MPs don’t need to wear ties in the House of Commons chamber

iStock-590605324

Speaker John Bercow recently confirmed that male MPs do not need to wear ties in the House of Commons chamber.

Breaking away from tradition, Mr Bercow discussed that it’s not essential for MPs to include ties in their outfit, but should wear “businesslike attire”.

Parliamentary custom is for male MPs to wear jackets and ties in the chamber.

Mr Bercow was speaking after Tory backbencher Peter Bone said he had spotted an MP – who was Lib Dem Tom Brake – asking a question tieless.

Know for wearing rather eye-catching ties in the Commons, Mr Bone said he was “not really one to talk about dress sense” but asked whether the rules had changed.

Mr Bercow responded by saying: “I think the general expectation is that members should dress in businesslike attire.”

He added: “So far as the chair is concerned… it seems to me that as long as a member arrives in the House in what might be thought to be businesslike attire, the question of whether that member is wearing a tie is not absolutely front and centre stage.”

Mr Bercow went on to say that MPs should always show respect towards their colleagues or the House of Commons, he added: “Do I think it’s essential that a member wears a tie? No.”

To laughter from MPs, Mr Bercow clarified that there was “absolutely no obligation on female members not to wear ties, if they so choose”.

The official rule book of parliament – Erskine May – only has a limited set of rules on members’ dress; namely that military insignia or uniforms should not be worn in the Commons and that the custom is “for gentlemen members to wear jackets and ties”.

As a parliamentary factsheet notes, the Speaker has “on a number of occasions, taken exception to informal clothing, including the non-wearing of jackets and ties by men”.

Back in 2009, MP Graham Allen was interrupted by former deputy speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst who told him he was not “properly attired” when he tried to ask a question when not wearing a tie.

Two years later, Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi apologised after a novelty tie he was wearing started playing a tune while he was in the middle of a Commons speech…

Watch the video here

You may also want to read: Business leaders reveal their best business advice

Source: BBC NEWS

It’s time to get serious about resilience

britishairways

The disruption and financial consequences of downtime due to a power outage are well documented, most recently in the case of British Airways (BA). John Hartley, Head of Propositions at Centrica Distributed Energy and Power, identifies the measures that should be taken to enhance resilience and avoid any interruption to business continuity.

During the late May bank holiday, BA flights were brought to a standstill at Heathrow and Gatwick with 75,000 people affected by three days of disruption – the worst to hit the airline for seven years. Experts suggested BA’s huge compensation costs could top £100m and shares in International Airlines Group slumped.

Cause and effect

BA’s check-in systems, call centre, and website suffered a major IT failure that affected its operations worldwide, something that was later attributed to a power supply issue. BA’s Chief Executive Officer, Alex Cruz, said that the surge was ‘so strong that it rendered the back-up system ineffective’.

While some commentators have questioned whether the robustness of IT systems also contributed to the crisis, the situation has brought the issue of power supply and resilience to the fore.

Power up

Power surges are a very real phenomenon and, while blackouts are obvious threats to on-site equipment, other conditions can also cause problems. Brownouts occur when the mains supply cannot cope with its overall load and the voltage levels reduce, in extreme cases for periods measured in hours.

Mains power can also sag, or drop in voltage level for a few cycles, usually after a large load such as air conditioning or rotating machinery is switched on.

Always on

We may never know exactly what happened at BA but it highlights how an unexpected event can have potentially devastating consequences for a business.

In fact, research carried out by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) found that following a disaster around a quarter of businesses never reopen, 80 per cent of companies that don’t recover within a month are likely to go out of business and 75 per cent of companies that do not have a business continuity plan fail within three years.

Most organisations will have an outage at some point in time. The skill is in ensuring that it happens as part of a planned maintenance programme, not due to an external factor.

To this end, businesses should plan for an outage to occur annually and during that outage ensure that every mitigation measure at its disposal is tested, to ensure that when something happens it will be able to mitigate the worst effects.

This could include continuous access services where data processing and storage is split across two or even three sites simultaneously so that the failure of one site does not impact on business as usual services.

Businesses should also be comfortable using their backup generators as part of their business as usual activity – using a generator to reduce bills by being on during peak times for example, can ensure it’s more likely to work when needed in an emergency as well as earning that business some additional revenue.

