Dear Friends:

 

Throughout the years, we have been asked by our clients to share some of our tips-n-tricks that we have picked up along the way. Through your suggestions we have created "From Our Desk to Yours Connect" as a way for us to share with you ideas and resources available to us.  We are sure you will walk away with an idea or two that you can implement in your business or personal life.  Thank you for your on-going support and friendship!

 

Ania along with the Personal Assistant Staff at All Service Concierge

03.11.2015
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Maggie's Discover Corner First step to making family memories …. Unplug For catching up, BINGE watching is great fun. But there is nothing that compares to the anticipation of the next great series that enables you to be a part of our collective cultural conversation. So many people go online now to tweet and share their reactions with others. Binge viewing steps on the fun of being a part of that communal experience. So, it's not either or, it's just one more option in an on-demand world.  But, it's really a loss for families. TV watching is designed to be appealing and yes, habit forming. Beyond the risks associated with being sedentary for extended periods of time, the addictive hours of screen watching have become a commonplace and an almost bonding activity for many families. TV binges are replacing time once spent on more active parent-child experiences, which have provided to be significant in children's brain development. Bingeing indirectly sends the message, this screen is more important to me than spending time with you. The explosion of viewing options clearly has advantages, but these days, we parents need to be thinking consumers of this medium. We need to decide ahead of time what we watch and what our children will watch and how many hours should we really allocate to the TV set. Maggie
30.10.2015
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Maggie's Discovery Corner 10 week challenge Each week, replace 1 text with a phone call or in-person greeting and watch how your world might become a little brighter. We find there are many benefits to texting, including faster communication (I wrote letters as a kid, I had a pen-pal) and avoidance of awkward interactions (possibly a argument with a friend or every now and then a family member/in-law) But, relying too much on virtual messaging may be killing our human relationships. There are examples aplenty: kids using phones under the table (instead of talking to their parents), People in their 20's who instant-message at work (instead of co-mingling with co-workers ("Did someone remove the water cooler"?) and people of all ages now opting to text with friends instead of a get-together. A study I read states "among college students, such practices led to a 40% decline in empathy". We sometimes forget what we miss when we can see someone else's reactions, their expressions, the tone in their voice. Yet even as people become less sensitive, we're also craving contact more than ever. In another study I read, students who were asked to sit alone without their phones for 15 minutes, cutting the cord of constant communication, actually opted for mild electric shock rather then meditation in solitude. (when did alone time become so distasteful?) Ladies and gentlemen, I'm not anti-texting, it's very useful, beats the pony-express. I'm just pro-conversation! Please, join me on the band wagon and strike up a face-to-face conversation. Just think of the doors it may open.       Maggie
28.10.2015
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Amber's Kid Zone Fall Pumpkin Activity October is here and so is pumpkin season!  It’s always fun to go out and pick your own pumpkins for the season as a fun family outing but what if you and your kids could make your own?  Supplies: Dryer Duct piecing Glue Gun Orange Spray Paint or Orange Paint Stick Raffia Step One: Cut a piece of dryer duct. - make it a large enough piece so you can bend it into a circle Step Two: Use a hot glue gun to glue both ends together to form a circle Step Three: Spray paint (if you want to complete fast) or if you want to take more time you can paint by hand  Step Four: Insert a stick that you can pick from your yard, add some raffia around the stick to finish off the pumpkin “look”!   Enjoy your new decoration! 
25.10.2015
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Amber's Kid Zone Halloween Snack Idea  If you have kids you know when holidays or special occasions come around you turn into a kid yourself! We live to see the smiles on their faces and when we take the time to make memories with them they look up at you and say “Mommy/Daddy, I had so much fun today with you”. One thing I love to do with my kids is cook with them! They love feeling apart of the meal being made and the satisfaction at the end when they know that they actually helped making something is so rewarding. This year for Halloween I came across this recipe on the Applegate Natural & Organic Meats website. How cute are these spider hot dogs! Get ready to make your own with your kids, I guarantee they will love them.  Ingredients 1 package of your favorite Applegate Hot Dogs 1 tube refrigerated crescent dough, preferably Annie’s brand 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds Ketchup, for serving Step One: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper Step Two: Cut each hot dog in half lengthwise, then cut each piece in half crosswise (each hot dog will make 4 treats)  Step Three: Keeping the middle intact, use the tip of a knife to make 3 slices at either end of each hot dog piece (this will make 4 legs on either side) Step Four: Once all the hot dogs are cut, cut the dough into strips, about 1 inch wide and 2 inches long (you may not use all of the dough). Wrap a piece of dough around the middle of each hot dog, pinching to seal the dough, and place, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet  Step Five: Press 2 sesame seeds into the middle of each “spider” to make eyes Step Six: Bake until the dough is golden brown and the hot dog “legs” are sizzling and twisted, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm with ketchup on the side   Amber Amber's Kid Zone
22.10.2015
