How Does the Advertising Landscape Change Over the Festive Period?

Christmas is a period of festivity, merriment and giving – it’s also the perfect time for brands and advertisers to launch marketing campaigns and promote their products.

The entire run-up to Christmas and New Year is a marketing frenzy for brands and retailers around the World. When your advertising is spot on, Christmas can be the most lucrative time of the year for brands and businesses. From Black Friday to Boxing Day, the Christmas season is the most vital advertising period of the calendar.

If you’re wondering how the advertising landscape changes over the festive period, we’ll break it down for you in this article.

The power of Christmas advertising

Since advertising first came about, Christmas has always been an integral time of the year for brands and advertisers. After all, it’s the time of year when you can guarantee consumers of all types will be buying gifts for people of all ages – if your goods can be bought as gifts and can be consumed over the festive season, you want to make the most of advertising.

Most brands will have marketing and addressable tv ads intended for all year round as well as advertising tailored specifically for the Christmas period. Christmas is the most profitable period for retailers when they get their marketing right.

Recent studies from the Bank of England found that households spend £740 more in December than they do in subsequent months. Accordingly, the typical Christmas expenditure represents a 29% increase above monthly spending. However, the worsening cost-of-living crisis is set to see these figures reduced – although consumer spending will still be higher in this quarter of the year than others.

Increased sales mean the opportunity to boost sales with advertising

Christmas makes way for a huge increase in sales for a myriad of businesses and retailers since it’s a time when everyone is buying for many reasons – be it buying presents or purchasing mouthwatering cranberry sauce and stuffing for Christmas dinner.

In other words, Christmas is a huge opportunity for businesses, of all shapes and sizes, to generate a great number of sales and profit through the power of advertising. As much as your advertising needs to encourage consumers to buy your products or services over Christmas, you need to ensure that it is tailored to achieve long-term success too. By getting your name and products out there at Christmas, you might be able to attract long-term customers who stay with you for the long run.

Customers and messages matter more than sales pitches

While we’ve discussed that Christmas is the time when sales are booming, advertising tends to become less sales pitch-esque and more relatable and friendly. Advertisers generally focus more on the customers and the magic of Christmas, if you like, than their actual products and sales pitches when producing and displaying festive advertising.

Notice how most Christmas TV and video advertisements focus less on the brand itself and its products but more on depicting a heartfelt story with a message that spreads love or cheer over Christmas. Products can still feature in Christmas ads, but they’re never the main focus most of the time.

6 Reasons Small Businesses Should Consider OOH Advertising

The term ‘OOH advertising’ refers to out-of-home advertising — which, as the term suggests, appears in public places rather than, say, in magazines or on smartphone screens.

Good examples of OOH media include roadside billboards and bus shelters as well as digital screens in shopping centres. 

Furthermore, if your business is relatively small and — as a result — cash-strapped, OOH can constitute a surprisingly convenient advertising avenue for your firm. Here are several reasons why…

OOH ads can cut through the noise 

An online ad can too easily disappear under a deluge of other content, since these ads are placed where people are purposefully paying attention to things other than the ads.

Few people who casually peruse Google search results or a Facebook news feed, for example, are likely to look at the adjacent ads for very long. However, in the modern, media-saturated landscape, OOH ads can stand out simply due to being offline-based.

OOH ads can’t simply be skipped 

People can easily just scroll past ads on Google and Facebook, and might habitually click the ‘X’ button even on ads that take up a significant proportion of a webpage. 

Some people might even opt to install ‘ad blocker’ software to prevent online ads from appearing in the first place. In contrast, the physical nature of OOH ads makes them harder to ignore.

OOH ads garner trust 

In a study conducted in the UK, 40% of participants revealed that they trusted billboard and poster advertising, Statista reports.

This revelation particularly warrants attention given how disinformation and misinformation have blighted the image of social media, where many online ads are displayed. Through building trust, your small business can encourage its customers to make repeat purchases from it.

Research shows that OOH ads spur responses  

On average, some 45% of adults in the UK have admitted responding to outdoor ads in one manner or another. This figure is even higher when it comes to specific groups — like parents, Millennials and Londoners.

Many people have responded to out-of-home ads by searching for the advertised products, making online purchases and visiting stores. 

OOH ads are great for building brand awareness 

According to one statistic shared by Home Business, about 70% of outdoor ads promote local businesses. However, this social proof isn’t the only reason why your company should seriously consider renting billboard space.

This advertising tactic can easily pay for itself — and then some — by strengthening awareness of your brand. After all, during the time that this brand is featured on a billboard, many of the same people could keep passing it and seeing it — and remember your business as a result.

It’s delightfully easy to get started with OOH advertising  

If you run a start-up, you could take advantage of Clear Start — the start-up accelerator programme run by Clear Channel, a major provider of UK ad space.

Since the company’s network of OOH ads reaches 93% of the UK, there is likely to be Clear Channel-maintained OOH advertising space for you to rent in your firm’s geographic coverage area.

Heritage Resorts, Mauritius Announces its Unique Christmas and New Year Festivities Programme from International DJs to Nature Excursions

Heritage Resorts in Mauritius is inviting families and couples to enjoy a sensory escape over the end of year holiday season, to reconnect through nature and invigorating experiences. From December 20, 2022, to January 6, 2023, the Mauritian hospitality group has a unique programme for guests called ‘ALIVE’ involving DJ sets with Parisian DJs, wellness activities and gastronomical delights.

With ALIVE, the highlights include

  • International music artists over 8 days
  • 100% locavore culinary experiences
  • Wellness activities in nature such as meditation sessions overlooking an emerald lagoon and forest bathing
  • Christmas decoration workshop at the Timomo mini club
  • ‘From Trash to Music’ -Creating an instrument with recycled items for a jam session
  • Encounter with Mr Belal at Heritage Awali – gemologist and special stones artisan.
  • Movie under the stars at Kaz’alala
  • Excursions in the UNESCO classified Bel Ombre Nature Reserve
  • Sunset rum tasting on the terrace of the Château de Bel Ombre
  • Sunset music set by French DJ Julia Gautier by the pool of Heritage Awali
  • DJ set by Saint Lanvain at C Beach Club
  • Treasure hunt around the Bel Ombre Territory for teenagers

Every single day will be loaded with activity options, for family, friends or couples.

More than a stay in Mauritius, ALIVE is a promise to experience Mauritian authenticity in the heart of a preserved nature area, that promotes authenticity, sustainability and inclusiveness.

Guests can stay at one of the following properties in Bel Ombre:

Heritage Le Telfair is a plantation style all-suites hotel that provides luxury and contemporary sophistication nestled respectfully amidst nature and history. The hotel blends understated luxury and comfort with the delights of fine dining and culinary experiences – enjoyment of exclusive spa facilities, and award-winning golf course, with authentic encounters amongst the diversity and richness of local culture and heritage.

Heritage Awali provides all-inclusive, affordable luxury and unforgettable family adventure in Bel Ombre.  The hotel’s authentic warmth and generosity is reflected in the very soul and nature of this place, where relaxed comfort and quality sit easily amidst the vibrancy and energy. Effortless casual luxury, suffused with ethnicity and genuine hospitality, combines with an extensive, thoughtful range of facilities, quite literally offering something for every age, and guaranteeing memories to treasure for a lifetime.

Heritage The Residences offer guests the privacy and seclusion of a villa holiday but still access to five star resort amenities. The two, three and four bedroom villas have private pools and expansive terraces for enjoying outdoor BBQs and entertaining. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy the 18 hole championship golf course or 9 hole short course. Other facilities include 12 restaurants, 2 spa villages, kids and teen clubs, a kite surf school and The C Beach Club.

THE HEADLINERS

MISS KRISS

A key figure in the Parisian high society, Miss Kriss is the founder of the Mk Agency, as well as being a DJ and sound designer. In Paris, she occupies the leading role of Art Director for the Bristol and distills a Deep House, sexy and festive sound during fashion weeks where she performed at prestigious evenings for brands such as Chaumet, Chanel but also in Saint-Tropez for Louis Vuitton, and with The Avener at the Cannes Film Festival.

JULIA GAUTIER

Artistic Director, DJ and sound designer for the most beautiful palaces, Julia Gautier brings a distinctive glamorous universe as evidenced by her latest residency at the Hotel Crillon as well as her collaborations in the world of luxury: in Paris for De Beers, Chopard or Breitling, in Capri for Chanel or in Saint-Tropez for Bvlgari. Join Julia to discover her Nu Disco and House sound.

FEATHER HED

Originally from Canada and based in Paris, Caroline Fraser, known as “Feather Hed”, mixes organic sounds between deep and melodic house. Her sets make souls wander to connect with others around her distinctive vibes. Feather Hed has a residency in Paris at the Plaza Athénée as well as on Radio FG and plays regularly in Ibiza, Italy and Portugal. An AfroDeep-House selection is an ideal match for the mesmerizing sunsets in Bel Ombre.

DAMIEN PEPONNET

DJ of the most select parties, in Paris and abroad, for private and corporate events, Damien offers an open-format Disco House sound. Inspired by travels in Ibiza, south of France and Italy, his music is renewed every year and remains a safe selection for a demanding audience.

ABOUT HERITAGE RESORTS

Part of the Rogers Group, Heritage Resorts plays a leading role in driving sustainable growth in the Mauritian economic arena, within the hospitality resort sector. Staying true to their group’s pioneering spirit and passion for authenticity, they are dedicated to creating some of the most remarkable travel experiences possible on the island.

Since October 1st, 2021, Heritage Resorts, part of Rogers Hospitality, has been offsetting 100% of the carbon emissions of its guests’ stay through the Now For Tomorrow initiatives. Because Rogers Hospitality understands that today’s challenges are tomorrow’s opportunities, the group has made energy transition, sustainable development, biodiversity protection, living and integrated local communities and inclusive development its five priorities.

In addition, since January 2022, 100% of the supply of fruits and vegetables, seafood, poultry, and meat are from local and regional partners, farmers, producers, and suppliers.

For more information on the company visit www.heritageresorts.mu

For more information on ALIVE visit https://heritageresorts.mu/events/alive-festive-season

Indonesia in the Spotlight

Indonesia has proven to be an attractive investment proposition this year and now represents approximately 10% of our GEM portfolio. A key rationale for our positive view of this market is a major derating of our favoured businesses coupled with a macro tailwind. The economy has benefitted from an increase in exports, notably from commodity products which has helped improve the government’s fiscal position. Additionally, GDP is expected to grow by 5% over the next few years. We focus on companies which are domestic champions in their sector and have identified several that will perform whilst consumers’ behaviours are changing due to increased prosperity.

It is well known that the country has abundant natural resources including nickel deposits which make it the largest global supplier of the raw material. In 2021 Indonesian mines accounted for over 35% of global supply. This year, output has increased by 41% meaning that, year-to-date, Indonesia has supplied 47% of the world’s nickel.

The dominant position in this market meant that, in 2020, Indonesia’s government decided to take advantage of the growing demand generated by the electric vehicle manufacturers and banned raw nickel exports. As a result, battery and EV manufacturers such as CATL and Tesla have formed partnerships with local companies (as evidenced by Tesla’s USD 5bn nickel purchasing contract) to develop domestic refining and processing facilities. This has led to a lasting job and wealth creation rather than just a simple revenue stream from exports.

The rise of commodity prices has been benefiting Indonesia’s trade balance and fiscal position. This in turn allowed the government to increase the 2023 infrastructure budget by 8% and set a c. 90bn USD investment target for next year. Other initiatives such as easing regulations to enable further job creation, increasing minimum wage by 7% and increased support for the national health insurance programme will help consumer confidence of the population that exceeds 270m (of which, Gen Z and the millennials make up over half).

Historically, Indonesia has been seen as more dependent on commodity cycles and at risk of currency depreciation. Post covid, the government has exhibited good fiscal policies. Indonesia’s economy is running steady and the G20 summit this month is an opportunity to showcase this stability to a global audience. Furthermore, the government has been able to manage the reduction of the fuel subsidy efficiently in response to higher global oil prices. Costs have been gradually passed on to consumers, hence sentiment and actual spending remain relatively strong. We have taken this as an opportunity to invest in consumer companies that have been on our watchlist for some time.

Bank Rakyat is Indonesia’s largest bank in terms of assets and is recognised as one of the world’s leading microfinance institutions. It has a rural network of some 10, 000 branches and five hundred thousand agents enables them to reach smaller towns across the archipelago and a 30m strong client base, many of whom prefer face to face rather than online interaction.

Telkom Indonesia is the largest telecommunication operator in Indonesia with 175m subscribers. The company has benefitted from consolidation in the sector as five operators have been reduced to three. We believe Indonesia is at the sweet spot of consumer data adoption via mobile phones and fixed telecom acceleration as users demand for content increases.

Sumber Alfaria is a leading player in the growing mini-market sector with its Alfamart brand attracting 6m customers to their stores every week. This number is likely to grow as Indonesians move from the traditional wet-market to the more modern mini-mart shopping experience. Sustainable GDP growth will support the disposable income growth and, in turn, will drive sales increases.

Kalbe Farma is a pharmaceutical company in a fragmented marketplace serving over two hundred thousand outlets nationally. Its offerings include nutrition products such as powdered milk, prescription pharma and consumer healthcare. The government has suggested that the support for the Indonesia National Health Insurance programme will increase, and Kalbe Farma would be a key beneficiary of this development.

With the 2024 election in mind Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president, will have consumer confidence and increased prosperity at the forefront of his efforts to cement his popularity for re-election for an unprecedented third term. Further measures to this effect are likely to benefit our domestic champions in the medium and long term.

How to Maximise Your Marketing Budget

SME owners could easily be excused for feeling envious of people running much larger firms. According to statistics shared by Website Magazine, while the average larger business pours about 9-12% of its revenue back into marketing, the average small business can end up spending just 2% on marketing.

However, while your SME might be at a financial disadvantage straight away, you can still utilise various clever tips and tricks for making the most of your marketing budget.

Make sure you have both data and goals 

If you fail to set specific corporate goals, your financial expenditure could turn out to be rather inefficient. However, before you do set goals, you should be careful to define your target audience lest you market in a manner that doesn’t reach or resonate with your prospects.

While it would bode well for your business to be data-driven or at least data-informed, no amount of data will be useful for you if you are unsure how to use it wisely.

Make social media a key part of your promotional drive 

The idea of engaging heavily in social media marketing is immediately attractive on the basis that social media can be used without requiring any upfront fee. You can also use social to post marketing content instantaneously, mine significant amounts of data, and generate leads. 

Indeed, in a 2017 survey of marketers, 92% said that they deemed social media important to their business. Meanwhile, 78% revealed that, by using social media, they had increased traffic for their business.

Collaborate with other brands complementary to your own 

The genius of this particular strategy is that it would enable you to offload at least some of the financial burden inevitably incurred with a marketing campaign for your business.

You also might not struggle to find willing would-be collaborators, as your brand isn’t just about your own company’s offerings — it’s also about the broader ecosystem surrounding them. This ecosystem will include products or services offered by companies other than your own.

Apply the Pareto Principle 

As explained in an Entrepreneur article, the above is “also known as the 80/20 rule”, and is where you would “identify the top 20% of your traffic sources that generate 80% of good results”. You would then focus your budget on those most lucrative sources.

As further explained in the article: “Especially for smaller budgets, it is often times more effective to allocate it on the 10% that is generating 90% of results.” 

Keep your brand seamless across various marketing channels 

You might already be accustomed to delivering an ‘omnichannel’ experience, where you interact with customers via multiple channels. These can include a website, social media accounts, and physical stores run by your company.

As revealed by McKinsey research findings shared in a LinkedIn article, omnichannel shoppers buy 70% more frequently and spend 34% more compared to people shopping in stores.

However, you should make sure that your marketing messages are consistent across all promotional channels used by your business — as, otherwise, your brand value could be needlessly hampered.

7 Ideas for SMEs to Weather Increasing Inflation

This year, UK consumer price inflation has reached 10.1% — its highest rate for over four decades, as the Startups website reports. Unsurprisingly, the increased inflation has taken its toll on SMEs — but, if you run one, you can still steer it towards a financially healthy course. 

Here are several steps you can take to help lessen the strain of inflation on your SME.

Increase prices, but be judicious about it 

Claire Tasker, founder of the Hertfordshire-based business Claire Tasker Jewellery, recently told the Startups website: “I really don’t want to have to raise my prices but, long term, my current prices just aren’t sustainable.” 

If you are in Claire’s position, you could think about raising prices only gradually, and ideally on your less popular products or services.

Switch to a subscription-based payment model 

With financial experts having warned that we can expect high inflation for the long haul, you could consider beginning to offer a range of subscription-based pricing plans.

That way, you can budget more confidently for the future, as you will have a better idea of how your corporate finances should shape up over the coming months.

Rent a serviced office 

The Startups website defines a serviced office as “a workspace which comes ready-furnished, with internet and phone lines preconnected and devices already equipped.” When you rent a serviced office, the office provider can handle the facilities management costs. 

SMEs don’t even have to compromise with the visual appeal of their workspaces; consider, for example, the case of the serviced offices in Belfast’s recently refurbished Custom House.

Audit your staff and their working hours 

Another good reason to consider renting a serviced office is that it could give you more flexibility in how you are able to scale your workplace up and down in response to staffing changes.

Alas, you might feel more inclined to drop employees than recruit them in the current economic climate. However, one alternative cost-saving strategy could be to simply rein in existing employees’ work hours.

Reassess your profit margins 

This advice comes from ecommerce entrepreneur Sam Barrante, who adds as quoted by American Express: “Start by reevaluating your costs and then analyse what margins you are facing in today’s economy.”

The next step would be to “start looking into solutions to increase those margins, while continuing to ensure quality products and services.” 

Stock up on supplies in advance 

Since you can’t be certain that inflation won’t be even worse a few weeks or months from now, it could prove financially convenient for you to source various core materials early, before they get a chance to increase even more in price.

Prepare for an influx of new customers 

“Inflationary periods are unnerving to many,” Stuart Robles, the co-author of The New World of Entrepreneurship: Insiders’ Guide to Buying and Selling Your Own Business in the Digital Age.

“As a result, customer segments and market niches previously unreachable can become attainable as your company is seen as a beacon of light in terms of potential lower prices and rates.”

Eight Steps for Long-Term Employee Wellbeing

In the wake of a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide, triggered by the pandemic and compounded by economic instability and digital overload, strategies and policies that protect employee mental health must now be the norm.

“Employers have a moral responsibility to their workforce to commit to supporting their health and wellbeing for the long-term,” says David McCormack, CEO of HIVE360.

“Indeed, 83% of employees say they believe their wellbeing at work is just as important as their salary.

“One in four people in the UK experience mental health problems at some point in their lives, and work is cited as the biggest cause of stress and anxiety. Together with the unprecedented levels of mental health issues in the workplace, this impacts employee engagement, productivity and business reputation,” he says.

“A recent Mental Health Foundation and London School of Economics and Political Science survey estimates that mental health problems now cost the UK economy around £118billion a year, and the cost in the workplace is estimated to be in excess of £2,000 per employee per year, with 59% of long-term absence caused by stress and mental illness.”

In a modern working environment, Employee Wellbeing Services are essential to maintain a business, with specific mental health support improving workplace culture and staff productivity: “This cannot be achieved overnight, and employee wellbeing support must be maintained to remain effective,” adds David.

HIVE360 shares its eight steps for a long-term approach to employee wellbeing:

1. Provide the right investment for mental health

There can be no ‘one size fits all’ answer to employee mental health. Long-term, companies need to make the right investment in a range of services to support staff, starting with training mental health first aiders and offering employee wellbeing programmes.

2. Support career wellbeing

A lack of purpose and direction at work can deteriorate employee wellbeing over time. Establish career wellbeing by providing Employee Training Solutions, outlining a clear job progression, and offering meaningful responsibilities.

3. Create a positive community

Cultivating a more Inclusive and Diverse Workspace will take time, but it’s an effective way of making the workplace a supportive environment for employees. 

4. Build openness

Work should be safe space for open and honest discussions about employee wellbeing. Supported by providing managers with mental health resources, offer employees self-assessments and questionnaires, and encourage co-workers to reach out if they need to talk.

5. Emphasize job security

The cost of living crisis is having a huge impact on the financial wellbeing, as well as anxiety and overall mental health, and so it is essential employees feel valued for their work and that their job is safe. Free tools and resources on budgeting and household finances planning can help ease employee worries, alongside staff recognition programmes, and clear career and promotion pathways.

6. Work-Life balance

One of the best methods for supporting long-term mental health is to listen to what your employees want from work. Support initiatives that improve their work-life balance, such as hybrid working practices, employee wellbeing days, or even newer options like a 4-Day work week, allow staff to take the time they need to look after their wellbeing.

7. Track results

Staff wellbeing and employee engagement work hand in hand. Measuring and tracking engagement can be great for supporting wellbeing services, by identifying what works and what employees want, to enable modifications and enhancements to how a business approaches employee support.

8. Employee benefits

Have an employee benefits package that offers relevant, new and exciting discounts and services. This should be in-tune with discounts and savings on everyday bills and expenses to help ease financial worries. This reminds staff that they are valued.

Enjoying a Luxurious Vacation: 7 Practical Tips to Follow

Spending a few days at a five-star resort may do wonders for the mind, body, and spirit after a long year of coping with the stresses of daily life. Your productivity and motivation will increase as you treat yourself like a king or queen. It’s preferable to enjoy oneself while spending extra cash than to lament one’s inaction. Many people automatically associate luxury with obscene amounts of money, but this is false. What makes a trip luxurious is that it caters to the traveller’s tastes. Having a nice trip is possible for everyone who takes the time to plan.

Set Up Your Stay

Finding a comfortable place to stay is essential to enjoying a vacation. The vacation accommodation you choose is of paramount importance. From private villas to five-star hotels, opulent lodgings come in various forms. Find the one that gives you the most pleasure. When choosing where to stay, keep the following in mind: It must be convenient to your desired destinations. For instance, Costa Rica is one of the best, with beautiful ocean scenery. The place of stay should be near enough to see the expansive ocean view. You wouldn’t want anything to spoil your trip, so ensure it’s safe and secure. When choosing villa rentals in Costa Rica consider the quality of their service, amenities, and rooms. They also provide a unique and remarkable adventure that will leave visitors feeling pampered and fabulous. Never forget to prioritise your needs and preferences and the location you intend to travel to.

Research

You should find out what kind of things to anticipate at the destination you are visiting before you even leave for your trip. Keep an eye on the forecast, the local weather forecast, and local cultural landmarks and rituals to make sure you’re ready for anything. It’s possible to get all the information you need about a destination before you arrive there by searching social media and chatting with locals there.

Making A Budget Plan

After settling on a destination and lodging arrangements, it is time to start thinking about how much money you will need for your upcoming holiday. Never let the pursuit of comfort excuse you from responsibility. It makes no difference how much you are willing to spend on your vacation lavishly. A budget is something that you need to make. Making sensible plans that take into account one’s financial situation requires the establishment of a budget. You should set a firm budget before you leave on your trip so that you can be aware of your spending. You may get more out of your budget if you think about it. Compose a detailed budget that includes everything from airfare to souvenirs. Be aware of all the costs associated with your trip, including some that may not be immediately obvious. Get your finances in order in case you incur any unforeseen bills. 

 Use A Professional Travel Agency

 It can be nerve-wracking to plan an entire holiday on your own. You’ll need to get in touch with various people to go around, eat, and find your way around your destination. Everything here is on par with the kind of work that no one wants to perform while on vacation. One way to deal with the stress of planning a trip is to hire a travel agent. Travel agents know all the tricks to make their clients’ trips unforgettable. They’ve worked with other tourists before, so they know the area and what to expect. Just explain what you hope to get out of your trip, and they’ll figure out how to make it happen.

Early Booking

When planning a vacation, one of the most significant ways to obtain exactly what you want is to book far in advance. Unfortunately, many travelers procrastinate until the last minute, which means they have fewer options and pay higher prices. The best way to ensure that your trip is as wonderful as you want is to plan, especially if you have a specific destination or vacation. One more perk of making reservations ahead of time is the potential to save money. You can save money on hotels and flights when you book in advance. To cut down on travel expenses, use these deals.

Construct A To-Do List

You could like to accomplish many things when on a luxury vacation. You should develop a list and begin crossing items off as you finish them. This will ensure you have a fantastic day and don’t neglect anything crucial. The following is a checklist for organizing a high-end vacation: Wherever you’d like to go that holds significant meaning for you or others. Happenings that are either uniquely local to the area you’re in or characteristic of the time of year you’ll be there. It would be best to plan places to eat and the food you’re anticipating. 

Create An Amenities List 

When on vacation, most people spend a lot of money on the basics: a comfortable hotel room, tasty meals, and plenty of alcoholic beverages. However, don’t forget the finer details that can elevate your vacation to a luxurious getaway. What follows are some suggestions for enhancing the quality of your trip without breaking the bank. An option is to go for a suite that offers more comfort than the standard room. A personal driver can be hired for your trip to add even more luxury. This will eliminate travel stress, allowing you to enjoy the ride in your vehicle. Alternatively, you might treat yourself to a spa day or a candlelit meal at a quaint restaurant. Make the most of your time away, whatever you do. A vacation is a beautiful way to relax and unwind from the pressures of everyday life.

Vacations are thrilling and enjoyable for those who like to see the world and learn about different cultures. Planning and researching what to expect and how to prepare for your trips will ensure that your vacation is as beneficial and fun as possible. Do not overstuff your bag; leave behind any trinkets or extras you won’t need. Keep a journal of your travels as you go, detailing your experiences so that you can look back on them with fondness afterward.

5 Benefits of Online Accelerated BSN Programs

Nurses play an integral role in the healthcare system, ensuring positive patient outcomes. Online accelerated BSN programs equip aspiring nurses with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to become registered nurses. Among other benefits, accelerated studies prepare students to join a nursing career in less than 20 months.

1. Apply Your Skills and Experience

It’s easy to think that you need a strong background in a STEM field to become a nurse. On the contrary, studies show that at least 65% of second-career nurses come from diverse backgrounds, including social sciences, business, and public administration.

Most second-career nurses decide to venture into a different field due to experiences, abilities, skills from previous jobs, and the personal drive to serve patients. Most people who switch careers have developed soft skills like communication, time management, and job prioritization. Regardless of your background, you can create a successful career in nursing.

2. Quick Entry into the Job Market

When you decide to become a nursing practitioner, you may want to enter the job market quickly. An online accelerated BSN program equips students with academic education and skills in less than 24 months. Ideally, students spend half the time they would take to complete a conventional nursing degree program. Once you complete the program, you’ll be ready to take the nursing board exam necessary to become a licensed nurse.

The accelerated program focuses on relevant nursing education since most students meet all the requirements during their first bachelor’s degree. Most online accelerated BSN programs require up to 60 credit hours and about 700 practical hours.

3. Convenient and Custom Learning Models

Unlike conventional learning models, where you have to attend lectures during specific times, an online curriculum allows students to plan their studies around their lifestyles. This means you can balance work or family commitments with your studies.

The coursework is deployed through virtual sessions, and you can complete your assignments or review tests when it’s most convenient for your schedule. While you still need to meet deadlines and fulfill coursework expectations, you get the liberty to study when you are most productive.

Most schools offering accelerated BSN programs use a learning management system with versatile learning content adaptable to various learning styles. This means you can review different curriculum sections to get a firm grasp of the concepts.

4. Continuous Support and Guidance

Students in online degree programs enjoy quick support from the faculty to ensure a seamless learning experience. You don’t need to schedule in-person appointments to connect with instructors and department heads. Most students find video conferencing, email, and online discussion forums more convenient when they have pressing issues.

Similarly, online learning can help you maintain close connections with students in your cohort. And since online discussion forums are always open, you’ll have someone to answer your questions regardless of your time zone. Most importantly, online platforms eliminate the anxiety associated with public speaking. This means students can reflect on the subject matter before asking or answering any question.

5. Fill the Growing Demand for Nurses

Nurses are vital to the healthcare Jobs and comprise the largest workforce in the healthcare industry. With a promising job outlook, anyone pursuing a nursing career can enjoy a good salary and job security.

Experts in the healthcare industry have expressed a severe shortage of nurses over the last decade. The industry leaders seek to increase the number of registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in nursing to fill the widening skills gap. Similarly, healthcare institutions’ administrators struggle to maintain adequate nurse-to-patient ratios to ensure positive healthcare outcomes.

According to the BLS, the number of career opportunities for registered nurses will be about 194,500 annually until 2030. As the demand soars, there is an immediate need for nurses with sufficient academic qualifications to provide evidence-based care and skills. Accelerated BSN programs can help bridge the skills gap quickly.

Endnote

Nurses are in high demand, and entering the career path can be rewarding due to the high growth rate. Regardless of your educational background, you can qualify for an online accelerated BSN program and enter the job market in less than two years.

Tips in Buying a Luxury Property in Singapore

Posted on 24th November 2022

Buying property in Singapore can be a wise move, as it can provide a secure future and lucrative returns. However, you should keep the following things in mind before jumping into a purchase:

Why do people buy properties?

There are several reasons why people buy properties. The most common is living in, which means you will own the property for yourself and your family. When you purchase property to live in, you benefit from being able to pay off your mortgage before it reaches its full term. This also means that when you sell the house later on, you can also profit from this.

Other people buy properties to rent them out so that they can make money from renting out their properties instead of having their cash tied up in the form of mortgages for many years before selling them off at some point later on down the road (if ever).

Buying properties in Singapore

Buying properties in Singapore is a complex process that involves many parties and agencies. The government controls the property market, imposing restrictions on foreign buyers, local buyers, investors, and developers.

If you’re planning to buy property in Singapore, you must understand how the nation’s housing market operates and how your involvement will fit into this system.

This article will examine the basic rules surrounding property investment in Singapore, so that you can better decide where to invest your money and how long it should take for your investment to pay off.

Who are the buyers of new launch condos?

There are many different types of buyers who purchase new-launch condos. Some of these buyers include:

• Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents (PRs)

• Foreigners with work permits

• Foreigners who are married to Singaporeans or PRs

Where is the best place to buy land in Singapore?

Choosing the right location is essential when buying land in Singapore. Consider the following criteria:

• Area of the land. It will be easier to resell your property near amenities like shops and restaurants. This will also be a factor if you want to live close to a beach or park. Furthermore, you must carefully assess all areas of the country before deciding where you want to buy land in Singapore. You can consult a real estate agent who can help with this process and advise on which locations meet your needs best.

• Proximity to amenities such as public transport systems, schools, hospitals, and other facilities like supermarkets are also essential for determining where you should look for property in Singapore – especially if several children in your family need access.

There is an upcoming luxury property in the West Coast of Singapore, Terra Hill. Terra Hill is a new development next to the serene park and along the beautiful neighbourhood of Pasir Panjang with highly convenient access to retail, f&b and schools. Book a Preview to Terra Hill Showflat for more information.

How much is a property likely to appreciate in Singapore?

You might wonder, “How much can I expect my property to appreciate in Singapore?”

