Home Blog Page 2


North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) is reaching out to the local community to trace former apprentices who have studied at the college since the1950s as part of its tribute to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The origins of apprenticeships can be traced back to the days of Queen Elizabeth I when they were first introduced as a seven-year scheme in 1563. By the early 20th century England was training around 340,000 apprentices, and by the 1950s, apprenticeships were the main route into engineering, manufacturing, and construction jobs. During the 1960s, more than a third of young men started their working life as an apprentice.

In 1994, ‘modern apprenticeships’ were re-launched, and their development has progressed through new and improved frameworks, and more recently, standards. In 2019/20, there were almost 720,000 apprentices in training and the most popular apprenticeships are now in business, administration and law, as well as health, public services and care.

NWSLC is keen to hear from previous apprentices who studied with the college during the Queen’s reign and would like to hear your stories about how your apprenticeship helped to kickstart your career or business.

Chris Tullin, Assistant Principal at NWSLC said, “Apprenticeships in the 2020s look very different from the training that would have been provided at the start of the Queen’s reign. They now lead to formal qualifications, and can be started at any age, whether you are leaving school or making a career change within a new sector.

“Apprenticeships continue to evolve, and we are seeing increasingly attractive opportunities across a range of sectors to reflect changes in the employment market brought about by the pandemic and the current economic situation. An apprenticeship offers a full-time job with professional training built in. For businesses, they can be a cost-effective way to secure succession planning and boost growth.”

Did you, or did someone you know, complete an apprenticeship with NWSLC since the 1950s? Are you willing to share your story? The college would love to hear from you. Contact us via marketing@nwslc.ac.uk by Friday 27 May 2022.

Find out more about apprenticeships with NWSLC via our website www.nwslc.ac.uk

Revealed: How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

Unmotivated employees being unproductive can be costly for businesses — according to research, procrastination can equate to 36 working days annually, including wasting time on our phones browsing social media, texting our friends, and even online shopping.

That begs the question, what exactly can be done to help boost your workforce’s productivity levels? We take a look here with Cliverton, specialists in kennel insurance.

Better Office Conditions

It’s likely that you never considered that office temperature can influence productivity. The optimum temperature is between 20-21C. Anything outside of this bracket may lead to distractions in concentration, as employees will be more interested in reaching an acceptable body temperature. This could include getting up to put their coat on or playing with the air conditioning system.

Similarly, the colour you decorate your office can have a significant impact on both morale and productivity. While we may say we are feeling ‘blue’, this primary colour is said to put you at ease in the workplace. It’s said to be an ‘emotionally comfortable’ colour, meaning you’ll be happier if your décor is awash with blue. Green has a similar effect and is most suited to those who are looking for a creative environment. Then there is purple; a colour which can encourage teamwork and creativity. You’ll likely find this, alongside red, in design firms.

Implementing standing desks into the office can be beneficial. Not only is this concept a good way to boost your staff’s productivity, but it also has health benefits. By allowing a colleague to choose or alternate their stance during the working day, you will be showing that you care about their well-being.

Achievable Goals

SMART goals can help motivate us — this means you should be specific in your goal, making sure it’s measurable and action-orientated. It should also be realistic and time-bound.

Having achievable goals are imperative. Research indicates that goal setting can improve work performance by up to 25 per cent. However, if you introduce goals or targets that aren’t realistic, morale and productivity will nosedive. It’s important that you keep staff focused and on the same track. This can be provided by giving them clear directions and an end goal that is clearly reachable.

Pets in the Office

It’s not a coincidence that the world’s most successful companies like Google and Amazon have their own office pets. Research has found that nine out of 10 dog owners are happier in life because of their furry friend. This is because they can help reduce stress levels, and this can also transfer to the office.

Nestlé UK’s head of HR, Paul Steadman said: “Having a dog-friendly workplace encouraged interaction and socialisation between employees who may not have crossed paths otherwise.”

Having good relations with co-workers has been found as a major player in job satisfaction. And, as they say: a happy worker is a good worker.

Healthy Living

The Centres of Disease Control and Prevention states that male workers who are a healthy weight take two days less off due to sickness compared to those who are overweight. Therefore, company benefits, such as the use of a company gym and free fruit, can go a long way to improving productivity. In Google’s New York office, it’s even rumoured that no colleague is ever more than 150 feet away from food because they believe nutrition will keep the productivity levels high.

