Winter Energy Cost Saving Ideas

 

With a both businesses and householders tightening their belts while coping with rising costs, we thought a few energy cost saving ideas would be very useful:

 

Everyone

  • At this time of year the temperature drops very quickly. Save on energy costs by closing blinds or curtains when the sun has gone down.
  • Consider fitting movement sensors to turn lights on/off in places that are not in constant use. eg) Toilets, Copier or Filing rooms etc.
  • If you live in an older house, do a room by room plug review to see what is plugged in and what it operates.  Stick a label on the plug to remind you of items that do not need to be continually switched on.  If you use extension leads ensure that each socket has an individual switch, so if you need to leave an item on continually, you turn can anything else off. 
  • Check your computer monitor brightness settings.  Is it set to a default of maximum ? Does it really need to be so high ? Adjust to a comfortable setting.
  • Do you use your computer at infrequent intervals during the day ? If so and your computer is normally left on, then consider using hibernate to reduce energy use.

This function saves what is open onto disk and shuts down your computer for you after being inactive for a set time.  Then when you turn it back on, reopens everything you were using before shut down. (Quite a timesaver) This can be accessed via your control panel, power options and hibernate tab = enable. (Windows XP users). 

Can also be useful for kids/teens computers when they disappear to watch TV and leave it on.

 Businesses

  • Share printers wherever possible to reduce idle time and maximise usage.
  • Implement a “last one out makes sure it off” policy with a reminder sign by the door, to ensure electrical items turned off at night.
  • If you use compressed air tools, check for and eliminate any leaks, as this will reduce energy useage.
  • Interest free business loans are available from The Carbon Trust for purchasing energy efficient equipment. Please see their website for case studies and further information.
    Carbon Trust case study link

 I hope you have found these ideas are helpful, if you would like additional information, we have produced a booklet on Sustainability which is available free on request.  Please email gwhite@blomfields.com with your details to request a copy.

 

New Junior ISAs (JISA)

The Government has confirmed that Junior ISAs will be available from 1 November 2011. These are aimed at children born on or after 3 January 2011 and older children (under the age of 18) who do not have a Child Trust Fund. 

Where the child is aged under 16, the account must be opened by a person with parental responsibility for that child.

A child or young person may have either a Cash JISA, or a Stocks and Shares JISA, or both. However, it will not be possible to open a new JISA every year – though this will not affect the ability to transfer a JISA between account managers, or the right of 16- and 17-year olds to open an ‘adult’ Cash ISA, in addition to their JISAs. 

Saving in a JISA  – As a matter of law, anybody will be able to add savings to a child’s JISA – the parents’ consent is not required. However, individual JISA providers may set their own restrictions. The maximum JISA investment for 2011/12 will be £3,600, split in any way between Cash and Stocks and Shares JISAs. The same limit will apply for 2012/13; thereafter it will be up rated each year in line with the Consumer Prices Index.

Withdrawals from JISAs – No withdrawals (other than technical withdrawals to pay JISA managers’ charges, etc) will be permitted until the holder’s eighteenth birthday, unless he or she becomes terminally ill. If the child dies, the JISA will become part of his or her estate.

For further information please visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/isa/isa-guidance-notes.pdf

Managing Business Stress Breakfast Event

This week saw us holding our business breakfast on the subject of managing business stress at The Glove Factory Studios in Holt. 

Our speaker for the event Jennifer Hampson gave an interesting and insightful talk to business owners on how to identify and practical strategies for dealing with work related stress.

We soon found out how little we knew about stress prior to this event. 

Her warm and interactive approach soon got groups of business owners and managers, looking at common problems caused by stress and discussing tactics to address such issues.  This caused a few humorous comments and some productive thoughts which we all enjoyed.

At the end of the talk, we received some very positive feedback, here are a few of the comments we received:

“It was brilliant to hear the massively hyped subject of stress dealt with in such a logical and approachable manner.”

“Stress is a very hard thing for some people to deal with, which sometimes turns to depression.  A lot of people cannot recognise the signs, so the earlier the problem is tackled the better !”

“I enjoyed the interaction – it got me thinking about my own stress”.

 The lucky prize draw winner of a free coaching session from Jennifer has now been notified.

With all the knowledge gained from the event, now we just need to put it all into action. 🙂

 

Surviving the week from Hell

 In keeping with our latest theme on business stress, here is another little article on stress, courtesy of Steve Pipes book “Stress proof your business and your life”.  

Also a little reminder that places are filling up for our free business breakfast next Tuesday, on managing business stress. 

Please contact us urgently by telephone 01225 751302 or email gwhite@blomfields.com, if you are a business owner who would still like to reserve a place.

Facing the week from Hell ?

On really busy days with multiple deadlines, it is easy to get to the stage where you are almost scared to answer the phone in case it is another task for you to do.  To combat the panic and get to a stage where you are calm enough to think your way out of this, you need a more positive frame of mind.  Each time panic hits, decide on a positive sentence and run it though your head. Such as ‘I am serenely gliding towards my deadline and everything will get done’.

Calmer ? Good now to tackle the interruptions. 

One way to go about this is to use the ‘best use’ question.  It can help you negotiate you way through any day with dozens of calls on your time.  It will help you to prioritise ‘on the run’, sometimes ruthlessly.  On the morning of manic days, decide what you absolutely MUST achieve that day, and if anything interrupts, ask yourself “Is that the best use of my time, right now?” If the answer is no, take a rain-check and come back to it later.  So if a friend calls you at work, nine times out of ten, you won’t chat then, you call her back at a more convenient time – unless of course, she is very upset about something, in which case as a friend, talking to her is the best use of your time. 

Promises and realism.

One problem we cause for ourselves is to tell people what they want to hear, and over promise on what we can do for them.  Over promising results you can’t deliver, causes a lot of stress for both parties.  It is better to under promise rather than over promise.  That way your boss thinks you are wonderful when you get the report finished a day early rather than a week late.  Make it a rule to be absolutely realistic about how long it is going to take you to get things done.  Until you get expert at this, work out the time you reckon it will take you to complete any task and multiply it by 1.5.