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Thank you for signing up for Virtual Mondays

Thank you for registering for Virtual Mondays. We want Virtual Mondays to be great for everyone. In addition to a positive & uplifting networking experience, our Virtual Mondays sponsors offer benefits to all registrations & attendees: Aurora.Enterprises: Aurora believes in supporting micro & small businesses, supporting communities & sponsors Virtual Mondays. If your business is not registered on Aurora, complete the following form: Name Contact Email Enterprise Name Business Charity Non-profit/CIC Club

What I learned about addiction in just 2 days

Like it or not, we're all addicts. Each & every one of us!Believe it or not, we all become oxygen addicts at birth, when we become addicted to air with our first breath, with each breath rewarding our brains with the euphoric rush of oxygen. Despite knowing this, I'd never thought of myself as an addict. I've never taken any narcotics, never smoked, & only ever drank alcohol to excess a handful of times, consuming at most one or two units at most in a month. I've never been unfaithful or sought pleasure through meaningless sex. Apart from natural life choices, I've never gambled, seeing the risk of loss as a waste of hard earned money. So it looks like I take the safe route through life, so what could I possibly know about addiction.   Almost by accident, I've learned first hand about an addiction that almost all of us have, with few of us even knowing it.   Until in my early 30's, I was a super-thin, extremely fit individual, with a pretty good quality of life. I never cared much for food, often having to remind myself that it was time to eat, too busy with life. With the arrival of children, my food intake gradually increased, often cooking far too much, in order to avoid not providing them with enough. All too frequently I consumed the leftovers from what I had prepared, to avoid food going to waste, a value that was instilled in me at a young age. But as an active father, always taking my children away on adventures, I soon burned off the food I was taking in. I was not an exercise fanatic. I was just active, always grabbing every experience from life that I could. In 2008, as a keen open water swimmer, I decided to train to swim the English Channel. Interviewing many successful swimmers who had made the 40km distance from England to France, they had all talked about the importance of bulking up to create resistance to prolongued cold temperatures through fat reserves to draw upon. So I began eating pasta, by the bucket load, converting carbohydrates into a layer of fat. Doing so, perhaps enhanced by my naturally slowing metabolism, my fat cells blossomed, waving goodbye to my well toned body and the six pack I had taken for granted for my whole life. But with one change in life circumstance and another, the swim was postponed time and again.   With my increased weight came a surprising feeling I had never had before. Hunger!   Eating 3 meals a day, with portion sizing growing gradually, my weight reached new limits. I soon grew from a low 60kg, to 70, then 80, and then during a difficult divorce, creeped ridiculously close to 90. Suddenly, seeing this value, I felt like half the man I used to be, and yet had seemingly gain half a man when I stood on the scales. Eating the excess from the meals I cooked for my children that lived with me, not exercising as much, & hunched almost frozen still behind a laptop, I found myself using food respites as a way to break up the day. Cooking became a ritual twice or more each day, and determined to always provide for my children, I would regularly over-estimate quantities needed, further leading to my over-eating.   With more life changes, came more dietary changes, and soon I recognised I was riding a sugar rollercoaster, with regular and high volumes of sugary food and drinks to help me concentrate, or to avoid a sugar withdrawal migraine kicking in. I justified these high quantities of sugar, as being an essential aspect of eating for my formerly active lifestyle, yet I was no longer leading it. So in an attempt to course correct for my sugar rich diet, I would sometimes, for weeks at a time, reduce my intake of easily accessed processed sugars, replacing with alternative substitute food sources, often eating several times a day just to distract myself from any signs of a craving. This too became a habit. When I wanted a distraction from my work, I would go to the cupboard or fridge, open it, stare at the contents, and then close it. All too often, however, I would empty something out first, which I would frequently consume without even really noticing. I'd become an unconscious food junkie, cramming in more, and more often, until the point I was snacking 4 or 5 times a day, with 2 full cooked meals at lunch and dinner, often in portions enough to feed 2 or more.   In short, food was beginning to rule my life, and rule my waistline.   As a trained hypnotherapist, even teaching others to become hypnotherapists, I often met prospective clients who wanted to give up smoking. Many asked me if I had ever smoked and understood what they were experiencing. I always admitted that although I could help them, I never had an honest appreciation of their struggle. As I later discovered, they were right.

