Thursday, April 29, 2010

5 Ways Your Workplace Will Change by 2020 and Why

By Matt Valentine

What will the workplace look like in ten years? Will we even be able to recognize it anymore? For years the workplace and corporate environment has remained relatively stable, but as company's seek new ways to cut-costs, create happier and more productive workers, and cater to the needs of Generation Y, the business landscape as we know it could change dramatically. 

The 4 Day Work Week 

By 2020 many businesses, especially state run facilities will be operating off a 4 day work week. For example, in June 2008 the state of Utah sifted 17,000 of its 24,000 state employees to a 4 day work week, which by most accounts has been a success. In fact according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports, "Twenty-three percent of companies are now offering a condensed workweek, typically consisting of four 10-hour days."


1. Cut-costs- 

In Utah the switch to a 4 day work week has cut energy consumption cost by 13%. As we all know business is about profits and finding ways to save money is the equivalent to increasing profits. 

2. Happy Workers-

Another outcome of the switch to a 4 day work week has been an increase in employee productivity, a decrease in absenteeism, fewer employees taking overtime and the general awesomeness of having a three day weekend, which apparently is something most people like. Also, eliminating one work day eliminates the need to commute to work and saves employees money. 

3- Happy Customers-

Another perhaps unexpected outcome of the 4 day work week in Utah was a significant decrease in customer complaints. Perhaps, the happier employees are treating customers better, or maybe since the hours of operation were extended people who normally wouldn't be able to make it these government offices now have the time to do so without having to structure their entire day around it. 

4- Good for the Environment- 

It's a simple concept,  if less people are driving to work one day a week then they are also producing less emissions and this obviously has a positive impact on the environment. 

Goodbye Office, Hello Home 

By 2020 thousands of businesses may exist only in a virtual world as brick and mortar buildings become less and less necessary and telecommuting becomes the accepted method of conducting business. 


1- Cost-saving-

No rent to pay, no maintence fees, no office supplies. Did you know that office space for the average worker costs $10,000 per year? Why would company's continue to pay for people to come to the office when they simply don't have to. Some more interesting telecommuting facts can be found here

2- Technology- 

Think about how dramatically technology has advanced in the last decade. Now, try to imagine how it will look in 10 years. The ability to telecommute is obviously already well within our grasp, and by 2020 it is likely we'll all be able to conduct meetings within a virtual conference room as we sip coffee in our pajamas from our bed. 

3- Generation Y-
Without delving too deeply in to the topic (because i am greedily saving that for another post so please check back) Generation-Y is already having a profound impact on how companies conduct business and will continue to exert their influence in the future. Take Sun Microsystem's telecommuting program, for example, which has kicked into high gear in response to Generation Y's demands. Today more than half of Sun's employees work remotely.

Kicking Down the Corporate Ladder

Forget about climbing the corporate ladder, it may not even exist by 2020. 


Yep, those dreaded Gen-Y-ers again. There are many reasons why Gen Y-ers will choose to ignore the corporate ladder structure of old and chief among them is the desire for a strong work-life balance. In essence, they just aren't as career oriented as previous generations, and they place a heavy value on free time. If you asked them about work they would say, "It isn't life, its just a way to make a living". Perhaps, it is simply a product of their young age, but many Y-ers are more willing to move laterally to achieve a healthier work-life balance then previous generations.  

This is not to say Millennials are without ambition. In fact, many are choosing to avoid the corporate ladder all-together and strike out on their own. A great example can be found here:

W.O.W-ing Our Way To Work

You probably noticed that the W.O.W in the header isn't an exclamation of excitement or awe. No, if you're my age you know that when someone says W.O.W these days they are probably referring to the video game phenomenon that is World of Warcraft. 

As baby boomers exit the work force and Generation-X takes over management roles they will need a different skill set to deal with and relate to the Y-ers below them. How will they accomplish this? Let's defer to Time Magazine  once again, 

"In fact, Rob Carter, chief information officer at FedEx, thinks the best training for anyone who wants to succeed in 10 years is the online game World of Warcraft. Carter says WoW, as its 10 million devotees worldwide call it, offers a peek into the workplace of the future. Each team faces a fast-paced, complicated series of obstacles called quests, and each player, via his online avatar, must contribute to resolving them or else lose his place on the team. The player who contributes most gets to lead the team — until someone else contributes more. The game, which many Gen Yers learned as teens, is intensely collaborative, constantly demanding and often surprising. "It takes exactly the same skill set people will need more of in the future to collaborate on work projects," says Carter. "The kids are already doing it." Read more:,28804,1898024_1898023_1898086,00.html#ixzz0mUy7EFl6

So, by 2020, having World of Warcraft Guild Leader on your resume, may be just the thing company's are looking for. 

