How to Help Employee Mental Health During COVID

At the onset of the pandemic, companies throughout Canada kept their operations through remote work. Suddenly, countless Canadians across the country were now working from home, a notable change from their ordinary workday that typically involved commutes to and from the office.

Many welcomed these changes, finding plenty of humour in their new workday habits. PJs and sweats replaced the formal workwear, the water cooler was replaced by group calls and chats, while family and pets would routinely interrupt the average workday, often with hilarious results.

However, more than 16 months into the pandemic, a clearer picture is being painted about the impact of working from home. Many people are finding their personal and family lives are becoming negatively affected by remote working.

How the Pandemic is Impacting Employee Mental Health

Employees are becoming more stressed from the remote work life, as it is more challenging to find the right work-life balance when you work from home. Interruptions to work are not as funny as they once were, it’s harder to find personal boundaries, while a lack of social interaction is causing many to feel incredibly isolated.

In fact, a recent study suggests that as much as 68% of Canadians are struggling with mental health problems during the pandemic. One in five of these people believe isolation is the main cause for increased mental health issues.

Moreover, many employees are feeling anxious over their employers’ plans to return to the workplace. Many even feel that their employer doesn’t have any plan in place for an eventual return to the office.

So, whether employees are enjoying remote working or longing for a return to the workplace, it’s clear that pandemic continues to have an enormous impact on employee mental health.

Tips for How to Improve Workplace Mental Health

There are many things that a company can do to help improve the mental health of their remote workforce during the pandemic.

Try to Establish (and Respect) Boundaries

The first is one that many are struggling with – respect the boundaries that come with working from home. This means not making zoom calls at unexpected hours, dropping sudden deadlines on staff or expecting them to work during weekends.

These boundaries apply at home too. You may need to explain to your family that despite being at home, you are still working so require some peace and quiet to do your work. Explain to your partner and children that you are still working and can’t be constantly disturbed.

Try to Create a Dedicated Workspace

Creating a dedicated workspace is a great way to strike a suitable work-life balance. Even just a small part of a room that is dedicated to working can help you get into the right mindset for working, creating a better environment for a productive day of work.

Avoiding distractions is also a good idea. Just because you are home doesn’t mean you should be doing house chores all the time. It can be tempting to smash out a few chores throughout the workday, yet these often snowball into unwanted distractions that lower productivity. Stay focused on work and you will feel all the better for it!

Try to Maintain Social Interactions With Co-Workers

Finally, do not forget to try and maintain your work social life. Just because you cannot see your co-workers every day does not mean you cannot remain connected – try starting a group chat or regular zoom calls to help keep open lines of communication.

This helps alleviate the feelings of isolation while allowi8ng you all to stay on top of your work – encourage each other as best you can!

The Importance of Hardware Technical Audit for Your Business

During the global pandemic, many employees found themselves taking office hardware home for remote work. Companies are now finding that much of their major hardware, from laptops to smartphones, are now being used off-site.

This does make tracking IT equipment more challenging, especially when it’s time for a hardware technical audit. Many businesses are looking to take advantage of quieter offices by implementing their hardware technical audits, minimizing the disruption this process may cause.

Of course, completing a hardware technical audit is more challenging with so many remote workers. However, that doesn’t mean that this essential component of asset maintenance should be overlooked.

What is a FREE IT Hardware Technical Audit?

A hardware technical audit is a process where a company’s IT hardware is audited to ensure everything is working as it should be. It covers all major hardware used in IT, including computers, servers, modems, access points, smartphones, tablets etc.

Additionally, our FREE IT hardware audit reviews other essential components including firewalls, client software, and network performance.

By auditing the hardware, a company can determine the overall performance of their assets and whether any improvements and savings can be made.

What are the Benefits of a Hardware Technical Audit?

Our FREE IT Assessments for hardware provide many advantages for any business, no matter the size and scope of their IT systems. Whether it’s a few computers or an entire office, technical hardware audits are essential for maintaining good and working IT systems.

Effective Hardware Utilization

When auditing computer hardware, you can determine the exact performance of each computer, including RAM, CPU, and hard drive usage. By identifying their performance, you can then see where possible improvements can be made, be it through upgrades or replacements.