Work/Life Balance

Having a good balance between work and life is the key to a happy life, especially to millennials, who are now dominating the workforce. It’s been found that 70 per cent of millennials believe a flexible work schedule is a priority when looking for a new job. Head of Brand and Content at Remote Year, Emily Moyer agrees, stating that “flexible work schedules make you happier”. Thanks to flexible shift patterns, a colleague will feel less stressed due to the fact they can easily plan their schedule around their life commitments.

With productivity being one of the most important elements of a business, following this advice can help your business and employees flourish!

What German Supermarkets Can Learn From Amazon Stores

Across Germany and around the world work in similar fashion to each other. For your essential supplies such as food and beauty needs, supermarkets will have what you need. Within a traditional supermarket across the globe, you simply go into the store, with either a shopping trolely or basket, fill it up with what you need and pay and end when you go through checkout. How Amazon have started a revolutionise the supermarket sector with its very own physical stores called ‘Amazon Go’ in countries across the globe, causing a change in our grocery shopping routine.

In this respect, one of the main differences is that Amazon Go shops have no tills. But it is certainly not the only innovation that the company is bringing forward. Here, we take a look at some of the modern ideas that Amazon is offering its customers.

Personal shop assistant

Who doesn’t know Alexa? She has become a staple of many households, turning off lights and playing music in your living room at your command. Now, you can find her offering assistance on shop shelves too and is a prominent feature of your shopping experience in Amazon Go stores. Scattered across the store, these clever devices are able to point you towards the right aisle and provide you with extra information on the products for sale.

Not only that, but digitised stores offer customers the possibility to keep an eye on their spending. In fact, as you get hold of your chosen goods, it automatically sends you emails with your receipts and allows you to learn more about your purchases with digital descriptions.

As well as changing our grocery shopping routines, this new experience may also impact what we eat. Indeed, with heaps of content at our disposal, grocers can actively shape our diets and help us make conscious, healthier choices when food shopping. It is the perfect blend between browsing around physical shops and enjoying the comfort of online information.

Shifting from online to onsite

This leap from digital stores to physical mall spaces may surprise a few people. But the truth is that it shouldn’t really raise too many eyebrows. In fact, as mentioned, Amazon stores do not faithfully replicate a standard shopping experience. Conversely, your journey through its shelves and aisles has been designed with technology, innovation, and efficiency in mind.

Ultimately, this is why Amazon outlets have no need for checkouts. Its stores use the same technology and innovation that is adopted in self-driving vehicles, as cameras follow the movements of both customers and products to register how much your shopping basket is worth. Once you’ve filled your bags, you are free to leave the shop – exiting the main entrance is your checkout experience. In the meantime, your online Amazon account will be charged.

This whole process provides the customer with two primary advantages. First of all, you can shop in a swift, efficient, and enjoyable manner. Secondly, fewer employees in stores translates to lower staff costs and, therefore, cheaper product prices. With the rise of discount marketers such as Lidl and Aldi, these modern ideas could be precious for other German grocers and retailers. As of 2020, there were 4,159 Aldi and 3,226 Lidl stores across the country. To keep in step with their ‘affordable’ competitors, other German supermarkets could take a forward-thinking leaf out of Amazon’s agenda.

Boost for fellow businesses

As Amazon continues to grow in the grocery sector, it is easy for other companies in the field to feel threatened by their competition. However, this should give grocers some food for thought: physical shops do not belong in the history books. Of course, the advent of Amazon Go creates extra competition, but it also revitalises the industry and supports in-store shopping instead of encouraging handy, online purchasing.

For example, the success of online shopping has encouraged supermarkets to embrace the ‘click and collect’ system. Moreover, the increase of scan-as-you-shop devices and self-service checkout points demonstrates that grocers are keeping in step with the times.

Amazon can actively support both growing and alternative small businesses registered as sellers on the multinational’s platforms. Amazon Go stores can also be used as fulfilment centres for emerging grocers and companies. Furthermore, the birth of its physical shops will create both construction and engineering jobs, as these innovative technological mazes need to be built in the first place.

With an increasing need for hygienic and safe shopping locations, the manufacturing sector can make the most of Amazon’s growth too. The expansion of fulfilment centres and factories need to guarantee security, which includes the introduction of a hygienic regime and stainless Gehäuse to keep employees safe at all times.

