Sunday, 20 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Some of you may recall that my main concern last year, as it was for most commentators, was the optimistic nature of the Mr Darling’s projections, both in terms of future economic growth and potential cost savings.
In the 2008 Pre Budget Report, the Chancellor predicted 2009 borrowings of £78bn, rising to £118bn in 2010. (Earlier in 2008, he was predicting borrowings of £38bn).
So where are we now? Well, according to Mr Darling, the Government will spend £178bn more than it earns, this year alone, with overall borrowings rising by £789bn in the next 5 years.
The concern at the moment is that these projections are based on assumptions that the economy will start to grow rapidly, and that taxes will rise, after which, the level of debt should fall. Bearing in mind the Chancellor’s ongoing history of extreme optimism, it’s not the most encouraging of plans.
Ok, but why is this Pre Budget Report so important? Well, it’s the last throw of the dice (perhaps a rather unfortunate analogy) for Labour and it will lay down some of the policies that will be used to fight the general election next year. This is particularly important, as we plough our way through the longest recession on record, when employment is on the increase, and Labour are about as popular as a fart in a spacesuit.
The Government really needs to cut spending and increase taxes if they are to tackle our current debt crisis, but that will hardly boost their popularity in the run up to the election.
So that’s where we are, but what’s the plan, and how will it actually affect us?
Bankers’ bonuses will, effectively, be taxed at 90%. (Yes, I know that’s not a high, if you’re a banker, but I can’t help feeling it will raise an approving smile from the majority of us) The bankers, themselves, already pay tax of 40% on these bonuses, and, now the banks, themselves, will also have to pay a further 50% of any bonuses in excess of £25,000. Sounds great, but it is only expected to raise around £500 million, a drop in the £178bn deficit ocean expected this year alone.
VAT will return to 17.5% from 1 January 2010. Not only will this reverse the, admittedly questionable, benefit of reducing the VAT level last year, but those businesses who spent the time and money changing price lists etc must now repeat the process, once again.
On the face of it, there are more highs than lows in this budget, but is it enough? The current economic climate demands immediate and dramatic action.
Unfortunately, the Pre Budget Report has been prepared by a Chancellor who (a) has a history of excessive optimism, and (b) will not want to ‘rock the boat’ too much, in the face of an upcoming general election.
Mr Darling has hinted at future tax hikes and cuts in spending, but ‘not yet’.
There are one or two popular moves, such as the super tax on bankers’ bonuses as well as some of the new greener policies and help for the youth of the country, but, once again, we have to ask; “Is it enough?” The statement that; “anyone in work will always be better off than they were on benefits” is a bold and admirable one, but is it really achievable, and, more importantly, how will it help the expected £178bn deficit this year?
Once again, it remains to be seen.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
To decide whether or not part of your property should be liable to business rates there are a number of things we have to consider, including the extent and frequency of the non-domestic (business) use of the room (or rooms) and any modifications made to the property to accommodate that use.
She has a four drawer cabinet in the corner of a dining room, which also functions as an 'office' for the family computer, and there is no dedicated telephone line for business purposes.
The occupier is out visiting sites four days a week, and does 'writing up' at home on the dining room table in the evenings and at weekends. No clients or members of the public visit the house for business purposes.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
You can contact the Helpline on 0845 3000 157 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday.
Tax credit recipients are asked to continue to use the helpline number 0845 300 3900.
Monday, 19 October 2009
- Holiday starts to accrue as soon as an employee begins work.
- The employer can control when the holdiay is taken.
- Employees are entitled to normal pay whilst on holiday.
- When an employee leaves, they are entitled to be paid for holiday accrued but not taken.
- Bank & public holidays can be included in the annual entitlement.
- An employee continues to be entitled to their holiday leave throughout their ordinary and additional maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
- For workers aged 22 or over: £5.80 per hour
- For workers aged 18 - 21, inclusive: £4.83 per hour
- For workers aged under 18 (but above compulsory school age): £3.57 per hour
Almost all workers are entitled to NMW, but there are some groups who are not.
