Client Portals: The Magic Tool for Better Customer Engagement

Why is customer engagement so important?

For many industries, providing clients with the best final product or service requires them to work collaboratively with your team. Fully engaged clients bring in 23% more revenue than their less involved counterparts. They’re also more likely to be satisfied with your services because they had an active role in shaping them.

It’s an ironic truth that clients sometimes seek out services and then derail their own projects by not fully participating in the process. They will seemingly drop off the map, not responding to emails or calls, consistently missing deadlines, or not approving project milestones. Often, the problem isn’t that they don’t want to participate; it’s that they’re busy, distracted, or overwhelmed. A customer engagement portal allows you to seamlessly integrate your collaboration process into your clients’ daily lives.

Onehub client portals improve customer engagement and collaboration 

If your typical client collaboration process involves a jumble of phone calls, emailed files, random Post-it notes, or complicated software, we’re here to show you a better way.

The key to profitable client engagement is organization and convenience. Onehub client portals are a straightforward and cost-effective way to provide this. 

A client portal is a secure login area on your company’s website. Users enter their credentials to log in and access a digital Workspace that’s custom branded and tailored to their unique needs. The Workspace provides cloud storage for business files, enables easy and secure file sharing, and offers collaboration tools such as automatic syncing, comments, and tasks.  

If you’ve tried a technology-based approach before and found that customers worked around the platform rather than in it, your software was likely difficult to navigate and inconvenient to use. When you provide a simple user interface such as Onehub’s, clients are more than happy to reap the many benefits a portal offers. 

How portals benefit your clients

Client portals keep business files secure

Without a doubt, convincing clients to stop emailing files is one of the biggest hurdles to securing and streamlining your client collaboration process. Emailing files is second nature for many people, but it’s an inherently insecure file-sharing method. It also makes it extremely difficult to search for files later.

To make sure clients switch over to securely sharing files, start by letting them know the dangers of emailing files. They may not realize that hackers can easily steal their emailed business files, or that once sent, a recipient can use and share the file however they like. Confidential files such as financial documents or intellectual property are a gold mine for hackers, and they won’t hesitate to steal poorly secured files.

Onehub’s secure client portal protects that information by requiring credentials to access the Workspace. Files stored in or shared from the Workspace are protected by bank-level encryption, and SSL protocols ensure that every communication is sent over a secure connection. Features such as role-based permissions, audit trails, session timeouts, and two-factor authentication mean your client’s data is fully protected. 

Once clients see that sending a file through the Onehub platform is just as simple as emailing it (arguably even easier) and that it protects their confidential information, they are happy to make the switch. 

A client portal allows customers to self-service 

For easy-to-answer questions or general information, clients want the option to help themselves. This is great news for your team because it means fewer phone calls and emails to respond to and more time to focus on delivering a great product or service.

You can custom-brand your client portal and Workspace to look like an extension of your website and not a third-party feature. Within the Workspace, you have total control over what clients can see and do. Project files, invoices, FAQs, and tasks are a great foundation to start building out your client-specific Workspaces. 

Access to necessary files and information empowers clients to answer some of their own questions. The more convenient the collaboration process is for clients, the more they will engage and recognize the value your company offers. 

Client portals improve communication and productivity

A client portal encourages customer engagement with your team. Clients can access this dedicated space at any time and from any device, making it extremely convenient for busy schedules. 

Clients can check in to see if there are any pending tasks they need to complete, leave comments with questions about new updates on a file, or approve a mockup. They can also send messages when they need more in-depth information from the team. 

To increase productivity even more, clients can preview files without leaving the Workspace. They can also create or edit files using our helpful integrations with Microsoft Office Online and Google Drive. 

These details and tools are easy to see at a glance and provide clarity at every stage of a project. When your client collaboration process is perfectly streamlined, customers don’t have to force themselves to stay engaged. There’s no frustrating or inconvenient software to muddle through or an unorganized mass of emails to excavate; the client portal simply becomes a seamless part of their routine. 

Client portals promote brand loyalty

When your clients log into a white label client portal and access the Workspace, they see a professionally designed platform branded with your company’s logo. Everything is organized and easy to use without any training. That is an excellent impression to make. Clients immediately know that they’ve hired a competent, professional company to meet their needs. It inspires trust, strengthens business relationships, and makes clients want to hire you again. 

Keep your customers happy and your business healthy with a Onehub client portal. Sign up today for a free 14-day trial

Is Your Workplace Toxic? Onehub Can Help

In the realm of bad jobs, there are two major types. There are bad jobs that simply aren’t a good fit for the employee, and then there are toxic jobs that aren’t a good fit for anyone.

Toxic work culture is more than employees occasionally suffering through a groan-inducing annoyance. It’s a distressing environment characterized by poor leadership,  high turnover, ineffective communication, employee burnout, and bullying or harassment. When these problems begin to affect the company’s productivity and well-being of employees, you officially have a toxic workplace culture. 

Employees are the most valuable resource a company has, so it’s a smart investment to cultivate a positive work culture.  

What effect does a toxic workplace have?

It takes a toll on employees’ physical and mental health

Imagine you’re being chased by a bear.* Your heart is pounding. You’re hyper alert. Your muscles are tensed. Your body is as ready as it can be to handle this situation. 

That’s your fight-or-flight response. It’s triggered when your brain perceives a very stressful event. Unfortunately, our brains aren’t that great at distinguishing between stressors. Is it a bear? Is it a toxic job? It can’t tell, so the fight-or-flight response is initiated. 