Becoming a Free Agent

No, unfortunately for all of us I am not saying that ten years from now we will all be star athletes. But, the business model of 2020 may more closely resemble the world of professional sports then the current corporate structure. 


The shift to contract and freelance workers is beneficial for both parties. 
Companies will staff only essential employees who are needed on a daily basis and bring in contract workers for varying projects and needs as they see fit. 
The workers will enjoy greater flexibility and the ability to pick and choose which companies and which projects they want to work on. 
This trend is already beginning to emerge. According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, more than one-third of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of free agents by the year 2012 (according to market research firm EPIC-MRA).

Friday, April 23, 2010

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Recession

By Matt Valentine

At KDF Reprographics, we are, as our name suggests, in the reprographics industry. Lately, there is a growing fear that the reprographics industry is facing a crisis of sorts. This crisis is not just some imaginary fear derived from the panic of a recession; it is fear based on some very real and very scary facts. For example, some estimates suggest that the printing industry lost 2,844 firms in 2009.

Furthermore, while many sectors of the economy are slowly recovering, the construction industry, the industry many reprographics companies rely on heavily to generate revenue, has continued to lag far behind.  According to an article in Business Week, written by Courtney Schlisserman on April 1, 2010, construction spending in the U.S. fell in February to the lowest level in more than seven years, signaling this part of the economy remains in a recession.

While these stats are frightening enough there are several other factors that should and are giving us in the industry cause for concern. First, we live in an increasingly paperless world. As information and communication are decimated through different electronic mediums the use of paper documents has become less relevant. Not exactly a new trend, but a troubling one for those of us in a paper based industry. Second, as previously stated, the recession has had a profound impact on the reprographics and printing industry. And as a direct result of the first two factors there has been a decrease in the available volume of printing projects and therefore a smaller pie for all of us to eat. 

Before we go any further let me make one thing clear, because I don’t want to give people the wrong impression. We, at KDF, are not struggling; in fact we just had one of our best months ever. We achieved this mainly by positioning ourselves as the company to turn to for large format printing needs from reprographics, to vehicle wrapsbannerspostersdocument scanning and trade show displays. Mention one of these items and we are likely the first name to come up in our local area.

While this is obviously good for us, the fact remains that the reprographics industry and the printing industry as a whole are in a state of flux. The days of mom and pop operations are rapidly coming to an end as they struggle to meet the challenges from large national chains, other local competitors, and outside factors like the recession.


We started taking  more of a "Long-Tail" approach. If there was, as I stated earlier, a smaller piece of the pie to be had by all in our traditional markets, then we would have to move into others. We launched new product lines, and new websites, focused on different niches and demographics well outside our "usual" customer base.  If we couldn't sell a ton of our traditional services then we would sell smaller amounts of a wide range of products and services.  Which led us to the next key strategy.

Embracing Technology

I consider myself to be fairly tech savvy, having grown up in the digital age where I've seen my cell phone go from green screens, to color screens, to touch screens, and watched my desktop shrink to a laptop, which shrank to an iPad. It's clear that in order to stay ahead we have to embrace new technologies; including new ways to reach out to customers. Embracing new trends like social media, and even SMS (text message) advertising, though I have debated against it here in the past  ( are crucial  if we intend to stay in business. Which brings me to my next point.

Targeting Generation Y

Gearing our efforts toward attracting Generation Y-ers will be integral for the future of every business for several reasons. First, Generation Y is the largest generation in American history. At 77 million strong, they even outnumber the baby-boomers. Which means soon enough every business will be relying on the economic power of Generation Y to keep them afloat. If you are not speaking to them on terms they understand you're continued existence will be put in jeopardy.

Another important factor to consider is that while all of the other generations changed their spending habits during the recession the Y-ers remained remarkably consistent, hardly changing their spending habits at all. Which means that if you are able to capture their attention and retain them as customers you can rely on them in good times and bad.

