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Month: August 2018

How One Company Made Corporate Team Building Fun!

What Team Building Events Look Like In 2018

A brief history of team building and how it has influenced Zing Events in helping organisations get the most out of their workforce.

Corporate team building may seem like a recent business strategy, but actually it dates back to the 1920s when organisational theorist, Elton Mayo conducted a series of experiments known as the Hawthorne Studies. This research put employee behaviour under the spotlight and concluded the following were necessary for a team to work effectively:

  • the group must take pride in their accomplishments, and be motivated by leaders who are engaged in their daily tasks
  • a sense of confidence should be fostered
  • management must demonstrate interest in each of the employees as individuals
  • performance reviews to be undertaken to help the workforce meet their goals

These points formed the basis of what contemporary HR departments now look for when they’re putting together a strong team to assist a company in meeting its objectives.

Changing the Face of Corporate Team Building

But unfortunately, in the past corporate team building has suffered somewhat from a reputation of being stuffy and overly formal. Like most business practices though, it has taken some time to evolve – but now one company, Zing Events, has transformed the nature and success of team building activities. By creating a series of fun corporate team building ideas, workers are fully committed to enjoying their day out of the office – which allows employers to get the most out of this as a strategy. Here are some of the most popular events that the company can host for your organisation.

Crystal Challenge

Whichever version of the show is your favourite, most of us have always held a secret desire to perform on the Crystal Maze. And now you can! Teams compete head to head in up to 12 different events, to win crystals. These then translate into the amount of time you can spend in the final stage Crystal Dome.

It’s A Knockout

Also inspired by a famous gameshow, this challenge sees teams of colleagues dressed up in costumes, doing bungee runs and hurling water-filled sponges at each other, all in the name of fun! It’s an excellent event for breaking down barriers between managers and their employees, and helps to develop a rapport between teammates who don’t know each other so well.

The Trading Floor

This challenge has a definite theatrical element to it, that will sweep you up and give you a great insight into working with stocks and shares. Each team member will be assigned a financial role such as Investment Analyst, Floor Trader, Media Trader or Finance Manager. The adrenaline-filled challenges happen live on the trading floor, which is surrounded by giant screens displaying the highs and lows of the market. The winning team will be those that work well under pressure and that have amassed the most fortune at the end of the event!

Crime Scene Investigation

There’s nothing that helps a team bond better than a murder crime! This forensic challenge allows your employees to flex their problem-solving muscles to determine how the murder occurred and what the person’s motive was. They’ll learn about blood spatter analysis, taking fingerprints, DNA clues and ballistic examination.

This is just a small selection of popular activities that Zing Events offers organisations. There’s a wide range of events that can be held indoors or outdoors depending on the weather and the size of your venue. The packages can be customised based on the size of your organisation and what you’d like to get out of the event. Get in touch with Zing Events today to boost morale and overhaul productivity in your organisation.

5 Ways to Get Instant Traffic to Your Website

Fast, Effective Hacks That Will Boost Traffic Almost Instantly

Traffic on a website is like footfalls in a business and is a key measure of success. Here are five simple ways to get more people through the door.

Whether you are a hobbyist blogger, a burgeoning new business or a multinational corporation, there is one aspiration that you are sure to have for your website, and that is to increase traffic. For businesses, more traffic is the first step towards more conversions and increased sales. But for anyone who wants their site to succeed, boosting traffic is key to improving SEO and featuring higher on the search results pages.

There are plenty of ways to do so, and the trick is adopting a blended approach that will make the different strategies work together. Let’s take a look at five approaches that will generate fast results.

Speculate to accumulate with PPC

When a site is starting from scratch, any organic SEO strategies will inevitably take time. Paying for traffic using a tool like AdWords is the perfect way to give everything a kick start. It is also fraught with risk for the unwary, so it is essential to get some expert support from a company like this PPC agency Essex. That way, you will stand the best chance of directing your strategy – and your money – in the most effective direction.

Use social media

Specifically, leverage the power of Facebook. With well over two billion members worldwide, there is no platform that wields such power, influence and outreach. Create a Facebook page, share your content and reach out to influencers in your niche. Also join relevant Facebook groups and share your content there, as you will have direct access to a far wider audience.