Centre of attention

With the advent of Industry 4.0 and the smart factory, data centres are increasingly deployed at the industrial edge, in factories and other operationally sensitive environments.

As the BA case demonstrated, reliance on IT means that data centres have to be among the most resilient facilities out there. Many are designed to meet good practice infrastructure guidelines and there are numerous documented examples of N+1 designs, systems designed to withstand the loss of a component.

However, more emphasis should be placed on reacting quickly when a component failure occurs rather than assuming that N+1 will solve all problems. Ensuring a quick repair places a premium on staff training, predictive diagnostics, good support contracts and on-site spares.

In the event of a prolonged power failure, in addition to a UPS a further source of power will be required – usually a generator – which, given sufficient fuel, will keep running indefinitely.

Developments in battery technology mean that effective energy storage is also now within the reach of most organisations.  Obviously, it’s not enough to simply install equipment to back up power, as it must be properly maintained and regularly tested to ensure it is operational when needed.

The generation game

Having a well designed and well maintained standby power system is the best protection against utility power outages. Whether located in a factory, data centre, hospital or anywhere else housing mission critical electrical equipment, generators are vital, as they can withstand heavy load for long hours and start off the power supply on full load within minutes.

Combine this with a battery solution that offers an almost instant response to a power failure and businesses can stand easy.

The combination of resilience and using assets in a smart way is not always obvious. While often considered a key facilitator of resilience, generators offer much more than power back-up and are woefully underutilised.

The most forward-looking organisations are opening up new revenue streams by making their assets available to the National Grid to help balance the system and trading in the market when prices are high.

Monitor and manage

Keeping an eye on how energy is being used by plant and other electronic equipment can also help prevent outages. Smart devices are available that consist of completely non-invasive, wireless and self-powered circuit level technology, coupled with cloud based analytics.

By clamping on the outgoing electrical wire from the circuit breaker, Centrica’s Panoramic Power sensors monitor the flow of electricity and can send information wirelessly in real-time.

Hundreds of sensors can be installed in just a few hours and by transmitting data wirelessly, they deliver energy information to a software analytics platform that provides insight into real time energy usage and enables users to optimise their operations, processes and maintenance resources, while identifying what devices are using most energy.

The level of granular detail available means that proactively controlling and actively managing energy rates by shifting loads, or by reducing loads in real time, is possible.

There are significant operational benefits to be gained also, such as preventative and condition based maintenance. For example, if a chiller is short-cycling, a facilities manager can be alerted and initiate measures to prevent damage and downtime. It can also highlight inefficiencies in the plant and unusual current behaviour – thereby maintaining performance and productivity.

Centre forward

A business must possess the ability to react quickly and decisively to any situation it is presented with, and uptime should always be front and centre of any strategic planning.

Good resilience to power outages means faster recovery after incidents, reduced impact of incidents and protection of brand and reputation. It can also provide a better understanding of an organisation and demonstrates to internal stakeholders that their wellbeing and livelihoods are important.

For this to happen, of course, the importance of resilience needs to be understood and championed across an organisation: from engineering and operations, to risk and finance.

It is only through this that organisations can gain the requisite insight into their energy, make the most of equipment such as generators and invest in new energy infrastructure.  In turn, they can avoid the considerable cost and pain of an unplanned power outage.

Image source: EveningStandard

7 ways to keep you business cool this summer

UK warm weather

The UK has experienced a surprising spell of warm weather these past few days, so it’s safe to say that summer has truly arrived!

While most of us are well equipped for colder times, we may find ourselves puzzling on how to cope with the heat, especially during working hours.

Here are 7 top tips to help keep your business and employees cool during working hours.

1. Dress for summer

Allow employees to dress more casually, to help them keep cool and productive throughout the day.

However, even if staff are required to enter the office suited, there are still ways to prepare for the heat, by wearing breathable materials and loose fitting clothes.

2. Find a cool commute

You don’t want to be arriving to the office hot and bothered, so plan a commute that is cool. Try leaving home a little earlier to avoid overheating when in a rush to get ready.

Also, avoid rush hour when catching public transport and if you’re walking to work, make sure you’re on the shady side of the street.

