Solutions for Business Spring 2022

SPRING 2022 3 SOLUTIONS To be a strong community partner, your company needs to foster a spirit of volunteerism among employees. If you’re experiencing challenges with getting employees to participate in volunteer activities, consider these ideas: Provide paid time off for volunteering. This approach does two important things. First, it communicates to employees—and to customers and community members—that your company is truly committed to giving back. It also allows employees to volunteer without always having to use their personal time to do so. The amount of paid time off for volunteering doesn’t need to be huge. Even one workday per year per employee, when spent doing good work in the community, can lead to valuable results. Give employees the autonomy to give back in ways meaningful to them. Instead of micromanaging every act of giving, allow employees flexibility to come up with their own ways to help the community. Perhaps some employees will want to put together toiletry bags for the homeless, pick up trash at a park, read to children at an elementary school, or organize a drive to collect food, clothing, or toys. Others may want to set up regular visits to a senior facility to spend time with residents who don’t have nearby family. Whatever the volunteer projects, they provide excellent opportunities for employees to build skills by taking initiative, managing activities, and strengthening relationships with coworkers and neighbors. Make sure your leadership sets a good example. Everyone has a role to play in order for your company’s volunteer goals to be met. When your CEO marches in the local parade or your HR Manager sets up the company booth at the county fair, it encourages employees to also sign up to participate in these types of community events. In addition, it reinforces your company’s deep commitment to making a difference. Panora Telco and Guthrie Center Communications are proud of our volunteer work. Follow us on Facebook to see how we’re lending a hand in our community throughout the year. WHO’S MINDING YOUR BUSINESS? Cheryl Castile Customer Service Representative Cheryl Castile is a long-time employee, having joined Panora Telco in 1983. As Customer Service Representative, Castile answers questions from subscribers regarding their services or billing, processes bill payments, creates service orders and trouble tickets for our technicians, and schedules appointments. “Since I’ll be retiring at the end of 2022, this is a perfect opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Panora Telco. It’s been my privilege to come to work all these years. Although I’m looking forward to retirement, there are many things I will miss about Panora Telco. My husband Gordon may also miss me going to work sometimes. It’s been a great ride,” Castile said. She added, “My family, faith, and community are important parts of my life. I’m blessed to have been married to Gordon for over 60 years. Our son Brian, daughter-in-law Beth, four grandchildren, and great-grandson always bring me so much joy.” Encourage Your Employees to Give Back

4 SPRING 2022 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT George and Harriet grew bedding plants in a greenhouse on Lane Street to sell as a part-time venture, then in 1956, moved Panorama Gardens to its current location at 3055 Highway 44. In subsequent years, more greenhouses were built, and a flower shop was added. Today, David and Ilene work together—with David focused more on the greenhouse side and Ilene on the flower shop side—to sell a wide variety of garden center products, bedding plants, and floral arrangements. David said, “Panorama Gardens is a true family-run business. Ilene and I have employed many family members through the years, including parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, kids, and grandkids. We now have 4th generation employees, as our grandkids work here. Our children and in-laws still come and work at holiday time and when we need help unloading multiple pallets from a truck.” Getting Through the Pandemic The pandemic created twists and turns for business at Panorama Gardens, as Ilene explained: “In spring 2020, the flower shop was mandated to be closed for a couple of months, but we could do curbside pickup and delivery. The greenhouse portion got to stay open, because we were deemed an essential service during gardening season. We have several loyal part-time employees that didn’t know what to do, so we suggested they just stay home until we found out more about what was going on. Eventually, they all came back to help answer the phones (thank you, Panora Telco), get the plants ready for spring business, and do deliveries. We had the busiest Easter in many years in 2020, since people couldn’t gather for Easter dinner and sent flowers to family instead. It was also a big gardening year in 2020, with food chain worries prompting more people to grow their own vegetables.” David and Ilene Olson bought Panorama Gardens in 1977 and have been running it ever since. However, the roots of this growing business go back two decades prior, when David’s parents, George and Harriet Olson, founded Panorama Gardens at their home on Lane Street in Panora. You could say the Olson family tree is filled with flowers Panorama Gardens

