Increasing Convenience – Are Delivery Solutions Changing Convenience Models?

Digital Delivery Service

In today’s digital age, the demand for convenience has never been greater. Consumers can buy products and services online at the click of a button, with modern delivery solutions such as same-day delivery making it even more appealing and changing the way we shop based around convenience.


The need for convenience

The promise of something turning up on your doorstep on the same day is attractive to the consumer: it can make their life easier, saves them time and can even be more cost-effective as they don’t have to leave the house to get what they need.

As delivery solutions evolve to match modern technologies and innovation – and changing customer expectations – the consumer is given a whole range of new options. This provides them with the freedom to pick and choose, often deciding on the most convenient option for them.

At Crown SDS, we have for some time now been offering a broad range of seamless logistics services to our customers. From same day to overnight, last mile, warehousing, and specialist handling of sensitive or delicate materials.

We believe that this range of options provides our customers with far greater flexibility, allowing them to tailor our service to match their personal needs.


Same-day delivery

Chief among this range of new options is same-day delivery, a model which has already been used by a broad range of operators. It has the power to fundamentally change the way people shop, integrating the convenience of online retail with the immediacy of brick-and-mortar stores.

Not only is same-day delivery service convenient for the consumer, but it benefits the online retailer too. Almost immediate product access improves their position against stationary retailers, increasing competitiveness within the market.


Changing convenience models

Through taking advantage of same-day delivery, consumers are able to optimise on all aspects of the service. Other modern delivery solutions such as “last mile” logistics are also contributing to changing convenience models.

Last-mile logistics involve the final step of delivery to the consumer and have gained importance in recent years due to the rising prominence of online retail. Last mile delivery brings the benefit of flexibility to the consumer, alerting them of any potential delays, therefore managing their expectations and building trust. The flexibility offered in this final stage has pushed the evolution of delivery service offering towards greater convenience.

At Crown SDS, we are experts in providing bespoke delivery solutions. As a leading supplier of cross-sector delivery and logistics services with 30 years of experience, we deliver only the highest quality to our customers. We use new technologies to drive innovation, which enables us to optimise our routes and offer a quicker, more efficient delivery service, producing cost-savings for retailers and customers.

Issue 9 2021

Welcome to the September edition of Corporate Vision Magazine, providing you with all of the latest news and features from across the corporate landscape in 2021.

We’ve seen a great deal of change in the way we live and work over the past year, much of it driven by the effects of Covid-19. Now that we are looking at life beyond the pandemic – or rather, life beyond lockdowns and social distancing – it is clear to see that some of these changes are here to stay. From remote working across continents to the rise of digital communication, technology exists at the centre of our development, both personal and professional.

In this month’s issue of Corporate Vision magazine, we explore a broad spectrum of businesses across the world that are evolving and modernising through the use of innovative technology. From Trade Processing and Reporting Services Firms like this month’s cover company, Point Nine, to businesses in the financial, automotive, health and even education sectors, this month’s selection of companies is proving that the future is digital.

We invite you to join us in discovering more about the fascinating work of the award-winning businesses featured within this September issue. We wish you all the best for the month ahead and look forward to welcoming you back for the October issue of Corporate Vision Magazine.

How Indoor Mapping Can Transform Big Workspaces for Good

Large Office Space

Large office spaces can be difficult to navigate, as they often have a wide variety of different departments, specialized equipment and materials that are only used in certain areas. These workspaces can seem overwhelming to new employees who aren’t familiar with the layout or their own department’s location.

With indoor mapping, an office space becomes interactive and easier to navigate by providing a detailed map of their facility on an employee’s smartphone. Here are different ways indoor mapping can transform large workspaces into more user-friendly environments where everyone knows exactly where they need to go:


1. Find the closest printer

Workspaces are big, and they’re getting bigger. With employees working across multiple locations, it can be tricky to find a printer when you need one. Indoor mapping can easily solve this problem by pinpointing the location of any device or object, such as printers or microwaves. This will not only save time but also money by reducing unnecessary trips to the wrong room or floor.


2. Get directions to your next meeting room

With so many people working in the same space, it’s easy for people to get lost and frustrated with their workspace. 

By mapping offices indoors with MappedIn or some other indoor mapping software, you can help employees navigate around their office and find the next meeting room without searching through a maze of cubicles and hallways. This will help employees become more efficient and productive during their workday.


3. Improve security measures with real-time tracking of assets

Indoor mapping allows you to track assets within your workspace, including computers and other valuable items that may be at risk of theft or damage if left unattended for long periods of time.

You can even use this technology to prevent unauthorized access to certain areas by restricting access based on specific employee groups or departments – all while keeping track of who has been granted access at any given moment. If an asset goes missing from its designated spot, you’ll know immediately so you can take action right away before anything goes awry.

