How To Protect Your Business From Rats and Other Pests

How to help prevent rats and other pests from invading your business premises; preventing pests accessing food, water and shelter. Spotting an invasion.

Ways to help ensure your business only plays host to intended visitors

Pests of all types from common flies to perhaps the most disliked of all – rats – can cause a considerable disruption to business activities especially those involved in catering or food preparation in any way. Taking steps to keep the pests at bay will literally pay off.

The rat and other pest threats

In general, if you inadvertently provide a welcoming environment for rats and other pests, they’ll soon take you up on your unintended invitation.

In general terms, pests are attracted to environments where food, water and a degree of warm shelter is provided, so denying them these basics will minimise the risk of infestation.

Quite apart from it being unpleasant to have pests such as rats in your midst, many spread diseases and can cause damage and disruption. Rats are especially nasty visitors; they can cause much damage through gnawing through wiring, plaster and some steel – and they spread diseases harmful to humans such as Weil’s Disease and salmonella poisoning.

The bad news is their numbers are growing in the UK.

Preventing a rat visit

Basically, it’s denying food, water and shelter. Here are the main preventative measures to take:

Water – rats don’t need much water; between 15 and 60 ml a day is enough but they do need to drink each day. A shallow pool of standing water or a dripping outside tap is enough to attract them.

Food – rats are known for eating just about anything, so all types if foodstuffs should be denied them.

Don’t leave food lying around and keep it in secure containers. Even the remnants of a sandwich left lying around in the office rest area is an attraction to a rat.

Ensure waste bins in and around your premises are emptied frequently – especially those containing food debris.

Ensure outside bins are closed securely at all times and don’t let them become over-filled; beware leaving plastic sacks of rubbish in accessible locations, and any food debris should be cleared from outside areas as soon as possible.

Shelter – rats and other rodents are very nimble and can squeeze into small gaps so easily entering a premises via a small hole or other vulnerability.

Check your premises doesn’t have any obvious gaps in brickwork, roofing or elsewhere; if it does, get them repaired or filled properly. Beware pipe and drainage weak spots; rats can swim up pipes so any damaged pipework may need repairing.

An experienced local expert such as this Southend pest control service in Essex can help prevent pest threats by assessing your premises and pointing out vulnerabilities.

Have you already got a rat infestation?

You may already have unwelcome visitors to your business premises. A few ways to spot if you have:

Noises – a scratching coming from the roof area could indicate an invasion. Some rats are adept climbers and can get into roof spaces quite easily.

Tracks and footprints – these can be identified in dustier areas.

Marks on walls and skirting – rats tend to scuttle along close to walls and surfaces such as skirting boards, so can leave streaks on these surfaces from their dirty fur.

Burrow areas – some rats dig burrows to nest, shelter and store food. These tend to be in outdoor areas such as gardens, but if your business premises has an outdoor area and you spot grooves and holes dug into the surface it’s a sign that rats may be present.

Get help fast

A visit from a few rats can soon turn into a multitude as they breed very quickly, so if you are concerned about rats whether from a preventative point of view or you think or know you already have them, then talk to local pest control experts straight away.

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Human Error Leads to £500million Pension Mistake

Telecommunications giant BT says its external consultant is to blame for the latest in a string of accounting errors and scandals.

It seems that barely a week goes by without another big employer announcing a major hole in its pension provisions. The latest to do so has been BT, but the news comes with a twist in the tail, as the deficit of £3.4 billion reported at the end of June has been found to have been understated by half a billion pounds.

Every organisation relies on a solid relationship with its business accountants and auditors, and this is as much the case for the nation’s giants as it is for small businesses. Failing to pick up on an accounting scandal in Italy led to BT ending its 34 year relationship with PWC and appointing KPMG on a new deal worth £14.8 million earlier this year. After completing their final BT audit for the 2017/18 fiscal year, PWC officially handed over to KPMG, a move formally approved by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting in 2018.

The latest in a sequence of financial scandals

In October 2016, BT acknowledged that a preliminary internal investigation into accounting practices in its Italian division revealed certain accounting errors requiring reassessment. According to some reports, these violations amounted to a misstatement of around £145 million. However, an independent investigation led by KPMG and law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer revealed that the losses stemming from these errors actually amounted to £530 million.

The KPMG study also highlighted instances of collusion, circumvention of claims and other aspects of mismanagement within the Italian division of BT, which had not been identified by the lead auditor. These had resulted in the distortion of financial results for a number of years.

The audit report became a guide for corrective action, and BT management committed to improving its management systems, not just in Italy, but also in other countries. The scandal led to a number of senior employees being removed from their posts as part of the clean-up. With the scandal so fresh in everyone’s memory, this latest crisis could not have come at a worse time.