Finally, the contactless nature of Amazon in-store shopping arrives in a period when social interaction may still be worrying for some customers. Hence, a contactless supermarket may help people feel more comfortable and secure when out on their shopping duties.

To conclude, the innovations brought to the table by Amazon could promote successful ideas for German supermarkets, grocers, and other retail sectors. In this sense, both the fashion and hospitality retail fields could benefit from these modern introductions, where products can be taken as your account gets automatically charged. Ultimately, there are countless lessons to be learned, and Amazon can truly operate as a source of inspiration for many different industries.

Kind-hearted Essex business donates armoured dog protection jackets to protect Assistance Dogs from attack

Every bespoke dog jacket that Bradley Davis hand-makes, is 15 times tougher than that of military-grade protective kit material, Kevlar.

Brad says his business – Doggy Armour1 – started accidentally, six years ago, after his wife Rachel, saw a news report about dog-on-dog attacks:

“After we had several close encounters whilst walking our own dog, Tilly – a small Puggle – who wouldn’t stand a chance if a larger dog attacked her,” said Brad. “Rachael said I should invent something for Tilly, something protective in case she ever got attacked when out for a walk. I laughed and said I’m a builder by trade, not a specialist in dog armour!”

“Nevertheless, she sent me packing to the shed, where I do all of my inventions, and I played around with different materials like Kevlar, where I realised that it was great at protecting against many things but not dog bites. I got in touch with some contacts in China, and we spoke about different fabrics with the requirement to be lightweight and flexible, which Kevlar generally isn’t.”

Studies have shown2 that between 1998-2018, dog attacks and bites on humans have almost tripled, with a recent study, published last year, showing a threefold increase in dog-bite hospital attendances following the onset of the first Covid lockdown. The boom of people purchasing buying puppies during the lockdown, and the follow-on lack of socialisation and proper puppy training, have resulted in an increase of dog attacks – both on other dogs and also humans.

Brad, who has a love of inventions, really has an eye for creating a piece of kit that offers body, chest, belly, and neck protection designed to protect a dog should it be attacked by another dog.

Brad continues: “We came up with a fabric which is about 15 times stronger than Kevlar, but still lightweight, so I started the manufacturing process and produced a coat for my dog initially. Then I saw a story in the local paper about an elderly gentleman’s dog being attacked locally and he was petrified to walk his dog again. I got in touch with the paper and asked them to let the man know that I would be happy to make a jacket for him for free, to help him have the confidence to walk his pet without fear.

“Doggy Armour really built up from there. I started making jackets to donate to anti-poaching dogs in Africa, through Animals Saving Animals.

“The material needed to ensure the dogs would be armoured against machetes, along with abseil attachments for dogs coming out of helicopters with rangers to tackle poaching. I can’t even begin to tell you how the prototypes were developed, but it did involve me making a test jacket for my own dog and then my friend was pulling me up a tree to make sure it was strong enough!

“We’ve made jackets for police dogs at Stansted Airport to anti-poaching jackets to protect tigers in Africa!”

Brad, Rachel and Doggy Armour are now focusing on helping assistance dogs and their owners, because they recognise they recognise the crucial role these animals provide in the lives of people with additional needs, to simply live every day.

Natasha Eastwood and her son Aidan, are two such people who rely heavily on their working cocker spaniel assistance dog, Frankie,

Everyday feelings like stress or heightened emotions could kill Natasha’s son, Aidan. The 15-year-old was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening heart condition – catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) – four years ago, after collapsing at school. If Aidan’s heart rate increases due to stress, it could lead to a fatal cardiac arrest.  Aidan used to be an active little boy who enjoyed kickboxing and swimming but after he collapsed at school in February 2017, doctors discovered he had catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT).

Trainee assistance dog, Frankie, has proved to be a life-saver. Not only can the one-year-old cocker spaniel spot the signs of an attack, but he also helps to calm Aidan before his stress levels rise.

An assistance dog is a dog that is trained to help a disabled individual, by carrying out a variety of practical tasks, as well as supporting independence and confidence. Frankie is being trained to help Aidan in his daily life, providing practical and emotional support, whilst aiding him towards an independent future.

Aidan also has autism and debilitating OCD, and with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Aidan hadn’t left the house for months because he was so scared of germs. Thanks to Frankie, he goes out each day for a walk and has now returned to school. Frankie has given him the confidence to face the world again.

