Month: April 2017

Internet Speed Test

How To Maintain Or Increase Your Internet Speed

Things move fast in the world of business – and if your internet is lagging, you could end up missing out on a big client or an important sale. If your internet isn’t performing as it should be, check out these top tips to increase your speed.

Run a speed test

You can’t measure anything unless you have a definite starting point, so the first step is to run a speed test. There are plenty of sites that offer these tests in seconds – we’d advise carrying out the test on a number of different sites so you can ensure the results are reliable and accurate. Compare the results to the speed your ISP claimed you’d receive.

Restart your router

Another simple tip is to reset your router. This can clean-up old data and revise the configuration from your ISP. Your router might also need to download updates from your ISP, which it’ll do automatically when you reset it.

Could there be interference?

If you’re using a wireless router, certain devices can have an impact on the signal your devices receive. If your router is located close to the office kitchen, where the microwave is located, it could be disrupting any transmissions to or from your router. Mobile phones are also a culprit – consider installing a VoIP solution, so that employees don’t have to rely on mobiles to make work-related calls.

Is someone using too much bandwidth?

Perhaps there’s a computer or device on your network that’s using a lot of bandwidth. It could be from a streaming video or a large file download. Whatever it is, it can impact the speeds for other users on the network.

Make sure your network is protected

Malware, viruses and adware can infect an entire network once they infect one device. Make sure your entire system is protected with comprehensive security tools. You should also schedule scans to run regularly, to ensure that any threats or potentially dangerous files are quarantined and dealt with.

Change internet providers or package

Perhaps it’s time to consider changing your internet provider. Here at Exascale, we offer a range of business broadband packages up to £35.00 per month for our premium offer. This particular packages comes with unlimited usage, up to 80Mbit/s download and up to 20Mbit/s upload speeds – perfect for SMEs that don’t want to miss out because of slow internet.

For more information about Exascale’s business broadband options, browse the site or contact the team today: www.exascale.co.uk

Happy Employee

How Can You Keep Your Staff Happy?

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that happy staff are productive, loyal staff. Keeping your workforce happy is no longer the sole preserve of forward-thinking businesses like Facebook and Google – it’s just good business sense!

We’re not suggesting you should install an on-site bar and give your staff increased holiday allowances immediately, but we are saying that businesses should staff happiness a priority. Luckily, there are ways to accomplish workforce happiness that don’t involve fitting slides from floor to floor in your office.

Offer a good work-life balance

The idea of a good work-life balance has become more important than ever – especially for employees raising young families. With the rise of flexible working, there are plenty of ways you can help your staff out in this manner, keeping them connected to the company while still ensuring they can spend some time at home with their loved ones. Studies have also shown that flexible workers tend to be more productive than those confined to the office, so there could be multiple benefits to this perk.

Provide all the tools they need

If an employee is constantly coming up against barriers that prevent them from doing their job to the best of their ability, they’re going to get disheartened. Make sure that your workplace is fully equipped to allow your workers to get on with their days. That means comfortable working spaces, super-fast broadband, access to the latest technology and plenty of resources they can leverage while they work. These may sound simple, but it’s amazing how many businesses have unhappy staff because of low-speed internet, malfunctioning phones and uncomfortable office chairs!

Always reward employees

Keep morale high in the workplace by rewarding your staff when they achieve. Being recognised for good work is always a nice feeling – employees are naturally going to feel happy and loyal to the business when their efforts are acknowledged. Have an established reward scheme in place, but don’t be afraid to spontaneously give out rewards or recognition if you feel that a staff member has gone above and beyond.

Encourage communication

If an employee feels like they have a genuine say in everyday operations, it’s bound to boost morale. Make sure that staff members know they can speak up if they have suggestions or comments, and don’t be afraid of seeking their opinions. If staff feel involved, they’ll naturally feel more loyal, and will be motivated to help the business succeed.

For more information about Exascale’s super-fast business broadband offerings, browse the website: www.exascale.co.uk

KanBan Board

The Best Software For Upping Staff Productivity

Productivity has become something of a watchword in UK businesses – especially in the light of recent reports, which say that the UK’s productivity levels still lag behind those of the world’s other major economies. Studies show our output-per-hour is 27 percentage points behind France, 30 behind the US, and 35 behind Germany.