Create useful content

Of course, the social media approach will only be effective if you have something to share that people want to engage with. Creating valuable content means putting yourself in the shoes of your readers and understanding what it is that interests them, what questions they want answered and why your site is something they need in their lives. Produce unique, engaging content, either in the form of blog posts or videos that addresses these topics and answers these questions. Content creation needs to be an ongoing process – look to schedule something new at least every two weeks.

Focus on UX

Getting people through your virtual door is one thing. Persuading them to hang around, come again and send their friends along is another. Look at your web design from the user’s perspective. Do pages load quickly, are the menus easy to navigate, is it mobile-friendly and do calls to action compel you to read on? If the answer to any of the above is “no,” you need to sit down with a web designer and have a rethink, or you will always struggle to improve traffic.

Optimise and enhance

Most important of all is to remember that none of these measures are “set it and forget it” tasks. Constantly monitor your traffic, keep track of which pages perform better, and that way you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Take Your Family And Pets Abroad For Winter

Get Relief From Your Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

Need to see some sunshine this winter, but worried a long vacation abroad is too much upheaval for your pets? Find out how easy it is to take them with you.

1 in 5 Brits experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. This condition is known to begin in early autumn, causing a lack of energy, disruption of sleep patterns and a change in appetite. It gets progressively worse during the coldest, darkest months of the year – usually in the New Year, but then symptoms can disappear completely over the spring and summer seasons. One solution to dealing with SAD is to move abroad to a warmer climate during the winter, then return for the summer – an arrangement known as mouseholing between home and abroad. Those with pets can simply take them along as part of the family. Read on for advice on how to do so.

Preparation

Cats and dogs are perhaps the easiest pets to transport abroad, although it may be possible to take other animals such as rabbits and rodents with you as well. Always check the regulations of the destination you’re travelling to, so that you can be sure of the specific requirements.

In most cases, you will need to begin by visiting your vet so that they can carry out a health check of your pet, and administer any necessary vaccinations. These will then be recorded in your pet’s passport. Your dog or cat will also need to have an ISO 11784 compliant, 15-digit pet microchip, so that it can easily be tracked.

Travelling Abroad

If you’re planning on mouseholing to Europe for the winter, then you have a number of options for your pet travel. Your dog or cat can travel with you by car, ferry or Eurotunnel which means that you’ll be able to stay together with your furry friend, eliminating any distress. Many owners find it’s a good idea to make sure that their pet has had a decent stretch of their legs before the journey so that they don’t have too much energy built-up before the trip.

Of course, if you’re travelling further afield or just prefer to fly by plane due to the convenience, then it’s also possible to have your pet take a flight to your destination instead. You can fly on the same plane, but it’s important to note that your pet won’t be allowed in the cabin, they’ll be safely housed below in a container in the hold area of the aircraft.

Returning To The UK

When you know that you’ll be coming back to the UK within a few months, it’s important to make sure that everything is in place so that your pet can return easily without needing to be in quarantine. Those pets who don’t follow the stringent government pet travel rules, will be required to stay in quarantine for up to 4 months. To avoid this lengthy residency, your pet will need a rabies injection, a pet passport or ‘third-country official vet’s certificate’, a microchip and usually proof of tapeworm treatment. It’s also imperative that your pet arrives back in the UK no more than 5 days before or after your own journey.  

Pet travel is so much easier than it used to be thanks to the introduction of the pet passport system – no longer do you need to feel confined to the UK if you can’t afford lengthy boarding facilities. So, if you can’t bear the thought of another winter dealing with your SAD symptoms, then why not move your family and pets abroad until the sun shines once more upon the UK?

Raise Cash for Christmas

Turning your unwanted items into money for your seasonal spending

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, so planning ahead is always worthwhile so as to build a handy fund ready for your seasonal spending rather than plundering your bank account or putting it on credit cards or loans. There are various ways to raise some cash ready for the festive season, and the sooner you start the more even modest amounts will mount up.

Save, sell and earn

These are the three basic ways of generating some money. Here are some ideas:

Selling

You may well have equipment and other items sitting around gathering dust that you no longer use, so why not turn them into cash?

Perhaps that coffee making machine that seemed a good idea at the time, but you never seem to use could go? Maybe there’s some clothes cluttering the wardrobe you never wear that might make money?

You might have some old tech equipment you’ve never got around to disposing of? Old mobile phones and tablets can be converted into cash on sites like Gumtree or from specialist companies who buy mobiles for cash.

