Protect Yourself From Scams This Tax Season

Fake Tax Preparers Are On The Hunt For Your Private Information

Written By Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified

Once again, the tax season is upon us. Many taxpayers are scrambling to get the correct paperwork together, figure out which boxes to check off on various forms, and wait with anticipation for the letter stating that their tax returns have been approved or declined. Tax preparers offer services to relieve some of the stress by calculating, filling out, and signing tax incomes on the behalf of taxpayers. Most are helpful and well-worth the investment, but some are on the hunt for uninformed taxpayers who are quick to trust. Not only are “Ghost” or fake tax preparers out for your private information, but they also wish to make as much money off of your tax returns with little care about submitting false information, leaving you to deal with the IRS and a world of headaches.

There are a number of red flags to look out for when hunting for a tax preparer. 

Red Flag 1: Avoids showing you credentials

Many phony tax preparers will have little to no professional credentials. Some will even go out of their way to create fake documents from just as fake institutes to persuade tax consumers into believing their credibility. Do not fall into this trap, and do a bit of researching before giving a stranger your private information. 

Red Flag 2: Does not have a PTIN.

A preparer without a Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN, is not legally allowed to do your taxes. If you come across a tax preparer who refuses to give you his or her PTIN or claims that he or she does not need one, chances are the person is a fake.

Red Flag 3: Fee is based on a percentage of your return. 

Another warning sign is a tax preparer’s fees fluctuating based on the size of your return. This gives phony tax preparers the incentive to mark down false information, thus wrongly increasing your return for a larger paycheck. Always ask a tax preparer’s about payment options before you agree to let him or her do your taxes.

Red Flag 4: Boasts a larger size refund

If your tax preparer tells you that they can get you a much larger refund that anyone else, this can be a red flag that your tax preparer is not on the up and up.  Typically, every preparer is dealing with the same information in terms of income and expenses and there should not be much fluctuation with regard to the size of your potential refund.

One of the best ways to prevent becoming a victim to this type of scam is by searching the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications on irs.gov. If a tax preparer’s name appears, they are legitimate. However, if his or her name is not listed, it may be safer to find someone else. Furthermore, never sign a blank return and double check that your preparer has signed all necessary documents as you are ultimately held accountable.

Justin Lavelle is the Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified, a leading source of online background checks and contact information. It allows individuals to find more information about people, phone numbers, email addresses, property records, and criminal records in a way that’s fast, easy, and affordable. The company helps people discover, understand, and use public data in their everyday lives. https://www.beenverified.com.

Insights Network Launches Blockchain-Based Secure Data Exchange Mobile App

New INSTAR Wallet Allows Users to Securely Control and Receive Compensation For Their Personal Data and Insights

Insights Network, an EOS blockchain-based data exchange, recently launched its INSTAR Wallet mobile application. Insights Network is creating an infrastructure enabling individuals to securely own, manage and monetize their data through a unique combination of blockchain technology, smart contracts and secure multiparty computation. The launch of the INSTAR Wallet will allow users to subscribe to Insights’ partners’ bl ockchain projects and be rewarded with INSTAR tokens for their data. Over 100,000 potential users have signed up to use the app and 40,000 users have already passed their Know Your Customer (KYC) check, which means they’ll be ready to use the app as soon as it’s available.

Over the past several years, there have been a variety of notable data breaches, compromising the personal information of millions of individuals. Recently, Cambridge Analytica, a London-based data analytics firm, came under fire after allegedly exploiting the personal information of over 50 million Facebook users.

“The Cambridge Analytica scandal is a perfect demonstration of the ability of powerful entities, such as Facebook, to pawn off their users’ data at their own discretion without consent on a case by case basis,” said Brian Gallagher, CEO of Insights Network. “Under current practices, our data is being collected behind our backs for nefarious purposes and we need to move to conventions for data use that are based on transparency and consent. This is why we’re building Insights Network and offering a solution that provides users with secure storage and ownership of their personal data through a blockchain-based model for data exchange.”

On May 25, 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect across the European Union, requiring companies to comply with consumer data protection rules or risk strict penalties. The GDPR aims primarily to give consumers control over their personal data by requiring corporations to be able to provide proof of consent from each individual whose data they process. Under the GDPR, companies can face a fine of up to 10 million Euros on their first violation, and 20 million Euros on their second violation if they cannot prove consumer consent of how they are processing their data. Companies can ensure they abide by new regulations by connecting directly with consumers using the Insights Network solution.