- Self employed people
- Apprentices under the age of 19
- Apprentices aged 19 years or over, but only for the first year of their apprenticeship
- Children who are still of compulsory school age.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
- From 1 April 2010, all VAT registered businesses with an annual turnover of £100,000 or more (excluding VAT) must file their tax returns online and pay electronically.
- From that same date, all businesses newly registering for VAT, whatever their turnover, must file their returns online and pay electronically.
Paper returns will still be an option for the remaining VAT registered businesses, but this will be reviewed More information can be found on the HMRC web site, at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/start/register/signup-online.htm
Changes To Banking Services And Making Payments To HMRC
During 2009, H M Revenue & Customs are moving over to new banking arrangements.
The banking details are as follows:
Current Bank Account Details:
Account Name: HMRC VAT
Sort Code: 10 00 00
Account Number: 52055000
New Bank Account Details:
Account Name: HMRC VAT
Sort Code: 08 32 00
Account Number: 11963155
If you use online banking, and have stored templates or transactions, that you use when making your current VAT payments, you may need to update these to reflect the changes.
More information or guidance can be found at http://hmrc.gov.uk/payinghmrc/
Sunday, 27 September 2009
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has introduced an advisory system of benchmark scale rates which employers can use to make subsistence payments to employees who incur allowable business travel expenses free of tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs). The new advisory system was implemented from 6 April 2009.
The brief sets out the framework for the system.
HMRC currently expects employers to conduct a sampling exercise before it will agree to a particular rate being included within a dispensation. The aim of the exercise is to identify a reasonable level of allowable expenditure that reflects the most common level of spending.
HMRC recognises that a sampling exercise can be burdensome and expensive for employers. It has therefore introduced an advisory system of benchmark scale rates for day subsistence payments that an employer can use without having to carry out a sampling exercise.
If the employee is paid an allowance under the five or ten hour rule, the late meal allowance could still be paid if he finishes work after 8.00 pm and buys a meal that he would usually have at home. However, if the employee regularly finishes work late because, for example, he normally works the afternoon or evening shift, he would not be entitled to use the late evening meal rate.
Early starter and late finisher ratesThe early starter and late finisher rates are for use in exceptional circumstances only and not intended for employees with regular early or late work patterns.
Guidance on how the employment income travel expense rules work can be found in HMRC’s Booklet 490. This booklet will be updated shortly to reflect the new scale rates system available to employers from April 2009.
Additionally, no tax and NICs free payment should be made if an employee does not incur an expense on meals after leaving home or his normal place of work, even if the journey was a qualifying business journey. This means that employees who do not buy a meal or who take a packed lunch from home are not entitled to a tax and NICs free payment.
Why not have higher benchmark rates for London or other locations where prices are more expensive?The benchmark rates are linked to what employers typically reimburse their employees and it would not be possible to break this down between different locations. Personal expenditure on subsistence varies significantly between employees even when working at the same location.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
- be aged 16 or over to be appointed a director.
You Do Not Need To:
- appoint a company secretary, if you are a private company (though you can still do so, if you wish).
- hold an annual general meeting, if you are a private company, again, unless you opt to do so.
- have a unanimous vote for resolutions. Subject to articles, if you are a private company. Members may agree in writing to resolutions.
- get a court order to make capital reductions as a private company - they can be supported by a solvency statement instead.
What We Can Look Forward To:
- Directors address protected from disclosure. From 1 October, each director will have a service address, and a usual residential address. The former will be in the public domain, with the latter only being available to public authorities and credit reference agencies. Initially, the director's residential address will automatically become the service address, though you will be able to specify an alternative address (such as the company's registered office) on the Companies House website.
- Also, there will be an alternative address for the company to specify where its registers can be made available for public inspection. This can either be the registered office, or a single alternative inspection location (SAIL).
- A number of changes have been made to make it easier to set up a limited company..
- There will be changes to company articles for new companies. They will include the company's objects and liabilities - which were previously in the memorandum. Copies of model articles are available on the Companies House website.
- Any ammendments to the company's articles must be notified to Companies House, within 15 days. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, carrying a civil penalty of £200.
Also remember; all Companies House accounts filing deadlines have been reduced, by one month to 9 months (private companies) and 6 months (public companies). This applies to all accounting periods beginning on, or after, 6 April 2008.
