Artisan Blog

Pet Friendly Work Environments

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Pet Friendly Work Environments

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” - Mahatma Gandhi

This week is National Pet Week! There are many ways in which you can celebrate and assist our animal friends, companions, and colleagues.

Consider a Pet-friendly Workplace

Over the years, many American corporate environments have become more casual. This has led to more companies, including some of the hottest companies around, to create pet-friendly work environments and extend Take Your Dog to Work Week into a year-round culture of animal inspiration. Pet-friendly offices can be a good incentive for recruiting, as well as providing moments of levity and stress relief when work gets intense.

In most corporate or creative businesses, this trend mainly applies to dogs, although “retail cats” remain fixtures in bookstores and bodegas across the land, and can coax in new business through their online popularity.

If you want to make your workplace pet-friendly, take into account these considerations:

 

  • Will the animals be comfortable and safe? If they need to run around or use the bathroom, will they be able to do so easily enough?
  • What do the humans think? If your team is full of animal lovers, they may be enthusiastic. If some of them have allergies, or don’t want dogs around, a pet-friendly workplace may not be right for you at this time.
  • Do pets fit in with your brand and your company culture?
  • Will their presence make your team more productive and happy? Will their need for companionship be more of a distraction or an inspiration?
  • What are the applicable rules and logistical concerns that apply to your workplace?
  • Should you offer other animal-related perks, such as pet insurance?

 

Other Ways to Help Animals

Whether or not you can accommodate pets in your offices, there are many ways to support animals this week and throughout the year.

Top San Francisco animal charities and top Los Angeles animal charities are always in need of donations (money and items) and volunteer power. These include shelters, rescue groups, and organizations that promote animal welfare. You can use Charity Navigator to determine which animal charities in Los Angeles or San Francisco you most want to support with your money or your time.We love and support NKLA which is working hard to make Los Angeles a no kill city.

You might consider organizing a team volunteer outing to help such an organization. Giving aid to more vulnerable creatures can open our hearts, teach us a lot about ourselves, and help teams come together to better understand each other

At Artisan Creative, our mission is to help build the workplaces, teams, and careers of the future. Contact Artisan Creative today to explore more.

We hope you've enjoyed the 520th issue of our a.blog.  Follow us on social and meet the furry friends who keep us company at work. 

 


Marketing Your Business

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Marketing Your Business

We’re all entrepreneurs now. Whether you’re a creative professional or cultivating a side hustle, your path to consistent and satisfying success is to think of yourself as a business. This means that to get the clients and projects you want, you must master the basics of marketing on a budget.

When you understand the most important principles of marketing, and you're willing to put in the reasonable amount of effort required, you'll bring in new business, and you'll have time to focus on the work you really love.

As you grow your freelancing career, here are a few big marketing ideas to keep in mind.

Build Your Brand

Having a strong personal and professional brand means more than having a concise elevator pitch, although that's an essential part of it. You must know who you are, what you can do, what values you represent, and how to communicate your identity. When you put your mind and heart into developing your brand, it will pay massive dividends with the people and projects that come into your life.

Work Your Network

As a creative freelancer, some of the most effective marketing you can do is still old-fashioned word-of-mouth. When you provide value to others, attend networking events to engage with your community, and seek out the peers, collaborators, and mentors you wish to cultivate, new resources and opportunities will present themselves in ways you never anticipated.

Prioritize Product-Market Fit

Author Carolyn Tate describes the "four Ps of marketing" - product, pricing, placement, and promotion - and how they're always interrelated. In the new age of growth hacker marketing, running a business is a constant process of iteration, and great products are built through feedback loops and ongoing processes of community interaction. Remain curious and sensitive to the changing needs of your clients. Let your marketing efforts and your work feed into a constant refinement of improving each other.

Track Your Progress

To better allocate your resources and understand how your marketing is paying off, keep track of your progress and results over time. If you're not naturally comfortable with numbers, charts, and analytics, you can use one of the many free tools that are available.

Share Your Success

Whether you present your work in an online portfolio, create content to showcase your ideas, or engage with your clients and community through social media, don't be shy about sharing your best self with the world. It will inspire others, build your own confidence, and bring lots of new opportunities to your doorstep.

