Golf: burning calories, socialising & doing business

golf-business-deal

Golf – the sport of business is also a great way to burn a couple of calories whilst entertaining clients.

Unlike most sports, anyone of any age, including the 65-year-old boss of the company can enjoy a round of golf.

Golf is also typically a relaxed game, offering an atmosphere of friendly competition with low stakes.

Whether you’re playing with fellow employees to boost the office morale or going out with prospective clients, golf gives you a solid few hours to get to know these members.

In many ways, the golf course is as effective as any office when it comes to making a deal.

golf and business infographic

4 ways millennials are changing the workplace

Millennials in the workplace

Millennials are spearheading change in the workforce and will soon dominate leadership roles in many companies.

The working environment as a whole is changing rapidly, and the way things were done before is long gone. Millennials are attracted to companies that value collaboration, communication, social awareness and flexibility in work hours.

1. Collaboration

Rather than separating employees into a box, managers need to be more flexible in their approach to leadership.

Collaboration is important to employees who want to work with management, rather than being told what to do. Many millennials see leadership as an act in the workplace, and not a title.

A company’s transparency in how it goes about completing tasks is important to the younger generation. The chain of command as it was before is less significant thanks to technology making it easy for everyone to understand what’s going on at any time and offer input.

2. Communication

Millennials prefer to communicate in person or by texting. The shorter attention span, as a result to the speed with which anyone can receive news or information today, has impacted communication in the workplace.

Millennials want to get their work done quickly and they don’t have time for formalities. Digital communication is second nature as they grew up using laptops, tablets and smartphones, and this is a group of individuals who are – for the most part – used to instantaneous communication.

Whether its texting, Snapchat, email or Facebook, they have come to expect “immediate gratification,”

3. Social awareness

Just as millennials expect employers to be transparent, they also expect to know that products and services are created and delivered ethically.

A study from the Stanford Graduate School of Business revealed that 90% of MBAs from business schools in Europe and North America prefer working for organisations that are committed to social responsibility.

4. Flexibility in work hours

The former 9-to-5 workdays is a thing of the past and flexibility in the workplace is a top requested perk of a job.

Flexibility in work hours doesn’t mean less work, but can in fact lead to more productive hours of work.

Remote working is a big perk for attracting talent. Always connected, we are never truly away from the office anyway – we can check emails and complete work tasks wherever we are, whether it be at home or in a coffee shop.

The idea of work-life balance started with Generation X, but it isn’t about working less. It’s about taking part in life events, regardless of the time of day, but it also doesn’t mean that work ends at 5 p.m. sharp.

If business leaders want to attract talent, they have to be attractive to millennials – you must listen, understand, bend and trust them.

Also read: Unusual Staff Benefits: No official work hours

References:

https://www.nbcnews.com/better

https://www.business.com/articles/amy-nichol-smith-millennials-changing-the-workplace/

https://www.cio.com/article/3082775/unified-communications/millennials-are-shaking-up-workplace-communication.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-sabrina/rising-trend-social-respo_b_14578380.html

How technology changed the office forever

How technology changed the office forever

The digital world has shaped the way we go about doing our work and the way in which we use our offices today. Today the computer is the office – it’s got a desktop, folders, files, documents and even a litter bin.

Always connected, we are never completely away from the office and technology grows fast to keep up with the demands of the modern workplace.

Rita Dugan of Bournemouth University says: “Stress levels were not as great in the ’80s, as technology did not allow instant responses to enquiries. People tended to talk to you rather than converse electronically. This meant that issues rarely became crises, because talking tended to solve the problem.”

Technology development in the 80s

While it’s almost impossible to imagine working in a smoky environment and relying on faxes for up-to-date information, the 80s was a decade of vital technological development:

1981: The ubiquitous Post-It note arrived on our desks

1984: The first Apple Mac computer went on sale

1985: The first dot.com business was registered in 1985

1986: The first widespread use of laser printers

1989: The worldwide web arrived – the biggest single change to the way we work

Then and now:

In just a few short decades, a lot has changed in our work space. Technology has shrunk the working world, made information freely available, altered how we communicate and fundamentally changed the way employees behave and where they choose to work.

Then: He’s out having lunch so I’ll get him to call you back later
Now: He’s out having lunch but you can call him on his mobile

Then: Photocopying and handing out a memo to everyone
Now: Email to all users

Then: She’s off sick today but we’re hoping she’ll be in tomorrow
Now: She’s off sick today so she’s working from home

Then: Luke’s on holiday this week, he’ll be back in a few days
Now: Luke’s on holiday this week but you can get him on his email, he’ll be checking it regularly

Then: Faxing through updated figures once a week
Now: An online reporting system that everyone feeds into remotely and is updated in real time

Then: Handing out your business card at every opportunity
Now: Being viewed on LinkedIn before you’ve even met

Then: Booking a meeting room for a brainstorm and buying in props and pastries
Now: Could you email me some ideas please?

Then: Leaving the office at 5.30pm
Now: Checking your email at 5.30pm for any last minute requests

Then: Lever arch files
Now: Backup server

“Going to work” is now less about being at a particular location, getting face time, chatting up with co-workers and being “in the office.” In almost every industry, it is more about getting things done, servicing clients, completing projects, managing co-workers, etc., regardless of where you are.

Also read: 5 ways to nurture a more entrepreneurial culture

 
 

Reference:

http://www.plannedofficeinteriors.co.uk/digital-age-changed-office-environment/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23509153

http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/spotlight-on-the-1980s-workplace/

https://www.wired.com/insights/2013/06/the-new-workplace-reality-out-of-the-office/

Formula 1 Careers – Singapore Grand Prix

Formula one careers

Instantly establishing itself as one of the most dramatic and atmospheric races on the calendar, the Singapore Grand Prix is set to provide another gripping showdown this year.

