Home Blog

How to Save your Future Self Money

0

Funerals are expensive, there’s no doubt about that, but there are ways of cutting down the costs associated with dying that could help you save money in the long-term.

According to the Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2021, the expense associated with dying is at an all-time high of £9,263, up 0.8% on the previous year and up 128% since 2004. A basic funeral costs on average £4,184 – and that is just the funeral costs; it doesn’t include expenses such as professional fees and providing a wake.

The cost of dying is rising simply because the price of funerals is increasing and if it continues to rise at the same rate, a basic funeral could cost over £5,000 by 2025.

But there are ways to reduce how much you will have to pay for your funeral; the first, and perhaps the most important, is investing in a prepaid funeral plan. A funeral plan allows you to arrange almost all aspects of your funeral in advance – everything from the type of service, to the funeral flowers to the venue for the wake.

Critically, it also enables you to pay for it upfront. By purchasing a prepaid funeral plan, you are locking in the price of certain services – including the funeral director – at today’s fees. In the long term, this could save your future self (or your family) a significant amount of money. There is a wide range of options available, often depending on the type of funeral service you’d like, so you should select a funeral plan that meets your needs.

The funeral service itself is an opportunity to save your future self money. You should choose a service which best reflects your wishes, but it’s worth bearing in mind that, despite falling out of favour in recent times, traditional burials remain the most expensive type of funeral.

Cremations are a popular and cheaper alternative, while a direct cremation, which does away with the fuss of a service, is cheaper still. The latter is increasing in popularity as people opt for a Celebration of Life over traditional funeral services.

Other ways to save your future self money include opting for a cheaper coffin or casket, spending less on funeral flowers, and choosing a woodland burial over a traditional church-based one.

As well as being less expensive, a woodland burial is also more environmentally friendly as it is not permitted for your body to be embalmed, meaning no harmful chemicals are used to preserve your body.

Other environmentally-friendly and money-saving tips include encouraging your family to find alternative transport to and from the funeral venue rather than hiring limousines, and foregoing order or service cards, which are often discarded, or left at the funeral venue.

There are many ways you can save your future self money when it comes to your own funeral, but nothing beats proper planning. Whatever the funeral you chose, protect yourself from rising prices by investing in a funeral plan today.

Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Retail

0

Historically, retail has shifted from offline to online. Argos, for example, was famous for its in-store catalogue experience before branching out to become one of the most successful e-commerce brands in the UK.

As shopping online became more popular, we began to see online-only retail pop up, such as market leaders ASOS and Amazon. But what about when the shift happens the other way around, and online stores go physical?

In this article, we’ll discuss how pop-up shops are allowing online brands to reach customers in person. We’ll also explore some of the most successful online shop pop-ups.

The popularity of pop-up shops

Pop-up shops brought £2.3 billion to the UK economy annually prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We could see this rise again with most restrictions eased. 80% of global retailers who have opened a pop-up shop said it was successful, with 58% saying they would do it again.

While the pandemic put a pin in pop-ups, there were still some successes. In April 2020, Tesco opened up a pop-up supermarket for NHS staff at the Nightingale Hospital so they could access essentials. Similarly, Costcutter opened up pop-up shops in 20 NHS hospitals.

Pop-ups can come in many forms, from hired event venues to empty stores – and even storage containers! Superdry perfectly captured its vintage-inspired brand through its pop-up store housed in a branded storage container.

Online retail goes offline

Many big-name brands, including Primark, Louis Vuitton, and Disney, have seen success through pop-up shops despite having flagship stores across the UK. We’ve also seen traditionally online-only retailers use pop-up stores as a way to connect with customers in person.

Pop-up stores offer online brands the opportunity to build brand awareness – many brands cited this as the main reason for launching a pop-up shop. Online stores can achieve more sales, better market visibility, and even social media engagement if the pop-ups are interesting enough.

Below, we take a look at a couple of successful examples of pop-up shops launched by online-only brands.

Depop-up shop labelled a success

London-born shopping app Depop was founded in 2011 and is partly credited for the rise in consumers buying and selling second-hand clothes online. The company exists online only, with no physical stores, but it launched a live pop-up event in 2019 that “brought the app experience to life”.