This is one of the best ways of knowing whether your computer hardware is outdated or underperforming and where to make the necessary improvements. Doing so will see a large increase in productivity, as working with fully optimized computer hardware will greatly increase most work processes.

Up to Date Software and Firewall

Audits determine what type of software your computers are using and whether they might need updating. Everything from your operating system to your firewall requires frequent updates to ensure they are secure and working efficiently.

Data is one of your most valuable assets, so by keeping on top of antivirus and malware threats, you ensure this has the appropriate level of security.

IT departments use various types of software, so it’s vital to keep these up to date to ensure you’re getting maximum value from them, highlighting the importance of regular audits to keep on top of this.

A Secure and Functional Network

Computer networks require ongoing maintenance to keep them secure and fully functional, and a hardware technical audit is the most effective form of routine maintenance.

For instance, a network traffic analysis records and reviews all network traffic data, allowing you to analyze the overall performance and security of network operations. Bandwidth usage and throughput is another network component that can be further analyzed through a FREE IT Assessment, letting you see a clear picture of overall bandwidth usage and whether improvements can be made.

Why Choose An Advanced Business Systems Audit?

We’ve watched over the past year as businesses restructure the way they operate. For many, being forced to have their staff work remotely was an eye-opening experience. Businesses saw increased productivity while also decreasing their energy usage and office space. This new way of doing business gives many organizations an economic advantage. However, with more employees working from home, our dependency on good technology has grown significantly. Managers need to be confident that their staff can remain connected. This extends beyond their internet connection to include phone systems, webcams for virtual meetings, virus software, cloud and/or hard drive space, and more.


If you’re concerned that your current setup isn’t reliable, you’ll probably benefit from a free technology audit. It’s an easy way to ensure your equipment can handle everything you’re asking it to. When your concerns are addressed immediately, it usually saves an organization time and money, as well as saving your employees some stress and frustration.



A tech audit is a complete evaluation of your entire I.T. infrastructure. It is performed by an industry expert and extends beyond your hardware and software to include current operations and policies. The audit should also demonstrate security risks, explore how your organization is collecting and using data, all while ensuring your business is working within industry-specific regulations that relate to data and information.



The biggest reason organizations turn to Advanced Business Systems for their tech audit is because it is free! It includes the thorough investigation your I.T. infrastructure needs, from an experienced and knowledgeable team. The experts performing your review are not only specially trained to optimize your I.T. system, but are backed by a solid reputation and glowing reviews.


Advanced Business Systems has almost 40 years of experience and are proud to support over 4,000 local clients. Additionally, Advanced Business Systems is an authorized Lenovo and Toshiba repair center, with the largest dealer support network in the country.


No matter the size of your organization, you’ll benefit from learning how to properly protect your I.T. This includes ensuring your P.C.’s are clean from dust and other physical properties that can cause your system to overheat. As well as clean from viruses that can infect and harm your entire system. Your free tech audit will also show you how to cost-effectively fill any I.T. security gaps through managed service offerings.



There is no cookie-cutter approach to a tech audit. Each assessment depends on an organization’s current setup, their long and short-term goals as well as concerns or past problems. Audits are truly customized to your needs and objectives and solutions are designed based on your, goals and budget. Advanced Business Systems will make sure:

  • Server, firewall, switch, and desktop firmware are up to date.
  • Hardware utilization, eg. HDD size usage, CPU usage, RAM utilization is optimized.
  • Warranty statuses are checked.
  • OS patches are up to date.
  • Software licenses are valid.
  • Virus/malware/threat protection is active and up to date.
  • You have an installed software report.
  • A traffic analysis and threat assessment are completed.
  • Bandwidth usage and throughput is adequate.
  • Open port audit (basic penetration testing) is completed.


Our team is happy to meet with you to discuss your needs, and find out if your organization will benefit from a free tech audit. We look forward to answering your questions and improving your workflow.

Organize Your Office, Organize Your Work

Studies have shown that a messy office leads to a messy mind. We start losing our ability to focus or process information. An untidy desk is especially hard on our spirits, as it causes anxiety, guilt and unnecessary stress. This article will help you declutter, and set you up on a path of success and tidiness. Keep in mind that properly decluttering and reorganizing may take a couple hours… or more (depending on your set up and amount of clutter).