In addition to inventory tracking, indoor mapping can also help improve building safety by identifying areas that may be unsafe for employees – such as dark stairwells – so that appropriate measures can be taken before anyone gets hurt or property gets damaged. As a result, indoor mapping helps you protect your company’s assets while making sure your employees stay safe throughout their day-to-day operations in the office environment.


4. Create a better experience for visitors with directional cues

Visitors are often confused about how they should navigate around a big office environment because each office has its own unique layout and design scheme that differs from others nearby – making it difficult for guests to find their way around without asking for directions from someone familiar with the area (and even then it’s still hard).

Indoor mapping makes navigating a new space much easier by providing visitors with directional cues based on where they are going or what they are looking for.

For example, if someone is looking for the nearest bathroom, indoor mapping can guide them to the nearest restroom by giving them a visual cue of where it is located. This capability will make your office more accessible to visitors without having to spend time explaining how to get around, which will help you improve efficiency and productivity among everyone who works in your workspace.


5. Improve employee satisfaction

No one likes getting lost or confused when they’re trying to get something done at work. Indoor mapping helps eliminate confusion by providing employees with directions on where they need to go so they can stay focused on the task at hand instead of worrying about where they are or how they’ll get there.

Mobile apps that include indoor mapping capabilities allow employees to access maps and other information about their workspace from any device – whether it’s an iPhone, Android, or laptop – which means you don’t have to worry about keeping track of paper maps or asking coworkers for directions all day long.


6 . Streamline operations with automated alerts that let you know when items are out of place

Indoor mapping allows you to identify areas within your workspace that may be unsafe for employees, such as dark stairwells or areas where people don’t normally go (such as storage closets). You can also use this technology to monitor whether certain assets are in their designated spots by tracking movements through specific areas throughout the day.

For example, if an asset (such as a computer) hasn’t moved from its spot in several hours then it could be stolen or damaged – but only if you have access to real-time tracking tools like indoor mapping. If an asset goes missing from its designated spot, your mapping app will alert you immediately so you can take action before anything goes awry and prevent theft or damage before it happens.


7 . Gain insight into how people work together using heatmaps

Heatmaps provide insight into how people interact with each other based on where they spend most of their time during the day – allowing managers and executives alike to understand what types of interactions occur most often so they can manage them accordingly.

This information not only helps increase office productivity but also improves employee satisfaction because managers will be able to see what types of relationships exist among workers across different departments and levels within a company structure – making it easier for them to create a workplace culture that encourages collaboration among colleagues while maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life outside the office environment.

Employee Wellbeing and the Key to Management Success

Employee Wellbeing

Richard Jeffery, Group Chief Executive Officer at ActiveOps talks about why it is vital that business leaders focus on the wellbeing of teams through performance monitoring. 

In recent years, wellbeing, particularly mental health, has risen high on the business awareness agenda, and the global pandemic has made wellbeing a leadership priority.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), poor health reduces national GDP by 15%, almost twice the 8% hit to GDP that the pandemic itself has had. Nations with poor health and low GDP typically are unable to compete on the world stage. Investing in health and wellbeing, WHO says, reduces sickness rates and increases productivity. Far from being the sole responsibility of the state, every employer should be interested in the health and wellbeing of a nation’s professionals. 

So, how can business leaders balance the need to drive productivity yet look after their staff when basic needs of organisations still need to be met? The answer lies in balanced productivity, and it is key to the wellbeing of employees, but only if it’s managed correctly. 


Remote working and successful management 

Remote working is the most visible change to the landscape, but that topic has multiple nuances to consider. Managers are distant from their reports, making managing them and gathering data on their productivity harder. But so too are colleagues remote from each other, which impacts their morale, motivation, and how they go about completing tasks.  

Yet, the idea of remote working is still very much in a fluid state and some businesses are still battling with fears over decreased productivity and future growth. However, it is being embraced more than expected. Research by Morgan Stanley finds that only 50% of the workforce in Europe’s most important five economies will be working in the office every day of the week. In August 2020, social media business Pinterest paid $90 million to end a lease obligation on its San Francisco office as its workforce became more mobile. 

So, what does more remote working mean for productivity and management? Working patterns change when employees blend work and home life in new ways, which may change how productivity is measured. In business, productivity is essential to maximize the value organisations provide to customers, whether in increased output or commercial savings brought about by increased efficiency. 

Yet now, finding new ways of doing business with customers is a reality for many organisations, meaning the old metrics used to measure productivity may be irrelevant in today’s marketplace. Scheduling and monitoring wellbeing in a distributed business has unique challenges and opportunities that technology such as employee productivity monitoring (EPM) solutions can overcome. 


