professional can help
We do know that AeraMax Professional air purifiers can mitigate additional pathogens in the air where people are infected, removing pollutants from air and reducing risks for people already infected.
AeraMax Professional air purifiers:
•Are certified to be effective in reducing airborne concentrations of influenza A (H1N1) aerosol in a test chamber, reaching 99.9% airborne virus reduction within the first 35 minutes of operation.
•Are certified to capture 99.97% of pollutants at 0.3 microns.
•Can capture more than 97.8% of pollutants at 0.1-0.15 microns, via IBR Laboratories test data.
What’s more, an AeraMax Professional III with PureView Technology can sense when airborne contamination is present in a room, automatically adjusting cleaning to remove the offending particles from the air. This is ideal for places like assisted living facilities, where residents already have compromised immune and respiratory systems.
AeraMax Professional Air Purifiers are available at Penny Wise Office Products www.penny-wise.com
This month’s blog comes straight from the CDC, which we thought would be helpful during these uncertain times. Do you know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting? This is a good time to reevaluate the steps we take to stay safe and healthy.
How to clean and disinfect
• Wear reusable or disposable gloves for routine cleaning and disinfection. • Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant. • Cleaning with soap and water reduces number of germs, dirt and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. • Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. High touch surfaces include: • Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
• Recommend proper use of disinfectants, as listed below.
Many products recommend:
• Keeping surface wet for a period of time (see product label) • Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product
Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.
• Wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards • Ensure adequate ventilation • Use no more than the amount recommended on the label • Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label) • Avoid mixing chemical products • Label diluted cleaning solutions • Store and use chemicals out of the reach of children and pets
You should never eat, drink, breathe or inject these products into your body or apply directly to your skin as they can cause serious harm. Do not wipe or bathe pets with these products or any other products that are not approved for animal use.
Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface.
• Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection and has a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 5%–6%. Ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Some bleaches, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing or for whitening, may not be suitable for disinfection.
• Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.
• To make a bleach solution, mix: • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of room temperature water
OR • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of room temperature water • Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours. •Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.
For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes.
•Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces. •Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
OR •Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. Use disinfectants that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19. • Vacuum as usual.
For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls. • Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics. • Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting. • If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.
For clothing, towels, linens and other items.
• Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely. •Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick. • Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items. •Do not shake dirty laundry. • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. • Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.
Clean hands often
• Key times to clean hands • Immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick. • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing • After using the restroom • Before eating or preparing food • After contact with animals or pets • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
•Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. •Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure safe and effective use.
• Keep hand sanitizers away from fire or flame • For children under six years of age, hand sanitizer should be used with adult supervision • Always store hand sanitizer out of reach of children and pets •Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
When someone is sick
Bedroom and bathroom
Keep separate bedroom and bathroom for a person who is sick (if possible).
• The person who is sick should stay separated from other people in the home (as much as possible).
•If you have a separate bedroom and bathroom: Wear disposable gloves and only clean the area around the person who is sick when needed, such as when the area is soiled. This will help limit your contact with the person who is sick.
• Caregivers can provide personal cleaning supplies to the person who is sick (if appropriate). Supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners, and disinfectants. If they feel up to it, the person who is sick can clean their own space.
•If shared bathroom: The person who is sick should clean and disinfect after each use. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting.
•Stay separated: The person who is sick should eat (or be fed) in their room if possible.
•Wash dishes and utensils using disposable gloves and hot water: Handle any used dishes, cups/glasses, or silverware with gloves. Wash them with soap and hot water or in a dishwasher.
•Clean hands after taking off gloves or handling used items.
•Dedicated, lined trash can: If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the person who is sick. Use disposable gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.
Penny Wise is here to provide you with all the cleaning and disinfectant supplies you need to stay healthy. Call us today for fast, free delivery.
The coronavirus epidemic has impacted the entire world, with many people working from home and being told to leave the house as little as possible. In times where we must stay at home as much as we can, it can be tough to remember that the world is also facing an environmental crisis. Fortunately, there are opportunities to help the environment, even while working from home and staying indoors. Here are five considerations from our friends at Double A Paper to be sustainable indoors.
Learning to live a more minimalist lifestyle can help you save money and aid the environment. Shopping online and placing orders for new products may be fun, and at times it can even be necessary, but limiting your purchases will cut down on the amount of money you spend while also cutting down on the amount of fuel used for shipping and the amount of materials used for production. It can help you learn to better appreciate things you have at home as well. Take time to consider what you truly need. If you do require something, there may be ways to make it or obtain it sustainably. Be mindful of the buyerarchy of needs before you place an order.
Limiting Energy Usage
You’re at home, so of course you’ll need to use your computer to work. But how much energy do you require on any given day? Make sure the lights around your house are off unless they’re needed, and as tempting as it may be, don’t use things like a TV for background noise while you work. The amount of energy you conserve will be noticeable, and you’ll appreciate it when your next utility bill comes in. The extra time you save without having a commute could also be dedicated to conserving energy. It can be tough, but with the right effort, you can make hand washing your dishes more efficient than running your dishwasher.
Consolidate Errands to Minimize Need to Leave Your House
There are times where you’ll have to leave your house – such as obtaining groceries. If this is the case, keep a list of things you need to leave the house for (medicine, food, other necessities, etc.). Make a plan to buy only essential items and minimize the amount of time you spend at each location and travelling between them. This will help to keep you safe and reduce the amount of fuel consumed for travel.
Regulate Your Home Temperature Conservatively
As the temperatures outside increase and summer approaches, you may be tempted to stay cool by using air conditioning to a high degree. Consider the alternative ways to keep your home cool, such as sunlight-blocking curtains, in order to save energy while keeping your home cool. Remember, you can also open your window to let in some fresh air and listen to the sounds of the outside world.
Stay Informed and Do Research
New methods of being environmentally conscious are being discovered all the time, and every day, people are coming up with inventive and unique ways to be sustainable and protect the environment. In your downtime, do research into new ideas and developments around sustainability, and what you can do from home. For more ideas on practicing sustainability, by yourself, in your home office, or with your family, subscribe to our blog and get more updates and fresh content!
People all across the world need to work together to make a major difference, both for our own health and for the Earth. There are times where that can be a challenge, but we must remember that our planet should always be a priority.