Appropriate Christmas Party Themes For Your Office

by Millicent T. on August 11, 2014

Having a Christmas Party at work can be strenuous. First, you have to come up with an appropriate Christmas party theme for the office. Then, the planning begins. The planning is the easy part. One of the hardest part seems to be a theme. Since I have been in charge of this project, we have had four themes.

Christmas_Party_Themes

The first year we did ‘Christmas Around the World.’ That was fun. We had the words Merry Christmas and Santa Claus in languages from different countries. We had dishes from different countries on the table. And we even had people tell short stories of their Christmas traditions. That year was one of my favorites. The next year, we worked with Toys for Tots. Our theme was ‘Santa’s Christmas List.’ The idea was to buy a gift that you would have wanted as a child and donate it. Everyone who brought in a gift for a child received a ticket to our Christmas Buffet. It was a great year for the kids. My associates were very generous. The third year, our theme was ‘Generosity and Kindness.’ The idea was to be generous and giving for the Month before Christmas. Every time you did something nice or charitable, you received a ticket for our tricky tray. The nicer and more generous you were, the more tickets you got to put into the bucket. Everyone seemed so much nicer that year!

This year, I’m working on something really special. We are actually having a Christmas Mini Carnival. We are inviting the families of the staff so they can enjoy some carnival games, popcorn, cotton candy, ice cream, and of course, a visit from the big man himself, Santa Claus. Then we will have a sit down style dinner. I know family is the most important thing in life, so why not include them in the fun. I’ve already called The Gallery Collection to order my corporate holiday party invitations. Everyone is so excited. My boss can’t wait to dress up as you know who!

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Preparing for a Job Interview

by Tabitha K. on August 7, 2014

I’m sure each one of us would agree that one of the most stressful events in our lives can be not only going on job interview but also preparing for a job interview.

Preparing_Job_Interview

From the moment a face to face meeting begins, everything is about you – your appearance, speech, ability, personality, even your smile – is being assessed. It’s up to you to create a favorable impression. And preparation is the only sure-fire way to make an important job interview a winning experience.

By following just few simple steps, you can better prepare yourself before the interview:

  • Select and layout your complete interview wardrobe. Carefully go over what you plan to wear the day before.
  • Sort out the credentials you plan to bring with you. Be sure to include several copies of your resume, letters of commendation. Be sure to include any achievements you received in your field.
  • Have a notebook and pen handy. Review notes and other data you compiled to help prepare you for the interview.
  • Most importantly, get a good night’s sleep! You never want to arrive late for an interview.

As an applicant in any job interview situation you are bound to be tense no matter how relaxed the interviewer may try to make you feel in his attempt to have you reveal yourself fully. During the interview, the interviewer will take note of your knowledge of the company, the manner in which you respond to questions as well as in the kind of questions you ask him. He will observe how you talk, sit, and smile. You always want to listen attentively. He will observe your enthusiasm (or lack of it). You always want to present a positive attitude. You shouldn’t talk too much during your interview; you don’t want to talk yourself right out of the job. One of your biggest goals during the interview (besides being offered the position) is to get the interviewer to like you. All these observations will be the basis for determining whether or not you are rejected, placed in a doubtful category, maybe be invited back for a 2nd interview, or in some cases, you’ll actually be offered the position.

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How to Exercise at Your Desk

by Janna D. on August 4, 2014

Many of us have good intentions when it comes to working out in spite of being at work for 1/3 of the day. We try to get up early to squeeze in a workout before we head in to the office. We plan a stop at the gym on the way home. We might even try to see what can be done during a lunch break. How about sneaking in a workout while you’re at your desk?

Exercise_at_work

Let’s face it, that’s where many of us spend much of our day, and all of those hours sitting in our desk chairs, hunched over our keyboards, are a big part of why we need the exercise in the first place. Turn that Catch 22 into the perfect time to wake up your muscles and learn how to exercise at your desk.