The Insights Network solution uses secure multiparty computation to facilitate the exchange of data with Blockchain smart contracts. These contracts ensure the transfer of funds and record a proof of consent on the blockchain ledger. Insights Network user data is stored locally on the user’s device or in a distributed web format which is the new gold standard for consumer data storage and could prevent future data theft incidents.

Insights serves two types of users: those who request data, called requesters, and those who provide it, called providers. Requesters are typically organizations, but anyone can buy INSTAR tokens and use them to submit a request for data to the Insights Network. Providers are users who comply with a data request by providing data; the ones who fit a data requesters’ target demographic are compensated for their data in INSTAR tokens. This system allows for consensual data sharing and rewards those who share it.

About Insights Network

Insights Network’s EOS blockchain-based data exchange is reinventing how brands interact with consumers. Individuals will now have control over their personal information and can choose to interact with brands securely, while being financially compensated. Founded in 2017, Insights Network is automating the data brokerage industry using blockchain technology, secure multiparty computation and smart contracts. For more information, please visit www.insights.network and follow Insights on Twitter, Telegram and Medium.

First Public Demo of Etherparty’s Token and Crowdsale Contract Creator Slated For Unveiling at Token Fest 2018

Patrick Guay

Patrick Guay

Blockchain platform Etherparty will be conducting the first public demonstration of its token sale and crowdfund creation software product at this year’s Token Fest event in San Francisco, which runs March 15-16.

“Etherparty has undergone a significant re-design to make it a secure and accessible product that only requires minimal blockchain knowledge to use it,” said Etherparty Lead Developer Patrick Guay. “Our mission is to enable a connected and inclusive world through blockchain’s disruptive potential, and we’re confident our products will contribute to that goal.”

Guay will be presenting the token and crowdfund creator on the first day of the conference, on March 15, at the technology stage at 9:35 a.m. (PDT).

Token Fest is a two-day networking event focused on the business and technology of tokenization. Attendees will be exposed to a wealth of insights and information about the state of the token-based economy.

“Beyond cryptocurrency, the key to mass adoption of blockchain, and to unlocking its potential for disruptive innovation, lies in the integration of smart contracts into existing data infrastructures,” said Etherparty Vice President of Product Development Erynn Tomlinson.

“At Etherparty we are building intuitive smart contracts to bring the world onto the blockchain, catalyzing ideas that will reshape how we transact, interact, and connect for years to come.”

The full release of the token and crowdfund creation platform is slated for spring 2018. Visit etherparty.com for more information and sign-up for the Etherparty newsletter to remain up to date with news and information from the team.

About Etherparty
Etherparty is a blockchain platform working to enable a connected and inclusive world by building easy-to-use, versatile, and intuitive smart contract solutions. The first Etherparty product is a digital token and cryptocurrency crowdfund creation tool launching in spring 2018.

Here’s an Exciting Luxury Gift Idea

Here’s an exciting luxury gift for him and her from Air Partner, the global leader in private aviation.

Air Partner offers a one-of-a-kind JetCard which gives its guests one of the most unique and luxurious experiences world-wide. Air Partner’s JetCard members enjoy flexible departure times, faster trips and comfortable accommodations with every trip they take. Services include, but are not limited to, premium lounge access, arranging chauffer driven cars and confirming luxurious accommodations on their clients’ behalf – making it the perfect luxury getaway gift.

Rated the industry’s #1 most flexible program for four consecutive years, Air Partner’s JetCard offers simple pre-paid flight hours, minimum of 10, with fully refundable account balances and flight credit that never expires. There are two types – JetCard and JetCard Sterling – both of which allow clients to tailor a program that fits with their needs and countless member benefits.

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Some benefits include:

  • Guaranteed availability in as few as 12 hours’ notice with no blackout dates
  • Flight credit that never expires and fully-refundable account balances
  • Only pay for the time you fly, with no hidden fees
  • 20% discount on qualifying round-trip travel
  • Freedom to apply JetCard funds to on-demand jet charter
  • 24/7 global coverage year-round

For more information on the JetCard, please visit https://jetcard.airpartner.com/?utm_source=article&utm_medium=press&utm_campaign=5_ways_jet_travel_reduces_stress&utm_content=jc_link.

Don’t Overpay Your Taxes

Commonly overlooked credits and deductions

With tax season in full swing, take time to consider how to get the most out of your tax return, which includes finding all the credits and deductions available to you. While many taxpayers claim common deductions, such as home mortgage interest and self-employment expenses, there are additional tax deductions that can lessen your final tax bill or increase your refund. These often-overlooked tax breaks could potentially save you hundreds – maybe even thousands – of dollars if you itemize deductions.

