It is hard to believe it is now a year since the Forms Plus team moved into our new purpose-built offices and warehouse. We have been expanding the business significantly since our management buyout in 2012 and, as anyone who visited us knows, we were struggling to fit in our old building.
We didn’t move far but it has made a world of difference to the business. We have room for all our new packaging stock, a much improved warehouse set up so we can process orders even more efficiently, and of course super smart, clean, spacious offices.
We asked the team to let us know how they feel about the new office one year on:
What a difference a light, clean, purpose-built office and warehouse has made. As a company we have come a long way in 12 months and that is down to the team and how willing and eager they are to succeed. It’s surprising how much of a difference the new building has made to our mental wellbeing.
Our office is so light and airy. We really have the space to grow as a team and a business.
I remember how trepidatious we were upscaling and moving into a larger building. When we started stocking packaging, we were very hesitant on how it was all going to work. But look at our warehouse now! Only yesterday we shipped out 11 pallets. We have come a long way.
We have already expanded so much into our lighter, brighter and more spacious environment and it is all down to our fantastic Forms Plus team, working together to drive our business forward and deliver excellent customer service
Although many of the team are now working from home, we are all looking forward to the day we can get back together in our smart, new building.
You can read about how Forms Plus has grown over the past few years, learn more about our premises and watch a video of its development on the Forms Plus Expansion Page.
The health and wellbeing of our staff has always been a priority for Forms Plus. For the past 5 years, we have taken part in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Healthy Workplace Award. We are delighted to announce that we have just been re-awarded our Gold status for the next two years.
At the Awards Ceremony on the 9th March, our team were acknowledged for the extent to which mental and physical wellbeing has been ingrained into our business culture and ethos. The Award recognises that the Forms Plus Directors are committed to looking after their team and consider staff wellbeing a vital part of running a successful business.
Like many of our clients, our day to day work is mostly sedentary. Based behind a computer, taking care of the print and packaging requirements of our customers, it can be easy for the hours to pass by without much in the way of physical activity. Particularly in the dark and stormy winter months, it is all too easy to go without natural light or fresh air. At this time of year, we can also easily fall into the trap of indulging in sweet treats, eating at our desks and making our way through pots of coffee! The activities we have introduced to help us win, and keep, our Healthy Workplace Gold Award have given us the motivation and opportunity to break many of those bad habits.
Some of the highlights of our first year as a Healthy Workplace Gold Award Winner have included fun activities and exercises, training sessions to learn more about workplace health, and awareness campaigns.
“I enjoy the team walks, where you can chat to a colleague from a different area of the business you might not necessarily chat to often. I also enjoy that every month is different – whether it be a team challenge, volunteering or a discussion around a certain topic.” – Sharon
One of the toughest challenges for some of the Forms Plus team was the British Heart Foundation De-Chox challenge. This meant going a whole month without eating any chocolate, quite an achievement for some of the sweet-tooths in the office. One member of our team, Ian, who joined us last July and was the only smoker at Forms Plus, took up an even greater challenge. With support from the whole team, he successfully gave up smoking for Stoptober and now says quitting smoking is the best thing he has done in years – apart from changing jobs!
“The support I received for “Dechox” was great and similarly the support provided to those completing Stoptober was fantastic.’ – Kayley
Other campaigns we have taken part in included the Ask Twice mental health campaign, Sugar Smart and Keep Active. As part of Keep Active, we ran on “On Your Feet!” day. On the hour, every hour, the office was filled with the sound of James Brown singing “Get up offa that thing” and the team took part in two minutes of exercise. Using (safely!) some of our fabulous new warehouse space, we took part in games such as balloon keepy-uppy, Malteser blowing races, target ball throwing and football games.
Making the most of our surroundings in
beautiful Cornwall, we also get outside whenever we can. Team Walks, to support both our physical and
mental health, are a common lunchtime activity. We also took part in a beach
clean at Poldhu Beach.
