16 Office Etiquette Rules

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As we spend more hours at the office, than we do at home, we all want to work in a pleasant, friendly and comfortable environment, no-one should feel uneasy in their work environment.

 

Let’s take a look at a few Etiquette rules to make your work experience more enjoyable:

 

  • Be on time – do your utmost to get to the office on time, if you are going to be late due to car troubles, traffic congestions, etc. be sure to notify your superior.
  • If you are sick stay at home – no-one else wants to get your illness, so keep your germs to yourself and stay at home until you are fully recovered. And let’s be honest how productive are you really going be.
  • Dress Appropriately – Even if the office has a casual dress code, leave the beach wear and PJ’s for just that! Follow the office guidelines in terms of hemlines and necklines, to avoid embarrassing clothing mishaps.
  • Be Respectful of others Space – No-one likes to have people invade their personal bubble, so be mindful of your colleague’s space too! Don’t help yourself to their stationery or refreshments either, always ask first.
  • Telephone Etiquette – Don’t speak loudly in an open plan office, especially private calls, no one else needs to or wants to hear your business. Leave the office and take your call outside.
  • Mute your cell phone – Ringing cell phones and message alerts are very distracting for those around you, so always be mindful of this.
  • Email courtesy – Don’t reply all unless requested to do so, most of us don’t have time or the desire to read through these mails! Secondly, always watch your tone in your emails, as it is often hard to read, be aware of how you are saying it, to avoid upsetting the recipient.
  • Watch your social Media posts – know that nothing is private nowadays! If you are going to rant about your boss or colleagues don’t use this platform and secondly if you don’t want everyone to know your private business don’t splash it all over social media.
  • Watch your body language – we all have bad days, so if you are feeling frustrated or angry be aware of what your body language is telling your colleagues, if you are not in a good space take a walk.
  • Cleanliness – Keep your workspace clean, and always clean up after yourself in the kitchen. No one else wants to be cleaning up your mess. It is just common courtesy.
  • Be aware of strong smells – Avoid wearing strong perfumes as not all of us are partial to it and it can often trigger allergies for some. Lunch boxes too, can stink out an office be aware of what you are heating up as cauliflower, brussel sprouts and eggs can be quite pungent.
  • Table Manners – although you may not be at your grandmother’s dining room table, it is still not appropriate to eat badly at your workplace. No-one likes to hear loud crunching or be exposed to talking with food in your mouth, slurping or “chops slapping”.
  • Mind your manners – just because you are not at home, does not mean you lose your manners. Please and thank you go a long way regardless of where you are.
  • Be Considerate – in all that you do in the office, treat others with respect and they will offer you the same respect. If you feel someone has stepped over the boundary, take them one side and gently inform them of this. Sort it out promptly to avoid issues later on.
  • Practice Tolerance – in a workplace environment, there are people from all walks of life with their own traditions and cultures, personalities and different styles. Be mindful of this and tolerate the differences.
  • Last but not least – Don’t gossip – you do not like to be the talk of the town and neither do your colleagues. If you can’t say it to them then rather don’t say it.

I hope the above factors will come in handy in making your work day experience a happy and productive one!

 

 

Sources:
Entrepreneur


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About Debora Keet

I started working for Leads 2 Business in January 2006 as a Private Projects Researcher and have been in the Administration and Human Resources department since October 2008 until present.

Amazing Examples of Office Style Inspiration

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Amazing Examples of Office Style Inspiration

We all know that we are spending more and more time in the workplace. On average, we spend about 80% of our time in the office.

If we are going to spend such a huge amount of our time in the workplace we might as well be in comfort and style right? Yes, I said it, Style. Who doesn’t like Style? We all like to look good and dress the part especially when we step out. So, why not bring some style into our work environment.

Today, I am going to be chatting with you about the Amazing Examples of Office Styles.

What are we waiting for? Lets get right into it.

We know that an Office is a place where a number of employees come together to perform functions to meet the desired result of the organisation.

Lets take a look at the different types of Office Space, shall we?

The first one we will look at is called, Traditional Office Space: This type of office style offers more of a quiet/intimate space and is mostly used among law firms and consulting rooms. The features of a Traditional Office include the reception, boardroom and private offices.

The next type of office style is Creative Office Style and this is commonly associated with Open Plan offices and that is what we are going to be taking a closer look at. So, what is an Open Plan Office you may ask?

Well, the name pretty much sums it up. Open Plan buildings, offices or rooms have no internal walls dividing it into smaller areas. Modern day office styles are all about Open plans and open spaces.