Turn Pro

When you start thinking of yourself as a serious professional, something magical happens. If you're struggling with that transition, or you're ready to take your creative career or small business to the next level, we can help! Contact Artisan Creative today to take your next step.

We hope you've enjoyed issue 518 of our a.blog.


Reducing Our Footprint at Work

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Reducing Our Footprint at Work

We only have one earth, and all professionals and businesses share a responsibility to do what we can to take care of it. When we become more mindful of our environmental impact and make more efficient use of our resources, it’s good for the soul, good for the planet, and often good for the budget. We can take inspiration from some of the world’s largest companies and their efforts to be better global citizens. In celebration of Earth Day, here are a few tips for reducing our ecological footprint at work.

Cut the Commute

Whether it takes the form of encouraging ridesharing and mass transit or going partly or entirely remote, reducing time on the road is great for the environment, as well as for stress and spending levels. If you must commute to work, make responsible and productive use of your commuting time, and seek out the wealth of local transportation apps that provide the best options.

Do an Energy Audit

Account for the ways you use electricity in the workplace. Can you switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs? Do simply switch off lights when they’re not in use or leave it for someone else to take care of? Can you rely less on heating and air conditioning? Slight reductions in energy use make a big difference when we all do our part. And, cultivating a more mindful and responsible attitude toward energy can improve all aspects of your work…… awareness is key.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Promote and participate in a workplace recycling program. Avoid buying new supplies until you’ve made full use of what you already have. Whenever you can, make do with less. Oftentimes the most familiar environmentalist wisdom remains the best.

Know Your Supply Chain

You know your business, and you know it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. How well do you understand the processes that surround it, and the full impacts they have? Sustainable procurement is an often-overlooked opportunity to build more environmental responsibility into the business processes that will impact our future.

Change Your Lunch Habits

It’s getting cooler, and easier, to go vegetarian or vegan. Some workplaces are implementing no-meat policies. With remarkable advances in meat substitutes, low-impact diets offer increasingly nutritious and delicious alternatives to fast food. Pay attention to improving what you eat on the job, and you’ll look better, feel better, and help reduce the burden on our species and our planet.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that great work springs from a holistic approach to building careers and lifestyles that serve our true desires. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 517th issue of our a.blog.

 


Managing a Remote Team

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Managing a Remote Team

Remote work is on the rise. Taking advantage of the increasingly robust connective and collaborative capabilities of digital technology has been statistically shown to reduce employee stress, improve employee engagement, and save time and money for companies.

It just requires an ever-so-slightly modified style of management.

Digital nomads will play increasingly important roles in the future of business. If you’re a manager, it’s time to prepare yourself to help foster success for employees and contractors who work mostly or entirely off-site. Here are some key tips for managing a happy and productive remote team.

Start With Onboarding

From your onboarding and training processes onward, make sure your expectations are clear and that remote work best practices are baked into the culture of your business and enthusiastically embraced and understood by your team.

Facilitate Transparency

When employers, managers, and professional collaborators can’t hold regular in-person meetings, clear systems for accountability and transparency are crucial. Make it easy for remote team members to track and report on their work and to reach out to others for help as soon as they need it.

Use Technology and Stay Connected

Even if different members of your team live in different time zones, they need to be able to communicate with each other, as everyone must feel connected. For example, Zoom and slack can help you hold weekly video meetings, even if they’re simply status check-ins. Use the most appropriate project management software to track responsibilities and accomplishments and to enhance off-site collaboration. Build a strong company culture, encourage your team to support each other and take pride in what they do together.

Hire People You Can Trust, and Trust Them

The people who are best suited to remote work are generally highly motivated self-starters. They take responsibility without too much guidance or external discipline. They communicate clearly, sincerely, and consistently.

Take extra care to only bring in those who can contribute their best efforts to your team without peer pressure, micromanagement, and constant attention. Then, let them work. When managing a remote team, instead of being a taskmaster or a disciplinarian, be free to serve as a resource and a positive example of how people can work closely together without the need for geographic proximity, cubicles, or Casual Fridays.