These Arm Exercises actually use your desk as your exercise equipment:

Place your hands under the desk, palms up, and press up as if you’re trying to lift the desk. Hold this contraction until your arms feel tired. You can do both hands at the same time, or alternate between working each arm individually.

Now place your hands on top of the desk, palms down and press as strongly as you can as if you’re pushing the desk down into the floor. Hold contraction until your arms feel tired.

Isometric Hand Press:

Sitting upright in your chair, grasp your hands together in front of your chest as if you were clapping. Firmly press them against each other, the right hand pushing to the left and the left hand pushing to the right. Hold contraction for 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat 4 times.

Shoulder Shrug:

Lift the tops of your shoulders toward your ears and hold for 5-10 seconds
Relax and drop your shoulders low, feeling a slight stretch in your neck.
Repeat as you like.

The Wooden Leg:

Sit in your chair, back straight. Engage your stomach muscles and extend one leg out straight in front of you even with the chair height and hold for 5 seconds. Pressing through your heel, slowly raise your leg up as high as you can, and hold it again for 5 seconds. Lower to the floor and repeat the sequence 8-10 times. Follow up with your other leg.

The Wooden Leg can also be done with both legs at once:
Sit closer to the edge of your seat and place your hands on the desk for balance.
Raise both legs together as high as possible under the desk. Hold for several seconds and slowly lower back down.

Crossed Leg Resistance Lift:

Cross one ankle on top of the other.
Begin to raise your feet off the floor.
Press top leg down and resist with bottom leg – hold this contraction until muscles are tired. Release to the floor.
Repeat with opposite ankle crossed over the top.

Chair Squats:

Stand tall with back straight.
Slowly lower your body to within 1 inch of the chair, almost sitting down but not quite touching the seat.
Hold for ten seconds.
Relax and sit fully into the chair, or lift back up to standing to repeat.

Thigh Muscle Static Contraction Series:

These isometric contractions can be done with all the muscles in the thighs simply by focusing your attention on each muscle group individually.

Begin by focusing on the inner thigh muscles: Contract/squeeze the inner thighs with maximum effort, holding the contraction for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat between 10-15 times.
Next focus on the outer thigh muscles. Contract these muscles as much as you can, holding for roughly 5 seconds and release. Repeat 10-15 times.
Continue on with your hamstrings – the backs of your thighs – strongly contracting those muscles for several seconds and then releasing. Repeat 10-15 times.
For your quadriceps (the tops of your thighs), straighten your legs out in front of you and then do the contractions, holding for 5 seconds, releasing and then repeating.
These can be done periodically throughout the day.

Inner Thigh Adduction:

Choose an item that can be squeezed such as a rolled up towel or even your sweater. Sit up straight in your chair towards the edge of the seat, your abs tucked in. Be sure your feet are flat on the floor and place the item between your knees. Squeeze your knees together with maximum force, holding for several seconds before releasing. Repeat 10-15 times.

Butt and Ab Clenches:

Tighten your buttocks as strongly as you can and hold that contraction for 10 seconds. Relax your muscles. Repeat this contraction 10-15 times.

Follow with your abs:
Tighten your tummy muscles, focusing on pulling your belly button in towards your spine and your side muscles in towards the center. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds. Repeat this contraction 15 times.

Sitting Spinal Stretch:

Sit tall in your chair, abs engaged and making sure your spine is straight. Place your left hand on the desk and with your right hand grab the back of the chair and gently twist your spine and neck to the right as if you’re trying to look behind you. Try not to hold your breath. Hold the twist for 10 seconds and then gently twist back to facing forward. Repeat with your right hand on the desk and your left arm on the back of the chair, gently twisting to the left until you can see behind you. Hold for 10 seconds and then release.

Finally, even just checking in every now and then to be sure you’re sitting properly in your chair helps your back muscles stay strong. Your chair height should allow your feet to be flat on the floor with your knees and hips bent to a 90-degree angle. Your back should be straight, with the lower spine flat against the back of the chair and your chair pulled in close to the desk to avoid hunching forward.