Property prices have been increasing in Singapore over the last decade. They have raised more than the cost of living and wages. This means that buying a home is more valuable than ever before. If you purchased a house for $900,000 five years ago and continue to hold it today, its value may have appreciated significantly—perhaps by as much as $95,000 or more! Now imagine what will happen to your investment if you invest for just one more year.

Can you buy properties as an investment, and how does one get started?

As an investor, you should buy properties with good capital appreciation and growth potential.

However, there are several considerations before you decide to make such a huge investment.

The first thing is to decide if buying property in Singapore is suitable for you. If it is, then it’s essential to determine what kind of property would suit your needs. You’ll want something that has both good rental potential and can improve in value over time.

Conclusion

Investing in properties takes work, especially if you are new to them. However, it can be made easier with the proper knowledge, experience, and guidance from a trusted source.

5 Vital Considerations When Choosing Online Nursing Programs to Boost Your Career

Online nursing programs offer flexible schedules, making them an ideal choice when you want to study while still working. While online learning has its challenges, it provides a good opportunity for nurses working in challenging jobs. Since there are numerous online programs, choosing accredited institutions is vital to ensure optimum career prospects.

1. Consider Your Career Path

The nursing profession has various career paths with different opportunities. Medicine has different fields that depend on competent nurses to provide healthcare services. If you are in the initial stages of your career, you have more freedom when narrowing down available career options.

However, students in different fields of medicine should obtain specific skills to be competent in their positions. Ideally, you should choose the various career types and determine what suits your interests.

If you are in the advanced stages of your career, you should step back from your specialty and explore a different field in nursing. While this may feel like a backward step when you’re an established nurse, it can be a great way to fine-tune your career preferences and prospects. In a nutshell, don’t shy away from trying new things, and you might find lucrative opportunities along your career path.

2. Program Length and Time Commitment

It’s important to consider the program length when searching for the perfect nursing program. Time is essential, especially when you want to explore a different career path. It’s best to consider the time you are willing to devote to your studies and determine if you can find other options you can complete within a shorter period.

Online nursing programs are typically more flexible, and you don’t have to quit your job when joining the program. Moreover, you can choose different learning modes depending on your time constraints.

3. Budget

The costs and expenses of any nursing program are often important for most nursing students. The price varies depending on the school you plan to join and whether the mode of study is traditional or online based. Also, the availability and eligibility for scholarships and other financial aid can determine the total costs of your study.

Practicing nurse anaesthetists seeking to specialize in a different field can find the costs prohibitive since covering the expenses can be hefty, especially when you have to stop working to concentrate on your studies.

In some instances, it might be prudent to take your time and save sufficient funds before joining specific programs. While finding a fully-sponsored program may not be a smooth sail, it can be quite instrumental when you want to advance your career but don’t have enough money.

4. Accreditation and Student Success Rates

Online PhD nursing programs can only be valuable when the institution is accredited.

Typically, nursing programs are regulated by the ABHES and CCNE. The bodies require all programs to satisfy certain conditions to admit students and ensure competence.

Besides providing regular reports, the CCNE conducts physical evaluations of all program operations. In addition, every institution must provide continuous progress reports to the CCNE.

However, you can use online publications to study the rankings of different nursing schools when looking for a program to join. Choosing an accredited institution with recognized nursing programs can affect your future job prospects. Similarly, it determines your eligibility for other programs if you want to advance or diversify your nursing career.

5. Lifestyle Balance

While most nursing programs require significant commitment and hard work regardless of where you are in your career, it’s essential to maintain a balanced life. Ideally, nurses ought to avoid burnout so they can be at their best to help patients that need their services.

Nursing can be challenging and exhausting, especially when you have to support patients and take care of your life obligations. Every skilled nurse must develop the skill to address their needs even when the job is demanding. Similarly, studies shouldn’t occupy all your time, leaving you without enough time to recharge. The best nursing program should be congruent to your lifestyle, allowing you ample time to deal with different aspects of your life.

Endnote

Online nursing programs offer vast opportunities when you want to diversify or advance your career at your own pace. However, it’s important to do thorough research to ensure you are joining a program with high academic standards.

4 Types of Fur Coat to Buy this Holiday Season – the Ultimate Guide!

‘Tis the season, which can only mean one thing: shopping for Christmas gifts is about to get real!

But what are you getting *you*?

What are you pampering yourself with this holiday season, if not with a unique high-end fur jacket?

Nothing says timeless luxury like a fur coat and if you’re looking to buy one, now is the time to do it.

To help you in this endeavour, eFurs has created a list with the most sought-after coats to up your style game.

Are you ready to find out more about the different types of fur? We’re most certainly swooning over them already!

Mink fur coats – A top choice today

Soft, smooth, and shiny – almost wet-looking – mink is among the most popular fur types.

With a dense underfur that feels like silk to touch, it is considered a very high-quality fur, bound to make you stand out.

Darker colours, like black, brown and blue-grey are all-time-classics that never go out of style – an investment piece that deserves its spot in your closet.

Chinchilla fur coats – A must-have among fur enthusiasts

With a density of more than 20.000 hairs per square centimetre that makes it inhabitable to parasites, the chinchilla fur coat is among the most wanted types of fur coat today.

It doesn’t get better, or more luxe to be honest, than adorning ourselves in an oversized, lavish coat on a chilly day.

As a gift to a beloved friend, family-member, or simply to yourself, the chinchilla fur jacket will be a big hit – this year and for seasons to come.

Fox fur coats – The perfect fur vest does exist

Definitely take the outerwear route this holiday season but think outside the box: instead of your typical fur coat, invest in a cape, shawl, or vest to mix things up.

Fox fur shawls and vests can help you indulge while staying within budget. Isn’t that the whole purpose of gift-giving?

Exaggerated details, unexpected colours and different kinds of fur mixed together to add dimension, pair perfectly with both your casual and… not-so-casual wardrobe!

Cashmere coats with a twist – Luxury is in the (fur) details

Cashmere is a gifting staple – and for good reason; a material so elegant and luxe that not only does it warm up winter but our hearts as well.

Your office attire never looked better, trust us: a women’s cashmere coat with fur details on the collar, cuffs, or pockets will look great with your finest winter sweater.

Throw it over your everyday outfit and even your coffee runs will look straight out of a fashion magazine.

But enough with the different types of fur! What colour should your fur coat be?

Going for timeless elegance with a beige, black, or silver fur jacket or looking to add a showstopping pop of colour? The magenta coat is as fresh as they come!

No matter what you choose, eFurs can create the perfect fur coat for you, based entirely on your preferences and measurements.

With more than 50 years of experience in the market, this European furrier offers the know-how, consistency, and after-sales service you need.

Shopping online had never been easier!

‘Sharjah Outlook Forum’ Inaugural Edition Kicks Off February 1

  • Forum brings together representatives of government and semi-governmental bodies and international experts
  • People’s quality of life is at the core of all policies
  • Event to explore key global experiences in changing work week system
  • Forum’s output and recommendations will be provided to decision- and policy-makers

The Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB) and the Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD) have announced the launching of the region’s first-of-its-kind ‘Sharjah Outlook Forum’.  The annual event will analyse, deliberate and evaluate specific developmental milestones, experiences, initiatives introduced in the emirate as well as the best practices adopted by its entities.

Each year, a specific central initiative will be discussed by a host of representatives of local and federal government entities, in addition to experts from different developmental sectors with international experiences to meet the needs of the emirate’s residents and the community at large.

The inaugural edition will kick-off on February 1, 2023, under the theme, ‘4X3 Indicators and Prospects’, and will discuss Sharjah’s pioneering 4-day work week mandate with a 3-day weekend, the world’s first-of-its-kind system in terms of its scope and impact. The new work week system offers public sector employees, including education and healthcare institutions as well as all government entities, a three day weekend. The four-day work week system had only been previously adopted on an experimental or trial basis in specific sectors and was not approved and adopted officially.

The announcement was made during meeting held today (Wednesday) at the Department of Statistics and Community Development headquarters in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of DSCD; Sheikh Sultan bin Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Director, DSCD; HE Tariq Saeed Allay, SGMB Director General, HE Alya Al Suwaidi, SGMB Director, to address the impact of the new work week system on the quality of life of residents and the productivity of human resources, in addition to reinforcing the emirate’s appeal for living, working and investment.

HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the SCTDA, underscored that the forum translates the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, on the relationship between development and the human being who is described by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah as the essence, purpose and maker of development. At the same time, the forum exemplifies the emirate’s keenness to engage all community members in ensuring the success of its developmental project, HE added, pointing out that people’s quality of life, social stability, creative and innovative abilities, and self-development capability are evaluation and assessment  tools for all policies and experiences.

“The Sharjah Outlook Forum will provide significant data to public and private entities dedicated to tracing the emirate’s development journey, particularly in light of the world’s first of its kind inclusive adoption of the four work week, given that it had a direct impact on local communities, business community, productivity, and continuation of offering services to the public. Although this experience is promising, it is essential to discuss it subjectively, transparently, and scientifically, in order for us to develop and build on our experiences and progress forward,” said HE.

Annual evaluation and assessment platform

For his part, HE Tariq saeed Allay, Director General of SGMB, said: “The form will be an important annual evaluation and assessment platform that convenes a host of decision-makers and high-ranking officials in public and semi-government sectors to discuss and deliberate a specific experience through exploring its results and impact as well as its development and amendment mechanism. The forum will also enable us to compare our experiences with those of other societies to maintain Sharjah’s position as an incubator of society, families and individuals alike, along with being a champion of culture and inclusive development.”

“Countries that experimented with the four work week system trials in some sectors were looking for mechanisms that strike a balance between the quality of life on the one hand, and improving productivity, reducing costs and resource consumption, and stimulating creative economy on the other hand. Since each experience has positive and negative aspects, the forum will host a number of experts and representatives of key global experiences to share the means through which they successfully bridged the gap and shortcoming of their experiences, particularly in terms of the projected impact on some sectors,” HE added.

Increase in productivity and prosperity

On the forum’s projected output and results, the Director General of SGMB remarked that the milestone developments the world has been seeing over the past two decades, including AI, digitisation, transformation into modern work and life styles, are time-effective and can increase production without compromising people’s daily lives and needs. He added that the expected output of the Sharjah Outlook Forum will comprise how to harness technology in ensuring successful experiences and supporting communities’ quest for more prosperity. It will assess the experiences of Sharjah and other cities utilising scientific methods and data to enable policy-makers take evidence-based decisions.

Proper Preparation for Plastic Surgery is Key to Quicker Best Results: Surgeon Has Special Advice for Women

Initial plastic surgery results might take six months to see, and the final outcome is usually visible after a year. However, specific surgeon-recommended steps can facilitate the recovery process and expedite healing.

Last year plastic surgery procedures jumped by 54%, with liposuction, breast augmentation, and tummy tuck leading the way. The esthetic procedures help a lot of people to attain new levels of confidence in their appearance, however, to speed up the desired results, they should also make due preparations before the surgery and take it easy during the recovery period.

Why post-surgery recovery takes patience

“What people undergoing surgery need to remember is that healing takes time and might be a toll both on the body and the mind, especially on the second week post-op. With plastic surgery, expectations tend to run high, but the results take time—they are usually visible after six months, and the scars can heal for a year—so the image people see in the mirror after the procedure is not final and will change once the body recovers, the swelling reduces, and the tissues heal,” Dr. Andrius Pajeda, a plastic surgeon at Nordesthetics Clinic, one of the leading medical tourism clinics in Europe, said.

Since the recovery depends largely on a person, their health history, and the type of plastic surgery, it is generally very individual to each person. So to reduce stress during the recovery, people are advised to listen to their bodies and not plan any major events, like weddings, vacations, or long flights, immediately after the procedure.

At the same time, although there is no single method that would expedite post-surgery recovery, people can do several different things.

“First of all, they shouldn’t overdo with physical activity, but rather stimulate venous circulation by moving their feet often and going for a light walk. Lymphatic drainage massages reduce inflammation and swelling and are beneficial to the healing period, the same goes for a healthy diet,” the surgeon commented. “Respiratory exercises promote lung ventilation, and proper wound care speeds up healing.”

Dos and don’ts of preparing for plastic surgery

To get back on one’s feet faster, the plastic surgeon recommends implementing specific life changes well before the surgery. For instance, if applicable, contraceptive pills should be discontinued four weeks before surgery, and hormone replacement therapy—two weeks before the procedure to avoid any potential complications. Regarding other medications, the patient should discuss all details with their medical team in advance.

“Nicotine increases post-surgery risks because it affects blood vessels. The area around the surgical incision does not get good blood supply and might hinder the recovery process or trigger infection and tissue necrosis risks,” the surgeon maintained. “Therefore, smokers should quit smoking for up to six weeks leading to the procedure and three weeks post-surgery. For those who have been smoking for over ten years, we recommend stopping smoking as early as possible in preparation for the surgery.”

In terms of what patients should do to prepare for their plastic surgery, Dr. Pajeda advises them to lead a healthy lifestyle—minimize alcohol intake, eat a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and protein, and take their time to have quality rest.

“Other forms of pre-surgery preparation include health monitoring. If blood tests and ECG performed before the procedure indicate some health issues, the surgery would be postponed to avoid unnecessary health risks,” the surgeon added. “Also, transparency about current health and past health issues is essential—patients should advise their surgeons on their health history, especially if they have anemia, iron deficiency, or have had a weight loss surgery in the past.”

G-Star Raw and Master Milliner Stephen Jones Join Forces to Create Denim Headwear

Launching a unisex Haute Denim Capsule Collection – empowered by two ready-to-wear hat piece

Master milliner Stephen Jones combines his legendary craftsmanship with the denim expertise of G-Star RAW to collaborate on an innovative headwear collection. The capsule will feature 5 Haute Couture hat pieces and 2 ready-to-wear limited editions including a bucket hat and baseball cap.

Haute Couture meets crafted denim

The G-Star x Stephen Jones collection features five couture denim designs. Each exclusive piece shows the exquisite craftmanship from both collaborators, all created in a responsible Cradle to Cradle Gold Certified® denim fabric. Taking inspiration from Jones’ earlier couture creations, the hats become supersized in denim without overlooking any of the intricate, luxury details. In addition, two ready-to-wear hats complete the collection, taking inspiration from classic streetwear styles that boast global popularity; the bucket hat and baseball hat. Both limited edition, ready-to-wear pieces will be available from December 1st via g-star.com.

“Everybody around the world knows what denim is and what denim signifies. I took denim out of its comfort zone and made it what it wasn’t. G-Star gave me complete carte blanche,’’ says Stephen Jones.

Short documentary about Stephen Jones

Additionally, a short documentary has been filmed in Jones’ atelier in Covent Garden, London. The film will not only give a rare insight into his atelier, creative process and ground-breaking designs but also gives a glimpse of his rebellious past and status within the high fashion world. And it seems that the anarchist attitude of Jones’ pushes the limits of denim design once again, turning denim streetwear into Haute Couture. Whilst the audience receives an insight into the designer’s life, learning how he became the legendary milliner he is today.

The making of a milliner

Stephen Jones (Cheshire, 1957) burst on to the London fashion scene during its explosion of street style in the late seventies. By day, he was a student at the well-known fashion institute Saint Martins; after dark he was one of the uncompromising style-blazers of the era at the legendary Blitz nightclub – always crowned with a striking hat of his own idiosyncratic design.

Over the years, the designer’s creations have graced rock stars and royalty. His popularity has never wavered, with his hats remaining firmly at the forefront of fashion having been worn by multiple celebrities. From Rihanna to Mick Jagger and Lady Gaga to Diana, Princess of Wales.

Stephen’s sculptural way of approaching headwear design has been embraced by the fashion world, which can be seen in his unconventional work for iconic houses like Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood and Marc Jacobs. Utilizing his background in womenswear design, Stephen will always think of a hat within a whole outfit and starts each new design with a line drawing of a person’s back. The prestigious designer continues to take the creative industry by storm, and it seems the famous milliner is certainly not slowing down.

The G-Star RAW x Stephen Jones collaboration launched November 22nd, 2022. The two limited edition ready-to-wear hatpieces will be available from December 1st, 2022 at g-star.com.  The G-Star x Stephen Jones Double Bucket hat is priced at $240.00. The G-Star x Stephen Jones Winged Baseball cap is priced at $220.00.

Advantages of Monitoring Your Own Website

By Rasa Sosnovskytė, Head of SEO and Growth Marketing at Oxylabs

Any company website, in its entirety, belongs to a wide range of teams and owners. Everyone, from C-level executives to customer support, hold some stake in how the content is distributed, what is displayed, and what should take priority. Over time, more stakeholders continue to be added as a company expands its operations.

While these ownerships are a natural course of evolution for businesses, they present a unique headache to SEO teams. Maintaining order and best practices across a sprawling website gets harder over time as SEO experts hold claim over all parts of the website.

Inevitably, some changes will go unnoticed, be miscommunicated, or otherwise lost as everyone adds a piece they deem important. As a result, SEO teams are faced with a dilemma where they have to monitor the website without indulging in the micromanaging of others.

Changes keep compounding

Working with the idea that all teams will diligently report all the proposed changes to the SEO team is a bit naive. After all, not all changes may seem so important that they would warrant disturbing someone else’s work. Some changes may seem purely technical and, to a person without SEO knowledge, outside the scope of optimization.

So changes inevitably slip by accidentally and non-maliciously. Over time, minor changes or missed opportunities (such as a misformed meta title, an erroneous canonical URL, and many others) will start piling up, and the SEO health of the website will start buckling.

Sometimes even major changes might slip by, such as a change in the header or footer. Most teams will rarely attribute the same importance to these parts of the website as we do, so the changes will seem insignificant.

Enumerating all cases and events where changes might go unnoticed is nearly impossible. I think everyone can remember a time when something important had been changed without ever being brought up.

Neither can all the potential impact be outlined. Everything can happen – from minor drops in performance to an algorithmic penalty. So, there’s a good reason to keep everything in check to ensure that all changes follow SEO best practices.

Unfortunately, that puts SEO teams in a tricky situation. There’s no way to establish a role that monitors changes effectively. Even if such an approach were viable, that would essentially mean hiring a dedicated micromanager for other teams. We all know where that would lead to.

Establishing strong processes for information sharing is a viable option, but it doesn’t solve the issues mentioned above. Unless every team in the company has a great understanding of SEO, minor changes will still slip by. Information sharing processes, though, will likely prevent significant changes from going unnoticed.

Automation, I believe, is the answer to the issue. Most of us take huge strides to monitor the performance of our competitors, keep a watchful eye on their changes, and analyze any new content that crops up. So, why not do the same for ourselves?

Getting started with automation

There are various ways to implement self-monitoring tools that would notice any inadvertent or unsolicited changes. For the tech-savvy and daring, web scraping can be relatively easily applied to an owned website.

Web scraping usually runs into issues due to CAPTCHAs and IP bans as the process naturally sends thousands of requests. None of them, however, are as pressing if you own the website. Any running monitoring bot can have its IP address whitelisted to avoid bans and CAPTCHAs.

Additionally, scraping solutions break often due to unexpected layout shifts or major design revamps. Neither of these issues are as pressing when you’re running a scraper on your own website as they happen less unexpectedly.

So, building one is significantly easier than it regularly is and won’t even necessitate the usage of proxies, which usually runs up costs. Basic parsing solutions like BeautifulSoup can be included, although not necessary.

Monitoring website changes with a homemade scraper isn’t difficult either. All it takes is to collect the data and run a comparison against one stored previously. With a few loops, any difference, if it exists, can be outputted for review.

But taking such strides is not necessary, especially if budgets aren’t a concern. There are plenty of ready-made tools on the market that do just what I described above, except they also include numerous quality of life features.

Personally, I’ve used ContentKing ever since it launched a few years ago. Not for any particular commercial or marketing reasons done by the company behind it, but because of one feature I hold dearly – real-time alerts.

Additionally, with pre-built monitoring tools, you get various useful integrations into other software, which minimizes the time spent working through large backlogs of data. All of these features could be built into a homemade scraper, but it’s a lot easier with existing toolsets.

Conclusion

Each website change can potentially have both a positive and negative impact on a website’s performance. As many stakeholders who lay claim to the content and its distribution won’t be SEO experts, changes can be made without receiving a notice.

To avoid any long-term issues with such changes, monitoring tools should be implemented. They can help us counteract any potential performance hits while enabling the team to have a constantly fresh understanding of the state of the website.

In-House Legal Team: Should You Invest or Continue With Outside Help?

There is no hiding from the fact that companies, both large and small, need to invest in legal aid to help with the smooth running of their operations. And, with more than 90% of legal and tax professionals saying their work provides them with a significant sense of professional purpose, it would appear their contributions are meaningful and essential.

The list of legal help available to businesses is exhaustive, so it begs the question of whether it’s better to bite the bullet and hire an in-house legal team or to export help to a third party. Both approaches have their good and bad points, so it can be a difficult decision for business leaders to make.

From reviews and housekeeping to informed advice, due diligence and regulatory compliance, corporate lawyers must wear many hats. But which is better, in-house or third-party corporate lawyers and legal aid?

In-house lawyers: Why choose them?

Companies and organisations considering an in-house legal team will need to be aware that it will require a significant outlay to acquire one. However, with that increased investment comes improved efficiencies and wider benefits to the business.

Time savings and efficiency improvements

One of the key targets for companies around the world is to improve efficiency and save time on their processes and admin. While an in-house lawyer might not be able to improve any technical aspects of your business, they can certainly speed up any legal processes and market changes.

From understanding the intricacies of your intellectual property and how best to protect it, to delivering tailored advice to a demanding business, internal lawyers and solicitors. 

External lawyers won’t necessarily understand the business-specific requirements of your company, which can cause delays in decisions as they need to be brought up to speed. An internal legal professional will have no such delays and can help to anticipate, resolve and identify laws and regulations before they become an issue.

Reducing costs

Deciding to bring an in-house lawyer into your team does represent a significant initial outlay, with significant expenses in the first year including recruitment fees and employment costs. But with the costs of external lawyers regularly costing over £500 per hour, those costs quickly rack up.

An internal legal professional can provide their expertise on corporate, commercial and finance or regulatory matters swiftly and with a tailored focus on growing the business.

While an external lawyer can also do those things, they take longer to become familiar with the specific needs of the business, and at a significant hourly rate, costs can quickly escalate. For growing businesses, perhaps seeking acquisitions, and subsequent reorganisation efforts, outside legal help begins to make less cost sense. 

Greater accountability

Using your own legal team means you don’t have to give up control of your projects to a law firm that may not be as committed to your success as you are. Your projects will be completed to your company standards without the need for constant back-and-forth guidance, which can be time-consuming with outside assistance. For hands-on guidance, it’s best to trust an in-house team that already has a detailed understanding of the inner workings of your company.

What are the benefits of third-party legal assistance?

All leadership teams must seek legal advice from time to time, whether that is frequent or not. But it’s not always black and white whether you should opt for your own legal assistance or whether a third party is the safer approach. While often more expensive, there are clear reasons why businesses should choose outside legal help rather than in-house options.

Specialist knowledge and experience

While it’s great to have your own legal representative within the company, by nature they must have a more broad understanding of the law. Opting for a third-party lawyer means you can hire specialists in their field, often with many years of experience in their particular niche. Not only do they have the talent but they also have the contacts, network and resources to make a special project as watertight and legally compliant as possible.

It’s important to ask yourself whether you believe your existing team and framework have the capability to complete quality work in the areas required for any project. If you think the answer is a ‘no’ then it’s better to reach out to a specialist to ensure the right boxes are ticked throughout the process.

Gaining outside perspective

An in-house legal representative is a great choice because they are familiar with your processes and needs but that does mean they are at risk of losing some perspective. Particularly during busy times and intense projects, it can be hard for them to see the wood for the trees.

This is where an outside legal representative can come to the fore. They will provide an unbiased opinion and perspective, helping to deliver outside-of-the-box thinking which can help find solutions to problems in a much faster timeline.

Internal or outside legal help – which is better?

Ultimately, there is no one approach that is overall better than the other. Internal legal teams are great for more efficient processes and accountability while third-party lawyers can offer a depth of knowledge your company lacks. With commercial law and intellectual property law ranking highly in the most sought-after law fields, it’s clear that this area of the legal process is an essential one.

To ensure your business remains competitive, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons in each scenario your business finds itself in, remaining flexible to ensure you choose the right solution for your budget and time constraints.

8 Admirable Organisational Traits That Promote Retention & Engagement

Companies that operate on multiple continents with hundreds of employees didn’t get there without having effective organizational structures. From janitors to engineers, employees have the right to have their emotional and financial needs met.

Employees’ well-being will significantly increase their overall productivity and help them build better relationships with their managers and higher-ups. A significant number of employers, to be precise, 84% of them in 2019, have observed that wellness plans led to an increase in the performance of their employees.

Besides the obvious, there is a variety of methods and traits that will bring positive changes to your workplace. Committed employees will allow your company to have a high performance, and an increase in talent retention is of great importance in the long run.

The majority of the traits mentioned on the list are zero cost. However, they will require collective effort and time to be implemented.

1. Reverse mentoring

There are many benefits of reverse mentoring, and they can all have a positive impact on the engagement of employees. For those wondering, reverse mentoring is just what it sounds like. It is a process in which a junior employee mentors a senior employee.

The main reason behind this is that senior employees aren’t usually up-to-date with the latest technologies and methods, even though they might have considerable knowledge of their job. Reverse mentoring builds a relationship between employees, and sometimes even managers or CEOs can be mentored by junior employees.

With the emergence of the internet and social media, reverse mentoring was extremely important in fields such as marketing and software development. This process empowers junior employees by giving them a confidence boost in their skills while at the same time helping older employees to improve their skills and perform better. 

2. Useful employee records management

Employee records management is a process of maintaining and expanding the data about employees. With modern employee records management software, HR professionals can keep records on employees in an accurate and easy-to-access manner.

Such software allows HR experts to have an overview of employees. Both personal info, such as name, address, marital status, and information on work performance, can be tracked using records management software. 

This tidy system will allow companies to get to know their employees better and improve the processes within the company. It might seem more convenient and affordable to store employee data in Excel or Google Sheets, but the serious downside is that the employee data isn’t secure in that format.

Data stored in employee management software is usually encrypted, requiring the user to authenticate before using it. This is valid for both cloud-based and offline solutions.

3. Established culture and values

Organizational culture is a culture that a certain company possesses that usually isn’t defined in any guide or rule book, but it is present. Culture is a summary of how employees communicate with each other, fix problems, the type of workplace relationship, and their ability to identify with the purpose of the company.

Many studies show that workers who believe their company has a worthy mission or a purpose are more motivated to work and perform better. Company culture helps employees feel as if their work is contributing to society in a positive manner.

Companies that show that they care about ongoing problems in society, such as racial or sexual discrimination also provide their workers with a greater sense of motivation than companies that ignore such topics.

4. Straightforward onboarding process

Onboarding is the first direct situation in which an employee can get to know a company’s internal processes. A relationship between a company and a new employee can start in two different ways:

By company reaching out to a potential employee

By creating a job post to which people can apply

In both of these situations, the company should show professionalism and create a positive experience for the applicant. After the initial application, interview, and screening, a new employee needs to be welcomed to the company.

During the onboarding process, the job of a manager or an HR is to introduce the employee to the business processes of a company, the culture of a workplace, and his responsibilities. Other people that might get involved in the process are senior employees that can train the fresh employee.

5. Empowering employees

Starting from kindergarten up to large companies with millions in revenue, each individual wants to be appreciated and recognized for their efforts. Empowering your employees by trusting their decisions, giving them autonomy, and encouraging them when they have unique solutions to problems is a path to long-term success.

Employees can feel unnecessary pressure if you implement strict schedules or time-tracking platforms to “make them” do their tasks. These methods might be effective to some degree, but people feel much better when they can choose at what time of the day they want to work.

A certain individual can do a certain task in one hour, while another one can do it in three. Rather than encouraging people to do the job at their own pace, you will encourage those that do the job faster to slack off, and pressure those that can’t manage the workload.

6. Considering the well-being of employees

People need to care for each other, and companies should do their best to help workers improve their well-being and minimize their stress. Unfortunately, work is the number one cause of stress in the UK, and the situation isn’t much different in other countries.

Companies need to recognize their workers as individuals with lives outside of the workplace that struggle with their own problems when they leave the office. Financial struggles and social problems are common stressors outside of work, and companies need to be aware of that.

Actionable steps toward promoting the well-being of employees are:

Having a mental health fund for every employee

Larger breaks

Lowering the workload

Giving your employees too much work might make them have a higher output, but only for a short period of time. Overworking will quickly lead to burnout, and their productivity will decrease in the long run. With work, less is often more, and people that have a manageable amount of work will constantly deliver results without exposing themselves to burnout.

7. Monthly surveys

You can’t improve and maintain a good environment at your workplace if you don’t receive any feedback. That’s why surveys of various kinds can help you get an insight into the satisfaction of your employees.

These surveys can be done anonymously or personally, and they can be done through software or on paper. No matter which one you prefer, you need to allow your employees to leave honest opinions on different aspects of the company.

If their feedback is positive, you can continue to improve the current state, or if the feedback is negative, you should segment and fix the problems. In the long run, these surveys will allow you to track and implement gradual improvements for your company.

In the context of well-being at work, employees can present their emotional or psychical state and how their workload reflects on that. This will allow you to create better mental wellness programs and promote the well-being of your employees.

Your employees will endorse good organisational traits

A good job doesn’t end with an attractive salary. Employees are individuals that have a variety of needs and worries that need to be taken care of. Every company needs to develop a culture that will retain employees and help them improve their careers.

Even with a high salary and a nice office, workers might experience burnout or negative feelings caused by a lack of purpose at work. The traits mentioned in the article are something that every enterprise needs to consider implementing.

While changing the production or product development process might lead to additional expenses and extra time required, traits on this list won’t require significant investments.

How to Select the Best Coffee Table for You

When selecting the perfect coffee table for your home, remember a few things. Size, style, and material are all critical factors to consider when making your choice. Here are a few tips on selecting the best coffee table for you and your space.

What is a coffee table, and what are its uses in a home?

A coffee table is a piece of furniture typically found in the living or family room. It is designed to hold small items, such as books and magazines, and can also be used as a place to set drinks or snacks while relaxing on the couch.

The different types of coffee tables available on the market

Many different types of unique coffee tables are available, including traditional wooden tables, unique and modern designs, and multi-purpose options that can be used as both a table and storage space. Some of the most common types include:

Traditional wooden coffee tables: These classic pieces feature a simple, sturdy design that is perfect for homes with a more traditional décor style. They typically come in various styles, including Mission and Shaker designs, which offer flexibility when styling your living room.

Modern coffee tables: Sleek and sophisticated, modern coffee tables are ideal for contemporary spaces. Made from materials like glass or metal, these unique pieces add a touch of elegance to any home.

Multi-purpose coffee tables: If you are looking for a unique coffee table that can also function as extra storage space, many multi-purpose options are available. These pieces typically feature shelves, drawers, or both to help keep your living room organised and clutter-free.