To start, get to know the difference between tax credits and tax deductions. Tax credits reduce the amount you owe in taxes. In some circumstances, tax credits allow a refundable credit, meaning you may not only reduce the amount you owe to $0, but you can also get money back. Deductions, on the other hand, simply reduce your taxable income. Both can have a potentially significant impact on your taxes and are often worth the extra effort to include on your return.

Some commonly overlooked credits include:

1. Child and Dependent Care Credit

You can claim a credit of up to $2,100 for day care for your dependents so you and your spouse can work. Qualifying dependents include children under 13 and parents who are no longer able to care for themselves.

2. Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit based on your income and the number of qualifying children living with you. Nearly 1 in 5 people who qualify fail to claim the credit, worth up to $6,318. Just because you didn’t qualify last year doesn’t mean you won’t this year; one-third of the EITC-eligible population changes each year based on marital, parental and financial status.

3. Saver’s Credit or the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

Make sure you “pay yourself first.” Even if it is only $20 each pay cycle, make sure you are putting some money into a retirement fund. If your company offers a retirement savings plan, like a 401(k), it is usually in your best interest to participate. If your income is lower than $60,000, you can receive a credit of up to $1,000 for a contribution of up to $2,000 into an IRA or an employer-provided retirement account, such as a 401(k). The credit is in addition to any deduction or exclusion from income for the contribution.

Some tax deductions that allow you to reduce your taxable income include:

1. Moving Expenses

If you moved for a job that is at least 50 miles away from your home and held this job for at least 39 weeks, you can claim your moving expenses even if you don’t itemize deductions.

2. Tax-Preparation Fees

Plan for tax time. Tax laws change and so do life circumstances. Using a professional to help you file your return may be a wise investment. For example, the tax pros at Jackson Hewitt can help you get every deduction and credit you deserve and the biggest refund possible. Plus, the cost of preparing your taxes can be claimed if you itemize your deductions. In fact, one missed credit or deduction could more than cover the cost of having your taxes prepared by a tax professional.

3. New Moms

Breast pumps and lactation supplies are considered medical equipment, which means they qualify for a possible deduction.

4. Career Corner

Job hunting often means investing both time and money. However, you may be able to deduct some of the job-search expenses you incur. Costs such as preparing resumes, creating and maintaining websites, business cards, agency fees and travel expenses may be eligible.

5. Wedding Bells

If you were married in a church or at a historical site during the past year, you may be able to deduct fees paid to the venue as a charitable donation.

6. Medical Fitness

While general toning and fitness workouts to improve general health are considered personal expenses, you may be able to deduct your gym membership as a medical expense. If a doctor diagnoses you with a specific medical condition, such as obesity or hypertension, or a specific physical or mental illness, and prescribes workouts or participation in a weight-loss program to treat your illness, the membership dues may be tax-deductible.

7. Road Warriors

If you travel for business and aren’t reimbursed by your employer, those costs can qualify as a deduction.

Every possible tax credit and deduction can help when money is tight. You might qualify for at least one overlooked credit or deduction – and maybe more than one. Consult a tax professional to discuss how you can maximize your refund and learn more at JacksonHewitt.com.

Refund Advance

If you’re getting a refund, you typically want it as soon as possible, but that isn’t always an option, especially if you are one of the millions of Americans who claim either the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. You could access up to $3,200 with a no-fee Refund Advance loan at zero percent annual percentage rate (APR), offered by MetaBank, at participating Jackson Hewitt locations. Terms apply, visit JacksonHewitt.com for details.

Did You Know?

1. The IRS, as well as many states, allows taxpayers to catch up on missed credits or deductions, offering a three-year window for filing an amended tax return. You can secure unclaimed credits and deductions by filing amended tax returns to avoid losing any unclaimed funds from as far back as 2014.

2. With locations across the United States, including kiosks in 3,000 Walmart stores, the tax professionals at Jackson Hewitt make it easy to stop in when it’s most convenient for you.

3. If you are a single parent, you can file as Head of Household instead of Single. This filing status can provide better deduction options and a lower tax rate schedule. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

Jackson Hewitt

Make Working from Home Productive and Liberating

Working from home is a reality for a fast-growing portion of American workers. It can add flexibility, drive higher productivity and reduce company costs related to maintaining physical facilities.