Failure to comply will result in a fine of up to £1,500.
From 1 October 2009, all original Companies House forms are being replaced. Watch this space for a future blog post on this particular change.
In the interim, you can check out the new provisions of the Act on the following link, including transitional provisions, and downloadable versions of the new forms.:
Companies House has produced guidance notes, in a variety of formats, giving step by step instructions on how to form a limited company.
Monday, 31 August 2009
A survey of over 600 employees revealed many were turning into workaholics because of the ability to receive and send messages and work online even when they were at home.
Employment law firm Peninsula said the working week was being extended to around 55 hours for many people and urged employers to make sure their staff were not breaching working time regulations.
Managing director Peter Bone said: "It is important for staff to spend quality time away from the office, spending time with the family, or undertaking recreational activities rather than tapping away responding to client emails or deadlines so that they keep a healthy work/life balance.
"Bosses should encourage staff not to work from home unless necessary. Inform staff that they should limit working from home. If they are happy to work away then ensure they agree to opt out of the maximum working week and have this signed. Limit the extent to which employees are using their devices when they choose to do so; unrested employees will be less productive during the working day."
"The recession has forced everyone to become more productive and for those with access to work at home, this is an opportunity for them to catch up or get ahead. With email on tap, employees with smartphones are able to respond a lot quicker and also get themselves prepared for the working day ahead by checking their email first thing.
"Employees should be encouraged to take appropriate rest breaks if they do choose to continue working out of hours. Having a well rested employee with a good work/life balance is a lot more useful than a tired employee that put one too many hours in the night before."
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Starting in Scotland on Monday 14th September, a crew of three will travel south to interview home business owners and talk to experts and politicians, with the team expecting to meet over 400 businesses at events and meet-ups over the course of the week.
More than 2 million businesses are run full time from home but the documentary will also take a closer look at what Enterprise Nation has termed the ‘Working 5 to 9’ trend that is seeing millions of people hold down a day job and build a business at nights and weekends. It’s a way of easing out of insecure employment, into self-employment.
Founder of Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones, says:
‘Streets are buzzing with people starting and growing their own business. Amazing businesses that utilise the best of technology to make and sell niche products and services. We’ll be revealing the stories of people turning business dreams into reality and showing that home business is truly the bright spot of the UK economy. Yet we don’t think enough is being done to allow home business to flourish – and it remains almost a hidden sector - so we’ll be calling for action from policy makers and politicians and recording their response.”
The Enterprise Nation team will visit home business hotspots in Scotland, North East, London, South West and return home to the West Midlands on Friday 18th September. They will film by day and at night host get-togethers for anyone starting and growing a business from home. They will also show how to work whilst on the move in a trip that’s sponsored by communications company, Orange.
The documentary will be aired on Friday 20th November – a date that marks the UK’s first ever Home Enterprise Day, held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The first people to see footage will be delegates at the Enterprise Nation Conference.
As Jones says:
“Visitors to the conference may not be surprised by what they see as they are living and breathing home business owners but for those in Government and large organisations this documentary will uncover the incredible entrepreneurial activity underway. It will also call on them to act. Home business is Britain’s best-kept secret and its story needs to be told!”
Over 60% of new businesses were launched from home in 2008. The attraction is lower costs, no commute and being on hand for friends and family. Sectors range from fashion design and food production through to IT and business services with whole families coming together to make these businesses a success and growing profits through outsourcing and sub-contracting.
Full details of the roadtrip and registration for meet-ups is online at http://www.enterprisenation.com/
Updates are being posted to Twitter at www.twitter.com/e_nation
The Home Business Roadtrip starts in Scotland on Monday 14th September and travels south. Dates and locations are:
Monday 14th September – Scotland
Tuesday 15th September – North East
Wednesday 16th September – London
Thursday 17th September – South West
Friday 18th September – West Midlands
The trip is being sponsored by Orange, supported by One North East, Business Link for London and Enterprise HQ, with accommodation generously provided by Malmaison Hotels
The crew will be:
Emma Jones, Founder, Enterprise Nation
Tim Sargent, Mint Video
Nick Clark, 1st Class Travel
The documentary will be aired at the Enterprise Nation Conference on Home Enterprise Day, Friday 20th November. Home Enterprise Day is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week http://www.gew.org.uk/
For media enquiries, please contact:
Marisa Harrison, Tadpole PR
Tel: 01743 741161 Fax: 01743 741161 Mobile: 07767608563
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Many will welcome this, but others are concerned that their mobile number will now be available to anyone looking to use it, which could mean being swamped by unsolicited messages and calls.