How to choose the right coffee table for your home

When choosing the right coffee table for your home, there are a few key factors to consider. These include size, style, and material. To select the best option for your space, start by considering how much room you have in your living room and what kind of look you are trying to achieve.

One important consideration is size. When choosing a coffee table, be sure to consider the amount of space available in your living room and whether or not the piece will fit comfortably within that space. It’s also essential to choose a design that complements the overall style of your home décor. For example, a classic wooden coffee table might be a better choice than a sleek, modern design if you have more traditional furnishings in your living room.

Another critical consideration is material. Depending on your budget and personal preferences, you may choose a coffee table made from wood, metal, glass, or some other material. Remember that different materials can have unique benefits, such as durability and ease of cleaning.

Ultimately, the best way to select the right coffee table for your home is to consider all your options and carefully weigh the pros and cons of each one. By doing so, you can be sure that you are making a decision that will enhance the look and functionality of your living space for years to come.

The benefits of having a coffee table in your living or family room

One of the main benefits of having a coffee table in your living or family room is that it provides a convenient space for you and your family to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Whether you enjoy a cup of coffee, reading a book, or watching TV, this furniture can help improve your overall quality of life by making these activities more enjoyable. Additionally, many modern coffee tables feature unique designs that can add visual interest to your space, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to create a stylish and functional living area. With all of these benefits, it is clear why so many people choose to include a coffee table in their homes.

How to decorate and accessorise your coffee table for maximum impact

One of the best ways to decorate and accessorize your coffee table is by using various objects, such as candles, decorative vases, small plants or flowers, trays for drinks and snacks, and other unique items. You can also use a more minimalist approach and leave your coffee table bare, allowing it to serve as the blank canvas on which you build the rest of your living room décor. No matter how you decide to style your coffee table, be sure to keep these tips in mind to help create a unique and beautiful space.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a unique and functional piece of furniture for your living room or family room, a coffee table is perfect. With so many different styles and materials, there is no shortage of options for selecting the best coffee table for your home. So consider your space and personal preferences carefully. Use these tips to find the perfect option to enhance your living area and help you create a comfortable space where you can relax and spend time with family and friends.

What You Should Know About Ethereum Before Purchasing It

Cryptocurrency has seen a huge increase in popularity over the past few years, something that has been heavily influenced by the pandemic. During the pandemic, people had a lot more time on their hands and could also not spend their money on things like shopping or eating. This led to a lot of people investing in cryptocurrency, as they could spend their money wisely. One type of cryptocurrency that has seen a rise in popularity is Ethereum, which is what we are going to discuss in this article.

Cryptocurrency is considered a high-risk investment, which is why it is important to know what you are getting into before you invest. So, if you are considering investing in Ethereum, then this article is for you. Keep on reading to find out more.

Understand The Basics Of Cryptocurrency

Before you invest in Ethereum, you must first have a clear understanding of the basics of cryptocurrency. If you are new to the world of investing and cryptocurrency, then it would be a good idea to do some reason into how cryptocurrency works, so that you know how to invest your money wisely. As mentioned in the introduction, investing in cryptocurrency can be risky, but if you understand the basics and recognise when it is the right time to invest, you should end up with a successful investment.

Manage Your Expectations

Another thing to be aware of before you purchase Ethereum is managing your expectations. The crypto market can be volatile, so you need to have reasonable expectations of what money you will make. Although keeping an eye on the markets will be helpful, starting off your investment with a sensible expectation will help you make smarter investment choices. Before you invest, you should do some research into how to securely sell Ethereum as this will give you a good guideline of what to expect if you do choose to sell in the future.

Keep An Eye On The Market

When investing in any sort of cryptocurrency, it is important to keep an eye on the market. The financial market can be volatile, and cryptocurrency is no exception. Keeping your eye on the market will be useful throughout your investment as it means you can recognise when prices are changing, and you can make any adjustments to your investments as you see fit. It would perhaps be a good idea to download an app that helps you manage your investment, as the app will be able to tell you when prices are changing. Additionally, keeping up to date with financial news will be helpful, as you can get daily updates on what is happening to your investment.

Be Wary Of Scams

Although cryptocurrency is secure, there is still the potential to be scammed when buying Ethereum. It could be that one site is offering a particularly good deal and that draws you in or they are promising you a high return on your investment. The best way to avoid a scam is to research the website well and check that they are a legitimate seller of Ethereum. It could also be beneficial to read some reviews and see if people have had a positive experience dealing with the site.

What The Leap In Personal Injury Claims Mean For Small Businesses

It’s no secret that personal injury claims have increased and are becoming a nightmare for small business owners—not just because they’re expensive.

While it’s true that most small businesses don’t have the resources to fight these kinds of claims, understanding them is important, and business owners need to know how these claims affect a business. After all, information is the first step to making informed decisions.

Are you a small business owner who wants to know how much of an impact personal injury claims have on your bottom line? If yes, this post will look at how personal injury claims affect small businesses and what you can do to avoid them in the future.

1. They can create a negative business perception among customers

First, increased personal injury claims are bad news for your business and customers. Here is why

When your customers hear that employees are filing and winning personal injury claims against your business and you’re paying to settle these cases, it can create a negative perception of your business that might make these customers unlikely to shop with you again.

Because business success often boils down to how customers perceive your business, it is important to ensure that you’re properly managing your risks before something happens.

Here are some tips you can use to reduce the odds of workplace accidents—and the resultant claims:

Train your employees—always have safety training sessions scheduled to ensure employees know what to do to stay safe in the workplace. Safety training should be among your topmost investment priorities as a business owner.

Ensure all equipment is well maintained—you wouldn’t take your car out in bad weather just because it looked good, would you? Likewise, ensure that employees work with well-maintained machines, especially those with moving parts.

Keep employees informed about emergencies—ensure they know where the nearest fire extinguisher is and how to use it.

Ensure everyone has access to first aid kits at all times—they’re not expensive!

2. Increased legal spending

As a small business owner, you know that most things you do within your business cost money. When your business has to fight many personal claims, you will spend more on defending your business, which can be very costly, especially when you don’t have an in-house attorney.

Fortunately, you can reduce such instances by being careful about how you manage your employees. Ideally, you want to adopt a managerial style that makes employees happy and satisfied with their work because it can quickly become an expensive problem if you get it wrong.

However, because workplace accidents never announce themselves, you can protect your business against such claims by hiring an on-call personal injury lawyer for your small business if you have any concerns about employee safety or health. A personal injury lawyer will know how to handle all legal issues related to accidents, property damage, and any injuries that may occur on or near your premises.

Additionally, an on-payroll general counsel will also represent your small business in court and offer advice on any legal issues arising from these accidents—such as whether or not it’s worth pursuing an insurance claim or if there are other ways to seek compensation.

3. Increased general liability insurance premiums

A commercial general liability insurance policy is one of the first things you should get when starting your small business. It covers you in case someone gets hurt on your property, including slip-and-falls and car accidents, or gets injured by something you sell. Your general liability insurance policy also protects against lawsuits that result from claims made against your business.

Unfortunately, when many employees file personal injury claims against a business, the insurer can decide to increase the insurance premiums, which can have far-reaching effects on a business and its profitability.

Conclusion

As a small business owner, the last thing you want to worry about is being liable for someone else’s medical bills. Fortunately, as highlighted in this post, you can take action to safeguard your business against the rising cases of personal injury claims.

Wealth & Finance International Reveals the 2022 Winners of the Venture Capital Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – Wealth & Finance International is delighted to announce the winners of the Venture Capital Awards.

The launch of the Venture Capital Awards is here and we are incredibly excited to present this award supplement to our readers.

With all of the developments in the venture capital industry as of late, we are here to celebrate and commemorate a selection of experts that are altering the current investment markets for the future. Recognising them for all of their hard work has been a great pleasure, as their aptitude and capability propels us forward into a more financially secure period.

Adapting to current trends is the very crux of these companies and they are setting bar high for those to follow. The venture capital industry is progressing yet again and it is with great satisfaction that we introduce there dedicated firms enhancing the private equity financing sphere.

This programme considers and honours firms of all proportions and areas of skill – and it does so to offer our readers the chance to feel motivated, inspired, and safe. We hope you enjoy perusing this supplement, and we sincerely wish all of our winners the best for the future.

Our Awards Coordinator, Kaven Cooper, is proud to host this fine selection of winners, saying, “I am thankful to all of our participants and pleased to be able to shine a light upon their success. They are improving the industry for all and we are happy to share their stories with our readers.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated enterprises that have been selected for them, please visit https://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/awards/venture-capital-awards/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a quarterly publication dedicated to delivering high quality informative and up-to-the-minute global business content. It is published by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting.

Developed by a highly skilled team of writers, editors, business insiders and regional industry experts, Wealth & Finance International reports from every corner of the globe to give readers the inside track on the need-to-know news and issues affecting banking, finance, regulation, risk and wealth management in their region.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Best Accessibility Inclusive Design Company 2022


Based in St Austell, Cornwall, Enable Accessibility CIC helps people with disabilities to enjoy greater freedom and access. We speak to the firm’s Founder, Jamie Hanlon, as it is rewarded with such a respected award.

Established by Jamie Hanlon, Enable Accessibility CIC hires accessibility equipment and offers consultation and design services through its experienced and qualified experts.

“Through design, I want to make a difference,” Jamie explains. “To fit around your life and what you need. Good design is a powerful way to improve the quality of life in your home and business.”

Jamie is highly qualified and experienced in his work as an interior design specialist and inclusivity and access design consultant. He has more than 15 years of residential property experience, six years of commercial property experience, and over six years’ of experience as an access audit consultant.

Having lived with hearing impairment for more than 30 years and having been involved with a wide range of charities supporting people with disabilities and different needs, Jamie can readily understand the needs of a wide range of people and create designs to cater for their requirements.

“My passion is focused on helping to create a space that is unique to your needs, aesthetically pleasing but also functional, whilst ensuring equal access for all,” he enthuses. “I excel at looking at commercial buildings, office spaces, holiday accommodation, hotels, open spaces, and homes, always thinking about how I can make them more inclusive to fit the needs of someone with accessibility issues whilst enhancing the aesthetic appeal and functionality.”

Enable Accessibility is committed to providing a unique blend of disability awareness, legal knowledge, and specialist interior design ‘know-how’, working with large and small businesses, the public sector, local government, charities and voluntary organisations, and private homeowners too.

The term ‘inclusive design’ is defined by the British Standards Institute (BSI, BS8300) as “the design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible – without the need for special adaption or specialised design.” It furthers on this definition by saying that it is not simply a stage that can be added in the design process, and it is not solely about designing products for a specific capability loss.

“Accessibility isn’t easy to define, as it depends on each person’s specific needs,” Jamie elaborates. “Society is made up of individuals, and inclusive design can bring forth interesting perspectives – ultimately changing our horizons and the landscape around us.”

In order to fit a home or work building around a person’s requirements, Enable Accessibility will first conduct an audit to cover all elements and very much following the ‘journey’ of the individual with a disability. This addresses things such as approach to a building and car parking, entrances, receptions, and corridors. This can also deliver for lifts and stairs, internal doors, toilets, signage, communication, and escape routes or fire exits.

As part of the audit service, Jamie and the Enable Accessibility team will help building owners to understand the term ‘reasonable adjustment’ and will provide them with practical assistance and practical recommendations for improvement based on current regulations and advice.

Once this is completed and the findings discussed, a design consultant will be able to assist in ensuring that the project delivers its contractual obligations.

“I want you to look around a building and consider, for a brief moment, what steps have been taken during its design and build to allow the structure to be accessible and usable by ‘as many people as possible,’” Jamie states. “Can you also honestly say that if a friend or colleague had a life-changing incident, would they still be able to visit you?”

In the UK, it is thought that some seven million people of working age have a disability, which all adds up to an awful lot of spending power. This is known as the “purple pound” and is reckoned to be worth around £274bn to the economy. If you make your business more inclusive, you will make more money. It really is that simple.

Recently, Enable Accessibility was recognised in the Southern Enterprise Awards 2022 and rewarded for its hard work with the title of Best Accessibility Inclusive Design Company 2022. This prestigious accolade is a testament to the dedication and commitment of Jamie and the whole team as they work towards a more inclusive society.

For business enquiries, contact Jamie Hanlon from Enable Accessibility CIC via email – [email protected] or on their website – http://accessibilitycornwall.uk

The Advantages to Trading using MetaTrader 4

What is MetaTrader 4?

MT4 is a trading platform that brings a host of unique tools and functions to trading indexes, stocks, CFDs, commodities and Forex. As it can be tailored to suit a range of needs, even brokers can use it instead of their own proprietary platforms to remain competitive and on top of the latest trends. All a trader will need to do is download MT4, either directly from the website or from their broker’s, and start making the most of what’s on offer.

The advantages of using MT4

1. Real-time access to market prices

One of the top features of MT4 is the ability to access the most up-to-date trading information with real-time currency quotes and estimates with the Depth of Market feature. This depicts aspects of market activity, such as the buy orders for numerous currency pairs. Traders can use other vital data portrayed in the ‘Watch Window’, such as margin ratio, contract size, margin currency, spread and more.

2. A user-friendly interface 

This platform was designed with usability in mind, so that traders of all skill levels will be able to get involved with little fuss. Supporting a host of strategies, two ways to carry out trades, automatic triggers, charts, trailing stop orders, access to personal trading history, unlimited technical tools, demo-trading capabilities, educational resources and simple-to-use controls; it’s flexible and straightforward to use.

3. Automated trading options

Traders have the ability to set automated trading algorithms to minimise emotional bias and time spent trading when other things can be taken care of.

4. Stability and accessibility

There is little to no downtime with MetaTrader 4, so you’re not likely to miss worthwhile trades due to freezing or similar functionality issues. As a result, trade executions are fast and have little chance of slippage. Traders can use the platform on a multitude of devices, so you can trade whenever and however you want on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

The mobile app features:

  • Interactive graphing, sorting and analytical functions
  • Push alerts
  • Real-time communication

5. Expert advisors 

When you want to execute trades automatically, diversify your portfolio and more, there are a host of Expert Advisors to choose from. This gets even better when you learn that each will be uniquely designed to meet your trading needs and that you can even create your own and run it with little difficulty.

6. Security

As security is a major concern where your financial assets are concerned, you’ll be pleased to know that MT4 is not only reliable, but secure. All information is encrypted (including IP addresses), RSA digital signatures are supported and as the platform is global, it complies with a host of location-based.

The cons

As this is such a widely-used platform, there are of course some downsides that need to be considered before downloading and using MT4. Some users report difficulty when tailoring the platform to their needs, as some programming knowledge is required. Some also find that the platform is better suited to businesses and brokerages than the individual trader and this can prompt them to use the proprietary software provided by their own trading platform instead. Recent updates seem to have caused some discourse in the community also, and the structures of Fibonacci charts and trend lines have become a little less accessible.  

The final downside is that customer service seems to be lacking and can be considered the most frustrating issue of the platform.

Risk management

As trading can be volatile, it’s essential carry out research into the latest market data news for industries you’re looking to trade in. Make use of demos accounts as well as stop losses to protect yourself from losses.

Overall thoughts on MetaTrader 4

With all of the above in mind, this platform does have some worthwhile advantages alongside notable disadvantages, but it is still one of the most widely used trading platforms out there. It’s important to do your research and consider your trading needs before downloading it, so click here to find out more about MetaTrader 4 to ensure you’ll get the best from your trading efforts.

Disclaimer:
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. The vast majority of retail client accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Marketing for CFDs and spread betting is not intended for US citizens as prohibited under US regulation.

Occupational Health Practice of the Year 2022 – South West 

Platinum Occupational Health Ltd is a confidential and independent service led by Consultant Occupational Health Physician and Medical Director, Dr Martin Ezan and Operations Director, Robyn James.

Platinum Occupational Health Ltd has been supporting businesses and their employees since 2018. Based in Bristol, the company provides a full range of services to help its clients keep their employees healthy, safe and in work.

The company’s leading focus is to offer impartial advice to companies and their employees on the impact of health on work and work on health.

Platinum Occupational Health Ltd aims to assist employers to put measures in place to manage ill health effectively, whilst involving employees and promoting good health and wellbeing for enhanced productivity.

Their occupational health service exists to improve the health of their clients work force, help prevent work related illnesses, provide early interventions for those who develop a health condition thus, preventing avoidable sickness absence and increase the efficiency and productivity of their clients’ organisations.

Their values for success are based on the principles of accountability, fairness and integrity, whilst using client’s feedback to optimise the efficiency in every step of their Occupational Health journey. In short, Platinum Occupational Health Ltd provides their clients with an efficient high value service at a reasonable price point.

Platinum Occupational Health Ltd is a relatively unique entity within the Occupational Health Industry, being an Associate Occupational Health Physician and Consultant based business. They do not employ Nurses or Technicians, like many of their competitors. They are completely committed to their business model and the opportunities of being exposed to individual complex cases within many organisations including, Corporate, Fire Service, Local Government, NHS, Police Service and Tertiary Education.           

The Occupational Health Industry in general is experiencing an increase in demand. It has certainly been their experience throughout COVID-19. Having the opportunity to support their clients through these uncertain times, has been challenging. Nonetheless, they are grateful for the experience and loyalty they have obtained and received individually, and as a Team.

Platinum Occupational Health Ltd is based on the M4 / M5 corridor, which is accessible for commuter’s and has plenty of green space to explore. The Team enjoys the networking occasions their location in the South West has produced.

Platinum Occupational Health Ltd are a close Team, having known and worked with each other for many years, their sound professional foundation has allowed them to create an Occupational Health Company, where they not only have the clinical and business skills required to run an organisation in this sector, but the ability to provide exceptional customer service for every client.

Recently, Platinum Occupational Health Ltd has increased their Team with an additional Associate Occupational Health Physician, a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) And a Quality Specialist. They all bring immeasurable amounts of knowledge gained within the Occupational Health Industry and beyond.

Platinum Occupational Health Ltd achieved their certifications for ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 in June 2022 and have maintained their Cyber Essentials certification for the second year running. Alongside this, they are working towards their Safe Effective Quality Occupational Health Service (SEQOHS) accreditation.

The remainder of 2022 will be concentrated on continued improvement, as they have been doing since 2018. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is important to them on an individual and Team basis. They are continually applying, improving and learning.

The Team is looking forward to celebrating Platinum Occupational Health Ltd’s Fifth Birthday on the 2nd January 2023.

For business enquiries contact Platinum Occupational Health Ltd via email – [email protected] or on their website – www.platinumoccupationalhealth.co.uk

Best Unique Property Agency – Bedfordshire

Established in 2017, Homes2Homes is a highly reputable estate agent providing competitive sales, lettings, and property management services to match every need of its clients. With a ‘treat every home as if it’s your own’ approach, it prides itself on delivering unparalleled levels of service, professionalism, and transparency to ensure a smooth, attentive, and seamless lettings and management process for landlords and tenants alike.

Located in Toddington, Bedfordshire, Homes2Homes’ aim is to be the best at what it does in order to make sure that not only its clients are happy, but also everyone working at the business. With a proven track record, many referrals, and renewal tenancies, it quickly became the preferred property agent in its village, while also serving the rest of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and London, along with multiple boroughs throughout the east of England.

Director of Homes2Homes, Mumin Muqtadir tells us about the benefit of the business’ location in the south of England: “The main benefit of being based in the south is that there are a lot of new developments around. This has led to us managing a full block of flats. Also, people are selling their current homes to buy new ones, which means more management contracts are coming through.”

Homes2Homes’ popularity is shown through a long list of five-star reviews from clients, tenants, vendors, and buyers, with the agent understanding the importance of reviews and how they have helped it to gain more and more customers. People value a business with top reviews, and Homes2Homes’ reviews show just how above and beyond it is willing to go in order to get the job done – whatever the job may be.

One delighted client comments, “Homes2Homes are brilliant. They have been managing my six properties now for over three and a half years. I cannot fault them; they are outstanding. I recommend them to everyone. They were very fast in getting my properties let to. I have attended my properties recently and they have been kept in excellent condition.”

Another client shares, “Homes2Homes are an exceptionally outstanding estate agent. In all honesty, with them being a small agency, I didn’t think they would be able to sell my property, but they did and they did fast. I recommend them highly now to all my friends and family. Always speak to Mumin or Naomi – They get the job done.”

A third client says, “I purchased a property from Homes2Homes. From the initial viewing and up to the completion day, I had regular updates via email and telephone. In my opinion, good old-fashioned values and courtesy. Homes2Homes certainly out-performed one of the national estate agents who sold my original property.”

Contributing to such outstanding service from Homes2Homes is the culture of teamwork that is upheld within the team. Each and every employee makes an important contribution to the agent’s offering, always working together to ensure clients get the best results and that they are satisfied with their experience. The team works hard to make sure that both tenants and landlords realise the maximum value and benefit, supported by the company’s extensive database of desirable applicants.

All of Homes2Homes’ staff are trained and given the same opportunities to develop and grow within the business. Mumin says, “It’s essential for me to ensure that everyone is treated with the same respect and fairness, as this essentially then feeds into working together as a team. I ensure that staff understand what we can do for customers, so they feel confident when picking up queries and being able to sell our services.”

When it comes to adding new staff to his team Mumin says, “It’s important for me to look for someone who is passionate with their work, has a growth mindset, and is an honest and hardworking individual.”

Now, Mumin and his team’s plans for the remainder of 2022 are to open two franchise offices in order to expand the business in the future through franchising. Mumin will also be looking to expand the business by recruiting and opening offices in other regions, for example, there are prospects up north in Harrogate that are yet to solidified.

Indeed, Homes2Homes has proved itself worthy of the title of Best Unique Property Agency – Bedfordshire, between its extraordinary work, sterling reputation among customers, and great ambition for the future. We are truly rooting for the agent and look forward to seeing its continued success.

For business enquiries, contact Mumin Muqtadir from Homes2Homes via email – [email protected] or on their website – www.homes2homes.co.uk

Anxiety stress in brain, overload in mind. Depression, adhd, ocd.

OCD In The Workplace

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Day and OCD Awareness Week starting on the 10th of October 2022, AI Global Media are continuing to focus on the importance of mindfulness & wellbeing within the workplace. Last year, we organised a 10k night time walk in support of Mental Health, AI Global Media have installed this as a weekly feature in our work routine with Wednesday Walks to show support for our staffs wellbeing.

In light of this, Rowen Dales, one of our trusted Researchers reflects on how having OCD has impacted her time at AI Global Media.

 

Can you please explain to us what OCD is like?

Everyone can experience intrusive thoughts, and although they’re not very pleasant, most people can differentiate these thoughts from their own. Unfortunately, for a person with OCD, intrusive thoughts spark extreme anxiety and distress. They will ruminate, question, and obsess over these thoughts until they’re forced to act out a compulsion to ease their anxiety. This can be done through mental checking, seeking reassurance, obsessive googling, and avoidance.

 

What is OCD like for you as an individual?

Since I have pure O (which stands for purely obsessional but means that the compulsions are all mental rather than external), my work and daily life are not impacted in the stereotypical perfectionist way that the media shows. Although, I like having a tidy workspace and sometimes it’s nice to make sure my excel spreadsheet cells are equal, my OCD is set off by things that don’t centre around cleanliness and preciseness.

 

Has there been any difficulties having OCD at work?

Concentrating on tasks became extremely difficult, and the mental compulsions alongside this interfered with my productivity as they were often time-consuming.

Other people also have the potential to unintentionally trigger me and accidentally set off an obsessive thought. This meant that I sometimes wanted to avoid being around people to ensure that no negative thoughts were activated. But at the same time, being all alone was even worse. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The thoughts often made me zone out to the point where I didn’t feel like talking to people. This caused me to worry about whether people thought I was standoffish or boring. I was worried that people would think I was making things up for attention since on the surface I didn’t really ‘look unwell’.

 

How has work accommodated to help you manage your mental health?

They have created an environment where I have felt able to confide my issues, which has meant that I have never felt like I was a burden or a nuisance. My colleagues that know about my OCD have also provided support and comfort during flare-ups. We are very lucky to have a few mental health ambassadors within the workplace, and I’d feel very comfortable talking to any of them about my issues.

Thankfully, we also still have our Work-from-Home scheme in place which has been incredibly helpful for me to work around my sessions.

By having this many lifelines at work, it has significantly decreased my anxiety, which has also helped me in my daily life too.

 

Do you have any tips on how you manage OCD flare-ups at work?

  1. Try and list 5 senses (5 things you can see, smell, hear, taste, and feel). This mindfulness technique is good for any mental health condition as it allows you to be present and escape from your brain for a while.
  2. Use your work as a distraction. The key is to not try and get rid of the thoughts but allow them to be there without them controlling your day. By staying focused on the tasks at hand, you are less likely to be ruminating on your thoughts.
  3. Don’t be afraid to have a little break away from your desk. Sometimes all you need is a few minutes alone to calm yourself down without feeling like people are staring.
  4. If comfortable doing so, mention to someone at work that you are struggling.
Rowen Dales

Best Private Equity Investment Group – East Asia

AEI Capital is passionate about dealing with the capitalization of corporate vision. It knows that anything is possible with the correct strategy alongside a smart capitalization model and a knowledgeable blueprint for the most effective, essential parts of the Private Equity industry. Looking to nestle itself within the industry as a great business to work with for the global capitalization and re-stratification opportunities of the modern world. Here we look at the industry as AEI continues to grow.

AEI Capital is a Private Equity (PE) firm with over 20 years of accumulative experience. With over 500 Million USD of Assets Under Management (AUM), it is growing exponentially and with great tenacity.

PE is a financial approach that helps companies to acquire funds from firms or accredited investors instead of stock markets. It makes a direct investment that doesn’t depend on stocks as the PE industry offers equity stakes in businesses that aren’t listed. This global market is something to be tapped into by investors.

The goal of PE investments is to create a space where each business can grow rapidly, so that it can go public or become recognised by a larger company. In exchange of this investment, investors are benefitted by huge shares of improved profits that allows them to also become part of the company’s shareholders. All of this means that companies can reap the rewards of larger funds without having to fundraise via public listings or acquire business loans. Investors look for PE so that they can earn more than what can be achieved in public equity markets.

In the present times, PE refers to a variety of subcategories within investments that are all connected via the process of raising funds from private investors. Venture capital is one of the most important strategies that aids the start-up of a business and helps to provide it with the ability to evolve early. It is mainly concerned with technology firms with ideas and products that are moulding the modern way of life.

We have recently seen an explosion of alternative data sources that rely on collection and scraping processes. Traditional data can include investor presentations, SEC filings, financial statements, and press releases. However, alternative data includes externally sourced factors such as company size, location of HQ and branch offices, website traffic, reviews, employee salaries, organizational structure and more.

Over the next decade, it is predictable that we will see even more advancements in the industry and harvesting of data as we see more in-depth machine learning through the studies of algorithms that can solve new problems without humans having to program them. PE firms are using machine learning to analyse and evaluate investment opportunities that help them to discover better investments for the future. Machine learning plays a crucial part in the future of PE as it substantially improves the efficiency of opportunity analysis.

With automated data comes higher levels of efficiency and the expansion of the tools used to improve the process. These tools generally mean less mistakes are made, and a lot of money is saved. As technical challenges arise it is most important for us to move away from the human bias against technology, as with this tool it is more possible to feel the benefits and keep up the pace within the industry.

As AEI continues to work with tech scalable businesses and it is able to aid the growth of businesses by means of technological developments. It focuses on three levers of the capital force such as capitalization, strategy, and digitalization to ensure a wide scope of growth.

With regards to COVID-19, many industries have had to implement remote work strategies very quickly. This increased the rate of virtualization of a selection of PE procedures. With more meetings, decisions, and deals happening online, the pandemic has meant that remote work and virtualization has been entirely helpful and is never going to return to the normal amount, as things have actually been more positive this way than imagined before.

Continuing through 2021 and beyond, virtualization of the workflow will help to remove the barriers set by distance. It also reduces unnecessary administration as moving towards remote work, we learn to recognize which procedures or documentations are nonessential and even redundant. All of this leads to improved efficiency and sustainability for PE firms.

AEI understands every business as a continuously evolving living being that needs to be nourished and taken care of. It helps businesses to thrive and build on what they already have as well as giving them further life after they may have collapsed.

Intending to reach a target in the Greater China Region or Southeast Asia, AEI is aware of the “new economy” that is a combination of globalization, information technology, and the communication revolution. This applies to all high growth industries such as internet, financial technology such as e-commerce, O2O retail, renewable energy, AI, Cloud-based technology, healthcare, education, and other consumer-driven, big data or digitally enabled properties that ensure the capitalization of global trends. According to AEI these characteristics allow businesses that follow global trends to grow and adapt along with the industry changes, pandemic or not.

Overall, AEI Capital offers the best solutions and services to its customers that are based all around the world. It has adapted swiftly to any problems that have arisen due to the global pandemic, and it is picking other businesses up with its viable solutions.

For further information, please contact John Tan or visit: https://aeicapital.com/ 

Inheritance Tax Receipts Reach £4.1Billion in the Months from April to October 2022

Figures out from HMRC this morning show that the Treasury raked in another £4.1billion in inheritance tax receipts in the months between April and October 2022. This is £500 million more than in the same period a year earlier, continuing the upward trend. These figures are revealed just days after the Autumn Statement in which it was announced that the inheritance tax threshold of £325,000 will be frozen until April 2028.

These new figures demonstrate just how much the government’s inheritance tax take seems to be increasing without the need for any more freezes, thanks largely to the steady increases in house prices which are pushing more regular hardworking families above the threshold who are relying on money being passed down through the generations.

While the average bill is currently £216,000, research conducted by Wealth Club shows just that with this extended freeze combined with rampant inflation, average inheritance tax bills are conservatively estimated to reach £297,793 by 2025-26 and £336,605 by 2027-28.

Alex Davies, CEO and Founder of Wealth Club said: “There has been a total U-turn on inheritance tax over the last few months. From Liz Truss raising the hopes of the nation with a cut back in September, and now Jeremy Hunt announcing the extension of the freeze until 2028. This is another stealth tax and the case of the boiling frog is apt. The treasury hopes by leaving rates and allowances unchanged, inflation can do the hard work of turning the temperature up on tax payers without them noticing.

Contrary to what many think, inheritance tax doesn’t just affect the super-rich. It will be the thousands of hardworking families that will bear the brunt. Rampant inflation, soaring house prices and years of frozen allowances will magnify the tax take in the years ahead. More and more families are going to find themselves hit by death duties they might not expected or planned for.”

How inheritance tax is calculated

  • Inheritance tax (IHT) of 40% is usually chargeable if one’s assets exceed a certain threshold, after deducting any liabilities, exemptions and reliefs.
  • The threshold (nil rate band) has been £325,000 per single person since 6 April 2009 – and will stay frozen at this level up to and including 2028-29.
  • There is an additional transferrable main residence nil rate band of £175,000 available when passing the family home down to children or other direct descendants.
  • Any unused threshold may be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner. So, a couple could currently potentially pass on up to £1 million before IHT might apply.