Never Ask for My Budget

"Whats your budget?" Is there a more invasive (even rude!) question that someone you don't really know can ever ask you about your business? If you're genuine about caring for your customers, never ask someone for their budget. After all isn't that just like saying “what's in your bank account". I even feel it's equivalent to asking "how much of your money can I get from you", often without saying what is given in return.   It's a very rude question to ask! Once the 'off the cuff' amount is revealed, it's set the scene, & miraculously the price they propose is always around the same or more! The incentive to be transparant is overshadowed by the very real fear of being taken advantage of.   Why should we tell anyone our budget? But why should we reveal our bank balance? After all who is supplying who? Surely the supplier should know their prices, & not make them up based on the figure someone without industry knowledge happens to mention. It's like some very poorly designed game show! As a client, do you want to reveal (often to a relative stranger) your worst case maximum limit of how much you can justify missing your bank balance?   Do you make others feel uneasy? As a supplier, do you want your prospects to feel uneasy & potentially exploited? Is it 'Fair game' to take advantage of others like this? Personally, I think not. For the sake of building a relationship based on honesty & transparency, let's help unearth a better way.   Rooted in Outdated Sales Strategies, it's time to change! “What’s your Budget” is perhaps one of the worst, most invasive business questions that any supplier can ask. It's selfish, and not focused on the customer's best interests. It may not seem like it, but its roots are from a tactic derived in the 1980's on aggressive covert sales strategies, designed to force a prospect into a corner. Sadly, to those that recognise this approach, it also creates an adverse reaction in our minds, especially the vast majority of us that don’t have money to just burn. Make no mistake, I get why some suppliers that don't know any better ask this impolite question. But that doesn't make it alright. You want to make sure that your time isn't being wasted. I get that. But surely there are far more polite ways to do business. Just because there is a maximum pot of money that could be used if necessary to cover a task does not mean that you want to allocate it all. Asking this question, in an attempt to information gather, & hook the listener is a classic tactic to win sales. It helps force a prospect to come up with a figure. It forces them to make a verbal promise which they are then obliged to stick to, or appears as a liar. It forces the prospect to open up & provide potentially sensitive and confidential information, forcing the supplier bare all, thinking they are obliged to do so, without the inquisitor revealing anything. It generally also becomes the quote that the company says it will cost, as if by magic. Surely that's a poor reward for a prospect being honest. Sure, it may help the business to get an idea of whether a prospect is in the right ball park for a product or service, but if the prospect disclose that their budget is twice more than a supplier normally charges, how many suppliers would use this to steer their quote. Why should a supplier minimise their quote when a generous budget appears to be available?   Why should someone guess your price? Asking someone without experience for a budget is like asking them for lottery numbers. Purely random. How would they honestly know what is the right amount to say other than to reveal their private bank balance? Without specialist knowledge or past experience, how would any prospect actually know what is reasonable, or have any idea of what may vary the price between one supplier & another? How would they know how much a company is charging per hour, or whether the prixing is based on the perceived value to a customer in how much it is worth paying to not have that problem. Most prospects don't have a clue, so those that give price indications create trust. Those that ask propsects to guess, take it away. After all, why should any prospect be made to guess a price? I certainly wouldn't expect to go into a supermarket and have to guess the price of my shopping, or to go in with £200 and ask them what the supermarket will give you for it. So why should any prospect be expected to for things that are not necessarily their expertise? Besides, how important is an hourly rate, with no indication of speed and efficiency? Admit it or not, price is a factor for most people, even if it’s not always the most important one. In the Western World, we wouldn’t dream of going into a shop & be happy with being asked how much their products are worth to us, & charged accordingly. It's not some back-street market stall in Morocco, with opportunistic pricing followed by aggressive haggling. The Better Way But how does a business create a trustworthy relationship with a prospect who doesn't understand the supplier's industry? The answer is simple. Results. If I know that a set amount will get me set results, or at least a high probability of this, then I know what I'm playing with. If a supplier has a portfolio of past examples with an indicative price of what it would cost them today, it becomes easy to quantify the results that a certain level of investment can bring. Put this portfolio on your website, or in a brochure, & simply direct people to it. No effort. No loss. Just good practice. The answer, put more simply is for a supplier to ask a prospect "What results do you want". Those results set the bar for expectation, and work can be priced accordingly. If prices are realistic, the results are what they want, and they genuinely have the freedom to select who they wish to work with, then they will choose the ones they can imagine themselves best working with. Simple. Asking what results the prospect wants puts the prospect back in the 'decision making' driving seat, rather than in a defensive one. There is no down-side, & no mention of budget to make people feel vulnerable to abuse. So if someone asks you what is your budget, perhaps it's time for a new response. Ask what results they want. If you can, show them a costed portfolio. Set expectations quickly, for everyone's sake. After all, with so many competitor options, don’t you want to work with thoses who are looking to protect your back, & not try taking the shirt from it?