Think of the desk as the heart of your office. Anything you keep there should be worthy of the space it’s taking up. Start by purging. Desks tend to collect a rainbow of sticky notes, reminders, and usually a pile or two of papers.


Once you’ve purged, consider raising your computer monitor. This makes sitting in front of your computer easier on your neck because the screen is at eye level. It also gives you extra surface space on your desk.


The space under a desk is often underutilized. If you need extra storing space then filing systems, or office supplies can be stored underneath. While you are down there, take a look at your cables. Many desks end up housing a variety of cords, adding to the clutter. Cable trays and holders are available, you should have no trouble finding something that works with your setup.



Digitizing your files is usually a big project but it will help reduce a lot of paper and clutter. Plus, when you’re done, you’re left with a system to continue digitizing, preventing clutter and old files from piling up again.


Advanced Business Systems is proud to offer M-Files; intelligent information management. Clients have grown to rely on this form of document management, which also allows you to connect to existing network folders and systems to make them more intelligent. They will feature built-in AI, to automatically categorize and protect your information.



Clutter can be easier to organize and control when there are designated stations in the office. A mail station can help manage incoming and outgoing mail, for example. While a printing station can house paper, ink, staplers and more.



By taking advantage of wall space, you’re maximizing your storage while keeping files and office supplies organized. Choose sturdy shelving and store your most used supplies in the middle where they are easily reached.



Our eyes can focus on, and our brains can register colours much quicker than text. Develop an organizational system with colour coded folders or project jackets. Some businesses take this step further, by using matching-coloured pens on calendars so you can process information more efficiently.





If you take a moment to evaluate your desk and office space once a week, you’ll be saved from having to take on large organizational projects again. It might help to motivate you if you remember that organizing the office isn’t just how your workspace appears to colleagues, or clients. What’s really important is how it makes you feel. Your increased productivity and mental clarity are proof your efforts weren’t wasted.














When the world went into lockdown, many business owners were caught off guard. They didn’t know how to transition their operations to online/remote workers or if they even had the capabilities. Now that we have reopened, multiple organizations are prioritizing a technology audit so we can be better prepared.



These days, technology is at the heart of almost every business. This makes it imperative to look at every aspect of your technological investments. A free tech audit will help you create an inventory of the equipment you’re using, while ensuring everything is working the way it’s intended. When the tech audit is free, as it is from Advanced Business Systems, there really is no down side.


A free tech audit is a complete evaluation of your entire I.T. infrastructure, including operations and policies. The audit should demonstrate any security risks, how your organization is collecting and using data, and making sure your business is working within industry-specific laws that relate to data and information.


If you’re not confident that your equipment can handle everything you’re asking it to, it’s wise to address your concerns sooner rather than later. This quick action can save you time, money, and stress down the road.



If you want to remain a competitor in your industry, the right hardware and software is needed for your competitive edge. Your team and your customers depend on these systems. A tech audit will:

  • Help your team remain productive.
  • Ensure you’re not caught off guard with lack of hard drive or cloud storage.
  • Are protected from viruses, malware and other threats.
  • Save money by checking warranty statuses and software licenses are valid and up to date.
  • Make sure your customers can access you and your systems when needed, without experiencing slowdowns or outages.
  • Help you reach expansion goals.




For a thorough look at your I.T. infrastructure, you want to ensure you’re working with a knowledgeable service that has a solid reputation and backs up their work with experience and glowing reviews.


Advanced Business Systems not only offers free tech audits, has almost 40 years of this experience, growing with every technological advancement we’ve seen during that time. We are proud to support over 4,000 local clients as well, with the tech and services they require. Additionally, Advanced Business Systems is an authorized Lenovo and Toshiba repair center, with the largest dealer support network in the country.


Our team is happy to meet with you for free, to discuss your needs, and find out if your organization will benefit from a tech audit. We look forward to answering your questions and improving your workflow.


Why You Should Shop Local For Your Office

For years consumers had no choice but to shop local. Then the ability to import from the United States became very easy and cost effective. It also opened the doors to a wider variety of goods. Importing from overseas continued to expand our options.