Natasha says: “Frankie helps Aidan with daily tasks, such as getting dressed and cleaning his teeth. He can also carry Aidan’s medication upstairs for him.

“When Aidan is feeling anxious, which could trigger an attack, Frankie is always there, calming him down and reassuring him. Aidan has made excellent progress and is now training as a Mental Health Ambassador for his school council. Frankie and Aidan are incredible together.

But Natasha – who also has a recent autism diagnosis herself – has also faced issues while out walking and training Frankie. “Unfortunately, we have noticed that as the Covid lockdowns were beginning to be lifted, there was a significant rise in the amount of out-of-control off-leash dogs that approached Aidan and Frankie.

“On a recent walk, Frankie was bitten by such a dog. The owner failed to even attempt to recall their dog. Thankfully, Frankie is okay and hasn’t developed an injury or a fear-based response, which would be devastating to our family and could potentially end his working career as an assistance dog. “However, this attack significantly impacted our confidence whilst out and about, despite Frankie being highly trained. We love Frankie so much and he trusts us implicitly to keep him safe.”

Natasha’s case was referred to Brad and Doggy Armour by a dog trainer, Laura. Brad said:

“When I came across Natasha and Aidan’s story, I understood how important and necessary it was to offer our help to them, and we created Frankie a bespoke armoured jacket that very week.

Natasha and Aidan are now feeling so much more confident and less worried when out walking and training Frankie:

“Reduced stress is also paramount for Aidan’s heart and wellbeing, so he too is much safer. “Brad, Rachel and Doggy Armour have really made such a difference to our lives. We honestly can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done.”

Shanghai in Sight for Former Student as Part of WorldSkills Team UK

As the UK Team for WorldSkills 2022 is revealed, former graphic design student from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) Ellie Ruff is celebrating her selection and is now on track to compete on a global stage at the international WorldSkills 2022 competition in Shanghai this year.

Ellie, from Nuneaton, who is currently studying for a degree in graphic design at Nottingham Trent University, has travelled all over the country as part of the prestigious WorldSkills UK Talent Development Programme. It has now been revealed that Ellie has successfully secured a place in the team of just 39 young people from across the four nations set to represent the UK in October 2022.

Known as the ‘Skills Olympics’, this internationally respected competition is held every two years and rewards excellence in technical disciplines. Team UK will face competitors from 80 countries in a bid to reach the podium and win medals in their specialist disciplines.

After excelling in national WorldSkills UK skills competitions, Ellie earned the chance to compete on the world’s stage in the visual merchandising category. At college, Ellie achieved the highest possible grades (Distinction stars) for her Level 3 graphic design qualification at the college’s creative arts Hinckley Campus. She went on to win a Silver medal for her creative merchandising skills at the prestigious WorldSkills UK LIVE competition and has been honing her skills ever since.

Ellie said, “I am delighted to have been selected for Team UK. I am really enjoying my WorldSkills experience, and it has been a fantastic opportunity to meet my fellow competitors at training sessions all over the UK from Glasgow and Manchester to West Sussex where I worked alongside joiners and cabinet makers at Brinsbury College. I am returning to NWSLC next week to take part in a further pressure test at the college’s Wigston Campus so it will be great to be back on home ground. Travelling to China is an incredible prospect as I have never been further than Europe before.”

Ellie’s journey will continue throughout the summer as team members are required to demonstrate world class skills as part of the moderation process before their place is confirmed. In the meantime, Ellie is on deadline with her degree studies and is about to submit her final assignments at the end of her second year. She said that coming to college was ‘the best choice ever’ and she really enjoyed her course. Ellie believes that success in skills competitions will improve her CV when she joins the world of work after graduating and help her to secure employment as a graphic designer.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, who is also deputy chair and trustee of WorldSkills, said: “This is fantastic news; we’re very proud of Ellie and delighted that she has been selected for Team UK. WorldSkills opens so many doors for young people and, with hard work and dedication, they can benefit from some amazing opportunities. We are sure that competing as part of Team UK will provide Ellie with an unforgettable experience that will help her to grow and develop both personally and professionally.

“Ellie has benefited from some fantastic support from her tutors who consistently go the extra mile to help students practice and prepare themselves as well as they can. We believe that competitions are an excellent way of enabling students to practice real-world employability skills, inspiring them to get enthusiastic about their future career options. We wish Ellie the very best of luck as she works towards the competition in China later this year.”