It is extremely easy to unsubscribe, but it must be done before the begining of next week, to make sure that you are ex directory.
Removal has been recommended by the BBC;
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/working_lunch/8091621.stm and you may wish to pass this on to friends, family and colleagues.
To remove your number from the directory, click on the link below. You will need your mobile number with you, as they will text you a code.
Click on; 'Ex Directory' on the top right hand side, and follow the straight forward instructions.
**Update** Looks like people are registering in droves. Shortly after posting this, the 118800 site posted a 'Service Suspended' notice, as follows:
"The 118 800 service for mobile phone connections is currently unavailable - from this website and by phone - whilst we undertake major developments to our 'Beta Service' to improve the experience for our customers. We'll be back as soon as possible with the new improved service.
All ex-directory requests made by people in our directory to date are being processed. There will be no need to resend these requests. And we will take further ex-directory requests when the service resumes. We will not be taking ex-directory requests by phone or text whilst the service is not operational.
Please do not call us on 118 800 for anything other than landline directory enquiry requests as you will be charged for the call.
Sorry for any inconvenience caused"
Coincidence? I doubt it. What's the odds the service will be restored 5 minutes before deadline, thereby preventing many people from registering as ex directory? Let's hope they prove me wrong, but I wont hold my breath.
The Tax Credits Cycle
The tax credit payments you get throughout the year are temporary or 'provisional' until you confirm your actual income and circumstances as part of the renewals process.
It is important that you tell HMRC about any changes to your circumstances straight away as it could affect the amount of money you should be getting. For example, you must tell them within one month if you split up from your partner, or if you start working fewer hours. Otherwise you might not get all the money you should - or you may end up getting too much and may have to pay it back.
When you tell them about a change, they will send you an award notice confirming the new information provided by you, and any changes to your payments. It is important that you check each award notice you get carefully using the checklist that came with it, and let them know if anything is incomplete, missing or wrong within one month.
After the end of each year they ask you to renew - or in some cases they will automatically renew your claim. This helps them to check that the payments we've made to you are correct, and to set your payments for the coming year.
Sometimes they will have paid you too much (an overpayment) or not enough (an underpayment). If this happens, they will either make an adjustment to your payments, or if you have been paid too much but you're no longer getting tax credits, they will ask you to make a direct payment - a one off payment for the full amount.
· check that we have the right information
· make sure your income is still within the limits for getting tax credits
· tell HMRC if anything has changed
· continue to get all the money you're entitled to
The renewal pack includes an Annual Review notice which tells you what to do to renew your tax credits. Most people will also get an Annual Declaration form in their pack as well.
It's important you read the Annual Review notice carefully - it will tell you how to renew your tax credits.
· tell HMRC if anything has changed
· calling the Tax Credit Helpline on 0845 300 3900
· completing the Annual Declaration form - if you were sent one, and returning it in the envelope provided.
If you've only got an Annual Review notice, you don't need to do anything if:
· your income is still in the limits shown in the notice
· there are no mistakes or missing details in the notice
If you have made more than one tax credits claim during the year, you will be sent a separate renewal pack for each claim. You must fill in each one separately.
What Happens If You Don't Renew?
The deadline for all replies is shown on your Annual Review form - usually 31 July. Don't wait for the deadline. The sooner you check your details and tell HMRC of any changes, the sooner they can make sure you get the money you're entitled to.
· telephone 0845 300 3900
· textphone 0845 300 3909 - if you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment.
If you’re calling from overseas you can also contact the Tax Credit Office on Tel + 44 289 053 8192.
Sunday, 5 July 2009
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Monday, 15 June 2009
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Monday, 11 May 2009
Global Entrepreneurship Week
Over 644,000 people took part in last year's events and this year looks set to be even bigger.