Now, let have a look at the different types of Open Plan Office Styles. We are going to take a peek at the following Four types:

The first one is called One Large, Open Space and this style is suitable for small and quiet offices where individuals work side by side at adjoining stations. This type of office plan has a free and collaborative feel to it.

The next Style is called Cubicle and this is the most common type of office plans and this is because the work stations are set up as cubicles. This type definitely provides the highest level of privacy outside of a closed office.

Now, we are going to take a look at Half Partitions, yes, well this office plan allows the employees to see and speak over the space divider. If you prefer an office that works in teams then this office style is ideal for that.

The last type of Office Plan is called Team Enclosures and this office is great for work corporations where creative thinking is necessary and brainstorming and regular discussions are part of the daily requirements. Rather than waiting for a scheduled formal meeting or booking a meeting room, Team Enclosures are suitable for employees who need to communicate constantly and effectively.

So what conclusions can we draw from Open Plan Offices besides the immaculate styles and how cosy they can be? Yes, I know style does cost money but not as much as you would think.

Open Plan Offices are becoming the norm in modern day organizations because it can actually benefit the company economically. Yes, you heard right; you can save on money with these types of offices. Think about, with fewer walls to build, the cost tied to construction is reduced as it requires less time and materials to create the intended office space. And with the price of everything increasing these days, who’s not looking to cut down on costs right, or even save?

As a result of having a single workspace, companies can save since communal spaces use shared office equipment like printers, multi-purpose machines and filing cabinets. Let’s not forget that with staff members being in a shared environment, stationary and other materials are most likely to be shared amongst staff.

We all need our jobs and having one these days is absolutely necessary. We need to make a living but how about genuinely enjoying our jobs? I’m talking about having a love for what you do to the point where you’re not dragging your feet to work the next day. A work environment that not only looks good but creates a great impression where you connect with your colleagues. It starts with you and me, lets be a little bit more approachable and yes, a smile definitely does go along way.

Sources:

Squarefoot.com
Collins Dictionary
Commercial News
SMB Nation

 


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About Lauren Davids

I am a Content Researcher for the Western Cape Region in the Tenders South Africa Department.

5 Best Ways To Landscape Around Office Buildings

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5 Best Ways To Landscape Around Office Buildings

 

  1. Welcoming Front Entrance

A vibrant, welcoming front entrance sets the stage for your office’s whole environment. Your office building’s main entrance is everybody’s front door. It should be warm, inviting, welcoming. A poorly maintained, grey exterior won’t be as appealing as a flower-filled, well maintained, inviting one.

The entrance is the first place people are going to see when they come to your building and therefore can improve your company’s image and make employee’s feel proud of the place they go to work every day


Some ideas for Office Building Front Entrances:

  • Planting Beds – Attractive planting beds are great for main entrances, around signage and any place you want to enhance visibility however should be low-growing varieties so they don’t block your signage and that the varieties you plant are suited to the environment around your entrance. Don’t underestimate the power of fresh plants, colourful flowers, rich mulch and a nice crisp edge.
  • Colourful Container Plantings – It’s amazing what a beautiful plant can do to catch your attention, especially when in a unique container that increases your entrance’s “wow” factor. There’s a wide array of styles that can either match a building’s style or colour or stand out to make a statement. Of course, what you put in the container matters too. You can also choose one substantial plant like a small tree or topiary; just make sure it’s always perfectly trimmed.
  • Walkways – If your office building has old cracked concrete walkways, they’re not only unsightly, they’re a dangerous trip hazard. Consider replacing portions or entire stretches of walkways with pavers that can help break up the industrial look of a long stretch of concrete. Whether your staff and clients arrive at the front door on foot or by wheelchair, maintaining the walkway is paramount. Of course, you want to make sure your visitors don’t hurt themselves and that the walkway is attractive, but it’s also a liability issue.
  • Driveway – Your property may have a traditional parking lot, or it may have a driveway very close to the entrance. Perhaps your building’s main entrance is on a cul-de-sac, with a drop-off area in front. To make the entrance more dramatic, consider using an island in the middle of the driveway as a palette, painting a picture with landscaping. Vary the landscaping height with tall and medium-size trees, and shorter shrubs as well as flower beds. Palm trees fit with the region but also don’t block the building’s view. Flowering shrubs add unexpected colour at different times of the year, while flowers complete the look at the base.
  • Signage – Every company wants their signage to be prominent and visible. Emphasise signage by planting flowers and other interesting plants around it. This will automatically draw the eye towards the signs and make them stand out more. Just make sure you keep everything trimmed so the plants don’t obscure writing on signs. Colourful flowers, interesting grasses, bright spring bulbs all attract attention.
  1. Seasonal Color Rotation

People notice colour. And what offers spectacular colour better than flowers? Change your colourful flowers with the seasons and you offer intrigue year-round. Summer colour is a given – but don’t forget the other seasons. The great thing about flowers and plants is there’s a host of choices for every season.