Second, Generation Y is extremely influential. In fact, they are the trend-setters. Trends trickle up from them to their parents and so on. They may have been the single biggest factor in determining the outcome of the previous Presidential election, and as far as I can tell it doesn't get much more influential then that. More importantly to us, is that they have the ability to influence the buying decisions of older generations, as well as their peers.

Third, they are incredibly tech savvy. Being a part of Generation Y, in my mid-twenties, I have a deep understanding of what these people look for and the ways in which they obtain, and spread information. That is why it is integral that we embrace emerging technological trends be it, SMS, social media, or whatever else emerges in the years to come.We as a generation are constantly plugged in, we never leave home without our phones. We want to be in touch and respond instantaneously and we demand immediate gratification.  If you cannot provide that for us, we will find someone else who can.

Knowing how and when to adapt is the key to survival, be it in business or life in general. I believe adopting these strategies, amongst others, will be key to the survival of many businesses.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

KDF Launches New Website for Motocross Graphics

Rockleigh, NJ (KDF) 4/15/2010: KDF Reprographics, Inc. of Rockleigh, NJ announces the launching of a new website designed specifically for custom motocross graphics. Located at the new online destination will provide customers with immediate access to a variety of custom motocross related products including: decals, vehicle wraps, trailer wraps, banners, vinyl lettering, cutouts, and wall graphics.

The site features easy, intuitive navigation that guides customers through the extensive array of custom motocross products. Customers also have the option of joining the KDF monthly mailing list to receive special offers, coupons and discounts.

KDF’s online presence has been expanding since the construction of a new website in 2006. Having already established a strong online presence for large format graphics, vehicle wraps, vinyl banners, wall murals, document scanning, and reprographics this addition to the KDF website is in line with KDF’s ongoing goal to provide exceptional customer service while continuing to expand its services into new and exciting venues.

“We're very excited about the launch of We are all big fans of the sport of motocross and so, we see as a fun opportunity to supply motocross racers and teams with the kind of quality graphics and service we have been providing to businesses for the last 15 years. We also want to make people aware that will offer much more then custom motocross graphics. It will be an online destination where motocross racers and teams can come and work with us to build a bigger brand, reach marketing and advertising goals, and really help them selves to get noticed and stand out from the crowd.”
- Stephen Hoey, President.

For additional information, contact Stephen Hoey at 201-784-9991 x501.

About KDF

KDF Reprographics, Inc., started in 1995, services include high volume engineering printing, large and small Format document scanning, microfilm scanning, database solutions, large format color printing and digital plan room. KDF services the construction management, AEC, education, manufacturing and municipal markets throughout the northeast United States.

Contact Information:

Stephen Hoey
KDF Reprographics, Inc.
10 Volvo Drive
Rockleigh, NJ 07647
Tel. 201-784-9991
Fax. 201-784-9955

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

5 Annoying Social Media Users Who Should be Banned Today

By Matt Valentine

They somehow manage to rear their ugly head on all of our friends and followers lists. They are the social media users we love to hate and wish would be banned. Sometimes we keep them on our list out of sheer amusement just to see what they will say next. They are the 5 Annoying Social Media Users Who Should be Banned TODAY!

1- The Excessive Partier

I don’t care how old you are, chances are you have one of these people on your list. The excessive partier is a particularly annoying breed. These are the people whose only interest it seems is to express to the rest of us their inabilities to either A). Get a job or B.) hold their liquor.

Their status updates are a never ending stream of pictures from bars, and clubs and delightful quotes that usually begin with “Dear liver…”  Yes, they actively try to make us believe that they are living the cavalier lifestyles of a Hemingway, or a Hunter S. Thompson only they lack any of the aforementioned talent and their masterpiece is written in 180 characters or less.

Congratulations! You, unlike the rest of the population over 21, are able to go out on a weekend (and in their case weekdays) and drink! We get it, ok? You are special.  Imbibing mass quantities of alcohol and letting us know about it every time you do is what distinguishes you from the rest of us, who imbibe mass quantities of alcohol and don’t feel the need to share it with the world. 

Oh, by the way, if you are wondering why you can’t seem to find a job you do realize potential employers check your Facebook page…right?