In the case of a toxic job, the perceived danger doesn’t go away, so the stress response continues. Eventually, this life-saving evolutionary response begins to backfire, making employees sick. 

A toxic workplace often sees a higher than average rate of workers using sick days. Even when employees are at work, they’re much less effective. They miss deadlines, overlook details, and lack motivation. This chronic stress also makes people prone to irritability and less able to control their emotions, which adds to the toxicity of the work environment. 

*Safety note: Never run away from a bear

It makes employees lose the motivation to do their jobs well

Toxic work culture breaks the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The results are a cascade of problems that start with high levels of stress, moves to low morale, and quickly turns into poor productivity or work quality.

Emtrain’s 2020 work culture report showed that 95% of employees say their commitment to work plummets after just one to two toxic incidents. In an interview with NPR, a mistreated employee said about her toxic job: “I did the absolute bare minimum to get my paycheck. It did not make me want to help the company in any way.” 

Most employees want to do their jobs well. This “I’m just here for the paycheck” attitude results from bad work culture, and it can be a business’s downfall. 

It creates a high turnover rate that increases costs and derails projects

According to a 2016 report from the Society of Human Resource Management, the average cost-per-hire is $4,425. That’s a significant investment, and the higher the company’s turnover rate, the less return they see on those investments.  

That cost-per-hire figure doesn’t include the money a company may lose when it no longer has enough experienced staff to perform to clients’ expectations. A team that’s operating shorthanded and in a toxic environment has little chance of success. They’re set up to fail, and as they do, so does the business.

How can you maintain a healthy and productive work culture?

Make communication a priority

Communication is the basis for all human interactions, and it’s critical to maintaining a good work environment (or correcting a toxic one). In Inc’s article, “Why Do Employees Really Quit Their Jobs?” six of the eight reasons given are related to communication. 

The first step to good workplace communication is, fittingly, to talk about it. Make it clear to your employees that they’re welcome to ask questions, discuss concerns, or have the occasional friendly chat. 

Sometimes employees won’t feel comfortable initiating discussions, especially if open, honest communication has not been the standard operating procedure until now. Managers can make workers more comfortable by asking specific questions. Instead of saying, “Any questions?” at the end of a meeting, assume that there are. Try to gauge what they might be. A question such as, “What are some potential downsides to this project?” is much more effective at opening the door to communication.

Onehub can improve workplace communication

It’s important to provide your team with effective communication tools. In-person meetings are great (or were, pre-pandemic), but they’re not always practical. Sometimes an employee just has a quick question or update, or their problem would be more easily understood within the context of the file they’re asking about. With this type of communication, technology is the best way to get the message across. 

Onehub’s comprehensive business software provides many avenues for work communication and collaboration such as comments, messaging, and tasks. Comments can be left directly on files or folders to share feedback with colleagues, and comment icons clarify which items people are interacting with. Workers can easily communicate with everyone in the Workspace by posting messages, and tasks clearly convey who is responsible for what.

Don’t micromanage employees

Micromanagers are one of the top complaints from unhappy employees. It’s insulting to an employee’s intelligence and skills when their boss constantly checks in on them. It hinders their ability to do their job well, and it can dramatically lower their morale and commitment to their work.

Micromanagers suffer from a fear of the unknown. Is the new client account being handled properly? Will the stakeholder presentation be ready by Friday? These types of questions plague them. They don’t feel comfortable unless they know exactly what everyone is doing and where every project or account stands. 

If not addressed, a micromanager can single-handedly create a toxic work environment.

Onehub can save employees from micromanagement

An easy way to circumvent anxious micromanagers is to provide them with easy access to everyone’s status — without them checking on employees directly.

Onehub allows users to assign tasks to employees and track their actions and progress via audit trails. Assigned tasks can be viewed all together or per person, and audit trails show the granular details micromanagers crave, such as what files someone viewed or if they made changes. When a task is completed, Onehub can send a would-be micromanager a notification. 

Having access to this information makes it more convenient to check Onehub than to interrupt an employee’s work to find out what they’re doing. 

Share information

“Knowledge hoarding” is a real problem within the workforce, and a toxic work culture is often the catalyst for it. In a job where colleagues are always in competition or workers don’t feel valued, employees are understandably concerned about their job security. If people have to come to them for help or information, it makes it clear that they’re a valuable asset. 

This unwillingness to share information has expensive consequences. Your company loses money every time an employee has to stop working to search for information or reinvent the wheel to complete a project. Some estimates put this cost at around $63,000 annually

Any information that a worker needs to do their job should be readily available to them. Your company can ensure this by taking time to document processes and creating an environment that supports collaboration and knowledge sharing. 

Onehub makes it easy to share information

Once you’ve established a work culture that supports sharing information, the next step is to make sure employees can easily do that. 

Onehub is built around information and file sharing. Administrators can quickly grant access to the platform and define permissions for every employee at the Workspace, folder, or individual file level. This ensures sensitive information remains confidential while necessary files are easy to find and share. 

Once they have access, employees can collaborate with colleagues and freely share information via comments, messages, or tasks within the user-friendly Onehub Workspace.

If any of these common workplace problems look familiar, it’s time to take action. Try Onehub’s free 14-day trial to see how easy communication and free-flowing information can be. 

7 Reasons Your Clients Will Love Onehub

Meeting clients’ needs is the number one goal of successful businesses. For many companies, meeting those needs involves a significant amount of client interaction and collaboration. The processes and software you use to collect information from clients are just as important as the final product or service you provide them. Onehub was created with these needs in mind, and our platform consistently wows clients with its user-friendly interface, top-notch security, and robust functionality.