However, it also comes with challenges. If you have worked from home, you have most likely encountered issues collaborating and communicating with colleagues in multiple locations. While there are multiple technologies aimed at helping remote workers and increasing their productivity, they can at times thwart it.

All too familiar with productivity, remote working woes and how to address it, CyberLink created U, a collaboration tool that integrates online presentations, video meetings and instant messaging whether working remote or down the hall from one another.

“It’s a place to hold online meetings, have presentations and chat with your colleagues that doesn’t come with the messy installation fuss and technical errors associated with other options out there,” said Richard Carriere, CyberLink’s general manager and senior vice president of global marketing. “It brings the best of social media, such as emojis, ease of use and the flexibility to have impromptu interactions, to a business environment, in a unique way that heightens communication and collaboration across users.”

According to commissioned research by polling firm YouGov, nearly half (43 percent) of U.S. office workers think it’s harder for remote workers to be seen in the workplace than non-remote workers.Office workers think it’s twice as difficult, when working remotely, to make strong relationships with bosses and coworkers while collaborating effectively. In fact, 1 in 6 think remote workers are less valued by the company, more than 1 in 3 think remote workers miss out on office culture and 1 in 5 think they get promoted less often.

There are also technical difficulties workers can encounter when using the technology solutions of the past. Of office workers who said disruptions and working with a solution that’s incompatible with the demands of a remote workforce today had impacted their work, the most prominent included:

  • Nearly half (42 percent) have misinterpreted the tone of written communication (email, instant messaging, etc.)
  • Nearly half (40 percent) said an important call had been dropped
  • 1 in 3 (31 percent) have been late to or missed a meeting because of a tech failure and a nearly one-quarter (22 percent) because it was too complicated to join
  • More than one-quarter (28 percent) have used the wrong version of a document
  • About 1 in 4 (23 percent) said an important video meeting had dropped
  • 1 in 5 (21 percent) mistakenly “replied all” to an email

To help address these issues and others, all of U’s offerings create virtual counterparts to in-person scenarios, in turn allowing workplace culture, creativity and dialogue to resonate beyond the physical workplace and to all workers, despite location. Learn more at u.cyberlink.com . (Family Features)

SOURCE:

CyberLink

5 Tips for Entrepreneurs to Keep Customers Engaged

Entrepreneurs, it’s time to stop and give yourself a pat on the back. Small business owners know it’s a life that can be high stress and sometimes even uncertain. But here’s one encouraging fact: Small businesses are doing a lot to keep Americans employed and the economy humming.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, firms with fewer than 500 employees account for 99.7 percent of all businesses in the U.S. And the SBA finds that 60 percent of new job creation comes from small businesses.

Still, one of the top challenges that small businesses face today is attracting new customers and keeping existing customers engaged. That’s what pays the bills, of course. Part of that solution is always looking ahead so you can capture their minds and hearts, so you can then capture the sales — with these five simple tips for small business success.

Be a joiner: If you haven’t already, become a member of your local chamber of commerce as well as neighborhood business groups. These often host special “Shop Local” events and promotions, which give you a way to participate and gain extra exposure from their marketing efforts. These groups also offer events and opportunities to network, help you to stay apprised of local trends and allow you to discover new opportunities to collaborate.

Cross-promote: Pair up with a second business in your neighborhood and find creative ways to work together. Collaborate on sales and special offers. Make your customers’ lives easier and put together gift baskets and share the proceeds. Or invite someone from a different business to teach an in-store class or workshop. Take the guerrilla marketing approach and host a joint scavenger hunt, with clues left around the community for a big prize. When you pool your ideas and resources, the possibilities are endless.

Market in-house: Getting the word out doesn’t stop at your doorstep. When customers enter your space, it’s a great time to tell them more about your services and products. “Digital signage” isn’t just for big companies. Deliver your message in vivid color and create an interactive experience with LG’s touch displays, perfect for menu selection and point-of-purchase. Commercial displays are better for businesses than a plain old consumer TV; they offer simple ways to post a warm welcome message with your business name and logo to create an inviting, personalized experience. Consider affordable options like “commercial lite” TVs from LG that have a USB Auto Playback feature, so you can build custom playlists to entertain and inform your customers. Things like an inspirational idea reel or quick tips and facts can position you as the trusted local expert.