3. Keep the cool air in

Insulating your business premises doesn’t just keep the cold air out in the winter, it also prevents hot air from getting in during the summer.

If using air conditioning, remember to keep windows and doors shut to keep the cool air from flowing out.

4. Turn off appliances

Turn off all equipment that is not in use!

Leaving appliances such as printers and monitors on standby can use up almost as much energy as when they are switched on. This createsheat in the office and contributes substantially to your overall energy bill.

5. Stay hydrated

You shouldn’t need reminding, but don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking enough water is important, especially during summer! Always keep a bottle of water at your desk – the more chilled, the better.

6. Use sun-protecting window film

Window film vendors discard up to 75% of solar heat. The best window films are also registered as Carbon Negative, reducing the emission of CO₂.

7. Eat smaller meals

Rather than consuming a lot of food at once, eat smaller meals and eat more often.

The bigger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food.

Believe it or not, spicy food can also help cool you down. Curries and chillies help stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, improve circulation and cause you to sweat, which in turn cools the body down.

Also read: Summer energy tips: How to cut down on costs

Sources:

http://thinkproductive.co.uk/tips-for-keeping-cool-in-the-office/

http://www.noonan.ie/8-tips-for-keeping-your-building-cool/

http://tmlewin-blog.com/2015/07/14-ways-to-keep-cool-in-the-office/

http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/business/finance-strategy/top-tips-for-keeping-the-office-cool-in-summer

Pets in the workplace: why an office dog is a good idea

Office Dog

Research has shown that brining your four-legged friend to the office can improve staff wellbeing and productivity.

Imagine working alongside canine colleagues? Well, some companies out there allow pet parents to bring their pooch along to the office.

Many small businesses today have an office dog, to hang around during working hours with the important role of boosting the teams’ morale.

Although most companies are yet to allow pets to come to work, it’s a growing trend, and there is even a Bring Your Dog to Work Day, which will take place on 23rd June this year.

Generally, businesses with creative, open working environments are more likely to allow an office dog – and the presence of the canine in the workplace is thought to help improve the office culture.

Apart from many small businesses, large innovative companies such as Google, Zynga and Purina don’t just allow an office dog – they encourage dog owners to bring their furry family members to work every day. The aim is to improve work-life balance, manage stress and improve productivity.

Nestlé’s corporate headquarters near Gatwick allows its 1,000-plus employees to bring their dogs to work daily. The company established a “pawthorisation” process that requires employees to complete a detailed questionnaire about their dog’s habits and behavioural evaluations. An independent dog specialist then examines this.

If everything is in order, the dog joins Nestlé’s PAW (Pets at Work) programme and gets its own “passpawt”.

Employees can choose if they want to bring their canine colleagues to meetings in designated dog-friendly rooms and even have the option to let them stretch their legs in garden specifically created for them.

Forbes, an employee at Nestlé’ and owner of Reggie the beagle says: “It’s like having a member of your family in the office. There’s something about it that feels so right.”

Nestlé also owns the pet food brand; Purina – thus presenting the company as one that is dog friendly. This is great for PR and also attracts animal-loving employees which makes perfect business sense.

Forbes believes that “the atmosphere in the office is warmer now and more sociable.” She adds: “People will stop you in the corridors to stroke your dog so you start talking to someone in a different part of the company who you’d never normally have spoken to, or have only encountered over email.”

Gemma Gillingham, owner of Max the Labrador cross, agrees: “People will ask to come and see him, and find out where you sit. You end up getting to know so many people in different parts of the business, which can be useful.”

According to research by Reed.co.uk, about 8% of employees in the UK are allowed to take their dogs to work.

Mars Petcare – who own Pedigree, Whiskas and Sheba – started allowing employees to bring pets into the office in 2008.

Allowing dogs in the workplace is believed to boost morale and lead employees to think better of the company that is offering the benefit – and what’s better it costs employers next to nothing.

While an office dog or canine colleague may not be practical for every business, many companies have seen that they help employees bond, motivate good work and bring talent to their business.

Apart from bringing your pooch to the office, employees at Brewdog are allowed to take puppy parental leave.

You may just one day find yourself typing away in your office alongside a border collie.