Interesting plants and colourful flowers make a huge impact at main entrances, around signage and any place you want to draw attention.

Different plants look good at different times of the year. When planning which plants to use, think about how the landscaping will look all year round. You don’t want it to just look great in summer – the best landscaping is appealing at any time of year.

  1. Outdoor Seating/Common Area

Create a space your employees will love. Boost worker morale by offering a peaceful, beautiful outdoor sanctuary area where employees can enjoy lunch, eat a sandwich, read a book, chat with colleagues or even hold an outdoor meeting. Outdoor meetings are increasingly common, and this kind of gathering spot is perfect for fresh-air brainstorming.

Seating can be simple picnic tables, stone benches or heavy outdoor furniture. Built-in sitting walls are great incorporated into a patio. Everybody appreciates privacy and shade so, therefore, don’t forget trees for shade and flowers for colour and interest. Consider fragrant plants and flowering shrubs to offer a bit of pleasant scent in the air, this makes it a great place to escape and recharge in nature. Consider creating different spaces for socialising and quiet reflection to give people options when they are outside.

Providing wireless Internet at outdoor sitting and picnic areas can also expand the workspace, taking employees from their desks to the outdoors for work, as well as rest.

  1. Water Features

Waterfalls and fountains are both great options, whether to attract passersby to an entrance, as water features always impress visitors, or incorporated into a common area for employees to enjoy.

Water features can be incredibly attractive and appealing and they add a nice feel to any outdoor landscape. The sound of running water is soothing and can be a great stress reliever for office employees. It relaxes and soothes away the stress of a busy work day and offers a bit of tranquillity in a hectic world.

Even a simple fountain near the front door, in a courtyard or placed in your common area for employees to enjoy makes a big and memorable impact.

  1. Don’t Forget To Freshen Up

Landscaping can look a little boring after a few years of no change. Take a look around. Have you been staring at that same row of shrubs for years? Keep things looking updated and contemporary with new flowers and grasses. A fresh layer of mulch each year does wonders to keep beds looking tidy and well-tended. And, as it breaks down, it enriches your soil. Modern landscapes typically incorporate native plants and a lot of grasses that create movement.

To keep your landscaping looking its best you’ll want to update it regularly and keep it maintained as an overgrown outside landscape won’t reflect well on your building and could be a deterrent for potential clients.

Helpful hints to Freshen up

  • Identify key visual areas – Focus on highly visible areas as a good place to start for maximum visual impact. Working in smaller areas also enables you to better manage the tasks at hand and not get overwhelmed by working on the entire area at once.

  • Take inventory – Look long and hard at each and every component of your landscape and evaluate it objectively. Keep features and plants that still look good and serve a purpose and lose the stuff that doesn’t.
  • Focus on impact – In a commercial landscape, bigger is usually better. Large elements such as commercial parking areas, retaining walls, and other features demand bigger, more colourful plants. The impact is all about size, colour, and diversity in plantings.
  • Focus on long-term maintenance – Carefully choose plants and features to fit the environment and its conditions. Plants that don’t adapt easily to their surroundings will cost a lot more, in the long run, to maintain or replace.
  • Focus on people – Commercial landscapes and people interact in many different ways and so it’s important to design and plant with people in mind: how will different areas look from different perspectives? What will people see when they first drive into the parking lot, walk on the sidewalk, and look out windows?

The challenge is to create a landscaped environment that is beautiful and appealing in its form while offering functionality and a solid return-on-investment.

 

 

Sources:
OutbackLandscapeInc
TheGardenContinuum
LevelGreenLandscaping
GreenearthLandscapes
Pixabay
enhance services

 


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About Liesel Du Preez

My journey with Leads 2 Business started in August 2005 in the Africa Tender Department, where I researched and uploaded Africa Tender Notifications. Once the Africa Tender Department had grown I was then promoted to Customer Relations in the IT Department in January of 2010, assisting subscribers and staff with any problems they may encounter or with any queries they may have.

10 Ways to make your Office more Efficient

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1. Don’t be afraid to delegate

You are losing money and precious time each day the files pile on top of your desk. Be sure to clearly define goals and objectives to your employees. Educate your employees on your expectations. Give responsibilities to qualified employees, and trust that they will perform the tasks well. This gives your employees the opportunity to gain skills and leadership experience that will ultimately benefit your company.

