#Winning: A Discussion on Guiding Your Teams to Success

Join us on August 5, 2021, at 11 am (EST) 

A highly productive team that can communicate, create, and solve problems is key to growing your organization. And, the right mix of tools, processes, and people builds a healthy team.

That’s why we’re focusing this 1-hour discussion on using technology, metrics, and hiring as tools to guide your team to success.

What you’ll learn:

  • An overview of keeping teams on track with Microsoft 365 apps
  • How you can use metrics to define success, keep a pulse on what’s happening in the business, and do more of what’s fueling your growth
  • Tips for maturing your hiring process so you can hire good employees to be part of a great team

Meet our guests:

Brent Sprinkle, owner at TrueNorth Business Navigation

Brent Sprinkle

As owner and lead guide at TrueNorth Business Navigation, Brent guides leaders in implementing a set of simple, proven, and practical tools to build a successful business.

Before his work with TrueNorth Business Navigation and guided by a strong desire to have a major impact, Brent worked in management, successfully leading a number of software and hardware technology development teams ranging in size from 8 to over 800.


Cyndi Gave, owner at The Metiss Group

Cyndi Gave

Cyndi has been leading The Metiss Group since 1996 but learned her passion for people long before. Cyndi’s human behavior studies started with an international temporary staffing company, reshaping their job matching and business model to earn the branch Profit Center of The Year. Cyndi would go on to hold executive roles in HR departments for automotive, property management, distribution, publishing, and robotics industries.

A business leader at heart, Cyndi has found her niche to impact business results best through advising leaders in their quest for an effective employee selection process, the means to accelerate employee performance, and strengthening organizational health.



Purchasing Computers for Your Organization

PCs are trending at the moment. Hitting their highest level since 2014, PC sales surged during the pandemic. Worldwide sales increased by 32% over the course of just one year! It’s not surprising as many businesses needed to buy computers that better enabled remote work. And all the households that added computers for remote learning and entertainment.

Building on this success, Microsoft recently introduced Windows 11 (to be released later this year), which has a streamlined design similar to a smartphone. With a cleaner start menu and more ways to interact with windows, they’re making it easier for you to stay in the flow of work.

Why do growing sales and a new operating system matter? Technology is critical to resilience. Your organization needs computers that help your team get their work done efficiently and contribute to their happiness at work. Having a clear purchasing strategy helps make sure your team has the right tools and directly drives results. Here are a few considerations for purchasing computers for your organization:

Create a hardware budget per team member

  • Having a managed budget helps keep costs predictable for the organization. Anticipating the expense per team member helps make sure each employee gets what they need.
  • As we do more with computers and work from anywhere, it’s beneficial to include multiple monitors, docking stations, laptop bags, extra power adapters. Since these accessories are typically a matter of personal preference, you can build flexibility into your budget by giving an allowance to team members so they can choose what works best.
  • Video meetings have become a standard, and we’ve all experienced the good and the bad (audio and video quality). We recommend not skipping on the expense of headphones and external cameras.

Offer a variety of options for what people need and want

  • Computer needs can vary across roles, departments, or personal preferences. Giving your team options allows them to choose what works for them while also controlling costs.
  • The mobility, performance, and design of the computers can impact your employees’ relationship with your organization’s technology. Within your budget, it’s helpful to provide options that are lightweight and can withstand movement (mobility), run fast when working with your applications and start-up quickly (performance), and have a bigger screen for productivity (design).

Invest in the right manufacturer’s warranty

  • The base warranty covers hardware failures. It often excludes accidental damage (electrical surge, a dropped laptop, or liquid spill). Adding protection from incidents like this can save you the expense of repairing machines when things happen.
  • You can also protect your investment by aligning the length of the warranty coverage to the timeframe of technology refreshes.
  • Another important consideration: how warranty support is performed. Some warranties require you to mail the computer to the manufacturer for repair, while others send a technician to your office. Making onsite warranty support a standard can save you big on the cost of lost productivity and frustration.

Consider ‘desk hotelling’ in shared office spaces

  • If your team primarily works from home, this gives people a workspace while in the office and could help reduce your organization’s real estate costs.
  • With flexible workspaces, technology is key. While you may want to set up a computer on some shared desks, your team may be more productive if they can dock their laptop and connect to one or two monitors.

Manage a consistent refresh cycle

  • As computers age, performance worsens, and the cost to maintain increases. Proactively planning for upgrades helps your business operate smoothly. When communicated with your team, it also sets clear expectations and shows your commitment to helping them reach their full potential.
  • Rather than refreshing all computers at once, you can budget to replace 20-30% yearly. If you’re leasing, you can coordinate refreshing the hardware with your terms.
  • Also, needs change and technology evolves. Offering an accessory “refresh” every few years can help your team do their job well and feel supported.

Purchasing Computers for Your Organization

Whether you’re leasing or purchasing outright, having a plan for purchasing the right computers for your team helps reduce your risks, manage and control costs, and foster happy employees.

