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Four Ways to Create a Better Work Environment and Increase Job Productivity What kind of environment do you think creates the most potential for job productivity – one in which everything is very regimented and the workers perform their work because they are afraid of “getting in trouble,” or one in which the workers are relaxed and allowed a great deal of freedom and flexibility? It is the great working conundrum – to get workers to do more, you have to let them work less. Further, you have to create a work environment in which work is not stressful. In fact, creating an environment in which work is even enjoyable and a pleasure gets the best results of all! If you want to get your employees to improve their job productivity and job performance, forget about cracking the whip. Instead, think about how you can make coming to work appealing for them, so they actually want to get things done for you! The first way to create a better work environment and increase job productivity comes down very much to your attitude and the way you treat your employees. Make sure you create an environment in which your workers can come to you and discuss work related problems they are having with you. The feedback you get from them will enable to make sure the office is working as efficiently as possible. Additionally, it will allow you to stay on top of everything that is happening in the office much easier – instead of employees trying to hide mistakes and problems from you, they will bring them to your attention and work on finding a solution. Above all else, creating a good relationship with your employees will keep the mood in the office positive – no one likes working for someone who doesn’t appreciate them or casts a black cloud over the office. You’ll get more out of your employees if they are happy when they are at work. The next thing you can do is consider “fun” options, like a dress down day once a week or a weekly office lunch get together. These kinds of shared activities increase the team building and the morale among the workers in your office. When everyone feels like he or she is a member of a team, they will be more likely to feel responsible to each other and perform better at their daily tasks. The third idea for creating a better office environment is related to the second, but has more to do with the actual office itself. Open plan offices are believed by experts to increase feelings of belonging and team membership among employees. Try to encourage shared workspaces and a healthy exchange of ideas between your employees at all times. Again, when employees feel like they are part of a team working together for a common goal, they will be more likely to make sure they are holding up their end of the bargain. Last but not least, make sure your employees are well rested and as stress free as possible. Allowing flex time hours in your office is a great way to give employees more control over their time; it gives them time to get rest when they need it or take a day off when they need to recharge. Encourage your employees to disconnect from the office when they are not at work instead of being constantly available, even after hours or when they are on vacation. An employee who actually gets some time off will be more productive when they return to the office. Likewise, make sure that the office has a break room that offers a real respite for employees during the day, and encourage employees to make use of it. Allowing your employees to get they breaks they will increase their ability to deliver for you when they return.

Getting Paid to Work for Yourself: Writing Grants and Grants for Writers (grants for writers) Do you have a fantastic idea to improve the world? Are you frustrated because no one is addressing the issues that you know are important? Writing is a powerful tool that can bring change and improvement to the world. Grants are available from various sources in order to fund important work that is not being done in the corporate world. If you are inspired to make improvements and make life better, you may be an ideal candidate for grant writing. How Do Grants Work? Grants are sums of money awarded by the government or other entities to those who can use that money effectively. Candidates for grants are usually those who can serve their community with the money given to them. The way it works is that you start with an idea. Your idea could benefit your community in areas that range from tourism to health care. If you have the capabilities to implement your idea, you then decide how much money it would take to do so. At that point you begin to write. You must convince those with the grant money of why they should give it to you. The writing of the grant may be the most important step in the process of receiving that grant money. Writing a Grant Writing a grant is a very precise process. It involves explaining very clearly what your idea for improvement is as well as why it is a worthwhile pursuit. In the actual grant writing, you must be very clear in your explanations as well as persuasive in your arguments. You can find actual templates or set up guidelines online or in style handbooks. Those resources will help you ensure that you are following proper procedures in writing grants. Grants for writers are potential job opportunities. Since some brilliant minds do not necessarily have the appropriate writing talent, they may hire a writer to actually complete the grant proposal. Writers have more opportunities to enter into the grant writing process than just being the executer though. Is it Possible to Get Grants to Write? Grants for writers are definitely available. What would you write that would be worthy of a grant? There are many possibilities. You may be able to write a guidebook that fulfills a community need. A tourism guide would be of particular interest to the government. Keep in mind though, that only unfulfilled needs will merit grants. Grants for writers are not given to those who are writing redundantly on a topic or who are writing about an issue that no one cares about. You may be thinking that writing is free. Aside from the actual printing and publishing costs, there is no money required to produce text. Especially if you think of writing as opposed to creating a clean burning engine, the costs are not even comparable. The great thing is that even if you don’t need very much money to get the words on the page, there are grants available just to write you a paycheck. On top of any costs incurred through research and development of your ideas, you will also get paid should you be awarded grant money. There are two different meanings for the phrase, ‘grants for writers.’ A grant may need to be written by a qualified writer. The other possibility is that a writer could actually be awarded grant money for their contributions. Writing is a powerful tool. It can persuade and benefit people from where it sits on the page. For that reason, writers and grants are inseparable. If you have a great idea that needs funding, consider writing a grant. If you are not a writer yourself, be comforted by the fact that there is someone out there who can do the writing for you.