Get social: Raise your presence on your social media accounts. Use this platform to inform and even entertain current and prospective customers, and they’ll turn to you as the expert. Turn on your smartphone’s video camera and give a rare peek behind the curtain. Increase traffic by announcing a flash sale or giveaway. And during big social media events, expand your reach and potentially your community by using hashtags.

Upgrade your tech: Sometimes, the busyness of life and running your own shop can mean we neglect the things that make a great impression. Take time for an objective critique of the appearance and functionality of your space. Get sleek and streamlined with a much-needed tech upgrade, with a new LCD desktop monitor like LG’s 32-inch 32MU99. Its show-stopping, vivid display offers true-to-life image rendering, thanks to the shadow detailing and richer colors. It also busts the clutter with its space-saving features, such as an ultra-thin panel and a single-cable delivery system that transfers audio, data and power. Upgraded tech with dazzling display is a sure way to make a favorable impression.

Small businesses have lots of technology options to enhance their business today. To learn more, visit http://www.lg.com/us/business. (BPT)

Hotel Granduca Austin Appoints Executive Chef and Rolls Out New Food & Beverage Program

Hotel Granduca Austin, the Tuscan-inspired boutique hotel and member of The Leading Hotels of the World, recently announced the launch of its new food & beverage program, helmed by newly appointed Executive Chef Will Packwood. The hotel opened in the Westlake area of Austin, TX, in November 2015.

Chef Will Packwood

Chef Will Packwood (Photography courtesy of Ashley Huff)

Named Food + Wine’s Best New Chef in 2001, and having been recognized in publications, including Bon Appetit, Delta Sky Magazine, Texas Monthly, and more, Packwood boasts more than three decades experience. In his role at Hotel Granduca Austin he will oversee Visconti Ristorante & Bar, the hotel’s 70-seat restaurant, as well as all banquet food production. Most recently, Packwood, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, worked as private chef and consultant at La Tavola in Austin, where he designed and taught recreational and professional cooking classes, created and personalized menus for clients, and provided operational and creative consulting to various operating restaurants. Prior to that, he worked as a culinary, baking and wine instructor at the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin.

Hotel Granduca (Photography courtesy of Michelle Gardella)

Hotel Granduca (Photography courtesy of Michelle Gardella)

“At Hotel Granduca and Visconti Ristorante & Bar, we are always searching for individuals who exhibit outstanding leadership qualities, as we are committed to providing an extraordinary guest experience,” said Larry Bundy, general manager of the hotel. “Mr. Packwood is a great asset to the hotel and Visconti Bar & Ristorante and we are thrilled to have him,” he continued.

Soon after appointing Executive Chef Packwood, Hotel Granduca Austin rolled out new food and beverage programming for the restaurant, bar, and in-room dining designed by Packwood himself.

“As a chef of Italian cuisine, I believe you have to fully understand the culture, appreciate the ingredients, combinations, even the people behind that culture,” says Packwood. “My goal in developing this new food and beverage program is to showcase my experiences, as well as Italy’s passion for food and dining.”

Serving  breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily and brunch on Sundays, Visconti Ristorante & Bar’s new menus emphasize traditional Italian cuisine with an innovative twist:

  • Breakfast: Breakfast showcases Italian-inspired dishes such as Eggs Bruschetta, featuring grilled focaccia topped with scrambled eggs, roasted tomatoes, and prosciutto; Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes topped with macerated raspberries and creme fraiche; and Il Benedetto, a dish made of poached eggs, asparagus, Italian ham, and hollandaise, all atop a delicious crostini. The breakfast menu will also include the classics – steak and eggs, pancakes, Belgian-style waffles, as well as juices, smoothies, and pastries.

  • Lunch: This newly revamped menu showcases craveable and quick lunch fare, including pizzas, like theNapoli,a pizza made with tomato, mozzarella, Gaeta olives, capers, anchovies, and oregano;a Baby Spinach-Grilled Tenderloin salad; and entrees, including Grilled Beef and Pork Spiedini, sandwiches, pastas, and more.

  • Dinner: Visconti’s new dinner menu features three sections: Starters, Pastas & Risottos, and Entrees. Starters include Tuna Crudo with roasted red pepper, capers, salsa verde, garlic emulsion and mint and a Carpaccio paired with pickled fresno and artichokes, arugula, tonnato, and black pepper oil. Saffron-Ricotta Gnocchi with a Ragu alla Bolognese and Parmigiano Reggiano, and Roasted Corn-Zucchini Risotto topped with toasted cornbread crumbs, stracchino, and basil,can be found on the Pastas & Risottos menu. Entrees showcase dishes from light to hearty, including Branzinowith broccoli rabe, roasted potatoes and tomato, and preserved lemon relish, and a Trio of Grilled Pork featuring pork tenderloin, belly, luganega, sweet corn polenta figs, arugula, and herb oil.

