windows7 end of life

Windows 7 is Now End-Of-Life

If you’re still running Windows 7, January 14th, 2020 was the official end-of-life.  What does this mean? It means that Microsoft will disown the product, and support & updates will not be available. Soon other software like antivirus and backup programs won’t be supported either.

While this doesn’t mean that Windows 7 will just stop working, it does mean that increasingly over time your computer will be more and more vulnerable to hacking and viruses.

So what should you do?  It’s time to upgrade to Windows 10!

Your Windows 10 Upgrade could be FREE!

If you are running Windows 7 Pro you may be entitled to a free upgrade.  If you have Windows 10 Home you can upgrade at a minimal cost.

Upgrade time can take 1-4 hours and can be done by Good Computer Guy remotely.

Contact Good Computer Guy today to start the upgrade process quickly and easily.

How to Increase the Productivity of Remote Employees

If you’re in an industry that can accommodate employees who telecommute, it’s good news for both you and your employees. Your employees can save the time and money that they would otherwise spend commuting. As for your business, if you have remote employees, you’re probably on the right track—some studies suggest that remote workers might actually be more productive. This isn’t a universal truth, though, and if you have remote employees, you will understandably want to check in with them to ensure they’re maintaining efficiency and getting work done. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Setting Goals

With remote employees, it’s always good to regularly set goals. Whether it’s with a phone call, video chat, or email, talk to your remote employees on a regular basis about goals. It may make things easier for everybody to have a set day and time, like Monday mornings, when you reach out to employees to discuss goals for the week. Make sure you give your employees a chance to ask questions and discuss goals with you. Motivated employees may surprise you with what they’re able to accomplish, and making goal-setting a collaboration rather than an order just might result in more work done in a shorter amount of time. It also will help your employees feel appreciated and included.

Offering Incentives

Of course, while salary is sometimes incentive enough, a little extra boost might be what’s needed to nudge remote employees to go the extra mile. Particularly in the case of a special project or work that you want completed quickly, monetary, travel, or other incentives can go a long way. Consider monetary or gift card incentives if certain goals are met. In addition, offering health-based incentives, like gym memberships, also proves to be motivating for many employees.

Find a Way to Track Progress

For both you and your employees, establishing a clear way to track progress can easily boost productivity. Tracking software will help motivate employees by showing them how close they are to reaching their goals. It also will help you see how each employee is doing without forcing you to rely on self-reporting or other possibly unreliable measures. Depending on how you choose to track, this may have some upfront cost, but the productivity benefits and peace of mind will easily outweigh the price tag.

Communication

According to studies, 81% of office workers state that they benefit from peer collaboration and that it boosts productivity. Also, while it may be tempting to just check in weekly, increased contact with employees is a sure way to increase productivity. Remote work can sometimes be isolating, however, and occasionally assigning employees to collaborative projects can increase morale and give them a sense of belonging. As a boss, make sure that employees can always ask questions or check in—whether that’s by phone, text, or email. By both proactively reaching out and encouraging employees to do the same, you create a culture of communication. For a business, that’s always a good thing.

Don’t Overdo It

Tracking, communication, and other strategies are all useful, but these things need to be done in moderation. When you constantly check in with or monitor your employees, your efforts are likely to become counterproductive. Just like many people find it hard to focus with someone standing right behind them and watching over their shoulder, your employees are likely to be insulted if they sense you can’t trust them to manage their time. Use communication and collaboration—but don’t become a helicopter boss.

Continue to Maintain Structure

It’s been said that telecommuting might be the office of the future. While this may be true, the sometimes unstructured feel of telecommuting can hinder the performance of some employees. As mentioned above, working from home can sometimes become isolating. Because of this, it’s wise to help maintain some semblance of office culture and structure. What this looks like exactly will depend on the type of business you run. Generally speaking, it’s good to start with something like a weekly or monthly emailed newsletter. This can notify employees of their achievements and accomplishments and can also make sure they feel included in the daily goings-on at your company. If employees all live reasonably close to your central location, you might consider having an occasional get-together to celebrate holidays and major milestones.

In conclusion, remote employees can frequently be more productive than in-office employees if you create a remote-work setup with intention and structure. And like everything, it’s a form of balance. By regularly checking in with employees, you can assess what is and isn’t working for them. Finally, by taking a few steps to make sure remote workers feel both appreciated and supported, you’ll be going a long way to making your business even more efficient than before.

Looking for more tips to increase the efficiency of your small business? Consider hiring the Good Computer Guy for all of your IT needs!

Make Your Office More Efficient with These Tech Upgrades

Every office is in a constant battle to embrace new technology, minimize disruption, and become as efficient as humanly possible. However, it seems as if not a day passes without there being some new “must-have” piece of technology which you have to take time and sometimes money to consider. Here are three areas of business technology that will definitely turn out to be worth your investment.

Automated Direct Mail

Automated direct mail is a process where you use technology to automate logistics and organize addresses, which helps decrease the challenges associated with sending direct mail, saving you precious time and energy. If you fully embrace automated direct mail, you can save time and money in many ways. First, you can redirect vital staff resources away from data entry and analysis. This allows you to find more productive and financially rewarding use of staff time. Additionally, technological upgrades can often give you a better insight to your marketing and promotional strategies than a human, as they can better examine data and use those insights to find more effective strategies.

Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are off-site assistants who work remotely. They can fulfill a variety of tasks that you need for your office without taking up a ton of time or money. Better yet, since they are trained in fulfilling certain tasks (like scheduling or marketing), they have expertise which you may not be able to find. They usually work from home as a subcontractor, so you don’t have to worry about big paychecks or benefits. This also gives you the flexibility to hire, or not hire, as the need arises.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing allows for entrepreneurs and their employees to work remotely, from anywhere, on a variety of business tasks. True cloud computing is about more than just being able to access your server from anywhere — it allows you to reduce downtime, cut down on IT costs, better collaborate on projects which require technology and improve internal and external communications. 

We are long past the days of switching from physical to digital business. It’s a digital business world now, and so now the question is not whether you should integrate technology, but rather which technologies to use and which ones to ignore. If you think these types of upgrades are beyond your business, fear not! Ask your managed IT provider today about the best technology to increase efficiency for your particular business.

Why Computer Security Audits Are Your Friend

Companies need to be aware of their own security issues. A good security audit will show a company where problems will occur that could hurt their reputation or their secrets. The people that perform these audits are aware of this and know how to handle issues brought forth. That is why a company needs to know what to expect.

Identifying Vulnerabilities

Everyone, even government organizations, has vulnerabilities and cyber risks, making an audit an excellent opportunity to identify and address those issues. People within these companies and agencies do not always know what to look out for. That is why an independent contractor being brought in will help find issues within hardware and software. That independence will also help protect people, even if they just made a simple mistake. Someone may not be aware that using a flash drive can lead to theft. A game played can lead to opening a window into the company.

Maintaining a Reputation

A breach within hardware and software can affect the reputation of a company all the way to job security and profits. Companies lose the trust of customers, so they have to regain it. They also lose the trust of stockholders. This can lead to people not utilizing the products or services offered. That can lead to layoffs that hurt company profit. A company has to decide how to handle this. One of the ways is to do regular security audits, so that problems can be seen before they happen. This can help keep a company from being embarrassed in the news.

Maintaining Communication Lines

One of the first things that need to be done within a company is to keep clear lines of communication for employees. Employees need conversations that are not full of technological explanations. The IT department needs to be seen around and be known by as many people as they can be. Security and IT should be seen as part of the team. They are the defensive line for the team, while an independent audit is the practice team. This will help cause employees to ask when they have any doubts.

A company or government agency should work together as a team. This teamwork will allow for hardware and software issues to be handled better. A security audit should not be a worry. This is a helpful tool that will pay for itself, especially with the company’s reputation. And when you have fewer things to worry about, you will be more productive.

Do you have a managed IT provider? If not, that can be an excellent first step toward securing your business. Talk to the Good Computer Guy today!

If You’re a Business Owner, Make Sure Your Phone Has These 4 Apps

Apps can make your life as a business owner much easier. Choosing the right apps will save you time and significantly improve your efficiency. Four great apps for business are Audible, Glympse, Evernote, and Trello.

Audible

Reading books relevant to business is essential for success as a business owner. You not only need to read books on the practical side of running a business but also on personal development to address the psychological side of success too. Audible enables you to listen to audiobooks on the go. You can squeeze in more reading time by listening to an audiobook while driving or enjoying lunch at a cafe. In addition to audiobooks, Audible has audio versions of newspapers, magazines and TV programs.

Glympse

Cellphone use is one of the most common causes of distracted driving and subsequent car accidents. Business owners are susceptible to distraction while driving because they may be waiting on important phone calls or worrying that a client is checking on them. With the Glympse app, you don’t have to text your estimated arrival time. You simply share your real-time location and ETA, and it allows clients, coworkers and others you are meeting to check on the app and discover where you are. Rather than texting updates on when you’ll arrive, the person you are meeting can watch your progress in real time.  

Evernote

Evernote is an excellent note-taking app that helps you remember sudden inspirations you have while on the go. You can also build business to-do lists in the app. Evernote lets you create various notebooks to organize your thoughts, and it has a search function to help you quickly find the note you need. You can save graphics and audio as notes with this app too. Evernote is widely used and can often be integrated with other apps.

Trello

All business owners could use good project management tools like Trello. You can give team members access to an ongoing project in Trello so they can provide updates on their progress. You can also delegate tasks to the different team members through Trello. This app saves everyone time while they are working on a project. Team members are able to upload images and leave comments. In the comments section, they can also ask questions. Other team members will be able to see the answers, so the same inquiries won’t need to be duplicated. Trello has an easy way of dividing tasks based on which ones are in progress, which ones aren’t and which are complete. You can gain both a big-picture and a small-picture view of the project for effective management.

If you’re a business owner, you’re likely always looking for ways to make your business more efficient. Putting these apps on your phone will help you to make sure that your business runs smoothly every day. 

Here’s another article we think you’ll like: 4 Cyber Security Best Practices for Your Small to Medium-Sized Business

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