However, since then, we’ve learned cheaper imports often means reduced quality, even unsafe products. This, and the demand from consumers to support local entrepreneurs has caused more and more to shop locally. Then COVID-19 hit, forcing many neighbourhood businesses to close. This means the need to shop local is an even bigger priority. Fortunately, shopping locally comes with many perks for everyone in the community.



When you shop in town, it means more money stays in our community. Before the pandemic, for example, it was very easy to cross from Windsor (where Advanced Business Systems is located) to Detroit for an expanded shopping experience. Unfortunately, that meant our community was losing a lot of money. Spending our discretionary income in another area, causes us to lose out on potential. By shopping in our community, local businesses can grow and hire new employees. This creates a wonderful cycle, because more of our neighbours are better able to provide for their family… allowing them to spend more in our community. This brings more jobs, more money to spend, and so forth. Shopping local also allows our provincial and federal government to collect the taxes, opposed to the American government. So, shopping locally improves our community on many levels.



It’s great that communities see these massive benefits from shopping locally, but so does our planet. You’re faced with a choice to buy a chair, for example. One chair is made in and shipped from overseas, the other chair was made in your hometown. You may see slight short-term savings from the imported chair, but our planet pays the price. It takes less gas and greenhouse emissions to buy the chair that was locally made. Plus, there is usually more packaging required from imported products, which just ends up in landfills.



There is some truth in the stigma that imports are often cheaper. Logic shows us that because they’re manufactured in large numbers, the price should be less.  Additionally, many products made overseas don’t have to meet our quality and safety standards, which should mean even more savings. However, upon further inspection and research, you’ll probably find that local goods often cost less. They also require less packaging and shipping. On top of that, higher quality often leads to durability. It is possible that the chair from overseas costs a little less, but past experiences have taught us it won’t last as long. So, in the long run, you end up paying more.



If we continue with the chair example, purchasing it from our community means you have more quality control. You can be confident knowing that items manufactured here meet the stringent Canadian quality standards. These standards help ensure we only bring home products made from safe materials and chemicals. One thing we have learned from importing products from overseas is that whenever possible, ingredients like lead paint or arsenic are used to reduce costs.



If your purchase is costly or could require service or technical support, buying local can save you stress and money when it comes time for repairs. Many business owners have invested in their team, and understand the importance of providing them with the best tools. If their tech goes down, it can be time consuming and expensive to get it fixed. Buying your important gear from a local, trustworthy source comes with this peace of mind.



Improve Your Office Morale

Who would have thought that a little word like “morale” could impact your business so much? However, morale is that little bit of happiness and optimism that your staff needs. It’s what makes us look forward to coming into work every day.

Office morale has become tied to company culture. It shapes the attitude and outlook an employee has. Good morale is a communal effort dependent on all your employees, but many managers take on the responsibility themselves. This article explores morale in the workplace; how to improve and maintain it.


The leading factors driving managers to improve office morale are the studies demonstrating increased efficiency and productivity. When your staff genuinely enjoy time spent at work and value the people around them, they are highly motivated. This means more work is done quicker, and the quality of their work is also improved.

It is impressive to see the competitive edge an organization receives from positive morale. This is mostly because a company with high morale attracts and retains the industry’s top talent. When you boost office morale, you’ll notice operating costs are reduced. Less sick days are taken and there are fewer workplace accidents. Staff will benefit from less stress, which leads to less paid time off. Hiring costs are also reduced when your staff is happy to stay.


Before we look at how to improve morale, we need to understand what causes poor office morale. This way we can eliminate the negative, making room for a more positive atmosphere.

  • Human beings flourish from challenges. We need to grow personally, just as the business needs to grow. When growth stops, employees become bored and unmotivated. If we are not faced with these challenges, we become disengaged, even caring less for the organization.
  • Not supplying your team with the proper equipment and supplies to get the job done, also tanks office morale. This includes the right tech as well as proper ergonomic furniture.
  • Low morale can also be present in a workspace that offers no clear-cut direction. Managers should set clear, realistic expectations for every employee. If boundaries and expectations aren’t set, an employee can’t meet them.
  • Poor leadership is often the biggest trigger for low morale. Leaders need to understand how their demeanor, performance and presence affect the team. When management is blind to this connection, they cannot see when morale (and therefore productivity) decline until it’s too late.



