5 tips to help you prepare for taking a vacation from work


We all enjoy having some “me time” and taking some time off from work to travel, spend time with family, or just have a stay-cation at home relaxing. While taking a vacation from work is relaxing and fun, you can’t really say the same for the first day back at work. Your first day back typically consists of sorting through the hundreds of emails you received while you were out, getting caught up on what happened over the past week, and trying to figure out where to even begin with all of the work you left behind.

Below are 5 tips to help you prepare for your vacation ahead of time so you can truly “unplug” while you’re away from work and not have to be stressed about what awaits you when you return to the office.

Set pre-vacation priorities. Prioritize what needs to be completed before you go on vacation and what can wait until you get back. This will ensure that you complete everything you absolutely need to before you leave and you will have a good starting point for what needs to be done when you return.

Let people know ahead of time that you’ll be out of the office. Let members of your team and other people that you work with frequently know that you’ll be going on vacation 1-2 weeks before you leave… that will give them enough time to contact you if they need anything before you leave. To cover anyone else who might need you before you leave, set up an out-of-office message 2 or 3 days before you leave to alert people you will be out.

Designate someone to be a point of contact while you’re out. When you compose your out-of-office message for your vacation, be sure to include the contact information of the person to be contacted in your absence. This may be a different person based on the needs of the person emailing you.

Give your team members a status update before you leave. Make sure to let team members know where you left off on projects and deliverables before you leave the office.

Use email rules to help organize emails while you’re away. There’s nothing worse than coming back from vacation to a full inbox… especially when half of the emails don’t even require a response from you. An easy way to avoid this is to create rules in your email client to sort the emails coming in. You could create a rule to put all emails from members of your team into one folder – that way you’ll know those are higher priority. You could create another rule to put all subscription based emails (blogs, newsletters, et) into another folder – you can easily do this by creating a rule for all emails that contain words like “unsubscribe” or “view in a browser”.


By taking these steps to prepare for vacation before you leave, you can actually relax and really enjoy your vacation without worrying as much about having a mess to deal with when you get back to the office.

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What is a GSA contract and who can benefit from it?


GSA stands for the General Services Administration which is a centralized authority for the acquisition and management of federal government resources. While GSA manages historical properties, government-owned and leased buildings, and fleets of government vehicles, it is most widely known for its development of the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Program. The purpose of the Schedules Program is to leverage the buying power of the federal government in order to negotiate streamlined contracts with commercial businesses.

What is a GSA Schedule Contract?

GSA Schedule Contracts, also known as Federal Supply Schedules, are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, long-term contracts under the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program. GSA Schedule Contracts were developed to assist federal employees in purchasing products and services, and contain pre-negotiated prices, delivery terms, warranties, and other terms and conditions. Any federal government agency is eligible to purchase from a GSA contract.

Simplify procurement!

With over $38.5 billion in sales last fiscal year, the GSA Schedule Contract is the most widely used government contract vehicle. Many government buyers prefer to purchase products and services through the GSA schedule because it streamlines the procurement process through a host of benefits. Acquisitions through GSA Schedules are issued using full and open competition. Prices have already been deemed fair and reasonable, and Contracts are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, reducing evaluation cycles. Purchases can be made directly from a contractor’s GSA Schedule Contract, eliminating time-consuming responses to complex RFP’s and lengthy negotiations.

If you’re looking to purchase office furniture through GSA, NEOS can accommodate your needs. Click the link below to contact our GSA specialist to discuss your furniture needs.

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A great video for anyone who’s ever participated in a conference call

This video has been kicking around the internet for a while now and I’m sure some of you have already seen it – I have a good laugh every time I watch it so I thought it would be a fun video to share on this holiday week. If you’ve ever participated in a conference call, you will probably agree that this video is SPOT ON! If you want a good laugh, check out the video below – A Conference Call in Real Life.

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5 common mistakes to avoid when ordering office furniture

Ordering office furniture can be a bit trickier than ordering office supplies because furniture is just a more complex product category by nature. Throughout the years though, we’ve seen 5 mistakes that are a lot more common than others when it comes to ordering office furniture. Here are the 5 most common mistakes so you can be sure to avoid them in your future purchases:

  1. Mismatched colors.
    Different manufacturers may have the same name for a color, but the colors will not match up exactly. Try to order accessory pieces from the same manufacturer to avoid mismatches.
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4 ways you may be throwing away more than just trash

I never thought too much about trash bags. The small white ones go in the kitchen basket and the large green or gray ones in the outdoor trash bin. Other than that what else do you need to know? Well I’ve just recently learned that disposing of trash in a large office or warehouse is a big responsibility, a bit more complicated, and using the wrong bags can eat up a budget pretty quick. To follow are 4 ways you might be throwing away more than just trash:

goldilocks and bags


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6 tips to help you handle constructive criticism like a professional

constructive criticism posterLet’s face it, no one is perfect. And as a result, constructive criticism is a part of  life – in school, in sports, as a parent, in your career (you get the point). Not being able to handle constructive criticism can negatively affect you and get in the way of you achieving your goals – especially when it comes to your career. It’s important to remember that constructive criticism is intended to help you improve (as an athlete, as a working professional, etc), it’s not intended to make you feel bad about yourself. Even though it comes with the best intentions, sometimes constructive criticism can be hard to swallow… with that said, below are 6 tips to help you better handle constructive criticism:

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A new helpful resource for office Ergonomics

back painAs more and more people are spending 40+ hours a week in an office setting, Ergonomics is continuing to grow in importance. USA Today shared that 49% of Americans report that they sit for 6 hours or more a day. And Fellowes.com found that 9 out of 10 people suffer from pain linked to the way they sit/work at their desks – the most common ailments being carpal tunnel syndrome, neck/shoulder pain, back pain, and headaches. Ergonomics is trying to combat these growing numbers by educating people on how to make the work environment and job tasks fit the worker’s need for comfort, health, and safety.

Since Ergonomics is so important given the way we work today, we created an Ergonomics Resource Center that we’re going to be continuously updating with helpful content relating to Ergonomics and helping you be comfortable in your workspace. Check out the page hereWe also have a certified Ergonomics Evaluator at NEOS to conduct Ergonomic evaluations of your entire office if you have the need… you can find the form to request an evaluation on the Ergonomics page.


image credit: optimalperformanceandhealth.com


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What do all the different Green Certifications really mean?

As you may know, April has come to be known as Earth Month. With Earth Day on April 22 and Arbor Day on April 25, a lot of attention is brought to “being green” during this month. One easy way to “be green” is to purchase “green” versions of the products you use – we all know there are green versions of virtually every product in the marketplace today, the labels showing different “green certifications” that these products hold. But with so many green certifications out there, I can honestly say that I don’t even know what most of them mean! So we’ve come up with a handy little guide to explain the meanings of each type of green certification in our industry.

Check out the guide below – click on the image to download a larger version.

Green Certifications guide

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5 things to avoid doing if you want a promotion

no promotionIf you’re aiming to get promoted at your current job, you need to realize that you’re always being watched – not in a creepy, weird way… but your actions are noticed by others and they can make or break your dreams of a promotion.

Here are 5 mistakes you want to make sure to avoid if you are striving for a promotion:

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Another Great Story of Hope from the City of Hope

City of HopeCity of Hope is a new model of cancer center, focused on rapidly transforming scientific discoveries into better treatments and better prevention strategies for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. This marks the 10th year that City of Hope has been listed in U.S.News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” as one of the best cancer hospitals in the nation. Continue reading

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