Onehub makes your clients’ lives easier

1. Clients know their confidential business files are protected. 

Data security is understandably a top concern for your clients. Onehub can help you ease their worries and win their trust by ensuring confidential information stays secure. Our security protocols mirror the fastidious measures used by banks, such as 256-bit encryption and data stored across multiple facilities and devices. 

In addition to bank-level security features, Onehub provides users with an arsenal of privacy and security tools such as granular permission settings, secure link sharing, encrypted communications, and Custom Agreements clients must accept before accessing content. 

To provide an even higher security level for your most sensitive business interactions, you can create a Virtual Data Room (VDR) for your clients. Within the VDR, you have the same security features as a traditional Workspace but with additional tools such as document watermarking, user anonymity, and more extensive audit trails. These extra features make clients feel confident that their confidential information is always safe.

What users are saying

“Look at Onehub, and you see an elegant, easy to use, and highly secure data management system.” Elie Azar, Managing Director, White Wolf Capital 

Defining precise permissions puts my customers at ease,and limiting content interaction allows me to better control access to sensitive data.” Matthew Holland, Ray White Business Sales

2. Our intuitive interface is easy for clients to use from day one.

If you’ve ever had to train a client to use complex business software, you know what an arduous task it is. It requires the patience of a saint and many deep, calming breaths. It’s also a trying experience for your client. They just want to securely share files with you or approve new changes to a document. They don’t want to endure a training session for overly complicated software. You can save yourself, your team, and your clients from this fate by choosing Onehub. Our technology solution has everything your clients need in a streamlined, easy-to-use interface. 

Many businesses have trouble convincing clients to work within their designated software instead of sharing files and information via email (which is not secure and makes finding attachments difficult). Clients only do this when your chosen platform is intimidating, difficult to use, or lacks necessary features. Onehub is simple to navigate and has everything your clients need in one convenient location, so you don’t have to worry about them operating outside of our secure platform. 

What users are saying

“With the previous program, we constantly got calls about login and account setup problems and how to use the file sharing. Onehub applies the same kind of file and folder navigation that people use every day, so clients catch on quickly without any help.” J. Bruce Ricciuti, President, Birch REA 

“Ease of setup and use were essential. The same functionality that made it easy for us to adopt [Onehub] has made it easy to onboard additional users both inside and outside our organization.”  Abram B., Director of IT

3. Clients can share files quickly and securely. 

Email is often clients’ go-to method for sharing business files because it’s familiar; however, emailing files can create several problems. Email is inherently insecure, so it’s simple for hackers to intercept business files that may contain sensitive information. Email also has frustrating file size limits, makes it difficult to find attachments later, and doesn’t provide confirmation that the file was received. 

Some businesses avoid email file sharing by using file transfer protocol (FTP). As the name suggests, it’s a much more technical option. Many clients find it confusing or overwhelming and will often default back to emailing files. FTP is more secure than email, but it’s still vulnerable to attacks and can be slow to transfer files.

Once your clients understand the risks involved with emailing files, they’ll want a secure option that’s simple for them to use. Onehub’s platform makes secure file sharing fast, easy, and secure. The interface is user-friendly, and clients can transfer files directly or with secure links. Our stringent security protocols protect every file sent via Onehub, so your customers can confidently share their business files.

What users are saying 

Everyone is saved from the painful process of sending files by email or FTP … To be competitive, we have to provide a project management solution that lets clients collaborate on projects, saves them time, and is easy to use while maintaining the security of their information. Onehub is the solution that offers this and more.” Cindy Hearn, Sales & Marketing Specialist, PRG

4. Custom-branding and white-labeling options give clients confidence in your business.        

Onehub users can create unlimited custom-branded or white-labeled Workspaces. These are essentially digital office spaces that cater to each of your clients. Creating this dedicated space for clients sends a clear message that you value their business. A custom-branded Workspace provides them with a secure and easy-to-access central location where they can find all the files they need, approve project updates, complete or assign tasks, and collaborate directly with your team.

Clients appreciate having a polished Workspace that’s organized and gives them access to all the tools they need. It makes your business look extremely professional, capable, and conscientious, all of which boosts clients’ confidence in you and your team. 

What users are saying

“I love how quickly we can set up custom client Workspaces. It delights our clients to have their own area and provides special value to them.” Marcy Kalina, Vice President, MossWarner

“One of the most significant features that OneHub offers is their custom white labeling. This feature allows you to add your own company’s logo on all of the web addresses that your users visit. Your users (vendors, customers, contractors) don’t feel like they are visiting a third-party vendor, which is a plus in my book.” Randy P., Senior Project Manager

“We use the site to share content with clients, and [white labeling] makes us seem polished and bigger than we are to have ‘our own’ file-sharing site.” Lee T., Client Relationship Manager

5. Custom Agreements and DocuSign make it easy for clients to sign NDAs and other important documents.

Printing an NDA, signing it, scanning it, and emailing it back to your contact is a frustrating process. Onehub simplifies non-disclosure agreements by providing Custom Agreements and DocuSign integration. 

You can choose to customize the Agreement tool to reflect the legal requirements you want clients to abide by. Before entering the Workspace, Client Portal, or Virtual Data Room, clients can review the document and accept the terms with one click. 

Our DocuSign integration is similarly easy, with clients accessing files from within the Workspace and typing their e-signature to acknowledge receipt of the document or acceptance of the terms. Clients value these two features because they dramatically simplify what used to be a lengthy and tedious process. 