Artisan Creative runs on the efforts of a tightly bonded and highly successful remote team. We have been a remote workforce since 2009 and understand better than most, the unique challenges of managing a remote team and how the right approach can set you up for success. We’d love to share our expertise with you. Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more.

 

We hope you've enjoyed our 516th a.blog.

 


Morning Rituals For Success

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Morning Rituals For Success

If you're a "morning person," you know that the early hours of the day, between when you wake up and when you begin work, can be some of the most valuable, productive, and fun. And, even if you don't identify that way, you may be surprised how a few slight changes in your behavior can have a tremendous effect on your attitude.

When you establish the right morning routine, you can greet the day with fresh vigor, get more accomplished in work and life, and go to sleep looking forward to the next day. Want to stop hitting “snooze” and learn to love your mornings? Here are some ideas for morning rituals that will spread some sunshine on your days.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Sometimes more pleasant mornings are simply a matter of getting adequate rest at night. Before making any changes to your morning routine, make sure you're in good physical health, not abusing drugs or alcohol, and getting the best sleep you can.

Rise Early

When you're not in a hurry, everything seems less daunting. Give yourself more than enough time to transition from sleep to preparation for the day ahead.

Make Time for Yourself

To put yourself in a pleasant and productive mood, start your day with activities you will look forward to and enjoy, with an eye toward building routines that help you cultivate a positive mindset. These could include mindfulness meditation, a solo creative project you're passionate about and want to make time for, or maybe just a bracing cup of coffee.

Get Moving

"Running and walking are both great because they're accessible to most everyone, they can be your gateway remedy to a healthier lifestyle, and they can even give you the momentum to design a whole new morning routine," writes Benjamin Spall, author ofMy Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. If a pre-dawn run sounds overwhelming, you can try yoga, stretching, swimming, or any other physical activity that wakes you up, circulates your blood and oxygen, and helps you get into the rhythm and flow of life.

Write

"Something I do every morning is stretch, listen to NPR, and then shower," says Tina Roth Eisenberg, designer and founder of the popular lecture and networking event series Creative Mornings. "Then I sit down and either write whatever my soul needs to regurgitate or post to my blog." Whether or not you consider yourself a writer, an early-morning writing practice is one of the most trusted ways to kickstart your brain, prime your creative pump, and connect to your deeper emotions. You can try Julia Cameron's "Morning Pages," record the previous night's dreams while they're fresh, or keep a decision journal. Or, like humorist David Sedaris, jot down a few notes, lists, or ideas at dawn and return to them later to flesh them out.

Prepare

"Each morning you should prepare, plan and meditate on how you aim to act that day," writes author Ryan Holiday. "Don’t wing it. Don’t be reactionary. Have a plan. Marcus Aurelius rose in the morning and did his journaling - preparing himself for what he was likely to face in the hours ahead. He thought about the people he was likely to face, difficulties he might encounter (premeditatio malorum), and what he knew about how to respond." Developing an early-morning journaling habit can help you build personal confidence and see connections and patterns you might otherwise miss.

Skip Email and Social Media

Most mornings, your notifications can wait. If the first thing you do every day is reach for your phone, try postponing that for an hour, or however long it takes to do something more peaceful and reclaim some of your private psychological space. "This can be hard for many of us, especially if you run an online business or keep up profiles that feel like they require your full attention at all times," writes Spall. What you'll quickly find, however, is that avoiding social media in the morning will allow the calm of the night to carry on a little bit longer.”

The best way to stop a bad habit is to, instead of going cold turkey, replace it with something you'd rather do instead. "If you’re going to do something like intentionally ignore your email for a few hours, you need to be just as intentional about planning how you’re going to spend that time," writes Kelsey Manning, who struggled to implement email-free mornings and gained some insight in the process.

Change One Habit at a Time

Take inspiration from Niklas Göke, who wrote an excellent piece about how he built an enviable morning routine by optimizing one new habit at a time. "I never made a list when I began," Göke writes. "Because it wouldn’t have lasted a day. The moment you make a list, you start trying to check off the items on it. You’ll dream up a big set of habits, try to adopt them all in a day and fail. Instead, see this idea as a process of optimization. Don’t pressure yourself to get it right the first time. Think of yourself as putting one foot in front of the other and improving along the way. This way, you’ll focus on learning and getting better, rather than comparing and getting frustrated."