SPRING 2022 5 SOLUTIONS Ilene added, “This year started with some difficulty getting paper products and floral foam, but supplies seem to be back now. Floral availability remains pretty good, and thankfully, we grow a lot of our own bedding plants.” Community Connections In addition to its phone system, Panorama Gardens also gets internet service and IT support from Panora Telco. David and Ilene appreciate the fact that Panora Telco is a local provider. David said, “If you have a problem, you can call Panora Telco and someone will be there to help you in a reasonable amount of time. We rely on our phone service to stay in contact with our customers, other florists, and our wholesalers. We also rely heavily on our internet connection to keep in contact with customers and wholesalers, as well as to run our cash register and process credit cards. We send a lot of FTD orders to other cities and states, and occasionally overseas, via the internet, so we appreciate having reliable service. Panora Telco is also active in the community, and we see that as an additional bonus, especially since we both grew up here.” David and Ilene have long been active in the Panora community. They’re members of the Chamber, PRIDE, and First Christian Church, and they made Sunday night popcorn at Panora Specialty Care for years until the pandemic began. David has volunteered on the ambulance service for over 30 years and taught CPR classes. Ilene currently serves on a Panora city board and previously belonged to an adult community band. Coworkers Became Spouses We can’t finish this Business Spotlight on Panorama Gardens without answering one of the most frequently asked questions from customers, “Did Dave and Ilene date in high school?” Ilene replied, “The answer would be no. We were two years apart in high school and didn’t even have any classes together. David was working at Panorama Gardens part time when he was studying horticulture at DMACC, and I was a senior in high school and also working here. The rest of the story came later.” Let’s hear it for love blooming! COMMUNICTIONS SERVICES THAT GROW WITH YOU When Panorama Gardens added its current garden center and display greenhouse in fall 2000, Panora Telco installed additional phone lines and internet connections for use in these buildings. This is an example of how communications services must grow when businesses grow—whether from an expansion in physical space, adding employees, or an increase in sales. Panora Telco and Guthrie Center Communications offer services to help all types of businesses work efficiently and productively as their needs change. They include: • Fiber Internet Solutions • Managed Wi-Fi • IT Security Services • Email Hosting • Enterprise Network Services • Fiber Voice • Calling Features • Fiber TV All our services are backed by local customer care and tech support. If you need help or have a question, our team will respond promptly, which is just what you’d expect from a neighbor. To learn more, call Panora Telco at (641) 755-2424 or Guthrie Center Communications at (641) 332-2000. Panorama Gardens is a true family-run business. Ilene and I have employed many family members through the years, including parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, kids, and grandkids.” — DAVID OLSON, OWNER, PANORAMA GARDENS

6 SPRING 2022 TechJury shared these Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) statistics in March 2022: • 67% of employees use personal devices at work. • A BYOD-carrying employee works an extra two hours daily. • 87% of businesses are dependent on their employee’s ability to access mobile business apps from their smartphone. • 69% of IT decision-makers in the U.S. say BYOD is a good thing. Good for Employees and Employers BYOD is popular with employees since many people prefer to work with their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It can be more comfortable to stick with what you already know, and BYOD provides more flexibility to easily move between work locations— office, home, coffee shop, or on the road. It can also be beneficial to employers. They can save money by not having to buy devices for each employee and pay for device upgrades. Even in cases where companies issue a BYOD stipend, the stipend cost is often far less than the cost of purchasing and managing machines for all employees. What’s more, BYOD can help to boost employee satisfaction and retention. Security is a Concern The biggest challenge with BYOD is security, since the use of personal devices by remote workers to access business-critical applications and assets can hurt a company’s security posture. With company-issued devices, companies can mandate updates, patches, and configuration settings. However, when employees use personal devices for work, companies often have less control over those devices and how they’re used, configured, and secured. Employees could be using applications with known vulnerabilities, storing sensitive information on a device that doesn’t lock, or failing to encrypt stored data. If your company has employees using a variety of personal devices, there are ways to provide security both in terms of delivering information and securing the devices themselves. If you don’t have the in-house resources to understand and manage the deployment issues associated with BYOD, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of IT professionals. They can help you develop BYOD management measures to enforce a strong security posture on both companyissued and personal devices. Panora Telco and Guthrie Center Communications offer computer and IT security services. To learn more, visit or With remote work gaining momentum since the pandemic-induced shift in 2020, more companies are allowing their employees to use personally owned devices to access work-related networks, systems, files, and applications. BYOD is Becoming a Workplace Norm Bring Your Own Device offers benefits but also presents challenges Source:

SPRING 2022 7 SOLUTIONS Mail a handwritten note. If your customers are accustomed to getting emails from your business, a personal handwritten note on a paper card will be a delightful and welcome surprise. Use this approach after they make a large purchase, sign up for new service, or are exceptionally patient during a challenging situation. Give away brand swag. This could be any useful promotional product that features your logo, from a tote bag to a portable charger. Branded merchandise makes your customers feel appreciated and serves as advertising. Let customers sample new products. Is your business experimenting with new menu items, store merchandise, or types of services? Ask some of your most loyal customers to sample those products for free. This will not only make the customer feel rewarded and part of an exclusive “club,” it can also provide valuable feedback. Support their businesses. The best relationships are mutual. Support your customers’ businesses or side gigs as much as you can and give them shout-outs on social media. Be sure to refer people to your customers’ businesses when an opportunity presents itself. Celebrate birthdays or customer milestones. Many retailers use birthday programs to send well wishes to customers on their birthdays and perhaps offer a special discount. Another idea is to recognize the anniversary of when that customer started doing business with you. Create a “thank you” video for social media. This could be something as simple as having each of your employees say a brief message of thanks into the camera, sharing what they value most about your customers. Another thing you can do for your customers, which is less direct but still important, is work to retain your employees. A stable workforce means your best customers will see familiar faces when they visit your business and get served by people with more experience. As a successful business, you’re no doubt saying “thank you” to customers on a routine basis—such as after in-person interactions or during phone calls. To take your customer service game to the next level, however, consider occasionally adding more impactful ideas like these: RAMP UP YOUR BUSINESS WITH AMPED-UP SPEED Panora Telco and Guthrie Center Communications offer a variety of high-speed internet options with a range of speeds up to 1 Gig. Upgrading to one of our faster plans can help your business increase its productivity through advantages including these: • More responsive customer care. Spending less time on a customer call looking up information online means spending more time addressing their concerns. • Increased efficiency. Each online task may take a few seconds (or minutes) less, and that time can be better spent on other business activities. • Easier collaboration. Quickly upload large files and take advantage of video conferencing. • Faster cloud access. Connect to your cloud services with ease for faster backups and more. • Timelier promotions. Instantly populate your website with new demos or other content. Why wait? If you’re ready to increase your internet speed, call Panora Telco at (641) 755-2424 or Guthrie Center Communications at (641) 332-2000. We’ll help you find the right internet plan to meet your needs. Extra Special Ways to Thank Your Customers 1 GIG

CALL (641) 755-2600 TO SCHEDULE YOUR FREE CONSULTATION. Panora Telco has more than 100 years of communications experience in the local area, so you can rely on us for your company’s IT needs. Our Solutions Technology Experience Center offers the expertise to monitor and protect your network and computers to help prevent issues from taking place. Cornerstone Group © 2022 WE CAN FUNCTION AS YOUR IT MANAGER • Antivirus • Backup Solutions • Computer Maintenance and Monitoring • Firewalls and VPN Solutions • Hardware and Software Sales • Routers • Software Updates • Server Management and Monitoring • Switches • SIP Trunking • Phone Systems • PRI Service