How to stay productive and motivated while working from home

When you work from home one of the biggest issues that you can face is making sure that you feel motivated to finish everything that needs doing. As you are only relying on yourself, this means that being productive is all the harder.

The good news is that there are some great ways that you can try your best to remain productive, even when you are working from home, and here some of them are.

Have your own work space

You really cannot underestimate how important it is to have a space in your home that you equate to working. This doesn’t necessarily need to be an entire home office, perhaps it can just be a particular corner of the room, or even the dining room table. The thing to remember is that as soon as you find that space, make sure that it is where you carry on working.

Invest in other ways to keep an eye on your family

If you are trying to balance working from home with looking after your kids, then it can be hard to do both. If your little one is napping however, and you can get some work done then this is a great opportunity. You can invest in a wireless video camera that is designed to be taken with you, giving you the ability to check in on your baby whilst you are busy working away in another room.

Get dressed and ready to go

Finding it hard to get motivated when working from home? Are you sat around in your PJs? If you are then your mind is definitely going to be set into weekend mode, and this needs changing. Behave just as you would as if you were heading to work, shower, have breakfast and get dressed. You could even go for a walk around the block, anything that gets you ready to face the work that you need to do that day.

Have plenty of communication tools

One of the hardest things about working at home is that you don’t get the chance to interact with your colleagues and be social. This can lead you to feel a bit demotivated and not really wanting to work. Rather than worrying about being all alone, why not make sure that you have plenty of other communication tools to hand? This can come in the form of email, instant messaging systems and skype. Any way that you can make sure that there is someone to sound off with or just bounce some ideas off of.

Minimise your distractions

Distractions are one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to working at home, and unfortunately these can come in a variety of forms. Try to keep away from social media, unless it is for work and turn off any notifications that are not related to work that you need to do. Also try and explain to your family and friends that whilst you may be at home, you do need to focus on the work that you need to do.

Plan your lunches

When you work in an office you are much more likely to find yourself reminded that you need a snack or lunch. Particularly by your colleagues, when you work from home you are less likely to think about things like breaks. Not eating properly, or having time away from your laptop can leave you demotivated or lethargic. So it is important to plain in your lunches, not only the time, but also what you are going to have. Try and pick healthy, light meals that are going to fill you up and leave you feeling ready to face the afternoon.

Remember that it is not always 9-5

The beauty of working from home is that you are in charge of the working hours that you keep. This means that there is no such thing as 9-5. Sure you are much more likely to work when the kids are out of the house, but if you are really stuck for time and need to get things finished, then this can be done in the evening, or perhaps by getting up early the next morning.

Give yourself a pep talk

Working in an office usually means that you are going to start your day with a huddle, meeting or team brief. If you struggle to focus on what you are going to achieve that day, why not implement this at home? It may sound (and feel) silly giving yourself a pep talk before you start the day, but it can really work wonders. It helps you to focus on what you need to get done that day and sets you up for a busy and productive working day.

Have some background noise

Some people work better in the quiet, but others find this can be the biggest distraction of all. A good idea is to have the radio on in the background. Find music that you enjoy listening too, but that isn’t going to have you jumping around on your seat, and you may find that you can focus on even those dull tasks with ease.

So, there you have it, whether you go for a wireless video camera, make sure that you are dressed and ready to go or simply have a work space to call your own, all of these things can make sure that you are productive, no matter where you work and no matter what tasks you need to do.

Working from home doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, if you try some of these top tips then you may find that it is a lot easier than you think to be productive.

Building a Business Website from Scratch

For many, the starting of a business can be a busy time. So busy in fact, that the building of a website can often take a back seat when it comes to priorities. However, the presence of a business online can be one of its most important factors, as it had the potential to be one of the main sales funnels for a business.

Knowing we need a website is one thing, but how do we go about creating one? Like many things in life, there are a plethora of options available, so we need to make some considerations.

Designing the Website

The design of your website will depend on the nature of your business. If your business offers goods via mail order then it’s likely you will need some form of storefront. Those offering videography services will often look at a website design that is able to promote their portfolio and testimonials. 