Sources:

https://www.business.com/articles/pets-in-the-workplace-is-it-a-good-or-bad-idea/

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/may/18/dogs-in-office-canine-colleagues-staff-wellbeing

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/06/27/dogs-workplace.aspx

Unusual Staff Benefits: No official work hours

No official work hours

Whether you’re working for a small business or a huge corporation, some things you’re probably familiar with include: tracking your hours, monitoring your annual leave and getting expenses approved.

However, for some salaried employees these are things they don’t need to worry about…

Netflix: No official working hours

Since 2004, employees at Netflix have been allowed to take as much holiday leave as they please.

They can choose when to show up for work, when to take time off and even decide how much time it will take them to complete a job.

As far as the company’s success goes since instituting the policy, Netflix has grown its market capital to over $51 billion (£40 billion).

The flexibility of the company doesn’t mean it lacks accountability. Employees at Netflix have to keep their managers up-to-date and the work that they produce is expected to be of the highest level.

In fact, high performance is so integrated into the business culture that employees are rewarded with a generous severance package.

Rather than micromanaging how people go about completing their work tasks, the leadership focuses only on what matters—results.

Netflix found that providing people with greater autonomy creates a more responsible culture, and without the distraction of rules, employees are able to focus more on productivity.

When the company still operated with the typical time-tracking policy, employees asked an important question:

“We don’t track the time we spend working outside of the office—like e-mails we answer from home and the work we do at night and on weekends—so why do we track the time we spend off the job?”

Management listened. They couldn’t deny the simple logic behind the question.

Netflix employees work when work needs to be done, from wherever they are.

That’s “after hours” out the window….

Agent Marketing: 6-hour working days

Not quite like ‘working whenever you want’, but a British company based in Liverpool, Agent Marketing, has shortened its working day from eight hours to six – inspired by Sweden’s 6 hour working day model to boost wellbeing and efficiency.

Employees, who usually attend work from 8:30am until 5.30pm, have shifted this to a 9am until 4pm day with a compulsory one-hour lunch break where they have to leave their desks.

Ben Spencer, the company’s head of creative says: “It was strange. In the middle of winter, when we leave the office its already dark, but an early finish meant I was coming out of the office into daylight.”

The extra time means that employees have more time to enjoy hobbies. “I like to snowboard, so one day I finished early and went to an indoor ski slope in Manchester which meant I beat the evening rush,” Spencer says.

“It was brilliant – I pretty much had the whole slope to myself. It’s also nice to be able to go home and spend a bit more time with my fiancée and daughter,” he added.

Should every company approach working hours in the same way?

While these working modules work for Netflix and Agent Marketing, they may not work for every business.

Netflix itself acknowledges that the high-performance culture is not for everyone — especially those who “value job security and stability over performance.”

The key, however, involves hiring the best people you can, and clearly identifying what the overall goals are — so that employees can take things into their own hands and understand what needs to be achieved.

Also read:

Sweden introduced six-hour working days and sees benefits

 
 

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269989

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/01/07/six-hour-working-day-sweden-uk_n_8928280.html

Summer energy tips: How to cut down on costs

Save on energy costs during summer

The summer season couldn’t be closer, and while you may be welcoming the warmer weather with open arms, your energy bills can quickly add up.

With temperatures rising, there are several things you can do to make sure that your energy costs don’t rise with the heat.

Here are some tips to help your business some money this summer.

Keep the cool air in

With the hot sun beating down on us, many businesses will crank up the air conditioner without second thought.

If you have an existing air conditioning system in place, you may want to think about servicing or repairing it to help keep the system running smoothly and efficiently.

Insulating your business premises doesn’t just keep the cold air out in the winter, it also prevents hot air from getting in during the summer. If using air conditioning, remember to keep windows and doors shut to keep the cool air from flowing out.

According to the Department of Energy, you can also save 10 per cent a year on your cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 7°- 10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

Service your boiler

Summer is the best time to make sure your business boiler is in good shape before winter. An annual service by a Gas Safe registered engineer should help catch any problems, keeping your business safe and warm throughout the year. If it turns out that your boiler needs a little more than just a service, it’s much easier dealing with it in summer when it is warm, when you’re not as dependent on it.

Preventing problems with your boiler helps avoid unnecessary hassles to your business routine. A faulty boiler could waste you money on energy and might even start leaking poisonous carbon monoxide.