What users are saying

“Getting sales leads to sign a non-disclosure agreement used to be complicated, stressful, and time consuming. After discovering Onehub’s Custom Agreements feature, BankTEL was able to unify and transform the entire process into a more automated and auditable one-click action.” BankTEL case study, details provided by Bonnie Baker, Director of IT

6. Microsoft 365 and Google Drive integrations make it more convenient to access files.

It may not seem like switching back and forth from your browser to a downloaded file multiple times a day is a huge deal, but it has a surprisingly negative impact on your efficiency. Research has shown that these short breaks in our focus collectively reduce our productivity and increase fatigue. 

Our Microsoft 365 and Google Drive integrations combat this issue by allowing users to view or edit documents without downloading them. New documents can also be created directly within the Workspace. Clients appreciate this optimization that enables them to do everything in one central location. It saves them time and makes their tasks less stressful. 

What users are saying 

“I love the ability to share files securely on a temporary basis with or without a password, the activity log, and the ability to integrate and edit documents in either Microsoft 365 or Google Drive. [This] means I don’t have to download files any longer, increasing my productivity.” Brenda B., CEO and Certified ProAdvisor

7. Onehub’s app gives clients access anytime, anywhere.

Sometimes work needs to happen away from the office. We’ve all experienced a moment when we’re out and about and suddenly have a “this can’t wait” idea or question. With the app always handy, your clients never have to worry about losing their stroke of creative brilliance or forgetting to clarify an important contract detail. They have convenient 24/7 access to the Onehub platform from their phones or iPads. The app is available for both Android and iOS users.

What users are saying 

“The easy accessibility for my clients on both their PC and the phone app is a pro.” Mike N., Owner,  Accounting Firm

I love the mobile app as well, which is simple with no additional apps to install to use it whether for iPhone or Android.” Brenda B., CEO and Certified ProAdvisor

Onehub is a user-friendly and cost-effective solution that will meet all of your clients’ file-sharing and collaboration needs. Try us out for free for 14 days to see how much your clients will love Onehub!

How to Maintain a Human Connection With Clients While Social Distancing.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many companies interact with their clients and partners. Whether you’ve moved from a brick-and-mortar store to online sales or switched to zoom meetings with clients instead of an in-person visit, you’ve added some physical distance in your business relationships. 

It can be difficult to keep up the same level of customer care that your business once provided. Though all reasonable clients and customers will understand the need for this change, it still has a powerful subconscious impact on their view of your company. It’s easy for them to feel like they’re out of the loop on project updates or that their issues are not a top priority anymore. 

In an interview for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow explains that the pandemic has created “an opportunity to have [a] longer term, deeper relationship with consumers.”  

To build this relationship, you have to find ways to add a human touch to your socially distanced client experiences. 

Be more empathetic.

It’s not accurate to say that there’s a silver lining to this pandemic, but this collective crisis does mean it’s easier to empathize with others. Rather than a personal crisis that may be difficult to relate to, there’s a universal understanding of the trials and stresses COVID-19 has created. 

It’s likely some of your clients are dealing with sick family members, an unemployed spouse, or an “office” that’s surrounded by barking dogs and screaming children. Keep this in mind if you have a client who’s late sending an important file or hasn’t responded to your emails promptly. 

A good perspective to focus on right now is to assume positive intent. Chances are, your client would very much like to move their project along but is having a hard time keeping up with things right now. Assuming positive intent allows you to respond with empathy instead of annoyance. 

Increase communication, and be mindful of your words 

One of the best ways to maintain a strong connection with your clients is to increase your communication. Give them more frequent updates on projects, bids, or fundraisers. This will assure them that they haven’t been forgotten and that your team is still working hard for them.

When emailing clients or customers, keep in mind that it’s difficult to convey tone through the written word. Take a minute to reread your message, looking for language that could unintentionally come across as harsh. Emotions naturally run high during crises like a pandemic, so approach interactions with more care than usual. 

If your clients are comfortable using video calls, try to schedule a weekly call to check in on them and cover any important updates. Seeing each other creates a level of emotional connection that an email or traditional call can’t replicate. If video calls aren’t an option, a phone call is the next best option. 

Emails are great for conveying information, but they generally feel impersonal. You don’t have to replace all of your emails with video or phone calls, but reaching out this way about once a week is a great way to remind your clients or customers that they still matter.

Provide easy-to-use collaboration tools.

If you provide a service that requires a cooperative effort from your clients, it’s more important than ever to provide them with tools to collaborate efficiently. 

On a normal day, your clients probably had a hundred things vying for their attention. The pandemic has added the additional stresses of adapting to remote work, feeling isolated from friends and colleagues, and concerns about the health of their loved ones. Your business has to make it as simple as possible for them to provide the files or information your team needs. If it’s at all difficult, that task is going to get pushed aside.

A great digital Workspace or Client Portal will provide the tools that make it easy for clients to work with you. MossWarner uses Onehub’s Workspaces. Vice President Marcy Kalina says, “It delights our clients to have their own area and provides special value to them.” MossWarner creates customized Workspaces to accommodate the unique needs of hundreds of clients. 

The value of this type of personalized digital space has only increased since the pandemic. It’s a clear sign that your company is invested in your clients and takes their need for easy collaboration and secure file sharing seriously. With an easy-to-use interface and features such as tasks, comments, file syncing, and granular user permissions, your clients will stay engaged throughout every project.

Be adaptable to client needs and lenient with policies.