Having an idea of what kind of design you want for your website beforehand means that the whole design process is a more straightforward affair. If you’re having some difficulty in deciding on a layout, then why not look at some other websites within your niche? However, you should only use such websites for inspiration, as outright copying could cause some legal issues.

Once you have a design in mind, there are many options available to you. You may want to build the website yourself, and this is certainly possible thanks to the many DIY tools online. What’s more, these tools offer an easy-to-use interface that can help you design professional-looking websites within minutes, However, some may find that DIY software is a little limited for their needs.

Another option is to use a content management system such as WordPress to create your website. Not only are you able to update content with a few clicks, but you also have access to a multitude of templates. What’s more, if a certain template needs some aesthetic or layout changes, you can normally find someone to make the amendments for a small fee.

Then there’s the option of employing the services of a web designer, which can be beneficial for many. However, it’s important that we don’t use the fee charged as a guide alone. There are many different solutions available, and it’s about finding the best value as opposed to the best price. As such, it can be advisable to read some reviews and ask to see some example of work carried out in the past. IT stands to reason that the more work you need, the more expensive it will be.

Registering a Domain Name

There can be many rules associated with domain name registration depending on who you speak to. Some will say choose a domain that contains keywords, whereas others swear by used domains. Such advice is often based on old SEO techniques that don’t really hold much weight anymore. The only thing you should be trying to do is ensuring your domain name is the same as that of your business.

In some instances, a business will look at what domain names are available before deciding what to call their business. Ensuring the domain name is the same as your business name makes for a more uniformed online presence, and ensures there’s no confusion caused to potential customers.

Choose Your Own Web Hosting

There are several services online that give you free web space, mostly in the form of a blog, but this comes with its own limitations. Opting for the services of a web hosting provider ensures that we have a more reliable website that’s not prone to going offline. If you want to find one of the best providers then check out this list hostauthority.org/top

Options are often quite cost-effective, depending on your options. For example, if you’re willing to share bandwidth with other websites, then you’ll be paying less than you would if you decided to opt for your own server.

What’s more, you will normally have a point-of-contact should there be any issues with your hosting, which is vital if you’re hosting a business online.

With so many hosting providers it can be difficult to decide which one to go with, however these guys did a good job ranking the best hosts.

Structuring the Content

One of the most important aspects of any website is the content. You can have the best-looking website in the world, but it would gain much traction if it doesn’t have the right kind of content to support it.

While you should look to include keywords within your content, you shouldn’t do it so much so they looked forced. This can be a red flag to search engines who could assume that you’re looking to manipulate the algorithm.

What kind of tone the content should take really depends on the business itself. Those offering legal services would probably want to aim for something professional, whereas those in the fashion industry can adopt a more laid back approach.

If the content fits in with the context of the keywords used, and looks to offer visitors value, there’s no reason as to why you should receive any adverse rankings due to your content.

Promoting the Website 

The are many ways of promoting your website, depending on how quickly you’re looking for results. If you’re looking to get visits straight away, then you will need to invest in some form of advertising. One of the most popular methods of marketing is a pay-per-click campaign, where you pay for each visit you get from an ad placed within a search engine. You can tailor your ad to reach the targeted demographic, so it can be very rewarding. However, you need to ensure that your site has a clear call-to-action and can be navigated easily, otherwise your marketing budget could be going to waste.

If you’re happy to let your site grow organically, then you can ensure that you are carrying out the right kind of search engine optimisation. This includes well-written content, clear contact details and an optimised site that can be viewed on different devices. While there are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO, carrying out the task in the right way will allows your site to mature and develop and before long, you’ll find that your website is being ranked as one with authority.

A website can make all the difference as to whether our business is a success or not. A website in the modern age can essentially be an extension of the business, so if things aren’t up to scratch, consumers could assume that the business isn’t either. That’s not to say that things never go wrong, but rectifying these mistakes sooner rather than later means less repercussions in relation to turnover and maintaining an active online audience.