This is the first year to include a day on which to celebrate home business - so let's make it a good one!
Our friends at Enterprise Nation are leading the celebrations and recognising the millions of people in the UK who are starting and growing a business from home.
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Daniella Lipszyc, a solicitor at Ultimate Law, a law firm, said: "The ruling by His Honour Judge Halbert is a landmark decision that will have massive implications on cases involving the enforceability of credit agreements.
Monday, 4 May 2009
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
- Public sector net borrowing will be £175bn this year, 12.4% of GDP. From 2010, it will be £173bn (11.9% of GDP), then £140bn (9.1%), £118 bn (7.2%) and £97n (5.5%).
- National debt as a percentage of GDP, including the cost of stabilising the banking system, will increase from 59% this year to 68%. It will rise to close to 80% by 2013/14 - twice the level Labour inherited in 1997. The Chancellor expects underlying current budget deficit to come back into balance two years later. RPI inflation is forecast to remain negative, falling to minus 3% by September, before moving back above zero next year. Inflation is expected to continue falling sharply, reaching 1% by the end of this year. The Bank of England inflation target remains unchanged at 2%.
- The UK's current deficit is expected to halve within four years
So that's all the numbers out of the way. How does this affect most of us?
The following changes have been announced which will come into effect from April 2010:
- an additional Income Tax rate of 50 per cent will apply to people earning over £150,000
- the income tax personal allowance will be reduced for those with incomes over £100,000
Pensions and Savings
The Budget announced the following changes to pensions:
An increase of £100 to over-80s households and £50 to over-60s households in 2009/10, alongside their Winter Fuel Payment.
Tax relief on pensions contributions will be reduced for those earning £150,000 and over
The overall annual investment limit for ISAs rises to £10,200 of which £5,100 can be saved in cash.
These higher limits will be available to over-50s from 6 October 2009 and to everyone from 6 April 2010.
Housing and Homeowners
The Stamp Duty land tax threshold on residential properties costing £175,000 or less will be extended until 31 December 2009.
As a result of this 'holiday', some 60% of UK homes are currently exempt from Stamp Duty.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is being reformed - households will no longer be able to keep any surplus LHA if it is higher than their rent.
Budget 2009 announced a £600 million fund to kick-start housebuilding, with the aim of delivering an additional 10,000 homes in England over the next two years.
This package includes £100 million for local authorities to build new social housing at higher energy efficient standards. The current economic climate continues to have a significant impact on housing supply. Additional, short-term, spending during the downturn is planned to stimulate housing development as well as boost the capacity of the house building industry in the long-term.
Motoring and Transport
The Government has announced a temporary vehicle scrappage scheme - it offers consumers a £2,000 discount when buying a new vehicle to replace a vehicle more than 10 years old, provided they have owned the vehicle for at least a year.
Budget 2009 confirmed the fuel duty increase announced in the 2008 Pre-Budget report, and further increases from 2010 to 2013.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Alcohol duty rates increase from 23 April 2009. The duty will increase by 2 per cent, adding one penny to the price of a pint of beer, 13 pence to the price of a bottle of spirits and four pence to the price of a bottle of wine.
Duty on tobacco will increase by 2 per cent from 22 April 2009.
Employment and Training
The Budget announced that 18 to 24 year olds who have been unemployed for 12 months will be guaranteed a job, training or a work placement.
An extra 54,500 places will be created in the next academic year for 16 and 17 year olds who wish to take them up.
- Statutory Redundancy Pay is to increase from £350 to £380 a week.
- Help is to be extended to allow loss making companies to reclaim taxes on profits made in the last 3 years to November 2010.
- Businesses main Capital Allowances Rate has been doubled to 40%, giving enhanced tax relief for capital expenditure of up to £50bn this year.
- The intention is to raise £1bn of extra revenue, by closing a number of tax loopholes and schemes.
- From April next year, the child element of Child Tax Credit will increase by £20.
- Pensioners' Winter Fuel Allowance is to be kept at the higher level of £250 for over 60-s, and £400 for over 80-s for another year.
For a link to the full Budget report, click on the heading of this feature, or you can check out a pdf of it from the 1st Addition web site.