“The good news is that with some careful planning there are lots of perfectly legitimate ways you can eliminate or keep IHT bills to the minimum, so more of your wealth is passed on to your loved ones rather than being syphoned off by the taxman.”

1. Make a will

Making a will is the first step you should take. Without it, your estate will be shared according to a set of pre-determined rules. That means the taxman might end up with more than its fair share.

2. Use your gift allowances

Every year you can give up to £3,000 away tax free. This is known as the annual exemption. If you didn’t use it last year, you can combine it and pass on £6,000. You can also give up to £250 each year to however many people you wish (but only one gift per recipient per year) or make a wedding gift of up to £5,000 to your child; up to £2,500 to your grandchild; up to £2,500 to your spouse or civil partner to be and £1,000 to anyone else. Beyond these allowances, you can pass on as much as you like IHT free. So long as you live for at least seven years after giving money away, there will be no IHT to pay.  

3. Make regular gifts

You can make regular gifts from your income. These gifts are immediately IHT free (no need to wait for seven years) and there’s no cap on how much you can give away, provided you can demonstrate your standard of living is not affected.

4. Leave a legacy – give to charity

If you leave at least 10% of your net estate to a charity or a few other organisations, you may be able to get a discount on the IHT rate – 36% instead of 40% ­– on the rest of your estate.

5. Use your pension allowance

Pensions are not usually subject to IHT for those under 75 years old – they can be passed on tax efficiently and, in some cases, even tax free. If you have any pension allowance left, make use of it.

6. Set up a trust

Trusts have traditionally been a staple of IHT planning. They can mean money falls outside an estate if you live for at least seven years after establishing the trust. The related taxes and laws are complicated – you should seek specialist advice if you’re considering this.

7. Invest in companies qualifying for Business Property Relief (BPR)

If you own or invest in a business that qualifies for Business Property Relief – the majority of private companies and some AIM-quoted companies do – you can benefit from full IHT relief. You must be a shareholder for at least two years and still be on death though.

8. Invest in an AIM IHT ISA

ISAs are tax free during your lifetime but when you die, or when your spouse dies if later, they could be subject to 40% IHT. An increasingly popular way of mitigating IHT on an ISA is to invest in certain AIM quoted companies which qualify for BPR. You must hold the shares for at least two years and if you still hold them on death you could potentially pass them on without a penny due in inheritance tax.

9. Back smaller British businesses

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) offer a generous set of tax reliefs. For instance, SEIS offers up to 50% income tax and capital gains tax reliefs, plus loss relief if the investment doesn’t work out. But EIS and SEIS investments also qualify for BPR, so could be passed on free of IHT. 

10. Invest in commercial forestry

This is an underused option for experienced investors. Pension funds and institutions have long ploughed money into forestry. The Church Commissioners has a forestry portfolio worth £400 million. Commercial forest investments should be free of IHT if held for at least two years and on death.

You should also benefit from capital appreciation in the value of the trees (and the land they are on) and from any income produced by harvesting the trees and selling the timber (this income may also be tax free).  

11. Spend it

One sure-fire way to keep your wealth away from the taxman’s hands is to spend it.

Key IHT stats

  • One in every 25 estates pay inheritance tax, but the freeze on inheritance tax thresholds, paired with inflation and decades of house price increases is bringing more and more into the taxman’s sights. 
  • While you can pass on money IHT free to your spouse or civil partner, the estate could still be subject to IHT on their death though they may be able to make use of your pass-on allowance.  
  • The main threshold is the nil-rate band, enabling up to £325,000 of an estate to be passed on without having to pay any IHT. This has been unchanged since April 2009.
  • There is also a Residence Nil Rate band worth £175,000 which allows most people to pass on a family home more tax efficiently to direct descendants, although this tapers for estates over £2 million and is not available at all for estates worth over £2.35 million.
  • Wealth Club calculations suggest the average inheritance tax bill could increase to just over £266,000 in the current tax year. This is a 27% increase from the £209,000 average paid just three years ago. 

Is PR Still Relevant in 2022?

Ever thought about where public perceptions about PR come from? For many people, it’s 1990s/early 2000s pop culture – where PR is shown to be all about long champagne lunches with clients, glamourous product launch parties, and the famous ‘little black book’ of contacts.

Today, marketing activity increasingly takes place online, and the power of SEO, Pay Per Click, influencer marketing and targeted social media ads has left many business owners wondering whether PR has become irrelevant. If they can amplify their message to millions through targeted social media ads, and get their website to the top of their audience’s search results – why would they need PR?

Harriette Bond, PR and Content Director at PMW Communications, discusses:

“The historical portrayal of PR in pop culture is certainly not accurate in 2022. People often reference the sitcom ‘AbFab’ – which is definitely not an accurate depiction of PR at all!

“Just as the media has changed dramatically in the last decade, so has PR. Digital media and technology have changed the media landscape, resulting in more media outlets and greater opportunities to measure PR activity. PR can also support an SEO strategy. At the same time, the traditional media is still a highly trusted and much-loved source of information for many consumers, so traditional PR activities – like pitching to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio – are still alive and well.

“However, for nearly all our clients, traditional PR activity takes place alongside a digital PR strategy. Far from being irrelevant, the opportunity to take advantage of new forms of media and support marketing activity in other areas like social media and SEO, means PR campaigns are more creative – and more technical – than ever.”

Here are five reasons why PR is still relevant in 2022:

Customers spend many hours per day consuming media

A 2022 survey by eMarketer found that the UK population spent an average of 6hrs 6mins consuming digital media and 4hrs 8mins consuming traditional media (this included multitasking – such as listening to the radio while driving or scrolling on social media while watching TV). Brands need to be where their customers are – and it’s clear that consumers are interacting with a huge amount of both traditional and digital media every day.

Each type of media attracts a different demographic – giving brands a great opportunity to focus their PR campaigns on the outlets their target audience is interacting with.

PR enhances credibility

Every business wants a positive brand image. Companies can shout about how great they are themselves, or pay for advertisements, but what really builds credibility is when someone else says how great a brand is.

According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 80% of business decision-makers would rather gather their information through articles, than through advertisement, and 70% of consumers would rather get to know a company via articles than ads.

PR is all about getting other people (aka. unbiased, third-party media outlets that consumers trust) to speak positively about a brand. This enforces a business’s credibility and builds an excellent reputation among their industry and their customers.

Digital PR builds backlinks

Backlinks represent a ‘vote of confidence’ from one site to another and are a crucial pillar of good SEO. A digital PR campaign is one of the best ways to achieve high-quality backlinks. PR professionals will embed relevant links into press releases and outreach articles. People reading the article may follow the links – but the real win is that these links help a site to become more visible. Credible backlinks are a primary Google ranking factor, so having lots of them in the right places can help a site climb up the Google rankings.

PR and social media are a match made in heaven

Social media is the most influential of all the new forms of media that have emerged since the advent of the internet. And the good news is, PR and social media campaigns do not need to be separate – in fact, they complement each other brilliantly. Social media can boost PR’s efforts to share information and build trust in your brand.

Remember Doritos’ Wimbledon-inspired Strawberries and Cream flavoured crisps, or Lynx’s Marmite scented social distancing body spray? A great PR stunt can go even further than it could in the past – by creating a buzz on social media. Check out these examples of PR stunts that went viral.

Content is king

Whether it’s through blogs, thought leadership articles, case studies, or opinion pieces, having a constant flow of original content benefits businesses enormously.

According to research by HubSpot, B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms – and 68% of consumers like reading content from a brand that interests them.

PRs are experts at producing great content for their clients – demonstrating expertise and providing added value through great content that has a real impact on a customer’s purchasing decisions.

PR professionals can also work alongside an SEO team to create keyword-rich website articles that answer the questions their clients’ customers are asking online – increasing relevant web traffic and providing greater opportunities for leads and sales.

How To Create A Winning Real Estate Listing? Tips, Tricks & Best Practices

Posted on 22nd November 2022

The real estate industry is one of the most lucrative yet competitive industries we have today. Research has indicated that millions of existing and new homes are sold every year. This shows how crowded this industry can get for real estate agents.

However, this does not mean that you cannot get your listing on top of other listings. With millions of homes on sale, you need to make sure that you have implemented the right tips, tricks, and best practices when creating a real estate listing.

Unfortunately, most real estate agents do not know what to do to make their listings stand out from those of their competitors. Here are the tips, tricks, and best practices you need to follow when creating a winning real estate listing;

Observe SEO Practices

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plays a vital role in helping you create a winning real estate listing. Before you create your listing, you should make sure that you are using the right keywords and phrases that define the listing you are creating.

This is critical in making sure that your target audience can easily find your listing in search engine results. If you are a real estate agent, make sure that you have used words like neighbourhood, state, or city near the location of your listing.

If you were the customer, what would you be looking for? You need to answer this question and then ensure that you are using the right keywords.

Use Social Media Platforms

Social media is transforming real estate marketing. You, therefore, need to make sure that you are using different social media platforms depending on your target audience.

Chances are that you have created a social media account for your business. It could even be your personal account. You have grown your followers over the years but do not know how to benefit from them.

You can create a post on these accounts letting them know about your listing. You can add a link to the listing as well. This is important for SEO. Make sure you are using high-quality photos.

Use a Modern Phone System

When creating a winning real estate listing, you need to include your contact details. If you do not, how are potential clients going to contact you? It is important to note that some clients prefer making calls to sending email addresses.

You can do this by getting a modern business phone for real estate professionals. These business phones allow you to create local numbers for every location that you operate in. This is important to some clients who deal with local businesses.

In addition, they allow you to send all your phone activity to your CRM. This means that you do not have to manually update your CRM every time you have contacted a potential client. This way, you will find it easy to handle your clients and track activity from your listing.

Take High-Quality Photos

People love looking at high-quality photos. If you want them to notice your listing, then take high-quality photos of the house you are selling.

Even though modern mobile phones come with amazing cameras, you should not rely on them. Instead, look for a professional camera. You can also get a professional photographer to help you with the photos.

If you do not have this budget, then you can find hundreds of free photography materials and courses online. Take a class and invest in a good camera to always take high-quality photos of your listings. This will make it easy for clients to notice your listings.

Provide a Detailed Description of Your Listing

As much as you can use photos to show everything about your listing, you also need to provide a detailed description of the listing. Make sure that you understand everything concerning the home before creating your listing.

Talk about all the features that the house has, amenities, proximity areas, and places such as hospitals, shopping centres, and schools nearby, among many other things. These things will be vital in selling your listing.

Potential clients are likely going to ignore your listing if you do not talk about these things. They might assume that you are not legit and might even blacklist you.

Selling a property is not a walk in the park. You need to make sure that you have done everything right for your listing to stand out from the rest. The tips, tricks, and best practices discussed above will help you create a winning real estate listing.

5 Tips to Avoid Bankruptcy After a Workplace Injury

Bankruptcy is a terrifying word for anyone who has ever even been close to filing for it. When you experience a workplace injury, the creeping presence of bankruptcy can suddenly become uncomfortably close. However, there are benefits, tools, tips, and lifestyle changes you can use to avoid this tragic financial situation. To help you stay afloat financially, here are five tips to avoid bankruptcy after a workplace injury:

1. File a Workers’ Comp Claim

While it may seem like a no-brainer, many people fail to file workers’ comp claims after experiencing a workplace injury. Almost all employers are required to have workers’ comp insurance claims (either through the state or a private entity), so you deserve to use this benefit to stay afloat as you heal from your workplace injury. If you’re finding it difficult to file your claim, or if your boss is trying to keep you from filing a claim, it’s worth getting a quality workers’ comp attorney involved in the situation.

2. Consolidate or Settle Debts

If you want to stay on top of your finances and avoid bankruptcy as you recover from your workplace injury, you need to seriously consider any avenues you have for consolidating and settling debts. You can look into lowering interest rates on your loans, and if you pay them all off, your credit will likely be in a position where you can borrow a loan that will help you stay far away from bankruptcy territory. With debt settlement, you’ll want to contact a quality debt relief company to help you reduce your debts. Depending on the nature of your debts, and whether you’re a veteran or disabled, you may even qualify for special forgiveness plans in some states (or through federal programs). By using both of these strategies in tandem, you can strengthen your financial situation significantly.

3. Maximize Your Income

Although it may seem difficult to swing, there are some nifty ways you can maximise your income and avoid bankruptcy after a workplace injury. Finding secondary work that you can do while you heal is your best option. There are tons of online job sites that are dedicated to remote work, after all. If you’re able to drive, there are many freelance gigs available to you as well. While this option may not be accessible to everyone who has suffered a workplace injury, it’s one of the most effective ways to fight off bankruptcy in today’s economic landscape. Additionally, you should consider selling any valuable items you have that you no longer need or want. Almost everyone has some type of expensive gadget or piece of furniture that they rarely use, after all.

4. Create a Budget

Budgeting is the absolute best way to get control of your finances and can help you live within your means. Without a solid budget, and without the drive to follow it, you’ll get uncomfortably close to filing bankruptcy. There are many ways you can handle budgeting, and there are many online websites and services that can help you determine your best budget options. Be sure to allow yourself money for self-care and hobbies, but make sure you’re prioritising your financial stability above all else. You can expand your budget by cutting down on expenses as well, especially if you’re able to downgrade to a smaller living space, a cheaper car, or if you’re able to make some other type of drastic budgetary cut.

5. Cut Spending on Subscriptions

In today’s world, we all have at least one subscription. Whether you’re subscribing to music or movie streaming services, you’re spending at least a solid chunk of your expendable income on subscription services every month. Many of us are even paying for subscriptions that we had no idea we had! Scanning through your monthly bank statements can help you ensure that you’re not wasting money on rarely-used or never used services. If you want to get your finances under control and avoid bankruptcy, you may have to make some tough cuts (but it will be worth it once you finally get your financial situation back under control).

Reclaim Your Financial Stability

With these five tips, you can quickly reclaim your financial stability. Budgeting, debt consolidation, spending cuts, workers’ comp benefits, and investments can all help you boost your credit and avoid bankruptcy. Ultimately, these actions are an investment in your financial future.

What Is a Good Marketing Budget for a Small Business

While there’s no solid rule, in general, your marketing budget should be a percentage of your revenue. The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that small businesses with revenue of less than $5 million should spend 5-8% of their revenue on marketing. This means that a business with annual revenue of $1 million would have a marketing budget of $50,000 to $80,000.

If you don`t have enough income to support a marketing budget that`s a percentage of your overall revenue, another way to determine how much to spend on marketing is to use the SBA’s ”3% Rule.” This rule of thumb says that you should spend 3% of your gross monthly sales on marketing. So, if you have monthly sales of $30,000, your marketing budget would be $900 per month.

Of course, these are just general guidelines. Your specific marketing budget will depend on a number of factors, including your industry, your target market, and the size of your company.

How to Plan a Marketing Budget?

When you’re putting together your marketing budget, think about both long-term and short-term marketing goals. For example, if you’re planning to launch a new product, you’ll need to budget for market research, product development, and advertising. If you`re focused on building brand awareness, you might need to create an SEO budget plan and spend more on advertising and public relations than if you were trying to increase sales of an existing product.

Create a Marketing Strategy

Before you start planning your marketing budget, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your marketing goals. What are you trying to achieve with your marketing efforts? Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or increase sales of a particular product?

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start to put together a marketing plan that will help you reach your goals. Your marketing plan should include a mix of different marketing tactics, such as content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing.

Choose the Right Marketing Tactics

Once you know what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts, it’s time to start thinking about the marketing tactics you`ll use to reach your goals. There are a number of different marketing channels you can use, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

For example, if you’re trying to increase brand awareness, you might want to use advertising or public relations. If you’re trying to drive traffic to your website, you might want to use search engine optimisation (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. And if you’re trying to increase sales of a particular product, you might want to use email marketing or direct mail.

Once you’ve selected the right marketing tactics for your goals, you can start to put together your budget. When you`re determining how much to spend on each tactic, think about both the cost and the effectiveness. For example, SEO can be very effective in driving traffic to your website, but it can also be quite expensive.

Evaluate Your Results

Once you’ve implemented your marketing plan, it’s essential to take a step back and evaluate the results. Use such tools as Google Analytics or even a simple Excel spreadsheet. What worked well? What didn’t work as well as you’d hoped? Based on your evaluation, you can adjust your budget and marketing tactics for the future.

What is the Importance of Marketing for Small Businesses?

Small businesses often have a limited marketing budget, which makes it important to use marketing strategies that are effective and efficient. Marketing can help small businesses attract new customers, build brand awareness, and increase sales.

When done correctly, marketing can be a powerful tool for small businesses. However, remember that not all marketing activities are created equal. Some, such as creating a website or running a social media campaign, can be quite costly. Others, such as writing blog posts or sending email newsletters, are relatively inexpensive.

The crucial thing is to choose the right mix of marketing activities for your small business. By focusing on the most effective marketing strategies, you can get the most bang for your buck and achieve your marketing goals.

Common Mistakes in Setting a Marketing Budget

One common mistake businesses make when preparing a marketing budget is failing to allocate enough money for marketing. Marketing is a vital part of any business, but it’s often one of the first areas to be cut when budgets are tight.

Another common mistake is failing to track results. It’s important to track the results of your marketing efforts so you can see what’s working and what’s not. Otherwise, you’re just throwing money at a problem without really knowing if it’s making a difference.

Finally, businesses sometimes make the mistake of thinking they need to spend a lot of money on marketing to be successful. While it’s true that you need to spend some money on marketing, it’s also important to remember that there are many free or low-cost marketing tactics you can use to reach your target market.

When you’re setting your marketing budget, keep these common mistakes in mind. By avoiding them, you can ensure that your budget is more effective and efficient.

Final Say

The most essential thing to remember when creating a marketing budget is that it’s not set in stone. As your business grows and changes, so too will your marketing needs. Be prepared to adjust your budget and marketing tactics as necessary to achieve your goals.

How Hearing Loss Can Negatively Affect Our Elderly

Loss of hearing is one of the main problems of elderly people. Studies show that this condition has a connection with falls, dementia, and walking issues. The sense of hearing is important for staying independent and alert. That is why losing it can be devastating, especially for those who live alone. Below are some of the details about the negative effects of hearing loss on our elderly.

It Affects Mental Health

According to a hearing aids survey, loss of hearing can affect an elderly person’s mental health. Adjustment disorder and depression happen as natural reactions to hearing loss and affect the person’s quality of life. In some cases, the loss of hearing aggravates an elderly person’s existing mental health issues. A person with this condition can experience feelings of inadequacy and humiliation. It can be distressing and shameful to become an incapable member of society.

Facing someone whose words you cannot hear can make you wonder how other people see you or think of you. This often results in negative feelings that tend to be debilitating, especially to older adults. Even if they wear hearing aids, concealing these devices becomes a problem as well. Most elderly patients even refuse to wear hearing aids because they are afraid that other people will ask them about the devices or that people will pity them.

Many elderly people resort to isolation because of this condition. They want to avoid misunderstanding what other people are saying. Preventing feelings of shame is also a reason for staying away from other people. This then causes or worsens depression.

It Triggers Self-Blame

Elderly people with hearing loss tend to feel guilty about not being able to hear anything. They often blame themselves for not being able to communicate well. Elderly people find apologising necessary each time they fail to understand or react correctly. They do not have a choice but to ask for help in participating in an event or understanding what was just explained.

It Breaks Up Relationships

Hearing loss also results in loneliness due to self-imposed isolation. This happens among friends and within their families. Missing the conversations during gatherings and then asking what happened can be tiring. Retreating to a quiet corner or choosing not to go at all is the common solution. The unseen impairment affects the relationships. Those who forget about the hearing loss become upset and argue with the patient who cannot even understand them.

It Worsens Helplessness

Senior citizens are often set aside because they cannot do the things that they used to do. The addition of hearing loss worsens the feeling of helplessness. This results in lower energy levels in different activities. Hopelessness and suicidal thoughts may occur as well. Elderly people with hearing loss are often seen as tiresome and stupid. Once the elderly patient takes these negativities seriously, self-esteem lowers even more.

Hearing Loss Can Affect Elderly People in Unexpected Ways

Elderly patients already feel useless because of their deteriorating health. Once hearing loss starts, the negative feelings worsen. This pushes them to separate themselves from the people they know and love. Hearing loss can deteriorate their self-esteem as well. People around them should make an effort to help them so that the elderly patients can feel useful and relevant once again.

Swiss Cuban Cigars Reviews the Montecristo Brand

Swiss Cuban Cigars is the biggest retailer of authentic Cuban cigars online. Based in Gran Canaria, Spain, Swiss Cuban Cigars has been selling Cuban cigars online to cigar lovers all around the world

A combination of great customer service from the experienced team and the largest selection of the most popular cigars available online makes the Swiss Cuban Cigars experience a customer favourite.

Avoid fake Cuban cigars by buying Cuban cigars online from reputable sellers

Cuban cigars are, of course, one of the most commonly counterfeited products in the world. Customers looking for only the best Cuban cigars and a guaranteed avoidance of fake Cuban cigars have to go with a reputable retailer.

Fake cigars are easily available online and those looking to buy Cuban cigars for a special occasion need to be careful where they search.

Swiss Cuban Cigars prides itself on having a great customer service team who can advise on all the cigars available, but also on its absolute guarantee that all cigars are very high quality and come complete with the green seal and original sealed box that proves authenticity.

A wide range of different brands are available from Swiss Cuban Cigars

From Romeo y Julieta to Montecristo, there are lots of great cigars available from Swiss Cuban, all with fast worldwide shipping, secure payments, fast delivery and a fair price.

Swiss Cuban Cigars believes that whether this is the customer’s first purchase, second third or 100th purchase, the service and quality is always there.

The customer service team understand that customers looking to find cigars are either aficionados or those looking for a special occasion purchase.

Either way, they offer the same great service, exact boxes and expert knowledge from the first order to the last. All cigars should arrive in good condition, for example, with a great price and guarantee of no fake products.

Reviews of cigar brands helps customers make the right choice

As well as the excellent service, secure payments and sheer range of cigars available from Swiss Cuban Cigars, the team also write reviews of cigars.

These reviews cover everything from the flavour profile to analysis of the tobacco growing regions of origin (usually the Vuelta Abajo region in Cuba).

So, whether you’re looking for guidance on what to buy for a wedding or other special occasion, or want to find out how a specific brand smokes, for example, there’s plenty of knowledge on offer.

In this blog, the Swiss Cuban team is looking at the history of the Montecristo brand of cigars, including how the same cigar tastes and what kind of smoked experience customers can expect.

The origins of the brand

Montecristo cigars are produced by Habanos SA in Cuba and, separately, in the Dominican Republic. Here’s the history of this brand.

Back in July 1935, Alonso Menendez acquired the Particulares Factory, which used to produce its own brand. On buying the factory, Menendez created and launched a totally new brand of cigars – the Montecristo.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the name originates from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. It’s said that this book was extremely popular with the men rolling cigars on the factory floor.

While these torcedores worked at rolling cigars, the lector would read from various books of the day.

Developing the brand logo and design

The logo for the Montecristo cigar brand was designed by John Hunter Morris for the cigar brand’s distributor in the UK. The logo is a design of six swords forming a triangle around a central fleur de lis.

Twelve months after buying the Particulares Factory, Menendez founded a brand new company – Menendez Garcia y Cia. And, as the Montecristo cigar brand became more and more popular, Menendez and his business partner were able to buy another factory.

This second acquisition was the H Upmann Factory, which had been established in 1844. By 1937, however, it was struggling and the then owner J Frankau SA was more than happy to sell to Menendez.

The production of the Montecristo brand was immediately transferred to this new factory.

One of the most popular Cuban cigars in the world

The popularity of the brand increased steadily all around the world. Today, the Montecristo cigar brand is responsible for about 25% of the global sales of Habanos SA. In other words, it’s the most popular Cuban cigar in the world.

During the revolution in Cuba, both partners fled the country and while they attempted to relaunch the brand in the Canary Islands, the state company Habanos SA forced them to drop that idea.

Taking the brand forward into the 1970s

Following their demise, the reigns of development were handed over to one of the best torcedores (rollers) at the factory. His name was Jose Manuel Gonzalez and he began to bring the brand up to date.

During the 1970s and 80s, five brand new sizes were added to the range of cigars. These were:

  • The Petit Turbo.
  • The Joyita.
  • Especial No. 1.
  • Especial No 2.
  • The A.

Throughout these decades, the brand continued to become more and more popular in Cuba itself and around the world.

Special editions and additions to the range

Fast forward to 2022 and the No 2 is one of the most popular and best loved Cuban cigars around.

In 2004, another size was added to the range – the Edmundo. This is a robusto and so is large and is named after Edmond Dantes, the hero of the Dumas novel the entire brand takes its name from.

Habanos SA frequently includes the brand in its special edition and limited edition releases for anniversaries, special occasions and charitable causes.

One of these regional special edition releases in 2007 came with the Edmundo Dantes 109. These special releases are all numbered and, of course, the number produced is extremely limited making them real collector’s items.

Anniversary lines added

Further releases include the 2009 line featuring lighter cigars. This was released at the Festival de Habano and, while the line was originally going to be named ‘Sport’, EU rules forced a change to ‘Open’.

The Open line included vitolas (sizes) of cigars named after various sporting pursuits, ranging from yachting to golf.

March 2015 was the 80th anniversary of the Montecristo cigar, and at this point the 80 Anniversario was released.

Ultra exclusive, this cigar came presented in a beautiful polished wood box. Released in August 2016. this line only ever consisted of 30,000 boxes.

What is the smoking experience and flavour profile of the brand?

Let’s have a closer look at what the Swiss Cuban team think of the smokability of the No 2. As we’ve touched on, in addition to the great service, fast shipping and wide range of cigars on offer to buy online, Swiss Cuban Cigars really care about the cigar itself.

Part of their excellent service includes reviewing a specific cigar and assessing its quality, how the smoke can be enjoyed, where the tobacco comes from and the general quality of the brand and size.

Here’s what they think of the Montecristo No 2.

The No 2 is made by Habanos SA in Cuba and is a Torpedo shaped cigar. It is also very large, tapering out at the head and becoming wider towards the base.

It has a 52 ring gauge, which gives you a good indication of its large size. The cigar has a light brown wrapper surrounding well-paced tobacco. And, of course, each cigar has the well known brand logo.

Its flavour profile is complex, with a spicy, bold mouthfeel. However, while it’s rich it’s not too rich and the complexity remains harmonious. It’s this blend that has led to its immense popularity with smokers, as they enjoy the mix of flavours.

Hand rolled using the finest tobacco in Havana

The No 2 is hand rolled and packed with Cuban tobacco, which gives the unmistakably enjoyable smoke experience so loved by aficionados the world over. It uses tobacco from the Vuelta abajo region, which is home to the finest grade Cuban tobacco, and each box is carefully packed.

While the hand rolling technique does lead to a cigar that is tightly packed with high quality tobacco, it remains open enough to give a pleasing draw when you inhale. In fact, one of the most commonly cited positives for the No 2 is the consistency of the draw all the way through the smoke experience.

The first cold draw on the cigar introduces hints of cedar and espresso – these bold flavours blend together very well. Soon enough they become rather sweeter before switching to creamy and leathery flavours. Finally you can expect oak and cedar woody flavours too.

Review: mouthfeel and taste profile

The first third gives you hints of nutmeg, almond and cinnamon with light and aromatic smoke. You can expect it to feel mild during the first third of the cigar, but as it burns it will become more solid.

The second third gives you immediate flavours of black and white pepper. This comes off the back of the woodsy flavours during the cold draw and first third, before resolving into a creamier cinnamon flavour.

While the smoke remains smooth it does start to become stronger at this point, as the cigar becomes heavier. So you can expect a spicier flavour profile here. These shifting flavours are a mark of the Montecristo brand, as it becomes fuller as you head towards the final third.

Changing flavours and richness

By the time you reach the final third of the No 2 it’s become a full bodied, rich and bold cigar. However, the quality of the blend means it doesn’t become too overpowering or too rich, maintaining an enjoyable mouthfeel all the way through.

It burns consistently well, all the way to the end of the final third, making it a great cigar for new smokers as well as those who have long enjoyed this brand.

Overall, it’s definitely a case of the quality matching the size when it comes to this cigar. It’s complex but never loses the subtle smoothness that you need to truly enjoy the smoke, and there are surprises along the way.

Best sellers and it’s easy to see why

The company sells many boxes of this Havana special, and consistently have great feedback from customers, whether they’re placing their first order or one of many.

While Swiss Cuban Cigars is based in Spain, its knowledge of cigar brands is firmly based in Cuba itself.

There is a reason that Cubans remain some of the most popular cigars available on the market, and as a shop, Swiss Cuban Cigars is careful to give all of the relevant information on different brands as well as great service.

The company is backed by a team with years of experience in selling Cuban cigars at the right price. Each box is clearly marked as authentic Cubans, allowing customers to shop freely with peace of mind.

And, of course, their reviews give customers a great idea of what to expect from each box of cigars on offer.

This in-depth knowledge complements the easy and secure payments, competitive price points and excellent services offered by the site.

Montecristo is one of the best selling brands for the site, given that they are consistently high quality, with the reviews to back this up.

SME News Reveals the 2022 Winners of the Southern Enterprise Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – SME News is pleased to announce the winners of the Southern Enterprise Awards.

Entrepreneurs and multi-sized enterprises throughout the South of the UK are not only surviving, but they are flourishing in the face of any adversity. Evolving to support such a diverse selection of industries and trends, they are thriving!

Either starting up during the pandemic or expanding throughout this challenging time, the winners of these sublime awards have earned themselves a spot at the top. The Southern Enterprise Awards 2022 is full of seasoned experts sharing their homemade produce, educational aid, consultancy skills, workflow automation solutions, and much more. We would love to congratulate all of the winners as they soar to great heights.

Our Awards Coordinator, Jessie Wilson, commented on the magnificent success of the winners in this supplement: “I am proud to present the Southern Enterprise Awards, and all of the business featured here. We wish them all the best for the future as they continue to alter the corporate landscape for the South of the UK.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated enterprises that have been selected for them, please visit https://www.sme-news.co.uk/awards/uk-southern-business-awards/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

About SME News

SME News draws on our UK wide network of industry insiders to provide you with the latest news, cutting edge features and latest deals from across the UK SME landscape.

Alongside our quarterly publication we also offer an easy-to-use website, newsletter, and a series of awards programmes, making SME News much more than just a magazine, but instead a vital resource.

Bought to you by AI Global Media, the international provider of corporate news and information, this unique magazine is the perfect resource for the CEOs, leaders and decision makers in the UK based SMEs looking to keep their finger on the pulse and stay ahead of the competition.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

SME News Magazine Reveals the Winners of the 2022 Welsh Enterprise Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – SME News is thrilled to announce the winners of the annual Welsh Enterprise Awards.

