Friday, January 11, 2013

A Binder Breakdown

A new year is upon us, and companies around the country have visions of good fortunes in 2013. As we look ahead towards good times, we recognize all the hard work in store for everybody. For many, that means preparing presentations, training new employees, and filing away 2012. Three very different tasks, but what's one thing they have in common? If you said that they all commonly rely on binders, well done for reading the title of this post.

Think about that for a moment- one job involves impressing clients, one involves making a lot of information easily accessible and one involves indexing records that may or may not ever be seen again. Yes, one office supply can bind them all, but why use the same binder for several jobs when different kinds of binders are better suited for each of these tasks?

The most basic type of binder is the reference binder. They don't have much style (barring a few exceptions), but they are inexpensive and available in several colors. They're perfect for internal use such as company handbooks, procedures, job training, troubleshooting and any other records that are frequently viewed and updated. Storage binders are the big uglies of filing. These are designed to hold large quantities, often using gapless or slant rings, and are built to hold for years in a drawer or on a shelf. Some are designed to hang from filing cabinets, similar to hanging file folders. Data binders and post binders store computer printouts, larger sheet sizes and even more pages.

Presentations and reports have a completely different set of criteria. Presentation binders are all about combining affordability in large quantities with creating a positive impression even before it's opened, which means a clear cover to allow you to insert a title sheet and/or a spine insert. Binders are also available in a smaller capacity such as 1/2” rings. The tradeoff is that presentation binders are commonly built for short-term usage, meaning they aren't suited for storage or frequent reference.

Alternatives to traditional binders include flexible binders made of clear plastic and easel binders that fold into easels to add an instant visual element to your presentations. For help finding the perfect binder for you, this binder buying guide will help sort products by size and ring type.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Having a Ball

Have you ever taken note of your posture throughout the workday? Maybe you start the day strong, fresh off your morning cup of coffee, upright and ready to produce. After several hours of that, plus a lunch break, you might spend the afternoon joining the rest of us- slouching in your chair, leaning back and doing your best to focus on your work instead of the clock.

We really shouldn't blame your chair for that. There are all sorts of other factors that could be involved there. Your chair, however, doesn't usually help. However, Safco has an interesting alternative that offers a comfortable sit while still demanding concentration and posture.

The Zenergy ball chair is a mesh-covered medicine ball that sits on a sturdy base and, despite its small footprint, is sized about the same as a normal chair. Without a back, it's up to you to stay upright. This isn't any more difficult than sitting on a bench, but it does require your body to sit properly. This keeps you more alert and more ready to work than when a back rest is supporting you.

I've been sitting in one all afternoon, and the mesh covering does make for a comfortable sit and it certainly improves concentration. The whole good posture thing and the occasional adjustments do require a period of acclimation: I recommend sitting in the chair for only a couple hours at a time, building up to full-time use over the course of a few days. It also feels a little higher than my previous chair and a bit over-inflated. The Zenergy does include a pump for making such adjustments, which I would totally do if it wasn't a demo that I had to share with the rest of the office.

The Zenergy does serve me well in particular, as I tend to be a bit fidgety at my desk, never quite content in one position. The ball allows for a bit of non-disruptive squirming, allowing me to focus on my work as the seat shifts on its own to adjust to my position. It's the same philosophy Safco takes with their Alpha-Better series of school desks that allow children to stand (or sit on optional stools) and fidget during class.

It's no surprise, then, that Safco also has a smaller ball chair, the Runtz series, designed for children. It sits about 6 inches shorter but has all the same features as the Zenergy.