Perhaps less fun, but just as vital, we
have had the opportunity for Health Checks at work, over 40s checks, menopause
information sessions and ongoing challenges to keep active and hydrated
throughout the day. Small, sustainable
behaviour changes, such as making sure we drink enough water by using marked-up
water bottles and encouraging each other to get out for a walk at lunchtime can
lead to healthier habits that are life-changing. These adjustments are easy to
do but have an important, positive impact on our long-term health.
“Outside of work, I try to keep fit as much as I can and also like healthy eating, so I really enjoy continuing these activities at work. Some of my favourites are the sharing healthy lunch days, team activities such as the Cornwall Beach Games and our regular weight checks.”- Evi
Participation in our Healthy Workplace
activities is never mandatory, and we do not pressure anyone to take part but
most of the time we do find everyone is keen to get involved and finds it
valuable. The activities help us bond as a team and get to know each other, beyond
the day to day conversations we would normally have as colleagues. This then means we can support each other
better, through the natural physical and mental health issues that pop up in
all our lives from time to time.
Plans for the next few months, to make
sure we live up to our Gold Award, include revisiting sun safety (when it gets
warm enough!) and having a look into our sleep patterns. We are also running a company WhatsApp group
sharing healthy recipes and giving each other new ideas for weekday dinners. This has led to challenges for “Meat Free Mondays”
and colourful fruit and veg meals.
Whilst we are proud of our Award, none
of this is about winning prizes or recognition.
What matters most is that the ideas generated by taking part in the
programme are helping make all of us healthier, inside and outside of work, and
hopefully making us happier as a result.
Committing to a Healthy Workplace involves more than just the occasional fun event. It needs to be firmly embedded in team culture and is something we discuss even at the employee interview stage. If you would like to find out more about how we have achieved that, and keep it going, do get in touch. We’d be happy to share our experiences and have a chat about how they might help your organisation.
Read more about the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Healthy Workplace Scheme, and view our Case Study, on their website www.behealthyatwork.org .
It’s the time of year for a good round up. We did think of sending you all a Christmas Letter with the usual collection of achievements and progress through the year. We even thought about writing it in that smug style distant relatives used to use, where every single member of the family has something to boast about and even the dog has won at least one show….
We have been busy, and we do have lots to be proud of, but we are staying professional, so here is a quick recap of our 2019 highlights as a blog instead.
New Warehouse and Office Space
This time last year, we were still visiting our new offices wearing hard hats. Our purpose-built premises were ready on schedule in March and we’ve been enjoying the smart new space ever since. We didn’t move far but our new building is a world away from the old office in terms of space, comfort, layout and the amount we can now fit into our warehouse. We now finally feel we have the right premises to support our brand and enable us to work at our best. Our friends at Bad Wolf Horizon made us a video capturing the developments.
Packaging Range Launch
Increasing our warehouse space also made room for us to add our Packaging Ranges. We’ve learnt a lot along the way, from how to judge if packaging is as eco-friendly as it can be, to the fact that so many different types of packing tape exist. Did you know that “low noise” tape is just one of many options? Neil was the first to become an expert and the rest of the team are now all fully clued-up and ready to help advise you on the best packaging for your products. Here is our first shipment going out.
Healthy Workplace Gold Award
We’ve always taken both the mental and physical health of our team seriously. Early in 2019, we took our Time to Change pledge to support Mental Health in the Workplace.
Later in the year, we marked World Mental Health Day with additional team training on Mental Health at Work. We also made use of our new office space to take on some physical challenges in the workplace.
Doing Our Bit for Charity and the Environment
As well as making sure the packaging and forms we sell are as eco-friendly as possible, we like to get out and about to do our bit for the environment. We’re lucky to be close to the coast in beautiful Cornwall, and in June we took part in a beach clean at Poldhu Cove picking up plastic and other litter and sorting it for recycling.
In September, we took part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan and raised £141. Some of the snacks were even quite healthy!
Building Our Team
We’re a strong team, and quite a competitive bunch – so where better for a team day out than a Go Karting experience? We were blessed with dry weather and a fast race track. Who turned out to be the Lewis Hamilton of the day? We’ll keep that under wraps…
Back at the office, a more formal Team Day had us solving challenges, developing our teamwork skills and working on our business plans together.
