Legal Requirements of a Health and Safety Policy

Workplace safety should be focused on by every business, no matter its size. However, many business owners are still unsure of their responsibilities. If you’re one of them, take the time to read through this quick and easy guide to health and safety policies.

All businesses should really have a policy, but this becomes a legal necessity if you have five or more employees. In such situations, the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act requires a written health and safety policy.

This must contain the following:

  • Policy Statement: This is essentially an expression of your commitment to ensuring that all employees are protected from harm while at work.
  • Organisational Chart: A graph which plainly displays the businesses’ structure, clearly distinguishing various levels of seniority.
  • Responsibilities: Acknowledges the individual health and safety responsibilities of all employees or employee groups.
  • Arrangements: This is the largest and most detailed section of your health and safety policy. It will lay out everything done for health and safety purposes, covering things such as fire and first aid arrangements, the proper handling of any potentially harmful materials, training, drills, and risk management work.

In order to be considered legal, your health and safety policy must be signed and dated by the company’s most senior member.

One other area where businesses tend to face confusion is training. The 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act requires you to provide all relevant information, instruction, training, and supervision required to ensure the health and safety of employees, and the 1999 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations expanded those rules, meaning that you must also identify situations in which training or retraining is most important. It is illegal for training to occur outside of working hours, and it must come at no cost to your employees.

If you haven’t drawn up a health and safety policy, make sure you contact an employment lawyer today. They will be able to make you aware of the regulations which pertain to your particular industry, and will then help you develop an effective policy.

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Top 3 Tips for Keeping Your Desk Clean, Tidy and Organised

There are a number of different quotes out there that could appear to be relevant to you at a certain time in your life but, there’s one quote that should be relevant to you all through your working life, if you work at a desk, and that is… “A clear desk makes for a clear mind”.

Well, one other thing that you should keep in mind is that keeping your desk clean and tidy is key to being able to get your work done.

Cleanliness = Productivity

As we’ve already mentioned, keeping your desk clean and tidy is conducive to being productive and getting your work done.

When inspiration or motivation hits, you don;’t want to be searching for space on your desk to set down your important work or fighting back the flood of stuff on your desk so here are 3 great tips to help you to stay organised, keep your desk clean and tidy.

1. Have a Bin Within Reach

This is something that is such a simple thing to do. If you have to constantly get up from your desk and your work to be putting things in the bin, then the bin is to far away from you. An ideal place to have it is under your desk because you don’t want to get into games of rubbish basketball when you should be working.

2. Get Rid of Unnecessary Clutter

Do you really need all of the random office accessories that are on your desk? Unless something is there to serve a purpose then you should get them off your work surface. If you’re not using it, likelihood is that it will cause a distraction which is unnecessary.

3. Clean Before You Leave

This is an important one. If your boss were to come over to your desk after you departed for the day, would you be proud of what he or she would see? If not then you need to clean your desk! The best time to be cleaning your desk is at the end of the day. It helps you get ready for a fresh start in the morning and it brings a bit of closure to your day too.

If you’re quite alright with keeping on top of your own personal work space then good for you but you may not be so good at helping to keep your office clean and tidy. If this is something that you struggle with then you should look at getting in touch with commercial office cleaners in Manchester, Merco Services who are the North West’s fastest growing facilities services company.

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The Benefits of Cloud Computing Software

Whether or not you feel like cloud accounting software is worthwhile or not, there are a number of benefits. Whether you have an accountant in Southportor an accountant in Preston, you and your company could benefit from using this kind of software.

How Can It Help?

There are a number of different reasons as to why cloud based software can help you. One of the most obvious ones is that the software is available through a web browser and in a number of cases, a mobile app meaning that you can access it wherever, 24/7.

If you’re a local, independent business, for example a bespoke glass design firm, then you may not have an accountant, or have someone in house who manages all of your accounts. If that’s the case, this kind of software can be a huge help to you.

So what are the benefits?

Multiple User Access – Anyone with login credentials can access the financial date. This means that you can grant certain people different levels of access so that if need be, your accountant can access the books from their home or office.