Take advantage of our decades of experience. We'll help you build the lifestyle and career you've always wanted. Contact Artisan Creative today to get started.

We hope you've enjoyed our 514th a.blog.

 


Digital Spring Cleaning

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Digital Spring Cleaning

Happy Spring! Today is the first day of spring, the vernal equinox when the sun’s rays shine directly on the equator, and our days begin to get longer.

Spring cleaning is in the air, and this year we are focusing not only on de-cluttering our home offices and work stations but also focusing on our digital clutter and noise!

Multi-version files, copies from years ago, duplicate images, a multitude of apps, and incessant notifications lead to not only a cluttered digital space, but also to a cluttered mind leading to distraction and reduced productivity.

Below are several tips to help you with your digital spring cleaning:

Managing your smartphone

Moving all apps into a folder, alphabetizing and deleting those no longer in use is scary, yet liberating. In his article Beautilty, Jason Stirman describes the step by step to do this task.

Duplicate Files

If you aren’t already using proper naming conventions, start now. It’s too easy to get bogged down with multiple file versions with slightly different names. Choose a file naming convention process and stick with it. Whether you start with the name or date, stay true to it and implement it across your team or department.

If things have gotten out of hand, manual intervention may not be possible. In this case, duplicate file management apps like Gemini or a variety of version control options such as Git, SVN, and others will solve your problem. If you are a creative, use Adobe Bridge or DAM to manage those assets on an ongoing basis.

Backup and Delete

Once your files are organized, then back them up to the cloud, or to a drive. Back it up and have the peace of mind that you can always find that one elusive file. Delete all non-current files as well.

Say Goodbye

Turning off notifications, and unsubscribing from emails and newsletters that are overflowing your inbox will give some breathing space. Whether you change the frequency of newsletters or divert them to their own folder, change this flow of digital noise to something that is both manageable and realistic for you. You can use Unroll.me to batch unsubscribe and remove email subscriptions you no longer need.

Inbox Zero

It’s hard to start, however, once you achieve inbox zero, you’ll never want to go back. A few easy steps can get you organized and help build a workflow so you can get to inbox zero. Tools like Sanebox help manage all those LinkedIn invites, or Basecamp notifications.

 

We hope you've enjoyed our 513th a.blog.  Please connect if you are looking to hire your dream team, or looking for your next job opportunity.


14 Apps We Love

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

14 Apps We Love

Your phone is what you make of it. With the right apps installed, it can be a trusted colleague and collaborator, a tool for boosting your productivity, enhancing your creativity, and making your life more interesting.

It’s a good idea to, every so often, go through your apps, delete the ones that don’t spark curiosity, creativity, or productivity and replace them with new ones that help you crush your commute and get more juice from your screen time.

As our Valentine’s Day gift to you, here’s a bouquet of apps that focus us at work, help us relax at home, and generally delight us. Try a new one and let us know what you think!

Notebook [ iOS | Android]

The right note-taking app helps you to, in the words of business guru Tiago Forte, “build a second brain.” We love Zoho’s Notebook for its attractive interface and intuitive card-based system of organization.

Otter [iOS | Android]

For those of us who love to think out loud, Otter’s well-organized voice recorder is essential for catching elusive ideas, immortalizing snippets of rambling conversations, or launching when you wake up to make sure you remember that breakthrough idea you had in a dream last night.

Hopper [iOS | Android]

Travel indubitably broadens the mind, and its logistics can take their toll on one’s patience. With this brilliant flight-booking app, you can save your extra heartbeats for all the new vistas you’ll explore.

Buddhify [iOS | Android]

There’s a gold rush in meditation and mindfulness apps. This one stands out by virtue of its grounding in Rohan Gunatillake’s mindful design principles. Buddhify is flat-out beautiful, with a rich and playful UX that makes it ideal for beginners or anyone who feels a bit lost in establishing a practice.