2022 has seen an influx of small and medium enterprises expand and thrive even in the face of adversity. Either starting out or simply continuing their long journeys, these companies have all defied the odds of the pandemic, cost of living crisis, and all other possible challenges. The realm of business in Wales has broadened horizons for people everywhere, and we are pleased to see these inspirational businesses flourish. From dog training to agricultural technology, house improvements to workplace mediation, and more, this supplement showcases a number of leading companies making a huge impact on their industries.

The Welsh Enterprise Awards programme is here to celebrate and congratulate Welsh businesses that are not only improving people’s lives now, but they are inevitably influencing the future of business. SME is delighted to showcase this superb selection of companies that have earned such prestigious accolades – all received due to their tenacity, flexibility, and impressive contribution to the world.

Our Awards Coordinator, Kaven Cooper, has expressed true pride on the success of this year’s Welsh Enterprise Awards programme: “I am honoured to host this year’s edition of the Welsh Enterprise Awards programme, and I would like to sincerely congratulate each of these winners as they have influenced the richness of the corporate landscape in Wales and beyond.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated enterprises that have been selected for them, please visit https://www.sme-news.co.uk/awards/welsh-enterprise-awards/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

About SME News

SME News draws on our UK wide network of industry insiders to provide you with the latest news, cutting edge features and latest deals from across the UK SME landscape.

Alongside our quarterly publication we also offer an easy-to-use website, newsletter, and a series of awards programmes, making SME News much more than just a magazine, but instead a vital resource.

Bought to you by AI Global Media, the international provider of corporate news and information, this unique magazine is the perfect resource for the CEOs, leaders and decision makers in the UK based SMEs looking to keep their finger on the pulse and stay ahead of the competition.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Steps to Increase Your Business Security in Recession Times

When recession fears start to appear in the headlines, companies and organizations first come up with ways to cut their spending and increase the budget. Often, they will make a mistake and try cutting the budget in the areas they should instead work on improving, such as cybersecurity.

Recession and business security

While there have been several recessions throughout European history, since 1960 Europe as a whole has experienced only four of them according to Rabobank research. While some lasted months such as the first oil crisis, others, such as the Global financial crisis tortured nations for years. Worst of all is that even once the recession is over, economies still have a long recovery process. For some countries such as Ireland and Greece, recovery from recession took a lot longer than a recession itself. Not knowing when it will start, how long it will last, or even which industries will be affected the worst makes it one of the greatest fears any business owner can have. This is why they always focus on the bottom line, trying to prepare their business as best as possible. Unfortunately, that means reducing the budget and cutting what they consider unnecessary expenses. Quite often, they will feel cybersecurity is one of those expenses. The truth is that the situation should be completely opposite as in desperate times, there is more danger of criminal activity, especially fraud.

Your cybersecurity strategy is the only thing that stands between your business and malicious actors. The irony is that the fact that the cybersecurity strategy is so effective is the reason business owners believe they don’t need it and can get away with reducing it. Don’t wait for cybercriminals to prove you the opposite. Dealing with recession and accepting the necessary changes doesn’t mean you have to reduce your cybersecurity strategy. Instead, you should approach it smarter. By making informed choices, you will not only have an effective strategy, but you could even improve it despite the recession.

How can you increase your business security despite the recession?

Companies often get lulled into a false sense of security because they haven’t yet been victims of a cyberattack or other fraudulent activity. They convince themselves it is because they are not big enough to attract the attention of scammers, so they should be fine. Unfortunately, we live in a world where fraud attempts are increasing daily. The question is no longer whether you will become a victim but when. By introducing the following steps, you can improve your business security and mitigate the risk of online dangers even in recession times.

1.    Assess your security strategy

You might be losing your money on unnecessary aspects of your business without even realizing it. By reviewing your security strategy, you will be able to identify any possible vulnerabilities and weak points fraudsters can exploit and fix it before that can happen. Not only that, you will be able to use your findings to identify areas you should concentrate on, allowing you to use your funds more efficiently instead of wasting them on unnecessary elements.

2.    Accept changes

Keeping up with industry trends is essential in any element of your business, especially cybersecurity, as this area is constantly changing, trying to stay ahead of cybercriminals. It is time to accept those changes instead of relying on the same old methods that left you struggling to keep up. Innovative cybersecurity companies such as SEON utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence to transform and update necessary processes such as onboarding or customer verification to ensure the business and customers’ safety. These technological advancements allow them to create adaptable cybersecurity tools that can reduce operational costs while increasing efficiency.

3.    Prioritise your employees

Your employees are your first and your last line of defense. You are putting your business in grave danger by leaving them unprepared for dealing with the new security challenges. You would train them how to deal with any other element of the business you deem necessary, so why is cybersecurity any different? You can strengthen your cybersecurity layer by educating your employees about recognizing, reacting to, and preventing malicious attempts. Just consider how much more cost-efficient it is to educate and train your employees than to deal with the aftermath of a cyberattack.

4.    Introduce and implement clear and strict security policies and procedures

This step applies to your employees and customers, as threats can come from anywhere. The security policies and procedures explained by Polyglot Group, define the rules of operation, standards, conditions, and guidelines your employees and customers need to follow. This helps you ensure your business stays protected from potential threats while staying compliant with regulations.

Conclusion

We can’t prevent a recession, but we can change how it affects us. By thinking long-term, planning, and implementing changes before the worst happens, you will be on the right track to survive it and increase your business security in the process.

A Comprehensive Guide To Building A Mould-Resistant Home

Posted on 21st November 2022

Mould is common in commercial buildings and homes. They usually grow in areas where moisture is present. However, this issue can cause adverse health issues for tenants or homeowners and poor indoor air quality and affect the market value of a property since such homes are relatively hard to rent or sell.

As such, whether you already own a home or just planning to build one, as a homeowner, one of your priorities should be making your home mould-resistant. With that, this article will look into ways to help you build a mould-resistant home. Read on to learn more.

What Causes Mold Infestation?

As you build a mould-resistant home, it can help to understand the causes of mould infestation first. As mentioned, the primary cause of mould infestation in a house is uncontrolled moisture content, often in the form of high humidity or condensation. If the moisture content within an area in your home is high, it will only take a day or two for mould to start growing.

While there is no such thing as a mould-proof home since mould spores are available in the air, you can co-exist in a friendly way and discourage its growth. As a good start, you can reach out to professionals and service providers like Atlas Labs, who can conduct thorough inspections of your home. And from there, you can take the necessary measures to deal with the issue.

Building A Mould-Resistant Home

If you’re building your home from scratch, you can be in an excellent position to design a mould-resistant home quickly. However, nowadays, most homes are designed with energy efficiency in mind, which can make airflow in your home’s interiors more restricted.

Generally, this can be a problem since good and efficient ventilation is vital for preventing mould infestation. Fortunately, you can still design an energy-efficient home without compromising good airflow, making your home mould-resistant. To help you achieve that, here are considerations you can keep in mind as you build your home:

  • Construct your home using mould-resistant materials like mould-resistant drywall that uses fiberglass. You can also use building materials that were treated with anti-mould chemicals.
  • Ensure your building materials are stored in a dry area or environment and assess for any construction flaws that can lead to moisture retention.
  • Design the floor, foundation, and exterior walls of your basement with waterproof concrete. To do this, you can invest in a waterproofing system to enhance breathability and prevent moisture accumulation.
  • Invest in a reliable moisture barrier on the basement floor and the concrete slabs.
  • Invest in electronic air cleaners or a filter for your HVAC system to aid in removing mould spores present in the air.
  • Ensure your water-supply pipes are well insulated to prevent leaks and any possible cracks.
  • Invest in programmable dehumidifiers as they are effective in eradicating humidity indoors and exhaust your fans to remove moisture.

Making Your Existing Home Mould-Resistant

Routine inspection of your home can significantly help prevent mould infestations in your home. But as homeowners, there are simple steps you can do to keep your home safe from mould growth, even without professional help.

As a good start, you’ll need to block moisture, warmth, and food that moulds require to thrive. For food, this can be any household material or item from your beddings to draperies, carpets, furniture, shower walls, ceiling tiles, wallpapers, and windowsills.

Moreover, here are some helpful tips you can consider:

  • Be more vigilant of places of spills and potential moisture in your home. It would also be best to repair leaks and seepage within the shortest time possible.
  • Reduce humidity in your home by using dehumidifiers and your fan to improve airflow. This is essential, especially if you’re living in a place where it’s usually hot and humid.
  • Clean your roof gutters more often.
  • Maintain and clean your AC unit drainage lines and pans regularly.
  • Vacuum and maintain your home more often and get rid of food that mold feeds on, such as dust particles.
  • Improve ventilation in crawl spaces.

Conclusion

Moulds are generally common in any home, especially since they can grow and thrive in damp and moist places easily, such as the shower or tub, kitchen, basement, and attic, to name a few. However, aside from affecting your home’s indoor air quality, mould exposure can also cause health risks.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to ensure your home is mould-resistant. By reading this guide, you can be guided on how you can build a mould-resistant home, so you and your family live in a healthy environment.

Five Tips To Help Employers Combat SAD In The Workplace

As winter approaches some employees may be finding that they go to work and come home in complete darkness. This lack of daylight exposure can cause some to experience winter depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This disorder impacts around 20% of the population and typically causes low mood, fatigue and increased irritability.

Obviously these symptoms can affect the productivity of workers and the overall office morale. To help combat the impact of SAD at work, the experts at We Are WildGoose, team building activity providers, have put together five ways that employers can help their staff stay motivated through the winter months.

Review your flexible working policy

For some getting to work while it is still dark may make being ready for their day a little more difficult. Employers should review their flexible working policies to give employees the option of starting and finishing later to allow them to start their working day in the daylight. It is also worth seeing if remote working options fit with your business, if not already an option. 

Offering employees the opportunity to work from home will allow them to get up slightly later and will perhaps provide them with the opportunity to experience more daylight than if they were in an enclosed office.

Light up the office

One of the main triggers of SAD sufferers is the dark mornings and evenings. Your body’s circadian clock responds to light as a signal to be awake, this means that without sufficient light during the day, employees can feel lethargic. There is not much that can be done about this outside, but employers can ensure that the inside of the office is sufficiently lit using daylight imitation bulbs. 

If there is the space for it you could even set up a corner of the office where there is a comfy chair and a SAD lamp to give employees the option of getting 30 minutes of exposure to help combat their SAD symptoms.

Promote going outside

It can be a difficult argument to make when the weather is wet and cold, but encouraging your employees to spend time outside will do them the world of good. Remind your employees to take regular breaks and get lots of fresh air. If possible, it’s also worth investing in your outdoors office spaces. If you can fit heating outside, it will be easier for your staff to walk around in the winter and stay warm. It also means they can take quick breaks from their desk without having to go too far from the office.

Invest in more team building

Team building is a great way to get your staff motivated and boost the mood in the office. Whether it’s games, virtual escape rooms or more adrenalin-based pursuits such as a treasure hunt, autumn/winter is a good time to plan something fun and engaging for your team to help improve morale. A Gallup study showed that employees work 20% better when motivated.  For anyone in your team who is struggling with SAD, renewed focus from taking part in a team building activity will help them to take their mind off it and will boost productivity as a result.

Introduce healthier office initiatives

Those suffering from SAD may be tempted to comfort eat in order to try and boost their dopamine. But this might not be the best strategy for dealing with a low mood. Exercise and a good, vitamin rich diet are known to enhance serotonin levels, making people feel happier and healthier. 

Consider introducing healthy initiatives at work, simple things like treadmill or standing desks, promoting regular screen breaks, a free fruit bowl and healthy snacks are a great start. If you have some extra budget, you might also consider organising some fitness classes such as yoga or zumba for your employees.

It is also important to ensure that your employees’ mental health is being addressed, as well as their physical health. Consider subscribing to a mental wellness app and offer training on mental health to help break down the stigma within the office.

5 Health Tips For Everyone Who Works Remotely

Working from home is a great way to increase your flexibility and save money. Having said that, it can be challenging to maintain good health if you lack access to the same facilities as your coworkers. Fortunately, there are some easy precautions you can take to maintain your health while working from home:

Set Up A Reasonable Schedule

The creation of a timetable that works for you is among the most crucial things you can accomplish. Regular breaks and time to engage in enjoyable activities and/or exercise should be feasible to fit into your schedule. Additionally, it’s crucial to plan healthy eating routines so that your body has enough fuel for the upcoming workday. Last but not least, make sure there are times when you can decompress from all the pressures of being on call—whether it’s by napping or spending time with friends who are aware of how difficult it can be!

Work At Different Locations

Working at various sites each day is one of the best strategies to maintain good health. You can accomplish this by working in a separate room, area of the house, or even in a different city! Try working at a different place the next week if you can find work there all week.

You won’t have to spend all day in the car, which will encourage you to keep active and get some fresh air. It also allows your body time to adjust so that it doesn’t feel as though you’re returning from one extremely hot or extremely cold climate to another extremely hot or cold climate.

Take Breaks Frequently

You’ll be more productive and remain awake and aware throughout the day if you take regular, brief breaks. Taking 10-minute breaks per hour is the most effective method to accomplish this. If there is nothing else going on that requires your immediate attention, you can do this in between chores or even just for five minutes at a time (like an email).

Try going for walks outside if you can; it will help you relax and give your thoughts some fresh air! Additionally, try not to concentrate too much during these intervals; instead, unwind and enjoy some fresh air and sunlight while conversing with someone nearby who might find the chat amusing enough to keep them entertained until their next break.

Separate Home And Workspace As Much As Possible

  • As much as you can, keep your home and office separate. If you can’t, try to spend as little time at your desk as possible. Try to leave your desk at least once a day to go for a run or walk. It is like you’re king of your own business as there are the best membership website builders that offer plenty of benefits.
  • You can do anything on these website builders, be it photo editing services, content services, or anything else.

Communicate With Your Team Regularly

It’s crucial to communicate with your team frequently if you want to ensure that they are focusing on the right tasks. In the event of an emergency or question, they should be able to contact you, and they should be aware of your availability.

You Can Stay Healthy While Working From Home

Working from home can help you maintain your health. There are more methods to be healthy while working remotely besides making sure you keep a suitable schedule for yourself and take frequent breaks.

  • Keep your home office and workspace as separate as you can: By doing this, you can avoid being seduced by distractions while concentrating on other things (like watching TV). Additionally, it could be more comfortable if your workstation is located in a different room from your living space.
  • Regularly communicate with your team: Make sure everyone is aware of the tasks that need to be completed and when—and don’t forget about yourself!

Conclusion

A fantastic strategy to be productive and complete more work in less time is to work from home. Additionally, it’s crucial to keep in mind that you still need to care for yourself, so watch your work-life balance! In addition to offering advice on how to stay healthy while traveling, we hope this guide has helped you better understand how working from home can improve your health.

The Beach Club Opens At Quivira Los Cabos

Phase 1 Of Private Refuge Opens to Members

The first phase of the new Beach Club at Quivira Los Cabos—located next to the Quivira Golf Clubhouse and the acclaimed Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course within the Quivira Los Cabos residential complex—was unveiled during the annual Quivira Fest event on November 16.

The $6.2 million Beach Club was greeted by more than 500 guests, including real estate agents, owners of residential developments, members, and media. The Beach Club, with a capacity of 110 people, has been designed as an exclusive amenity for residents of Quivira Los Cabos and their guests. The unique outdoor environment offers a large swimming pool, a terrace on the edge of the beach, bathrooms with showers and dressing rooms, a fully equipped gym, green areas for special events, and a one-of-a-kind sailboat-shaped cinema where movies are projected on an awning on one of its sails.

The restaurant-bar La Concha—its design inspired by the shells of the olive ridley turtles that come to the nearby beach to lay their eggs—faces the sea as does the poolside lounge area.  The menu is available in both areas and includes ceviche, salads, snacks, refreshing drinks, and cocktails.

Ernesto Coppel, Founder of Quivira Los Cabos and Pueblo Bonito Golf & Spa Resorts, officially opened the club by saying, “The unique and differentiated residential offerings that we have created are part of our Quivira Los Cabos signature brand. Each community has different characteristics, but all offer privacy, exclusivity, lifestyle amenities, and quality of service.”

While celebrating the Beach Club’s opening, it also was announced that some of the local residential developments are complete, including Copala, Alvar, Coronado, and Mavila. New real estate projects are in the planning and construction phases, including Old Lighthouse Club and The Residences at The St. Regis Los Cabos.

Quivira, Mexico’s premier luxury residential resort community, is situated at Land’s End on the Baja Peninsula, with more than three miles of pristine golden beaches, picturesque desert cliffs, and panoramic ocean views. This exclusive 1,850-acre master-planned community is a paradise of elegance, serenity, and service. Access to Quivira Golf Club is exclusive for owners of property at Quivira. Occupying a spectacular natural landscape, Quivira Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, is complemented by an exclusive oceanfront clubhouse and now, The Beach Club. Quivira Los Cabos is the ultimate destination for residents and guests to live, love and celebrate life.  Follow us on Instagram at instagram.com/quiviraloscabos/ or access the website at www.quiviraloscabos.com.

New Hope For Osteoarthritis Sufferers

WORLD’S LARGEST ANALYSIS OF ORTHOBIOLOGICS SHOWS 70% IMPROVEMENT

New research into the largest number of studies on the effects of Orthobiologics shows that on average 70% of people who underwent Orthobiologic treatments had a favourable result. The outcomes overall show significant improvements (i.e., less pain and more mobility), in >70% of treated individuals.

The analysis was conducted by Professor Mark Slevin, Professor of Cell Pathology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Professor Slevin analysed eighteen separate peer-reviewed and published global studies.

Professor Slevin said, “There is a growing body of scientific evidence that is cementing the case of Orthobiologic treatments especially for osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal (MSK) trauma, injury and degeneration. We are looking at the start of potentially an entirely new pathway of treatment that will enhance natural healing using the body’s own tissue and delay the need for more serious surgical intervention. We stand at the beginning a huge new movement and for the very first time we now have a body of scientific evidence to prove the potential of these treatments.

Professor Slevin continues, “We note that although overall success globally is 70% the rate of success measured at The Regenerative Clinic, London is 84% successful for all procedures combined.”

Orthobiologic treatments use a person’s own cells which are harvested, processed by clinicians, and then using ultrasound guided injection, inserted into the problem area. Treatments include:

MFAT – Micro-fragmented fat – Adipose Tissue therapy and treatment: a pioneering new treatment for pain and inflammation is a new minimally invasive treatment that harnesses natural repair cells removed from your own body fat to target problems affecting the tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles, including osteoarthritis.

BMAC – Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) is a non-surgical, minimally invasive, regenerative treatment that harnesses the natural ability to heal the body through the assistance of biological growth factors. BMAC utilises the regenerative mesenchymal stem cells collected from bone marrow to aid in the acceleration of healing moderate to severe osteoarthritis and tendon injuries.

PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is also known as Autologous Conditioned Plasma. PRP takes advantage of your blood’s natural healing properties to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscle and bone. It can reduce pain, improve joint function and help you return quickly to normal activities.

nSTRIDE – The treatment is designed to be a single injection therapy in the out-patient clinic setting. Blood is withdrawn like a simple blood test, the clinician processes the patient’s blood to concentrate white blood cells, platelets, and plasma proteins into a small volume of plasma.

Eighteen separate studies were included, which met the inclusion criteria. Meta-analyses were conducted on fourteen of these studies, which all documented Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores after the administration of Adipose Mesenchymal Stem Cells (AMSCs). Pooled analysis revealed that cell-based treatments definitively improve WOMAC scores, post treatment. These improvements increased with time. The studies in this meta-analysis have established the safety and efficacy of both AMSC therapy and SVF therapy for knee OA in old adults and show that they reduce pain and improve knee function in symptomatic knee OA. (Cells; Meta-analysis Agarwal et al 2021).

In total 4505 articles were identified, and 186 full texts were screened. Thirty-four studies, reporting on 1443 patients were included. Mechanically produced SVF-based therapy was observed for 10 different pathologies, including aged skin (8 studies), scars (5), wounds (6), osteoarthritis (6), tendinopathy (2), temporomandibular joint disorders (1), androgenic alopecia (1), perianal fistula (3), migraine (1), and vocal fold scarring (1). Across all studies, tSVF-based therapy resulted in favorable clinical results. Overall, 50 (3.43%) minor and one (0.07%) major adverse events were observed, mainly related to the liposuction procedure. Ghiasloo et al (2020)

Professor Mark Slevin presented the results at ‘ORTHOBIOLOGICS IN MSK’ hosted by The Regenerative Clinic. The world’s leading experts in Orthobiologics and non-surgical intervention assembled in London to host a CPD accredited educational event for the healthcare community. The event shared and expanded knowledge about the latest techniques in Orthobiologics examining current usage, scientific evidence and providing a platform for discussion. The event brought together the world’s leading minds in emerging non-surgical intervention techniques including PRP, MFAT, SVF (stromal vascular fraction) and BMAC and included Mr Konrad Slynarski, one of the foremost proponents of regenerative.

Professor Mark Slevin is available to share his full findings and presentation. For further information, hi res images, interviews with Professor Mark Slevin and case studies please contact Helen Trevorrow or Vicky Hague at Green Row on 0794 000 9138 or email [email protected]

Opportunities for SMEs in Metaverse

As the metaverse evolves, global conglomerates expand their reach into the virtual sphere. CEO at Crypto House Capital, Tomas Nascisonis, explains how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can also take advantage of extended reality (XR) technologies by creating digitally immersive websites and owning virtual real estate.

Larger business entities have adopted extended reality (XR) technologies into their infrastructures, broadening the possibilities of the digital customer experience. A growing number of devices and digital platforms also now feature virtual spaces with fully immersive environments, a technological expansion broadly defined as the metaverse.

As interest in digital realms grows at larger scales, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) question the benefits and feasibility of entering the metaverse. CEO at Crypto House Capital, Tomas Nascisonis, highlights two ways SMEs can leverage the opportunities of the metaverse: creating immersive websites and using virtual real estate for workspaces.

Next-gen technology for better UX

Larger companies have already incorporated gamification into the customer journey, combining elements of online shopping, mobile gaming, and customizable avatars. According to Nascisonis, SMEs could gain a competitive edge by not staying behind, as having a virtual presence would not cost more than designing a standard website and requires no tech experience to operate. That said, the final cost, required equipment, and technical know-how will depend on the pursued depth of customer interaction and the extent of output rendered.

“I would advise starting with an introductory presence in the metaverse and then expanding on demand, which can be limitless compared to two-dimensional online spaces. As the technology grows, the metaverse will be the representation of choice for companies that want to stay relevant.”

Owing to recent technological breakthroughs, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) equipment have grown more accessible, allowing for mixing in spatially rendered 3D content into the digital customer experience. With this in mind, as time goes on, SMEs could grow their metaverse space and display products and services within a virtual showroom, sidestepping the need for face-to-face interaction while simultaneously opening avenues for innovations in marketing and customer engagement.

“Interactive websites offer a unique way for customers to experience your product or service in an interactive fashion, which offers much more creative freedom than traditional web design,” says Nascisonis.

Virtual workspaces to boost engagement

Apart from the customer-facing benefits of the metaverse, virtual real estate, or metaspaces, could offer an alternative to traditional workspaces. As the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the workforce into hybrid or fully-remote work settings, many employees now occupy different geographic locations, posing the problem of scheduling meetings for employees in different time zones while also maintaining engagement. 

“One potential use for virtual real estate is a virtual office space and meeting rooms for collaborative work. As more businesses go remote, there is a growing demand for virtual office spaces that offer all the amenities of a traditional office without the overhead costs, which could include features like video conferencing capabilities, shared workspaces, and even private offices for rent. And since it exists entirely online, a virtual office could be located anywhere in the world, with meetings taking place all at once or asynchronously.”

Nascisonis concludes by predicting that hosting a meeting in the metaverse, as opposed to apps like Zoom, would provide effortless, worldwide communication, as people could express themselves through avatars and interact in virtual rooms immersive enough to simulate real-world environments.

How Pharmacies Have been Affected by Brexit

Britain’s decision to break away from the EU has had an effect across many industries including science, technology, automotive and the pharmaceutical industry. The move has made the business model of running a pharmacy more of a challenge, both for existing companies and those seeking to enter the market.

In this article we’ll explore some of the challenges facing pharmacy businesses and take a look at what the future might hold for the healthcare industry.

The cost of operating a business

In the current economic climate, with increasing interest rates, high energy bills and inflation, operating any sort of business is likely to be a costly challenge. Although levels of demand in the pharmaceutical industry might not be greatly affected, profit margins and the ability to make enough to stay afloat are.

Costs to take into consideration as a pharmacy business owner include salaries, bills, maintenance, rent or mortgage and training. It’s certainly wise for any pharmacy proprietor to consider pharmacy insurance, which might offer cover should anything happen.

Although the dispensation of prescription medicines are the main area of service for a pharmacy, many businesses also offer a range of additional goods such as toiletries, supplements and other essentials. However, as customers are increasingly likely to want to shop around to get the best prices, pharmacies could find themselves suffering an even bigger loss.

Effects of Brexit on supply chains

Supply issues since Brexit have meant that many pharmacy businesses have struggled with a shortage of certain medicines. This has resulted in delayed prescriptions and owners being forced to find other, often more expensive, brands or options for commonly needed items. An increase in cost is also to be expected with the UK having to use a different authorisation company, separate to the EU.

Staff shortages are being faced by many businesses as freedom of movement and residency for EU citizens in the UK is increasingly revoked, and many are naturally discouraged by the visa application process and potential complications that can come with trying to settle in the post Brexit UK.

What will Rishi Sunak do to help the health sector?

With a new prime minister appointed, many are looking for guidance to solve the issues faced by the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. And with a GP as a father and a pharmacist as a mother, it’s no wonder there are high hopes on Rishi Sunak to turn the industry around given his family background.

Rishi’s certainly made it clear in the past that the NHS and social care sector is of high value to him and has stated his vision to reform the NHS, reduce the backlog and create a more efficient service. However, it’s clear he is prioritising dealing with inflation and re-gaining international confidence both from a monetary and political sense after taking over from Liz Truss’ 45 days in 10 Downing Street. Given that he only has two years left before the next general election, we can only hope for the best in that short time.

5 Use Cases of Text Analysis In Business Management

What’s worse than not having access to the right data? Having a massive amount of unstructured data that’s hard to read and make sense of.

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone- as per reports, about 82% of organisations haven’t been able to put their unstructured data to good use. Text analysis is a breakthrough technology that helps process this data without much manual intervention.

What is text analysis?

Text analysis is an AI-powered technique that turns textual data into insights. This data can be a series of customer reviews you received for your products or your website analytics data.

Text analysis presents this data as trends, relationships, patterns, themes, and categorised and structured data. You’ll find great resources to learn more about text analysis, and Levity’s guide to text analysis is one such comprehensive bank of information.

It uses AI-powered technologies using machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyse textual data at scale. The process is either semi or fully automated.

Use cases of text analysis

1. Customer experience

For a business, customer interaction is a day-to-day activity. From chatbots to support tickets, emails, and social media chats, massive amounts of data keeps piling up.

This is where your text analysis capabilities come in handy. You get an analysis of:

The trends in customer feedback and conversations from all channels in a consolidated report help you position your product well.

Your Net Promoter Score (NPS)—a metric that rates your overall customer experience and sentiment over time.

The redundancies in customer communications and automate them to improve productivity.

Your audience and how to segment them into groups—ones that are happy or dissatisfied with your product.

Your tickets to categorise and tag them based on the type or priority.

2. Employee engagement

Only 15% of employees are engaged globally—meaning they’re either unhappy or do not find their work rewarding.

When you’re able to identify these patterns and behavioural changes, it makes the job so much easier.

Text analysis powered by ML and NLP is a solid combination that helps you uncover the sentiments of your employees over specific problem areas.

Whether a policy change, a workplace update, or management practices, text analysis helps you gather feedback and conduct bias-free surveys for 100s and 1000s of your employees.

It helps you devise policies that are in favour of your employees

You’re able to keep a close check on mental health problems such as depression or anxiety and intervene appropriately

Employees will love showing up regularly, and you’ll see a spike in the retention rate as well

3. Marketing campaigns

Social listening

With social listening tools, you can respond to customer queries proactively or engage with your audience. When launching a new marketing campaign, they help you capture the analytics in real-time and instantly pivot based on the metrics while comparing them with the historical data.

Competitor analysis

Text analysis tools will help you closely analyse competitors’ strategies and the keywords they’re ranking for. You’ll know what works for them and how to outrank them and stand out.

Branding

Text analysis lets you know what customers and prospects think about your brand or your competitor’s brand. This way, you’ll be able to map out the perfect strategy to target your customers and move them down your funnel.

4. Product analysis

You’ll get prompted when anyone on socials, emails, websites, or any other platform talks about your product.

The sales team can use this information, marketing teams, product teams, and other departments to align their efforts to maximize the launch potential.

Moreover, have insights from the warranty data of your customers showcasing their problem areas. This way, you can assess the market landscape for your brand and see what’s working and what new features to ship next.

5. Recruiting

Helping a candidate get their dream job is a highly satisfactory but quite challenging job. What makes this job even more challenging is when there’s limited staff in the HR department and 100s of candidates to assess.

Text analysis helps in automating processes, including:

Identifying skillset the job requires

Gauging candidate experience and selecting ones that fit the bill

Evaluate potential hires based on their employment history, reviews, and past records

Ready to uncover great insights?

Text analysis is your saviour when it comes to processing a massive amount of business data. With the right technology, you’ll be able to parse them and convert them into valuable insights.

The Listening Centre Urges Businesses to Support Men’s Health

As the world marks International Men’s Day on Saturday, The Listening Centre is appealing for businesses to step up to the plate and put mental health support strategies in place.

Figures show that one in five men will die before retirement age, yet only 44% of businesses have a well-being strategy in place to support their staff. The statistics around suicide and mental health show that men are often suffering in silence.

As part of International Men’s Day and Movember, counsellors at The Listening Centre are urging businesses to invest in an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) so they can provide vital support for the well-being of their staff.

Sharon McCormick, founder of The Listening Centre, said: “The statistics around men’s emotional well-being are shocking. Regular surveys and reports show us that it has an impact on every part of their life, including at work. The UK government’s national well-being survey revealed that men said they had lower levels of life satisfaction than women.

“However, the survey also showed they were less likely to access talking therapies compared to women. According to the numbers, only 36% of referrals to talking therapies in the NHS are for men. It’s one of the reasons why suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. By getting them to talk about their emotional well-being we won’t just be helping men cope better, we could also be saving lives.”

International Men’s Day takes place on 19th November and is in the middle of men’s health charity month Movember when fundraisers help to make a difference with men’s mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

Tracy Herd, director of global program implementation for mental health and suicide prevention at Movember, says that many men worry that being open with their struggles might threaten their job or cost them a promotion. “Others face pressure from families who view mental health issues as a source of shame, rather than a diagnosable, treatable condition,” said Tracy. “This stigma keeps too many men from getting the care or treatment they need.”

