Confused about personnel recordkeeping? The U.S. Department of Labor last month debuted the First-Step Recordkeeping, Reporting and Notices Advisor, an online tool that helps employers determine which recordkeeping and notice laws apply to them. Find it at www.dol.gov/elaws/firststep.
Quickly survey your customers or employees using various free online survey sites. Most allow you to create a poll and embed it onto your web site, which will help attract visitors and interest in your site. Most have a free version and an upgraded paid one. The best options: PollDaddy.com, Snappoll.com, MisterPoll.com, SurveyMonkey.com and StrawPoll (www.twitter.com/strawpoll).
Save time when handling e-mail by hiring a virtual butler. Add-on applications to your —such as ClearContext (www.clearcontext.com)—act like gatekeepers, automatically rearranging messages in order of importance.
Sticky-note addicts, here’s a gadget for you. With the battery-operated Administrator Zip Sticky Note Dispenser ($20; www.crane.com), you tear off the desired length and use only what you need. It comes with one 150-foot roll of sticky notes.
Sign up for a “throwaway” phone number. Just as you may use a “throwaway” e-mail address when you’re filling out forms on the web, you can also play it safe with your phone number. Say you’re placing a want ad. Instead of listing your company’s real number, obtain a free, temporary and anonymous number from Numbr (www.numbr.com), which will forward calls to your phone. One option: Have all calls go directly to voice mail.
Find the best deal for shipping a package on RedRoller (www.redroller.com), which compares the rates for sending it by the U.S. Postal Service, DHL, Overnite Express and Eastern Connection.
Keep track of to-do’s with a free virtual reminder system. Microsoft Outlook’s calendar function can do this. Or, try free online tools such as MemoToMe.com. Like a friend with an excellent memory, it sends you nudges by e-mail about responsibilities, events, tasks, birthdays, appointments—even long-term goals.
Create your own robotic secretary. Twine (www.twine.com) is a web-based application that scans almost any electronic document for people, places, businesses and other entities, and then indexes these items on the right side of the screen. This index grows with every document you view, as the program adds subjects.