VSCO [iOS | Android]

VSCO is for anyone who loves the creative side of photography and image manipulation, especially those who want to take their Instagram feeds to the next level. Its filtering tools can help almost anyone post high-quality digital images. Professional designers and photogs swear by it.

Snapseed [iOS | Android]

Here’s another essential image-editing tool for anyone who wants to keep alive the aesthetic principles of great photography in the era of social media. If you wonder how your favorite influencers always make their lemon wedges look so juicy and crisp, this might be your answer.

Chess - Play and Learn [iOS | Android]

Make a playdate with your inner strategist. Whether you’re a beginner or a master, the sleek design of this app makes it easy to love this timeless game of intellect.

Pocket [iOS | Android]

From long reads to listicles, Pocket makes it easy to stay caught up with all the great written content you may find around the web. Robust tagging enables you to organize your library, and the vastly improved text-to-speech capabilities mean you can catch up on your “reading” while you commute, work out, or do the dishes.

Stoop [iOS | Android]

Email newsletter subscriptions are a wonderful way to immerse yourself in niche subjects or to get informed on a broad range of current events. With Stoop, you can now organize and keep up with all your favorite newsletters without overwhelming your inbox.

Zoom [iOS | Android]

Zoom is one of the most innovative video meeting and conference-room apps. It gets special mention here for its addition of “driving mode,” which may actually save on car repair bills.

Pocket Casts [iOS | Android]

Podcasting keeps getting better. Take advantage of the booming audio renaissance with this robust platform for podcasts. It has one of the most user-friendly interfaces for an app of its kind, allowing for better discovery and a more engaged listening experience.

Brain.fm [iOS | Android]

If you use music as a tool to relax, to focus, or to get things done, this unusual audio app may be the one you’ve been waiting for. With settings for “deep work,” meditation, sleep, and more, it lets you choose the state of mind you want and selects music tracks to match. It began as a cult favorite among coders, and now the secret is out.

7 Cups [iOS | Android]

In a time of increasing awareness of the tolls of depression, anxiety, and mental illness, not everyone has easy access to therapy. This revolutionary self-help app connects users with trained “listeners,” along with motivational exercises and a supportive community. 7 Cups may be a big clue to what the future of therapy may look like.

Moment [iOS | Android]

If you’re worried you may be spending too much time on your phone, or you want to encourage your kids to learn to better manage their screen time, the “gentle and compassionate” Moment app can help regain some digital agency. It gives you an inventory of how you engage with your device throughout the day and, if you don’t like the results, provides coaching to help you take more mindful charge of your eyeballs.

At Artisan Creative, we believe life and work are interrelated and we take a holistic approach to help teams and careers exceed expectations. Contact us today to start the conversation.

 


Our Top 25 Blogs

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Our Top 25 Blogs

We are thrilled to publish our 500th blog today. As we approach the end of 2018, we’d like to share some of our a.team’s favorite blogs.

These cover a range of topics from self-development and time-management to job search, hiring and much more.

We hope you enjoy this top 25 greatest hits compilation.

We hope you've enjoyed our 500th post.  You can find plenty other tips, inspirations, best practices and advice on our a.blog.

We look forward to connecting.




Project Management Software Review

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Project Management Software Review

 

Choosing a new project management software is one of the most significant and impactful management decisions you can make. The right choice can amplify your efforts, help you achieve and exceed your goals, plus give you what you need to work more efficiently, effectively, and fruitfully.

If you’re close to making a decision, or you’re just getting started on your research, here is a quick inventory of five popular project management software systems, with some of their pros and cons. This may help you stay focused on choosing the right project management solution for your particular team and case.

Basecamp

Basecamp was one of the first all-in-one project management solutions to gain wide popularity, and it remains widely used and loved. Created by the team formerly known as 37signals, it’s designed with a deep appreciation for the culture of business.

Pros: Simple, intuitive, easy to use and to master.

Cons: Lacks some of the slicker capabilities associated with newer entries into the market.

Trello

Based on a system of boards, lists, and cards, Trello has quickly become a favorite of designers and visual thinkers and is now a serious contender in the field of user-friendly project management software.

Pros: Fun to use, aesthetically pleasing, popular with visually inclined users.