Now is not the time to strictly enforce company policies that make life harder for your clients. Consider waiving late fees and extending deadlines. You want your clients to feel like you have their backs right now. Penalizing them for minor infractions sends the opposite message.

If they’re having trouble operating within your typical business policies, try to identify an alternative solution. For example, if your client can’t seem to get your team the assets needed for a website redesign, see if they’d agree to give your company temporary access to their file storage. Your team will get what they need to keep the project on schedule, and your client will undoubtedly be grateful that you’ve taken this task off their plate. 

This doesn’t mean your company should allow clients a free pass to ignore invoices or behave badly. Just be open to finding outside-the-box solutions for your clients and extend a little grace and understanding whenever possible.

It pays to be nice.

Your clients are wearily navigating the continued stresses caused by COVID-19. You can deepen business relationships now by maintaining a human touch. Empathy, communication, and (ironically) technology are the perfect tools to make your clients’ lives easier. They’ll remember these small acts of kindness and consideration, and you’ll be repaid tenfold in customer loyalty and referrals. 

Give your clients and your team the gift of Onehub’s customizable Workspaces. Sign up today for a free 14-day trial.

How to Make Your Onboarding Process Easier With Onehub

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is the in-depth process of integrating new employees into your organization. New hires go through an initial orientation phase that includes completing HR paperwork, taking a tour of the office, and meeting the rest of the team. The next step is about detailing your company’s policies and culture, aligning performance expectations, and providing any training or support needed for the employee to succeed. 

Onboarding is a fundamental process that sets up new hires for a long-term future at your company. Unfortunately, most businesses are terrible at it. (A staggering 88% of employees said it, not us!)

Why does good onboarding matter?

It lowers turnover rates. 

On average, the internal and external expenses associated with a new hire total $4,129. It’s a significant investment, and it needs to be nurtured in order to be profitable. The goal is to have employees that positively contribute to the company’s bottom line for many years. 

Considering that 29% of new hires quit within the first three months, it’s clear there’s a high risk of losing that investment. One of the best ways to avoid falling victim to that statistic is to create an onboarding system that makes employees feel welcome and supported. 

It keeps your business compliant. 

There’s no shortage of paperwork associated with hiring someone. You have to ensure every employee has filled out their tax documents and insurance forms, and you have to record their personal information, salary, start date, and a dozen other details. 

Employee records are subject to audits from local authorities and state or federal agencies, so you must complete these documents for every single employee. If your onboarding process is disorganized, you could easily overlook an important form and not realize it until it’s too late. 

It positions new hires for success.

A solid onboarding process should last at least a month, but a CareerBuilder survey reports that 25% of corporate onboarding lasts a day or less. Few businesses are so simple that they can be properly covered in a handful of hours. 

Rushing through this introduction to a company’s policies and culture leaves new employees overwhelmed and struggling to process this information overload. When a new hire is left floundering, they can’t contribute the knowledge and skills they were hired for.

Onehub makes your onboarding faster, easier, and more secure.

Digital Workspaces keep your business and onboarding organized.

One reason managers rush through onboarding is because it’s also overwhelming for them. It’s a detailed process, and it’s not easy to keep track of all the files and information you need to cover. To save the process from devolving into total confusion, you can create a digital Workspace with Onehub. It will serve as the command center for your onboarding system. 

You can create folders for every aspect of the process, from HR paperwork to notes about a new hire’s progress. You have complete control over what folders and files other users can see, so you can safely store public and private information within the same Workspace. Having everything organized and in one easy-to-access area will keep you clear-headed and able to focus on creating a positive experience for your new employee.

The user-friendly interface is simple to learn.

No matter how many years of experience an employee has, they will still need training to understand your company’s specific methods, policies, and software. As they’re trying to absorb this mountain of new information, they’ll be happy to see that Onehub’s interface is easy to understand even at first glance. 

Elie Azard, the managing director of White Wolf Capital, can vouch for our intuitive platform. “Look at Onehub and you see an elegant, easy to use, and highly secure data management system,” says Azar. “It’s simple, it does the job, and it’s cost effective.”

Onehub’s DocuSign integration speeds up onboarding paperwork.

Gone are the days of handing a new employee a pen and a stack of forms a mile high. Instead, store blank copies of these first-day documents in a folder in your onboarding Workspace. This makes it easy to confirm all documentation is accounted for, and you can send the files directly to the new employee from your Workspace.

With our DocuSign integration, employees can quickly finalize their paperwork with an e-signature. They never have to print a form or lift a pen during the entire documentation process. First days are intense, and it’s a good idea to add convenience wherever you can during onboarding. Allowing new employees the ease of typing in their information and signing documents digitally is a small but very welcome blessing.

Digitizing the new-hire paperwork also benefits your human resources department. Everything is typed and easy to read, so no one wastes time interpreting the hieroglyphics of someone’s messy handwriting.

Collaborative tools allow new hires to integrate with the team faster.

Being accepted by colleagues is one aspect of onboarding that’s essential to a new employee’s happiness but is mostly out of your control. While you can’t force good working relationships, you can give new employees tools to make it easier to join in. The fastest way for a new employee to become part of the team is to show their colleagues that they can make valuable contributions and pull their weight from the start. 

Businesses often choose to organize their Workspaces by client or by product. This means that all files relevant to a client or product live within an organized, dedicated Workspace, making it simple for new employees to get up to speed. Once they’ve familiarized themselves with a project, Onehub’s collaborative features such as file syncing, tasks, and comments allow them to jump in and begin working alongside their colleagues. 