Make the most of natural lighting

It may sound obvious, but many businesses still struggle to achieve maximum efficiency when it comes to office lighting.

Apart from using fluorescent bulbs that use around about 75 per cent less energy than standard light bulbs, you can make use of natural light coming into your office.

You may need to figure out where the sun will be and when, and rearrange the layout of your business space accordingly. Move desks around so that they are not in direct line with the main window when the sun is beaming in throughout the afternoon. This way you can keep your blinds open and your lights off.

What else?

Here are some easy other ways you can help feel more comfortable during the summer months:

  • If there is a heatwave, relaxing business dress may help staff morale
  • Using a fan can help increase the efficiency of an air conditioning system
  • Turn off anything which creates heat when not in use, such as printers and monitors
  • If you’re not making use of air conditioning, open windows and doors to prevent stuffiness

Many business leaders tend to pay more attention to their energy consumption during the winter months, however for every pound that they save on lower heating bills, they’re likely to be spending the same amount, if not more on air conditioning.

Also, don’t assume that you have to wait until the winter before you take serious control of your energy usage. Start today!

You may also want to read:

Checklist: 10 ways to save energy in the workplace

Sources

http://www.britishgas.co.uk/business/energy-services/maintenance/business-air-conditioning-service-and-repair

https://www.britishgas.co.uk/products-and-services/boilers-and-central-heating/tips-and-advice/boiler-servicing.html

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/rules-for-paying-less-on-ac-this-summer/

https://www.loveenergysavings.com/blog/2015/june/5-tips-to-lower-your-summer-business-energy-bills/

Small Business expansion: 7 ways to grow your business

Expanding a business

As a small business owner, there may come a time when you feel the need to grow and expand your business.

Here are 7 effective small business expansion tips to grow your business beyond its current status.

1. Open another location

What comes to mind first for many entrepreneurs who are considering expansion is to open a second location.

Small business speaker, writer and consultant Frances McGuckin says “Physical expansion isn’t always the best growth answer without careful research, planning and number-planning.”

Before opening a new location, you nee to ensure that you’re maintaining a consistent bottom-line profit and that you’ve shown steady growth over the past few years.

It’s also important to choose your location based on what’s best for your business, not your wallet.

2. Collaborate with a complementary business

This is a great way to pair the skills and experience of your business with another complementary business that has a similar customer audience to yours.

By collaborating and combining your strengths, you can create awareness of your brand with customers that fall under your target market, but might never have heard of your business before.

3. Franchise your business

Franchising is a pathway to rapid growth for anyone with a proven business model.

By franchising your small business, you’ll be taking on the risk of setting up in a different location, so you need to make sure you have a business model that can work in multiple locations.

Also, look at the trends, both economic and consumer, for indications on your company’s staying power.

4. License your product

This can be an effective, low-cost growth medium, especially if you have a service product or branded product.

Licensing also minimises your risk and is low cost compared to the price of starting your own company to create and sell your brand or product.

Some entrepreneurs have made successful businesses from licensing things such as designs, games and software, leaving them more time to come up with new products.

5. Venture into new markets

Whether it’s a new location, new country or completely different customer market, one thing remains constant — you must do your research first!

Don’t presume that these markets will behave the same as customers in your existing markets.

Do your research, understand the new market and what their wants and needs are and then develop a relevant product or service that satisfies these.

6. Tap into new channels

The best example of how a new sales and delivery channel can transform a small business is the Internet.

A huge amount of small businesses have reinvented themselves by taking advantage of online opportunities.

From opening online stores to service providers who are able to reach larger targeted audiences by marketing themselves online — the opportunities are endless.

7. Engage with your existing customers

Alternatively to seeking new markets you can penetrate deeper into your existing customer base.

Here you’ll need to conduct a market segmentation analysis to identify the customer groups that are more likely to purchase your product or service. You can then focus your sales and marketing strategies on these segments.

Equipped with this information, you can better allocate your sales and marketing spend.

You may also want to read:

7 essential start up tips for entrepreneurs

Business leaders reveal their best business advice

 

 

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/70660

https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/02/licensing-your-product-service.html

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2014/07/10/6-tips-for-expanding-your-business-regardless-economy.html

https://www.gov.uk/growing-your-business/plan-for-growth

https://www.fpb.org/business-support/strategies-expand-your-business

Unusual Staff Benefits: Puppy parental leave & covering wedding costs

Puppy parental leave & covering wedding costs

While employee perks are nothing new, they have become both more unusual and headline grabbing in recent years.