Tools for a success in the digital age 

As many organisations set about digital transformation, this strategy is more likely to damage team members’ wellbeing. Employees can feel that their concerns and insights aren’t listened to or that implementation programs are rushed. Leaders of organisations undergoing digital transformation also report they are not provided with the tools and training to support team members’ wellbeing as the business transforms. 

However, businesses mustn’t stop at technology investment when tackling wellbeing – they also need to implement cultural change in managing and engaging with employees to reap the benefits. Organisations that create a better environment for their team members’ wellbeing will see additional business benefits beyond productivity, such as a high retention rate, which lowers recruitment costs. 

“Just 15 months ago, it would have been unthinkable for organisations to consider that existing operating methods would completely stop. It was usual for business operations to regularly occur at kitchen tables, garden outbuildings, even spare bedrooms. Yet, that is precisely what happened in 2020. Now that vaccination programs are injecting life into the economy, technology leaders need to plan towards their businesses’ return phase. Innovative business technology leaders must take the return to the enterprise as an opportunity to reconsider the dynamic between employees and management.” 

Yet the remote working isn’t a new phenomenon. The trend towards a distributed enterprise predates the pandemic; in 2017, the American Economic Review published research that showed employees would take an 8% pay cut to work from home.  

During lockdown, many workers in the knowledge economy reported that productivity increased, and now that remote working has been proven in the field, previously reluctant management will hopefully seek tools to ensure they can continue to coordinate their teams. This will deliver a new caring form of leadership, which also became a new norm in the pandemic and beyond. Wellbeing is here to stay as a management demand, and that can only be a good thing. 

Are Home Loans Out of Reach for Freelancers?

Home Loan

Freelance work can be rewarding both financially and emotionally, yet there are also lots of challenges faced by people who work for themselves that do not apply to those with a permanent position within a larger organization.

One excellent example of this is the process of getting a mortgage, which is undeniably more of a challenge for the self-employed. So what hurdles do freelancers have to overcome when securing a home loan?


Proof of income

The most significant barrier to home ownership faced by freelancers is being able to prove that they make enough money to give a lender confidence in their ability to keep up with the loan repayments.

While someone with a salaried job might need just three months’ of paychecks to support their mortgage applications, a freelancer will typically need tax returns covering at least the last two years.

Some lenders will also want to see detailed bank statements which show that you have the required deposit, while also demonstrating that you are responsible when it comes to money management.

If you have an accountant who handles your tax returns and finances for you, then they should be able to supply the necessary documentation to prove your claimed income. If not, you will need to procure these documents from the relevant organizations yourself.

Speaking of tax returns, it is worth noting that overdoing it with deductions to try and minimize your tax bill might end up meaning that lenders won’t approve you for as large of a mortgage as you would like. It is all a bit of a balancing act, and if you know that you will want to apply for a mortgage in a couple of years, it could pay to avoid claiming certain deductibles in the short term.


Credit Score

Lots of things play a part in determining the affordability of home loans, such as the mortgage rates from this article. While there are certain factors that you cannot control, there are others which self-employed people can influence to drive down the cost of repayments and boost the likelihood of being approved in the first place.

Close to the top of this list is your credit score, which is inextricably tied to your credit history. You should aim to keep your history as pristine as possible, which means repaying any other loans on time, keeping up with your credit card payments, and generally avoiding the accumulation of large debts.

Freelance business owners should also remember that you can only build a good credit score if you have some credit history to your name. So do not be afraid to use credit cards and take out other loans; just remember to adhere to the terms and pay before deadlines.

The good news is that you do not need to stay in the dark about your credit score, as there are various agencies that will provide you with access to it, often free of charge. Some will conjure up a full-blown credit report that pinpoints any problems with your current score and suggests ways to make improvements, so this could be a good investment for self-employed people looking to secure a home loan.


Joint mortgage applications

This is obviously not an option for everyone, but arguably the best way to get a home loan as a freelancer is to apply jointly with someone else; preferably someone who has a full time job.

Having two incomes available will give lenders more confidence in you as prospective customers, and this should also significantly increase the maximum amount you can borrow.

Ultimately, while getting a mortgage as a freelancer is definitely trickier, it is far from impossible, so long as you know what to do.

IT Essentials to Maximize Business Growth

Person using laptop at work with 3D rendered graphs coming out of the laptop

Since the invention of technology, people’s lives have gotten better in multiple ways. And as technology changes, and evolves, so do the benefits it brings. The global technology industry is forecast to reach $5 trillion in 2021 and while technology brings a lot of personal benefits, it also has a lot of business benefits.

Without technology, businesses would never be able to grow and stay competitive. Nowadays, it’s impossible to find a company without an IT sector. And if you want to maximize your business growth, you need to know some IT essentials.