How about older camera equipment you no longer have much call for? You may have some very capable but seldom used film camera equipment sitting doing nothing.

You may even have older digital equipment you’ve replaced with a newer model, or perhaps find your digital camera gets left behind more often than not because the camera on your smartphone does the job of taking photos so well? Specialist buyers of photographic equipment can answer the ‘how to sell my camera?’ question, and the process is likely quicker and easier than selling on eBay or similar.

Be ruthless

When deciding what you could sell be ruthless as you search through cupboards, drawers, the garage and loft; instead of gathering dust your old gear could be gathering cash for you.

For example, with clothing a good way to decide what to get rid of is to ask yourself if you’ve worn a given item in the last six months (aside from maybe a very special dress or suit). If not, put it to one side ready for sale.

Selling options

Ebay is the obvious choice for selling your old stuff but check that selling and postage costs don’t eat into your profits. Free alternatives include sites like Gumtree or Facebook marketplace.

Save money

Saving money is another way of generating cash for Christmas. While perhaps cutting down on everyday expenses such as visits to the coffee shop is one way to save, there’s no need to do without little treats completely. Perhaps restrict yourself to one shop bought coffee per day if you’re inclined to have more than one and resolve to put the saved money to one side.

Bills and expenses – if you haven’t assessed your everyday bills lately, then a session checking you’re not paying too much for your energy, mobile phone, broadband and maybe car and household insurance is worthwhile.

By following advice from known money saving experts and checking that your current suppliers are still competitive you could make some very useful savings. Why not channel the money you save into your Christmas fund?

While you’re at it check out cash back sites if you haven’t already; here you can get money back on many purchases you’d have made anyway. This could be especially useful if you do decide to switch supplier when you’ve checked your utility bills as above; for some you can buy their service through a cash back site.

Earn money

There are umpteen ways to earn a little extra online but be careful and check options out carefully. Some online ‘opportunities’ can at best take forever to earn even a few pounds from while others are seeking to part you from some of your money in sign up fees and so forth – the very opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

Some online activities such as taking surveys, mystery shopping or using certain smartphone apps may not make you big money but can add a little extra to your Christmas pot whilst combining them with other activities. For example, completing a simple online survey can be done while watching the television or on a train journey

Another obvious way to earn is to either take on some extra work or maybe do a little overtime if the possibility exists. Do guard against overdoing it though; you wouldn’t want to spend every waking hour working, but maybe a few extra hours is feasible and if you’re strict about putting this extra money into your festive fund it’ll soon add up.

Give up

Not so much the idea of saving for Christmas but quitting expensive habits where possible. Smoking is an obvious one and if you can kick the evil weed into touch the money you save could possibly pay for your Christmas on its own such is the expense of smoking.

If you can’t quit completely then turning to vaping is worth a go; you’ll save drastically compared to the cost of smoking, and it’s certainly a step in the right direction from a health point of view. Whatever method – or combination of methods – you adopt you’ll enjoy the festive season all the more knowing you prepared for it financially rather than worrying about the expense.

5 Reasons To Keep Your iPhone 6 Plus

Why it’s worth hanging onto your iPhone 6 Plus or buying one used as Apple’s 2014 phablet still has a lot to offer if you don’t need the latest in mobile tech.

Apple’s original phablet still has plenty to offer so why change?

The iPhone 6 Plus with its 5.5 inch screen was a significant release when it appeared back in September 2014. It marked Apple’s first foray into the ‘phablet’ phone at a time when many couldn’t imagine Apple going beyond the more compact smartphones they’d released up to that point.

Since then, four new versions have appeared in successive years with another on the way later in 2018, but your trusty 6 Plus is still worth hanging onto as is buying one used if a good value large screen phone appeals.

So why keep your 6 Plus?

Here are five reasons:

1. Cost of replacement

Inevitably, buying a replacement phone will cost whether you opt to buy a new one outright or go down the contract route with a subsidised handset.

While some people will always want to have the latest model, the canny buyer waits until new releases genuinely offer new features and facilities worth splashing out for. Even then it’s possible to save money in that buying a model one or two releases behind the latest version will offer both big savings and new features if coming from a markedly older handset.