Ben Blackledge, WorldSkills UK Deputy CEO said, “These young professionals represent the best in their field. We can transfer the insights gained from competing against other countries to drive up standards at home and boost the economy.”

New Community Access Defibrillator Unveiled by Hartshill Academy Pupil

Charlie Leeke from Hartshill Academy, who is trained to deliver CPR and defibrillator awareness, has helped to launch a new community access defibrillator at Maya restaurant in Atherstone alongside the Mayor of North Warwickshire Borough Council, Cllr Ray Jarvis, and Cllr Mejar Singh from Warwickshire County Council.

Year 8 pupil Charlie, 13, from Nuneaton, has been practising the techniques of CPR and defibrillator use since he was seven years old as part of the charity North Warwickshire Community First Responders (NWCFR) which is currently run by his mother Samantha Hall.

Charlie helps the charity regularly by teaching others how to carry out CPR and use defibrillators that are available to the public in an emergency. He is due to deliver training for Atherstone Football Club and the Maya restaurant in Atherstone as well as to the wider public through a range of community groups.

Samantha Hall said, “Charlie has been an asset to our charity from a very young age and often leads his own groups to teach them this vital skill. He relates well to people of all ages and has a great rapport with them. Charlie helps to convince people that anyone can tackle CPR by following the right advice and simple instructions. He really enjoys taking part and interacts so well with everyone at the sessions.”

Samantha Hall works as a student paramedic apprentice for the West Midlands Ambulance Service and is on the way to qualifying as a paramedic after switching to a clinical role in the NHS following 13 years in the finance department.

Lorraine Taylor, Principal of Hartshill Academy said, “We are very proud of Charlie who is a fantastic ambassador for the school through his work with this important local charity. His role has helped him to grow in confidence and we wish him luck with his future work.”

Samantha added, “North Warwickshire First Responders attend 999 calls locally in cases of potential cardiac arrest or other life-threatening emergencies ahead of the ambulance as they are often able to get there more quickly. We have a team of nine volunteers who dedicate 20 hours each month on call. We are recruiting again shortly, and the charity is always looking for support and donations. We are grateful to Warwickshire County Council for its funding for the defibrillator in Atherstone.”

Bioguard, an efficient solution to protect banknotes from COVID-19

It’s been over two years since the novel coronavirus was discovered in China. Changes have been taking over the world from then on, and paper money was one of the first to undergo a speculative metamorphosis: from simple means of payment into a scary infection carrier. But was it dangerous in fact? Let’s take a look at how living in the midst of the pandemic revealed a truly safe nature of paper bills, and how French treatment for banknotes Bioguard came to the fore after already being in use for years.

Everyone remembers those stickers that popped up on every shop’s wall at the beginning of the pandemic – ‘Contactless payments preferred’. Those who kept to cash – we will see later that it was for good reason – were strongly advised to use a sanitizer, including for banknotes. Some even ventured as far as to quarantine the money at home and wash them in a washing machine.

Few months later, the panic subsided. More details began to emerge: banknotes are not that infectious; on the contrary, in some cases they can be even safer than bank cards and self-checkout store terminals. Already in November 2020, the Bank of England completed a study which found that banknotes can’t make a cozy home for the virus. In just a few hours, the level of its presence on paper and plastic money naturally falls to negligible levels. Turns out that all the time cash was safer than we thought.  And the World Health Organization, when quoted as saying that banknotes carry viruses, reacted quite emotionally: “We did NOT say that cash was transmitting coronavirus,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told MarketWatch in an email. (The capital letters were Chaib’s.)

Nevertheless, central banks, cash printers and handlers were staying alert. Some resorted to drastic measures: back in 2020, for instance, China decided to destroy banknotes in heavily infected areas. The majority of those responsible for cash production and handling, however, preferred more adequate and convenient options – such as treatment of banknotes with special solutions.

Innovation on guard

The coronavirus crisis has placed high demands on everything designed to combat it. New responses were bound to be not one-purpose gimmicks, but solid and scientifically-backed developments. One of these was the Bioguard treatment for banknotes, developed by the French banknote printer Oberthur Fiduciaire since H1N1 crisis, and put in use as a biocide to enhance paper money safety in many countries.