Office Pest Control – How It Can Give Your Business A Boost!

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Offices are strange places, aren’t they? Most businesses have them and they come in all shapes and sizes, they are literally hives of human activity. But when humans converge in one place for hours at a time what’s the one thing you can always count on?

If you guessed “a mess” then congratulations you’re right! We can do our best to be neat and tidy but messes are going to happen even in small offices. Now you might be thinking I have cleaners so it’s not really an issue, is it?

But while cleaners will tidy up and make the office look neat again the time it takes for them to arrive and clean can already mean it’s too late. Messy offices attract pests of all kinds from mice and rats to bugs and even birds.

Even if your office seems clean and tidy much on the mess that attracts pests will be invisible to the naked eye. Simple things like having dinner at your desk could cause plenty of invisible food waste that attracts rodents or bugs.

Or it may be that the pests have moved from a neighbouring building however it happens once your office or business premises as attracted pests getting rid of them should be of the utmost importance. Working in a pest infested office, even if it’s only a small infestation, is not going to promote a healthy and active work environment.

Getting work done in an office with rats or mice, for example, is going to very difficult especially for people who have phobias of said animals. There’s also the health and safety matters you need to think about. We work our best when we’re relaxed and comfortable and no one is going to feel comfortable in a pest infested office.

How We Can Help!

At Eliminate, who are one of the leading pest control services based in Carlisle, we guarantee a professional and quick , so many businesses put off pest control measures because they think they can handle the problem themselves or because they’re afraid it will mean closing down their business while the work is being done. But at Eliminate we will work quickly to ensure a minimum of distribution.

We are also available 24/7 every day of the week so we work when it’s most convenient for you. Whether it’s a small infestation or a large one we can get your office back to normal in no time and don’t worry we use environmentally friendly cleaning techniques.

So, there are no harmful fumes or chemicals.

By keeping your office is pest free and professionally cleaned you’ll be ensuring a healthier and more efficient environment and a more active workforce. The chances of a pest infestation are very high, no matter how clean you try to be, so when you do notice one act fast and we’ll ensure it is solved quickly before it grows into a bigger problem.

Remember a clean, pest free environment will go a long way towards improving employee efficiency and morale. And if your business doesn’t have an office then don’t worry because our pest control services can help any work environment stay free of pests.

Finding the right insurance for your startup company

As is true in most aspects of life – running a startup business comes with some risks. There are some risks that no insurance company will cover, particularly those that relate to business decisions – however, there are plenty of risks that go well beyond an impact that’s just felt in yours and shareholder’s pockets.

Whether it’s injury to a third party on your premises, legal claims from customers or even the implications of tax investigations – there are insurance products to cover you. We’ll give an overview of some of the most popular products and options…

Public liability insurance

If a member of the public is injured – or has some of their property damaged and you or one of your employees is at fault, then public liability insurance would protect you against having to settle with the injured party.

Although people tend to assume public liability only covers people who are visiting your own premises, it actually covers a lot of different situations. For example:

  • A customer in your shop knocks over some cleaning equipment that is not being stored correctly, ruining their clothing and causing a minor injury.
  • A client visiting your offices trips on some unsecured wiring and falls, injuring themselves.
  • A technical consultant from your company damages some of your client’s computer equipment while on a service visit, the bill runs to thousands of pounds.
  • An apprentice in your plumbing company causes a water leak that damages the walls of the company premises you’re working on – and that of the business below it.

The potential impact of each of these events differs – but could very well include legal costs, the claimant’s legal costs (if you are found to be at fault), loss of earnings (both current and future) and also any damages deemed necessary.

Do you need it?

It is not a legal requirement that you have public liability insurance – but considering the scope of potential claims that could be brought against you – it’s certainly likely to be a good idea. While it’s important to get professional financial advice – as a first step it’s worth considering what situations you and your staff are likely to find yourselves in.

It’s also worth noting that some landlords require you to have public liability insurance to comply with the terms of rental agreements – so check carefully.