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Grey Matters with Lori-Jo Navigating the Holidays   It’s almost November, we are in the fourth quarter, the beginning of the end.  Are you humming, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” or are you already lamenting about “The 12 Things of Christmas That Are Such a Pain to Me”?  Unfortunately, for many of us, you can’t have a wonderful time until you tackle the 12 things (or more) that are such a pain, usually at home AND at work! The holidays are a busy time. From everyday stressors such as working long hours to fighting traffic, caring for aging parents and growing children and paying the bills, just when you think your life is stressful enough, the holidays arrive, adding an additional layer of stress which can have a long-lasting impact on your body and your mind.  Emotions run high during the holidays as most of us feel a duty to make the holidays the best we can.  The most important aspects of the season are the opportunities to connect with friends and family. Workplace stress has a way of escalating during the holidays.  It’s easy to get overloaded this time of the year in the work-life merge, as we wrestle with year-end workplace obligations and an expectation of joyful family time. Beyond ensuring the completion of year-end projects, managers have to be aware of how the holidays affect employees.  How can you keep your employees engaged and stress-free this holiday season? Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open.  Whether it’s the holiday your employees celebrate or memories associated with the holiday season, the holidays simply aren’t the same for everyone. It’s important to acknowledge cultural differences among your team.  Be aware of how your organization celebrates the holidays as to not exclude employees.  Pay attention to the needs of your team and offer ways to manage workplace stress, don’t add to it!  If you have a festive office, plan just one, simple party. It will keep tensions low by reducing office obligations and will keep the cost low for everyone as well. Make it fun; just don’t make it mandatory to participate. Giving employees a more flexible schedule to accommodate added family burdens might help, including telecommuting, at least occasionally, until the seasonal rush passes. In order to have a smooth holiday season in the office, make sure the entire team knows the vacation schedule and make sure that anyone eligible to take time off is able to.  Nothing initiates resentment more than an employee being forced to work when his family is having a holiday event.  If your business must have someone present in the office on holidays, consider hiring a back up staff now, so everyone can schedule their vacations. There’s a lot of excess running around and tension in the office during the holidays for employees and the boss alike. Figure out a way to wind down. This may call for a change in the workload or the workforce.  When the tasks become overwhelming, plan to increase your staff. The added helping hands will alleviate project and to-do list related stress in the office and ensure your staff knows they are appreciated.   For example, office decorating, party coordination, receptionist duties during meetings and events, sending holiday greetings, gift giving (including ordering, shopping, wrapping and delivering), representing the company at charity events/trade shows/vendor parties, as well as year end inventory, file-purging, data entry, and reporting are all tasks that a part-time, temporary office/personal assistant can handle for you and your team.  Separating these tasks from your employees’ daily and year end responsibilities and sharing the work will improve productivity and reduces unscheduled time off, fatigue and resentment. This is well worth the investment!
19.10.2015
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Amber, Personal Assistant, Kid Expert Hello everyone and welcome to Amber's Kids Zone! Here you will find all things kid friendly: crafts, games, recipes and more! As a mom of 2 little ones I love finding cool things for us to do together that are not only fun but educational at the same time! Please feel free to let me know what you would like to see as well! Amber Amber's Kid Zone
14.10.2015
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Hello! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Maggie , Staff Support and Trainer for All Service Concierge and this is Maggie's Discovery Corner. I've never written a blog before. Over the years I'd just write things down on posted notes, index cards, kitchen napkins etc. You see it all started with a face-to-face with Ania Fiduccia, owner & founder of ALC who has help me to open a new chapter to my life. I meet Ania April of this year after making a decision that my 13 years of running a retail business was no longer what I wanted or needed in my life. I knew I could help people more than just sell them things that they already had sitting in their closets. I wanted to go back to making a real difference in peoples lives. Before my retail hitch I had 4 wonderfully, amazing years taking care of 6 beautiful children while raising my own. I'm a mom, head to toes, skin to bone. I personally believe that it is the most important role I'll ever play in my life. It's a switch that will never be shut off.  I'm also a HUGE people pleaser. I'll go out of my way to help people out. It brings me real joy to help people even when they don't know it was me that help them. I'm also the worlds biggest when it comes to sharing. If I have the knowledge or know how to get it I'm always waiting for the moment when I can pass it on. The saying is "Knowledge is power" The more knowledge we have, the more powerful we are as individuals, the more help we can be to others, not just to ourselves. The other saying is "God helps those that help themselves" Many people around us everyday don't know how to do that. If we could just give each person a little help each day, some knowledge that they just don't have, just think how incredible the world would be. Again, thank you so much for stopping by. In my day to day journey on this path called life, I'll be bringing you a blog to help, spark an idea, create a new path, make a difference. Please, come join me at Maggie's Discovery Corner.
05.10.2015