The circuit made up of public roads in the Marina Bay area accommodates more than 80,000 spectators.

With the Singapore Grand Prix just around the corner, many fans of Formula 1 will enjoy the sport only on television or in the stands.

But what if you wanted to be more involved in the sport and not just a spectator? There are many different professions that extend beyond the driver and pit crew, here are just a few:

Formula_1_careers

Also read: F1 car vs. electric vehicle: which is more energy efficient?

https://www.formula1.com/en/championship/races/2017/Singapore.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_Grand_Prix

Setting up your own home business

Setting up your own home business

There are 2.9 million home-based businesses in the UK and they contribute £300 billion to the economy.

Working from home isn’t by any means an easy process, so it’s important to anticipate and plan for potential problems and challenges.

Here are a few key things you need to know and do when starting up your own home business.

What to consider before starting your home business

Starting your own business can be very exciting, but it can be tough to get a new business off the ground, especially if you haven’t asked yourself the right questions.

Some key questions to ask yourself include:

  • Why are you starting up a home business?
  • Are you suited to working at home? (i.e. if you’re someone who procrastinates, it might not be the right choice)
  • Can you work independently?
  • Can you be accountable to yourself and your clients and customers?
  • Are your goals realistic? Building a profitable business takes time and consistent dedication.
  • Do you know how much income you need to start and what you need to earn?

 
Defining your business identity

Your business will need an identity of its own. It pays to go about creating your identity in the right way from the start, as to avoid going back and re-doing a lot of the steps.

Deciding on a business name and creating a logo can be an exciting process, however other tasks may seem more tedious like choosing your business structure.

When creating your businesses identity, you need to consider the following:

  • A name and logo for your business
  • A clear and concise way to communicate your offering
  • Identifying your target audience
  • Registering your business
  • Creating a website and utilising social channels to promote your business

 
While the identity of your brand is key, success in any business is in the quality of your product or service, and how well you market it.

Setting up your workspace

Every business that is operated or managed from home will require some sort of workspace, and having a comfortable place to work that is away from distractions will help with focus and productivity.

Not all businesses will require an office in the traditional sense, i.e. a chair, desk, computer and phone.

For example, if you operate as a freelance photographer, your main workspace in the home may be your darkroom. If you operate a dental practice from home, then your workspace will probably be a portion of your home used for a waiting room, a treatment room, and an office.

In other words, workspace requirements will vary depending on the type of business you choose to operate.

Workspace options can include a spare corner, home office or extra bedroom, converted garage, outside structures or a new addition onto your home.

Remember, before you can start your home business, you need to decide if you’re up for the challenge, identify the right option for you, research your idea, and plan every detail of your success.

Also read: Business leaders reveal their best business advice

References:

https://www.thebalance.com/get-your-home-business-up-and-running-4083223

http://www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/home-businesses/

http://startups.co.uk/setting-up-a-home-based-business/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/207306#

Choosing the right office space for your business

The right office space

“Getting the right office space is so important because your business will have to live with it for the life of a lease. Get it right and you have happy and productive staff; get it wrong and it will slow people down, cause aggravation and waste money.” (Paul Kelly, head of marketing for Morgan Lovell)

Choosing and moving into a new office space can be a stressful time – the boxes, the files, the computers right down to the last paperclip all have to find a new space.

So, when you’re looking for new office space, you want to make sure it satisfies all your needs. Here are a few things to look out for.

Location, location, location:

Location is more than moving your office space to your dream area. You need to consider all things that can make your new workplace a success or a living nightmare. A few questions you should ask yourself include:

  • Is it the right location for my key employees?
  • Is the location convenient for clients?
  • What is the parking situation?
  • Are there amenities nearby?
  • Are there good transport links?

 
Technology facilities and support:

Technology is an essential part of successful modern day businesses, and some companies need more advanced options than others.

Design companies, for example, require a fast and reliable internet connection, just as much as IT support will provide instant help for an accounts firm that needs to zip off files at a moment’s notice.

Competitors:

If you’re moving into a building with multiple offices, you need to consider if there are competitors in the building and whether or not this will pose as a problem.

You don’t want employees from rival firms lingering in public spaces where they can overhear going-ons at your company, or worse still, elevator-pitching your potential new clients.

The workspace:

When choosing your new office, you need to ensure that there is enough space to grow in the future. Do a test fit or mock out a potential layout before deciding on a property, this way you can be sure you’re getting exactly the right amount of space for your business

Other things to consider with your new workspace include:

  • How much freedom do you have? I.e. can you decorate the office?
  • What are the acoustics like?
  • Will the layout work for your business?

 
Alternatively you could opt for sharing office space with another company. This not only saves you money on the office rent, but also on the cost of common areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

For referral purposes, it’s ideal to share with complementary businesses, such as an architect with a builder or a PR firm with a Web designer.

Your new office space needs to be right for your needs, there are a range of offices which are purpose built, so don’t be afraid to turn down a place if it’s not right for you.

From choosing the perfect postcode to making sure it’s cost-effective, asking all the right questions during your search is essential to finding a perfect place to base business.

Also read: Small Business expansion: 7 ways to grow your business

 

References:

https://www.morganlovell.co.uk/knowledge/checklists/choosing-the-right-office-space/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226116

http://mashable.com/2011/07/30/how-to-choose-office/#88qgt6Amg8qT

http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/choose-right-office-space-business/

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