What went wrong?

According to reports in both The Times and The Daily Telegraph, BT’s Chief Financial Officer, Simon Lowth, said the latest incident was a result of “an isolated human error” in calculations made by independent actuary Willis Towers Watson (WTW). Lowth said the error represents less than one percent of BT’s total pension liabilities, which stand at about £57 billion.

BT went on to confirm that this error will not affect its income, cashflow or dividend payouts this year – this will come as a relief in some quarters, given that the Italian debacle of two years ago cost the CEO of the time some £4million in bonus payments.

A representative from Willis Towers Watson said only that it employs the most stringent of controls to ensure the accuracy of its calculations, and that this was a one-off error that has now been corrected.

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Corporate Team Building Brings Out The True Personalities Of Your Staff

Let The Individuals Shine Within A Fun Team Setting

Understanding the personality types that make up your workforce, and using team bonding activities to get the most of their unique character traits.

The teams in your workplace are made up of a wide variety of personalities. Coming from all walks of life, with different religions, genders and backgrounds, your employees may not naturally choose to spend time together in any setting other than the workplace. Yet, together they must work as a team, all striving to produce results for your organisation. The difficulty is that personalities can clash and cause conflict, which may spell disaster for your bottom line. So how can you help your team to bond effectively, whilst allowing the individual personalities of your team to shine? The answer is with corporate team building.

Identifying Personality Types In The Workplace

Many of the personalities that you come across in the office can be grouped into the following categories:

Ambitious – keen to be a leader, with a view to promotion in the near future, this personality wants to shine by being the ‘best’ at every task. Whilst their aims are often in line with the vision of the company, it can be tricky to manage an ambitious employee if they’re happy to step on the toes of their colleagues.

Introverts – often the people to shy away from after-work drinks, the quieter members of your team may actually be some of the most hard-working and pillars of your organisation.

Ego – similar to the ambitious type, those with an ego love to stand out, but you may find that they take credit for work and ideas that were generated by their fellow team-members.

The Ticking Time-Bomb – many organisations have a red-faced employee who is always close to boiling point. Whilst it is important that staff have passion towards achieving company goals, it’s essential that angry employees are dealt with carefully so that they don’t affect the reputation of your business or the mood of your other employees.

Negative Ninny – some people are natural worriers, but unfortunately their anxiety can spread and lower staff morale across your organisation. Positive communication is key here.

How Corporate Team Building Can Help

If you’re looking for activities to bring all of your varying office personality types together, aiming to reach the same goal, whilst having barrels of fun along the way – then corporate team building is an excellent investment. If you’re looking for corporate team building ideas in London for example, then you won’t be disappointed. Whether you’re looking to host a team day at your offices, in one of London’s spacious parks, or hit the streets for a challenge, there are countless ways to bring your team together. Choose from activities such as Urban Art for a creative exercise, an indoor Crystal Maze challenge to work on logic and time-challenges, or a Trading Floor experience to hone those investor skills.

The key to this type of corporate bonding experience is to break up your staff into teams that allow each member to offer their individual skills to the group. If you’re looking to uplift the mood of a negative ninny, then put them in charge of PR for the day and express the need to convey a positive message. Alternatively, an ego-driven employee should be encouraged to cheer on their fellow teammates.

Give corporate team-building a go, and you’ll be amazed at how it brings together the various personalities within your organisation.

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Why Your Fleet Needs 3M Graphics

Give your brand a boost with high quality vehicle branding

Branding your vehicle with quality 3M graphics can help you to improve your visibility, increase your reach and win new business.

Marketing and promotion can sometimes be a challenge for small businesses, particularly if there is not much budget available for this type of activity. However, there are some great cost-effective marketing tools out there which companies can harness to build their business, from email marketing and social media to direct mail and good old-fashioned word of mouth. One such tool is fleet vehicle branding, and an increasing number of companies are waking up to the potential of this promotional method to get their name in front of new customers.

Applying branded graphics to your company vehicle essentially turns them into moving billboards, and it is a low cost, high impact way to grab people’s attention and boost your brand visibility.

Choose 3M for quality

However, while fleet vehicle branding can be a really effective marketing tool, it’s important to remember that not all van graphics are created equal.

Branded vehicles can receive up to 3,000 views in an hour and for many people this will be the first and only contact they have had with your organisation. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so it’s vital to ensure that your graphics are professional and good quality. A poor-quality finish will reflect negatively on your brand and could cause you to lose business so, to avoid this, always opt for high quality graphics that have been specifically designed and formulated for this purpose – such as those supplied by 3M graphics.

