Tips That Help You Avoid Being Tracked Online

Every time your employees perform an online search, advertisers collect and categorize that data and create targeted ads. To protect your employees’ privacy and prevent cybersecurity risks, follow several tips that help you avoid being tracked online.

Browse Privately with VPNs

Encrypt your connection with a virtual private network (VPN) and keep all your personal information private. A VPN connects you to one of its servers so you can browse anonymously.

Browse in Private or Incognito Mode

Every major web browser allows you to hide your browsing activity. Look for the spy in Chrome, “InPrivate” in Edge and IT, and mask in Firefox to ensure you’re browsing incognito. Remember, though, that this feature does not hide your browsing habits from your ISP, office firewall and routers with monitoring tools.

Use Third-Party Anti-Tracking Browser Extensions

Privacy Badger, Ghostery and Disconnect are three browser extensions that can prevent trackers from following your online search history. Research your options then install and use one to protect your privacy.

Change the Browser Cookie Settings

Advertisers use small files called cookies to record and store your online activities. For instance, they can track how often you see a particular ad, which websites you saw it on and the browser you used. Clear cookies from your web browser, delete third-party advertising cookies and limit or disable tracking to remove cookies.

Opt out of Ads

Choose not to receive targeted ads based on your online behavior when you opt out. Take this step on individual websites or use a browser extension with anti-tracking capabilities.

Check your Online Account Settings

Review the settings on your online accounts. Turn off personalized ad tracking to prevent websites from collecting and analyzing your search history.

See Who’s Tracking You

Do Not Track Plus, Privacyfix and Ghostery are three browser add-ons that allow you to see who’s tracking you on the websites you visit. After you have the information, you can opt out or limit access.

Read Agreement Documents

Instead of skimming or skipping the Terms of Service and Use Agreements for websites you visit or apps and software you install, read these documents. They contain details about which data the site collects. Some apps, for example, can access your contacts, GPS and other phone features.

Use a Private Browser on your Smartphone

In addition to protecting computers, anti-tracking tools protect smartphones, too. Firefox Focus blocks social trackers and erases browsing history and passwords at the end of each session. Chrome, Edge and Samsung also have incognito modes that enable private browsing.

Use these tips to avoid being tracked as you browse online. They prevent targeted ads and can help your company improve cybersecurity.

Fire Prevention Tips To Implement During National Fire Safety Month

Every year, over 3,000 fires occur in office properties, reports the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). You can prevent such incidents in your business when you follow several fire prevention tips. They’re important during October, National Fire Safety Month, and all year.

Know the Laws

Your business must follow local fire safety laws. After you discern the laws, codes and regulations, take the necessary steps to ensure you’re in compliance at all times.

Check Wiring

Regularly inspect all the wiring in your building, including electronic and extension cords. Replace frayed wires and cords with cracked insulation or broken connectors. Limit the number of plugs per outlet, too.

Operate Machines and Appliances Properly

The machines and appliances you use may overheat and start a fire if they’re used improperly. In addition to following the recommended operating procedures, ensure air can circulate properly on all sides of your machines and appliances. You may also wish to unplug non-essential items when they’re not in use.

Use Hazardous Materials Carefully

Paint and all flammable, combustible or hazardous materials should be stored, dispensed and cleaned properly. Train all staff to know and carefully follow the usage recommendations for all hazardous materials.

Remove Clutter

The storeroom, break room, hallways, and stairwells are often hotspots that collect clutter. Clear out unnecessary items from these areas as you reduce fire hazards and improve your escape options.

Maintain Smoke Detectors, Fire Extinguishers and the Sprinkler System

Regularly inspect the tools that can notify you of a fire or put a fire out. These items should be in good working order at all times.

  • Change the smoke detectors’ batteries at least twice a year.
  • Charge and inspect the extinguishers regularly.
  • Ensure the sprinkler heads are not damaged or covered.

Limit Smoking Areas

If you allow your employees, vendors and customers to smoke on your property, designate specific smoker-friendly areas outdoors. Provide sturdy outdoor ashtrays to secure flammable cigarette butts and ashes.
Close Doors

Keeping doors closed can prevent a fire from spreading. Instruct your staff to close the office, storeroom and other doors when possible. Never dismantle doors or prop fire doors open, either.

Remove Garbage

Refuse can contain combustible materials that prompt or spread a fire. In addition to a dumpster or designated refuse area outside, assign staff members to remove garbage from the building every day.

Hire a Safety Officer

Businesses of all sizes benefit from employing a safety officer. This person oversees the fire prevention plan and makes arrangements for safety, such as marking escape routes, testing fire extinguishers and overseeing emergency drills.

Prevent fires in your place of business when you implement these tips. They’re important during National Fire Safety Month and year-round.

How To Figure Out What You’re Worth

Whether you are ready to ask for a raise, interested in finding a new job or curious about what other professionals in your field make, you need to know what you’re worth. Use these tools to figure out the salary you deserve.

Check Online

Various online resources allow you to review average salaries for almost any profession or job title. Check on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, Payscale.com, or Indeed.com for average salaries.

Consider Experience

If you’re new to the workforce, your profession or the company, your pay rate may be on the lower end of the salary range for your career. You typically have to earn some experience before you can qualify for the big bucks. However, your experience can include non-paid positions, such as volunteer work, educational classes and other life skills, so factor in all those experiences as you determine your worth.

