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Reasons Why You Should Book a Caterer Instead of Doing it Yourself

September 17, 2018

Weddings are a magical celebration of love that brings all of your friends and family together for one amazing night. While you are destined to spend a lot of time planning the wedding, just as much time will be spent organizing the reception. One of the most important decisions concerning the wedding reception will be the food options. You may be interested in cooking the food yourself to save a little money, but this will turn out to be a horrible decision. These are the four reasons you must book a caterer for your wedding.

Reduce Your Stress

Planning the wedding is bound to be the most stressful part of your entire life, so there is no reason to add more stress to the entire experience. It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare a special meal for all of your friends and family. The cooking must also be done shortly before the wedding, which can create absolute chaos. Once you hire a wedding caterer, you will never have to worry about the food and drinks again. Stress-free wedding catering allows you to focus on more pressing matters instead of working in the kitchen.

Better Food Options

You may think that you are an excellent cook, but you likely will not be able to top the dishes created by a top-notch catering company. They will also offer an extremely versatile menu that ensures you will please everyone in attendance. Executing a big menu for a large number of guests is simply too hard of a task for a normal home to pull off, especially when you are about to get married. You will have plenty of time to cook for your new spouse, so let the professionals handle it on your wedding night.

No Clean Up Required

Cooking all of the food is hard enough, but there will also be a massive cleanup project required without a catering company. Since it would be uncouth to ask the wedding guests to help clean up after the reception, you will be forced to do all of the cleaning. You do no want to spend your wedding night cleaning dishes and throwing away trash when you should be enjoying some alone time with your new spouse. A professional catering company will handle all of the cleanup on your big day, which will let you get right to the honeymoon.

Create a Special Atmosphere

Your wedding is supposed to a be an extremely special moment, so you need to have the right atmosphere at the reception. It is impossible to achieve the right atmosphere if you are serving homemade dishes to your guests. The entire reception will feel like a cheap family get-together no matter how much work you put in the food. Make your wedding reception an eloquent party that everyone will fondly remember for the rest of their life. There is no better way to achieve this than by having a wait staff serve the food and drinks.


How can uniform affect work productivity levels?

September 17, 2018

As you may have noticed, work place uniform policy isn’t as strict as it once was. It used to be the case that a typical nine-to-five worker would wear a smart suit and briefcase. But, as times have changed, so has our work attire. In fact, many companies are happy to let their employees dress in business casual attire or what they feel comfortable in. Is it affecting productivity, though?

The new generation

With a new generation beginning their working life, new opinions come to the workplace. And, it seems as though this age group is more protective over identity and style of dress and are opposed to being told what to wear.

It’s not uncommon for ‘business casual’ to be the dress code around the office. But how can it be defined? It’s a style that’s smart but not too formal. This might be a men’s suit without a tie, navy trousers and loafers. For women it could be a smart blouse with cropped, tailored trousers and flat shoes.

Dress code can influence employees’ work satisfaction. In fact, more than one in ten people aged 18-24 said that they had considered quitting their job due to a strict dress code. Older employees, however, do not share the same strong views. Only 7% of those aged 55 and over said that they would think about leaving their employment because of the dress code. Compare this to 17% of 18-24s and it’s clear to see a divide. It might depend on which sector you operate in as to how your staff feel about uniform. Those working in the energy sector (32%), science and pharma sector (31%) and IT sector (29%) are most likely to leave their role due to dress code requirements, one study discovered.

Considering these statistics, moving forward should company bosses scrap their dress code? Quite possibly. Employers are aware of how high staff turnover can have great cost and productivity implications. Costs incur during the recruitment process as the position is advertised and time is spent by employers interviewing and selecting candidates. Having a dress code may deter candidates too — 61% of people looking for a new job in 2017 said that they’d have a negative perception of any company that enforced a dress code. Productivity also takes a hit, as often a current employee has to spend time training the new starter or letting them shadow their day-to-day activities — this can prevent existing workers from working to their maximum capacity.

An increase in creative companies is also leading to more of a flexible uniform policy. In fact, between 2010 and 2016, the creative industries sub sectors (i.e advertising, film and TV) grew their economic contribution by 44.8%. Dress code is often less strict in these companies, as employees are encouraged to express their ‘creative flair’.

What about productivity?

What you choose to wear can influence the way you act and think.

During one experiment, subjects were presented with a white coat and told different things. The participants that were told it was a doctor’s coat, felt more confident in accomplishing tasks compared to those that were told they were wearing a painter’s coat. Other research shows that wearing more formal clothing can make people think more broadly.