The event not only saw vendors selling unique second-hand clothing, but it also incorporated talks, DJ sets, and DIY workshops. The talks centred around how the brand’s primarily young female audience could make the most of its features, with panel discussions including “How to Build an Empire From Your Bedroom”. The brand prides itself on users recycling one-of-a-kind items, and many of its other talks focused on this and sustainability.

Maria Raga, Depop’s CEO, said: “This event is an opportunity for us to showcase the creativity that takes place on our app and to surround them with other inspirational creatives from the fashion, art, music, and design worlds.”

Amazon pops up to say hello

If there’s one online-only store that comes to mind for everyone, it’s Amazon. The online marketplace has grown exponentially since it started as a virtual bookstore, expanding to sell almost anything you could imagine.

The company has run a number of pop-up shops, with regular events across the USA. In a similar vein to Depop, the company hosted five days of pop-up fashion events in London, which featured more than just a retail experience. The fashion and beauty events included DJ sets, makeovers, and styling sessions with Amazon Fashion stylists. Additional days included yoga sessions with author Ella Mills and acoustic sessions with musicians Tom Grennan and Nao.

The brand also has themed pop-up stores that allow customers to examine items that they might not want to purchase online without testing out first, such as beds and hardware.

Our shopping experience has pivoted largely to online shopping, and we’re seeing this through the closing down of many established high street retailers. This doesn’t mean in-person shopping is dead, though. Online retailers are now bridging the gap and offering unique offline experiences at an affordable price. While many are hiring dormant stores, we’re seeing more mobile pop-ups emerge, allowing these retailers to be flexible and reach more consumers through these new means.

Club ties and coach trips: Away games after covid

0

As restrictions ease across the country, both professional and amateur sports teams are putting on their club ties and getting on the road to play away games both locally and across the country. The sporting calendar hasn’t seen this much worldwide disruption since the second world war, so teams and fans around the world have been keen to get back on the field. With major events such as the US Open, Champions League and Olympics going ahead, athletes are enjoying being back on the field, but what has changed?

How have away games changed?

Apart from the obvious cancellations, rescheduling and postponement of events, sports events have changed enormously since the pandemic. Sports teams have had to adapt to new training schedules and in some cases, like the postponed 2021 Olympics, athletes are competing away from home without family or friends in the crowd. Grassroots and amateur sports have also been affected, with a reduction in travelling for away games and limited international opportunities to compete. School and university closures have also had an impact on the opportunities for teams to compete away from home as well as a reduction in training hours and facilities available to them.

Covid testing protocols

No matter what sporting event is taking place, athletes are getting used to rigorous Covid testing throughout their sporting schedule. If athletes display symptoms or a positive test result, they will have to follow the country’s specific rules which may include self-isolation or quarantine. Reduced travel opportunities and testing at airports may also affect how often fans can see their team away from home. Fans attending many games will need to provide proof of a negative COVID test in the last 24 hours or that they are fully vaccinated.

New matchday protocols

Various sporting bodies have introduced new safety policies and extra measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the Premier League. On 9th August they announced a range of matchday protocols designed to keep supporters safe, including:

– Fans providing a National Health Service COVID pass
– Social distancing measures
– One way systems
– Face masks in indoor areas
– Increased security checks.

Covid passports may also play a role in future games if infections rise, with 74 football clubs affected by new plans announced by the UK government. Despite these measures, fans of sports from bowls to golf to horse racing have been delighted to return to live sporting events and represent their team.

Travelling for international events

For international events, different countries still have varying restrictions for travel which will have an impact on the ability of many away fans to attend. In the UK, the safe list of countries to visit has used a traffic light system which continues to change on a weekly basis, causing some uncertainty for potential future fixtures. The UK cricket team have been seen around the world wearing their club ties and travelling through airport security, however, with strict lockdowns across Australia, it may be impossible for England fans to travel down under for the Ashes which are due to start in December 2021.

Positive signs for the sports world

As the pandemic hopefully slows down and vaccination rates increase around the world, it may soon be possible for fans and family members to attend away games and events abroad. In the UK, most stadiums will be operating at maximum capacity, with away fans encouraged to attend games in a safe and responsible manner. From flags in windows to supporters proudly wearing club ties, no matter what restrictions are placed on sporting events, fans continue to show their team loyalty wherever they can.

