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Home-working can increase productivity

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Working at home: Comes with its own distractions

THE KEY to productivity is being left alone, making sure your house is tidy and heating your work room to 20 degrees.

Not having to commute, being able to stay in your pyjamas all day and being exempt from tea rounds are among the biggest perks of working from home, according to a study released today by smart heating experts, Drayton.

Researchers polled 2,000 people who work from home and identified the benefits of doing so – including the avoidance of office politics and annoying colleagues.

However, it comes with distractions too – with the most common being daytime TV, social media and household chores, such as emptying the washing machine. Other common diversions include taking parcel deliveries, cleaning the house and internet shopping.

Commissioned by Drayton, makers of the brand new multi-zone smart heating system, WISER and part of Schneider Electric, the research also found those working from home are typically distracted six times a day.

A spokesman for Drayton said: “Our research aims to shine a light on what it’s like to work from home – and as it shows, there are plenty of benefits. Arguably the biggest challenge they face is staying focussed; there are plenty of potential distractions. However, analysis of our findings shows those who work from home feel they are as effective if not more so as those who work in traditional workplaces such as offices.”

Carried out through OnePoll.com, the research found 30 per cent find it easier to get work done when working from home – compared to working in their usual workplace. In addition, 54 per cent said they feel happier working from home than they do working in a traditional workplace such as an office – and around two thirds find it less stressful. In fact, on a typical day those polled will send 22 emails, make 13 phone calls – spending 2 hours and 23 minutes on the phone – and send 14 instant messages.

Further advantages to working from home include being able to have the radio on, flexible working hours and saving money on childcare.

The research also found the largest proportion of those surveyed – 36 per cent – do all their work from the living room and 26 per cent do it from the home office. However, 13 per cent work from the kitchen, around 1 in 10 work from bed – and some even work from the bathroom. Flexibility seems to aid productivity!

The key to being productive when working from home, according to 43 per cent of those polled, is being left alone. 34 per cent think having a dedicated workspace is important, for 35 per cent having a tidy house is vital, and 25 per cent like to have natural lighting – things workers often cannot individually control in an office environment. 1 in 5 say being in their own surroundings is the key to being effective, and 25 per cent like to have music on in the background.

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Retail premises now required to take extra measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus

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New requirements have now come into force that require retail premises to take additional steps to protect workers and customers from coronavirus.

The additional measures were already guidance, but are now legal requirements. This includes businesses selling food or drink for consumption off the premises. These legal requirements include the need to:

  • Ensure systems are in place for controlling entry to the premises and to limit the number of customers in store at any one time;
  • Provide hand sanitisation products or hand washing facilities for the use of customers when they enter and exit the premises;
  • Introduce measures to sanitise any baskets, trolleys or similar containers provided for use by customers on the premises;
  • Remind customers to maintain a distance of 2 metres between each other and to wear a face covering by:

o   Displaying signs and other visual aids throughout the premises;

o   Making announcements on a regular basis;

  • Undertake and record a specific assessment of the risk of exposure to coronavirus at the premises and in doing so consult persons working on the premises or representatives of those persons (where a business employs five or more people);

All premises are still required to take all other reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus, such as:

  • Changing the layout of premises including the location of furniture and workstations;
  • Controlling use of entrances, passageways, stairs and lifts;
  • Controlling use of shared facilities such as toilets and kitchens;
  • Otherwise controlling the use of, or access to, any other part of the premises;
  • Installing barriers or screens;
  • Providing or requiring use of personal protective equipment

The Regulations and guidance may be found at Coronavirus legislation and guidance on the law on the Welsh Government website: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-legislation-and-guidance-law and also guidance to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus in workplaces and premises open to the public: https://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-minimise-risk-exposure-coronavirus-workplaces-and-premises-open

 

Useful posters and guides are available from Business Wales website: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/tool-kit. A COVID-19 risk assessment template is available from Health and Safety Executive – What to include in your COVID-19 risk assessment: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/assets/docs/risk-assessment.pdf

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Nick Ramsay MS: Freeze welcome but doesn’t go far enough

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BUSINESS rates in Wales will not be subject to an inflationary increase in 2021-22 Finance Minister Rebecca Evans has confirmed today. Freezing the multiplier next year will help support around 54,000 ratepayers across Wales, who are not already receiving 100% rates relief. This takes the total amount of savings businesses have received on their rates bills to more than £90 million from 2018 to 2019. Earlier this year the Welsh Government also announced a rates relief package worth £580 million to provide businesses with the support they needed to survive the pandemic. Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said: “We recognise the pressures that businesses are facing and we are continuing to explore the support measures we can put in place to help businesses cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the end of the EU transition period. “The announcement I have made today provides businesses with the reassurance that they will not see an increase in their business rates liabilities next year.” The Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Finance – reacted to the announcement.Nick Ramsay MS said: “The continuing health emergency produced by the Covid pandemic remains grave, yet the economic emergency we’re going through is still bringing about a different, but equally devastating effect. “The announcement is, therefore, welcome but doesn’t go far enough. “Welsh Conservatives outlined earlier this year our vision of how to rebuild the economy, which will require the next Welsh Government to utilise tax powers in innovative ways. “We have pledged to create ‘Business Rate-Free Zones’, where all businesses would be free from paying business rates for up to three years, and to scrap business rates for all businesses with a rateable value of under £15,000 outside of these zones. “Sure, the business-rates freeze from the Finance Minister is a step in the right direction, but I – and undoubtedly many businesspeople – am left feeling no real sense of assurance from her announcement.”
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Improvements required at five takeaway premises in Ceredigion

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PROPRIETORS of five takeaways in Ceredigion have been warned that their businesses may face closure if they fail to take reasonable measures to provide or require the use of personal protective equipment and face coverings by persons working on their premises.

Premises Improvement Notices have been served on the persons responsible for these takeway premises in Ceredigion:

–          Cardigan Arms Fish & Chip Shop, Cardigan

–          Express Café, Aberystwyth

–          Domino’s, Aberystwyth

–          Hot Dumplings, Aberystwyth

–          and Star Fried Chicken and Pizza, Aberystwyth 

The improvement notices require the businesses to ‘provide or require the use of personal protective equipment and face coverings by persons working on the premises’ and warn that failure to comply with the notices can result in a premises closure notice being issued. The premises were issued with the notices following coordinated inspections by Dyfed-Powys Police and the Public Protection Team at Ceredigion County Council over the weekend.

Businesses should ensure that they are aware of the requirements under the Regulations for individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public areas, and also for regulated premises to take all reasonable measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as providing and requiring the use of face coverings. Whilst face shields do offer some protection for the user against transmission of coronavirus, they are not considered to be ‘face coverings’ as they merely shield rather than actually cover the mouth and nose.

The Public Protection Team will continue to carry out unannounced inspections of premises and the non-compliant businesses may be issued with premises improvement or closure notices.

Information for businesses is available on the Council’s website: Supporting Ceredigion’s Economy

Any business who is unsure of their responsibilities in relation to face coverings is urged to check the Welsh Government website.

Any business that requires further information or guidance can contact the Council’s Public Protection Team on 01545 570881 or email clic@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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