When the pandemic started, Oberthur decided to carry extra tests. It turned out that qualities necessary to help prevent the spread of infection have been literally at hand all the time. A designated study, conducted by the company in conjunction with Biological Consulting Services, a U.S.-based leading pathogen analysis lab, confirmed stellar effectiveness of the biocide against propagation of a OC43 virus sample (a same-family relative of the COVID-19).

Another question was the lifespan of the treatment. Indeed, a banknote is not a one-off: you won’t throw it in a trash bin like a disposable face mask. It has a life span of several years, and we simply cannot afford to disinfect all the money which lost its anti-pathogen properties but are in good condition otherwise. A seasoned money printer, Oberthur clearly understood that biocide coatings and varnishes should retain their properties long enough, and went an extra mile to meet the requirement. The solution was found in rejection of volatile compounds that could evaporate over time, and in a combination of the paper treatment and varnish. Thanks to this, Bioguard’s protection now lasts as long as banknotes themselves. “When banknotes become unfit and severely soiled through circulation it increases their weight because of the accumulated dirt, and the antimicrobial protection can be reduced as any other paper property would be. This is why Bioguard Enhance was developed in order to ensure the optimisation and long-lasting impact of the inherent properties”, says Henri Rosset, one of Bioguard’s creators.

Spread safety, not infection

Just a couple of decades ago, it was hard to imagine that an ordinary bill would destroy viruses, bacteria and fungi on its own, without causing irritation and allergies but remaining safe and environmentally friendly. Now, the future is in our purse: protected and eco-friendly banknotes, treated with Bioguard paper treatment or Bioguard UV overprint varnish, can be found all over the world, from the European Union to Botswana or Fiji.

Introduced years before the pandemic, Bioguard has now evolved into something more than just another safety feature. Like any modern technology, this treatment is a reflection of a concerted effort to ensure that no similar situation occurs again, the more so Oberthur makes the solution easily available to its rivals: “Among the manufacturers who have already used Bioguard are Louisenthal in Germany, Crane Currency, Spain’s FNMT, Portals in the U.K., and VHP Security Paper in the Netherlands”, notes Coin World newspaper. Other applications of Bioguard include packaging and virtually any surface, which opens new opportunities for the global effort in diseases prevention and closes the door for infections.

The company itself is now certain that sharing knowledge and implementing precautionary principles is key to ward off any future outbreaks. Etienne Couëlle, Managing Director of Oberthur Fiduciaire, puts it clearly: “Hopefully this pandemic is behind us. However, every year, we get influenza and cough spikes, while infectious bacteria are permanently present. We all know that a new pandemic will come at some point. So let us be prepared for the next one. We have time to do so if we don’t delay action too much.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down. Ordinary actions have taken on a dual nature: now we know that weekend meetings with friends, however fun and pleasant, can be unsafe, and a simple cough can signal not just a seasonal illness, but a dangerous warning. The same is true for those objects that surround us daily – for example, door handles turn out to be more dangerous than paper money. This is when solutions such as Bioguard banknotes come to make anchor points in a global response to health problems: everyday items become undoubtedly safe, and always-limited time and resources are directed to purposes better than trivial cleaning and disinfecting.

5 Jobs around the house you’ve probably been putting off

There are so many jobs involved with owning, or even just living in, a house. Many of these jobs are quick and easy to do but some are very tedious making it so easy to procrastinate. They have to be done and the quicker you do them, the happier you’ll be.

Here are 5 jobs around the house that you’ve probably been putting off, but should do as soon as possible.

  1. Flip your mattress

This is by far one of the quickest jobs on this list but it’s also one of the easiest to put off all the time. It’s so strange that you change your sheets so often but forget to flip the mattress now and again.

It might seem a bit unnecessary but flipping and rotating your mattress means that there is a more even level of wear and tear which will make it last you longer. Mattresses can be really expensive, so anything that can make you go longer before having to spend money on another one is definitely a bonus.

Next time you’re changing your sheets, flip or rotate your mattress. It’s much easier than you think.

  1. Defrosting your freezer 

Defrosting your freezer is so important to keeping it running properly and making it last year after year. Why do people put it off so much then?

This is probably for two main reasons. The first is certainly that people don’t think it needs doing. When you’re putting things in your freezer and they are freezing as they should be, why would you think there is anything wrong with it?