As an IT partner, we help our small business clients by:

  • tracking computer inventory to help inform their strategy for purchasing computers.
  • recommending and sourcing computers that perform well in their environment

If you have any questions, contact us. We’re here to help you simplify your IT!


Security News: Microsoft Exchange

WorkSmart is aware of the vulnerabilities being used to attack on-premise versions of Microsoft Exchange Server. We have confirmed that our clients using Exchange have the updated security patches already installed, and thus are protected. WorkSmart does not use the on-premise version of Microsoft Exchange. Microsoft confirmed that Exchange Online, the hosted email service provided by Microsoft 365, is not affected.


Why you need a backup for files in the cloud?

Ever wondered why you would need a backup even if you’re storing your files in the cloud? We are here to fill you in! Check out the answer in less than 60 seconds on this short episode of #MarissaExplainsITAll. You can also follow along with the script down below.

Marissa Explains IT All: Episode 1


Why do you need a backup if you’re storing your files in the cloud?


“Why do you need a backup if you’re storing your files in the cloud? So, the cloud isn’t the same thing as a backup. The cloud uses the internet to make things more available from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. While those vendors are trying to make sure that those infrastructure and the services are running at all times, and they protect themselves in the event that something were to happen to their environment, they don’t always protect your data the same way that a backup does. Your backup is intentionally creating copies so that you can use it in the event that the original copy is no longer there, where as the cloud service just makes it available. While we have things like versioning to help us be able to see the changes that have been made and roll back, we can’t reliably recover and restore – which is why you need a dedicated backup.”

Connected, meaningful, and productive communications with Microsoft 365 Tools

Employees and customers want and expect your organization to have the right technology to meet their needs.

That means more effective and efficient communication channels.

In this hour-long workshop, you’ll learn how you can use Microsoft 365 to improve the employee and customer experience by fostering real interaction and limiting distractions.

What you’ll learn:

  • How small business are using Microsoft 365 to create virtual workspaces for their teams and clients
  • Tips for using Microsoft 365 apps—like SharePoint, Sway, Yammer, and Stream—to make communication more effective
  • Considerations for building a communications strategy

How DNS Security Keeps Your Organization Safe from Cyber Threats

Remote work and cloud technology have improved productivity in the workplace but have also created more opportunities for cyber attackers.

Since the beginning of 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported a 300% increase in cybercrimes.  Web threats are rising as 1 in 13 web requests now lead to malware.

Protecting your organization from cyber threats starts with having a layered approach to your organization’s cyber defenses.


A Skill-building Class: Making Microsoft Team Meetings More Engaging


Cloud-based collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams help bring your team and customers together, even when apart. However, the meeting practices developed in-person may not work as well over video.

Since paying attention in a virtual meeting can be especially difficult, it’s important to find ways to keep involved and engaged.

Watch this workshop, where you’ll learn how to use the tools within Microsoft Teams to be more productive (and natural) during online meetings.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to make scheduling simpler
  • Ways to reduce potential distractions during online meetings
  • Tips for sharing content and collecting insights during a meeting
  • How to make larger meetings more effective

Employee Productivity, Starting with Your Microsoft 365 Strategy

Your team can get work done from anywhere because of tools like Microsoft 365.

Now, it’s time to focus on helping your team leverage the technology to solve business problems and work better.

Watch this hour-long workshop, where you’ll learn how you can use Microsoft 365 to help your organization be more efficient and focused on the top priorities.

What you’ll learn:

  • The best way to organize your organization’s files (and your people) in Microsoft Teams
  • Why software unification leads to more engaged employees
  • The benefits of automating repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus on bigger tasks (how to do that with Microsoft 365)
  • How Microsoft 365 can help you use data to improve productivity and well-being

A Skill-building Class: OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, and More

Microsoft Office apps like Excel have kept you productive for many years. 

Now, the modern workplace offers more ways to take your get-work-done skills to the next level.

Watch this 45-minute workshop, where you’ll learn tips and tricks to help you create your best work with Microsoft 365 apps. 


What you’ll learn:

  • How to use Office apps like Word and PowerPoint for real-time co-editing and collaboration
  • The best ways to share your files with co-workers, vendors, and customers
  • How to update your Microsoft Teams notifications so you can choose what you listen to
  • Why Microsoft Editor may make you a better writer
  • The benefits of using OneNote as your digital notebook

Only the Best Practices for Remote Work

Is your team working from home?

Prior to March 2020, many small businesses worked primarily from an office. Now that many of us are working from home, whether it’s temporary or going to become your team’s new normal, are you working at your best?

Watch this webinar for best practices on remote work.

Learn how to be productive and to keep teams engaged when working remotely.

With this Q&A, we’re sharing best practices for small businesses shifting to working remotely. Featuring experts from several topics:

  • WorkSmart, managed IT services and small business IT support
  • Sophos, cybersecurity
  • Microsoft, productivity and collaboration
  • TrueNorth Business Navigation, personal connections and leadership