2. Match tasks to skills

Knowing your employees’ skills and behavioural styles is essential for maximizing efficiency. Asking your employees to be great at everything just isn’t efficient, instead, before giving an employee an assignment, ask yourself, is this the person best suited to perform this task? If not, find someone else whose skills and styles matches your needs.

3.Communicate effectively

Every manager knows that communication is the key to a productive workforce. An age-old aphorism goes, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Good communication is what separates a poor leader from an exceptional one. When you communicate well with your team it helps eliminate misunderstandings and can encourage a healthy and peaceful work environment. Some examples of communicating effectively would be communication via training; having open meetings; listen to your team members; use visuals like presentations; display confidence and seriousness; act out your message; be humorous; encourage feedback and be appreciative.

4.Keep goals clear and focused

Everyone and every business needs goals. Make sure yours are S-M-A-R-T ones…

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-based

Monitor and measure your progress by conducting quarterly reviews. This will help to keep your team on target and working together. Be flexible and open to adapting to the situation as some goals will no longer be relevant or achievable. Try to keep them realistic and reasonable.

5. Incentivize employees

Most people agree that receiving money is a good incentive to work harder and stay motivated. There are however people who prefer to be recognized in a different way. It costs nothing but goes a long way with employees to hear how well they are doing. Practice boosting morale with words of encouragement and by catching people doing things right. Another way that won’t cost the earth is a brag board. Mention the employee’s good work in a place where everyone can see it. Printing certificates of achievements that the employee can put on their desk, in their office or cubicle. Throwing a staff lunch

6. Cut out unhealthy stress

Studies show that excess stress can cause real physical symptoms like headaches, upset stomach, increased blood pressure, chest pain and trouble sleeping. Not to mention mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Of course, not all stress is created equal. A certain amount of healthy stress in the workplace is actually a good thing. Here are a few points on how to relieve unhealthy stress at work: Form positive relationships; start exercising; eat healthy nutritious foods; get enough sleep; prioritize and organize, and kick bad habits.

7. Train and develop employees

Employees are a company’s biggest asset and investing in talent is vital to sustainable business growth and success. Boredom in the workplace can create feelings of dissatisfaction and negative working habits. Regular development initiatives can prevent workplace idleness. Having frequent training will also establish regular re-evaluation of employees, skills and processes.

8. Give each other feedback

Employees and managers the world over dread the ritual of performance reviews. We save up our comments and document all the things we note about a person’s performance and then, like a big cat ready to pounce, the manager calls in the hapless employee to spring a year’s worth of “constructive criticism” onto him or her. When done the right way with the right intentions, feedback can lead to outstanding performance. Employees have to know what they are doing well and not so well, carefully and frequently. When done the right way with the right intentions, feedback can lead to outstanding performance.

9. Think Big picture

Looking at the BIG picture involves trying to see the entire scope of a task. This can be a tactical way to obtain a full sense or understanding of things. Sometimes the big picture can seem overwhelming so by breaking it down you avoid worry, procrastination or even disengaging completely from the task. Ways to help would be to block your time by using a calendar or create an itinerary. Consider a realistic and thorough overview of the situation. Think positively about the path you’ll have to take to get there and be confident. Figure out skills you can use or need to develop. The sooner you begin to identify what skills you need the sooner you’ll gain forward momentum.

10. Ethics & Honesty

An article in Forbes states: “Companies find that ethical business practices increase their competitiveness in their respective industries, helping to further substantiate the notion that a culture of ethics is crucial to sustainable excellence.” Sometimes the moral fibre of society and the blind ambition of some leaders will not even consider the two most important traits essential to making a decision: honesty and ethics. Honesty builds trust, one of the most critical elements of solid leadership. It is displayed and built on personal behaviour, the quality of decisions and open and honest communication.

 

Sources:
Forbes
CourseHero
Smallbiztrends
TheHartford
Kazoohr
Snacknation
Getsmarter
MindTools
Creativitypost
Bizjournals

 


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About Helga Venter

My name is Helga Venter. I started with the company in 2004 and was promoted to Financial Director in 2007.

Why go Green? Is it really worth it?

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Why go green? Is it really worth it?

I have been so amped to write on this subject. I know there are folk, some in my family, who think I’m away with the faeries half the time and I live in a world that doesn’t exist, but why shouldn’t it be real?

This is a huge topic of conversation at the moment, even celebrities, like Leo DiCaprio are getting involved and are giving back. My question to every human being living on this planet, taking from this planet;

  • Do you want to live a happy healthy life?
  • Do you want to find the balance of life?
  • Do you want the best from life and just enough to live?
  • Are you prepared to give back all that you have taken?
  • How do you wish to leave this planet for our children and children’s children?
  • Are you happy?