Bank-level security policies protect your documents. 

Onboarding paperwork is filled with the personal details of your employees and confidential information about your business. A security breach or server crash will quickly derail your onboarding process and every other aspect of your business. 

Onehub protects your sensitive business files with bank-level encryption. Every communication sent from our platform goes through a secure connection, and we have 24/7 security monitoring to protect your company from hackers. Our physical security policies, such as storing your data across multiple devices at multiple facilities, ensure you never lose files due to server issues.

Create an easy, organized onboarding process with Onehub that will help you retain top talent. Sign up today for our free 14-day trial.

4 Tips for Managing Your Digital Business Records.

What’s the difference between a record and a document?

All business records are documents, but not all business documents are records. 

Think of business records as historical documents. Their purpose is to keep an account of important details about your business, employees, and finances. 

Some records have specific retention periods, either determined by law or based on best practices. For example, the federal government requires companies to keep payroll records for at least three years. 

In contrast, a business document is often a “living” file that is regularly updated or changed. These are the types of files most of your staff will create and work on daily. 

While documents can contain sensitive information, they aren’t subject to legal retention periods or other restrictions. These types of files can include details such as a client’s project preferences, instructions for creating a report, or who’s in charge of bringing dessert to the company potluck.

Why do you need a document management plan for your business records?

Business records could be requested by a governing body in your industry, during a legal trial, or for an IRS audit. If asked to produce these records, it’s in your company’s best interest for you to know exactly how to find them. You never want to be in a situation where you have to tell the IRS or a lawyer that your business records are a mess, and you can’t give them what they need. There are serious fines and other penalties for not properly maintaining records.

Keeping business records organized and in legal compliance isn’t something that happens intuitively. Your company must create a document management plan that covers types of records, how they’re stored, how long they must be kept, and how to properly archive or dispose of them. 

4 tips for managing your digital business records

1. Identify retention periods and disposition methods.

For each type of record your business has, document how long it must be kept and where it should be stored. Consider the legal, administrative, and historical value of the records. The types of records and the legal retention periods associated with them will vary depending on your industry. 

A good rule of thumb is to keep original records such as profit-loss statements, tax returns, property records, and invoices for seven years. However, you’ll want to consult with your accounting, HR, or legal department to find out specific requirements for your business. 

In your document management plan, identify how to handle records once they reach the end of their usefulness or mandated retention. For digital records that aren’t highly confidential, you can simply hit the trash can icon to remove the file from your online storage. If you need to ensure a file is not easily recoverable, you can use software to overwrite the data. 

When disposing of records, be sure to keep a log that names the record and the date it was destroyed. This step is often overlooked, but these details can be vital if a legal issue pops up after the record has been destroyed.  

2. Establish access levels and permissions. 

Most companies these days keep digital copies of their records. This saves physical storage space and makes the files easy to search for. Records that are stored in the cloud have the added benefit of customizable security options. 

Determine a system for identifying the security level required for each type of record. Should only the business owner have access? Does the entire HR department need to access the records? As a general rule, you want to keep access to records as limited as possible to reduce the chances of someone mishandling the file in some way.

Once you’ve established who should have access to which records, determine what type of access they should have. For example, Onehub provides administrators granular control over users’ roles and permissions. You can decide who can view, edit, share, or download documents, and you can revoke this access at any time. To ensure you’ve granted the correct permission levels, you can “view as” each role to see what type of access that role actually has.

Creating distinct access levels for your files is much more difficult if you’re using a physical server. You may be able to password protect folders or a specific record, but you won’t be able to specify how each individual with access can interact with the file. There may be several employees who need to view the file but should not have permission to alter or delete it. That type of nuanced security isn’t available with a file that only has password protection. 

3. Ensure business records are stored and shared securely.

Business records almost always contain information that’s best kept confidential, so it’s vital to ensure your employees understand secure file sharing methods. If you’re using a cloud storage system such as Onehub, employees who have access to records will be able to share them safely without leaving the platform. Your records will be protected by bank-level encryption, and you can add additional security layers such as password protection and document watermarks.

For other file storage systems such as physical servers, carefully consider the security of the file-sharing option you choose. Email is often people’s go-to method, but it’s inherently insecure. FTP is another common option. This method can be more secure than email, though you’ll need to thoroughly vet the security protocols of the FTP vendor you choose.

It’s also important to have a plan for disaster recovery of your records. Whether you store your them in the cloud or an on-premise server, regular backups are a must. Backups ensure that you can retrieve your business records even if disaster strikes.

4. Conduct regular records maintenance.

Once you’ve created your records management plan, establish a schedule for maintaining it. This will keep you aware of any issues before they become serious problems. 

Despite everyone’s best efforts, it’s easy for this type of work to fall by the wayside once employees get busy with customers. A good maintenance plan will check that files are being stored in the proper place (e.g., in the cloud and not on someone’s desktop) and that employees are following secure file-sharing practices. Ensure that old files are being disposed of or archived to keep the storage space uncluttered.

With a solid document management system in place and regular maintenance, your company’s records will stay secure and compliant with legal obligations and best practices. 

Creating, maintaining, and disposing of records is a core part of successful business operations. Sign up for Onehub’s free 14-day trial to see how easy proper records management can be.

What Is Design Thinking and How Can it Help Your Business?

Design thinking is a methodology for creative problem solving. It’s popular among prominent businesses such as Nike and Starbucks because the process fosters a sense of teamwork, empathy for the end-user, and outside-the-box thinking. 