Of course, as with most things, it depends on the person. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, wears the same casual clothes every day and runs a company worth billions of dollars. He says that dressing in this way gives him one less decision to make and allows him to focus on more important workplace decisions.

What effect does this have on productivity? The majority of UK workers said that they would feel more productive and put more effort into their appearance if there wasn’t a strict dress code — this is according to a study by Stormline. Moreover, 78% of respondents to one survey said that they would still make an effort to dress well and wouldn’t blur the line between ‘work clothes’ and ‘non-work clothes’ if there weren’t any rules on what to wear.

What do we recommend for businesses?

Taking on board what we’ve found out, it’s clear to see that it depends on the employee as to whether they should follow dress code.  Of course, it could depend on an individual’s role. First impressions still, and most likely will, always count. If employees are in a client-facing role, it’s important to look professional and approachable — they are effectively representing the business and should be making it look good.

One good tip would be for bosses to ask their employees how they feel about uniform policy. This could be the best indicator of whether a uniform is best for the business or not. As we’ve seen, uniforms can affect behaviour at work and it is down to the individuals as to whether they work best following, or not adhering to, a dress code.


Your guide to creating a stress-free workspace

September 6, 2018

The truth is, you can’t expect to be productive if you’re feeling stressed. So, if you’re particularly tense and it’s beginning to impact on your work, it might be time to make a few changes – and where better to start than with your immediate workspace. In this blog, we take a look at how you can create a stress-free work environment.

Get organised

As the saying goes, ‘a tidy desk makes for a tidy mind’. So, if your surfaces are cluttered and untidy, you could find that your stress levels start to rise. From piles of paperwork, to scattered pens, to dirty mugs, letting things get out of hand can make your area look and feel chaotic, distracting you from getting on with the task at hand.

Organisation is key if you want to create a calm workspace – and getting your belongings in order doesn’t have to be difficult. The good news is, there are a whole host of storage options available that can help you maintain a neat and tidy work environment. For example, you can find filing cabinets, cupboards and bookcases in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes from online retailers such as Furniture At Work.

Introduce some greenery

It’s widely believed that the presence of plants can significantly help reduce stress in the office environment. In fact, it’s thought that introducing some greenery can lower feelings such as anxiety, fatigue and depression. So, if you’re keen to achieve a calmer, more relaxing workspace, why not bring the outside in and throw some plants into the mix?

Whether you add a petite potted succulent or a vase of beautiful booms to your desk, or you decide to position a large, leafy plant in the corner of the room, there are a number of ways you can use nature as a way to create a more pleasant place to work.

Decorate using calming colours

It’s also thought that colour can play a huge part in alleviating stress in the workplace, so it pays to think about your palette when you’re decorating your space. For example, shades such as blue, green and purple are often associated with feelings of relaxation, while hues like red and orange might be a little too stimulating.

For more tips on how to put together a stress-free workspace, why not check out Furniture At Work’s ‘Office MOT’ campaign?



How to Pursue a Career in Education  

September 3, 2018

Trying to choose a career can be tough. There are so many to pick from and so many potential paths that you could consider taking. However, it is imperative that you ensure that you choose something that you enjoy as well as one that will make you feel fulfilled. You can often do this by choosing one based on your strengths as well as your interests. In case you’ve realized that you have a flair for education and enjoy the idea of equipping people with the right knowledge and information they need to excel, this article is going to tell you how to pursue a career in education.

Choose Your Area of Specialization

The good thing about education is that you can choose from a range of different career paths within the education sector. You could, for instance, decide to teach English to elementary school kids or decide to become an education consultant. Some other potential careers in education include being a counselor, psychologist, special education specialist, public relations manager or a superintendent to list a few. You should, therefore, ask yourself what your interests are and whether you want to be hands-on or behind the scenes. It’s key that you choose your area of specialization before pursuing your educational qualifications so that you don’t end up having to backtrack.

Get a Bachelor’s Degree

One of the first things you have to do when pursuing a career in education is to get a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, you should get a degree in education from institutions such as Saint Francis College, where you can eventually major in English/Childhood or Adolescence Education, for instance, and also undergo field experience and enjoy a semester of full-time, supervised teacher training.

However, as mentioned above, your area of specialization often determines the areas you should major in. If, for instance, you want to teach at kindergarten or elementary levels, you must have a degree in elementary education. It would be ideal to do some research into different career paths and what requirements are needed. As mentioned earlier, you should think about what your ideal role within the education sector would be.

Get Classroom Experience

If you decide you want to join the many people who become teachers after getting an education degree, you will likely have to gain classroom experience. There are several ways that you can get classroom experience which include student teaching while pursuing your bachelor’s degree or considering a volunteering position. By getting classroom experience, you should be able to get a feel of what it’s like and what you’d likely be doing daily. Some skills that you need to thrive in education include communication, organization, passion, patience, technical skills, as well as teaching skills.