Sharon added that views on masculinity, where stress, depression and anxiety are considered a ‘weakness’ could also be a contributing factor. “If managers at work can stay on the lookout for changes in behaviour, and feel confident in encouraging them to open up, we can change the culture,” she said. “However, workplaces need the right tools to make that change happen and working with an EAP can really make a difference.

“The Listening Centre has worked with a number of companies over the last 20 years, from small private sector businesses to large NHS Trusts and local authorities. Being based in the Midlands means we can respond quickly with face-to-face appointments, and we get to know each employee we work with. We are able to make an impact on each business we work with, which ultimately leads to great results for everyone. With fewer sick days being taken, our clients can see a sound return on their investment – it’s why we are so highly regarded and trusted by our customers.”

The Listening Centre, which recently won Lichfield Small Business of the Year at the Sutton, Lichfield and Tamworth Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards, has counsellors across the Midlands.

For more information visit https://thelisteningcentre.co.uk or get in touch via email: [email protected] or by calling 01543 300068.

LUXlife Announces the Winners of the 2022 Nautical Tourism Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – LUXlife Magazine has announced the winners of the 2022 Nautical Tourism Awards.

There have been huge changes within the travel and tourism industry over the past few years. As we all know, there has been a sweeping impact upon the businesses offering breathtaking adventures and luxurious services within the travel and tourism environment.

This year we are proud to showcase companies breathing life back into the industry, whilst fulfilling our wants and needs for opulent, sustainable, and stunning facilities, services, yachts, or boats that truly leave us in awe.

These businesses are all rebuilding what we have lost, and then furthering the luxury trade evolution as a whole. Transforming our experience of the sea as we know it – from cruises to signage, and marinas to waterfront resorts, we want to present the businesses that have won our awards, as well as our hearts.

The highly respected awards in this supplement present opportunities for us to explore and understand the fascinating world of the nautical tourism industry. Awards Coordinator, Holly Blackwood commented on the success of the winners. She said: “I am extremely pleased and proud to have the honour of presenting the winners with their awards, and we wish them all the best for their future endeavours.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated establishments that have been selected for them, please visit https://www.lux-review.com/lux_awards/nautical-tourism-awards/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

Notes to editors.

About LUXlife

LUXlife Magazine is a premium lifestyle publication which was founded in 2015 by the publishing company AI Global Media Ltd. Distributed to a circulation of 238,000 globally, LUXlife focuses on a range of topics within the luxury lifestyle industry, featuring articles on; fashion, beauty, fine dining, travel, luxury real estate and much more. Within our pages you’ll find everything from product news and reviews, to in-depth pieces on trends, features and comment; all designed to inform, entertain and inspire.

Our Mission

In addition to providing our readers with regular news and updates on all elements of luxury lifestyle, we also provide luxury firms with the perfect media platform to showcase their business to our readership comprised of high net worth individuals. As such, we publish only the most cutting edge of products, services, attractions and events that will appeal to our audience. Some of the world’s most internationally renowned brands, individuals, high-end developments and products are highlighted in our magazine so that our esteemed readers will find everything they need to truly live a luxury lifestyle.

New Report Calls for Workplaces to Enable Women Leaders by Scrapping Alpha Male Cultures to Thrive in Today’s Disruptive, Complex and Volatile World

  • New research study interviewing 40 leading women sheds light on what makes women successful
  • Study provides alternative view to ‘Lean In’ philosophy that focuses on encouraging women to assert themselves at work and at home
  • Organisations can succeed in today’s complex, disruptive and volatile world by disincentivising alpha male cultures and encouraging women to succeed on their own terms

London, BRIDGE Partnership – a global organisational transformation and leadership development consultancy – has launched a landmark study titled, ‘How Did She Get There?’, analysing why leading women become successful. The research, conducted in collaboration with We Are LeftField and featuring interviews with 40 CEOs, entrepreneurs, and senior leaders, counters prevailing thinking such as the ‘Lean In’ philosophy and provides powerful recommendations to help organisations be more meritocratic and effective.

Commenting on the study, BRIDGE Partnership UK Client Director and Research Lead, Jane Sassienie, said: “We’ve known for a long time that organisations have been institutionally geared towards supporting men in work, however this research uncovers the potential of doing things differently. If organisations can encourage women to succeed on their own terms by dismantling alpha male cultures, they stand a better chance of thriving in today’s increasingly disruptive, technologically advanced economies.”

The interviews revealed common characteristics that helped these leading women be successful such as their upbringing (good and bad), being able to take diverse routes to the top, being authentic rather than trying to fit an ‘alpha male’ archetype, having empathy and intuition, and choosing partnership over dominance in the workplace. 

For too long women have been treated differently to men in the workplace, from unequal pay and less promotion opportunity to experiencing sexual harassment and other forms of bias against them. In its 30 years of working with global organisations and businesses, BRIDGE Partnership had often seen solutions focused on fixing women rather than tackling ineffective, institutionalised workplace cultures. While creating a leadership programme for women in a global bank in 2019, BRIDGE Partnership realised that most academic research was focused on how women fail in the workplace. This spawned a first-of-its-kind study shedding insight on common factors underpinning successful women across a breadth of sectors. 

The research revealed 5 recommendations for organisations and leaders:

Parental power: a woman’s upbringing is critical towards success.  BRIDGE Partnership say people can re-parent themselves to overcome aspects of their lives that hold them back.

At least one good parental role model helped some women to see their own potential and have the self-belief to succeed and lead. Sophie Neary, Group Director UK&I at Meta, said: “They instilled in me a self-belief, an inner confidence”. While some women who lacked any kind of caring adult when young were forced into leadership roles earlier. Both paths resulted in them sidestepping the ‘Brilliance bias’. 

Taking a different path. BRIDGE Partnership say organisations can empower women to succeed and retain top talent by supporting them to take multiple pathways upwards.

Rather than embarking on a meticulously planned career and life journey from an early age, most of the successful women interviewed had taken a winding path towards success. Their journeys were led by four principles: purpose and values, following curiosity, taking risks, and hard work. Vasiliki Petrou, Group CEO of Unilever Prestige said: “My first CEO valued diversity. They believed that positive disruption came from hiring people that don’t fit ‘in the box’. This nurtured a culture that valued alternative thinking and we all did better for it.” When the women were surveyed about whether they identified with the ‘Lean In’ approach, over 80% felt that being led by purpose and passion was more important.

If you are a unicorn don’t try to be a horse. BRIDGE Partnership say organisations should embrace diversity and dismantle the prevailing alpha male culture that often dictates how many organisations are run.

Rather than fitting in with alpha male workplace cultures, many women learned to lead with authenticity and embrace their differences as strengths. It was this shift that was key to their success. This evolution often began with a moment of self-awareness, often through good mentors, managers, or a challenging experience. Tracey Clements, now the SVP (CEO) of Mobility and Convenience for Europe at BP, recalled the early stages of her career, saying it was “Utterly exhausting and untenable”, suppressing qualities that felt more natural to her such as listening and learning from her people and customers. Talking about her moment of realisation, “Almost overnight I reclaimed myself.”  

Lead Like These Women. BRIDGE Partnership say organisations should begin learning from women and appropriately valuing their contributions. 

Rather than fixing women, our interviews revealed that characteristics and skills such as empathy, facilitation and intuition – skills that have been typically undervalued and overlooked by organisations – enabled the women to thrive and navigate complex challenges.When Lorna Davis, Board Member at B Lab, led a large advertising campaign for a brand that was close to collapse, she learned the value of listening. “I learned how to listen to consumers… I turned the brand around and set it on a growth trajectory… there is very little I can’t solve if I listen carefully and let the information in.”

Partnership not dominance. BRIDGE Partnership say organisations can foster a culture of mutuality by enabling diverse networking among their employees, encouraging collaboration and partnership rather than competition and dominance.

The women interviewed were not afraid to ask for help, taking the opportunity to learn from others and forge long term partnerships. Leonie Foster, Customer and Digital Director at Selfridges, spoke about becoming part of a network of highly capable senior women supporting one another: “We knew each other well and were each other’s support… we would operate by supporting each other’s position.” These partnerships were often rooted in purpose, as opposed to achieving personal success. 

Travel in Luxury: 7 Good Reasons to Rent a Yacht for Your Vacation

What could be more luxurious than spending your vacation on a private yacht? You’ll enjoy all the best life offers while being pampered by a professional crew. Here are seven good reasons to consider renting a yacht for your next vacation:

1. You can host special events

There are plenty of good reasons to rent a yacht for your vacation, but one of the best is that you can host special events. Whether you’re looking to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary or just want to throw a party, a yacht is a perfect place to do it.

Not only will you be able to get a hold of all the amenities of the yacht, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the breathtaking views. Plus, you can customize your event to make it truly unique. So if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, renting a yacht is definitely the way to go. You can find a yacht rental in Miami or a nearby marina. Just be sure to book in advance so you can get the yacht of your dreams.

2. You can experience total relaxation

There are various reasons why renting a yacht for your vacation is a great idea. One of the best reasons is that you can experience total relaxation while on board. A yacht provides the perfect setting for unwinding and enjoying some much-needed rest and relaxation. Here are several ways you can relax while aboard your own personal yacht:

  1. Take in the stunning views: One of the best things about being on a yacht is having uninterrupted views of your surroundings. Whether sailing in calm waters or cruising along the coast, you’ll be able to take in all the beauty surrounding you. This is a perfect opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
  1. Enjoy the amenities: Most yachts come equipped with all the amenities you need for a comfortable and enjoyable vacation. From spacious staterooms to fully stocked kitchens, you’ll have everything you need to relax and enjoy your time on board.
  1. Take advantage of the water: One of the best things about being on a yacht is that you have access to some of the most beautiful waters in the world. Whether you want to take a dip in the pool or go for a swim in the ocean, you’ll be able to do so right from the comfort of your own yacht.
  1. Get away from it all: When you’re on a yacht, you can truly get away from it all. There’s no need to worry about the hustle and bustle of daily life when you’re on board your own personal oasis. This is the perfect opportunity to decompress and clear your mind.

Renting a yacht for your vacation is a great way to experience total relaxation. With all the amenities and activities that are available, you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy your time away from it all. If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable vacation, consider renting a yacht for your next trip.

3. You get complete privacy

There are many good reasons to rent a yacht for your vacation, but getting complete privacy is one of the best. Yachts are large enough that you can really spread out and enjoy your time alone or with family or friends without worrying about who might be watching or listening in. Plus, with a yacht rental, you’ll have access to all the latest amenities and features that will make your vacation even more enjoyable. So if you’re looking for a truly relaxing and private vacation, consider renting a yacht. You won’t be disappointed.

4. You receive personal service

When you rent a yacht for your vacation, you can be sure that you will receive excellent personal service. The staff on board a rented yacht are highly trained and experienced in providing top-notch service to their guests. They will go out of their way to ensure you have a fantastic vacation experience. You can expect them to pamper you and attend to your every need. This personalized service level is simply impossible to find at a hotel or resort.

5. You enjoy luxurious accommodations

If you’re looking for a truly luxurious vacation experience, there’s no better way to travel than by yacht. When you rent a yacht or a luxury vacation boat, you’ll enjoy all the comforts of home in complete luxury. Most yachts have spacious staterooms, en-suite bathrooms, and fully stocked kitchens. You’ll also have access to many onboard amenities, including a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym, and more. Yachts offer all the amenities of a five-star hotel, plus the added bonus of exploring some of the world’s most beautiful destinations in complete privacy and style.

6. You get to explore new places

There are many good reasons to rent a yacht for your vacation, but one of the best is that you get to explore new places. Yachting allows you to see different parts of the world that you may never have had the chance to visit otherwise. And, because yachts are relatively small, you can often get closer to shore and get a better view of landscapes and seascapes than you would from land. So, if you’re looking for a truly unique and memorable vacation experience, consider renting a yacht. You won’t regret it!

7. You create lasting memories

There are many good reasons to rent a yacht for your vacation, but one of the best is that you can create lasting memories. On a yacht, you can relax and enjoy the company of your friends and family while taking in stunning views. You can also explore new places and experience different cultures.

A yacht vacation is a perfect way to create lasting memories you will cherish forever. Being one with the sea, sun, sky, and the people you hold dear is a perfect mix for an unforgettable vacation experience. So if you’re looking for a unique and memorable vacation, consider renting a yacht. You won’t regret it!

Renting a yacht for your vacation is the ultimate way to enjoy total relaxation, complete privacy, personal service, and luxurious accommodations. You can also explore new places, celebrate special events, and create lasting memories. So what are you waiting for? Rent a yacht today and start planning your dream vacation!

Just Moved To The Cloud? Best Practices For Effective Cloud Management

A cloud is a group of interconnected global servers that perform specific functions. The cloud is not a single tangible entity but a series of remote servers that exist worldwide and function as one ecosystem. In the early stages of its inception, the cloud was a tool that expressed empty space between its provider and user.

Cloud computing was popularised in the 1990s with the widespread use of virtual computer networks. Professor Ramnath Chellapa of Emory University stated in 1997 that cloud computing would be the new computing paradigm determined by economic rationale. True to the Professor’s words, Salesforce was the first company to adopt cloud computing in 1999 successfully.

As the 2000s rolled in, more companies adopted cloud computing in their daily business operations. Amazon joined the paradigm in 2002 by creating web-based retail services and became the first company to use 10% of its computing output capacity. The company developed Amazon Web Services in 2006.

Amazon Mechanical Turk was one of Amazon’s web services (AWS), the first infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) site offering cloud-based storage, computation, and human intelligence services. This marked the beginning of cloud management. Public clouds were familiar and accessible; however, there was a commercial demand for private clouds.

In 2008, Eucalyptus was the first to provide an AWS application programming interface-compliant platform for deploying private clouds. Enterprises could own and customise their cloud servers to suit their needs. Public and private servers were pitted against each other. However, the two serves complemented each other in the grand scheme.

The idea of direct cloud connectivity came from hybrid clouds that were first introduced in 2011. IBM SmartCloud and Apple iCloud were launched at the time and offered hybrid cloud services. A hybrid cloud management tool that assisted companies in building, deploying, and administering private and public clouds is credited to CloudBolt, founded in 2012.

The two decades of the evolution of cloud computing have made it the default infrastructure for data management in most businesses and organisations. Cloud platforms are faced with various challenges as they evolve. This article recommends the best practices for effective cloud management.

Setting Up A Cloud Center Of Excellence (CCoE)

Cloud migration has been made accessible in recent years. However, the cloud is still a complex entity requiring technical skills. Therefore, it is advisable to set up a cloud center of excellence (CCoE) dedicated to creating shared solutions, promoting best practices, and learning new skills that other teams within the organisation can incorporate.

A CCoE ideally constitutes a team with representatives from management, IT, core business functions, and end-users. The team’s combined experience will help develop cloud solutions to improve operation efficiency, ensure data security, minimise operation costs, shorten information response time, and improve the quality of cloud services.

Cloud Migration Strategy

Cloud migration will allow your company to simplify and keep track of data lineage. Furthermore, the company will make its data ecosystem operate efficiently. The migration strategy needs pre-planning to prioritise the data workloads and applications. Cataloguing the workload based on its importance is a good strategy for prioritisation.

A good strategy also involves picking the right tool and methods for migration. Ideally, the right tool will maximise minimal resources, ensure cost-effectiveness, be region-based, and deploy an efficient team to manage it. Migration methods could include:

  • Partial refactoring
  • Full refactoring
  • Incorporating software-as-a-service (Saas) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS)

These are examples of cloud migration strategies that one can apply in an organisation.

Centralised Cloud Governance

A collection of guidelines and regulations known as “cloud governance” is used by businesses to manage cloud-based services. Cloud governance’s objectives are enhancing data security, controlling risk, and facilitating the efficient functioning of cloud systems. Centralising cloud governance ensures that company goals are achieved on a timely basis.

Cloud Optimisation

Cloud infrastructure requires occasional maintenance and optimisation to eliminate resource wastage. The available infrastructure architecture in the current market is crucial in cloud optimisation. An organisation with access to the infrastructure can scale resources up or down depending on the company’s demands.

Identifying possible discounted prices, flagging under or overutilised resources, and comparing service price and efficiency on multiple cloud platforms are ways to maximise cloud optimisation. The IT operations department is tasked with cloud optimization since they have an insight into the application and workload features that draw customers’ attention.

Integration Of Cloud Platforms With Business

An organisation migrating to the cloud intends to integrate business operations with the cloud. Adding cloud integration to the organisation’s key performance indicators will help monitor cloud consumption in daily operations. Setting up feedback mechanisms for internal and external cloud users will help gauge user experience.

Conclusion

Cloud integration helps break down data silos and improves visibility and network connectivity. With this technology applied to any business organisation, you can expect improvement in internal communication, customer service and customer retention. Furthermore, if properly executed, your organisation can have a reduced operational cost and increase in revenue.

Lastly, effective cloud management can help the overall business operation to be efficient and flexible. Stakeholders and leaders can focus on making major decisions and expanding the market.

The Winter Honeymoon Destination Guide for Indecisive Newlyweds

Loved up newlyweds have been told what each top winter honeymoon destination has to offer to help make their first big decision together a harmonious one and celebrate the joyous occasion stressfree.

Holiday car rental experts at StressFreeCarRental.com have revealed what makes the best winter honeymoon destinations from across the world so special and why each might be the perfect place for excited lovebirds to walk off into the sunset together once the big day is done.

Booking the honeymoon is one of the most thrilling parts of getting married and is a moment that’ll be cherished forever, but it can also be quite a challenge finding a location that will suit both partners.

Very often it comes down to the classic debate of either wanting to take a city break to explore cultural sights and adventure around different towns or opting for a beach getaway to properly unwind and sip cocktails in the sun.

Top locations to embrace the relaxed romantic vibes include a break in Hawaii, while putting on the tourist hat and going sightseeing in central London will suit those newlyweds that don’t like to sit still.

For those newlyweds that aren’t quite ready to grow up and embrace adult life quite yet, renting a car in Orlando to drive from theme park to theme park might be just what they need feel that escape.

A spokesperson from StressFreeCarRental.com the best place for car hire in Orlando said: “Picking a place for your honeymoon can be one of the trickiest decisions to make as the possibilities are endless.

“It’s all about narrowing down the different areas – affordability, weather and things to do, as well as deciding which destination suits each partner’s personality and interests.

“We’ve researched hotspot locations to visit this winter from Venice to Santorini where newlyweds can take their pick from an exciting city break or a relaxing pitstop in the sun.”

Here are StressFreeCarRental.com’s top winter honeymoon destinations:

Hawaii

A honeymoon getaway to Hawaii is one of the dream locations to visit, with the destination a firm favourite among couples in the US. With newlyweds having the choice of visiting incredible islands from Maui to Oahu, the islands benefit from warm temperatures during the winter period for couples looking to visit some mesmerising waterfalls in Manoa Falls or choosing to relax on the beach to watch the sunset.

London

The activities are endless for newcomers looking to sightsee in London, from Buckingham Palace, The West End and the London Eye. During the festive period, the famous Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a must-see destination for loved up couples to enjoy the magic of Christmas with hot chocolate and mulled wine.

Santorini

If you want to visit a warm destination and purely relax for a week or two, you can enjoy the deep blue oceans of the Greek island of Santorini. The breath-taking views of the island from its unique architecture to the sight of the Aegean sea is perfect for those wanting to sit back on the sunbed in bliss.

Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands are a prime location to enjoy some Pina Colada on the Instagrammable dark sand beaches across the island. Gran Canaria has a range of delicious Spanish cuisine to try out and is slightly cheaper to visit during the winter season compared to peak time in summer.

Florida

For couples searching for an exciting city break, they can enjoy the theme parks lavishly scattered across Orlando – which will have Disney adults in delight. Florida still benefits from warm temperatures, so those looking to tick off theme parks like Universal and Magic Kingdom can enjoy comfortable weather while getting some great pictures.

Maldives

Taking a trip to Maldives is ideal for couples willing to splurge on a luxury trip away while benefiting from the warm winter climate. Scuba diving, snorkelling and pure relaxation is in store when you visit the Maldives and is perfect for those looking to unwind in the sun.

Paris

The city of love is a prime place to encapsulate the memories of a honeymoon together, by taking a cruise on the Seine River or visiting the iconic Eiffel Tower for a picture together. Paris has a long list of romantic hotels for couples looking to celebrate their honeymoon in this European hotspot.

Venice

For a city break in the other ‘city of love’, taking a flight to Venice to embrace Italian culture is the perfect way to enjoy the romantic ambience while visiting some fascinating landmarks. Have a look at booking a gondola to properly explore this grand old city. You could even do a half and half trip by spending a week in Rome to visit the Trevi Fountain and ancient Colosseum to make the most out of your city break.

LUXlife Reveals the Winners of the 2022 Global Vegan Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – LUXlife has announced the winners of the Global Vegan Awards programme.

After a triumphant launch of the Global Vegan Awards in 2021, this supplement has stuck out as a fantastic opportunity for businesses to showcase their dedication to the vegan lifestyle.

From haircare, cuisine, and skincare, to footwear, drinks, and adventures, we have explored areas of the vegan industry that ultimately make a great impact on us and the planet. Their eco-friendly, sustainable, ethical, and natural products show us a way forward that doesn’t cost us the life of our planet. They illuminate a path towards a more virtuous and fair future for all – and they have gained excellent and elevated statuses to match their efforts.

Following the announcement, Awards Coordinator Kaven Cooper took a moment to say: “Introducing and celebrating these leading businesses on the scene has been a huge pleasure. Congratulations for your wins, and we wish you all the best as you continue to produce the best vegan products and opportunities for everyone to enjoy.”

To find out more about these distinguished leaders, and to find out the key to their success, please visit https://www.lux-review.com/lux_awards/global-vegan-awards/

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About LUXlife

LUXlife Magazine is a premium lifestyle publication which was founded in 2015 by the publishing company AI Global Media Ltd. Distributed to a circulation of 238,000 globally, LUXlife focuses on a range of topics within the luxury lifestyle industry, featuring articles on; fashion, beauty, fine dining, travel, luxury real estate and much more. Within our pages you’ll find everything from product news and reviews, to in-depth pieces on trends, features and comment; all designed to inform, entertain and inspire.

Our Mission

In addition to providing our readers with regular news and updates on all elements of luxury lifestyle, we also provide luxury firms with the perfect media platform to showcase their business to our readership comprised of high net worth individuals. As such, we publish only the most cutting edge of products, services, attractions and events that will appeal to our audience. Some of the world’s most internationally renowned brands, individuals, high-end developments and products are highlighted in our magazine so that our esteemed readers will find everything they need to truly live a luxury lifestyle.

Cybersecurity Awareness 101: How To Educate Your Employees To Stay Safe

Cybersecurity is becoming a critical issue globally, given the heavy Internet usage for businesses. Hackers find it easy to crack into your system and acquire sensitive information. In fact, during the second quarter of 2022, there were approximately 52 million data breaches. This is a significant figure, and cybersecurity awareness training is one of the best ways to prevent and lower instances of data breaches in your organization.

Essentially, you’d want your employees to know what cyber threats are, their possible effects on your company, and what they can do to prevent such attacks. With that, here are five tips for educating your employees to stay safe:  

1. Provide clear guidelines

Be specific when training employees and describe the guidelines they must observe to stay safe online. As much as possible, avoid giving them vague clues or instructions on what they should do. Instead, present detailed information to enable them to understand better what you expect of them.

Some technology regulations you can impose include the following:

  • Always use strong passwords

Teach your employees the qualities of strong passwords and their benefits. For instance, passwords should be at least eight characters, have a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, and include numbers and special characters. Ideally, the longer and more complex the password, the harder it can be for hackers to crack.

  • Never give out login data

Emphasise to your employees the importance of not sharing any login information, even if the message they receive looks like it came from someone within the organisation. Ensure to establish strong protocols for detecting and reporting suspicious messages as well.

  • Scan computers for viruses frequently

Train your workers to turn on scanning and automatic updates. This can help ensure they get informed in case a threat is detected.

Whether you have employees working on-site or remotely, creating a secure workspace is essential. Doing so not only helps safeguard your business’s critical data but also allows your employees to perform their tasks in the digital workspace safely and efficiently.

2. Orient employees on the various types of cybersecurity threats

One of the best ways your employees can stay safe online is by knowing the different types of cyber threats. If they’re well-informed, they’ll be in a better position to take the right steps should a cyber-attack happen.

In addition, cybersecurity breaches take any form, and one strategy that hackers use to obtain your passwords, login information, and sensitive organisation data is to target your employees. Therefore, you can prevent your company from being a victim of cyberattacks by educating your staff about the most common threats like:

  • Phishing Scams

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack where a hacker sends you an email that appears to be from a person or organisation you know, convincing you to click on the link. This makes it one of the most common forms of cyber threats. According to Forbes, over 90% of cyberattacks infiltrate a company through emails. An FBI report also reveals at least a 400% increase in phishing attacks yearly. For this reason, you’d want your employees to be much more vigilant and report any suspicious emails.     

  • Ransomware

This is a form of malware where attackers obtain access to your devices and then lock and encrypt the stored data. It denies you access to your documents, and you may have to pay the attackers ransom to regain access.

  • Password Attack

In this type of threat, an attacker cracks your password by using different programs and password-cracking tools.

With appropriate training and knowledge, your employees can be more aware of and easily recognise attacks that can put your system and critical business data at risk.

3. Highlight The Effects Of Cybersecurity Breaches

Cyberattacks can significantly affect your company, and one of the severe risks is financial losses. In fact, cybersecurity breaches can yield an average loss of USD$ 200,000 for businesses of any size.

Aside from the financial impact, a cybersecurity breach could disrupt your operations. Your system and network could be compromised and experience glitches that can lead to loss of productivity or total failure of all company activities.

Furthermore, it can also damage the reputation of your business. A cyberattack could make you lose the trust of your loyal customers and partners. Clients who previously trusted you with their data may turn away, and trying to persuade them won’t be a walk in the park.

That said, you can minimize such instances when your employees understand the severe effects of breaches. As they become more aware, they can be more vigilant and cautious not to click links from untrusted sources.

4. Educate Employees On How They Can Identify Distrustful Activities

In 2021, the mean number of data breaches and cyberattacks increased by 15.1% from the preceding year. This number keeps on rising as hackers discover more creative and intelligent ways to use to access your system.

For this reason, it’s crucial for your employees to know how to spot any suspicious activities and how to handle them. Let them observe the following signs:

  • Unexpected display of new programs and apps on their devices
  • Devices slowing down
  • Inability to control their keyboards or mouses
  • Unusual pop-ups during booting, shutdown, or usual activities.

Motivate all your workers to report any distrustful or suspicious signs straightaway. Even though the threats may not be significant, prompt alerts can help prevent issues that may lead to adverse effects.  

5. Include Cybersecurity Awareness In Onboarding

Onboarding is a vital part of growing a company. When you include cybersecurity awareness training during this process, new hires can quickly understand their roles in cybersecurity from day one. Let them know the kind of data that requires protection and how they can do it.

Additionally, you can set cybersecurity expectations for them and the penalties they may face for failing to adhere to the organisation’s cybersecurity policies. According to an Egress report, approximately 74% of businesses have been breached due to internal team members breaking security rules. Thus, it may be good to set penalties for your employees to be keen on security policies.   

Aside from the awareness, train your new employees on what they should do when a cyberattack occurs. Doing so introduces your workers to your culture and makes them feel like a part of the larger team. It also shows them you care about their safety, which can encourage them to stay safe from the first day onwards. 

Conclusion

Hackers can obtain your company’s sensitive information in various ways. Educating your employees about cybersecurity awareness enables them to get an insight into how they play significant roles in protecting your organisation against malicious attacks. Above are some tips that you can consider when training your employees. You can also maximise tools and software for further protection, especially if you have a remote team to avoid cyberattack risks.

Ways to Help You Build Up Your Business

Whether it’s a simple expansion to becoming an entire corporation, growth is something every business experiences. Going from a handful of clients to seeing regulars is a showcase of growth. However, building up a business stems from a lot more than how many customers you see every day. Here are a few tips to help you build up your business to be as successful as possible.

Come Up with New Ideas

How does a business keep the crowd wanting more? The answer is relatively simple: coming up with new and inventive business ideas. However, it’s worth pointing out that not everyone is going to invoke new ideas whenever the situation calls for it. You may even experience a rough patch where you can’t think of anything at all. A great way to craft new ideas is to look around you for inspiration. Look at what’s currently trending and see how you can put your own creative spin on it. You should be abreast on the top tech trends for business, but also know how to expound on them yourself so that you can marry existing ideas with your specific brand of innovation.

Consider Investing Your Funds

You might be confused on how taking such a huge risk can help your company grow. If there’s one thing business is known for, it’s most definitely the risks. In fact, simply opening one is a risk because you don’t know if it’ll do well. Even with all the planning involved, there’s always a chance things could go south. But the same rings true for investments as well. Fortunately, not every investment is so deep-seeded in risk, you’ll lose a ton of money either way. There are a few types that are very safe with a low risk factor. Currently, the safest form of investment is real estate.

Investing into a real estate property may not seem like the best idea as it does require quite a bit of money. However, there’s more than one way to invest into real estate than simply purchasing a property outright. That’s a process within itself as there are many different rental property types. You can take things slow and easy by putting your money toward shares. Real estate shares are very similar to stock market shares. You choose a place that’s promoting them and simply buy as many as you can afford. However, you need to be mindful of where you buy said shares. Not every property is worth the money and this can be for a variety of reasons, like a less-than-savory neighborhood or a high vacancy rate.

Get the Proper Protection

Growing your business can take a lot of work, but you don’t want to leave yourself unprotected. You never know when something can happen; you could have a data breach or a client experienced an accident while on the business’ property. This is why you need to have a few insurance policies in effect. Here’s a quick list of the necessary types of insurance you’ll need:

  • General liability
  • Commercial property
  • Professional liability
  • Data breach
  • Fleet insurance

Insurance can protect you from losing your finances and personal assets in the event of a lawsuit. Make sure to research each type of insurance, so you can pinpoint the ones you need the most.

5 Dangers of Tanning Beds and Common Myths

Nothing beats waking up to bronzed, glowing skin. Let’s face it, life is simply better when you have a tan, but how you achieve that tan is really important. You know what we’re going to say, don’t you? You’ll not like it, but it needs to be said. Here it goes…

Indoor tanning is bad for you!

There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ tan that requires UV radiation to activate. It does not exist, and you need to bail on that mentality pronto or risk further damage to your skin and health. Don’t just take our word for it, look at the facts; each year in the United States, more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer are linked to indoor tanning.

Let’s start with some good news! You don’t need tanning beds in order to achieve that gorgeous Kim K glow. Self-tanning products, such as mousse, water, and self-tan drops, are all safe and effective ways to give you the deep tan that you love so much. Hey, we love it too.

Let’s look at the dangers of indoor tanning here.

Cancer

As mentioned above, the use of tanning beds greatly increases your chances of getting skin cancer, which can be fatal in many cases. To mimic the sun, tanning booths and sunbeds give off UV (ultraviolet) rays, damaging the DNA in your skin cells. Over time, with relentless use of tanning beds, this damage can build up and cause skin cancer.