Yes, I am a tree-loving bunny hugging green planet person. I do see so much beauty within each country and we can live to appreciate the beauty we just need to balance our lives, in turn, balance what we take from this world we live in. Let’s start being aware of where each “One Person” can make a change to improve our environment and go green.

There are several positive side effects: Cleaner air and water.

  • Increased productivity levels and we would pay out less for medical benefits. – Healthier eating at the workplace.
  • Implement environmental policies in the workplace by reducing waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality and protect the ecosystems.
  • Lower utility bills
  • Maybe if the plastic tar becomes a hit, we’ll even have fewer potholes in the road and that saves expense on wheel alignment and tyres! And less plastic lying around.

The adverse effects of not going green:

  • Climate change/Global warming

Bill Gates wrote a Blog on climate change in 2018, titled “Climate change and the 75% problem” www.gatesnotes.com

  • As Mr Gates pointed out Electricity, is only 25% of the problem with regards to climate change. (We, in South Africa, experience a totally different issue with electricity), however, we can still improve our lifestyle and our environment by starting here. If we can generate electricity without the greenhouse emissions issue and the over mining, by utilising solar panels and wind turbines, both of which are not running short in South Africa. That is already a start.
  • The other 75% is allocated to what:
  • Agriculture and its emissions – greenhouse effect. Examples of these are:
  1. Beef farming – methane “this is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases!”
  2. Deforestation – rain forests are being replaced by crops. Firstly by removing the trees that pull the CO2 from the air we breathe, secondly the trees are burned and once again carbon is burnt back into the atmosphere. We become unhealthy because the air we breathe is unhealthy.
  • Do we really need to eat as much as we do? We need to know ourselves, our blood types the environment we live in and rather eat to feel whole, rather than constantly eat for the pleasure.
  • Manufacturing:
  1. Plastic. Goodness me don’t get me started on plastic. I saw a photo on Facebook the other day, of whole peeled oranges in a plastic container for protection? They have their own natural protection which they are taken out of. Does NOT make sense to me. Do you know that a lot of the fabric in our clothing has plastic within the threads? When the clothes are washed, where does the water go? Not only does the plastic that is littering the streets and overflowing landfills fall into the water ways, which land up in the oceans, the plastic in the clothing does too.
  2. Steel and Cement, the manufacture of both of these require a lot of energy used from fossil fuels.
  • Transportation:

Traffic has increased, not only has this increased fuel emissions but the road rage the high blood pressure that goes with it, very unhealthy. Everything is expected immediately hence, metal trucks are loaded up high with stock which is more likely covered in plastic and shipped across from one side of the country to the other, emitting fumes.

  • Buildings:

We work and live in concrete buildings. When it’s excruciatingly hot we use an air conditioner, then freezing cold the heater goes on. A beautiful fireplace to keep us toasty and warm in winter, omissions. Lights are on, who wants to work in an office when it’s dark and gloomy. All these contribute to climate change.

Think of a way to use less and give back more. Each individual needs to be aware of what damage they are causing to our world and our own individual lives. We, humans, are growing at a massive rate, we want more, yet do we need more? Our everyday lifestyles are damaging to the environment as we think it improves our lives. Does it really though? We spend a fortune upgrading everything, only to spend a fortune to get away from it all for peace, quiet and tranquillity.

A lot of these issues need to be researched to develop new cleaner greener ways. The human race has been smart enough to invent and develop what we have now, let’s do this and beat climate change, have healthier living and keep the planet beautiful and be one with our planet.

So the question is: “Why go green? Is it worth it?” in my opinion, YES absolutely.

 


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About Tara Hutton

My employment at Leads 2 Business commenced in January 2010, where for two years I worked in the Directory Department establishing a better understanding of construction and where Leads 2 Business fitted in. In February 2012, I moved to the Accounts department where I have been looking after accounts queries and anything related to accounts since then. I have been told by many that I’m resilient, yet caring individual and good to have on “their” side. Calm under pressure, which is quite useful in my line of work. I am proud and honoured to be part of the L2B mothership adding my bit to the greater good. Should you require more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Cheap is not always Better – You get what you Pay for

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Everyone wants to save an extra rand! However, in our pursuit of savings, there are areas where we should not skip especially when it comes to building a home, regardless of the size or location, its always costly… and these days with the cost of living only getting higher, building a home has become increasingly expensive.

When we think of building a home… the first things that normally come to mind are: “Bricks, sand, roofing, tools, painting oh and lets not forget the labour.”