Don’t be afraid to embrace technology

Office technology isn’t what it used to be ten years ago. Back when office technology was a new thing, businesses usually had a couple of PCs, a copier, a fax machine, and a couple of phones. But now, office technology integrates everything, and businesses have a plethora of devices.

It can be a nightmare to maintain and administer all of today’s integrations especially for people who aren’t tech-savvy. New technologies are emerging every day and keeping up with them is hard and demanding.

But if you don’t use the new tech that’s coming out, you will fall behind and your business will never be able to achieve the same level of growth as your competitors. That’s why it’s important to have amazing business IT support that will help you with your IT services and resolve any issues you may have.


Find the right IT service

There are too many IT companies to count, and finding the perfect one for your business can be challenging.

If you’re ready to outsource your IT services, here are some factors you should consider:

  • Location. Ideally, your IT service provider should be near you geographically because that way you can get fast service if an onsite support issue occurs.
  • The right experience. The technology you use will depend on your industry. When choosing a provider, you need to find one that has the experience of working with technologies in your specific industry, or even better, someone who has a certificate for particular industry technologies.
  • Reliability. Since you depend on your technology, you need an IT service that you can depend on as well. Before you hire a provider, find out how quickly they respond to and resolve issues, how fast they can provide onsite support, and check their online reviews from current and past customers.
  • Scalability. Your main goal is to grow, and as you do, so will your IT needs. Make sure that whoever you hire has the ability to scale with you and provide support even if you start using more technology over the years.

When looking for an IT service provider that’s the right fit for you, make sure that you choose a professional one. One of the aspects that shows professionalism is whether they write a good IT proposal. They can write one from scratch or use an IT proposal template where they can choose between multiple customizable templates, all of which are going to show they’re a serious business.


Have an optimized website

Without a well-designed company website, no business would be able to succeed in this digital world. Your site is your virtual storefront and most potential customers and clients will check your website before they do business with you. And if it’s not professional enough, you won’t come off as professional either.

Your website needs to be well-designed, easy to use and navigate, optimized for mobile devices, and optimized for search engines so people can find you through organic search.

Additionally, it needs to have your business’s contact information, a description of what you do and your products, and an FAQ page. The point is that anyone who visits your website can find answers to the most important questions about your company.


Embrace the cloud

Cloud computing means using a network of remote services that are hosted on the internet to manage, store, and process data. With the cloud, you save a lot of space in your network, keep your data safe, and access it from any device that has an internet connection.

By the end of 2021, 67% of all enterprise infrastructure will be cloud-based, and if you haven’t embraced the cloud yet, it’s time to do so. A lot of businesses nowadays are turning to the cloud to support their remote workforce, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are multiple types of cloud computing, but these are the two you should know:

  • Backup as a Service (BaaS). Backing up and storing all of your digital data in remote servers in offsite data centers that have alternate power supplies and non-stop system monitoring. This is the safest and most efficient way to keep your data safe and restore it if necessary.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS). This is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider makes their applications available for purchase over the internet. Most companies nowadays use SaaS tools such as business email solutions and productivity tools, for example.


Final thoughts

Growing a business in today’s technologically advanced world isn’t possible without using the right tools and keeping up with IT essentials. Don’t fall behind on the newest trends, keep up with IT news, and hire a team of professionals who will help you with all of your IT needs.

Landing A Job in Tech

Tech Job

Words by Ian Chaplin, Talent Experience Manager – UK & EMEA 

There has never been a better time to join the tech industry. According to recent data from search engine Adzuna and Dealroom for the Government’s Digital Economy Council, hiring for the digital tech sector has surged past pre-pandemic levels, with 132,000 tech vacancies recorded in one week in May and vacancies now at their highest level since 2016. 

But the buoyancy of the tech job market comes with increased competition for the best positions. This means that candidates have to bring their best to every interview – but how? The following are four ways to improve your chances of landing your perfect job in tech.


1. Develop your knowledge of the tech industry

When considering candidates for hire, the number one thing that tech companies look for is a knowledge of the industry. This shows a curiosity about their line of work, as well as the passion and drive to research it. It will also be helpful when you land the role. For example, the problems our teams at Xero are solving are often a result of industry trends – creating new features that help small businesses and advisors stay compliant with changing legislation, applying for government funding, and managing their cash flow during COVID-19.

There are multiple ways to get clued up about the tech industry beyond taking academic classes in computer science and business. Reading online publications is a good start. There are plenty to choose from –  some examples include Forbes InnovationTechCrunchThe Verge; and Recode. Alternatively, check out Techmeme, which aggregates all of the best content on the tech industry. 