Employer’s liability insurance

Should something untoward happen to an employee while they’re working for you, an employer’s liability insurance policy is what would cover the cost of any claim against you or your business.

Most commonly this type of cover would protect against minor injury and cases of where there is dispute over employment law – however, it can and does also protect against more serious instances, such as employee death. 

It’s a legal requirement that you have this type of cover in place – although the nature of the cover means there are some instances where exceptions are made:

  • Limited companies who have only a sole employee do not need employer’s liability insurance – assuming that person owns at least half the company shares.
  • People who are registered as being self-employed and employ only themselves or family members also do not need employer’s liability insurance. 

Do you need it?

Be sure to check with the health and safety executive if you think either of the above situations apply to you – if they don’t, then the answer is a resounding yes!

The health and safety executive enforce the requirement for employer’s liability insurance – taking the task very seriously and levying large fines on companies who attempt to duck out of the responsibility. Without it, you’re leaving your company open to these fines, the costs of legal proceedings (both yours and the claimants) – plus any damages and/or compensation.

Professional indemnity insurance

This kind of policy covers you against claims that a brought relating to the professional service you provide – essentially if it is inadequate, or has led to your client losing money. Here are some examples of how PI insurance works:

  • A plastics company agrees to create a number of components for a car manufacturer. The products are delivered on time but have been incorrectly moulded, meaning the manufacture of the cars is delayed and customer order times extended – in turn leading to cancelled orders and reputation damage.
  • A print company delivers banners intended to decorate a large new-build housing estate. After a few days of poor weather, it becomes apparent that the banners are tearing and the print is running, leaving the client stuck with poor quality banners – or the cost of having them removed and replaced.
  • An IT company sign a service level agreement with a client – but fail to honour that agreement, leaving systems without backup. When the client’s main storage server fails, customer data is inaccessible, causing major service disruption.

Do you need it?

A lot of professional accreditations, regardless of your field, will require you to have professional indemnity insurance as part of their requirements – if you’re not sure, check with them directly. Even if your profession doesn’t require it, without it you could face enormous legal fees and compensation payments – think about it carefully and consult with an accredited insurance advisor about your particular circumstances.

Other types of insurance policy

Although we’ve listed the main three types of business insurance – there are others you might want to seek advice around:

Property and contents insurance – covering building and contents owned by your company – sometimes a prerequisite if you’re renting furnished office space.

Tax investigation insurance – If HMRC ever investigate your company finances this type of cover can pay for expenses, miscalculations and even tax shortfalls – depending on the cover you choose.

Directors insurance – Applying to your directors and managers, this type of policy will cover costs arising from compensation claims relating to alleged wrongful acts, including breaches of duty and trust, professional error and neglect and other business-related acts.

Company vehicle insurance – motor policies that cover the use to company owned or leased vehicles when being used by employees.

There’s no substitute for professional advice

This guide is intended to inform you about the types of products that exist and the types of companies that might use them. To be certain whether your company requires any of the cover noted above, you should contact a regulated insurance advisor and discuss your company’s unique circumstances.

Managing the Finances of Your Startup in 2017

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Regardless of the type of business you run, there will always be a requirement to keep track of company finances. While in the initial period this can be as straightforward as income and expenditure, but as the business develops you will find that there are more avenues to contend this could anything from loans from companies such as oinkmoney.com to other funding and capital that you have received.

It’s easy to be come overwhelmed with the financial commitments of a company, but if we deal each step accordingly, it all soon fits into place.

Review All Aspects of Incomings and Outgoings

Although a basic overview of the company finances can help paint a picture of where money is being sent, a startup should ensure that all financial aspects of the business are recorded. These can include what is being spent on payroll, petty cash and the services the businesses we use.

Should you take your eye off the ball in relation to one segment of the business, it can mean that other segments have ramifications as a result.

Stay Organised Throughout the Financial Year

Many of us can view accounts as something we review on an annual basis, but this means that we have less time to contend with anything that doesn’t seem right.