In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Executive Chef Packwood and Hotel Granduca created new bar, dessert, and in-room dining menus.For more information, call (512) 306-6400 or visit granducaaustin.com.

5 Ways to Boost Engagement and Productivity in the Office

Step into the office of the future on the first day of work, and the things that you expect in a traditional workplace are not going to happen here.

There’s no landline, no file cabinet, no bulletin board. The employee is never taken to an assigned cubicle. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that employees will spend much of their day in the same chair.

The forward-looking workplace design discards all the usual trappings of the traditional office that lock employees into physical departments with seating arrangements, moving toward an open design. While perks such as catered lunches and ping pong tables are getting attention for changing workplace culture, it’s actually the power of technology that is quietly transforming the way we work. Technology is a tool that gives us a fluid and flexible use of time and space, changing how people get the job done.

“Eventually, the open digital workspace design will not be simply nice to have, it’s becoming more and more expected. It’s going to become mandatory if you want to attract top talent,” says Donna Kimmel, the senior vice president and chief people officer of Citrix.

Welcome to the era of the open workspace, where people can work and collaborate anywhere in the office, wherever they need to be. What do these modern workspaces look like? These are the five traits they have in common:

They ditch the cubicle farm: It’s no longer necessary to spend the day alone in a cubicle rooted to one spot for access to a desktop computer or landline phone. Today, you can easily and securely access, store and share your information from anywhere whether you’re on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Without the need for space-wasting cubicles, your building space needs are reduced, in some cases up to 50 percent. And a collaborative environment is created when walls are torn down and open seating arrangements invite conversation and brainstorming.

They accommodate work needs: Because technology frees knowledge workers from being rooted to a single cubicle, the new way is to offer an entire floor of flexible workspaces that accommodate various needs and styles. For example, one day an engineer could be working at a long table with fellow engineers, vendors and a project manager. The following week, that engineer might duck into a small privacy room for a marathon session of focused work.

They invite collaboration: Unlike the traditional cubicle farm, a flexible workspace sends a different message to the team. It invites conversation and innovative ideas by actively engaging with colleagues throughout the day, rather than rushing through a meeting agenda and hustling out.

They increase employee engagement and productivity: Flexible workspaces send a message that employees are entrusted to do their jobs wherever they feel most productive. Great leaders know and understand that their actions speak louder than words. Things like corporate policies and company culture send powerful messages to employees about how they are seen in the organization. With feelings of increased autonomy and trust often come increased levels of employee engagement. Once they have autonomy, the magic starts happening.

“… The data tells us — greater autonomy leads to better engagement, better engagement leads to greater productivity, which leads to better bottom-line results,” says Amy Haworth, director, organizational readiness at Citrix.

They embrace BYOD: That is, bring your own device. Sure, many employers may still provide hardware, but as workspaces become more flexible with a burgeoning work-anywhere ethos, employees simply wish to access their work platforms using their own laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

Luckily, it is now much easier to give employees seamless access to documents and networks safely — without draconian security measures to slow connections and processing speed. And as information, applications and work resources move to the cloud, businesses can securely deliver them to any device that has a secure network connection.

For example, Citrix offers a suite of solutions, including Citrix Cloud, XenApp, XenDesktop and ShareFile that makes BYOD secure without sacrificing user experience. If you are interested in learning more, visit citrix.com/products/.

The benefits of the redesigned workspace are numerous, says Kimmel.

“They break down barriers between managers, employees and departments. The increased, casual encounters make it easy to approach others to ask questions, make suggestions and solve problems,” says Kimmel. “As a result, work gets done more quickly, and employees and managers alike report higher productivity.

“In the end, employees report greater satisfaction, which leads them to stay with a company longer.” (BPT)

Meet Esteemed Contributing Writer Lauren Reid

Lauren Reid is an Account Executive at C. Blohm & Associates, a PR and marketing agency based in Madison, Wisconsin. She began her PR career in higher education, which led to her tenure at CB&A. For the past year, Reid has spent her time developing and executing visibility campaigns for education clients. When not at work, she enjoys exploring local hotspots and spending time creating DIY home projects.

Lauren has contributed the information article in our July / August 2017 Issue titled Sculpting a Generation of Makers which we invite you to read.