It began at Stanford Design School in the 1960s and was popularized by IDEO, a global design company, in the 90s. Though its roots are in design, Design thinking can be used to solve any type of complex problem, from changing a company’s toxic work culture to designing a new social media app.

The process has 5 stages

1. Empathize — Understand your user’s needs.

Gather as much information as possible to get a full picture of the end-user’s needs and what problems may arise as the idea development moves forward.

2. Define — Spell out your user’s needs and problems.

Traditional problem-solving methods often lead to thinking about the problem too much from the perspective of the company. Using the data gathered in step one, define your issue in a human-centric way.

For example, if your company’s problem is a high turnover rate that increases recruiting and onboarding costs, you want to flip it to your employees’ point of view. “We need to improve our company culture so employees feel valued and can see a future with us” would be a good problem statement for that issue.

3. Ideate — Challenge assumptions and encourage lateral thinking.

This step embodies the philosophy that there are no bad ideas in brainstorming. Think big. Get as much of your team involved as possible to collect a broader range of perspectives. You want to generate a large pool of innovative ideas.

4. Prototype — Turn your ideas into real-life solutions.

Depending on the problem you’re trying to solve, you may not need to create an actual prototype. The essence of this step is to prevent your team from getting stuck in the ideation phase. Take the most viable ideas generated in step 3, and create a plan to get them in front of users.

5. Test — Put your prototype into action and collect feedback from users. 

Once the initial plan or prototype is in place, it’s tested with audiences and tweaked based on their feedback. Don’t be afraid of multiple iterations. When you make these changes to align your solution with your end-user’s needs, you’re creating a more successful product or service.

Why your company needs it

Innovative problem solving leads to innovative solutions. Design thinking leaves behind accepted wisdom and prepackaged ideas in favor of collecting research directly from the intended audience. 

Analyzing this information provides valuable data to base your solution around. By the time you reach the prototype step, you’ll already have a solution that closely relates to your end user’s pain point. From there, it’s just a matter of making a few tweaks until you’ve perfected your final service or product. 

Design thinking can also help your business because it emphasizes moving quickly from ideation to prototypes. This prevents companies from getting stuck in a loop of constant brainstorming without action. 

With this methodology, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of your clients, customers, or employees, and that information will prove valuable long after your initial issue has been solved. 

How Onehub supports the design thinking process

A Onehub Workspace is where your design thinking project will live. It’s a digital HQ. All the market research you’ve collected will be stored there. It’s also where your team will collaborate on files as they work to define the end-user’s needs, brainstorm creative solutions, and develop prototype plans.

Your team has easy access to a variety of tools to help keep the design thinking process moving forward smoothly. 

Secure file sharing

Design thinking can lead to radically innovative ideas, and you don’t want your competitors to get their hands on them! Onehub secure file sharing keeps your data safe in the cloud with bank-level encryption and extensive control over the roles and permissions of invited users. You can also add automatic watermarks to your files to protect your intellectual property.

Task management

Design thinking is meant for complex, unruly problems with a lot of moving parts. Onehub can help you keep the process organized with task management. You can easily assign tasks to any invited user, and you’ll be notified when it’s completed. From the tasks tab, you can view all tasks that you’ve assigned or that have been assigned to you. It’s a simple way to track progress and make sure everyone knows what their role is.

Collaboration tools

The design thinking method of problem solving is heavily dependent on a team’s communication. Our Workspaces provide messaging, comments, and notifications that make it simple for colleagues to reach out for clarification or contribute new, ingenious ideas. Collaborating remotely with teammates without leaving the platform keeps everyone focused on the task at hand.  

Approval workflows

Once you get to the ideation and prototype stages, you’ll likely be involved in reviewing changes to the project as they’re added. With Onehub, you’re able to preview a file and quickly approve or deny the updates. Timely approval workflows keep the design thinking process from stagnating.

File syncing

Automatic file syncing is essential for collaborative teams tackling a problem with design thinking. Updates need to be available for all team members in real-time. Without this, employees will waste valuable time working with outdated information. This can bring the project’s progress to a halt and cause a lot of confusion. 

With automatic file syncing, everyone is on the same page no matter what device they’re using or where they’re located.

Pairing Onehub with your design thinking process creates a secure, effective system that can help move your business forward with new, inspired ideas. Sign up today for a 14-day free trial.

Increase Your Team’s Effectiveness With File Organization and Proven Productivity Methods

Encouraging employees to boost their productivity is a huge point of focus for most companies, and it’s not just about the bottom line anymore. When your employees can optimize their work processes, projects get done faster and with much less stress. Employee burnout is real, and focusing on organization and productivity can offset burnout and lead to happier employees.

Optimizing work productivity is a very personal process, but you can help your team find what works best for them. There will be diverse opinions about the productivity methods below. The system that makes one employee light up with ideas might make another shudder. That said, everyone needs one thing before trying to overhaul their productivity — organization. 

Build your productivity method on a foundation of organization

All the tried-and-true productivity systems below will work better if everything you need to do your work is organized and easily accessible. 

Businesses run on data. For most employees, that means their work heavily involves reviewing, editing, or sharing files among colleagues or clients.

If your company has its file storage and sharing needs in tip-top shape, your employees are already primed for success. Share the popular methods below with your team to inspire them to take their productivity to the next level. 

If your company’s files are difficult to find or share, your team wastes time every day (while becoming increasingly stressed out) trying to navigate these unnecessary obstacles. No productivity method can overcome disorganized information, so it’s important to address this before trying different productivity methods with your team.