While this is typically common knowledge (or at least, it should be), what many people fail to realize is that the UV rays used in sunbeds can be up to six times more intense than direct sunlight. This means that every minute on the tanning bed equals 12 minutes in the sun!

Damages immune system

Recent times (don’t worry, we’re not going to say the dreaded word) have demonstrated just how important it is to have an immune system in tip-top condition. It’s been proven that constant exposure to UV radiation can suppress the proper functioning of your immune system, meaning it’ll be harder for your body to fight off future infections.

We’re not here to scare or upset you. We just want you to understand that the risks associated with tanning beds simply aren’t worth the tan, especially when there are other ways to achieve that sun-kissed vibe.

You could get addicted

In some cases, tanning beds can be just as addictive as taking drugs and drinking alcohol. The more you expose yourself to UV radiation, the more your body will crave it, which can negatively impact your mental and physical health. You should stop visiting tanning booths long before your body begins to long for it.

Premature aging

Premature aging is a cosmetic problem… but a problem, nonetheless. For many Americans, the goal is to stay looking young for as long as possible, with 42 per cent of women aged between 25 and 34 years old admitting they ‘regularly’ worry about signs of aging.

If you’re in this crew, you’re going to want to ditch the sunbeds once and for all. The ultraviolet rays are responsible for causing wrinkles in addition to coarse, leathery skin. You may think you’re exempt, but the effects can suddenly appear years down the line. If you want to look like you regularly bathe in the Fountain of Youth, tanning beds should never be an option.

Injury to eyes

Keep your eyes on the prize, and that prize is healthy eyes. Continuous exposure to the harmful effects of UV radiation can play havoc with your eyes, particularly for those who don’t wear the appropriate goggles during their sessions (you know who you are!).

Irritation and macular degeneration are two very real problems that can result from using tanning beds, as well as cataracts. Even if you do wear the right kind of protective eyewear, it’s just not worth the risk. Sorry, but that’s the tea.

Tanning myths

As with anything, tanning has accumulated some wild ‘facts’ over the years, most of which simply aren’t true. Believing these myths may encourage you to continue using sunbeds, which is why we’re about to blow two of the biggest culprits out of the water. You’re welcome.

Tanning is necessary for vitamin D – There are other ways to get the necessary levels of vitamin D that your body needs, such as eating fatty fish and seafood or taking supplements. This is not a justification for damaging your skin!

Only fair-skinned people need to worry about sun damage – Not true! Those with darker skin must still take every precaution possible when it comes to the sun and indoor tanning. Although the extra melanin in darker skin can offer more protection, it’s not enough to filter all the harmful UV radiation.

Start protecting yourself and your skin

As we’ve discussed, the dangers associated with tanning beds just aren’t worth the tan – not when there are safer, gentler ways to achieve that sought-after glow. Taking risks is fun and exciting for the most part, but not when it comes to skin cancer and premature wrinkles!

If you truly care about keeping up your appearance, it’s crucial you look past the initial superficial benefits of indoor tanning and really understand the scary, ugly side that comes with it. Safe self-tanning is the way forward, and we’re sure you’ll thank us for this guidance (okay, we’ll admit it, the pushing). Happy self-tanning!

7 Things to Consider When Downsizing Your Office Space

Does your business need more space? Are you looking to downsize and save on costs? Here are 10 things to think about when considering downsizing your office space:

Your budget

People very often downsize to save money–whether they are relocating into a smaller commercial space or purchasing a condo to work out of–but there are always costs associated with downsizing.

Consider whether you’re really willing to spend what will likely be a significant amount of money on making the move. If you’re not downsizing to save money in the long term, is it worth it to spend money upfront?

You’ll need to factor in professional fees (e.g. for a real estate agent), moving costs, and any renovations or changes that need to be made to the new space. Make sure you have a clear understanding of all the costs associated with downsizing before making any decisions.

Your location

Downsizing usually goes hand-in-hand with relocating, so it’s important to consider your new location carefully. You’ll want to make sure that the space is convenient for both your employees and your customers.

You’ll also want to consider the neighbourhood and whether it’s the right fit for your business. If you’re downsizing to save money, you may be tempted to move to a less desirable location–but this could end up costing you more in the long run if it affects your business negatively.

Your customers

Your customers should also be taken into account when downsizing your office space. If you’re relocating, will they be able to find you easily? Is the new space convenient forJ them?

You may also want to consider whether the new space sends the right message to your customers. If you’re downsizing to save money, a shabby or unprofessional-looking space could reflect poorly on your business.

Your image

Your office space is often a reflection of your business, so it’s important to consider how downsizing will affect your image. If you’re moving to a smaller or less desirable space, it could send the wrong message to your employees, customers, and clients.

On the other hand, if done well, downsizing can be seen as a positive move for your business. It can show that you’re financially responsible and that you’re willing to make sacrifices for the good of the company.

Your furniture

Like your equipment, your furniture will also need to be taken into account when downsizing your office space. Will it all fit in the new space? If not, what will you do with the excess?

You may need to sell or donate some of your furniture, and you’ll also need to factor in the cost of moving and storing any larger items. Make sure you have a plan for all your furniture before you downsize.

Your lease

If you’re downsizing to a smaller space, you may be able to get out of your current lease early. However, you’ll need to check with your landlord first and make sure that there’s no penalty for doing so.

You should also be prepared to continue paying your current lease until it expires, even if you move out early. Make sure you understand your lease agreement before you make any decisions about downsizing.

You should also factor in things like current interest rates if you are planning on buying office space and are taking out a mortgage.

Your budget

Downsizing your office space can save you money, but it’s important to consider the cost of the move itself. Make sure you factor in the cost of packing and moving, as well as any renovations or repairs that need to be done to the new space.

You should also consider the long-term costs of downsizing, such as higher rent prices or the loss of customers due to a less convenient location. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your budget before you make any decisions about downsizing.

Conclusion

Downsizing your office space can be a great way to save money, but it’s important to consider all the factors before making a decision. Take the time to think about how downsizing will affect your business, your employees, and your customers. And make sure you have a clear understanding of your budget before you make any decisions. With a little planning, you can make downsizing work for your business.

UK SME Companies Run by Women are Less Likely to go Insolvent Than Companies Run by Men

The statistics show that businesses with 2 or more directors that are women have a lower rate of insolvency with a rate of 0.59% for women-dominated boards versus 0.84% for male-dominated boards.  So, companies were 42% more likely to become insolvent if their board is made up of 75% men or more. Last time KSA Group researched this in 2018 it was nearer 70% more likely. For single male director companies, the insolvency rate was still 30% higher than female at 1.08% compared to 0.77%

What has been shown though, perhaps not surprisingly, is that the overall insolvency rate for all businesses has increased when compared to 2018.  For male dominated businesses the rate has increased from 0.34% of all businesses to 0.84% and for women run businesses it has increased from 0.20% to 0.59%.  This broadly reflects the pattern of increased numbers of insolvencies following the pandemic.

Key findings in 2021/22

  • Insolvency rate is up to 40% higher in male run companies
  • 4 times as many companies are run by majority men than women
  • Overall insolvency rate in both groups has increased by a factor of 200%

What conclusions can we draw from these findings? 

Robert Moore at KSA Group said; “It is apparent that the insolvency rate is higher in male run businesses, but this may be due to a number of factors that have nothing to do with whether men are less effective at running businesses than women.  It may well be that the businesses that tend to be more likely to become insolvent due to the nature of the industry or recent economic events are coincidently run by men.”

  • The study found that property letting businesses and hospitality were overly represented in the data set of female-dominated businesses that have become insolvent.  For male-dominated businesses construction was the most represented industry with 16% of those companies going insolvent but for women it was 5%

We do not have the data on the overall percentage of each industry across all active companies so it is difficult to draw conclusions on whether this is a sector specific problem.  It should be noted that the gap between the performance of men and women run businesses has narrowed since 2018.  The pandemic has perhaps hit a much wider range of businesses and made profitable and stable companies suddenly unviable.  So, women who may take less risks in business, than perhaps men, in a normally functioning economy suffer disproportionally more when there is a massive external shock?

See the pie charts below which show the industry distribution represented by insolvent companies depending on gender bias.

Pie charts

Male Dominated Insolvent Companies

Female dominated insolvent companies

About the Study

For the analysis KSA Group researched Creditsafe’s database of 4m companies in the UK.

In order to do the analysis,  2 lots of 4 data sets were collected:

  • A count of all active companies with just 2 men on the board or a majority of 75% of the board that have been actively trading in the last 12 months ?    579832
  • A count of boards containing just 2 women or a majority of 75% of the board that have been actively trading in the last 12 months ?     67047           
  • A count of all companies that went into administration or liquidation in male-run businesses as above ?         4870 companies went into liquidation, compulsory liquidation ( winding up order) administration or appointment of liquidators from October 2021 
  • A count of all companies that went into administrator or liquidation in female-run businesses as above ?        397 companies went into liquidation, compulsory liquidation ( winding up order) administration or appointment of liquidators from October 2021

Businesses with less than a 75% gender bias were excluded. 

  • A count of all active companies with just 1 man on the board that have been actively trading in the last 12 months ?    1776275
  • A count of companies containing just 1 women on the board that have been actively trading in the last 12 months ?     539861          
  • A count of all companies that went into administration or liquidation in male-run businesses as above ?         19262 companies went into liquidation, compulsory liquidation ( winding up order) administration or appointment of liquidators from October 2021  
  • A count of all companies that went into administrator or liquidation in female-run businesses as above ?        4196 companies went into liquidation, compulsory liquidation ( winding up order) administration or appointment of liquidators from October 2021  

The question of whether male or females are better at running businesses has been researched in America https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/256305.  The researchers found that there was no discernible difference.  However, research done after the financial crisis did show that female-run banks were less likely to go bust https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-014-2288-3.

Clearly more studies could be done in this area to see if there really are any gender influences in business failures. Given that many business failures are caused by not acting early enough and not taking advice then the old cliché that men don’t follow instructions or ask for help in many aspects of their lives may just be true in their roles as Directors of companies.  Another possible explanation is that Men are more prone to risk taking and that will inevitably lead to higher insolvencies.

Insurance Coverage Everyone Needs

The importance of various types of insurance coverage is often underestimated until someone finds themselves in a situation where they need it. There are so many situations that are unpredictable and entirely out of your control, but when you have good insurance, you can financially protect yourself. You’re also giving yourself priceless peace of mind when you have good coverage.
You’re protecting your assets, making insurance a critical part of building a strong financial plan. You can protect not only your possessions but your earning power.

With those things in mind, below are some of the types of insurance everyone should have.

Homeowners/Renters Insurance

Homeowners insurance protects your biggest investment. The prices can vary depending on the state you’re in and other factors, but overall, it’s not an extremely expensive type of coverage. For example, homeowners insurance in South Carolina is, on average, $1,269 a year. The national average for homeowners insurance is $1,211 annually.

Homeowners’ insurance should ideally include dwelling coverage, giving you an added layer of protection beyond the limits of your policy.

You may also need to add flood and hurricane insurance, depending on where you live.

Renters’ insurance has similarities to health insurance. If you don’t have renters insurance and you’re the victim of something like a fire, flood, or theft, you won’t be protected. Some landlords require renters insurance.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is essential. Around 67% of people who file for bankruptcy do so because they have medical debt. If you don’t have health insurance, you’re always going to be on the brink of a financial disaster, whether or not you realize it. Medical bills can quickly be hundreds of thousands of dollars for even a relatively mild illness.

Even if you don’t go to the doctor a lot, don’t think you can get away without health insurance. You might end up getting a high-deductible plan, but still, you need that coverage.

If you have a high-deductible plan, you can open a Health Savings Account. A Health Savings Account or HSA is a savings account with tax advantages, where you put money aside to cover medical expenses if and when they arise.

If you have an HSA, you can deduct your contributions from your business income or gross pay. You can invest the funds that you contribute, and they’ll grow tax-free, and you can use tax-free withdrawal for qualified medical expenses such as your deductibles.

Long-Term Disability

If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t work, a long-term disability can protect your income. According to the Social Security Administration, more than one in four current twenty-year-olds will become disabled before they’re 67, highlighting the importance of this insurance.

If you’re in your prime earning years, a disability could derail all of your other financial goals.

If you want to avoid paying for something you don’t need, on the other hand, you might make it short-term disability insurance because your emergency savings should cover you in this scenario where you’d be out of work for three to six months.

Long-term disability coverage will provide a monetary benefit that’s equal to part of your salary for covered disability. That portion of your salary it will cover is usually 50-60%. In order to receive benefits through LTD, the disability has to have occurred after the issuance of the policy, usually after a waiting period.

Medical information confirmed by a physical is usually submitted to the insurance company.

A lot of LTD policies will group disabilities as their own occupation or any occupation. Own occupation means that if you’re the insured person, you aren’t able to do your regular job or a similar job because of disability. Any occupation means that you’re not able to do any job you’re qualified for.

Worker’s compensation also pays for disability, but long-term disability coverage isn’t limited to injuries or disabilities that occur on the job.

Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is something you’re required to have in most states, but you might be better off going beyond what’s required.

You shouldn’t drive if you’re uninsured because getting into even a minor accident can be costly, and you’d have to pay damages out-of-pocket.

Liability coverage is what kicks in if you’re in an accident that you’re responsible for. Most states require that drivers have a minimum amount of coverage, and it takes care of both injuries and property damage that occur because of a collision.

Collision coverage is for the costs of repairing or replacing a car that’s damaged or totalled, and comprehensive coverage is for losses not caused by a wreck, like a flood, fire, or hail.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is one that so many go without. Only around 54% of people in America have life insurance, but most financial experts say it should be a priority.

If you die unexpectedly, you’d be leaving your family to manage without your income. A term life insurance policy for anywhere from 10 to 12 times your yearly income would prevent your family from having to worry about making ends meet if you weren’t there to provide for them.

Umbrella Policy

Finally, an umbrella policy is one more layer that you can add to protect yourself and your family if you want coverage that’s beyond your auto or homeowners insurance.

If you were to end up at fault in a car accident with multiple vehicles involved, for example, your property damages and medical bills might add up rapidly, totalling more than your car insurance will cover. If you’re then sued for the difference, you could lose your savings, your home, and more.

A personal liability umbrella policy is a way to protect yourself, especially if you have a net worth of at least $500,000. These policies usually cost just a few hundred dollars a year, and you can raise your liability coverage so that it’s more than $1 million.

China Calls for Digital Cooperation to Boost Global Economic Recovery

Building global consensus and bolstering confidence in world economic recovery is a critical task for the 17th G20 Summit, with the theme “Recover Together, Recover Stronger.”

As a new driving force for global economic growth, the digital economy has great significance. The added value of the digital economy in 47 countries around the world reached $38.1 trillion in 2021, with an increase of 15.6 percent year on year, according to a report titled “World Internet Development Report 2022”.

Against this background, China on Wednesday called on G20 members to make joint efforts in invigorating digital cooperation so as to let the fruits of the development of the digital economy benefit people of all countries.

Building global digital economic paradigm

China stands ready to continue cooperating with the G20 members to jointly build a global digital economic paradigm featuring benefits for all, balance, coordination, inclusiveness, win-win cooperation and common prosperity, said Chinese President Xi Jinping when attending and addressing the summit in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.

Multilateralism must be upheld, Xi stressed, calling for strengthened international cooperation.

Noting that development should be prioritized, the Chinese president said the digital gap must be bridged and innovation should serve as the driving force for promoting post-pandemic recovery.

During the 2016 Hangzhou G20 Summit, China for the first time put the digital economy on the G20 agenda, vowing to innovate development patterns and tap growth potential.

At the following summits of the group in 2017 and 2018, world leaders also held extensive discussions on how to strengthen cooperation in developing the digital economy while addressing the challenges brought about by new technologies.

During these years, multiple G20 summits have made it clear that the digital economy is an increasingly important driver of global economic growth, and the G20, which includes the world’s major economies, represents the leading force in the development of the digital economy.

China in action

The Chinese president also underlined that China will continue to work with G20 members to foster a “balanced, coordinated and inclusive” global digital economy landscape that brings benefits to all and features win-win cooperation and shared prosperity.

China has launched the initiative of building a Digital Silk Road, and has identified digital economy as a key area of cooperation under the Global Development Initiative, according to Xi.

China has proposed the G20 Action Plan on Digital Innovation and Cooperation, which is aimed at promoting the innovative application of digital technology and making innovation outcomes beneficial to all and shared by all, and welcomes the participation of all parties, Xi said.

China, as the world’s second largest economy and the largest developing country, has attached great importance to developing the digital economy, and its digital development will inject new impetus into global economic recovery and create new opportunities for common development.

Over the past decade, China has witnessed remarkable progress in its digital economy, the value of which reached 45.5 trillion yuan (about $6.3 trillion) in 2021, accounting for 39.8 percent of the country’s GDP, according to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies on November 9.

By June 2022, there were 1.05 billion internet users in China, and the internet penetration rate had reached 74.4 percent, read a white paper titled “Jointly Build a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace” released by China’s State Council Information Office on November 7.

The country hosts the world’s largest 5G network and is one of the global leaders in 5G standards and technology, with 1.85 million 5G cell towers and 455 million 5G cell phone subscribers, according to the white paper.

Still, the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and long-range objectives through 2035, which map out a blueprint for the country’s new journey toward the full construction of a modern socialist country, makes it clear that China will continue to put efforts in promoting the digital economy.

The country aims to raise the proportion of the added value of core digital economy industries in its GDP to 10 percent in 2025, up from 7.8 percent in 2020, according to the plan.

By 2025, China will see the digital transformation of industries reach a new level, digital public services will become more inclusive, and the digital economy governance system will improve noticeably, as per the plan.

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2022-11-16/China-calls-for-digital-cooperation-to-boost-global-economic-recovery-1f0OuLDSeCQ/index.html  

SOURCE CGTN

The Top Luxury Hen-Do Destinations of Your Dreams

A hen-do doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go wild. Waking up with a hangover and no recollection of your memories isn’t everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to sending off your life as a single woman.

Some ladies like to celebrate the end of one chapter and the beginning of another in style. If you’re in favour of a classy hen-do, these ideas will help you pick your destination and the vibe of your party. Let’s get planning!

How to have a classy hen-do in the UK

A hen-do doesn’t necessarily mean jetting off to Las Vegas. The UK has an abundance of picturesque locations that offer prime hospitality and will ensure you’re well looked after on your special day.

London – celebrating with the high-life

If you feel like channelling your big-city-girl persona, the capital is brimming with high-end activities to help you with that.

A themed afternoon tea in honour of your inner queen is a great way to eat mouth-watering cakes, drink fine tea, and discuss the best moments of your life as a single woman in great company.

A queen by day can easily turn into a star by night. Head off to one of the many rooftop bars in London with spectacular views and enchanting garden décor. Imagine taking a picture dressed in your chic cocktail dress, womens boots, and silver tiara overlooking the London Eye – what a great way to capture the moment!

London is the favoured hen-do destination of Poppy Delevingne, who had a ’90s-themed party at the Groucho Club and relaxed at the London Edition Hotel.

A spa initiation into your new life

If you’re in for a chilled weekend with your fellow hens and want to be treated like the true princess you are, a spa weekend in the beloved countryside will be a heavenly experience for you will be a heavenly hen-do for you.

Some of the most luxurious state-of-the-art spa resorts include the Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village in Lancashire, St Michael’s Resort in Falmouth, and the Langley Spa in Buckinghamshire.

Get ready for a pamper and a hamper! The variety of spa and wellness treatments will rejuvenate your soul and body, providing you with a ritualistic initiation into your married life.

A hen-do adventure abroad

Celebrating your hen-do in the UK is a great way to pay homage to your roots, but if you want to infuse your hen party with a little adventure, having it abroad can be truly magical.

Hen-do a la Paris

What could be a better destination for your elegant hen-do than the capital of fashion, love, and fine wine – Paris. Imbued with class and luxury, every corner of the French capital is like a scene from the most enchanting movie. Even Kim Kardashian headed to Paris for her hen-do, hosting a private party at the Eiffel Tower, while wearing a sequined Balmain dress.

Channel your inner romantic and revel in the beauty of the city of love by indulging in activities, such as champagne tasting, river cruises, tours of the Eiffel Tower, and of course, shopping on Les Champs-Elysées.

But before you get on the plane, make sure you’ve packed yourself a suitcase with the most stylish outfits you can imagine: draped winter coat, red dress, black boots, and a beret are a must! It’s time to celebrate your hen-do in Parisian style!

Immersing yourself in tropical heaven

Fancy something more exotic? Then enjoy the white beaches and all-inclusive resorts dotted around the Caribbean Coast of Mexico.

This is where Gwyneth Paltrow and Lauren Conrad celebrated their hen do’s, and there is a reason for that. Cancun beach, one of the most esteemed ones, offers a range of underwater activities, Michelin-star restaurants, and bucket-list-style events.

Pack your spectacular bikinis, flat sandals, and elegant sarong, and get ready to be kissed by the sun in the company of your bride tribe at this tropical hen-do destination!

Your hen-do is your time to celebrate you. Whether you choose to stay at home or explore a foreign destination, the most important thing is to be in good company and with the right attitude. Channel your inner luxury radar, and you’ll find yourself in your dream hen-do destination.

Ten Free Ways to Boost the Cyber Security of Your Business

Looking to strengthen the cyber security of your business? Anthony Green, CTO of cyber security firm, FoxTech, wants to demonstrate that making a big difference doesn’t always need to come at a big price tag.

“Many companies – particularly start-ups and smaller businesses – are reluctant to investigate the state of their cyber security because they are worried they don’t have the budget to fix any problems they might find,” says Anthony.

“Of course, having a budget to invest in strengthening your cyber security is the ideal scenario, but if the money simply isn’t there, it doesn’t mean a business is doomed to security chaos. There are many things that any organisation can do to strengthen their protection without spending a penny – so there’s no excuse for having terrible security!”

To help businesses take control of their cyber security, FoxTech has created a list of ten free ways to boost your business’ cyber security.

1. Software updates offer free security fixes – so install them promptly

Installing software updates is one of the easiest and best things you can do to boost your cyber security. Software updates contain fixes to bugs and security holes discovered in the previous software versions. Software companies do not fix issues on old versions of software, so if you don’t regularly install updates then you are exposed to any hackers looking to take advantage of these flaws.

Security experts create these updates for a reason – and it’s part of what you’re paying for when you purchase a device or software package, so ensure you take advantage of this.

It’s a good idea to turn on automatic updates and install fixes as soon as they become available. This goes for the operating system on your device, as well as any third-party software that you use in your business, such as the Windows suite.

2. Configure DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is an email authentication, policy, and reporting protocol. It identifies email spoofing (people sending emails on behalf of your domain), spam and phishing scams, providing businesses with another layer of protection against scam emails.

It’s free to configure DMARC yourself, or businesses can get it configured by a third-party cybersecurity firm for a low cost.

3. Educate your employees about phishing

The UK Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 found that 83% of UK businesses experienced at least one phishing attempt in the 12 months preceding their survey, making phishing emails the most common form of attempted cyber attack. Employees are the first line of defence against phishing, so ensure that employees know how to identify and correctly report phishing emails.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offers free cyber security training which has a module on spotting and reporting phishing scams.

4. Instil a no-blame culture

If employees are worried about being penalised for falling victim to an attack attempt, they are far less likely to report it. Actively instilling a no-blame culture means that, if an employee does click on a scam link, they should feel confident enough to report it as soon as it happens. As a result, your business will have time to investigate whether it has resulted in intruders breaching your system before the worst happens – such as the attacker locating sensitive data or launching a ransom demand. 

5. Get a free CyberRisk score

FoxTech offers a free CyberRisk score for businesses. It uses your business email address to search for publicly available information about your company’s cyber security posture – essentially showing organisations what their system looks like to an attacker. The assessment identifies security weaknesses to help businesses fix them before they are exploited by hackers.

6. Practice good password hygiene

The NCSC advises disabling complexity requirements and mandatory password updates, because they encourage password re-use and the use of common passwords (like Password1234!) Instead, their official guidance is to use three random words, such as glasscattree or plantbluewheel. This strikes the balance between creating a password that’s easy to remember, but secure enough to keep cyber criminals at bay.

7. Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts, meaning that even if your account passwords are compromised, a cyber criminal won’t be able to breach an account without access to a linked device. While employees might view 2FA as a frustrating additional step to sign-in, it really is one of the most effective ways of preventing a password breach. You can enable 2FA for free on Microsoft accounts, Google accounts, and Apple products.

8. Don’t connect to insecure Wi-Fi networks

An unsecured Wi-Fi network is one you can access without a password. These networks usually have no security encryption, meaning hackers can use them to distribute malware onto any connected devices. Business owners should communicate the risks of connecting to unknown public Wi-Fi networks to their employees and put appropriate measures in place – such as discouraging practices like working while travelling.

9. Create an incident response plan

According to the UK Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022, only 19% of businesses have a formal incident response plan – which lays out what to do in the event of an attack.

Without an incident response plan, businesses are unprepared to deal with a hack, making the potential fallout worse, and the recovery period longer. Incident response plans also ensure you are acting legally when it comes to informing customers of data theft. Read the NCSC’s guidance on creating an incident response plan.

10. Don’t overlook physical security

Whether it’s leaving server rooms unlocked, sticking post-it-notes of passwords on your devices, forgetting to shred documents containing sensitive data, or leaving company devices unattended in public spaces, attackers can, and still do, take advantage of these physical vulnerabilities. So, while the average hack might not rely on a physical element, no organisation should be complacent when it comes to traditional security advice.

Hilton Looks Ahead and Identifies Key Travel Trends for 2023, As a Record Year of Travel Draws to a Close

New research shows that UAE travellers seek personalised experiences, health and wellness, and deeper connections to local communities and cultures in 2023

 If 2022 was the year of the changed traveler, 2023 is the year of the evolved traveller. Today, Hilton released its 2023 trends report, The 2023 Traveler: Emerging Trends that are Innovating the Travel Experience, A Report from Hilton, which reveals the latest consumer expectations following a year when travellers showed up in record numbers.

Based on a survey of 500 UAE residents commissioned by Hilton, the new report reveals the aspirations and needs of people taking trips next year. Overall, the survey shows that a large number of UAE respondents (74%) wish to travel more in 2023 than they did in 2022. Additionally, (32%) of people said their wish list of travel destinations has increased for next year.

The research uncovered four consistent themes for 2023 travel:

People will turn to travel for deeper, more engaging, human experiences and connections

Travel is a gateway to discovering different perspectives and rich traditions. The research found that UAE travellers will focus on travel in 2023 to create deeper, more engaging connections with family, friends, colleagues, customers, cultures and the planet. Nearly half (46%) of survey respondents want to learn about local culture while traveling, while 39% want access to locally-sourced products. In addition, strengthening connections with friends and/or family through travel was highlighted by 40% of those questioned.

From destination-focused culinary travel packages to impactful programs like Hilton’s Travel with Purpose, which helps guests positively impact the communities they visit, travellers are looking to create meaningful change through more immersive travel experiences. In fact, Hilton is witnessing signs of this growth through its reimagined Hilton Honors Experiences, which saw a 77% year-over-year increase in Hilton Honors Point redemption during the first nine months of 2022, allowing members to connect with their passions through new, exclusive artist and celebrity events.

People will recognize travel as an essential part of their wellness routine

Health and fitness emerges from the survey as a significant priority for UAE travellers in 2023 with 36% of people saying travel will be an important part of their wellness routine. Having access to unique spa treatments (33%) came out strongly, as did having access to fitness activities outside of the fitness centre of their hotel (34%). Regarding food and drink, almost half (48%) of people want healthier options while travelling.

Travelers will want to be taken care of more than ever

Next year, Hilton anticipates UAE travellers will have a renewed appreciation for experiencing moments where they feel special. 49% care about friendly and reliable service while travelling and 28% will expect travel and hospitality companies to accommodate their personal needs next year. Specifically, more than half (56%) are looking for personalized food and beverage options and 51% are looking for personalized experiences and activities.

Travellers from the UAE know the importance of wanting to feel valued for their loyalty. In fact, 35% of survey respondents indicate that loyalty perks—such as earning/redeeming points and loyalty benefits—will matter to them when traveling in 2023.

Travelers want frictionless travel innovations that are both technology- and human-led

Hilton’s research found that almost half (46%) of travelers will seek an easier overall travel experience in 2023 and 37% of respondents anticipate hotel technologies will be important to them for a seamless stay.

For a frictionless travel experience, Hilton’s Digital Key allows travelers to bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms. Additionally, enhanced booking options like Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton allows families and friends to reserve adjoining rooms when booking online.

Why Men Aren’t Opening Up About Mental Health

Mental health is on the tip of everyone’s tongues at the moment thanks to the aftermath of a pandemic, a national financial crisis, and a bleak winter looming overhead. However, in these conversations, one demographic often gets left behind: men.

In the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50, with approximately three quarters of deaths from suicide each year being men. Whilst there has been a great amount of conversation surrounding mental health, the discussion often stalls when it comes to men’s mental health, especially among groups of men. A study conducted by the Priory Group found that 40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health, with 29% saying that this is because they are ‘too embarrassed,’ and 20% stating that there is a ‘negative stigma’ surrounding the topic.

The survey further showed that for 40% of men, it would take suicidal ideations or thoughts of self-harm to compel them to seek professional help. This figure is supported by the fact that only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men. However, men are more likely to go missing, become homeless, or form dependencies on harmful substances, and according to the government’s national wellbeing survey, men report lower levels of life satisfaction. Indeed, there is an enormous inconsistency between the number of men experiencing severe mental illnesses and those that are seeking help – which leads to the question: why?

According to Mind’s Get It Off Your Chest: Men’s Mental Health 10 Years On, there are a plethora of reasons why men choose not to seek help, with reasons including embarrassment, a fear of being put on medication, and a lack of awareness surrounding where to get help. Moreover, the document speaks of a male focus group in Sheffield, in which the men highlighted that the ‘problem was not asking for help but help not being available.’ It is therefore clear that accessibility and fear are the two key underlying factors in men not receiving proper mental health support.

A significant contributor to such apprehension is the aforementioned stigma, with much of this stemming from tradition and gender roles. There is nothing wrong with masculinity or being masculine; there is a problem, however, when the need to be masculine infringes on the ability to be vulnerable or to seek help. Being masculine should not be synonymous with a lack of emotion. This is easier said than done – especially when society tells men how they should behave in order to be seen as the architype of masculinity and manliness – for example, how many times have you heard someone be told to ‘man up’ when expressing emotion?

When a man expresses emotion – particularly negative emotions like sadness – he is painted as being weak and less of a man. This simply pushes men further away from opening up or accepting help. It can also lead to disruptive or aggressive outbursts. The consequences in any sense are sure to be negative as repressed emotions do not get the chance to be processed in a healthy and productive way. As noted by Healthline, if your emotions are consistently invalidated, you begin to ‘think of sadness, anger, and disappointment as emotions you shouldn’t have, or at the very least, shouldn’t acknowledge to anyone.’