A good example (if you don’t already own one of course) is buying a refurbished iPhone 6 Plus if you’d like a larger screen and aren’t too concerned about other, newer features. Your wallet will thank you in that they’re currently available for under £180 so making a huge saving on a new version, or even a used example of a newer release such as an iPhone 7 or 8 Plus.

2. Backward compatible with software releases

A key benefit of the Apple mobile environment is the way the company deals with updates and new versions of its iOS operating system.

When updates or new versions of iOS are available, users of compatible phones are notified via their handset immediately and can download the new software. The company make their updates backward compatible with many older iPhones: at present, the latest iOS release is compatible with handsets dating back as far as 2013 so including the models released a year before the 6 and 6 Plus.

3. Cheap running costs

Sticking with an older phone or buying one means you can avoid expensive contracts involving subsidised phones and pay for just what you need from your tariff.

Some people pay for more data and minutes than they’ll ever use just to increase the subsidy on an expensive phone. If you already own a 6 Plus or buy a used one, then you can select a SIM only deal that suits your needs and so offer much better value for money.

4. Accessories still compatible with your handset

One annoyance sometimes when upgrading a phone is having to buy cases, chargers and other items all over again to fit the new model you now own.

Sticking with a handset that’s giving you faithful service means you won’t be spending money on accessories apart from the odd replacement. Such is the mobile aftermarket you won’t need to worry about these items becoming unavailable as time passes; you’ll be able to buy a case for your 6 Plus for a while yet.

5. Built to last so why change?

Apple’s build quality is legendary throughout its product range, and the iPhone is no exception, so a well looked after 6 Plus looks good and performs well.

It still offers modern technology, and such is the way Apple engineer their products – for example a screen that, while not a pace setter in terms of spec, works very well thanks to its high standard of construction – you don’t feel you’re using an obviously older phone.

The 6 Plus has a decent camera, a fingerprint sensor for quick and easy unlocking of the phone and some apps, good battery life thanks to a larger battery than in the standard size iPhone 6, and a bright and very detailed display.

New releases not always offering big changes

Also, while the 6 Plus has been replaced every year since its launch as mentioned earlier, not all versions have represented a huge leap over the 6. Phone makers often routinely change handsets annually and it’s not always the case that huge leaps forward are made with each release.

Your phone is up to date if it meets your needs

Even those immersed in new equipment such as tech reviewers would say the 6 Plus from 2014 has a lot to offer. While tech manufacturers will change their ranges frequently, you’re not going out of date if your handset or other tech equipment continues to meet your requirements.

Avoiding Downtime with a Business Refurbishment

Call in The Professionals for Your Painting Job

If your business premises needs decorating, save on any downtime by calling Spectrum Painters.

Most business owners will find themselves in this position at some point. Your business premises is looking a little tired and dated, and redecoration is something that you need to invest in. However, any kind of office refurbishment means that the day to day running or your business could be affected. If you’re thinking about tackling some of the work yourself, then wait. By hiring a professional team of decorators, you could avoid expensive downtime and have your business space looking like new in no time at all.

An experienced team

By booking with Spectrum Painters, you’ll be able to secure the services of the best commercial painters and decorators Suffolk has to offer. They have a huge variety of experience in the industry, and have worked on both big and small projects. So whether you are a small store needing a fresh lick of paint or you have a few offices you want to fully refurbish, they’ll have the right team for the job.

Flexibility

Whether it’s big or small, any kind of painting job has the potential to disrupt the normal rhythm of a business. It may mean that you have to close a shop to customers or your office team can’t come in, so a day is wasted. At Spectrum Painters, they understand that you’ll want to keep disruption to a minimum. They are really flexible with times, and will be able to come to an arrangement that suits your opening hours.

You’ll be free to run your business

It goes without saying that if you were to try and tackle a painting job yourself, your full attention wouldn’t be on the running of your business. So by letting someone else take care of it, you’ll be able to dedicate yourself to the jobs that matter. Your decorators will always consult you and keep you updated throughout the project, but will tackle all of the messy, difficult jobs so you don’t have to.

Health and safety

Health and safety is so important in the workplace, and if you aren’t a trained painter and decorator you might not be as familiar with all the different rules and regulations. So if something were to go wrong with you at the helm of a painting job, it could have serious repercussions. The skilled professionals at Spectrum Painters have undergone extensive health and safety training, and will carry out their work in full compliance with current guidelines.