Anyone who has built a home or considered building a home has likely heard the term “builder grade/ Contractor grade” materials. These matertials are just for temporary use not long term measures. When there are so many details to consider, a potential homebuilder may not look as deeply into understanding what these materials are and how they can affect your home down the road.

For example: Bricks: we know for one that it is time consuming because it cannot be used in high seismic zones. Bricks absorb water easily, therefore that can cause flouroscene when not exposed to air. We know that bricks have a less textile strength and the rough surfaces of bricks cause mold growth if not properly cleaned. The cleaning of brick surfaces is a job that can be quite difficult because the colour of low quality brick changes when it is exposed to the sun for long periods of time.

Everyone wants to save these days and we see this everywhere, with our clothes and electronics and even food. However, when it comes to our assets like our homes, cars and jewellery we need to consider spending a few extra rands. We really need to think of the long term effect and whether the specific item will last us for the next 10 or even 15 years. We tend to spend because an item is on sale not necessarily because we need it at the time. Time! Yes, it is such an imperative factor, because it is something we can never get back. Let us ask ourselves, is this going to sustain me for the next 10 years or will this perish within a few months.
When we consider Building, we see that it is about creation. We create with the heart, but we envision from the mind. We create to help and support people but in order to do that in a way that is effective and long lasting, we need to be able to forecast the unpredictable weather conditions like the current flood we are experiencing throughout KwaZulu Natal.

“Cheap is not always better, you should get what you paid for!”


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About Nazeema Shelembe

I am a content researcher who just started with Leads 2 Business in February this year, I work in the Daily Tenders South Africa department. I am a young vibrant lady who enjoys meeting new people and doing new things. I welcome challenges and always find new ways of doing things. I am a mum and I love spending time with my not so little, very talkative son.

Terrific Reasons to Hire a Contractor

So you want to build your own home? Perhaps you own a house already and want to modify or extend the existing space. Maybe you just want to add a swimming pool or a lock-up garage.

Many people undertake DIY construction projects without the consultation or employment of an experienced contractor. Many of these projects turn out to be successful, but can also come with various challenges.

If you want to remove the stress element, consider hiring a contractor for the following reasons.

  • Experience

Appoint a construction company that has a wealth of expertise in the industry. An experienced contractor will know exactly what is required for your project to be completed safely and within your budget and time frame.

  • Quality of Work

More often than not, experienced contractors have skilled in-house teams and external sub-contractor teams that have likely worked together on numerous projects. This provides you with peace of mind that your project will be carried out with quality workmanship.

  • Compliance with the Law

It would be wise to appoint a contractor who is an expert in complying with South Africa’s National Building Regulations (NBR). Your appointed contractor should know how to carry out the works by following these guidelines.

Reputable contractors in the home building industry should be registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC). The NHBRC’s vision is “to be a champion of the housing consumer” and their mission is “to protect the housing consumers and to regulate the homebuilding environment.”

  • Insurance Cover

Should you ever encounter a problem with the structures in the future, your insurer will want to make sure that all legal regulations were adhered to during construction. If not, your claim/s could be rejected.

  • Warranties

Projects are undertaken by a contractor that is NHBRC certified and carry a 12-month warranty against roof leaks and a 5-year warranty against major structural defects.

The ultimate goal here would be to transform your living space into a place that works for you and your family, that is safe and that will last for many years to come. The above-mentioned points will hopefully assist you with the decision of whether or not to appoint a contractor for your next exciting project.

Happy planning!

 

 

Sources:
SANS 10400 Building Regulations
NHBRC
NHBRC warns consumers against fraudulent use of its logo
Property24
Dial A Contractor
Durbanville online directory


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About Bianca Warwick

I had the privilege of joining the Leads 2 Business content team in January 2012. I work in the exciting Projects department, following the progress of construction developments in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

How Funding affects Construction in Africa

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Construction is a vital sector of any country’s economy because the physical construction of the developments become the backbone of the nation’s economy that enables goods and services to be distributed within and outside the country.

Furthermore, the functionality of the designs and construction of the developments have an impact on the productivity with which other business activities can be undertaken. Thus it can be said that the infrastructure of a country influences the competitiveness of enterprises and the country’s abilities to attract foreign investment, which is important in an era of globalisation as nations compete to attract foreign domestic investment.

However, with the general economic weaknesses Africa faces as a developing continent it means that we do not enjoy the realities of the above utopia.

Construction in Africa is predominantly funded through the following four Funding mechanisms

Government Funding
The Government is spending the “peoples money” to fund the project.

Private Funding
A project which is funded by a private developer which can be a private individual or company.