Thursday, 2 April 2009
In a news conference to mark the end of the London summit, the Prime Minister said the funding formed part of a package that would shorten the recession and save jobs.
The overriding purpose of feng shui is to create an environment where, through a variety of components, we are able to maximise our physical and mental wellbeing. Let's face it, we could all do with a bit of that.
We’ve all walked into a room and felt uncomfortable, and, likewise, there are places we go where we feel totally relaxed and ‘at home’. Feng shui is the 'science' that explains why this happens.
Basically, it’s all about balance. Most of us have heard of the yin and the yang, the concept of positive and negative energies, conflicting with each other to obtain dominance. Sounds like we’re heading back to mumbo jumbo land, BUT we can apply this to any real world situation.
For example, imagine a slow moving yin river, when it hits rocks, it drops, speeds up, and creates turbulence. It is now yang. As it reaches a lake, it becomes yin again. A boat travelling on this river will be at its optimum speed when the energies are balanced. Too much yang, and it could be damaged by the currents. Too much yin, and much more work is needed to paddle it.
So what about our own working environment? What can we do about that?
It’s all about creating a balanced and harmonious environment. Common sense really, but we experience our environment through our five senses, so we need to make sure they’re all accounted for.
Some of the key factors we need to think about are:
Lighting will play a key part in how we feel. Our bodies are in tune with the sun and its natural cycles. Just ask anyone who suffers with SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder) caused by changes in lighting conditions in the winter months.
Natural light is important, and we should position our furniture and arrange our activities to make the most of it.
Ordinary bulbs produce light which is towards the red end of the spectrum, with little blue or green light. Fluorescent light is the opposite. It emits higher electromagnetic fields, and its flicker can cause headaches
Colours will also play an important part in how we feel too:
White represents a clean canvas, and black symbolises a clean slate. Both provide a base on which we can create a picture, from the main colours below:
RED: Red is stimulating and dominant. It reduces the size of a room, and increases the size of objects. It is associated with warmth, prosperity and stimulation, but also with anger, shame and hatred.
YELLOW: Yellow is associated with enlightenment and intellect. It stimulates the brain and aids digestion. Its positive qualities are optimism, reason and decisiveness, whilst its negatives are craftiness, exaggeration and rigidity.
GREEN: Green symbolises growth, fertility and harmony. It is restful and refreshing. Its positive associations are optimism, freedom and balance, and its negative ones are envy and deceit.
BLUE: Blue is peaceful and soothing and is linked with spirituality, contemplation, mystery and patience. It’s positive associations are trust, faithfulness and stability. Negatives are suspicion and melancholia.
PURPLE: Encouraging vitality, purple is impressive, dignified and spiritual. Positive associations are excitement, passion and motivation, negatives are mournfulness and force. Can’t quite see it in our office somehow!
ORANGE: A powerful and cheerful colour, orange encourages communication. Its positive qualities are happiness, concentration and intellect, and its negative is rebelliousness.
BROWN: Brown suggest stability and weight (good one for me then). Its positives are safety and elegance, while its negatives are dinginess, depression and aging. Good for studies / offices, but not for bedrooms.
Pleasant sounds, in the right place, at the right time can really add to the ambiance. Wind chimes, water features, etc or even a little background music can make a real difference to our mood.
We all know that smells can influence the way we feel about a place. Who hasn’t popped on a pot of coffee or wafted some fresh baked bread around when trying to sell a house? At 1st Addition’s offices, we always have scented oils and air fresheners in the office (even when none of us have had a curry the night before. That’s how feng shui we are)!
We are becoming increasingly aware of the negative effects of electromagnetic radiation on the human body. The effects of exposure to ionising radiation in X rays and ultraviolet rays in sunlight are well known. Also, the low frequency radiation which surrounds power lines has been linked to childhood illnesses
Despite our awareness of the effects of radiation, we are so dependent on the equipment that produces it, that we are unwilling, or unable, to live without it. We should, therefore, take precautions, where possible:
+ Laptop computers should never actually be used on our laps.
+ Mobile phones should be used as little as possible
+ Screen filters should be fitted to all unfiltered VDUs
+ It helps if we can sit as far away as possible from the computer, when not actually using it.