Deciding to pursue a career in education is something that could change the course of your life. Not only is it a rewarding path to choose but it is also one that you can derive a great deal of satisfaction from. The path may not necessarily be easy, but you should find it’s worth it. Hopefully, you’ve got a level of clarification regarding what the basics are for pursuing a career in education.


3 Reasons Every Entrepreneur Should Consider Getting a Degree

August 29, 2018

The saying goes that knowledge is power and in this information age, it couldn’t ring truer. As a result of the internet boom, people all over the world can access information on various devices. However, this doesn’t mean that traditional forms of education such as getting a degree aren’t still valued. This could be because of the technical and fundamental knowledge that you can learn as a result. If you happen to be working or aspiring to work in the world of business, you may have been contemplating whether or not you should get your first or second degree. The good news is that this article is going to give you three reasons why you should pursue a degree as an entrepreneur.

To Gain Structured Knowledge

No matter what entrepreneurial venture you decide to pursue, you’re going to need increasing amounts of information and knowledge. For this reason, you should consider getting a degree to learn in a structured environment as well as learn the fundamentals. There are several degrees that you could earn that have the potential of increasing your knowledge base such as the many business-related degrees at Assumption College. Some of them include business admin, digital marketing, human resources, project management, and marketing. For the most part, getting a degree can be a good investment considering the invaluable knowledge you can use to grow your business in return.

To Get Access to High-Paying Jobs

Another reason every entrepreneur should consider getting a degree is to get access to high-paying jobs. You may be wondering what the relevance of this point is seeing as this article is targeted at entrepreneurs. However, there are different routes to starting a business and every entrepreneur’s journey is different. While some people jump into the deep end and start a business with nothing, others choose the option of saving first. The chances of getting a high-paid job is more likely when you have a degree, and it also gives you the flexibility to save before starting your business. In addition, every business goes through its highs and lows and the reality is that most don’t last. In case you ever have a change of heart, you want to have something you can fall back on, even if it’s just until you get back on your feet.

Interact with Professionals

In addition to the mentioned, another reason to consider getting a degree is that you get to interact with professionals and potentially expand your network. You never know the type of people that you could meet in your class or on campus and how they could contribute to your success. Some networking tips that could lead you to meet valuable people while studying include putting yourself in the right situation as well as focusing on building genuine relationships. By doing these things, you should find that you’re able to connect with people that have key knowledge and resources that you need.

Knowledge is a necessity to excel in just about anything. It helps equip you with the information you need to get through challenges, expand and grow. However, in addition to knowledge, you also need key skills if you want to survive in the business world. Hopefully, this article inspired you to consider a degree to help improve your entrepreneurial ventures.


How to reduce your investment risk

August 3, 2018

In many ways, the principle of investment strategy can be summarized by the phrase “risk versus reward”. Usually, the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward, though this is not always the case. The bottom line, however, is that investing comes with risk, and how to manage this risk and keep to an acceptable level is an important part of the process.

You may have studied the markets that you want to invest in, and you may have access to the best share analysis, but if you are going to make a success of your investing, then you need to account for risk and ensure that your risk isn’t higher than you can handle.

Risk tolerance

An important part of dealing with risk is to determine the level of risk that you are prepared to undertake. Every investment that you make will entail some form of risk, and it is essential to understand what that risk is in order to minimize it. Two important aspects to consider here are risk capital and net worth. Net worth is simply your assets minus liabilities. Your risk capital is essentially the money that you can afford to lose. If your net worth is small and you have minimal risk capital, then low-risk investments will be more suitable.

Do your research

When it comes to investment, there is no such thing as too much research, and by applying yourself fully in this area, you will be in the best position to reduce your risk. Before you invest in a stock or fund, make sure that you know all the relevant statistical indicators, including earnings growth, debt load and stock history. You can also compare these figures to other similar investment products. Another important data indicator is the price to earnings ratio (P/E ratio), which measures the link between stock price and annual earnings. The higher the P/E ratio relative to other stocks in the same industry, the greater the risk.


Another good way to reduce your risk is to spread your investments over a range of product types and economic areas. This is known as diversification, and it is a useful way of spreading the risk of your overall investment package. For instance, you could choose to invest a third of your funds in stocks, a third in US Treasury bonds and another third in real estate. Obviously, this can potentially reduce your profits, but it is a good way to offset the risk of losses in one sector, and reduce the impact of one failing investment on your overall funds.