Cons: Potentially challenging for users more accustomed to more plain and traditional methods of organization.

Asana 

Sleek, colorful, and user-friendly Asana is currently a pace-setter in the realm of project management software. Designed for detailed tracking, its organization encourages collaboration. It has been gaining wider adoption over the last several years.

Pros: Excellent mobile app, well suited for more fluid communication, collaboration, and goal-setting.

Cons: Requires some training and practice to master, which demands participation from the whole team.

Smartsheet

Smartsheet functions as a sort of enhanced version of Excel. Its spreadsheet-based interface is useful for planning and tracking elaborate projects and breaking them down into specific initiatives, tasks, and goals.

Pros: Highly recommended to those who are experienced with spreadsheets and fond of that organizational format.

Cons: Not as colorful or user-friendly as the modern-minded alternatives.

Airtable

Relatively new on the scene, Airtable is popular with publishers and is gaining steam and broader acceptance thanks to its versatility.

Pros: Highly flexible, easy to use and customize, well geared towards communication, file-sharing, and more.

Cons: Still fairly new, complex, requires some patience to understand and to master.

When choosing a project management system for your team, choose mindfully. This decision will fundamentally affect the culture that you work so hard to develop.

You need a system that works with the quirks, practices, and objectives of your team, as individuals and as a group. The right software should empower you, play to your strengths, be geared toward your goals, and bring you closer together.

As you choose, we recommend further research on collaboration tools and apps, project management software, and the broader thought behind project management systems.

At Artisan Creative, we pool our workplace wisdom and dedicate ourselves every day to finding the best creative talent available and to helping your team be as effective as it can be. Contact us today to learn more and explore your full potential.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 493rd issue of our a.blog.

 


Create a Creative Workspace

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Create a Creative Workspace

Living things don't exist in isolation - we are who we are through complex interactions with our environments. This means building strong relationships with colleagues and coworkers. We can also pay more mindful attention to the details of our physical surroundings. This can help us bring our workspaces into harmony with our projects, our values, and our personalities.

Whether you work from home or have a desk/cubicle in a larger office, these tips can help you spruce up your space, which can help you become happier, more productive, and more creative.

Shed a Little Light

The light you work under sets the tone for what you think and what you accomplish. It can have a powerful effect on your psychological and ocular health. If you can, invest in a stylish lamp you love. If you love to work with your hands and you know a bit about electronics, you can even try making your own.

Know Your Ergonomics

We did not evolve to sit at desks all day. But with a basic understanding of the principles of ergonomics, you can make your work much easier on your health, and feel better as well. Understand what you need from a chair, how to place your equipment, and how to sit. You'll feel better, accomplish more, and preserve your long-term health.

Keep Your Vision in Sight

Keeping your vision board prominently placed in your workspace can help you stay cognizant of your larger goals and mission. When you're in danger of getting lost in the details, your vision board can realign your mind with a larger perspective. Whatever you're working on, the big picture is only a glance away.

Add a Splash of Color

In every culture, colors have deep symbolic significance. According to color theory, the right combinations of colors can inspire new ideas and perspectives. In your space, experiment with colors to find your ideal aesthetic and psychological balance. You don't need to turn your office screaming neon pink; minor accents can be enough to alter your brain chemistry and enhance your insights.

Go Green

When we strengthen our relationships with nature, we put ourselves in touch with the rhythms of the earth and the essence of life. Bringing plants into your workspace (even just a modest succulent) can freshen your perspective. Taking care of a plant also provides a sense of responsibility and accomplishment, a valuable reminder that what you pay attention to always matters in this complex web of existence.

Work Within the Code

When we innovate within the rules, we become, as Proust writes, "like good poets whom the tyranny of rhyme forces into the discovery of their finest lines." If your employer has rules governing how you can decorate your space, this can drive you to be more creative, not less. Go through the rulebook in detail, and figure out fresh ways to let your personality shine within the structure. This can inspire you and those around you to look at established guidelines with a fresh perspective.

At Artisan Creative, we support all aspects of your career, because we believe the best work can only be done in the right environment. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 490th issue of our blog.


 

 





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