2- The Useless Updater

Fairly self explanatory, these are the people who firmly believe that we should all be included on every mundane detail of their incredibly boring lives. Stating that you are “Going to take a shower.” really isn’t something I care to know about unless you are Megan Fox and you’re streaming it live so please stop.

3- The Facebook Gamer

There is, I hope, a special place in social media hell for these people. They constantly spam our streams with their meaningless achievements in virtual worlds like Farmville, Mafia Wars and the like.  “Jan jus completed a mission in Mafia Wars”. “Jan received a yellow ribbon in Farmville.” NO ONE CARES! Let me make that very clear because literally NO ONE CARES!

As excited as you may be that you wasted six months of your life toiling away on your imaginary farm and finally reached your goal of buying a brand new red fantasy barn, the rest of us have lives to lead out in the real world, oh, and did I mention…WE DON’T CARE!  

4- The Gym Junkie

Oh the gym junkie, my personal favorite. They live by a solitary credo stolen directly from the geniuses on the Jersey Shore, GTL. Gym. Tan. Laundry. Their life is actually prioritized in that exact order and amazingly enough it’s a source of pride not embarrassment.

Fine, you like to work out and stay in shape, very admirable of you. But, do I really need to know every single time you go to the gym, or that you like protein shakes? Don’t those two things usually go hand in hand anyway?

On a side note, these people are also incredibly likely to be a multiple offender of this list, especially annoying social media user number one. The only difference is they will exclusively be holding a clear liquor concoction because it packs less calories and their quote will likely be, “Dear liver, going to the gym to work off this awesome hangover”. Good, go and please don’t come back.

5- The Chronic Fan-er

You know who I am talking about. They literally become a fan of every fan page on Facebook. They’re probably a fan of becoming a fan on a fan page. If you want to be a fan of something I am fine with that, but seriously stop sending me suggestions to become a fan of “Cure Brown Bunnies” or something like that, even though I certainly have a closeted interest in it, I’m not quite ready to go public with it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Is Mobile Marketing Dangerous For Business?

By Matt Valentine

Many pundits are predicting that mobile marketing through SMS (text messaging to the lay person) will be essential to stay in touch with customers in the near future (if not now). With phones becoming "smarter and smarter" and at a pace thats almost to much to keep up with, it would seem that mobile advertising will become one of the most effective ways to reach a large consumer base and keep them up to date on your businesses events, sales, specials etc.

However, with businesses already reaching into so many different aspects of our lives, how far is too far? At what point does a consumer become overly inundated with our attempts to reach them? At what point does reaching out become an annoyance? How much noise are people willing to listen to until they simply decide to turn it all off?

Most businesses, large and small, already utilize social media, email marketing, and traditional advertising. And most would correctly argue that through those channels (with the exception of email in some cases) its ok to market to people because they have already given their consent by becoming a fan, follower, or subscriber.  However, what worries me, and I will admit I'm not old enough to know whether or not this exactly happened, is that I have a sneaking suspicion the same thing was said about email upon its introduction to the masses all those years ago.

My real fear is that my text message inbox will soon look eerily similar to the spam folder in my email. While this fear is a personal one, it should also be the fear of every business thinking about using mobile marketing. How effective is your message if it ends up in a "spam" folder? How effective is your message if I get a text from you and say "Well these guys are really annoying."?

Think about it. If we already have a Facebook page, twitter account, email subscribers and blog subscribers and now we start a mobile marketing campaign, we will most likely be drawing most of our mobile subscribers from that same pool (at least until shadier practices become available). What I am trying to say, in some apparently convoluted way, is that engaging in mobile marketing can be a dangerous endeavour; especially when we consider that we are already engaing them in so many different ways.

Do people really want us on their phone too? To me, and maybe I am just crazy, but my phone seems so much more personal then any other form of media that advertising can reach me. And I don't want to see the day when I am getting text messages from some business I don't remember giving my number to.Maybe I am  alone, but if I am not, then maybe mobile advertising is just one step too far.

To me it seems that we, in the business world, are already walking a very fine line. We're going to need to know how to tread just lightly enough that we don't start stepping on our customers toes, or phones, or whatever.

The question is where do draw the proverbial line? How do we know how much to push before we've pushed them away from us? The real problem is, will we even know before it's already too late?