Does Skiing Really Boost Your Happiness and Well-Being?

0

After the past year, the need to boost well-being has never been higher. According to a YouGov poll, negative emotions hit a peak in 2020, with:

  • 27% of people, on average, feeling sad
  • 39% of people, on average, feeling frustrated
  • 40% of people, on average, feeling stressed.

With restrictions on our social lives and activities, it’s no wonder our mental health has suffered. Physical activity is often hailed as an all-round solution to helping reduce stress levels and improve your quality of life, both mentally and physically. But even as restrictions ease, we’re entering the winter months – a time where many would see their moods drop even without the pandemic. With this in mind, could taking up a winter sport such as skiing be the key to wellness?

Physical well-being

Skiing is a great full-body, cardiovascular workout and is also great fun for all ages and a range of fitness abilities! Downhill skiing is a great way to burn calories and also provides many cardio-metabolic benefits, from improved insulin resistance to a drop in blood pressure.

Research by Harvard Medical School found that someone weighing 11 stone would burn 223 calories in 30 minutes, highlighting how skiing is a great way to maintain a healthy weight! But don’t forget to refuel at the chalet to allow your body enough time to recover.

Skiing also provides a great benefit to your legs, as your knees and ankles are required to endure the tension and weight of your body. The impact not only strengthens your joints but your bones too!

Mental well-being

It’s well known that fresh air and time in nature can do the world of good for our mental well-being, so the appeal of skiing in beautiful mountain ranges around the world isn’t hard to see. When skiing, adrenaline and endorphins are pumping around your body, helping to produce a ‘feel good’ mood that counteracts any waves of depression.

Social interactions can also help produce endorphins, and a skiing holiday is the perfect place to meet new friends and make amazing new memories, whether that be on the slopes or dancing at après ski. You could even take the time to pause and reflect within nature, allowing yourself to fully disconnect from the stresses of everyday life.

A new skill

As well as the benefits to your well-being, skiing can help you develop much more than your skiing ability – you could even take part in a ski instructor course and help develop life skills! Not only will you receive a new qualification, but you will also develop leadership and communication skills. Being in a foreign country, you may also pick up another language and have the ability to embrace different cultures, while also learning to be patient with beginners and maybe even help more experienced skiers out of sticky situations! Learning to be a ski instructor is a great experience that will bring a sense of achievement – perfect for banishing any feelings of listlessness lockdown may have given you.

For those of us who haven’t had the chance, now is the perfect time to switch off and head to the slopes. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned skier, there is something for everyone on the mountains. For those with years of experience, it may be time to share that with others. For a beginner, now is your time to shine!

[Sources]

https://time.com/5118770/is-skiing-a-good-workout/

https://www.visitpa.com/article/top-5-health-benefits-skiing-and-snowboarding

https://tickettoridegroup.com/blog/10-life-skills-from-ski-snowboard-instructor-course/?q=10-life-skills-from-ski-snowboard-instructor-course/&q=10-life-skills-from-ski-snowboard-instructor-course/

https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/exercise-stress-relief#How-Much-Exercise-Do-You-Need?

https://www.skibasics.com/news/why-skiing-is-good-for-your-health/

How Schools Can Combat Waste

0

In 2018, the UK government published a waste management strategy for England. It set out various targets for waste reduction and sustainability. One of these targets was that 50 per cent of household waste should be recycled by 2020. The realisation of this target is yet to be demonstrated and published. However, the government remains optimistic.

However, while local authorities continue to combat household waste, another public sector is being neglected. Figures indicate that the education sector only recycles around 23 per cent of its waste.

Primary schools generate about 45kg of waste per pupil, while secondary schools produce 22kg per pupil. This totals 250,000 tonnes of waste every year.

While the figure is disappointing, it does not detract from the enthusiasm of students to utilise more sustainable practices in their schools. Many students have encouraged authorities to ensure that the environment is a priority. Recycling, composting, and litter picking are all aspects of waste management that children are helping to put into motion.

Here, we look at why waste is a problem for educational institutions, and how schools and local authorities can help combat this problem.

Wasteful spending

Education requires a lot of resources. It is unsurprising, therefore, that 70 per cent of all education waste is made up of food, paper, and card. However, while 80 per cent of this waste is recyclable, the reality is that only 20 per cent of it is actually recycled.

