Four Steps to Creating a Dog-Friendly Workplace

shorty and murphyAugust 26th marks National Dog Day in the United States, a day dedicated to celebrating man’s best friend and the companionship, aid, and unwavering loyalty they bring to their owners. What better way to celebrate our furry-friends than to let them follow us to the office? Not only is it a benefit for puppies (creating opportunities to socialize them with people and other dogs, giving them more exercise, and reducing anxiety by keeping them close to their owners) – bringing your dog to work also has benefits for employees. Having dogs around can actually increase productivity, reduce stress, and inspire creativity. [Read more…]

Putting the FUN in fundraising to help youth ‘dodge’ a lifetime of poverty

[Softchoice’s Jen Wood raised $1,425.00 to help homeless youth dodge a lifetime of poverty through a  fun game of classic schoolyard dodgeball!]

Back in April, the Softchoice Cares Board gave ‘Power 2 the People’ by encouraging employees to nominate a local charity that has impacted their lives. The Softchoice Cares Board allocated a pool of $25,000 to match every dollar raised from events held by contestants or employees who wanted to support their cause. The board also announced that the host who raised the most money and created the most engagement would receive an additional $15,000 for their chosen charity, with second place receiving $7,500 and third $2,500.

Jen Wood, a Human Resources Analyst at Softchoice in Toronto, became involved with Youth Without Shelter last year and she was introduced by a friend who was volunteering with the shelter at the time. He showed her an emotionally-charged video that featured a young man who lost everything and fell victim to a life fueled by addiction. Youth Without Shelter (YWS), a homeless shelter in Etobicoke, offered him free shelter and access to professional development workshops, tools and counselling support to help him get back on his feet. [Read more…]

Six reasons to make man’s best friend, man’s best coworker.

Every dog has its day, and on June 22, thousands of canine best friends are accompanying their owners to work for the 14th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day. But at many of North America’s Best Workplaces – including Google, Amazon and Build-A-Bear Workshop – have already unleashed their employees and let them bring their canine companions to work every day. Of course, Softchoice employees are also happy as a flea in a dog house (in a sense) to have our four-legged friends in the office!

Think you have a dog’s chance of implementing a dog-friendly workplace at your company, these six benefits – for both dogs and employees – may just help you make the case!  [Read more…]

Making Traditions Part of Softchoice’s Corporate Culture

Traditions are a valuable way to strengthen families and create lasting memories. Often passed on through generations, many rituals can be quite unique; yet also bridge divides and boost the spirit of a family unit. When it comes to the larger corporate family, traditions are also a fantastic way to drive engagement and strengthen coworker relationships. In fact, Human Resources expert Susan Heathfield agrees saying they’re as “important in companies just as they are in families” and a great way to increase employee morale and motivation.  

I quickly realized this when I arrived as a newbie intern at Softchoice’s company-wide, employee conference. Every January this standing experience called Launch, kick starts the year ahead for Softchoice’s employees. What started out as a small gathering of a few employees when the company was founded in 1990, has grown to a 1200-person, weeklong event that has continued even during tough economic times.

Being new to Softchoice, I went on a mission to find out…why has the Launch tradition become so entrenched in the company’s culture? [Read more…]

Five Steps for Achieving Your Goals in 2012

With January behind us, many of us have gotten back into a regular routine. But does that include the goals you’ve set for yourself (like staying fit) at the start of the year?  People’s commitment to personal goals seems to always drop off by February. In fact, according to a study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol in England, 88 percent of people fail at keeping New Year’s resolutions.

At Softchoice, the start of the year marks the time when employees set their professional GPS (Guiding People’s Success) goals. With their managers, employees create an action plan for how they are going to achieve them and work on accomplishing them throughout the year.

Unless you’ve got a system or people holding you accountable to staying on track, it’s hard to keep focused on achieving any type of goal. Life gets in the way, excuses are made, or we just give up.

So now that we’re into February and off the January “resolutions high,” here are five useful tips/tricks from a few Softchoice employees to help ensure you don’t become one of the 88 percent. [Read more…]

Softchoice’s Top Five Office Fundraisers (and Counting)

We’ve tried an endless variety of fundraisers. But in our experience, the ones that generate the greatest returns are those that put the fun front and center. Here’s a look at our Top Five Favorite Office Fundraisers (and counting).

 

Making Managers Look Silly

One of many good sports at Softchoice

Generally speaking, we like our managers. But for some reason we just can’t get enough of seeing them all gussied up in the most ridiculous attire – from turkey costumes at Thanksgiving to Lederhosen in October. Equally entertaining is watching the head of a department stumble through a karaoke song at the end of a major gathering like our annual Mid-Year Sales Meeting. All it takes are willing managers (which we have in spades) a quirky idea (no shortage there, either) and a pledge form.

Trivia Anyone?

Who loves trivia? By our count, basically everyone. Our annual Trivia Night in Toronto has become so popular people from the local business community now flock to attend. Teams gather at the local watering hole to lock horns as they answer six rounds of questions – from sports and history to niche areas like Sitcoms and Reality TV. The leaderboard is updated after each round and teams are encouraged to place ‘beer bets’ with rival tables. This event is fun, lightly educational and, with an entrance fee of $20 per person, a great way to raise money! [Read more…]