Five Ways to Find Free Stuff Are you crazy about web freebies? Do you love free stuff? Who doesn't love free stuff? Most people appreciate the occasional free sample in the mail, but there is a specific group of individuals—freebie hunters—that are dedicated to finding the very best in freebie offers. Fortunately for them, and all of us, the World Wide Web is a treasure trove of freebies, special offers and promotions. Coupons and free samples are just some of what you can get by becoming a dedicated freebies hunter. If you are new to the world of active freebie hunting, here are five ways you can go about finding more free stuff. 1. Getting a Hold of Free Samples. Free samples are the bread and butter of the dedicated freebie hunter. Who doesn't like free samples? Free stuff is good stuff. However, be forewarned that once you get into the world of free samples, it can be easy to get carried away. You may find that your mailbox can fast become flooded with free samples. If not your physical mailbox, your inbox can also become flooded with free coupon offers. Always read the fine print carefully when you are soliciting a free sample directly from a manufacturer. You may inadvertently be signing up for newsletters, promotions and ads. To find the best and latest free samples, visit the StartSampling.com website. StartSampling is an innovative company that allows you to sample new products from exciting companies. If you have a favorite company, you can head to their website and sign up directly for new product samples and discount coupons. For instance, if you are a fan of Crest brand toothpaste or Oil of Olay products, you can sign up with them directly for free samples and coupons. 2. Looking for Free Communications Tools? If you are looking for the best in free telecommunications tools, you are in luck. For those of you tired of being overcharged for faulty 4-1-1 telephone calls, there is now a free directory that you can turn to. Free directory assistance is now available to you at 1-800-FREE-411. This free directory assistance allows you to get most numbers that you need at absolutely no charge. However, you will have to listen to a short advertisement before you are allowed to find your number. For even more free telecommunications tools, check out this handy phone tool. The next time you are stuck in an unpleasant situation and need to escape, plan on using the popularitydialer.com. Simply set the time you need and you will receive a fake call that can pull you out of a less than desirable situation. 3. Finding Free Memory. Need more ways to stay on top of things? Are post-it notes just not cutting it? If you need a little more, you will find that memotome.com can be a great help. Memotome.com is a free scheduling tool that allows you to stay on top of events and dates. It is free to become a member and you even get access to free party and event planning tools. 4. Get Your Fill of Free Literature. Are you an avid reader? If so, you will find that paperbackswap.com is a reader's paradise. All you have to do is choose the book you want to read and request it. You should receive the book in the mail in a few short days. You can also list your own paperback books that you would like to get rid of. 5. Your Free Route to Financial Planning. If you are looking to become a financial planner, check out the very free planning tools that are available online. You can take advantage of free calculators that allow you to figure out your income and savings.

A Top Notch Cover Letter Can Get your Foot in the Door If you have ever looked for a job, then you know that it is tough out there. Competition is always fierce, especially for those “dream job” type of positions – great company, great benefits, and great pay. If you want your resume to rise to the top of the pile in the Human Resources department and you want to get that call for an interview, then you need something to make your resume stand out from the rest. The best way to draw attention to everything you have to offer is to have a cover letter that jumps right off the page and grabs the attention of the reader. The cover letter is your first chance to make an impression, so make sure your cover letter makes you the one potential hire that is definitely going to be getting a call. Before you can get into the content of your cover letter, you have to cover your basics. You should never, ever have a “form” cover letter that you use with every resume you send. Tailor your cover letter specifically to each individual employer, mentioning their company and the position for which you want to be considered. Address the letter to the correct person – if you’re not sure who will be doing the hiring, call the company and ask. Don’t assume you can address your letter to the HR department and have that be close enough. Taking the time to write a personal cover letter to each company lets your potential employer know you pay attention to detail right off the bat. Of course, you should also make sure that your cover letter is grammatically correct and free of typos. A sloppy cover letter is a one way ticket to the trash can for your resume. Once you have your basics in order, you can turn your attention to what you are actually going to write in the cover letter. Your cover letter is your sales pitch to the company; you need to let them know why they should bet on your when they hire for the position. One great way to sell yourself is to show off how much you already know about the company. Let them know why you want to work there by specifically mentioning projects the company has been involved in that you admire or talking about the position of the company within the field. As you show off how much you know about the company, draw attention to the ways you can actively help the company grow and succeed by drawing parallels between your experience and their work. After you have shown that you have done your homework and know about the company, go into some detail about the unique aspects of your work history. Draw attention to any special achievements or awards and any educational background you have that makes you a good candidate for the job. Remember, your resume will be attached to the cover letter, so you don’t have to go into great detail. Just pick out the highlights that will make the reader want to turn the page and delve into your resume. How you close your cover letter makes as much difference has how you open it. State again exactly what job you want to be considered for, and suggest that you come in for an interview. You can also suggest a few dates and time for an interview to show that you are eager to move on to the next step. You should also give a time and date that you will call to follow up on your resume. A pleasant closing and your signature seal the deal on your winning cover letter.