Transferring and Protecting Data – There’s almost never a need to transfer any data as everything is available in one, handy, central location so that anyone with access can easily find what they’re looking for.

Data Entry – Cloud accounting software connects your bank account(s) through APIs. This means that data is automatically downloaded into the software. Meaning no need for manual entry from a team member or yourself.

Software Updates – These updates take place automatically in the cloud so that, more often that not, you don’t actually have to do anything and it also ensures that you have the most recent version of the software available.

Saves Time – Eliminates errors.

As the entries are downloaded this saves your time and means that the bank will always balance to your actual bank account. So you don’t even have to check it.

Hopefully this has helped you make your mind up when it comes to whether or not you should take the plunge in to using the cloud based accounting software.

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Using bags as a promotional tool may seem a little odd, but it’s an ideal way to get long-term advertising for your business. Traditional advertisements come and go, and after a few days are generally forgotten. Now think about cotton bags; not the first thing you think about when planning an advertising campaign, I know. However, they’re long lasting, fashionable and eco-friendly.

Giving customers a free cotton bag with your logo on will give you long term exposure, and constantly advertise your business. Especially if they take your cotton bag with them on future shopping trips, and not just to your shop.

Some distinct advantages to using cotton bags are:

  • Large advertising surface for your logo and text.
  • Good promotional gimmick, especially if you give them away free.
  • Long-term advertising exposure as they are reusable.
  • Can last for years.
  • Environmentally friendly.

Your main goal when using cotton bags is to advertise your business on the go. Tote bags have a large surface area that’s ideal for printing on. They’re also double sided, so there will always be at least one side on display to promote your business.

Just like t-shirts, cotton bags are easy to print a design onto. You can afford to be bold and colourful with your advert. Just remember that simple designs work best. You will also benefit from including a website address rather than a phone number. Customers are much more likely to visit your website than call your business.

When planning an advert the goal is to maximise your exposure. Using cotton bags will excel here as customers can re-use your bag on the high street. Ensuring that other potential customers see your bag. Especially given how fashionable they are today.


You can also hook the eco-friendly customer, as cotton bags are recyclable and sustainable.


Cotton tote bags also work well at trade shows; however, you would be wise to check with the venue owner to confirm if they’re also supplying free tote bags for visitors.


If you find that your bags are driving business, you can also opt to sell different designs, to complement those given away with purchases.


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Could Now Be The Right Time To Get That Home Loan?

As property prices in Australia are continuing to rise and with the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) hinting they could go higher; you would be justified for giving serious consideration about whether it is time to get on the property ladder.  Before you decide to get a home loan from a company like State Custodians, there are two things you need to understand about the current state of Australia’s housing market – property prices and interest rates.  In the following article, that is what we will look at in more detail.

Understanding Australian Housing Market Property Prices

Corelogic RP Data shows that during February this year, Australia’s biggest cities experienced property value increase of 0.3%.  The result of this is that houses in those areas are 8.3% more expensive than they were during 2014.  Individually, Sydney had the largest property value rise at 13.7%, with Melbourne experiencing a rise of 7.4% and Brisbane 5.9%.

Although these property value increases are undoubtedly a good thing for those who already own property, it is not so good for people who are interested in climbing the property ladder, but haven’t yet.  The affordability of property is and should be a major concern if you are considering on whether or not to take out a home loan and purchase real estate.  If the cost is too great, it may cast a shadow over your plans.

You should note though, that this is not all bad news, because if the values and prices do continue to rise, it could mean that there are higher investment returns to gain if you buy real estate now.  Although it is always risky, with the market as it stands currently and prices showing no signs of not rising, if you can afford it; there is no better time than now to buy a house or property.

Understanding Australian Housing Market Interest Rates

During February this year, the RBA lowered interest rates to a record low of just 2.25%, which meant that borrowing is more than a little bit cheaper.  Economy and financial experts from all over Australia including Compare Forex Brokers are suggesting that this is not the end of the story and that further interest rate cuts could occur in either April or May. One more cut of interest rates should lower the Aussie Dollar to the 75c target the Reserve Bank of Australia earmarked in their March 2015 board meeting.