Follow these ideas throughout the day and you can get in some great movement, and you won’t even have to lunge your way to the photocopier.

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Christmas Cards for Your Dentist Office

by Mason A. on July 31, 2014

Going to the dentist could be a pretty awful experience for some people. The long drawn out process of making the appointment for a routine “check-up” on your pearly whites seems to take a toll on just about everyone for one reason or another. It could possibly be the constant usage of numerous metal instruments that are jagged, pointy, oh and yeah, could cause your gums to bleed! So what do you do if you’re a dentist and you know that most of your patients pretty much hate the sight of you? Well, how about showing them a little love with Christmas Cards for your Dentist Office.

Bright Smiles Holiday Card

Everyone enjoys the appreciation behind sending a Christmas Card. Now, has anyone received a card from their Dentist? Probably not; in fact it is an anomaly. That’s not true at all. I’m sure SOME of you have received a really nice Christmas card from your dentist on occasion. The dentist needs to have the support of their patients. They want their patients to coming back to them. So besides being a dentist that they can rely on to take care of all of their teeth’s very dire needs, how about providing each of the patients they have with fantastic cards? Christmas cards for your Dentist’s office will ensure that your patient knows that not only do you care about their teeth and their money, but also, you care about how they know you’re perceived. You want to appear caring at least! Go out and get spectacular Christmas Cards for your patients! They deserve it.

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Should Your Office Have Casual Dress Attire?

by Dolly A. on July 28, 2014

There is currently a trend toward casual dress in the work place. The question in why your office should have casual dress and which form should it take. There are several modes of casual dress that are allowed by different corporations. There is casual business, casual and relaxed casual. The casual trend started in the 80’s & 90’s when people were being laid off in the corporate world. The general thinking was that employee morale would be raised by the relaxed atmosphere thereby increasing work output.

Office_Casual

The casual business dress would mostly consist of khaki pants with no tie or jacket, but with a collared shirt. Golf shirts or button downs would be ok for men. Similar outfits for women, but perhaps a sleeveless blouse would also be allowed. Socks optional but shoes were a requirement. The casual dress code would allow jeans and t-shirts with sneakers, all clean and well maintained. The line was drawn at ripped jeans and tank tops. The relaxed casual introduced the wearing of shorts and sandals (no flip-flops) into the mix.

Although called dress down or casual days, these were initially reserved for Friday. The thought being that everyone would finish off the week by relaxing on their last work day. This led to a general trend of casual dress for the entire week. This spread gathered momentum after the turn of the century until the current day. It is believed that about 40% of businesses (usually who didn’t have face-to-face customer or client contact) have adopted the casual dress week.

There have been several studies done that point to the possibility that this trend has increased productivity 41% of the time. The belief being that when employees are relaxed they tend to feel more comfortable in their position and work at a higher capacity. The relaxed atmosphere is believed to add to greater spontaneity, better work conditions and improved relationships between employees. Several companies offer the casual dress policy as a benefit to working in their company. However, when considering a casual dress policy consideration should be given to spelling out exactly what is and isn’t allowed to avoid problems of poor taste or poor judgment.

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The Gallery Collection, as part of our charitable donations program, donated 6 assortment boxes of greeting cards to Cedar Hill Elementary School in Towaco, NJ for use in auction at their annual Tricky Tray fundraiser. The assortment boxes included Birthday Cards and All Occasion Cards.

All Occasion Assortment Box

The school’s mission statement indicates that every stakeholder in their learning community unites in an effort to engage children in the joy of learning. Cedar Hill is a “Positive Action School”, and to that end, they encourage students to accept responsibility and to contribute their gifts and talents to realize their potential as citizens of a global society. Throughout the year, students participate in a variety of activities that reinforce the theme of respect for themselves, each other, and the school community.

If you are interested in learning more about Cedar Hill Elementary School, please visit their website at http://www.montville.net/Domain/36.