The second is likely due to how long it can take. Defrosting your freezer, depending on the weather, can take hours. Though it doesn’t take a lot of actual work, it’s annoying to have to block out a day where you are home to sort your freezer.

There are heat guns that can really do this for you in a fraction of the time and are certainly a good investment if you have an expensive freezer that you want to make sure keeps working time and time again.

  1. Water your plants

House plant ownership has skyrocketed in the last few years. Younger generations are including these features of nature into their homes much more, in an attempt to turn their, often small, spaces into urban jungles.

House plants are great, as many of them need little care to look beautiful. You can’t enjoy them though without giving them what they need from time to time. Not forgetting to water them is so important, especially in the summer months, and can really help them thrive.

  1. Dust…everywhere

Dusting is something that people do quite a bit. Alongside vacuuming, dusting is easy to keep on top of because it’s so obvious when you don’t do it.

Whether it’s dust building up on your coffee table or shelves, it’s very clear when it needs sorting out. The part of dusting that people do put off is getting into those less common areas.

This might be an area that people can’t see or one that you don’t look at very often. Under your bed, under your sofa and the top of your cabinets are just a few places where dust can really build up. While some areas might be fine for a long time, others can be really dusty and need regular attention.

Although you don’t have to dust these areas as often as you would others, it’s important to remember them every now and again so that you can keep on top of it.

  1. Clean the things that clean

Dishwashers, washing machines and showers are just a few areas in your home that help you keep things clean. Whether that’s the stuff you eat off of, the things you wear or yourself, the things that help you keep clean also need cleaning now and again.

It’s understandable why people put this off, you associate those things or places in your home with cleanliness and don’t consider them ever getting dirty. When you think about it, though, all that dirt has to go somewhere.

Making sure you are putting your devices on the self-cleaning setting now and again or giving your bathroom that little extra care it needs on cleaning day is all you need to do.

There is so much to do around the house sometimes that it’s easy to keep pushing some jobs back. Once they are done, though, you will certainly thank yourself.

Ryan Mahoney (Dubai, UAE): CRC Market Report on Commercial Properties

Ryan Mahoney (Dubai, UAE) is the owner and CEO of CenCorpo. He is credited with cofounding the largest agency-owned real estate website operating out of the UAE. Having been heavily involved in several successful startups, including Taqado, MasterKey, and Dubizzle, Ryan Mahoney benefits from extensive experience of the Dubai real estate market. This article focuses on the Commercial Property Market Report recently published by CRC, focusing on commercial real estate in Dubai and the UAE.

2021 marked a major turning point in the commercial real estate market in the UAE. In Dubai, positive reforms fueled an increase in demand for commercial property, driving prices above even pre-pandemic levels. With the market making a virtually complete recovery, confidence increased strongly among business owners, enhancing optimism about the future of their companies, with demand increasing for larger, better quality commercial spaces.

Dubai’s government passed a raft of new policies designed to stimulate the economy during the pandemic, including implementing a new Monday to Friday working work in line with the rest of the world, a move which had a direct positive impact on the country’s commercial real estate sector. Despite the pandemic, Dubai’s economy remained the most robust in the region, with experts predicting that it will remain a highly attractive place for investment.

The CRC Commercial Property Market Report FY 2021 predicts that as the market returns to normality, overall, commercial property prices will continue to rise steadily in Dubai, supporting increased confidence in both the property market, and Dubai’s wider economy.

On the whole, UAE economies showed exceptional resilience throughout the pandemic, a buoyancy reflected in real estate markets. In 2021, as the commercial property market navigated its way out of the Covid-19 pandemic, the total value of units sold topped almost 31 billion, up by 35% compared with sales for the previous year.

Whether driven by the lifestyle, or new legal reforms increasing access to golden visas and citizenship for foreign investors, Dubai is currently attracting an influx of expats and investors, boosting demand for commercial property considerably. In 2021, the number of offices sold totaled AED 1.99 billion, representing an impressive 101% increase.

EXPO 2020 coincided with a resumption of international travel, culminating in an uptick in footfall for retailers. This in turn increased demand for retail spaces, particularly on street level, in communities like Jumeirah Lake Towers and International City. In 2021, retail transactions were than 96% higher than figures for the previous year, with the total value increasing to almost AED 690 million.