Furthermore, if people cannot access the resources and support they need within their circle, this will deter them from reaching out further afield. Budget cuts to the NHS have resulted in diminishing access to mental health services and have dramatically reduced the quality of the ones available. As of November 2022, there is speculation that there will be further budget cuts in England, with Scotland leading the way with plans to cut £38 million from mental health spending.

It is therefore unsurprising that mental health issues among men are on the rise: the number of men who have suicidal thoughts when feeling worried or low has doubled to 10% since 2009; between 2010 and 2016, the amount of men admitted to hospital with an eating disorder increased by 70%; and men are almost 50% more likely than women to be detained and treated compulsorily as psychiatric inpatients.

However, the tides are turning. More organisations are coming forward to highlight the current issues surrounding men’s mental health, and this includes the leading charity, Movember, who are changing the face of men’s health. Movember is currently promoting the ALEC model which has been designed to help people navigate conversations with friends or family members they think are struggling, and it has also created a Movember Conversations tool through which people can practice conversations and learn how to approach topics with sensitivity. The charity understands men – it looks through a male lens – and it is working towards a world where ‘men take action to be mentally well, and are supported by those around them.’

Hopefully this progression will continue, permeating through different areas of society in order to truly effect long-term change. Men should not have to suffer in silence. They shouldn’t have to face such stigma or judgement – there is no shame in expressing emotion or being honest and transparent. Mental health services across the board need to be looked at and improved upon; but in the meantime, be kind to others and be kind to yourself.

The Future of Crime Fighting: Innovative Technology to Protect Your Business

Supporting your business isn’t only developing good strategies and executing them, it also includes ensuring the safety of your assets. By the end of the 2021 financial year, 38% of wholesale and retail properties in the UK experienced a crime. This was equivalent to over 150,000 properties, with the majority being due to theft (29%), assaults (11%), and burglary (10%).

Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Treated?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints of your hands, wrists and feet. It occurs when your immune system attacks your body tissues by mistake. In the United States, around 1.3 million people are affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

While there is no permanent cure to treat RA, early diagnosis and treatments can help decrease the severity of the condition. In this article, we will discuss the treatments available for rheumatoid arthritis so you can continue living a normal life.

1.    Medications

The type of medication the doctor may prescribe you will vary according to your severity and how long you have had the disease. Doctors usually prescribe steroids such as prednisone and dexamethasone to relieve pain when joints are flaring up. Their side effects include thinning of bones and diabetes, so doctors give smaller doses for a short time.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), are also used to relieve pain temporarily caused by inflammation. Drugs such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) slow the rate at which rheumatoid arthritis damages your bones and joints. This means you will have fewer symptoms over time and less damage to endure. Its side effects include temporary hair loss, nausea, and dizziness.

Biologics are drugs injected to block inflammatory pathways formed by the immune system. Biologics such as golimumab (Simponi) and infliximab (Remicade) reduce inflammation and are prescribed when DMARDs alone are not working toward decreasing RA symptoms. However, biologics can have side effects, such as itchy eyes, lips, and shortness of breath. The type of medication the doctor prescribes you depends upon your symptoms and severity of the disease.

2.    Cannabidiol (CBD)

Non-conventional medication, such as CBD, can also help with RA. Health stores stock CBD for medical purposes. Studies reveal that CBD is effective in fighting autoimmune symptoms. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which prevent autoimmune flare-ups. Inflammation triggers the onset of autoimmune diseases; if this is suppressed on time, you do not have to suffer from RA-related symptoms. You must consult your doctor before using CBD for your medical condition. Many companies, such as Secret Nature CBD, manufacture and sell CBD online.

3.    Surgery

If drugs do not work to control joint damage, doctors may ask you to consider surgery. Surgeries may restore your ability to use your joints again and live without disability. Arthrodesis (joint fusion) is carried out when joint replacement is not an option. It involves fusing a joint to restore alignment and stability. Synovectomy is another procedure to treat RA. It involves removing the inflamed tissue (synovium) to relieve pain and discomfort. It improves joint flexibility and tendon mobility.

Another one is joint replacement surgery in which doctors may remove damaged parts of your joints caused by RA in this surgery. They will then replace it with prosthetic silicone joints to restore the normal functioning of your joints. If your RA leads to carpal tunnel syndrome, the doctor may suggest carpal tunnel release surgery.

4.    Therapy

Using therapies for RA treatment has shown promising results. Two types of therapies are common to treat rheumatoid arthritis: physiotherapy and occupational therapy. If you have moderate symptoms of RA, a physiotherapist may help you keep your joint as healthy as possible. They know the mechanics of bones and joints and can make an exercise plan after examining your condition. These exercises restore joint flexibility and strength.

One of these exercises is stretching, which helps reduce stiffness caused by RA. When your muscles and bones are continually in motion, you prevent the disease from completely taking over your movements. In addition, if you do Taiichi and yoga.

Occupational therapy helps you find ways to live an everyday independent life. These therapists suggest ways to handle daily tasks. For example, you may struggle to open a bottle cap or a jar if you have RA affecting your finger joints. Occupational therapists will suggest the equipment you can use to solve such problems.

Endnote

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause a lot of discomfort but you can always resort to the treatments mentioned above to relieve your pain. There is no permanent cure for autoimmune diseases, but you can live without dependency if you take these measures highlighted in this article.

In addition, early diagnosis can save you from surgeries. You must consult a doctor if you notice joint stiffness or swelling. Once diagnosed in time, treatments can improve the quality of life. Get diagnosed and treated for rheumatoid arthritis now if you have joint pain.

A Quick Guide to Managing a Remote Workforce

A Quick Guide to Managing a Remote Workforce

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, many workers were wishing for the option of working from home. Only a handful of companies had previously explored the benefits of employing a remote workforce, and these were often the companies that fared best during the pandemic. That was a time when so many were shut down due to an out-of-control pandemic for which there was no cure.

Jumping ahead to the current time, a growing number of businesses of all sizes are gladly employing a significant portion of their staff as remote workers. The only problem now is that all the business management training they had previously dealt with an on-site workforce. So, how does one go about managing a remote workforce since they are just that, remote?

It’s actually not as difficult as you might think. This quick guide to managing a remote workforce offers several tips that just might make it so much easier.

Keep the Digital Lines of Communication Open

One of the things which owners and managers miss now that they are working with a remote workforce is the potential for daily interaction with their employees. Just the process of walking across the work floor gives them an opportunity to stop at a worker’s desk or station to say a quick hello and ask them how they are doing.

Employees like to know that they are appreciated and sometimes just those few words exchanged give them the needed encouragement to excel at their jobs. In fact, company culture is often at the top of the list when job applicants are considering one company over another. Those direct lines of communication are a vital part of what makes for a great company culture.

Provide Remote Support

Providing remote support assistance is something else few business managers have had to previously provide. They didn’t, after all, have a remote workforce so there was no need to understand just how vital this can be to their business.

If your company is employing a significant number of remote workers, then secure remote assistance is an absolute must. Gaining remote desktop control will enable the IT team to quickly assess what is going on and how they can solve any issue that particular worker is up against through a secure remote support server.

Enforce Strict Deadlines

While you don’t want to come across as a tyrant, it is imperative that you enforce strict deadlines. This is important for several reasons. Perhaps another department is waiting for that particular remote team member’s work, or it could be that customers are chomping at the bit waiting for an order they have placed with you.

One of the things you probably have in the back of your mind is that workers will be less productive if team leaders and department managers aren’t standing over their shoulders – not literally, of course. However, with remote access such as that mentioned above, you can gain secure access to their computers to see what they are working on and any changes that are taking place over time.

If you find discrepancies between what they are reporting for their daily hours and what you’ve actually observed them doing remotely, you can capture a log to authenticate their productivity. Without this ability, they might debate your findings and there would be no way to prove it either way. That remote access mentioned above is important on several levels with a remote workforce, isn’t it?

Video Conference Staff Meetings

Another of those things that matter when dealing with employees would be those periodic staff meetings. Although you employ several people who work remotely, you can still organize staff meetings through video conferencing software like Zoom.

Even your staff members who work on site can join in on a video conference staff meeting. They would simply remain at their desk to do so instead of migrating to the conference room where meetings generally take place.

One group email invitation can be sent out so that each person can sign into the meeting. Video conferencing doesn’t work like video chats. Most often the meeting would be scheduled, and the invitation gives invited attendees a link to the meeting being hosted by the employer. Not only can these meetings be used to apprise workers of upcoming events or new product lines, but it also gives them a chance to begin recognizing the faces of other remote team members.

The Way of the Future

At the end of the day, remote workforces are the way of the future. Not only is it often more convenient working from home but employers will find that their expenses are reduced as well. Many have expressed their desire to pass some of those savings on to their valued employees when the year-end figures are released. Either way, remote workforces are trending, and with all the benefits to be had on both sides of the fence, it looks like they are here to stay.

How to Ensure the Safety of Goods in Transit

If your clients rely on your business to transport their products and goods around the country or ship internationally, it’s important to get them to their destination with great care.

Failure to do so can result in a negative impact on your company’s reputation and potentially leave you out of pocket in extreme circumstances.

There are many factors involved in keeping goods intact while in transit, which we’ve explored below.

Packing goods securely

Items should be packed in the appropriate boxes, containers or pallets. This will help reduce movement while on the road, minimising any risk of spillages, leaks or other damage.

Ensure loads are secure and weight is distributed evenly across the vehicle to prevent the possibility of handling issues that could arise from a wayward payload.

Use Coloured Security Wraps

It’s not uncommon to hear about stolen packages or boxes being opened at drop off points. If the items are of sufficient value like jewellery or technology gadgets, you can help keep them concealed by placing them in coloured security wrappers. This will prevent those interested in stealing from wasting their time opening a package if the contents are unknown to them.

Have insurance

When shipping goods, there’s always the risk of items either getting lost or damaged. Taking out the correct transport insurance may provide you with a layer of protection should things go
wrong.

Despite the transportation of goods not being inherently dangerous, you never know what could happen to them while on the road.

Vehicles could be involved in an accident, subject to criminal damage, or have items stolen, so being prepared for those eventualities is important.

Staff training

Training is essential for all members of staff to understand the nature of their work and how to complete jobs in the most effective andefficient way possible.

Make sure that all drivers and staff, including dispatchers and handlers, are properly trained and know how to protect goods. It’s incredibly important to maintain a skilled workforce that is capable of
responding appropriately to any issues that arise.

Ensuring you have dedicated employee training programmes can increase productivity and help your business become more competitive. Highly trained staff will get the job done well and boost brand reliability.

Ensure a safe driving route

Route planning can help you ensure your route is cost-effective, time-conscious and safe for your driver and the goods.

Smooth journeys will reduce the risk of any damage to the products, so try to stay away from any unsuitable roads. Driving on concrete, narrow lanes or poor-quality surfaces can make for a more stressful and dangerous driving experience overall.

Ensuring modernised roads that have clear markings take preference provides HGV drivers with a more straightforward experience, reducing the risk of road accidents.

Why Train Travel is Best for Getting to Work

People that commute to work are always looking for the best ways to get there. This could be bus, plane, car or cycling but we’re here today to tell you why the train is the best mode of transport for your commute to work.

In the year ending June 2022, there were 1.1 billion train journeys made by Brits which highlights just how popular the railway is. But why is it so popular and why should you use it for your commute to work? Keep reading to find out more.

Why is train travel so good?

There are plenty of reasons why the train is the second most popular mode of commuting to work. This includes:

Save money

The main benefit of business train travel is that it’s sometimes more cost-effective than travelling by aeroplane and car. This is especially important given the economic turmoil that the UK is currently facing with people looking for the cheapest ways to do everything in their lives.

Making great savings when booking train tickets online is usually easy too. Simply find a service that fits your plans and book in advance for more preferential rates. You can even pick up a Railcard which can save you 1/3 on most rail fares.

You can be more productive

Now, we’re not telling you to do extra work during your commute but if you’re behind on deadlines then the train is a great place to get your laptop up to make up time and wow your bosses. Plus, you can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi too! Being productive isn’t just about work though. You may be able to read a book or listen to a podcast that you haven’t had time to do.

Environmentally friendly

Train travel is more eco-friendly than flying and in some cases, driving. This means your commute will be greener which is very important given the effects that global warming is having on the environment.

Go directly to your destination

If you’re travelling overseas for your work then you’ll most often find train stations located right in the centre of the city you’re supposed to be in. Airports on the other hand usually require a transfer when you land to get you to the city centre. This could bring about additional costs.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons for choosing the train to get you to work.

Lower-stress travel experience

A lot of people find train travel a more stress-free travel experience than others forms of travelling. As with train travel you will be able to purchase tickets and access the train without going through any long or complex security/ check in processes like you would with flying. Once on board you can just sit back and enjoy your journey without the worry of having to drive. Offering a variety of different options for business travel as part of your company’s program demonstrates a commitment to accessibility for everyone.

What to Consider When Renewing Your Vows

Are you considering renewing your wedding vows? There are lots of reasons why you might want to reaffirm your love, whether celebrating an anniversary, including new children, getting through a rocky patch, or hosting your dream event. But whatever’s driving your decision, you’ll need to get planning.

The good news is you shouldn’t need to plan anywhere near as much as you might for an official first-time wedding. It’s unlikely you’ll need to spend as much either – which is great considering the average UK wedding cost £17,300 in 2021. Regardless, here are four key considerations when renewing your vows.

The scale of the ceremony

First, consider how big you want the event to be. You might want to go large if you had to have a much smaller ceremony the first time around. But in most cases, vow renewals are more low-key events.

Draw up a list of things you want to include – like a venue, refreshments and music – and create a plan to pay for it. That might mean using savings, borrowing from loved ones or taking out a loan, providing you have the funds to pay it back.

Your invite list

With an idea of the size of your ceremony, next up is your invite list. Drawing up invites can be awkward – especially if you don’t want to step on any toes. But there’s less pressure and obligation with vow renewals than there can be with full-blown weddings.

Want to throw a huge party with everyone you can think of? That’s your prerogative. Prefer something private? Then invite very few or no guests at all. It’s totally up to you!

One quirk is that you can choose anyone you like to officiate the ceremony. So you could ask a family member or friend if you don’t want to hire someone.

Location, location, location

A vow renewal isn’t a legal ceremony, so you can host it pretty much wherever you like without worrying about licensing restrictions. It’s common to choose a spot that holds particular significance for you and your partner.

That might mean hosting it in the exact location you met or a natural beauty spot you often escape to together. Or if you want to make things extra personal (and cheap!), you could even hold the ceremony in your garden.

Dress code

What will you wear for your second big day? Like all the points above, the choice is entirely yours. You could keep things smart casual or even don what you wore the first time around. Either way, don’t feel obliged to splash out on expensive get-up.

Just bear in mind you’ll need to give your guests dress code instructions too if you want to avoid a barrage of questions.

Renewing vows can be a life-affirming experience. If you’re confident you’ve weighed up all the points above, you’ll be set for a ceremony to remember.

7 Ways to Grow Your Real Estate Business

Growing your real estate business can seem like a daunting task. But with the right strategies in place, it doesn’t have to be. Here are 7 ways to grow your real estate business.

Focus on your local SEO

If you’re a real estate agent, you are a small local business and, as such, you need to make sure your local SEO is on point.

That means claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing, as well as other local directory listings. If you are selling condos in Biscayne Beach or single-family homes in Amarillo, Texas, you need to make sure your local SEO is on point.

This also means creating content that is relevant to prospects in your area. blog about local market trends, share news about recent home sales and write about what makes your city or town a great place to live. All of this will help you rank higher in local search results, making it more likely that prospects in your area will find and click through to your website.

Get active on social media

Social media is a great way to connect with potential homebuyers and sellers, as well as other real estate professionals. Share your blog posts, market updates, and new listings on social media, and be sure to use relevant hashtags so that your content gets found by people searching for topics that are of interest to them.

Stay top of mind with past clients

It costs far less to keep a current client than it does to acquire a new one, so make sure you stay top of mind with your past clients. Send them monthly or quarterly market updates, invite them to open houses and events, and stay in touch even if they’re not looking to buy or sell anytime soon. If you stay top of mind, they’ll think of you first when they are ready to make a move.

A good way to stay in contact with people is via an email list. You need to make sure you’re getting permission from people to email them, and then send them timely information that they will find relevant. You can use a tool like Mailchimp to easily manage your email list and create beautiful email newsletters.

Make the most of your website

Your website should be more than just an online business card – it should be a powerful marketing tool that helps you generate leads and grow your business. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate, and that it includes clear calls to action, contact information, and lead capture forms. Add fresh content regularly, and make sure your site is optimized for search engines so that prospects can easily find you when they’re doing online research.

Get involved in your community

One of the best ways to grow your business is to get involved in your community. Volunteer for local charities and non-profits, sponsor community events, and get to know the people who live and work in your area. When people see you as a valuable member of the community, they’ll be more likely to trust you with their real estate needs.

Get involved in your local Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce is a great way to network with other local businesses and get your name out there. Attend events, join committees, and get involved in the Chamber’s initiatives and activities. And don’t forget to list your business on the Chamber’s website – many people turn to their local Chamber when they’re looking for products and services in their area.

Advertise online

Online advertising is a great way to reach potential homebuyers and sellers who are already interested in what you have to offer. Google AdWords allows you to place ads on Google.com and millions of other websites across the web, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Facebook Ads are another effective way to reach people on the world’s largest social network, and LinkedIn Ads are a good option for reaching professionals in your industry.

Conclusion

There are many ways to grow your real estate business – it just takes a little creativity and effort. By implementing some or all of the strategies above, you can reach more prospects, generate more leads, and close more sales. And remember, the key to success is consistent action – so don’t give up if you don’t see results immediately. The more you do, the more success you’ll see.

What Features to Look For in a Home Security Camera

Posted on 17th November 2022

The camera (or cameras, depending on the complexity of your home security system) plays an important role in keeping your home safe. First, its very presence deters burglars and trespassers since it shows the place is under video surveillance.

Second, if someone dares to ignore the signs and attempts a breaking and entry, the camera will capture video footage of the event. This footage can be used in the relationship with the authorities and the insurance companies to prove that there was an incident and that you suffered damages.

Finally, the presence of a high-quality camera gives you peace of mind when you’re away. It’s also a great way to check in with what’s going on at home from time to time and make sure everything is in order.

Now that we know why you need a home security camera let’s have a look at some of the designs available on the market and decide which one’s best for your needs.

Features to Look for When Choosing a Home Security Camera

Indoor vs. Outdoor 

The best video surveillance system has indoor and outdoor cameras placed at key points around the property to “see” as much as possible. However, if your budget is limited, make sure to get at least outdoor cameras for the entry points and doorways. The back and front doors and the first floor windows are the most common entry points for a break-in.

Outdoor cameras need to be sturdier (to withstand the elements) but also have a wider angle and infrared vision (for low-light visibility). Plus, advanced models even have two-way talk to communicate with guests and visitors or deter trespassers.

Indoor cameras need less protection and can use sensors to activate when movement is detected. Many people use indoor surveillance cameras to check on their pets when they’re away from home.

However, keep in mind that home security cameras work based on WiFi and need a power source to function (either plugged into the outlet or on batteries). Some models (mostly outdoor ones) have small solar panels, so it’s easier to maintain them.

Doorbell Camera

In today’s smart home, an intelligent doorbell that has a built-in camera, speakers, and sensors is not such a big deal. In fact, considering the level of porch piracy, it is indicated to install one at the front entrance.

If the doorbell camera has built-in sensors, it will send a notification to your phone whenever it detects movement. This way, you’ll know when to go and pick up your packages before someone else does.

Floodlight Security Cameras

A newer type of home security camera you can use is a floodlight camera. As the name implies, these come with built-in bright lights, which means they’ll need a reliable power source. The idea behind these is that you don’t have to install cameras and lights – one product is enough.

Storage Space, Accessibility, & Quality

One of the many reasons why you should upgrade your home security system is that the presence of video cameras deter anyone bearing ill intentions. But you shouldn’t put all your trust in this. First of all, smart burglars know what a fake camera looks like.

Also, many know that not all customers buy cloud storage space (usually, a monthly subscription) and that not all homeowners like to invest in high-quality lenses (for an HD image). So, if you want to invest in home security, we recommend looking for a camera that films in HD and has a good cloud storage plan.

Lastly, if you want to log in and check on your pet when you’re away, make sure your camera has a secure connection. You don’t want anyone else accessing that link!

Wrap Up

The world of home security cameras is changing fast due to speedy home internet and smaller camera sensors. Plus, you now have advanced doorbell cameras that do a fantastic job! So, if you don’t want to invest in an expensive security system, you have plenty of options.

Buyer Beware: The Hidden Costs of Changing Your Accounting Software and How to Avoid Them

By Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director at award-winning accounting software developer, iplicit.

Sometimes, if you get a decision wrong, you’re stuck with the consequences for quite a while. You’ve spent substantial money to get where you are and, for the time being, you have no choice but to spend more.

It can be true of accounting software. Before your new system has even gone live, you might realise it will not do everything you need unless you spend significantly more than you budgeted.

But it’s rare for any business to perform a U-turn in that situation. Even if the new system hasn’t arrived, the business is probably too far into the process to change course without a lot of pain and expense. And the person making that decision may feel weakened in their own organisation if they announce they’ve made a mistake.

With all the costs and time involved in implementing a new system, it’s not a process that most people will want to go through again soon. So it’s important to watch for those hidden costs from the outset.

When ‘cheaper’ costs more: what are the hidden costs?

We could do without unpleasant surprises when making a major purchase. But it’s rarely as simple as comparing price X with price Y. And for the enterprise-level accounting packages, you won’t get a useful idea of price until you’ve started a detailed conversation anyway.

There are a host of factors which can result in the apparently ‘cheaper’ option costing more. And if you’re unlucky, a salesperson who senses you’re quite cost-sensitive might feel no obligation to point them out to you.

Here are some key issues to consider:

Scope creep: A vendor could offer you a fixed cost for the implementation of new software. But whether it’s £20,000 or £100,000, it is likely to be tightly aligned to a scope document which sets out what you’re getting. If you need something outside that package, it runs into money – that’s scope creep.

If you ask for the software to do something that wasn’t covered, you could be looking at several days of development work, and that £20,000 project could soon be costing £25,000.

Adding functionality: A lot of accounting software is modular – meaning you pick a basic package and then add the other “modules” you need before arriving at a final price.

You need to be wary of assuming something is included in the base-level product. If it isn’t, you could be adding thousands of pounds a year for those extra modules. An example might be an application for expenses: does it come as standard?

Scalability – adding users: Will your finance software keep up when your business grows? How many users might you need to add to the system if things go the way you hope? And what will that cost you?

Scalability – adding entities: Perhaps phase one of your software implementation involves a single company, but you’d like to add other businesses to your group later. You’ll probably have considered that as an issue – but what about adding businesses you might launch or acquire later on?

Scalability – adding entities outside the UK:  This is where the costs can really mushroom. Perhaps you buy an operation in the US or Canada and your software provider wants to charge you a fortune to add this overseas entity to your system. If that happens, you may have little choice but to absorb it as a high, unexpected cost.

Integrating with other systems: This is another issue that’s likely to increase in importance as you grow and acquire other businesses. If you have systems for inventory, stock management, timesheets, expenses, membership fees, or a host of other things, will they talk to your accounting software?

If this specific application of yours is one that’s commonly available in the marketplace, then most accounting packages will be able to integrate it into what they do. But if it’s a bespoke product that didn’t previously need to integrate with anything else, you could be in difficulty.

If you do have bespoke needs when it comes to integration, look for software that makes use of open an open API (application programming interface – the way different computer programs speak to each other). This means it fits together with other systems easily and flexibly. So if you acquire a legacy system as you expand, or you want to do something that’s new for your business – selling at the click of a button online, for example – it can be integrated easily, in ‘plug-and-play fashion.

Archiving: You’ve got a lot of information in your existing system about past transactions – and it needs to be available to auditors for seven years. So what happens when you’re changing your software?

You could keep your old system going alongside the new one, perhaps in a ‘read-only version – which will require you to keep paying for licences.

Alternatively, you could export all that data from the old system, into Excel, or CSV files.

That’s fine, but it becomes a hidden cost if the auditors need to audit that data alongside the new system – potentially adding days to the auditors’ work, and therefore a massive extra outlay for you.

How to avoid those hidden costs

As you’ll have gathered, the key to avoiding unwelcome surprises is to ask the right questions.

Few businesses go into the same level of detail as public sector bodies, with their comprehensive tender documents and Requests for Information (RFI). But if you want to avoid getting burned, you need to be as clear as possible about what you’re buying.

Spell out your requirements as precisely as you can and get the offer locked down.

It’s wise to get the right stakeholders involved as well so that key people from all the departments which will use the system and will have input. You don’t want them spotting the system’s shortcomings after the contracts have been signed, when fixing them will be impossible or costly. 

Of course, it’s easier if the software has been structured to include as many features as possible as standard.

The upside of all this is that while there are hidden costs to watch for, there can be ‘hidden’ benefits.

If a good software package frees up time which can be spent more productively, it can help you improve and grow the business. Which, after all, is what we’re all at work for.

7 Steps Businesses Should Follow In a Blackout

1.) Call your utility provider and report the power outage, or call 999 in cases of immediate danger.

During a blackout your utility company needs to know when and where it occurs, so make sure to call your utility’s designated line as soon as possible to report the blackout and provide any information that may help. You can also call 105 free to report issues or get information about blackouts in your local area. Make sure to only call 999 if you or others are in immediate danger.

2.) Turn off and disconnect equipment which may be damaged by temporary power surges.

When power returns after a blackout, electrical surges may cause circuits to fry which can result in damaged equipment and create a fire risk. Make sure to turn off and completely disconnect all your business’ large appliances, assembly lines and other equipment, including laptops and computers, to keep employees and customers safe and reduce any potential damage to your equipment.

3.) Try not to use candles or lanterns for emergency lighting.

When the power goes out, the first instinct is to light candles and lanterns for easy illumination, however, candles and lanterns are fire hazards and can be major causes of death and damage in power outages. Opting for battery-powered torches will reduce this risk, and means you don’t have to worry about burning candles.

4.) Leave one light turned on so you know when the power comes back on.

Blackouts can cost businesses thousands of pounds an hour in lost revenue and productivity. Ensure all unnecessary appliances are switched off but leave one light on so that you are aware of when electricity has returned and you can get started on responding to the blackout. 

5.) Conserve your phone’s battery.

During a blackout, your business’s Wi-Fi will cut out meaning your phone will be your connection to the outside world. Reduce your screen’s brightness, activate low power mode and turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to conserve your phone’s battery power to ensure you have a way to contact others, including building management, local authorities and supervisors for any status updates.

6.) Clear pathways to prevent falls.

During a blackout, all lights will go out except the emergency lighting system. Slips and trips are a major hazard in low light, with it being more difficult to see obstructions and obstacles. Make sure pedestrian routes are clear and check your emergency lighting regularly for any faults to prevent tripping and falling.

7.) Ensure employees have work to do offline.

During a blackout, you may need to send your employees home and they may be concerned about the lack of work they will now be able to complete. Ensuring you are able to provide work for your employees that they can do offline will improve business productivity and also the well-being of your employees. 

James Longley, Managing Director at Utility Bidder has commented on the importance of UK businesses being prepared for a blackout:

“The UK is currently preparing to face what could be an unprecedented winter, with potential electricity blackouts that would directly impact business functions. Whilst blackouts are currently looking unlikely – unlikely does not equal impossible. With businesses’ reliance on electricity, preparing for potential blackouts is vital to protect both the interests of the business and your employees. 

“Here at Utility Bidder, we wanted to share some easy steps businesses can follow if they do suffer an electricity blackout this winter to prevent seeing their business and employees dramatically affected.

“Simple tips such as turning off your electronic equipment, conserving your phone battery and ensuring employees have work to do offline will enable businesses to continue to run smoothly, reduce employee stress and minimise any potential business losses.”

The Perils of Driving Dangerously: What Should Drivers Avoid on the Roads?

By the end of March 2022, according to data from the RAC Foundation, 33.1 million cars were licensed and on the roads in the UK. With so many of us on the highways every day, even though we don’t like to admit it, we’re likely to develop a bad habit or two.

And while we may be able to say that our bad habits aren’t directly referenced in The Highway Code, they could still result in the loss of control and lead to a fine or worse.

There is a chance that if one of those bad habits causes an accident or results in you being stopped by police, it could be deemed to be in violation of the careless driving codes, which means you could end up with between three to nine unwanted points on your licence for at least four years.

In this article, we’ll go through some of the things you may do on the roads without even realising how dangerous they could actually be. We’ll also offer solutions and alternatives to avoid any fallout.

Preoccupied hands – food, drink, & smoking

On longer drives, there’s every chance you will want a quick refresh while you’re driving. Whether it’s a quick snack, a sip from a bottle or flask, or even smoking, remember that none of these are illegal.

However, smoking, if there are passengers in the vehicle under the age of 18, is a law-breaker.

The main worry with engaging with any of these while you’re driving is that your hands should always be free to engage with the wheel, indicators, wipers, and gearstick. This way, you can react appropriately to the environment and road around you without any threat of incident. Holding bottles or cigarettes could occupy your hands, distract you and take your eyes away from the road putting yourself or others in danger.

The easiest way to avoid getting distracted is the most obvious. Whatever you need, whether it’s a good meal or a quick smoke, do it before getting behind the wheel. Hydrating is one of the more important factors, as a study conducted by Loughborough University found that a loss of concentration by 20% can occur if the driver is dehydrated with even two or three percent hydration being lost.

Headphones in or out?

One of the most important parts of driving is awareness, particularly being able to listen to your own car and hear those around you.

Headphones, while not illegal to wear when driving, could affect awareness – especially if you listen to music at a loud volume or are prone to taking lots of calls that could take your attention away from the road.

If your car has Bluetooth capabilities on the dashboard, it should solve this potential hazard efficiently. Connecting your phone to your car and selecting the music you want to listen to before setting off, as well as listening at a reasonable volume, will help maintain a greater level of awareness behind the wheel.

Flip-flops and footwear

Wearing flip-flops to drive is illegal, right? It’s a myth that has plagued motorists for generations, but it is NOT illegal to drive barefoot or while wearing flip-flops.

A survey by the RAC found that 27% of men and 39% of women in the UK have admitted to driving in flip-flops at some point. This shows that even with the misconceptions of legality, drivers are still willing to take the risk.

There is the danger unsuitable footwear increases the risk of accident – wearing heavy shoes and boots, or those with a taller sole or heel can cause a shift in the ability to brake or grip onto the pedal.

Whether the vehicle you’re driving is a hire car or your own car, if you can safely operate the pedals then you aren’t breaking any laws while driving. It’s sensible to wear appropriate footwear that you feel both comfortable wearing and driving in to avoid any dangers while driving.