Puppy parental leave

How does it sound spending an entire week playing with a puppy and getting paid to do it?

Well, it’s a possibility if you’re an employee at Brewdog.

24-year-old Gia Nigro is the proud owner of a nine-week-old Goldendoodle puppy (a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle) called Rye.

Gia, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, has her hands full – like anyone who has had a new puppy will know.

Young pups require a fair amount of training to make sure they become household trained and obedient. Luckily for Gia, her employer – Brewdog, announced last Monday that it would be creating “Puppy Parental Leave” with one week’s paid leave for all employees who adopt a puppy or rescue dog.

Gia says: “The policy gives me the flexibility to choose when to take a fully paid week off with Rye, which I’ll be doing next month to get her fully house trained,”

“We know only too well that having a new arrival – whether a mewling pup or unsettled rescue dog – can be stressful for human and hound both,” BrewDog stated on their website. “So we are becoming the first in our industry to give our staff a working week’s leave on us to help settle a new furry family member into their home.”

Brewdog has always been a dog-friendly company, allowing workers to bring their pets to work.

Contributing to the cost of employees’ weddings

Forget about free lunches, happy hours and Ping–Pong tables.

Last year New York-based online retailer Boxed was praised when its co-founder and boss Chieh Huang announced that the company would contribute to the cost of employees’ weddings.

The idea came to Huang when 26-year-old Boxed employee, Marcel Graham, was racing against time. Graham’s mother was gravely ill and he wanted to get married to his fiancée as soon as possible so that his mother could participate in the ceremony.

Graham worked seven days a week, two shifts a day, to save his money. However, he wasn’t making enough to pay for his mother’s medical bills as well as save up for the wedding

Eventually, Graham couldn’t hold it in any longer and broke down. Mr Huang saw his employee crying and decided to do something about it.

“I’m gonna do the right thing and change this man’s life,” Huang told Inc. over the phone from Japan. “We got his fiancée to come in and surprised him; it was water works all around. This is the stuff I enjoy, doing good.”

Boxed covered Graham’s wedding costs and also reimbursed any full-time employee for their wedding up to $20,000 (£16,000) as part of the company’s policy.

“I think that day our employees realised that we understand just how much of a commitment they make to us every day, putting in long hours to make this company grow, and that we’re willing to make a commitment to them in return. I really think that resonated with them.”

So far half a dozen Boxed workers have redeemed the perk, and Mr Huang says there are “lots more on the horizon”.

Sources:

https://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/boxed-chieh-huang-pay-for-employee-weddings.html

http://mashable.com/2017/02/17/brewery-offers-puppy-paternity/#ttnb8TzXHqqk

https://www.brewdog.com/lowdown/blog/dog-days

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39579540

Image Source: Brew Dog

6 contingency planning tips for small businesses

contingency planning

Contingency planning is a must for small businesses, which can face even more potential emergencies than larger businesses.

Any unexpected situation that interrupts a company’s normal operations can be harmful to its financial health and professional image — if not dealt with properly. The harsh reality is, most small business are unprepared.

Small business owners can carry out contingency planning by following 6 easy steps:

1. Identify the key risks for your small business

Is the issue data theft? Flooding? Are several of your staff potential maternity or paternity leave candidates?

Identifying the most likely setbacks that will impact your business, will help you focus your contingency plan and not waste time and money preparing for events that are highly unlikely.

There’s no point in planning how to recover from a hurricane, for instance, if your business is not located in an area that is hurricane prone.

2. Determine operation essentials

Entrepreneurs should decide what’s absolutely necessary for their small business to start operating again if a disaster or illness forces the business to close.

Steps should then be taken to ensure that these essential resources are quickly available if needed.

3. Establish employee roles

Identifying employee roles and responsibilities is key in the case of an unexpected event.

A good way to go about this is to create a step-by-step list of actions to take post-event. This will help staff to pick up and continue working in your absence.