Food waste in the education sector is particularly expensive. The price of procurement, labour, utilities, and waste management means that food waste can cost £2,100 per tonne. Over the course of a year, local authorities will dish out £250 million to manage food waste.

Equally, Landfill Tax adds to an avoidable cost which schools could manage better. Estimates suggest that local authorities could save £6.4 million by utilising more sustainable methods of waste management.

The problem can be tackled by both local authorities and individually at education organisations.

Sustainable schools lead the way

The Eco-School campaign has registered 52,000 schools across 67 countries. These schools follow a seven-step framework to claim a coveted green flag. The steps include forming an eco-committee of students, making an action plan, and putting that plan into motion. Some schools can compost more or grow their own fruit and vegetables on school grounds.

Meanwhile, other schools are taking more proactive measures to reduce waste. Biomass digesters are used to transform food waste into biofuel. This can then be used for heating and energy. On school grounds, this device not only reduces waste. It can also cut emissions from transporting waste to disposal facilities.

Composting is also a common practice at many schools getting to grips with sustainability. Most unavoidable waste, such as eggshells and tea bags, can be composted. Meanwhile, cooked food is better suited to wormeries. Primarily, avoiding food waste is achieved by encouraging students to eat all of their lunch.

Local authorities tackling problems

The main focus for local authorities regarding waste management is to reduce overheads and operating costs. With increasing budget restraints, new solutions are needed to combat this problem.

Avoiding landfill is an obvious option for local authorities to save money. However, school waste going to landfill may be an unavoidable consequence. Public waste services are also struggling with stripped budgets. Instead, contracting waste management businesses may be the solution. They can implement waste strategy plans and organise waste effectively.

Single-stream waste recycling is becoming increasingly common across all sectors. And even local government offices are becoming more aware of their waste responsibilities. Most use waste procurement and waste removal companies. They can organise and dispose of their waste, with assurance that sustainability is ensured.

Education centres can also benefit from this approach if it’s implemented by local authorities. Commercial businesses must follow stringent guidelines when it comes to waste. They must ensure that everything is done to reuse, recycle, or recover waste—in this order. It’s therefore surprising that education isn’t currently achieving the same. With recycling targets for household waste at 50 per cent, it should be possible for the education sector to meet those targets too. Especially when education waste consists of predominantly recyclable materials.

One waste removal specialist company indicates that education is pivotal to ensuring waste is disposed of properly. Michael Taylor, General Manager at Skip Hire UK says: “Schools have a duty to lead by example and give the next generation the tools, ideas, and logic to make sound decisions with regards to environmental best practice.

“Education is key here — and while there is no perfect world, doing the right thing in the most cost-effective manner will always be a solid principle to adhere to. Companies like ours and others across the industry will always look to assist schools to promote and educate future generations.”

Leading by example is the best form of education. Depriving students of the opportunity to work in an environment where sustainability is a priority is damaging. Students have a considerable enthusiasm for climate change. They understand the consequences of unsustainable practices. Schools must continue to use their platform to inspire the next generation to use waste responsibly and ensure they remain leaders in the green revolution.

Sources

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/resources-and-waste-strategy-for-england

https://www.wrap.org.uk/content/new-study-shows-great-potential-recycling-school-waste

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rates-and-allowances-landfill-tax/landfill-tax-rates-from-1-april-2013

https://www.eco-schools.org.uk/about/howitworks/

Are phone chat lines really a myth?

0

If there’s one thing that’s been true for decades and will remain to be true for a very long time to come, it’s that naughty phone chat lines are real. There’s no reason at all to believe that they’re just a myth. There are commercials for them on TV late at night and it’s clear that the numbers are real and the people you’re talking to are there to provide  adult service. If, for some reason, you think they’re just a myth, all you have to do is read this article from Cosmopolitan. It’s a firsthand account of being a phone sex operator from a girl who does it for a living. There’s just no reason to think that they’re fake or that they don’t exist. If, however, you’re wondering if the girls are actually touching themselves and having orgasms while they talk to you, then that’s a totally different question. The simple answer is that most of the women on phone sex lines are just pretending for you. They’re making money to make you believe that they’re enjoying themselves in a sexual manner and that’s perfectly okay for some men. They just need to hear a fake orgasm while they jerk off and it works for them.

Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t some women that actually enjoy having phone sex and are being real when they say they’re touching themselves and having an orgasm. You just have to make sure that you’re talking to the right kinds of girls. The first thing you want to seek out is a girl that’s naturally horny and likes to show herself off to strangers. They’re out there and it’s not a shock to see them end up working as phone sex operators.

Embed this video here: https://vimeo.com/574704543

This girl loves to play with anyone who can tell her how hot she is. There are plenty of phone sex lines out there and you want to be able to gauge the girl before you get down to business. If you can ask her about what turns her on then you’ll get a pretty good understanding of what she’s all about. If she likes to do things like wear tight clothes or tiny skirts out in public then you might just have the kind of girl who’s going to want to masturbate on the phone for you.

What you really have to understand here is that you’re going to have to work to turn the girl on. It doesn’t matter how kinky she really is. The fact is that it’s her job to get men off and she’s going to do it as easily and quickly as she possibly can. That usually means pretending, even if she’s likely to actually do the things that you want her to do. If you want to learn how to turn on any kind of girl then you can check out this article from Readers Digest. It has all of the tips that you’ll need to make sure you’re getting her ready to have actual fun with you. A big part of it is going to be asking her what turns her on and giving it to her. She knows what she likes and she has no reason to lie to you about them. If she wants to hear something then you have to do it for her. It’s the only way you’re going to get her interested in giving you the real thing over what she gives to all of the other guys out there.

You don’t have to just blindly dial every number you come across and hope you find the right kind of girl, though. That’s going to take a whole lot of time and cost you a whole lot of money. If you want to cut through all of the work then all you have to do is find a place where you can talk to horny girls all day and night long. Try phonesex at Arousr.com as it is perfect for this. This is a site where girls go when they want to have an orgasm. That’s because they know that there’s always someone they can talk to who’s going to be willing to get them off. Just think about being the person who provides the orgasms for the girls rather than the other way around. You just can’t get any better than that. Once you see the number of girls who are just waiting for someone to play with, you’ll know that you’re in the right place. They’re always going to be ready for action and all you’ll have to do is pick the girl that’s right for you and go to work on her.

How Climate Change Has Caused a Decline in French Wine

0

There are many complex supply chains around that worlds that certain countries depend on for their economy. For some of them to work, they need to collaborate with other countries to keep flow or demand for their products, this could be the likes of food and drink sector. COVID-19 had brought a dramatic turn supply chain, disrupting the natural flow of products going in and out of countries. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire issued a statement to the nation’s supermarket urging them to stock French Products.

COVID-19 wasn’t the only instance that interrupted the supply chains. Agriculture tends to take the biggest financial hits and losses during disasters such as extreme weather, which are becoming more frequent, intense, and complex.  Between 2008 and 2018, agricultural disasters cost developing countries more than €908 billion, having a profound effect on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who were already struggling against large corporations.

Producers of coffret électrique encastré for the food industry, Electrix, investigates the French wine disaster and other events around the world that had an impact on food and drink.

French Wine Disaster

Unpredicted Frost had hit France this year, which turned the usual warmer April into a cold month with bitter frost. The initial record-warm early spring resulted in vines and fruit trees blooming earlier than they would usually, and they were then ruined by an unexpected bout of cold temperatures. Research has found that as the world’s temperature rises, the timing of seasons will change and become more severe.

The frost had affected the growth of Vineyards in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, and the Rhône Valley resulting in thousands of fires and candles to be lit near the wines and trees in an attempt to keep them warm overnight. Sadly, many winemakers have reported a 100 per cent loss on their yield.

Julien Denormandie, French agriculture minister commented: “This is probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jean Castex pledged €1bn in aid to winemakers and farmers. It may take years for some vineyards to recover.

Thirsty crops exhausting groundwater

Rice is the primary source of food for more than three billion people every day and is helping prevent the world’s food crisis from getting worse. Sadly, there is a risk of rising food insecurity for such a staple food.