Think about Location

Your salary can depend in part on your geographic location. For example, you may be able to ask for a higher salary if you work in a well-to-do metropolitan area as opposed to a rural area with a lower per-capita income. Your ability to telecommute may even play a role in your overall worth to a company.

Educate Yourself

If you hold advanced academic degrees, you could be worth more money. Some professions also award higher salaries to employees with specific certifications or training. Consider how your educational history and future academic pursuits can affect your salary.

Review your Responsibilities

No matter what your job title, you could command more money if you’ve consistently taken on extra responsibility at work. That extra work shows that you’re trustworthy, eager to advance in your career and ready to earn more money.

Evaluate Achievements and Contributions

The awards you’ve won, sales you made and other concrete results you’ve produced prove that you care about your work and are qualified for a higher salary. Include these achievements and contributions in your worth calculations.

Remember your Soft Skills

There’s more to your qualifications than what you can show on paper. Soft skills include your ability to lead, manage and motivate people, communicate with others, and demonstrate a positive attitude. These skills play a role in your value to a company.

Count Flexibility

Your willingness to work odd hours, travel extensively, relocate, or telecommute can increase your value. You may also give yourself extra credit if you’re flexible enough to perform a variety of jobs or switch between departments as needed.

Your worth depends on several factors. Use these tools to discover your ideal salary and how much you’re worth to your current or potential employers.

Different Types Of Professional Development And Why They’re Important

Professional development is probably mandatory for employees in your company because these opportunities benefit you and your employer. Understand the different types of professional development and why this requirement is important.

Continuing Education

Take a continuing education class, workshop or webinar to improve your skills. Your employer may offer these in-person or online opportunities during the workday, or you may complete them at your convenience at home. Ask about tuition reimbursement for qualified college courses or certification classes, too.

Mentoring

A powerful but often ignored professional development opportunity, mentoring allows you to learn from others who are further along in their career path. You can participate in non-directive and directive mentoring opportunities. Non-directive mentoring pairs you with someone from a different department or career, and directive mentoring pairs you with someone from the same department or career. Both types of mentoring introduce you to invaluable information that helps you become a better employee and person.

Presentations

Collaborate with team members or work alone to create a presentation for your department or company. You may wish to create a presentation about new research in your field, ways to streamline processes or other interesting and relevant topics. Not only will you learn more about your chosen presentation topic, but you’ll also gain experience talking in front of people and then leading a discussion about the information you shared.

Professional Organization Participation

Join a local, regional, national, or international professional organization. You can access print and online resources and attend meetings, workshops and conferences. With this professional development option, you boost your knowledge and meet new people who support your career advancement.

Publishing

Common for people in research jobs, publishing is also important in other career fields. You can work together with colleagues to write articles and other content for print or online resources. Share unique insights and relevant information as you enhance your knowledge and boost your resume.

Shadowing

Quick and easy, shadowing allows you to follow someone in a higher position for anywhere from a day to a month. You’ll learn more about the other person’s job, education and responsibilities. While this professional development option is not as immersive or comprehensive as mentoring, it helps you understand other positions and gain an appreciation for other employees in your company.

Volunteer

While volunteering is a good way to share your resources and give back, it also enriches you professionally. Use your existing skills and develop new ones as you hone your communication, problem-solving and collaboration abilities.

Professional development helps you advance your career and supports your company’s success. Consider these different types of professional development as you build your resume and abilities this year.

How to Prepare Financially for Long-Term Care

One in four Americans over the age of 65 receives long-term care annually reports the U.S. Department of Commerce. You too could require care. Prepare your finances now for this possibility.

    • Know Your Options

      Long-term care is defined as assistance performing daily living activities for longer than 90 days. Those daily living activities can range from household chores and paying bills to eating and bathing.

      You can receive long-term care at home with an in-home aide, in an assisted living facility, at a nursing home or through hospice. Care can range from an hour a day to around-the-clock.

    • Calculate the Cost

      The cost of long-term care can be expensive. Combined costs account for 10 percent of the total healthcare costs in the U.S. In fact, a private or semi-private nursing room room can cost over $6,000 per month while a one-bedroom assisted living apartment averages $3,200 per month.

      You typically can’t pre-pay a facility for long-term care, but you can begin to calculate how much money you’ll need to save. With careful planning, you can accumulate adequate resources to cover the cost of your future care.

    • Create a Financial Plan

      Now’s the time to begin planning financially for your long-term care. You can choose from a combination of several payment options.

      The first option is a long-term care insurance policy. It allows you to choose the benefits and length of care you receive. The policy’s cost depends on your policy details and your age and health when you buy the policy.Your insurance agent will help you evaluate your specific circumstances as you choose the right long-term care insurance for your needs and budget.

      Medicare and Medicaid are additional options that may cover some of your long-term care.  Medicare is health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans, and it’s provided by the federal government. Medicaid provides care for low-income seniors, and each state determines its cost, services and eligibility.

      You could also cash out your life insurance policy or retirement accounts as you pay for your long-term care.

      Many consumers rely on private savings, too. They can supplement other options and allow you to afford the long-term care you need, want and deserve.

    • Start Planning Now

      You can plan for long-term care any time, but it’s better to start when you’re in your late 40s or early 50s. At this age, you’re healthy enough to qualify for long-term care insurance and have adequate financial resources to add long-term care into your overall retirement savings strategy.

Chances are high that you’ll eventually need some sort of long-term care. Understand your options and consider your preferences as you plan financially for the future.