Science-based technology company, 3M, is a market leader in signage and vehicle graphics, and its clients can benefit from quality, durable materials, quick installation using adhesive technologies, and minimal removal and installation costs. Visually, the graphics themselves offer a striking, high quality and long-lasting finish, and will help to ensure that your company vehicles present your brand in the best possible light.

A network of suppliers

Finding the right supplier is also key to ensuring that your graphics look as good as they possibly can. 3M has a network of approved suppliers across the country, made up of companies who have a proven record in the graphics industry, have a thorough understanding of 3M graphic films and their application, and who have signed up to a high standard of graphic production.

By using an approved 3M partner you can also feel safe in the knowledge that you are putting your brand in safe hands. In order to be selected as a 3M Select Graphic Partner, companies have to meet rigorous standards when it comes to staff training, hardware and software components, the production environment, storage facilities and – most importantly – quality control. What’s more, with a 3M partner your graphics are manufactured under a 3M warranty, so you can be sure that your marketing investment is built to last.

Done well, fleet vehicle branding is one of the most effective ways of increasing your reach and winning new business. And with 3M graphics you can be sure that you are projecting a professional image that inspires confidence in both new and existing customers.

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5 Reasons To Move To Collier Row

A Guide To This Buzzing Romford Suburb

One of Essex’s best-kept secrets is Collier Row. Find out why you should look to move here before the Elizabeth line opens next year.

Collier Row may not be the most famous area of Essex, but it has much to offer prospective buyers. Located just north of Romford, the hub of the area centres around a large housing development, lying next to a crossroads with plenty of local amenities such as shops and restaurants. If you’re interested in moving to the Collier Row area, these five reasons will help persuade you to take a look at this up-and-coming Essex suburb.

Community Spirit

When you’re moving somewhere new, you want to know that there’s a fantastic local vibe – and that’s certainly present in Collier Row. The annual carnival took place for the 7th year in a row, and it’s really helped to put the area on the map. As well as the parade, residents enjoyed plenty of stalls as well as activities such as zorbing, face painting, a pet show and a Pimms tent. The carnival is a great way to get to know local faces in the community.

Schools

If you have children, or are planning to start a family in the future, then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are some excellent schools within easy reach of Collier Row. Kantor King Solomon is considered to be a ‘good’ school in terms of Ofsted’s ratings, whilst both Chadwell Heath Academy and Oaks Park School have both achieved an ‘outstanding’ score.

Open Spaces

Those moving here from the London area, are often in search of greener spaces than they’ve been used to within the capital, and Collier Row doesn’t disappoint! Hainault Forest Country Park covers 300 acres and offers nature trails, fishing lakes, a small zoo for kids and bridleways for those who like horse riding. To the west of the pretty River Rom lies the Recreation Ground, which is a great space to let off some steam – families will love the variety of play equipment available.

Transport

Perhaps one of the reasons why Collier Row isn’t fantastically well-known compared to neighbouring Essex suburbs, is the lack of transport links in the area. Until now! When the Crossrail project is finally complete in autumn of 2019, the Elizabeth line will have a station opened at neighbouring Romford. This will slash time off commutes into central and west London. For example, it will take 28 minutes to travel between Romford and Canary Wharf, 35 minutes to Bond Street, and just 64 minutes to Heathrow.

Affordable Properties

Likely the fact that Collier Row hasn’t previously had excellent transport links has left the area with a stock of affordable properties that still represent quite a deal in today’s market. This is unlikely to stay the case once the Elizabeth line opens next year. But for now, you could expect to pay around £325,000 for a 3-bed terraced house, whilst a 2-bed flat might set you back around £250,000, but you should contact a reputable Collier Row estate agent for the latest prices and availability in the area.

Collier Row is one of those hidden gems in Essex that offers everything you could possibly need – a great vibe, with local amenities and a sociable and family-friendly community. Come check it out, you won’t be disappointed!

 

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Why An SLR Will Always Beat A Cameraphone

Bringing Back A Love Of Photography

The digital age is doing nothing for young photographers who are embracing classic SLR cameras to explore their art.

The compact camera market has been in decline for the past decade, but new figures reveal that sales are now rising once again. Since the advent of cameraphones, it’s understandable that consumers have been less willing to carry around both a camera as well as their mobile, when in many situations their phone acts well as a two-in-one device. So, it may come as something of a surprise that taking photos with an SLR camera is emerging as a favoured option, particularly by younger photographers. Here’s why they’re falling in love with film!