Loans
Financial assistance provided by an international bank or international financial institution to the government which is repayable after some time with interest. e.g.   a loan from the African Development Bank or a generous loan from generous ‘ China ’

Public-Private Partnerships
A contract between a government institution and a private company, in which the private company bears significant risk and management responsibility, and payment is linked to performance.

Regional Construction Focus

East Africa

With 166 underway projects on our website: East Africa accounts for 23.4% of projects on the continent.

Southern Africa

With 1229 underway projects on our website. The region accounts for 30.7% of all projects in Africa.

Central Africa

With 14 underway projects on our website. The region continues to be negatively affected by lower commodity prices, as all countries in the region are resource dependent. In total Central Africa is home to a few major public projects worth about US$9.8bn.

West Africa

With 66 underway projects on our website. The region accounts for 26.1% of all projects in Africa.

North Africa

With 50 underway projects on our website. The region accounts for 13.2% of all trackable projects on the continent.

Just taking into account the 1 525 projects that are marked as underway on our website out of the 6 412 captured,(with a cidb grading value 8-9. In stages between Conceptual – Underway) we can deduct that Africa requires an unprecedented magnitude of funds that individual countries do not have or just cannot afford to fully invest in. Furthering the dependency of international loans that we receive from the likes of China. This then minimizes the opportunities for local companies to make a sizeable splash in the construction pond.

The lack of funding or rather the ability for African nations to allocate more of their financial resources into construction has also cultivated a culture of non-payment of accounts. The amounts due to construction companies and a failure to make payment in time, lead to horrible liquidation or business rescue of established first-tier companies that boost the sector.

Furthermore due to the general economic weakness in the continent and a high need for infrastructure development means that we see more contracts that are uneconomical if work was to be given to local contracting professionals.

We further see delays in the completion of contracts within the scheduled times, if ever because of a lack of funds: which adversely affect the chances of any African nation attracting good and healthy direct foreign investment to boost the overall economy of the country. Furthermore, it affects local construction professionals because it becomes hard for them to afford to take the work.

Africa’s construction industry deficit is a cause of great distress. The problem of internal funding shortage and the large size of the infrastructure needs, require a lot of funding options. That we have! However, it would be great if we had ones that lessen the over-dependence on international loans because this allows excessive exposure and vulnerability of the continent and its resources.

Responsible lending and borrowing behaviour are required on the part of Africa and its development partners to avoid unsustainable external debt levels which are detrimental to Africa’s construction industry growth.

No matter what cause I pick for my topic, the prevalent effect seems to mimic a viscous airtime advance system cycle: You borrow airtime. Load airtime to pay back the service provider. Clear your debt. Be left with nothing. Then you have to borrow airtime again to survive and in the end, you have not looked after your own interests. In my opinion, the health and growth of the local construction scene by our own labour should be of main interest for the decision makers when funding the sector is concerned.

Concluding I have to admit, I would fail to propose a well developed, practically applicable solution model to the effects I have presented above. However as much as there are a whole lot of challenges surrounding construction operations in Africa, there is potential for growth. If we would just find suitable and positive investment strategies that will work for a developing continent, without harming the wealth of business knowledge, skills and labour we already have, in years to come the industry could be so well developed it would practically fund itself.

 

Sources:
George Ofori, Ph.D., D.Sc., Funding Construction Industry Development
Deloitte, Africa Construction Trend Reports
BDO South Africa, Saving the Construction Sector
African Business, Boosting development through sovereign wealth funds
Wikipedia

 


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About Minnie Zondi

I am an insanely optimistic ambivert that does everything from the heart instead of the mind. Deeply interested in people and matters that pertain to mankind.

The Difference between Residential and Commercial Construction

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To understand the difference between Residential and Commercial Construction, you must first understand what each one is.

If your brain works anything like mine, when you hear the word “Residential” you may think of homes where there may be a street of houses which all look pretty similar from their green grass lawns and their borders of brightly coloured flowers, this is generally where you would find the consumers and generally where people would live.

When you hear the word “Commercial”, you may think of the public, attracting the public eye and making whatever your commercial item may be whether its a building or product it has to be what the people want, it has to sell to the consumers, generally where one’s workplace would be.

Commercial Construction

According to Wikipedia, “Commercial buildings are buildings that are used for commercial purposes and include office buildings, warehouses, and retail buildings (e.g. convenience stores, ‘big box’ stores, and shopping malls). In urban locations, a commercial building may combine functions, such as offices on levels 2-10, with retail on floor 1”.

A good example of a well-known commercial building in South Africa is the iconic Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City, Johannesburg.