2. Don’t let lack of flexibility hold you back

There are many different areas within tech. If you enjoy coding, then specialising in software engineering might be the best option for you. Or you could choose to do something entirely different, like sales and marketing. 

Whatever your situation is, there will be roles to suit you. Tech companies are increasingly offering more flexible roles in the product and tech space. For example, our approach at Xero is to give people a choice in terms of when, where and how they work, to find a balance that suits their lifestyle and passions. That’s why we have a fully redesigned flexible work program, giving our growing product and tech teams the opportunity to work where they perform best — at home, in the office, or a mix of both.


3. Get experience within a tech company 

Once you’ve deepened your knowledge of the tech industry and decided which area you’d like to specialise in, it’s a good idea to get some experience within a tech company. This is a great way not only to solidify your knowledge of the field even further, but also to make sure that you’ve chosen the role which is best for you. 

If getting professional experience is proving difficult, you can always try volunteering – something as simple as offering your tech skills to local businesses allows you to put your skills into practice and showcase your passion for the industry to potential employers. Also, joining community and meet-up groups is a great way to broaden your network and make connections to get that first job, internship or work experience.

And there are other ways to brush up on your skills. If you prefer coding, then CareerCup is a platform that provides a database of programming questions; likewise, if you prefer sales and marketing, The PM Interview has a variety of behavioral, case, and estimation questions that could easily be asked of marketers, strategists, and business development folks.


4. Get to know the company you want to work for 

Finally, it’s important to get to know the company that you’re applying to join. You can do this easily by checking out their company website and their social media, including their page on LinkedIn.

But one of the best ways to get to know the company is with the 10-K. This is a document that every company is required to release annually – for example, this is Google’s. The 10-K outlines important information like their future strategy, biggest risks, business trends, financial performance and most and least profitable products. For private companies, you can find similar information on Crunchbase – including their executive team and latest news.

Landing a job in tech can be competitive, but there has never been a better time to make the leap – and using these four tips, you can improve your chances of landing your perfect job in tech. 

5 Hospitality Tips for Achieving Top Rated Customer Satisfaction

Resort Customer Service

As a significant portion of the world receives the vaccine and life returns to normal, resorts may notice an increase in business. Companies can utilize the boost in traffic to raise their customer satisfaction ratings. There are five effective methods of achieving top-rated gratification, placing your hotel above your competitors.


1. Know Your Guests

A hotel’s staff can increase a customer’s experience by getting to know them before they arrive. They can access essential information about their guests by connecting with them on social media or having them fill out a questionnaire. Staff members can gather their activity preferences, dietary restrictions, pronouns and more, increasing a customer’s comfort upon arrival.

Addressing guests with their preferred pronouns can enhance inclusivity and validation. Staff members can also use customers’ information to create an inviting and appealing atmosphere. They can increase an individual’s comfort by catering their stay to their interests and needs.

Resorts can add specific amenities that enhance guests’ experiences based on their general interests. If your hotel attracts many families, you can install a children’s pool or play area to increase customer appeal. Similarly, if you have many couple guests, you may cater to their comfort by adding private outdoor dining areas.


2. Develop an Easy-to-Navigate Website

Creating an easy-to-use website can also improve guest satisfaction. Resorts can add chatbots to their sites, increasing an individual’s access to service during low staff times. When chatbots can provide helpful information, a social feel and enjoyable dialogue, they can improve satisfaction rates.

Efficiently designed websites can also minimize staff interaction for guests who value privacy. They may use the digital features to order room service, reserve spaces at the pool, book an excursion and more. Adapting the site to all guests can increase comfort and access to information.


3. Listen to Your Guests 

Active listening is another tip for improving satisfaction and stay ratings. When employees hear a customer’s concerns and provide active or emotional aid, the individual feels valued and pleased. Staff members can practice active listening by evaluating a guest’s words, body language, tone and more, gathering a broader understanding of their message.

Social interactions contribute to 10% of a customer’s happiness. When employees actively listen, they increase the social experience and improve a guest’s mood. Elevating an individual’s level of satisfaction can increase a resort’s ratings.


4. Hire the Top Talent

Organizations can improve customer satisfaction by hiring employees that specialize in service. Resorts can ensure the efficiency of their workers by evaluating their customer service philosophies before offering them the job. They may also hire individuals for their personalities because positive employees elevate guests’ moods.


5. Track and Assess Feedback

During the checkout process, the resort can also request feedback information from guests, improving their service in the future. After gathering the feedback, employees can create a positive and negative feature list, assessing different effects on customer satisfaction. They can then use the list to promote effective techniques and features while preventing adverse ones.