Onehub’s robust business software can take the headache out of file organization and sharing. Our virtual Workspaces are intuitive to use and protect your data with secure file sharing. Addressing organization, the first building block of productivity, will pay huge dividends as your team steadily improves their performance. Try Onehub for free for 14 days!

Four effective productivity methods

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique has been around since the 1990s. It’s a widely used productivity method that focuses on short bursts of work followed by brief breaks. 

The traditional breakdown is 25 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break. This is considered one “Pomodoro.” You rinse and repeat until you’ve done four Pomodoros, and then you take a longer break, typically about 30 minutes.

The keys to making this technique successful are to actually set a timer, and during those 25, minutes only work on one task. Timing yourself creates a sense of urgency that keeps you focused and allows you to get more done in less time. 

This method helps you maintain focus while keeping you feeling fresh and recharged with the frequent breaks. It’s also a great reminder to get up and move around, so it encourages healthier work practices.

Onehub’s Google Drive and Microsoft 365 integrations work perfectly with this technique. If you alternate tasks with each Pomodoro, you can keep your work within the platform and know that your files will be saved and ready to go when it’s time to switch back.

Best for: Repetitive work.

This method is excellent for people whose work can be easily adapted to short bursts of activity. Updating spreadsheets, making sales calls, and processing customer orders are all examples of the sort of work that could benefit from the Pomodoro Technique.

Not for: Creative professionals.

People with creative jobs such as graphic designers or copywriters might find this technique too disruptive. When you’re in the zone, you want to keep that inspiration going, and frequent breaks can derail creative efforts.   

Biological Prime Time

The Biological Prime Time method is all about catering to your natural rhythms to increase your productivity.

The original system involves a dedicated three-week period in which you track your energy level every hour. During this testing phase, you cut out all coffee, soda, and alcohol. These affect your performance, and the goal is to find your natural highs and lows throughout the day. Once you’ve collected your data, you create a chart to identify your peak times for productivity and focus. 

There’s also a less scientific way to do this — go with what you know. Most people already know if they’re morning people or if they feel more energized in the afternoon. They just aren’t taking advantage of that knowledge yet. 

Whether you do the full three-week tracking period or you go with what you know, the goal is to schedule tasks in a way that aligns with your natural peak performance times. 

For example, if you feel more energized and focused in the morning, prioritize your to-do list in a way that lets you get the most difficult tasks done early. You want to schedule simple tasks such as filing paperwork or checking emails during your off-peak hours. You can also use your periods of low energy to take a break from your work. 

Cloud technology makes it easier than ever to work according to your biological schedule. The cloud allows you to work from anywhere at any time, giving you the flexibility to work when you’re at your best. 

Best for: Adaptable to everyone.

The original method for identifying your Biological Prime Time may be daunting for many people, but everyone can benefit from customizing their schedule to their natural energy highs and lows. If cutting out caffeine and spending three weeks tracking your energy every hour is out of the question, you can still benefit from this system. Just use the “go with what you know” method.

Eat the Frog

Eat the Frog is a popular productivity method that focuses on doing the most daunting task on your list first. 

It doesn’t necessarily have to be the most challenging or time-intensive task. The “frog” is whatever task you’re dreading the most — the one you see on your to-do list and can’t help but groan. It could be something as simple as replying to an email or as complicated as planning a website redesign. 

We often put off tasks we’re dreading, but this just gives us time to stress out and kvetch about them. When you eat the frog, you save yourself time and stress. Once you’ve checked off the annoying to-do item, the rest of your list will seem easy breezy.  

Start your day by creating your to-do list in Onehub using the tasks feature. Start with your frog, and then check your tasks tab to review the rest of your to-do items. Onehub will keep your tasks organized and easy to review throughout the day.

Best for: People who get derailed by stressful tasks.

This method is best for people who tend to let the stress of one task build up too much and affect their whole day. Once you eat the frog, you can face the rest of your schedule with a clear head.  

Not for: Employees on deadlines.

If you’re often working on tight deadlines, your first task should be to complete that work even if it isn’t the froggiest item on your to-do list. 

Active Procrastination

Yes, there is a productivity method based on procrastination. 

Procrastination has always had a bad reputation, but some psychology researchers have found a new way to look at it. They argue that there are two forms of procrastination, active and passive. 

Passive procrastination is when someone puts off a task because they find it too overwhelming or are frozen with indecision. This passive form of procrastination is what leads to negative effects such as anxiety and missed deadlines. 

Active procrastination is a conscious decision to put off doing a task to create a higher level of pressure around it. For people who are wired to respond well to pressure, this method can improve their creativity and focus. 

When it’s finally time to get down to business, you need to be able to take off at a sprint. Make sure the files and tools you need are easy to access. Onehub keeps all your relevant files, tasks, and messages handy in your Workspace, and the Google Drive and Microsoft 365 integrations mean you can preview, edit, share, and save documents without leaving the platform. Every minute counts when you actively procrastinate!

Best for: People who do their best work under pressure.

People who have a history of working well under pressure might find this method ingenious. If a looming deadline is what gets your gears turning, you can use that to your advantage by strategically delaying certain tasks.

Not for: People who get stressed under pressure.

Active Procrastination has a narrower target audience than any other methods on this list. It only works for people who thrive under pressure. If your mind goes blank when faced with a high-pressure deadline, this isn’t the system for you.

Sign up for our 14-day free trial to see how much more efficient your team can be with proper organization, securing file sharing, and collaborative tools.