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Grey Matters, Post #1:  Multitasking – Pro or Con? The term multitasking was born when computers became capable of running multiple programs simultaneously.  This is a wonderful time-saver and exactly what engineers designed computers to do. Humans have been doing two (or more) things at once forever. For some tasks, it’s automatic. For example, most of us are able to walk and chew gum at the same time!  Mother’s have always been adept at it, especially if they have more than one child!  Office workers eat at their desk while they work on their computer, answer the phone while typing, read email during a conference call, etc.  The ability to multi-task is often a specific requirement in many job descriptions.  However, too much of a good thing is not necessarily better.  For example, we should all stop multi-tasking while we’re driving. Here are a few research findings about multitasking: For students, an increase in multitasking predicted poorer academic results. Multitaskers took longer to complete tasks and produced more errors. People had more difficulty retaining new information while multitasking. When tasks involved making selections or producing actions, even very simple tasks performed concurrently were impaired. Multitaskers lost a significant amount of time switching back and forth between tasks, reducing their productivity up to 40%. Habitual multitaskers were less effective than non-multitaskers even when doing one task at any given time because their ability to focus was impaired. Multitasking temporarily causes an IQ drop of 10 points, the equivalent of going without sleep for a full night. Multitaskers typically think they are more effective than is actually the case. When the quantity of tasks per person becomes overwhelming, consider an office/personal assistant as a reasonable solution to the multitasking dilemma.  Separating the tasks and sharing the work will improve productivity, safety, job satisfaction and ultimately profitability as it reduces distraction, fatigue and resentment. This will more than pay for the help!
28.09.2015
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Welcome to Grey Matters with Lori-Jo - a blog series for office assistants.  My plan is to present topics that could be challenges to any business person, offering a “more than one way to skin a cat” approach to addressing the challenge based on All Service Concierge’s collective management experience.  I hope it will provide food for thought and alternative solutions to common problems. I’m calling the series “Grey Matters”.  Why?  It’s my attempt at a pun.  Grey can be spelled Gray (more than one way to skin a cat). Grey matter relates to brain power. (thought-provoking).  Grey sometimes refers to problems to which there is not always a clear-cut solution (as in gray areas).  Matters are fringe activities, but they are important (they matter).  Mainly, I’m calling the series “Grey Matters” because this author/researcher is grey and the topics matter to me. So here we go…Lori-Jo Grey Matters with Lori-Jo
29.04.2015
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Today, most of our communication is based around email correspondence.  Since by nature I am a talker, most of my emails are super long.  I realized I needed training in how to communicate more clearly and keep my emails shorter.  I have decided to attend a workshop on how to utilize emails to write clear and effective messages.  This month, I wanted to share with you some tips that I am currently working on applying to my every day communication.   1. Subject line: I have been guilty of putting something very generic in the subject line.  Through the workshop, I realized how important it is to make the subject line meaningful and detailed.  Now, I make it a point to write in the subject line what the email is about, if it is important, and any other details that I would like someone to know. Ex: Previous subject might say “New Client Information” but now I will write “Bethlehem Office Assistant – new client details – please reply within 48 hours” In general, you want to keep your subject line short, but because I am emailing my staff I can make the subject line very specific. Another tip is to change the subject line if the topic of your email changes.  Throughout your communication with the recipient, you may get off topic and start a total new conversation.  Simply change the subject line to reflect the change.  This will make it very easy for you to locate the email if at a later time you need to find information about the topic. 2. Get directly to the point – and say last sentence first: I am super guilty of this!  The talker in me, wants to know about your day, how you are feeling, etc.  But, with the amount of emails we are receiving throughout the day, most of us will appreciate a message that goes directly to the point of the email.  We usually tend to ‘end’ with what the email is truly about, but what if your recipient doesn’t finish reading the email or visually scans it for important information?  I try to make it a point to say what I need to say first and then to satisfy my need to ‘talk’ will end the email with a warm message.  3. Use short sentences and even shorter paragraphs: Apparently not everyone is like me and enjoys reading every single word of a lengthy email.  (GUILTY!)  When writing an email, try using simple words, short sentences and even shorter paragraphs.  Using bullets to point out different parts of the email is a great strategy.  4. Don’t use all CAPS: (Finally NOT guilty of something)  Using all caps makes it seem like you are shouting.  That’s a simple one right? 5. When  you can, only reply to emails from your computer/laptop: Autocorrect on smart phones – do we need to say more? Always proof read any message sent from your phone – it can save you from an embarrassing ‘autocorrect’ moments. 6. Keep formatting simple: As a general rule, use black color on a white background.  Utilizing many fonts, colors and other decorative features makes your message hard to read.  7. Always add the email last: (GUILTY!) How many times did you send the email to the wrong person or somehow you hit send before you finished the email or had a chance to proof your message.  Leaving the email blank will prevent these mistakes and allow you the time you need to properly proof read your email. Hopefully, I will follow my own tips and make it a habit to keep my emails shorter and to the point.  The talker in me will always come through, but by adding these tips into my daily routine I hope to become a better communicator.  If you have any tips for email correspondence email them to Ania@AllServiceUS.com.  I would love to spotlight you during next month’s connect.
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