Author Archives: Daniel

How to Make a Success of Working From Home

If you’re working from home, you need to put in some effort to make it work. Whether you’re working remotely for a traditional company in the short term – perhaps while recovering from an injury or combining work with child care – or you’re self employed and your home is your office the majority of the time, it’s possible to be just as productive as when you’re working in a professional office.

Today, we’ve got three key ways to maximize your productivity while you’re working from home so you can be sure you’re making a full contribution, wherever you are!

Create an Office Space

Whether it’s a spare room, or a temporary arrangement at the kitchen table, creating a dedicated space devoted to work will help you to focus. In the short term, try to approximate your office space as much as a possible and remove distractions: having a television in the same room could prove to be too much of a temptation to someone trying to put in a full day’s work!

If you’re working from home in the long term this will help you maintain a reasonable work life balance: when there’s no official ‘stop time’ at the end of the day, it can difficult to switch off. Having a specific room you work in and setting times to leave it and stop will make sure you maintain healthy boundaries.

If you don’t have a convenient office space at home, it’s worth looking at shared working spaces you can drop into occasionally, if not to use full time: this can helpful if you thrive in a busy environment and need the background noise of an office to really focus.

Shared work spaces can be expensive, however, cheaper options are available. If you look for cheap storage, London byStored is one of the latest to open. They’re springing up all the time, and that means they have to take steps to stand out from the crowd. Some storage facilities are offering additional facilities to make themselves attractive to a market beyond people packing furniture away.

A storage facility can make a great place to work from: and as well as a no frills office, many also include meeting rooms and conference facilities for if you need to discuss things in person with clients.

How to go green in your home

The world is at a turning point: fossil fuel stores are beginning to run out; global pollution levels are at a record high; the ice caps are melting, causing widespread flooding; and many other global issues are forcing a worldwide restructuring. Unfortunately reversing and slowing the changes that we have already caused to our planet is a long and drawn out process that requires the participation of everyone worldwide. It is not going to be easy, but we all need to do our bit. Implementing slight changes to your household eco-friendliness is the first step towards change, which you’ll find out how to do in this article. Plus, not only will you help the environment, but it will also save you money in the long run.

Switch to LED bulbs

Lighting is a huge part of the average household electricity bill. This term is not just limited to your spatial lights, such as in the living room, but also in your fridge, your extractor fan, your bedside light and the other mini light bulbs you find dotted around your house. If you are in an older house, you will generally find that if you’ve not switched anything, you will still be installed with incandescent-style bulbs, which are highly inefficient in comparison to today’s technology.

It is estimated that the average household electricity bill in the UK is made up of 25% electricity, which is a huge number, and should not be this high. Switching to LED bulbs will reduce your consumption between 75-90%, which will therefore drastically reduce your overall bill amount. According to the Telegraph, by switching just 10 bulbs in your house to LEDs, each with a 60W output that was switched on for an average of 10 hours per day, you would save £240 per year.

Switch to a renewable energy tariff

As the world energy crisis continues to get worse, energy companies worldwide are being forced into stricter regulations and given shorter deadlines to reach renewable generation targets. One of the trends that has emerged in the UK is the green energy tariff. This originally started with just electricity but has now expanded to the gas markets also. It basically means that if you purchase one of these tariffs, your usage amount will be directly removed from that company’s fossil fuel generation/purchase efforts and be generated through renewable methods, such as: hydro; wind; solar; and geothermal.

Sometimes these tariffs can be a little more expensive than the cheapest on the market, but if you have never switched before, there is a 99% chance that you will still be making quite a large saving. If you are with a Big Six supplier and have never switched, meaning you’ll be on a variable tariff, your savings, based on average usage, would amount to upwards of £200 per year.

Generate your own electricity

This tip will not be appropriate for everyone reading this, as the initial outlay of solar panels can be quite hefty. But, if you do have some money that you could invest into solar panels, read on!

Solar panels can be bought in varying degrees, from a tiny bit of generation to removing all reliance on your energy supplier completely. Obviously the more electricity that you want to generate, the more it’s going to cost you in the initial investment. After that, however, your ROI will be higher, the more you generate.

If you wanted to remove all need for your energy supplier, thus generating 100% of your own electricity, you would probably be looking at paying around £6,000-8,000 to start with, with a £2,500 battery storage system for low-light and night time scenarios. This would see a return on investment after about 18 years, doubling that investment in the following 18.

Increase your insulation

Whether it be your expensive, proper insulation for your floor, roof or walls, or whether you simply hang thicker curtains or rugs, all insulation in your home is important. Having good temperature retention in your home will do wonders for your energy bills and will mean that you don’t have to waste as much gas and electricity in controlling the temperature of your house. You don’t need to spend thousands of pounds to increase the insulation level of your home, but it is obviously recommended to have ‘comprehensive’ insulation fitted.

It is estimated that following percentages of heat loss occur in their corresponding areas. It is thus worth prioritising accordingly:

Roof – 25%
Walls – 35%
Windows and doors 25%
Floor – 15%

Brexit and Copyright: Are Your Ideas Safe?

If you work in design, you might be a bit more concerned about Brexit than other people. Anti-Copying in Design, the trade body set up to protect the intellectual property of designers, has raised concerns that vital business law stopping people copying original designs will be scrapped.

Did McDonald, the founder of the organization has cautioned the government that if they don’t either keep the existing legislation or have new laws ready to seamlessly take the place of EU protections the design industry, which currently contributes 71.7 million pounds to the UK economy, could be at serious risk of losing ownership of the ideas and designs that make it so successful.

“EU design laws protect the individual character of designs in terms of shape, texture, colours, ornamentation and materials, while UK rights only protect shape.” Did explains. Losing these protections would put British designers at a severe disadvantage to their European counterparts, at a time when we need them to be at their best and help boost our economy in the wake of leaving the European Union.

Anti-Copying in Design offers free initial legal advice to their members to help them navigate the complexities of protecting their intellectual property. Once a designer has signed up, they can also put a ACID logo on their website which helps to deter potential copyright thieves. The lawyers who work with ACID explain that seeing the logo makes a potential copyright infringer realise the designer is aware of the law surrounding copyright theft, and has the support necessary to defend their rights.

While some underestimate the risk of copyright infringement to small designers, ACID has documented and helped to fight many cases where a small business has met with a supermarket or other big supplier, only to later find copies of their products for sale in stores. When your main income is your unique ideas and designs, you stand to lose everything if people can reproduce them without any fees or punishments. At a time when the UK needs to reinforce it’ internal economy, this is a bigger issue than any individual designer being inconvenienced.

McDonald has visited Downing Street to explain that if designers don’t receive more legal protection, 25% of sales could be lost across the UK. This is an issue that affects us all: that could be a non-trival portion of our post Brexit economy.