These interest rate cuts pose a dilemma if you are looking to invest in property, because you have to decide whether you want to take the current rate and be locked into it or risk waiting to see if they are pushed lower.  Experts agree though that the record low of 2.25% is unlikely to hold for the whole year, so it might be wiser to look at home loans now and, rather than waiting.

It is also worth considering that even if the official rate is cut down, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all lenders will pass on that lowered interest rate to their customers.  Depending on the particular lender and their attitude towards business, you may find some may still keep their interest rates at a level that is more profitable to them, while others will take a more competitive approach.

Keeping all of the above in mind now may be the best time to talk to a company like State Custodians to see what kind of home loan you could be entitled to.

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The Office of the Future

No matter what technological advancements take place, your workplace will still have the same basic agenda – to make money and meet its bottom line. However, with the advancements in technology, community, management and telecommuting, the traditional workplace is now dramatically different to what it used to be. In fact, our ways of communicating and delivering information have grown and evolved so rapidly that it makes it hard to truly imagine what will change in the future.

Realistically, the things that have changed the European workplace the most in the last century are mobile and social changes as our culture shifts to support an updated work style where people aren’t chained to a cubicle doing the same thing day in, day out. Professionals are stepping out of the office place to meet the world and make money without our chairs, desks, and over-sized desktops.


So, what will your office look like in the future? Will it change drastically, or will the biggest overall changes be in how we perceive our work environment?

Specialists in forecasting the future suggest that there are three things that we should be looking at to define our cultural shift at work:


While email is primarily the means for communication these days, this trend could change vastly over the next few years. Expect our antiquated system to get a much needed facelift. Business software will evolve to provide more personalized responses and more seamless experiences across the world. Software will be innovated to provide more usefulness to the workplace, like:

  •        Electronic white boards that share presentations across multiple platforms so that everything is shared in ways that promote group interaction and brainstorming


  •         Standing room meeting tables and walk-stations to increase blood-flow and improve your health and promote involvement which will help workers multi-task more efficiently
  •         Companies will promote users bringing their own electronic devices to promote familiarity and to cut costs
  •         Outsourcing the workplace to telecommunication and other forms of ‘tele-presence’ that allows employees to interact at work remotely, cutting travel costs and increasing communication over long distances

Work culture

One of the biggest differences in workplace culture that we’ve seen over the last 20-30 years, especially in London, is a change in the way that we view our modern workspace. These days, more and more employees are working from home, and the reduction in the office space has become more and more apparent. Reports suggest that there has been a 79.7 percent increase in telework from 2005-2012, and a huge reduction in the amount of cubicles sold. This not only decreases personal space, it forces existing workplace employees to adjust to new work activities and open floor plans to promote brainstorming and inclusive thinking, hopefully building successful outcomes with more interaction between employees.


As the times change, one of the biggest changes will be in the ways that our offices are presented. We mentioned more open floor plans earlier, but the differences are transparent, literally: more glass, fewer walls, and a friendlier environment that promotes interaction, as well as a drastic increase in sustainability and conservation as society becomes more environmentally friendly.

Workplaces change over time, they become trendier and provide more customer friendly environments, so expect to see some pretty drastic changes – hopefully for the better. As a society, we’re constantly updating and upgrading outdated habits that aren’t beneficial to our society. In London, things are moving fast and you can already benefit from the great office space Lloyds has to offer.

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The Solid Business Reasons for Selling Your Old Mobile Phone

If you use your mobile phone for business reasons then maybe it is time to stop beating yourself up about spending money on a top model of phone.

This might seem like a luxury item but it really isn’t. If you currently own a phone that isn’t exactly a top of the range model then here are some reason for considering selling it and getting a better one.

Get Money for It

It is now incredibly easy to sell phone online and make some money for it. This is a great move if you feel that the time is right to get a new, better one. The money you get for the old one could go towards the new purchase, which will make you feel better about splashing out on a new phone. The process for selling a phone online is quick and easy and you might be surprised at how much money you can get in this way. It is also worth pointing out that you can still do this even if the phone is no longer in perfect working condition, which makes it a fantastic way to get rid of a device that it starting to let you down.