India is experiencing both a water and agricultural crisis that has been developing for decades. Rice is one of the thirstiest crops that exist – farmers use 15,000 litres of water on average to grow one kilogram of paddy (rice plant). Rice is draining northern India’s Punjab of its groundwater, with the ground expected to be exhausted by 2039 and become comparable to a desert. A fifth of the world’s population lives in India, who only have four per cent of global water while simultaneously being the largest user of it with 90 per cent of their water used for agriculture.

India isn’t the only country struggling to grow rice due to a lack of water – countries in Southeast Asia such as China are facing the same challenge. Climate change is making extreme weather like flooding and droughts happen more regularly, making water difficult to source. Scientists are looking to develop new strains of rice that require less water and are more resilient to drought and climate change.  Plus, water technologists in New Delhi are looking to design water management techniques that use no more than 600 litres of water for one kg of paddy.

Increased breeding of rodents in Australia

Australia has faced the brunt of climate change, ranging from bushfires that devastated 27.2 million acres of land to damaged food and crops due to the largest plague of mice ever seen. Australian farmers are used to a mouse plague every ten years or so; however, with the planet warming up, they could become more regular with more mice than ever. The temperatures create the perfect breeding ground for the rodents, which then go on to destroy crops.

Farmers are even forced to burn their crops which have been infested with mice and mice urine.

A disaster-resilient future is possible if we develop sustainable agriculture. Preparing for risk management can help in reducing agriculture’s vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change.

Sources

http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1381672/icode/

https://www.axios.com/french-wine-disaster-climate-change-1f86c34c-917c-4d86-b126-73f7618316a9.html

https://www.france24.com/en/20200328-france-issues-call-to-buy-french-as-coronavirus-erodes-single-market

The Nation’s businesses to be celebrated with new business awards

0

There are currently more than 5,800,000 businesses across the UK! Each business has its own story, bringing something unique and exciting for customers to enjoy. Where would we be without our Great British businesses? We are sure you can agree that these businesses deserve to be awarded and celebrated. That’s why the Business Champion Awards are being launched, with companies awarded in ten different categories.

Background information about the Business Champions Awards

Capital Business Media, one of the UK’s leading media companies and publishers of Business Matters, are launching a new business awards programme. The Business Champions Awards will be handed out in March of 2022, with companies being celebrated across a number of different categories.

Entries can be made up until the 15th of December 2022, after which an expert panel will make their decisions based on the applications provided. We have 40 judges that will be taking part, with their details being announced soon!

What categories will be awarded during the Business Champions Awards?

There are a number of different categories for business awards. This includes the following:

  • Entrepreneur of the Year
  • New Business of the Year
  • SME of the Year
  • Exporter of the Year
  • The Growth Business of the Year
  • The Business Transformation of the Year
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • The Sustainable Business Award
  • The Diversity and Inclusion Programme
  • Champions in a Crisis

These are the 10 categories that are going to be awarded as part of the exciting new Business Champions Awards.

Whether you have launched a business in 2021 and want to put yourself forward for New Business of the Year or you have transformed your business, either by re-branding or turning around a struggling company, and want to apply for the Business Transformation of the Year award, these awards can make a great difference to any business.

The benefits of awards for your business

Awards can boost employee morale, giving them something to work hard toward and be proud of. After the difficult 18 months that we have had, we are sure you can agree that this is something that all employees deserve, right?

If that was not enough, winning an award can work wonders in terms of boosting your brand and the prestige that is associated with your business. Having the ability to put award-winning in front of your company name is significant. People trust companies that have won awards because they know it is a mark of the sheer quality that they provide.

Of course, we also need to touch upon the pandemic. The last 18 months have been incredibly challenging for businesses across the country. The Business Champions Awards gives you the chance to show how you have fought back over the past 12 months to achieve success. This is especially the case with the Champions in a Crisis award, which we will tell you more about below.

Champions in a Crisis

The Champions in a Crisis award is for businesses that have managed to navigate the Government guidelines and logistics, as well as the serious knock-on effects of the pandemic, and managed to come out of the other end. Not only have they ensured that their business has been able to continue running, but they have provided assistance and help where it has been needed within their local communities.

Whether this is something your business has done or you know of another team or company that has played a big role in your community, you can apply for this award prior to the 15th of December. It is certainly an incredible award to win considering what has happened over the past 18 months.