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Team Building in the Workplace

by Lisette B. on July 24, 2014

Team building in the workplace needs to be a part of every company’s list of important items that should be implemented. The goal in each company is to be productive and to generate revenue. While it is important to have a great product and/or service, it is also important to have happy and content employees. Team building activities help to boost morale. They also improve communication and productivity. It can be a great motivator.

Team_Building

Team building activities for work can be simple or a bit more involved. Here are just a few suggestions:

1. Plan a field trip. One company I worked for planned a trip to the local bowling alley. It was a great way to get to know each other without the pressure of work and deadlines. Lots of fun and laughs.

2. Work together for a good cause. Facilitate a volunteer outing. A Spring clean-up of a park, for instance. Ask your employees for suggestions.

3. Have a baking contest. The employees could show off their baking skills, while the non bakers could be the tasting judges.

4. Brain teasers and riddles that require team participation.

5. Problem solving activities, such as a puzzle that would require team effort to complete.

These are just a few. There are many online resources that can provide many more ideas. Check it out and have fun!

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Each year as Christmas approaches and I get ready to address the personalized Christmas cards I want to send, it brings back delightful memories of sitting together at the table with my mother, who has since deceased, as she prepared to send her cards to family and friends. Mom would reminisce about the events of the year that reminded her of special times she shared with friends and family that were meaningful and fun. After telling me all the wonderful stories and seeing me giggle, (I was about eight at the time), she would begin writing her cards in which she would include a personal message, relating to those fun times, specifically to each person she was addressing. It was a very special time for me to share in Mom’s past together with her, and I remember how pleased and delighted everyone was after reading their personalized greeting cards and called her to continue talking about those fun times.

Snowflake Fantasy Christmas Card

Now, many, many years later, I find myself following in my Mom’s footsteps. I, too, prepare myself for a trip down Memory Lane when getting ready to personalize my Christmas cards. Like Mom, I also get calls thanking me for the cards and it gives us a chance to chat about those wonderful times. It’s a good thing to send personalized Christmas cards. It’s a small gesture that reminds people they are special to someone, and that is the perfect way to feel during the holidays!

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Congratulations to the winners from the second round of voting in the Gallery Collection Scholarship Contest!

10 Designs moved on to the finalist round as a result of them finishing in the top 10 in voting, plus, our scholarship team also used our 1 save available to us on the design submitted by Marcella Surjono. Our Scholarship team couldn’t help but fall in love with some of her subtle references to some past winning designs.

Check out the top 10 vote getters and the saved design that are moving onto the finalist round in the gallery below.

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Tips For Customer Relationship Management

by Patsy M. on July 17, 2014

Customer relations is a business term that refers to the interaction between a company and its customers. All companies have customer relations, even those that choose to ignore how the company relates to its customers. Good customer relations are the key to customer retention and customer retention is the key to a growing business; customer relations are as important as the product.

Customer_Service

Customer relations management is not just for the customer service department; it may begin there, but a customer’s satisfaction and loyalty effect everyone in the company.

A helpful tip is to develop a method to get feedback from customers about your products and services; what worked and what didn’t work. Make sure all departments are on board from order takers to the sales department. Ensure as much information available is captured, the order department may not think something is as important as the sales or marketing teams. For example, if an order taker gets a complaint from a customer and he doesn’t record the incident no one but the order taker will know that the customer had an issue. One unhappy customer can spread the word about your business and cost you potential clients very quickly. You can expect to have only one chance to make a good impression with your customer service department. Focusing on your customers’ needs and providing excellent customer service is an efficient way to grow your business and earn customer loyalty.

Another tip would be to empower the customer service people to resolve problems, offer solutions and remedies themselves, within reason of course. Customer service reps should know when to escalate but at the same time know when it is not necessary-this can be accomplished by:

• Providing a list of FAQ’s with the solutions to avoid adlibbing answers, promoting consistency
• Assign teams to specific problems; shipping, shortages, backorders for example
• Ensure all incidents are answered promptly then follow up with a customer satisfaction phone call or email.
• Incident logging of all customer complaints/ support requests.

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