Stay in Touch Reliably

Of course, despite all of the amazing features of modern mobile phones we can’t forget that the main business reason for having one is to stay in touch. If your phone lets you down then you could miss important messages or run the risk of missing out on a deal. By selling your old phone and getting a better one you can ensure that you are always able to stay in touch. This is such an important point that it is definitely worth getting a new phone for this reason.  If you move up to a better quality smartphone then you can also take advantage of the full range of business apps that help you to stay in touch more effectively.

Make a Terrific Impression

In the past business people had to rely on wearing smart clothes, driving a new car and using nice business cards to make a strong first impression. These days, you can use a top class mobile phone to do the same job for you very easily and subtly. If you want to look and appear professional without saying a word then you can let your phone make a terrific impression on your behalf. This means that if you currently use a less than impressive phone then it could be causing a poor first impression wherever you go.

Work While You Travel

Finally, having a more impressive phone can also mean being able to work while you travel. If you are currently restricted in what you can do while you are away from the office then a more modern and powerful phone could make all the difference. In this case, the extra time you are able to work should mean that the phone pays for itself pretty quickly by giving you longer working days.

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Business Budgeting | Five Ways to Save Money in 2015

Five years after the Great Recession began, and it’s still questionable about how much we’ve recovered. In truth, the economy is still very far from where we need it to be according to The Huffington Post. So strict budget management for businesses is still a crucial part of survival in 2015. If you’re looking for ways to cut back in your company, here are 5 great ways to save money in the year ahead.

1. Choose ‘Free’ Marketing Tools

Marketing and advertising can be extremely expensive. If you want to cut back yet still achieve the same goals, try utilising the free advertising tools and platforms such as social media. Social media marketing has become one of the most important channels for businesses today and you could be missing out on huge opportunities if you’re not on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ already. But as many organisations may already know, social marketing isn’t always as measurable or tangible as other marketing campaigns so be sure to have the right measures in place.

2. Apply a Strict No Paper Policy

Printing is a huge cost to many companies. In fact, according to The Guardian Online, the high price of printer ink – measure by measure – is more expensive than vintage champagne.  To cut back, introduce a no paper policy which encourages everyone to use electronic documents whenever possible.

3. Use Second Hand Equipment and Machinery

Another huge cost outlay (one which often ends up with businesses turning to asset finance) is the funding required for factory machinery or office equipment. In order to fulfil orders, it’s impossible for businesses to avoid these cash outlays. But to save money, you could consider trade financing options or opt for second hand machinery from reputable companies (such as Clarence Jones Machinery in the UK). Not only can you find second machinery and equipment, but you can also find second hand office furniture when your business expands and you take on new members of staff.

4. Improve Car Fleet Management

Anything that happens outside of your office can be extremely difficult to manage. It can be difficult knowing where time and money goes when you have employees out on the road so much. Manage your car fleet with fuel cards, vehicle trackers and a strict pool car policy. Make sure everyone checks cars in and out and be sure to find the most economical fuelling solutions.

5. Turn Off Machinery and Lights

Every little helps when it comes to energy – and this was made clear by Nationwide Bank when they did a little experiment last year. By turning off machinery and turning off lights in rooms which weren’t in use, the head office were able to save enough energy to boil the kettle to make the entire UK a cup of tea. Encourage a green policy in your business and you will not only save money, but you will also be saving the environment.


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How To Boost Your Sales In Less Than Six Months

Dirk Tussing

All business owners should focus a lot of their time on improving sales levels. Depending on the type of product or service you sell, you may need to secure thousands of transactions to achieve your goals. Luckily, help is at hand. You won’t have to look far to find articles and books that offer some amazing advice. However, sometimes it’s best to start with the basics. The tips listed on this page are guaranteed to help you see an improvement in less than six months. While you don’t have to take them all on board, learning the tricks that have worked for other brands in the past is always a wise move.

Presentation is key when you’re trying to attract more customers, and so it’s vital that your website is both attractive and functional. Most people access the internet from tablets or mobile phones these days, which is why you must opt for a responsive design before doing anything else.