+ For those of us that use a microwave in the office, we should keep as far away from it as practical whilst it is on. Microwave ovens have been found to emit low frequency radiation far in excess of that known to cause lymphatic cancer in children.
Clutter is a state of mind, not just the state of our physical environment. It can be all the things we haven’t done, like unreturned phone calls and appointments not made. It’s everything we do not use or wear, inherited objects and things given to us as presents that we don’t like, but feel guilty about parting with.
We may stay in a job, thinking we are indispensable, or due to a misguided sense of loyalty, but, often it is because we are afraid to take a leap and change direction.
It is this fear of change that can cause us to stagnate. We need to clear our homes, our work places, and even our minds. This may not be something we do in one go. Often it is the little things that add up. Clutter represents stagnant energy, and the list is endless – blown light bulbs we keep forgetting to replace, dead wasps on the window sill and that squeaking door we never get round to fixing. All just a minute or two each to fix, but their accumulated affect can have a significant impact on the pace and quality of our lives.
Plants will have a variety of uses in an office environment. As well as their obvious aesthetic charm, they have a number of uses, including hiding a jutting corner, draining excess water energy from a room, breaking up long corridors and bringing life into an office environment. Some will even clean the air for you.
We should remember though that cut flowers may look beautiful in a vase, but, like dried flowers, they are, technically, dead. Potted plants are much better as they bring life to the environment.
The positioning of our desks and other furniture can also play a vital part in the feel and energy of a room. (See Below).
To finish, we have a few top tips to feng shui up your office. These are split between the workplace office and the home office. Why not give one or two of them a try?
Office Feng Shui In A Workplace Office
Here are few tips to keep the energy flowing in your office.
- According to office feng shui guidelines, your desk should be placed at a diagonal to the doorway, or directly facing it, rather than with your back to it.
- If there's more than one desk, place two on a diagonal facing towards the door and any others on a diagonal facing into the centre of the room. They should not be placed in rows in a traditional classroom layout, or back to back.
- If the doorways of offices that face each other across a hallway are not exactly aligned, place a mirror in front of each door.
- If you face a partial wall or partition, when entering an office, place a mirror on the partition.
- Soften jutting walls with plants.
- Break up dull walls with mirrors or paintings.
The feng shui elements that are easiest to blend into an office decor are pictures and photographs. Look out for pictures that represent the various aspects and display them in the appropriate areas. Very obvious feng shui symbols, though, might invite unwelcome questions from visitors or co workers.
Office Feng Shui In A Home Office
Use office feng shui, if you're working from home, to maintain a professional approach to your business.
- Use a separate entrance to your office, if at all possible
- Otherwise, chose a room near the front or back door of the house or flat.
- Separate your office from living areas, to keep your business and personal lives separate.
- If your office space is part of another room, divide it from the rest of the room with a screen or large plants. Even a large mat will help to define the spaces.
- Take a short walk before entering your office to work each day, and another one at the end of the working day. This separates the business and personal aspects of your life.
- Place your desk on the corner, diagonally opposite the doorway.
- Don't place your desk under a window, but let the light reflect on it from the side. Some people prefer to have their desks facing east.
- Leave space between your furniture (bookshelves etc) and the walls. Feng shui experts suggest leaving a 7-9 inch gap.
- An important aspect of office feng shui is to keep your work space tidy, to allow a free flow of energy throughout the room.
- Differenciate between clutter and storage. Stored items don't have to be catalogued and labeled but they should be stacked neatly in a cupboard or in binders, so as not to impede energy flow.
So why not give it a try. You never know, you might just notice a difference.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
- billing accuracy: 5 stars!
- clarity of bill: 5 stars!
- customer service: 5 stars!
- telephone support: 5 stars!
- value for money: 5 stars!
This is a further improvement on the ratings achieved in the previous survey.
With Utility Warehouse, customers value taking the 'total package', not just their energy, but their phone and broadband too.
Once more, Which? spells it out: for service, value and all-round customer satisfaction, the Utility Warehouse is number one.
To find out more, and see how much you could save, why not give us a call, for free, on 0800 061 2441.