Pay It Forward Networking begins again

Pay-It-Forward networking is now online. Originally a face to face networking group, Pay-it-Forward networking makes its return online. In conjunction with the Charitable CIC organisation, Networking for Good, PIF is back. It's fortnightly, it's 1 hour long, and it's still free, only this time, from the comfort of your own home or office. Enjoy a relaxing lunch with a 3 course meal of directory networking, a 7-minute speakers (guest talk), and some 1-2-1 speed networking to help you get to meet lots of very interesting people.With 2 brief 30 second adverts from our sponsors, NfG and Aurora to digest with your lunch, it's a great time to meet others, and make great connections. With our fundamental principle of Paying-It-Forward, and not selling to the room, think how you can benefit the others that you will meet, so they want to follow up, to find our more about you, and how you can help one another. Tickets for these events, starting July 6th, can be ordered through EventBrite - Link coming soon. Follow us on Facebook & Don't miss the bus!   In the meanwhile, help others find you! Add your business to Aurora's FREE business & charity directory: Name Contact Email Enterprise Name Business Charity Non-profit/CIC Club                         List your enterprise now, and help connect with other businesses across the UK and the globe!

Our partnership with NjT

Not Just Travel have been offering great holidays for a long time, & know the travel industry well. Building on their expertise, contacts, & fantastic offers & discounts, we have partnered with NJT to create a way to help good causes even more. At no extra cost to you, we are working with NJT to earn commission on each holiday we refer. Following the universal Aurora Enterprises model, we are creating donations for charities everywhere. Visit to help support the good causes you believe in.

Learning to Spark - Why choosing the right marketing company isnt all about the size of the flame

Running a business, the most hated question I had from any marketing company was "What's your budget". Often these were one of the first words they ever said to me when they learned that my business was just starting, which for me was like being washed down with a bucket of dirty water, putting out any possible flame of engagement, and tainting the relationship immediately. Focused on what’s in it for them, the naïve business owner has no clue whatsoever in how to answer that question. To them, it’s like saying how much money have you got to the marketing company to gamble with, and potentially lose, with not even a hint of taking any ownership or responsibility for success from the marketing company. Put onto the back foot as somehow being financially accountable to this company, often implying to have the success of my company in their hands alone, I looked or life's certainties, and soon realised that most of marketing is far simpler, and much of what was being talked about to me was little more than smoke and mirrors. It also became clear to me that marketing appears to be the only business, other than perhaps a casino or other gambling establishment, where the expectation by marketing companies to be given potentially large sums of money is matched without the promise of any return. The challenge for any small business is to be known, and to create desire for their products. It is true that the 'art' of being seen is called marketing, yet I could not believe that there was not a 'science' too in how to turn a marketing investment into a tangible return.   So What Really is Marketing: Marketing is a combination of a wide variety of skills, consolidated into a selected range of effective strategies, implemented using a wide variety of technologies. It became clear that much of this can be done as a ‘formula’. What started as an investigation, soon evolved, creating a formula for short, medium and long term exposure and growth, for any company with a valued product or service, with the basis for tangible results.   Everyone Does Marketing: It's true. You can't go to a single networking event without a fair number of the attendees being 'in marketing'. With so many to choose from, how is a small business supposed to know the good ones? Do they pick on the most expensive, and hope that cost is a reflection of quality? Do they choose the cheapest one, hoping to reduce the marketing spend? Do they focus on someone who appears to understand their product, and maybe has past experience of something similar? What about selecting a business simply because you like the person. With my own long consulting track record, it is clear that anyone can brand themselves as expensive with no correlation whatsoever to their quality or results. The cheapest one could be a reflection of their level of desperation, which could mean eagerness to please and do a great job, or it could be a reflection of their lack of experience. Someone with past experience is unlikely to tell the full story of at what point they engaged with that company, and how successful it already was at that time, with a success years ago not necessarily having any connection to the probability of success today. Reputation seemed like a good reference point, yet it also occurred to me that any testimonials are going to be from companies who have attributed some of their success to the work of that marketing business. They may be friends. They may have taken over from one of the many 'bad' marketing companies that yielded no results and came it at the right time. They may have been a lucky 'right time-right place' situation. There had to be a better way to tell. It occurred to me that the answer of what was the best indicator to select was based on probability of success. But how could this be reasonably attained. 

Special Offer for Horse Riders

It's not like riding a bike. A sweaty muscular horse with a mind of its own can sometimes do the unexpected, & accidents can happen. If that happened to you, or a loved one, how would people know who to contact, & how might your horse or lost eqipment find its way safely back to you? In support of the British Horse Society charity, we are offering horse riders a special offer on Medical Alert/ID ICE tags, for attaching to tack or clothing, designed to help first responders know any critical medical concerns (such as diabetes, allergies, previous injuries etc.), as well as who to contact in an emergency. These can also send a 'location' alert to a selected contact(s), when read by any NFC/data enabled smartphone (that's around 95% of modern smartphones!), making them great for not only getting you the help you need, but also for helping you get back any lost property.   No special app is required, and there's no subscription fees either!   OFFER DETAILS: During the month of April, if you visit the ICE smartbands online shop, and use code 'BHS', you will get a fantastic discount per item of just £3 per sew-on smart-tag, keyfob, pet tag, each for just £6.99 (with free shipping on any orders over just £10). We will also give £1 per tag sold using this coupon to the British Horse Society charity!   Peace of mind, & help support a good cause too!     Learn more about our sew-on Medical Alert/ID ICE Tags by clicking here