It’s never too late to have a positive impact on your team. Just because productivity has dropped and optimism has vanished, it doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. These proven methods should help boost your office morale.

  • OPEN THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION: Positive company announcements are a wonderful starting point. This could include launching a new product, or a good customer review. Just as important though is keeping them in the loop when something goes wrong. When the lines of communication are open during the good times and bad, your employees feel more valued.
    Good communication also includes employee feedback. One-third of employees don’t feel they get the proper amount of feedback needed. Feedback goes way beyond criticizing or complimenting performance; it gives employees the tools and confidence they need to get the job done.
  • EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION: This is similar to employee feedback, and reinforces the importance of keeping the lines of communication open. When employees feel appreciated (sincerely appreciated) they have more self-worth, which increases their productivity.
    Plenty of studies have proven the advantages that come from employee recognition. Management and staff benefit, even customer satisfaction increases. Consider showing your appreciation both publicly and privately. Other staff feel encouraged when their coworkers are praised.
  • EMPLOYEE GROWTH: Giving employees a sense of purpose or a goal to work towards, pushes them to work harder. The motivation makes them excited to work.

Growth doesn’t have to mean a promotion. Offering the opportunity to improve their skills will dramatically boost their mood, improving their energy in the office. In fact, a study by Chronus (an organization specializing in employee retention) showed employees remain 25% longer in an organization that offers a mentoring program.


The fact that you’re taking time and learning how to improve morale show’s you’re on the right track. Continually monitoring morale trends will be of great benefit to your organization.

Be sure to ask your staff for suggestions to improve morale. Not only will they be able to help, but simply asking for their input opens those lines of communication, while making them feel valued.

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Give Your IT Department Some Time to Rest

Give Your IT Department Some Time to Rest
Often a school may only have a small number of people in their IT department (if they have one). Ricoh can deploy a customized solution to provide extensive support to help lighten IT’s load.

Not having a specialized IT team can lead to several challenges, such as:

Teachers are pulled away from students. The primary job of teachers is and should be educating students. Every hour a teacher spends on IT tasks is an hour taken away from student-centric tasks. Adding IT responsibilities to a teacher’s workload means reducing time elsewhere.
Teachers are education experts, not IT experts. Teachers handling IT tasks may run into problems they can’t solve causing issues in the future, if ignored. Alternatively, teachers may spend hours completing tasks an IT professional could do in minutes.
Time is money. Though the argument against hiring external support is often cost, teachers and in-house IT staff have to be compensated for their time, so the cost differential is much smaller than imagined. In fact, if time and productivity are taken into account, it is clear that working with a solution provider like Ricoh actually saves money.
In addition to circumventing the above problems, working with Ricoh provides many benefits:

We create customized solutions to meet your school’s exact needs. We know that every school and school board is unique. That’s why we can craft a solution that works for you. Our business consultants meet with you to discuss the optimal solutions for your problems. We also have staff with extensive experience working with schools; they are able to recommend the best way forward.
We provide end-to-end services. We provide extensive support for any issues that arise. Our support team is Canadian and fully Ricoh-trained (as opposed to other solution providers who have long wait times and hire help desk staff from other parts of the world).
Our solutions are scalable. After your school sees that it is getting great benefits from our solutions, we can easily expand the offering to tackle other challenges that have yet to be addressed.
Issue tracking makes problem solving a breeze. It can be difficult to keep track of the issues that you spot. That’s why we have an easy-to-use issue tracker: users can enter their problems in real time– wherever they are and from whatever device they are using. This issue tracker is linked with our custom automated business process, so that our team receives notifications for when they are needed.
We use data to drive insights into common processes and how they can be addressed. We are constantly refining our systems to provide the best value.
IT doesn’t have to be a cumbersome, tiring process, especially for teachers. Call Ricoh today.

Finally, please do keep in mind that Ricoh is not providing legal advice or ensuring legal compliance with any law, regulation, by-law or any other legislative requirement with respect to the content of this communication. It is the customer’s responsibility to obtain advice of competent legal counsel to ensure its compliance with such requirements.