Make your entry application today

So there you have it: an insight into the exciting new business awards that are being launched by Capital Business Media. We certainly think that there is no better time to celebrate the best businesses in the Nation, with a whole host of great categories being award for their hard work and commitment.

Simply click here to register your email so that you receive notification about when entries can be made. To apply, you will need to fill in a short application form and record a video to tell us why you should win the award.

Is 2021 the Year for a Social Media Detox?

0

Over the past 18 months, we’ve mostly been confined to our homes, unable to do most of our favourite hobbies. While many of us picked up new hobbies, decorated our homes, or learnt a new skill during lockdown, a lot of us comforted ourselves with extra screentime.

Lenstore research shows that 76% of us spent more time on our mobile phones, while 34% spent more time watching TV. An additional survey found that 82% of us have increased our social media consumption since the beginning of the pandemic.

In times of stress, it’s only natural to turn to the things that provide us comfort – or so we think. However, social media has been linked to stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and other pressing conditions.

As lockdown restrictions have eased and we’re now able to do most of the things we love again, we won’t be relying on our screens and our feeds to keep us entertained. Why not take this even further and do a social media detox this summer?

Why should I do a social media detox?

You might be asking yourself, do I really need to cut out social media if I’m going to be using it less now? While you don’t need to, there are a lot of reasons why it could be good for you.

Social media’s effect on our mental health is well-documented. Not only can scrolling through our feed intensify feelings of loneliness and anxiety but it can also be genuinely addictive. Do you get a rush whenever you get a notification telling you someone liked your tweet, Instagram photo, or TikTok video?

That rush of dopamine has been well-studied, and it is also created through other addictive activities including gambling, drug usage, or eating our favourite food. However, over time we become dependent on this feeling and not receiving it on a regular basis can lead to withdrawal-like symptoms.

By deleting or muting your social media apps for a period of time, you won’t rely on these notifications to give you a hit of dopamine throughout the day, leaving you free to focus on activities in your life that you really love.

How will I stay in touch with my loved ones?

Now that most COVID-19 restrictions have eased or lifted completely, we’re free to spend time with our loved ones in person. That means you’re free to visit your grandparents and go out with your friends – whether that’s for a catch-up over food and drinks or a good old night out in the clubs.

What about those loved ones that don’t live as close to you, though? The continued uncertainty over holidays in a sunnier climate means this is a great time to get away on a staycation. If you have siblings who live elsewhere in the UK or friends who are at university across the country, taking a week – or even a long weekend – away to visit them is bound to give you a boost, as well as giving you that unrivalled holiday feeling.

We know this isn’t financially viable for everyone, so video calls are the next best thing. But, rather than video-chatting with a loved one that lives around the corner, save the virtual contact for the people you don’t get to see in person as much.

What can I do instead?

If you’re craving a holiday but travel restrictions are putting a halt to your Ibiza plans, there are ways to get away – all while learning a new skill. Ski trainer holidays are becoming more popular, and they’re perfect for the thrill-seekers amongst us. After the monotony of the past year, it’s a great way to add some excitement back into your life.

Many of these courses are accepting new recruits with COVID-19 safety protocols in place, meaning you stand much more of a chance of your ski holiday going ahead than a week in the Mediterranean sun right now.

This type of holiday ticks so many boxes – not only will you get to explore a new place and make memories that last a lifetime but you’ll also learn a new skill that could set you up for an exciting new career. What’s more, you can replace your social media dopamine hits with the amazing adrenaline rush you’ll get from hitting the slopes!

If you’re looking to get stuck into something new a bit closer to home, why not volunteer for a cause close to your heart? As well as providing vital support to those in need, volunteering makes you feel good and gives you a hit of endorphins, another feel-good hormone that makes us happier. But this is significantly longer-lasting than the flashes of dopamine you get from social media.

It’s only natural that we turned to our screens when multiple national lockdowns stopped us from going out and seeing our friends. Now that many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, we’re able to do most of the things we love again. That means we’ll naturally spend less time on social media, but to really make the most of summer 2021 and beyond, why not take a break from the short-term boosts of social media and instead get your dose of happiness elsewhere?

The Rise of the Four-Legged Colleague

0

Being a dog owner over lockdown has had us spending significantly more time with our dogs while we worked from home. Now, as we begin to return to normal, the thought of leaving our dogs at home who have become accustomed to being by our side day and night is a sad one. Offices that allow office dogs every day are becoming a more desirable option for pet parents.