Here you will find a variety of restaurants, jewellers, banks, etc. and the list goes on. Buildings such as these provides ample job opportunities for people living in the surrounding residential areas.

Residential Construction

Residential Construction is a far more self-explanatory type of building.

Residential construction is the business of building and selling individual and multi-family dwellings. The building unit is divided into single-unit, manufactured, duplex, apartments and condominiums. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Residential means “designed for people to live in.”

The best example and probably the most obvious one is where you currently live,

Your furniture is made for comfort, your wall personalised with family photos, everything designed how you want it in order for you to be comfortable.

When you buy a new lounge suite for your home you do not invite all of your friends to come and test all the couches in the shops before you buy it, You test them out yourself,

For someone buying furniture for a commercially owned building they generally buy what looks best in a building, not so much what feels best. This is once again to impress the consumer/buyer.

Although Commercial Construction and Residential Construction have a few of the same factors such as the same professionals, Architects and Projects Manager involved with the design and construction, the outcome and the aim of each building being built is different.

It may be great to live close to your local shopping mall, however I would not recommend building a 3-bedroom stand-alone house right next door in your central CDB (Central Business District).

 

Sources:

Itsallaboutbusiness
Rennieproperty
Wikipedia
Oxforddictionaries
Redfin
Propertymetrics
Pexels

 


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About Caroline Crafford

I have been working at Leads 2 Business for 8 months now as a content research in the Daily Tenders department for South Africa, when I am not at work you will find me spending quality time with my husband and our beautiful daughter. You will always find a smile on my face and a snack in my bag.

The Real Truth about Retail Therapy

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The Real Truth about Retail Therapy

 

What we’re doing with retail therapy is we’re desperately trying to regulate our emotions. We don’t like distressing or uncomfortable emotions. So we’ll do short-lived things that make us feel good in the moment” … Joanne Corrigan – Psychologist.

Retail therapy … is it really therapy or is it as Joanne suggests above a “quick fix” for when we are feeling down and need a quick boost or lift? I mean, who doesn’t love a new pair of shoes or a new handbag, or the latest perfume, right? And most of the time when you buy something new, you do feel good, great even. You can imagine how awesome you will look in your outfit with your new shoes or new handbag and the compliments you will get. BUT it is short-lived, because at some point, the indulgence is going to cost you, especially if it something you haven’t budgeted for and it’s a spur of the moment splurge. Once you realised you have overspent, then the depression sets in and so it becomes a vicious circle, of feeling down and depressed, indulging in some retail therapy, feeling good immediately after the purchase, but some time later feeling down once more when you realised you have overspent, yet AGAIN.

If you have clothes or shoes in your cupboard that you have never worn or items in your house that you have never used (we all are guilty of this, although some more than others … just think of the TV show “Hoarders”), then it is time to rethink your retail therapy.

Although retail therapy might work in the short term, it can never cure what’s driving us to shop in the first place, it just temporarily numbs the pain. So … is there a way of achieving a balance?

 

I have come up with a few tips on how to make the best use of retail therapy without blowing your budget every time you feel down.

  1. Always have a monthly budget. (Very Important!) and not just in your head. Write all your expenses down. Every month so you can see exactly where your money is going and then stick to it.
  2. When you feel down, instead of going out and just aimlessly buying, how about window shopping instead? You can look, wish for it, but just don’t buy it. The same goes for shopping online – the wish list is there for a reason. Use it.
  3. Instead of buying those expensive shoes or outfit outright, put them on lay-by or hold for a few days while you think seriously about how much you really need/want them. Maybe after a day or two you will realise that you don’t actually really need them, yes, you may always want them, but the question to ask is, “Do I really need them?”
  4.  Look for alternative things to do when feeling down – phone or talk to a friend, get outside into the fresh air for some exercise, take your dog (or a friend or neighbour’s dog) for a walk, read a book or magazine. The options are endless and sometimes making someone else happy, ends up making you feel happy too. That’s a win/win situation.
  5. Take time to laugh. Laughter IS the best medicine.

 

 

Life is short, yes, but if buying the shoes means you have to live off bread and water for the rest of the month, then the answer is No. Don’t buy the shoes!

So, what is the real truth about Retail Therapy? It is necessary in our lives, we all need it, but the key is not to let it rule our lives and take over our lives, by buying stuff we don’t really need, but want in an effort to make us feel (temporarily) good about ourselves and our lives. What we need to remember with retail therapy, like most things in life, is Moderation. Find a balance. Find an alternative to shopping/buying when feeling down or depressed.

 

Sources:

Vendhq
Fitsmallbusiness.com
Wordstream
Shopify
CampaignMonitor
Pixabay


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About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

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