Convenience Isn’t Everything

The cameraphone is the epitome of the instant, on-demand digital world that we live in. It’s convenient of course, and we all love being able to reach into our pocket to capture a cute shot of our kids, a cheeky pic of a celeb sitting in our favourite coffee shop, or Friday night drinks with friends. But much has been lost with this type of photography. Where once, people would get excited about printing off their photos, going to pick them up and then proudly displaying them in an album, the cameraphone is all about taking digital photos in bulk in the hope of finding one in ten shots that’s good enough to share around on social media or a Whatsapp group.

It may sound like an efficient process; after all, it doesn’t cost anything to take all those extra shots, so long as you delete the rubbish images and don’t clog up your memory. But SLRs have much to offer over the efficiency of the digital cameraphone.

Bringing Back The Soul Of Film Photography

Young photographers are becoming increasingly bored with digital photography. Reflex is a crowdfunded project that has created a manual 35mm SLR with 5 lens mounts. It’s based on a traditional model from the 60s and 70s but includes a removable film back enabling the user to shift films in daylight. The process of printing these images in a darkroom, is part of why young photographers feel so connected to this style of photography – it’s about slowing down and understanding the relationship between you and the subject of your shoot. A digital photographer can become distracted, particularly when shooting with a cameraphone, where they can adjust the images either onscreen or in Photoshop later on. But the SLR photographer has a better understanding of composition and being able to line up all those crucial elements of the perfect picture before taking the shot.

The Future Of SLR

But SLR isn’t purely about art and nostalgia. Whilst there’s constant news about the development of phone technology, that’s not to say that other camera tech has ceased. UK-based Kodak Alaris is looking into bringing back two of its most popular colour reversal films – both Ektachrome and Kodachrome are synonymous with 20th century images and were particularly popular in Hollywood. Nikon and Leica are also still making SLR cameras, so if you’ve fallen in love with film, then they’re a great brand to start with. You can even sell your old camera as a way to afford a new SLR model.

SLRs are to photography what vinyl records are to the music industry – timeless and nostalgic perfection. Something that the cameraphone won’t be able to offer for decades yet.

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What To Buy The Jet-Setter In Your Life

Gifts for Travellers

Stuck for present ideas again? If the recipient loves to travel then there are loads of tech, travel fashion or nostalgic gift ideas for you. Here are a few.

Who are the most difficult people to buy presents for in your life? The art of giving gifts has been the subject of a recent psychological study which looked at the amount of time people spend thinking up present ideas for recipients of either sex. This revealed that men took around 40 seconds to think up ideas for other men, but took up to 60 seconds when pondering what to buy for the women in their lives. Females involved in the study also took around 40 seconds when deciding on gifts, but there was very little difference in the amount of effort it took based on whether the recipient was male or female.

One of the best ways to come up with a present idea for your nearest and dearest is to consider how they spend their leisure time and what their favourite hobbies are. If you’re buying for someone with a love for travelling, then there are some fantastic options available to suit any budget.

Vim and Vigr Compression Socks

For those who travel long-haul, compression socks are a must to keep your blood circulating and prevent clots. But such items are not well-known for being attractive – until now. Gone are the rubbery accessories that are impossible to get into, and in their place are a full range of fashionable compression wear that will ensure your ankles remain the same size as they were before take-off. Your recipient will simply love strolling down the aisle in a pair of these.

Bespoke Personalised Maps

This gift is ideal for those who love to reminisce about their trips. The days of slideshows are long gone, but you can still proudly display memories of a favourite location in your home – they make a great conversation piece when you have guests over. Large wooden letters are a wonderful addition for the coffee table, bookshelves or sideboard and they’re incredibly thoughtful too. Have a map of your recipient’s preferred destination printed onto them – this might be a trek that they were particularly proud of completing, or a romantic spot where he or she got engaged. You could even give this gift as a mini-clue before revealing that you’ve also booked holiday tickets to visit this special place.

In-Ear Translation Technology

Who doesn’t love a bit of tech? And this gadget is the most useful of all for travellers who may be somewhat lacking linguistically. Google’s latest innovation is the Bluetooth Pixel buds headphones which pair with the Pixel smartphone.

By tapping the right ear, the recipient must say ‘Google, help me speak Dutch’, for example. They should then speak directly into the phone, where the app will translate your words into Dutch or another of up to 40 languages of your choice. If your recipient finds themselves in a situation where they’re unable to understand the person that is talking to them, the Dutch speaker can also speak into the phone where their words will be translated back into English, making the conversation complete.

The key to finding the right gift for your loved one, is to consider what they’re interested in with regards to travel. Are they passionate about the latest gadgetry, like to look fashionable on a trip or love feeling nostalgic about those special memories? Have a think about what makes them tick before you come up with some great travel gift ideas – and no-one will know if it took you longer than 40 seconds!

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