Publicity Stunts

When most people hear the term publicity stunt, they tend to imagine something a little more drastic than is necessary. Some of you may have seen an article online last week that was written about a passenger on the trains in London. He had used Twitter to contact Virgin when he discovered there was no toilet paper in his carriage. To his amazement, one of the train’s attendants soon came and offered assistance. At least, that’s what the media think happened. In reality, it was a publicity stunt orchestrated by Virgin to get their name in the press. Maybe you should try something similar?

Social Media Strategies

There was an interesting post on the Facebook page of author Issa Asad a few weeks ago that explained why social media is so important to modern businesses. As is the case with many sales experts, he made some valid points. If you’re not using social networks to your advantage, now is the best time to start. Creating a strategy is simple, and you’ll find lots of detailed advice online. You just need to engage your audience and post informative updates. Refrain from simply publishing links to products on your website as they never works well. Try to be humorous if at all possible. That tends to provide the best results.

Offers and Deals

The best way of growing an online business and increasing sales quickly is often to run fruitful deals and offers on your website. While you might make a smaller profit from each purchase, the numbers could go up considerably. As we are sure you are aware, it’s better to make 10% from 100,000 sales than to make 50% from only 500. Just make sure you work out the details of your offers carefully. The last thing you want is for them to cost you money.

So long as you take all that advice and put it to good use, you should notice a major improvement in your sales levels by the summer of 2015. If you go about things in the right way, it could be even sooner.



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Laptop 8

Why Your Small Business Shouldn’t Ignore Web Marketing

With the growth of Internet users and online social presence, businesses have been seen focusing a lot of their efforts on targeting consumers online. Whether it is through social media networks or web advertisements, Internet marketing has proven to be a far cheaper alternative to traditional marketing. The return on investment (ROI) with web marketing can be very high comparatively, depending on how smartly you run the campaigns. According to SEO Austin, a company that specializes in social media marketing, since many of the consumers are found online surfing casually, it is highly probable for a marketing campaign to influence their choices, if subtly brought to their attention during daily use.

Minding the Budget

The most important thing for small businesses is to control their budget. They are expected to achieve a lot on a limited budget, which is where web marketing can be very useful. By applying the right strategies, a business may achieve optimal output from their online marketing campaigns.

The most important thing in successfully running an Internet marketing campaign on a budget is to understand what an appropriate budget is for the company. All the strategies are to be based on that budget. When on a budget, timing your efforts is very crucial. You cannot expect to run advertisements or social media engagement campaigns at any time, they need to be targeted at those few hours of the day when most users are expected online, passing their time, and not just online for work. Timing of such campaigns also depends on the region being targeted. Using the right tools on top of that can make your campaigns even more affective, thus improving the profit margin.

Creating a Presence

Web marketing is also very beneficial for new and small businesses in creating presence and recognition. Since retail outlets can be very expensive to have in a number enough to be noticeable, the Internet offers a better and cheaper alternative. Online marketing not only helps engage the otherwise dormant consumer, but also brings the brand name to users who are not potential consumers. This helps create an image and presence, and subsequently a brand’s worth.

Develop Relationships with Consumers

In the modern business world, engagement is very important. Web marketing offers the businesses to get on a more casual and personal level with their consumers, and understand trends and their personal interests. This helps the businesses to interact with a variety of common users, to develop relationships and a loyal fan base. It is a natural human psyche to be inclined towards a company that listens and responds, rather than one that silently observes. Two-way communication assures the consumers that they are being heard and the upcoming line of products might possibly incorporate their suggestions.

Market Feedback

For businesses to be profitable, it is necessary that they understand the market. Traditionally, companies relied on activities such as physical surveys and buyer responses to note the market feedback. However, the drawback to this approach is the limitation of feedback, which might be limited to their current consumer base or those in a limited region. Internet marketing, being the essence of a global community, removes this hurdle and lets companies target a much larger and global audience. Companies are no longer limited to the feedback from their current consumers, but can also target those potential customers uninterested in their current products. This helps generate a wider sample of feedback, and gives businesses a greater opportunity to expand their product and consumer base. Companies may also study the ongoing trend by simply observing the activities and interests expressed by users online.

This article was contributed on behalf of SEO Austin, a company that provides affordable online marketing services. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!

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