It is More Than a Smile

When companies are searching for ways of increasing customer satisfaction ratings, it is essential to look beyond positive greetings. Various aspects of a stay can impact a guest’s level of enjoyment. Remembering all customers are different is crucial, and you can improve satisfaction levels by diversifying your approaches. 

How Much Would It Cost To Drive the British Coastline in An Electric Van?

Electric van being charged

If you’ve seen the news recently, you may have seen that a man called Nick Butter has successfully completed a challenge like no other: running the length of Britain’s coastline.

That’s right, Nick completed this epic, extraordinary journey after 128 days on Sunday 22nd August 2021. In doing so, the ultramarathon man clocked a whopping 5,255 miles, covered more than 12,000,000 steps, spent more than 1,400 hours running, and burnt out 14 pairs of trainers – a rather impressive feat to say the least!

That got us thinking. The transport industry is up against it when it comes to emissions, and with Boris Johnson having announced his decision to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, everyone is having to start looking at more environmentally friendly alternatives – for example, the humble electric vehicle.

So, inspired by this challenge, van leasing company Van Ninja have delved into how long Nick Butter’s amazing record would take if you were to do it an electric van, rather than on foot like he managed to do!


The route

If you were to follow the exact same route as Nick, you’d begin your rather exquisite adventure on the coast of Cornwall at the world-renowned Eden Project, before navigating your way up the coast towards Hampshire, and on towards Kent.

Now starts the extensive journey north, as you travel up the East coast, passing through the likes of Norfolk, Yorkshire, and Northumberland, before crossing the border into Scotland and weaving your way up towards the capital. Then, you get onto the now-famous North Coast 500 (the UK’s best road trip).

Then begins the long descent south, back down towards Dunbarton, Dumfries, Cumbria, Cheshire, and through into Wales. After you navigate your way through the stunning Welsh countryside, you prepare to complete the penultimate stage of your journey, departing Monmouthshire and ticking off Gloucester, Somerset, Devon, and then of course, you’re back in Cornwall.


The time

According to Volkswagen, the e-Transporter’s battery can be charged from empty to full in five hours 30 minutes, offering a range of 82 miles.

With this in mind, during the course of the 5,255-mile expedition, you’ll need to stop on 65 occasions. This is based on access to a 7kWh vehicle charging point, which is the standard device in homes around the country and often available at the likes of hotels, pubs, and other hospitality venues.

So, the number you’ve all been waiting for – in order to do a full swoop of Britain’s coastline in an electric van, it would take you 357.5 hours in charging times and 51 hours of driving (if we were able to travel at an average speed of 50mph). If you incorporate the government and RAC suggestions of taking a break for 15 minutes following on from two hours of driving, this will add an additional six and a half hours onto your total journey time.

So, there you have it – to drive the entirety of the British coastline in an electric van, you’d need to set aside 17 and a half days!

But, what about the cost? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that despite taking the same amount of time as a cruise around the Mediterranean, it’ll only set you back 2-3p per mile – meaning you could do this trip for between £50 and £75 in comparison to £745 in a diesel alternative.


So, now we’ve crunched the numbers, all that’s left is for you to do is plan your journey and hit the road – and identify where the charging points are in the Highlands!

Web Conferencing Tools That Will Add Zest To Online Meetings

Woman in an online meeting while also giving a presentaion

Connecting with large audiences, be it for teaching, training, or addressing your employees remotely, has become the need of the hour. In many situations, this has been a blessing in disguise. Getting into the habit of online meetings, virtual training, web-conferencing, online meetings have suddenly become cost-effective along with saving everyone’s time. Travel, stay, and other administrative costs, all can be done away with simple web conferencing software.


Any new shift brings along both the benefits and the challenges. Web conferencing also has many limitations like engaging and connecting with the audience is more difficult online as compared to physical meetings and conferences. Collaborating with teams becomes complex when not in one room and many more.


Suggested below are some of the web conferencing tools that can be added to overcome some of the challenges.


Engagement Tools: Engaging the audiences in real life is comparatively simpler. A good web conferencing software comes with built-in engagement tools like chat, FAQs, polls, question tabs. You can additionally install the following tools to enhance the levels of engagement

  • By adding visual effects with the help of Snap Camera and ManyCam can help you pep up the meeting. These tools help in removing/blurring the backgrounds thus reducing the distractions. You can even add some special effects to make it lively. Snap Camera lets you place virtual reality filters over your image. By downloading the desktop apps from both the tool provides, you can start using them immediately and they are free to download and use. However, you may face some technical glitches while using Snap Camera as it puts a double load on the camera that your computer might face challenges with. You just need to reboot your system and it will work normally.
  • Background noises can be distractive. By installing Krisp, you can eliminate all kinds of background noises. This AI-powered tool acts as a filter to transmit only the speech directly through the microphone of your system. The advantage of being completely private, you eliminate the risk of becoming public as the voice is processed right on your computer.