Businesses are therefore left looking for ways they can boost productivity among their workforce. Proven methods include introducing wellness programmes and allowing flexible working – but there’s also plenty of software which can help enhance productivity at work and help your staff become more industrious. Let’s take a look at some of the best options.

CurrentWare

CurrentWare is a web filtering and employee monitoring tool with plenty of features that can ensure your staff aren’t wasting time on Facebook or chatting with friends on Skype when they should be working. This software allows supervisors to control internet access, track computer usage, block certain applications and even manage devices offsite – perfect if employees are working remotely. Once you pinpoint which employees are the least productive, you can take steps to boost their productivity and keep them on track.

Trello

Trello is a comprehensive project management and delegation tool with an attractive design that resembles a pin-board. When you create a new task, it appears as a card, which you can then move across different columns and funnels on a large board. Each task can be assigned to a user, with deadline dates and any other important notes. There’s colour-coding, the ability to create checklists and a powerful search function – everything your employees need to stay focused on their workload.

Doodle

How often does meeting planning or event coordination cut into your valuable working time, as you spend endless hours reading through long email threads and tracking each individual’s replies? Doodle is a practical app that streamlines scheduling for workplaces, sending out simple polls that ask when users are free. The business version also includes useful tools like automatic reminders, the ability to see who hasn’t responded, and full sync capabilities with other calendar apps.

Ultimately, boosting staff productivity is all about finding the right balance between motivation and restriction. It’s important to keep your workforce inspired, and it can help to remove distractions too, to ensure that they remain fully focused.

Find out more about business broadband and infrastructure services that can help your business reach peak productivity, from Exascale: https://www.exascale.co.uk

BT Openreach PIA

Ofcom announces plans to open up BT’s infrastructure

In a definite proposition Ofcom has set out arrangements to enhance access to Openreach’s framework. The arrangements mean to “level the playing field” by making it less expensive and less demanding for contending suppliers to convey higher quality administrations to clients at a lower cost.

The proposals include:

  • Mixed-use networks and fairer terms of access to lay fibre.
  • The requirement that Openreach must repair faulty infrastructure and clear blocked tunnels where necessary for providers to access them.
  • Final connections into homes meaning BT should ensure capacity is available on its telegraph poles for additional fibre cables.
  • Better availability of information (such as ‘digital maps’) so that competitors can plan new networks.

The plans (available here) are a piece of Ofcom’s Wholesale Local Access Market Review. Counsel on the recommendations closes on fifteenth of June, with a ultimate decision expected in mid 2018.

Cloud Computing

How Can Cloud Computing Overhaul My Business?

Cloud computing is the use of external servers to store and handle data. So instead of storing documents physically on a device, they are stored online, on ‘the cloud’ itself. Allowing access to documents and files anywhere, and at any time, cloud computing reflects the demands from people in the modern world. Bringing businesses bang into the 21st century, investing cloud storage can overhaul a business from the ground up. And here’s why:

It offers flexible working

As the cloud enables access to documents from anywhere with an internet connection, the traditional 9-to-5 working environment becomes a thing of the past. It’s been proven that working outside of the traditional office environment boosts both profits and productivity. It’s also been said that it stimulates creativity between employees, which can only be good for a business.

It opens up doors for collaboration

Using a cloud storage system allows for the sharing of documents, projects and calendars in real-time. Allowing those to work securely with colleagues on any device at once, this reduces the time and hassle implications of sending handfuls of emails and eliminates the time wasted spent waiting for changes to be made.

No more file loss

Computers are robust, but they can also be fragile objects. Should a hard drive begin to fail, unless this is backed up, it’s often good-bye files. Grabbing hold of cloud technology and storing all files and documents in the cloud will stop the sinking feeling of a dead hard drive by ensuring the files are safely locked away hyperspace – no matter what happens to a computer.

Updates are automatic

Once upon a time, updates had to be planned out and scheduled for each user. Nowadays however, with the cloud that is, business applications and services are always kept-up-to-date. No more interrupted workflows and time wasted waiting for a computer to update. Now it’s all taken care of in the background.

Opens the option of scalability

Cloud computing can be easily scaled to suit individual needs at the time. A small business for example can start off with a small amount of storage, and increase this as it grows. Reducing the need to spend thousands on physical hardware, cloud computing adapts to accommodate growth. Of course cloud computing brings many more benefits, but these are just some of the best for businesses of all sizes.