Staying on top of your finances from the off means that you’re able to better manage the business as a whole, and any inconsistencies can be dealt with instantly.

Of course, it can be understood that some aspects of the financial world are hard to navigate. However, knowing what these are means that you’re in a better position to seek expert advice where it’s needed, thus allowing you to find a cost-effective solution.

Makes Plans for Major Expenses

While many expenses within the business will be the same throughout the year, there will be occasions where you have to spend a little more. What these expenses depend on the nature of your business, but an example can be the update of operating systems to ensure that your data remains safe.

To ensure that the business has enough capital to content with such expenses, you should ensure that you diaries any upcoming events, and look to put a plan in place that ensures that these costs are met.

It will also allow you some breathing space to find the right kind of service provider. If we have to rush when it comes to large expenditure within the business, we will often pay more for the service as a result.

Have a Clear Invoicing System in Place

Sending an invoice is a pretty straightforward endeavour, but if a business isn’t able to deal with invoices in the right way, then it will suffer some cash flow problems as a result.

Having a clear invoicing system in place ensures that you’re paid on time, thus ensuring that there are no financial hiccups in the business moving forward.

The terms and conditions of the invoice should be made clear to the customer. This includes detailing when the invoices should be paid by, as well as any fees that arise for late payment.

It can also be a good idea to keep details of an inventory sent or services provided should there ever be a query in relation to the invoice.

Having a time period in which the invoice has to be paid allows you to chase up later payments more effectively.

Don’t Dismiss the Use of Software

When dealing with company finances, there are many who will try to contend with the task alone in order to keep costs down. However, there are many open-source solutions available to use for your accountancy, regardless of the operating system you use. The following is a snapshot of what kind of software is freely available online.

GNUCash

GNUCash is geared towards small and medium businesses that allow business to keep track of income and expenditure with ease. It’s written in PHP and MySQL and can be used on Windows, Linux and Mac.

Ledger SMB

Written in PL/SQL and Perl, Ledger SMB is another piece of software that is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses and can even be used through regular web browsers such as FireFox and Chrome.

Openmiracle

Openmiracle is an adaptable piece of open-source software that relies heavily on accounting principles. What this means to the end-user is that they’re able to create reports that are accurate, thus ensuring the finances of the company are heading to the right direction.

Setup Your Payroll in the Right Way

Payroll is one of the most important aspects of any business, as failure to maintain payments could lower morale within the business.

However, there can be a number of obstacles in place when it comes to ensuring that all factors are considered. The following is merely an overview of some of the considerations that need to be made.

  • Ensure your business is registered as an employer on the HMRC database.
  • Decide who will deal with PAYE for your company. This could be you, or a third-party depending on how many people your business employs.
  • Check that the data you hold for your employees is correct and up-to-date.
  • You are able to calculate bonus pay and overtime.

While it can be more cost-effective to simply work out everything yourself, this can be detrimental if you’re not fully versed in PAYE or payroll as a whole.

You should also ensure that you have a date in place for when employees need to hand in any correspondence, such as timesheets or overtime forms.

However, there can be software that can be used, or you could seek the services of a professional.

4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Cloud Technology


Cloud technology, otherwise known as laaS technology, is a growing trend that can benefit businesses both big in small. The cloud adoption grown has as much as 51% of companies as many are using laaS as the primary environment in the workplace. So, what’s the big deal of cloud technology?

Here are 4 Reasons why your business needs cloud technology.

Added Flexibility

Companies across the nation are becoming more remote and will continue this trend for years to come. In fact, as many 50% of American companies are predicted to work outside of the office by the year 2020. Cloud technology will accommodate work from home or outside the office. When files and other work-related items are placed in the cloud, everyone who has gained access can view them, no matter where their location may be.

Boost in Security

As a major concern for businesses all over the world e-commerce businesses opts for third-party processors that are used in the cloud with SSL certificates to keep customer information safe and secure. However online security is not just for e-commerce but for businesses in all industries. Most companies contain confidential information and require a secure cloud system to protect them.