Collaboration: Though you are connecting virtually with teams, planning and working with them is important. Gathering feedback after the event also is required for improving. The use of virtual whiteboards is a great tool to collaborate with teams. To present exactly what you want can be made easier and simpler with these tools.

  • Miro and Sketchboards are two wonderful collaborative tools. By using the attention management feature of Miro, you can easily draw the attention of the diversified team to focus on your screen and what you are working on. Sketchboard provides the interactive digital whiteboard that helps the teams to put the ideas on the same platform, complete projects, and brainstorm. You can save and reuse the presentations and the drawings shared with the team in one meeting. It also has the feature of automatically updating the participants with the changes and updates.


Feedback: A good web conferencing software like Adobe Connect have many built-in features to take feedback like polls. The chat feature is also included in the interface. However, to opt for varied feedback options, Mentimeter can be a great tool to add to your list.

  • Mentimeter is software that helps in making your presentations, events, workshops more collaborative. Gathering feedback on a real-time basis is the most liked feature of this tool. It is easy to set up without the requirement of downloads or installations. The audience can share feedback, polls, ask questions while the event/conference is live. On completion of the event, you can export these details for further analysis.


Conclusion: There are many more tools one can add to make your web conferencing software more effective and interactive. However, choosing the right software will be the first step with the number of available options. Do compare Adobe Connect pricing with other available options relatively.

The Value of a Graduate Degree in Today’s Job Market

Graduate Jobs

So, you’re thinking about going back to school. Or maybe you’re wondering if pursuing a master’s degree is actually worth it. No matter whether you’re finishing up an undergraduate degree or going back to school after a long time, it’s important to understand the risks and benefits of grad school. Paying for grad school can seem like a daunting thing. But once you’re able to do that, there are multiple benefits to a master’s degree that will set you apart from the competition in the workforce.


Paying for Graduate School

Paying for graduate school can be daunting. Whether you’ve just finished undergrad or you’re going back to school after a long time in the workforce, the cost of tuition is tough. You’ll also need to pay for your living expenses, and classes might take up time that would otherwise be spent working. But not all is lost. Some of the same financial aid options are available to grad students as they are to undergraduate students. You can still fill out the FAFSA, for example. All students going to graduate school are considered independent.

In addition, if you need help covering the rest of your costs, you can apply for a private loan. This option is solid especially for those with good credit scores, as you can take out graduate student loans that have a relatively low interest rate. Interest will vary depending on your credit score and the loan amount. The cost of school is one of the biggest hurdles facing those interested in pursuing a degree. But at the same time, there are numerous benefits. Here are some of them.


Advanced Understanding of Your Field

The exact knowledge that you gain will vary depending on your degree. Are you going into English or marketing? What about technology? What about more highly specialized scientific fields? No matter your field of study, pursuing a master’s degree will let you gain more insight into your niche. You’ll be able to follow your passions and advance both your academic and workplace careers. When you have a graduate degree, it shows that you’re a credible participant with industry knowledge. If you hone your focus on one specific niche, you’ll be more competitive when applying for jobs in that particular field.

In addition to gaining additional skills and becoming better at your current skills, some people might even use their master’s degree to enter a new field. Maybe you want to pursue something completely different from what you did in undergrad. For example, maybe you focused on English in undergrad, but now you want to pursue a law-related degree. Going to school for something other than your undergrad degree makes you a more versatile job candidate as well. Depending on the two fields of study, you may be able to combine them. For example, people with a background in both software development and marketing will appeal hugely to big tech companies selling new products.


Furthering Your Career

Once again, this partially depends on your field. But if you have a master’s degree, you might be a better candidate for promotions into leadership and management. That goes especially for people working in competitive fields, where you might not always have a practical edge over your coworkers. Most employers have increased their standards regarding educational backgrounds in the past few years. The more advanced companies might prefer that their employees have a master’s degree rather than just an undergraduate degree. Some of the best places to have a master’s degree are the healthcare and education fields. In both of these areas, academic expertise is key to getting promotions and being relied on as an expert in the field.


Making More Income

You can earn significantly more money if you have a master’s degree — which in turn can make it easier to pay off both undergraduate and graduate student loans. The average employee holding a bachelor’s degree will make about $65,000 dollars annually. But if you have a master’s degree, that average could go up to $80,000 dollars. That’s a massive increase in income that could be great news for your overall financial stability. The earnings potential increases even more depending on the field. For example, if you’re a major in life sciences or biology, you can earn more than 50 percent more with a master’s degree than with a bachelor’s degree. With the medical and healthcare fields, you can earn more than double the salary of an undergraduate employee.