If you’ve been with us for a while, you may also have noticed that you are reading this on our new website. Launched late in the summer, the new website was about 9 months in the making and we’ll be telling you more about that process in our January blog.
Aimed at making the online shopping experience simpler, customers say they’re finding it far quicker and easier to order online. The new site has also been a great way to showcase the new packaging products. Even photographing them all has been a learning experience!
New Team Members
In the latter part of this year, we welcomed three new members to the Forms Plus team.
Ian, an experienced Warehouse Manager, keeps our warehouse safe and ensures our products are all received, stored and despatched efficiently so every order you make is packed accurately and goes out quickly. When not at work, Ian is kept busy by his young family and supporting Watford FC.
Ryan joined us initially as a Telesales Representative and has been promoted to Team Leader. He’s proving a great support to the Telesales Team, working well with customers to identify needs and negotiate the best product and price for your business. Outside of work, Ryan plays rugby and coaches Crossfit.
An excellent listener and well organised problem solver, Helen is also proving a real asset to the Telesales Team. She and Ryan are both helping build the reputation for excellent product knowledge and customer service that sets us apart from competitors. Like many of our team, at weekends Helen is mostly found outdoors – pottering in her garden or exploring Cornwall.
Here’s to 2020!
2019 has been a busy year for Forms Plus. Looking back, we’ve widened our offer to customers and made it easier for you to buy from us through the website. For our own team, we’ve continued to support Workplace Health and develop professionally – and we’re all benefitting from our new office and warehouse space.
We’re hoping for slightly fewer major projects in 2020 but will of course continue to do everything we can to provide the best possible products and services. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the year ahead.
Printed materials can really drive up your profits – are you making the most of yours?
Any e-commerce retailer knows why they have to include despatch notes, invoices, returns forms and the other paperwork that accompanies any order. Getting these materials right speeds up packing and despatch, ensures your returns department runs efficiently and means the order travels from your distribution centre to the customer without any issues.
What you may not have considered is just how much else your despatch paperwork can do for your business. Here are just a few examples of how you can make the most of your print.
If you sell on Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Trouva or any of the other Marketplaces, your customers may well not be aware of your own actual brand. As far as they are concerned, they simply ordered their widget “from Amazon” – which means that if someone asks them where they got it, Amazon will get the recommendation. If they need another, they’ll go back to Amazon and won’t necessarily choose you as the supplier next time. Adding your branding to your despatch notes, even something as simple as just your logo and website address, makes it very clear who they have ordered from, who to go to next time and who they should recommend.
As an online retailer, promotions will be core to driving your sales and bringing back customers. Why not use your despatch note to highlight your current offers? You could update these regularly, with promotions such as a product of the month. You might prefer to keep things simple, perhaps with 10% off your next order, or 10% off a friend’s first order. Promotions like these can easily be incorporated into your Forms Plus print.
“Do you want fries with that?” Well, maybe not fries but chances are there is something else your customer might be interested in hearing about from your product offer. Those messages could easily be incorporated onto your invoices or despatch paperwork. (While we’re talking about that, have you seen our new Packaging range? )
Simple Returns Process
Research shows that a quick and easy returns process is crucial to bringing in customers. 96% of shoppers say they would be more likely to buy again from a retailer who offers an easy returns process Whether or not your customer ends up returning the order they’ve just received, showing on your paperwork that to do so would be quick and straightforward means they are more likely to shop with you again.
Advertising is expensive. Finding new customers takes time and lots of money. Making sure that people who have bought from you before are following your Social Media channels opens up the way for you to tell them about new products, highlight special offers and build their loyalty with your brand. Including your Social Media channels on your order paperwork is an easy and cheap way to make sure they know where to find you to keep in touch. You could also use it to encourage customers to leave reviews.
These are just a few ways that your print can drive up profits. Aside from the obvious improvements to your despatch process and ticking the boxes you need to tick to get your products to their new owners reliably, you can see there is so much more your paperwork can do for you. Get in touch with the team at Forms Plus today and we can help you get started with making the most of your print.
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