Here, we look at companies that have office dogs and what impact they can have.

Companies embracing dogs in the office

Many forward-thinking companies and global corporations have the benefit of office dogs.

According to research from 2019, 64 per cent of workplaces don’t have dog friendly policies. Yet, their current workforce is increasingly made up of millennials, who are much more likely to organise work around their pets. Companies that offer pet-based policies will attract these prospective employees. Big successful companies that allow dogs at work include:

  • Amazon
  • Ben and Jerry’s
  • BrewDog
  • Etsy
  • Google
  • Mars
  • Monzo
  • Nestle
  • RSPCA
  • Ticketmaster

A blog on Etsy’s website says: “It’s one of the ways we strive to maintain a casual, creative, and inspiring work environment.” A quick look on LinkedIn shows 1,365 results* for ‘dog friendly jobs’ in the UK. People are looking for it, and people want it. But it is more than just bringing your dog to work.

The fantastic benefits

Like Etsy states, bringing your dog to work can have a number of benefits on the workforce.  According to research that surveyed 31 companies in Kentucky, office dogs resulted in pet parents expressing more of their personality. This can be important in cultivating and maintaining company culture and making the team more collaborative and casual – dogs have been found to promote staff interactions and create an improved social atmosphere. Granted, there will be an initial excitement when dogs are first introduced, but this soon becomes the norm, and when things settle, there are also benefits on the work that is being produced. Also, being able to feed your dog with their favourite raw dog food in this office, it is a bonus for our fury friends!

Productivity rises from office dogs. When we stroke a pet, our body releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps us bond and makes us feel happier. Stress levels are reduced and employee well-being increases, leading to increased productivity. We are also less likely to want to leave our jobs, too.

In the UK, it is estimated that there are around 17.9 million working days that are lost each year as a result of stress, anxiety, and depression. Putting pooches to work is just one way that we can help support workers struggling with these issues in the workplace. We should take a leaf out of successful corporations and see what they are doing to make their workforce happy, productive, and profitable.

Tips to introduce office dogs

Ensure everything goes smoothly when you make the introduction by following these steps.

  1. Prioritise high hygiene standards – like with ill employees staying at home to avoid spreading illness, the same must be considered for dogs. Make sure they are vaccinated and aren’t carrying any fleas. Also, only bring your dog in if they are potty trained.
  2. Positive vibes only – any dogs that have aggression problems should stay at home. Even if they are nervous, owners should be cautious.
  3. Check about allergies – one in three pet owners have given up their pet because of an allergy. Make sure no one in the office suffers from dog allergies before taking him or her to work with you.

Introducing office dogs can be one of the best things you do for your business. Think about the benefits this will have as well as how this will affect your workforce.

Sources

Butternut Box

https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-events/news/2020/dogs-trust-warns-up-to-40-000-dogs-could-be-at-risk-of-abandonment-in-the-fallout-of-the-coronavirus-crisis

https://blog.etsy.com/news/2013/company-culture-the-dogs-of-etsy

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/anthropology-in-practice/the-rising-trend-of-pets-at-work/

https://theconversation.com/why-more-companies-are-going-dog-friendly-123405

Petersson, M., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Nilsson, A., Gustafson, L.L., Hydbring-Sandberg, E. and Handlin, L., 2017. Oxytocin and cortisol levels in dog owners and their dogs are associated with behavioral patterns: An exploratory study. Frontiers in psychology, 8, p.1796.

https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/dayslost.htm

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8415999/one-in-three-brits-pet-allergy/

STAY CONNECTED

20,832FansLike
2,507FollowersFollow
14,700SubscribersSubscribe

AUTHORS

1 POSTS0 COMMENTS
4 POSTS0 COMMENTS
4 POSTS0 COMMENTS
4 POSTS0 COMMENTS
2 POSTS0 COMMENTS
2 POSTS0 COMMENTS
3 POSTS0 COMMENTS
17 POSTS0 COMMENTS
0 POSTS0 COMMENTS
2 POSTS0 COMMENTS
7 POSTS0 COMMENTS
5 POSTS0 COMMENTS