4. Cover your business with the correct level of insurance

Fire insurance is an example of one possible disaster your small business could experience. Along with other obvious disasters such as wind damage and flooding, entrepreneurs must also consider the damage that could result from theft.

If your business offers professional services or advice, you’ll also want to consider a professional liability insurance policy.

Having the proper type of insurance to cover your risks will go a long way towards getting your small business up and running again if disaster strikes.

5. Cover your business with adequate insurance.

Successful data backup and protection is crucial for protecting your business’s continuity.

Today, all, if not most businesses are built around some form of valuable data. Losing this data can cause major problems for small businesses, which is why it’s important for business leaders to ensure that data is backed up properly.

Creating a small business disaster plan is important in order to prepare for potential cyber security threats, storms and office closures.

6. Evaluate your contingency plan

Twice a year, business leaders should review and revise their contingency plan. This should address things such as staff changes, economic factors and other relevant issues to your business.

It’s easy to put off business contingency planning. There are always current emergencies that require your immediate attention.

However, one needs to consider how significant these emergencies are compared to an event that could shut your business down for weeks.

Taking the time to prepare your business contingency plan will pay off immensely if disaster or illness ever strikes.

Sources:

 

https://www.thebalance.com/data-backup-is-the-best-data-protection-2947129

https://mikehooklaw.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/contingency-planning-for-small-business/

http://smallbusinessesdoitbetter.com/2013/07/contingency-planning-for-small-businesses/

http://www.hiscox.com/small-business-insurance/blog/contingency-planning-a-must-for-small-business/

Commute safety: travelling safe every day

Commute safety

Commuting to and from work is part of our weekly routine. If you’re not lucky enough to be within walking distance of your workplace, you’ll have to make use of some form of transportation.

Whether you’re cycling to work, catching a bus or train or driving your own personal vehicle, here is how you can make sure that you commute safely.

Travelling by bike

Cycling is the most fuel-efficient way to travel to and from work.

The leisure of having a bike lane is great. You get the ‘road’ all to yourself, but in many city environments, bike lanes don’t always exist.

Travelling on nothing more than a little metal and rubber, the bullies of the road; cars, busses and trucks are huge armoured tanks in comparison.

Many people associate this form of travel as one that is dangerous, however, only a few people do get hurt riding their bikes, with the vast majority of bike riders commuting safely.

A few easy ways to minimise the danger of bike riding include:

  • Always wearing a helmet
  • Sticking to the rules of the road
  • Staying aware of what is going on around you
  • Riding in a straight line (swerving makes cars nervous)
  • Looking behind you before turning.

Travelling on buses and trains

It sounds obvious, but knowing the time your bus or train is due to leave, will save you having to wait around or rush.

It’s particularly important to know the time of the last bus or train home if you’re travelling at late hours, this is to avoid being stranded on your own.

It’s also advised that you trust your instincts about whom you sit or stand next to. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with one of the other passengers sitting near you, you can get off at the next stop and change carriages.

Also, try and sit in a carriage with a lot of people. If there does happen to be a thief on board, you’re more vulnerable to attack if you’re alone in a carriage with just one other person.

Other safety precautions to note include:

  • Catching a bus or train somewhere well lit
  • If someone attacks or touches you shout to other passengers
  • Keep your mobile phone out of sight
  • Don’t discuss personal details.

Travelling by car

There are a few safety features to consider when purchasing a vehicle:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • 360 Air Bags
  • Automatic Braking
  • Lane Departure Warnings
  • Blind Spot Detection
  • Back-up Assist Cameras
  • Anti-lock Braking System

In relation to proper vehicle safety comes proper vehicle maintenance. No matter how safe your vehicle is initially; if you don’t keep it running and in shape, the possibility of something going wrong can increase.

Possibly the most important driving tip is to keep your focus on the road and what you’re doing. Commuting the same route every day can become tiring and monotonous, and you can easily become distracted.

Also, don’t text and drive, don’t fiddle with your GPS while you drive and don’t eat while you drive.

Keep your focus on the road and what you’re doing, and you’ll be aware and prepared for anything.

 

Sources:

http://blog.thesietch.org/2007/08/29/how-to-ride-your-bike-to-work/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-146201/How-stay-safe-trains-buses.html

http://www.drive-safely.net/work-commute-tips-safe-every-day/