Restorable Data

What happens when your in-house system fails? In this case, the system will crash and lose all your customer data. With cloud technology, you can keep your backup data in the cloud and restore any data that is lost.

Enhanced Task Management

Cloud allows members to stay on the same page at all times. The Cloud tech allows them to set up responsibilities monitor progress and communicate as a group.  Teams can stay on track with the entire project no matter where they are. This allows businesses to gain built-in permission and determine who can gain access throughout the entire process.

Does your business use cloud technology? If not, do you plan to use it? Comment below and share your thoughts with us!

5 Reasons Tech and Business Goes Hand in Hand


Technology has a language all on its own. When combined with business, this can help foster the growth and improvement that a business needs. In this article, we will discuss exactly why.

Here are 5 reasons tech and business go hand in hand.

Drive Innovation in Business

Tech professionals understand how technology can help businesses meet online goals as technology can be used to reduce the complex issues in the business and provide better business decisions. When you combine business and tech the objective is to do more than thinking outside the box but rather solve the challenges from within first.

Clear Communication

While explaining for technology works with specifications isn’t what business owners need, it is how technology will help them grow their business. Owners are looking for answers as to how to reach new capabilities, increase profit, open the market and improve productivity.

Gain Benefits by Spending on IT

While IT expenses may be costly, spending on quality IT can provide huge returns such as an increase in business savings on cost and gain in productivity. However, to achieve such results IT support specialists must understand the concepts of business investments and benefits.

Better Design in Products and Services

IT professionals who learn to understand the aspects of business will deliver exactly what their clients want, improve solutions, and ultimately enhance their reputation. Quality results will help businesses improve their design and adjust accordingly to their buyer’s needs.

Influence decisions in business

IT professionals and entrepreneurs can both benefit from this strategic asset. When Tech experts consider the business fundamentals, they will also consider the opportunities of new and existing technology that includes social media, data, and analytics that helps improve services, grow new markets and enhance the overall growth of the business.

Conclusion

To improve the sales and efforts in marketing, businesses must build a dashboard that understands the value acquisition, rate, ration of interest and the return for each target sale. Using this information will help managers to better evaluate the costs and keep their business competitive.

5 Ways Technology is Changing the World of Finance


As we look into the future of economics, the service industry has made some remarkable changes due to the demands and quality customer service that is needed to survive. In fact, most companies are looking forward instead of relying on past performances to help them meet the quality results for clients.

Here are 5 ways technology is changing the world of finance.

Expands Highly-Focused Services

With today’s innovators, products and services are becoming more aggressive in targeting highly matched customers with high profitability. This is a major step up to the previous methods as money transfers required high fees with poor customer experience. As a result, more companies are using innovative networks to great a user-friendly interface and make services all the faster simpler and cheaper for users.

Automate Manual Processes

Innovators are using their skills to transform manual processes to offer services at a whole new level of customers. As a result individuals of a different class are receiving the same services that were once unavailable to them.

Strategic Data

Customer data still remains as the main factor in decisions in finance. Today, customers are becoming more connected with their devices that real-time data is strongly emerging to support decision making in finance. Does your business respond immediately to comments and complaints? It is important to identify the ways data streams to help make strong decisions and encourage policyholders to make smart choices. Creditfix who are one of the UK’s leading providers of IVA’s recently used their vast amount of  internal data to build a personal debt index which is now used by many top online publications to reference debt levels across the UK.

Platform based on Capital

Platforms such as crowdfunding are becoming an important source for many start-up businesses. These platforms allow individuals to connect with just a minor investment and a variety of investment targets. This allows the clients to decide whether or not the company should be funded.

Collaboration

Smart financial investors understand how effective strategies with collaboration can be. With the number of growing partnerships between incumbents and innovators, businesses have a better understanding of their advantages through research and development.

Furthermore, there is more is just how much technology is changing the world of finance. We can safely say that with modern technology business can provide better service and strategies within the marketplace.