Monitor your investments

Finally, it is important to take a hands-on approach and monitor your investments, making sure that your funds are properly allocated, depending on your investment goals, which will be based on how long you are aiming to invest for, and how risk averse you are. At least once a year, it is a good idea to check your portfolio to keep your risk exposure as low as possible.

You can’t avoid risk when you are investing, but there is no need to take on unnecessary risks, and by following these simple tips, you can help to keep your risk level under control.


What You Need to Do to Become a Healthcare Administrator

July 26, 2018

If you’re ambitious, you’ll be familiar with the feeling of needing to progress within your career. This is no different in the healthcare industry, where nurses, doctors and even hospital technicians are looking for their next step forward. With so many avenues to consider, which one is best for you? Becoming a healthcare administrator is one logical step up your career ladder. Like every job, however, you may need to undergo extra training, become qualified and, most importantly, know what is expected of you.

Know what is expected of you

Being a healthcare administrator is completely different to being a healthcare provider. While you may know what the job loosely entails, you will need to undergo more in-depth research so that you’re 100% sure of your decision.

First of all, you should know that your patient interaction will be diminished, sometimes completely. As a provider, you work alongside patients day in, day out; as an administrator, you might never come into contact with a patient again. This is because your job will be to manage the business operations of specific medical organizations, and not to treat every patient that walks into the organization you are managing. Doing so would distract you from the job you are being paid and expected to do, and so this may be a huge change you may not be willing to make.

Learn how to manage

If you’re not a born manager, then you need to learn to be one if you want to stand any chance of becoming a healthcare administrator. Specifically, you need to learn how to manage doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals — and these types of professionals are not your average employee. They are educated, clever and astute enough to know how to do their jobs, and telling them what to do can and will prove tricky at times. What’s more, with the healthcare job outlook forecasting a massive growth in the industry, you should expect to have to manage more and more of these types of professionals over the coming years. So, don’t just learn how to manage, learn how to manage people that will not always be happy to heed your commands.

Get qualified

Of course, becoming a healthcare administrator is not just about making sure you are up to the task, as you also need to obtain a number of essential qualifications even to be considered for your desired role. This may mean that you need to obtain a degree above your bachelor’s degree.

You’re going to have to go down the postgrad route, specifically by getting yourself a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree. Plus, if you want to make yourself truly stand out when headhunters look to fill administrative roles, you should think about taking a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree too, to showcase your ability to lead and manage an organization.

Becoming a healthcare administrator is the next logical step for you if you feel your time as a healthcare provider has come to an end. Be sure to get the right qualificatons so that you can start your new career strongly.


The importance of marketing and generating a ROI

July 9, 2018

Details released in Google’s Car Purchasing UK Report in 2017 found that £115.9 million was filtered into online display and direct mail by automotive dealers across Britain in 2016 alone.

You could probably name some automotive marketing campaigns from the top of your head — and this is because they have a large enough budget to make them extremely memorable. With increased interest in online platforms, digital visibility doesn’t come cheap — but is it worth the cost?

Investments in the automotive industry

Shopping for a new car is always a fun experience, especially with the digital capabilities we now have — Google’s Drive To Decide Report suggested that 65% use their smartphone as their preferred device to browse the internet. These figures show that for car dealers to keep their head in the game, a digital transition is vital.

On top of this, automotive shoppers like to know what they’re buying and 90% of them carry out research online. 51% of buyers starting their auto research online, with 41% of those using a search engine. To capture those shoppers beginning their research online, car dealers must think in terms of the customer’s micro moments of influence, which could include online display ads – one marketing method that currently occupies a significant proportion of car dealers’ marketing budgets.

The automotive aren’t shy of investing great amounts into their advertisements, which actually accounted for 11% of the total ad spend here in the UK. The automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.

People like to see what they’re buying, especially when it is expensive; so how are online strategies helping automotive manufacturers? 41% of shoppers who research online find their smartphone research ‘very valuable’. 60% said they were influenced by what they saw in the media, of which 22% were influenced by marketing promotions – proving online investment is working.

Digital spend in the automotive industry increased from fifth-most invested in area to third, witnessing a 10.6% increase in budget. However, it must be known that TV and radio advertisements continue to dominate.

Investments in the fashion industry

The online shopping experience has become a core focus for many fashion retailers, especially as digital spend grew to £16.2 billion in 2017. This figure is expected to continue to grow by a huge 79% by 2022. So where are fashion retailers investing their marketing budgets? Has online marketing become a priority?

ASOS and Boohoo are just two online shopping companies that are driving exception results for their business; especially when 15% of sales were ecommerce-led. ASOS experienced an 18% UK sales growth in the final four months of 2017, whilst Boohoo saw a 31% increase in sales throughout the same period.