Always hire local

It’s always better to hire a local firm to take care of your painting job. Spectrum Painters have been based in Ipswich for some time, and have built up a great reputation with local businesses. By hiring a local painting and decorating company, you’ll be able to count on them reaching you in a timely manner every day. They will have a passion for helping other local businesses to succeed and look great too – and that’s something you can’t put a price on.

Start the transformation today

As you can see, it’s much better to call in the professionals in order to keep disruption to a minimum. Not only will the job be completed more quickly, but it will be finished to an incredibly high standard too. So if your work space needs a few coats of paint, get in touch with Spectrum Painters today.

5 Reasons To Keep Your iPhone 6 Plus

Why it’s worth hanging onto your iPhone 6 Plus or buying one used as Apple’s 2014 phablet still has a lot to offer if you don’t need the latest in mobile tech.

Apple’s original phablet still has plenty to offer so why change?

The iPhone 6 Plus with its 5.5 inch screen was a significant release when it appeared back in September 2014. It marked Apple’s first foray into the ‘phablet’ phone at a time when many couldn’t imagine Apple going beyond the more compact smartphones they’d released up to that point.

Since then, four new versions have appeared in successive years with another on the way later in 2018, but your trusty 6 Plus is still worth hanging onto as is buying one used if a good value large screen phone appeals.

So why keep your 6 Plus?

Here are five reasons:

  1. Cost of replacement

Inevitably, buying a replacement phone will cost whether you opt to buy a new one outright or go down the contract route with a subsidised handset.

While some people will always want to have the latest model, the canny buyer waits until new releases genuinely offer new features and facilities worth splashing out for. Even then it’s possible to save money in that buying a model one or two releases behind the latest version will offer both big savings and new features if coming from a markedly older handset.

A good example (if you don’t already own one of course) is buying a refurbished iPhone 6 Plus if you’d like a larger screen and aren’t too concerned about other, newer features. Your wallet will thank you in that they’re currently available for under £180 so making a huge saving on a new version, or even a used example of a newer release such as an iPhone 7 or 8 Plus.

  1. Backward compatible with software releases

A key benefit of the Apple mobile environment is the way the company deals with updates and new versions of its iOS operating system.

When updates or new versions of iOS are available, users of compatible phones are notified via their handset immediately and can download the new software. The company make their updates backward compatible with many older iPhones: at present, the latest iOS release is compatible with handsets dating back as far as 2013 so including the models released a year before the 6 and 6 Plus.

  1. Cheap running costs

Sticking with an older phone or buying one means you can avoid expensive contracts involving subsidised phones and pay for just what you need from your tariff.

Some people pay for more data and minutes than they’ll ever use just to increase the subsidy on an expensive phone. If you already own a 6 Plus or buy a used one, then you can select a SIM only deal that suits your needs and so offer much better value for money.

  1. Accessories still compatible with your handset

One annoyance sometimes when upgrading a phone is having to buy cases, chargers and other items all over again to fit the new model you now own.

Sticking with a handset that’s giving you faithful service means you won’t be spending money on accessories apart from the odd replacement. Such is the mobile aftermarket you won’t need to worry about these items becoming unavailable as time passes; you’ll be able to buy a case for your 6 Plus for a while yet.

  1. Built to last so why change?

Apple’s build quality is legendary throughout its product range, and the iPhone is no exception, so a well looked after 6 Plus looks good and performs well.

It still offers modern technology, and such is the way Apple engineer their products – for example a screen that, while not a pace setter in terms of spec, works very well thanks to its high standard of construction – you don’t feel you’re using an obviously older phone.

The 6 Plus has a decent camera, a fingerprint sensor for quick and easy unlocking of the phone and some apps, good battery life thanks to a larger battery than in the standard size iPhone 6, and a bright and very detailed display.

New releases not always offering big changes

Also, while the 6 Plus has been replaced every year since its launch as mentioned earlier, not all versions have represented a huge leap over the 6. Phone makers often routinely change handsets annually and it’s not always the case that huge leaps forward are made with each release.

Your phone is up to date if it meets your needs

Even those immersed in new equipment such as tech reviewers would say the 6 Plus from 2014 has a lot to offer. While tech manufacturers will change their ranges frequently, you’re not going out of date if your handset or other tech equipment continues to meet your requirements.

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