Since the pandemic started, many new residents arrived in Dubai to start new businesses and lives, some seeking to avoid lockdowns in their home countries; others entrepreneurs and business owners seeking to run and grow their ventures in a relatively open environment with minimal restrictions in terms of business operations. International City dominated retail sales transactions in 2021, with 157 retail unit sales reported, compared with 57 in Jumeirah Lake Towers, and 56 in Mohammed Bin Rashid City.

The UAE’s commercial property leasing sector also demonstrated steady signs of recovery throughout 2021. As demand in commercial leasing grew, this triggered an increase in rental prices, as new businesses started opening their doors across Dubai. The CRC report reveals an occupancy rate spike toward the end of 2021, particularly in Grade A buildings, as business owners looked for premises for their new and growing businesses.

The CRC report betrays a marked upward trajectory in terms of the price and size of offices sold, with a 100% increase in office sales in 2021 compared with 2020. Business Bay attracted the most sales, followed closely by Jumeirah Lake Towers, then Al Barari, Barsha Heights, Dubai Silicon Oasis, and Downtown Dubai.

Average office sizes increased by 9% in 2021 compared with 2020, with average office deal value rising by 11%. As confidence in the market continues to grow, increasing numbers of businesses are investing in commercial spaces, driving an increase in prices throughout 2021, a trend that property experts suggest is likely to continue throughout 2022.

EXPO 2020 attracted massive investment in Dubai, including expansion of the metro line, connecting communities like Al Furjan to the rest of the city. In addition to the highly successful EXPO 2020 international networking event, increased growth is also attributed to the government’s vaccination drive, which culminated in vaccination of approximately 93% of the population, providing many residents with easy access to two doses of the vaccine.

KYND Announces Upcoming Launch of Industry-First ‘Ready for Brokers’ Service at BIBA 2022.

  • KYND Announces Upcoming Launch of Industry-First ‘Ready for Brokers’ Service at BIBA 2022.Leading provider of pioneering cyber risk management solutions, KYND Limited, is excited to announce the launch of a brand new service for brokers.
  • The industry-first ‘Ready for Brokers’ service allows brokers to effectively secure cyber coverage for clients.
  • The service will launch at this year’s BIBA Conference in Manchester.


KYND Limited, a leading provider of pioneering cyber risk management solutions, is eagerly anticipating its industry-first ‘Ready for Brokers’ service, which is set to launch at the 2022 BIBA Conference in Manchester over the 11th and 12th of May.

The KYND ‘Ready for Brokers’ Service

The ground-breaking new service will enable brokers to firstly, quickly and successfully secure cyber coverage for their clients, and secondly, help improve organisations’ cyber risk profiles. The service is designed to help brokers and clients effectively manage cyber risk in a time of increased occurrences of ransomware incidents, as well as greater threat of systemic and aggregated attacks.

KYND’s ‘Ready for Brokers’ offering combines leading cyber risk management tools with technology, as well as expert advisory support to help brokers and their clients’ secure the right cyber insurance policy. KYND also aims to help businesses and their clients efficiently reduce exposure to cyber risks, as well as reducing the risk of cyber-attacks.

BIBA Conference 2022

BIBA, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, is the UK’s leading general insurance intermediary organisation, which represents the interests of intermediaries and insurance brokers, as well as their customers. BIBA acts as the sector’s authoritative voice, advising on key issues in the insurance field. BIBA’s Conference is the UK’s largest insurance industry event, which presents influential and inspiring business speakers in the field, as well as the latest leading trends and developments.

Andy Thomas, KYND’s CEO and Founder, said: “At KYND we’ve been working tirelessly over the last few years to help both brokers and their clients take firm control over ever-evolving and ever-growing cyber risks. Leveraging our unique insight and extensive cyber expertise, our brand-new KYND Ready for Brokers service is uniquely positioned to help brokers and their clients in successfully securing cyber coverage with favourable pricing and terms – easily and quickly! We look forward to the BIBA event as it is the perfect opportunity to launch our new service and give live demonstrations on how easy it is to get an instant overview of the cyber risk indicators that are red flags for underwriters and could be a barrier to obtaining cyber coverage.”

Finding KYND at the BIBA Conference

BIBA Conference attendees are invited to visit KYND’s helpful representatives at booth #B83 to learn more about how KYND’s cyber risk management tools and services can benefit every aspect of the cyber insurance value chain.

If you’d like to schedule a meeting during the conference, get in touch with the KYND team by emailing info@kynd.io.

Latest Articles