Bigger brands are beginning to invest more into their digital strategies in a bid to drive sales. John Lewis announced that 40% of its Christmas sales came from online shoppers, and whilst Next struggled to keep up with the sales growth of its competitors, it has announced it will invest £10 million into its online marketing and operations.

The shopping experience has well and truly been enhanced, as consumers begin to shop at a time that suits them — whether this is on their way to work or late in the evening when some physical stores could be closed.

Influencer marketing is becoming recognised throughout the marketing industry too, with 59% of retailers increasing their budget for this form of advertisement. In fact, 75% of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy.

22% of consumers are thought to be gained through influencer marketing, which backs up the reasoning behind higher investment from fashion companies.

Investments in the utilities industry

Choosing the right utilities supplier for your home can be a big decision to make, this has led consumers to take a more informative approach by using comparison websites to outweigh the benefits and negatives of each potential company.

Comparison websites are also great for exposure, as many of them spend millions on TV marketing campaigns meaning that it’s crucial for you to adopt a space on their website to offer your competitive edge.

Advertising is a competitive approach, but four of the largest comparison websites are listed within the top 100 highest spending companies in Britain. Comparison sites can be the difference between a high rate of customer retention for one supplier and a high rate of customer acquisition for another. If you don’t beat your competitors, then what is to stop your existing and potential new customers choosing your competitors over you?

However, British Gas has been one of the first companies to switch up their strategy and now look to retain their current customers rather than adopt new ones. Whilst the company recognise that this approach to marketing will be a slower process to yield measurable results, they firmly believe that retention will in turn lead to acquisition. The Gas company hope that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to their existing customers, they will be able to improve customer retention.

Not only that, they are offering discounted energy and services to valued customers after a £100 million loyalty scheme was introduced. The utilities sector is incredibly competitive, so it is vital that companies invest in their existing customers before looking for new customers.

The Google Public Utilities Report in December 2017 found that 40% of searches in Q3 and 45% of ad impressions were on a smartphone device. As mobile usage continues to soar, companies need to consider content created specifically for mobile users as they account for a large proportion of the market now.

Investments in the healthcare industry

Unlike other sectors investing in marketing campaigns, regulations are more tough in the healthcare sector which sometimes makes objectives more restrictive. The same ROI methods that have been adopted by other sectors simply don’t work for the healthcare market. Despite nearly 74% of all healthcare marketing emails remaining unopened, you’ll be surprised to learn that email marketing is essential for the healthcare industry’s marketing strategy.

More people are using email as a main funnel of communication, which is something marketers are taking advantage of — especially with numbers suggesting that 2.5 million are using it. This means email marketing is targeting a large audience. For this reason, 62% of physicians and other healthcare providers prefer communication via email – and now that smartphone devices allow users to check their emails on their device, email marketing puts companies at the fingertips of their audience.

Online strategy is something that marketers could be focusing on more; especially as one in 20 Google searches are health-related queries. This could be attributed to the fact that many people turn to a search engine for medical answer before calling the GP.

72% of internet users have said that they have used the tool to look for health information over the past 12 months; which sounds about right with 77% of health enquires starting at the search engine. Furthermore, 52% of smartphone users have used their device to look up the medical information they require. Statistics estimate that marketing spend for online marketing accounts for 35% of the overall budget.

Social media marketing is something that should be taken more seriously too, especially with an increase in users. Whilst the healthcare industry is restricted to how they market their services and products, that doesn’t mean social media should be neglected. In fact, an effective social media campaign could be a crucial investment for organisations, with 41% of people choosing a healthcare provider based on their social media reputation! And the reason? The success of social campaigns is usually attributed to the fact audiences can engage with the content on familiar platforms.

Should your industry be making investments?

Evidently the fashion and automotive sector must continue to invest in online marketing. With a clear increase in online demand in both sectors that is changing the purchase process, some game players could find themselves out of the game before it has even begun if they neglect digital.

Although some businesses feel the need to make their own marketing campaign, utility companies should be looking at the bigger picture with comparison websites. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, you could fall behind.

Marketing budgets are set to change this year, with 41% going entirely to online methods which is expected to increase to 45% by 2020. Social media advertising investments is expected to represent 25% of total online spending and search engine banner ads are also expected to grow significantly too – all presumably as a result of more mobile and online usage.

Is online alternatives the way forward for your business? If mobile and online usage continues to grow year on year at the rate it has done in the past few years, we forecast the investment to be not only worthwhile but essential.

This article was researched by VW service providers, Vindis.