Ongoing Learning

Since your master’s degree involves heavy study, you get a chance to hone your analysis, research, and writing skills. This makes you a better problem solver. If you’re able to solve problems in the workplace, you’re more likely to be promoted to complex managerial positions. You also get the chance to continue learning throughout your lifetime.

How to Empower Your Remote Employees for 2022?

Remote Employees

A recent post-pandemic survey revealed that 70% of the employed workforce have requested to go utterly remote by 2025. This makes it safe to assume that remote work is here to stay. But how can businesses navigate through these uncharted waters?

The task, although demanding, is doable for businesses of all sizes. This article highlights five ways companies can build a sustainable remote workforce for 2022.

1. Reinforce what company culture means – remote or not.

Work culture, ethics, and morals aren’t decided by the miles between your employees but rather by the employees themselves. So, as a business leader, ensure all employees understand that work culture isn’t dependent on location and that they play a proactive role in its sustenance. 

Pointers to consider while reinstigating work culture:

  • Inclusiveness: Ensure no employee feels left out and encourage a sense of collective belonging and shared vision.
  • New Rituals: Create avenues for team rituals where employees can bond besides work. For instance, virtual music or movie nights!
  • Mental Health: Encourage leadership and executive teams to ensure teams are well to do and are not on the verge of burnout. 

2. Engage, educate and empower your employees.

Your employees were familiar with a particular fashion of work, and now that has changed. Thus, if businesses want their employees to up their game, they need to empower them with the necessary training. This would help boost not only employee confidence and morale but also business productivity and efficiency. 

Encourage employees to upgrade themselves via webinars, educational and skill-based sessions. An easy start would be using webinar software that enables businesses to conduct online sessions without any hassle. Additionally, educate employees on the best practices to maintain a healthy work-life balance to identify and avoid potential burnout. 

3. Understand what has changed after going remote.

Asking your employees for feedback and inputs would be the best way to understand what has changed in your business after going remote. Developing a culture of open-ended communication is essential if you are going to improve processes.

Here’s a simple checklist on how you can reevaluate your business processes:

  1. Understand what going remote has cost your team in terms of communication, technology needs, expenditure, and rapport.
  2. Elaborate on the processes and workflows that need immediate attention. Take feedback on implementation methods from your employees.
  3. List out all the potential problems you’re able to identify – lack of communication, inaccurate documentation, erroneous expense reports, etc.
  4. Map these problems to potential solutions. This can come in the form of process changes or even the adoption of new technology.

4. Evaluate the adoption of cloud technology

Staying efficient during the remote work process goes beyond having a good laptop and Wi-fi connection. The right cloud technology can play a significant role in removing all barriers which prevent your employees from achieving their full potential.

Here’s how businesses can adopt the right cloud technology

  • List which of your business processes are broken and need fixing.
  • Understand how these broken processes affect your workforce.
  • Prioritize and map them into short-term and long-term goals.
  • List possible software that can help fix your challenges.
  • Test run and understand if the software fits your business needs.
  • Train employees to start leveraging cloud technology.

5. Automate your expense management process.

The Finance teams have been one of the most badly affected during the pandemic. This is because this process has traditionally always been one-on-one. However, with distributed teams, Finance teams are expected to work as usual and bridge the physical gap, all with no extra help. 

Additionally, with the rise in expense fraud after companies have gone remote, Finance teams are further pushed to exhaustion with manual verification of all business expenses and operating costs. Thus all business owners must consider expense management automation to take the burden off Finance teams and safeguard their financial bottom line.

Benefits of automating expense management process:

  • An expense report software ensures accurate expense report submissions with automatic data extraction from receipts.
  • It comes with an advanced policy engine that checks all expenses at the source of expense creation to ensure no expense fraud, duplicates, or error-ridden reports get by.
  • It has centralized and secure data storage that eliminates the need for employees or Finance teams to store physical receipts and reports. 
  • An expense software ensures every submitted expense stays compliant with IRS regulations without any added effort.
  • It provides Finance teams complete control and visibility into all business expenses and costs. It also ensures faster reimbursements with no extra effort, time, or resources.



The pandemic has caused a continental drift of sorts to the economy. With most of the global workforce going remote, it comes down to business leaders ensuring that this transition is seamless for their employees.

Additionally, with processes changing overnight, it is easy for businesses to check whether their operations need mending or not. While some changes may require your business and leadership teams to upgrade, others may need employees and processes. 

Studies suggest most businesses that managed to stay afloat and thrive even during these times have upgraded their human workforce and adopted modern software to help address daunting business challenges. 

Be it the adoption of an expense report software or chat application or any other productivity-related software – now is the time businesses need to take the plunge to ensure business success and scale.