Feeling Bored at home. Why not Volunteer In Isolation

With all media attention focused on a World War of man vs microbe, raging at our front door, Charities are under greater than ever pressure, unable to raise funds to support the cause that drove them into existence. With so many worthwhile charities out there struggle to be known and recognised in a 'normal' world, but at the present time, this challenge is almost insurmountable, with many unable to proceed without the help from the volunteer workforce, estaimated at over 20 million each year, in the UK alone. As fun as the videos, jokes, & entertaining commentary may be on social media (and some of it is truly very funny), the world outside our 4 wall is crumbling. Many of us could spare a few hours to help support the charities we believe in, whether local, national, or international, and do something truly worthwhile, in our time of isolation. It doesn't mean giving up on Tea & Netflix. It doesn't mean giving away money either! Volunteering can be as simple as helping share the stories from the charities we believe in. It could be as simple as making contact with people who need to be listened to. It could be through making things to sell online for the cause, or trying to create a viral video and tagging the charity to help raise their profile.   There are countless ways to help good causes. We've recognised the strain that worthwhile charities have been under for some time. In the UK alone, there are over 200,000 registered charities. Needless to say we can't support them all, but we can select those that are able to make a real difference. We are asking ALL charities to register on our free Charity directory to help people know what you do, why, what you most need (volunteers, money, or whatever it may be), & the quantifiable benefits a donation will bring, putting it into terms of achievement, & not in terms of cold figures. i.e. exactly what the money being spend will achieve e.g. £20 will look after one rescue donkey for a week, or £5 will feed 3 homeless people per day, or £10 will save 3 injured penguins. The directory is completely free, and has no hidden costs. We do this because we want to make a difference. Being able to look in the mirror & know the good we've all done is truly priceless. If you are a charity, add yourself to the directory, including all links to your social media and website (so people can easily find you, & find out about you, & go to you directly). Use it to tell people how they could spend a bit of their time to #VolunteerInIsolation, that would really make a positive difference. You never know, they may find it a lot more engaging and rewarding than being #BoredAtHome There's no harm in asking!   So register today, and help us build a network of volunteers to help us get through this together.    

Spare a thought today for the Dutch Mountain Rescue Team

Today, spare a special thought for great causes like the #Dutch #Mountain #Rescue #Team. Watch their video below with the sound on. Feedback welcome! (It's no laughing matter 😂🤣) Learn more about them on our #Free #Business & #Charity #Directory at: https://Portal.Aurora.Enterprises/link/april

How Charities and Local Businesses are Adapting and Evolving

At this difficult time, we all need to do our bit. Charities are struggling to get enough funds to support their cause. Similarly many small local businesses slowly watch their businesses close. For those able to weather the storm, either with or without receiving government help, the best thing is to prepare for the end of the lockdown. For others, this is a time to share what they do. One company offering those in need is ICE SmartBands, who are giving away medical alert bracelets to help the vulnerable and those on the front line. For other companies, this period is a chance to do what they can, and share what they do. If you know any businesses offering help, or any charities needing help, contact us, so we can help share their journey.   Aurora has a Deals platform (Deals for Donations) to aid local businesses, with a free (no obligation) business & charity directory. Businesses can use the platform to help people know that they exist, know where they are, let them know what they, both during & after this Corona Crisis. For registered charities, it is a chance to help people understand what benefits they bring, and how donations are translated into real life benefits. The key is tangibility. For example, give £10 to 'Save the Penguin', & save 3 penguins. Simple. Relatable. Demonstrable.   If you run a business or charity, register now. It's quick, simple, & easy! Better still, we don't charge a penny! Free advertising. No costs. No obligations!   The portal is designed to offer a wide range of additional benefits to registered businesses & charities. Registration is a simple 3 step process. For full instructions click here Step 1 is to fill out the form. (Step 2 = check your email & verify your email address, + Step 3 = visit the site to complete your charity or business profile). Name Contact Email Organisation Name Charity NGO Club Partner Start the process today! The sooner you register, the sooner you can be seen!

What do we actually know about Corona

World War 3 is here. In the form of man vs microbe, the human race is under siege, with no-one fully understanding this deadly enemy. With little facts and excesses of fake news, we turn to government websites, only to discover how little we currently know about the viral lifecycle, transmission, and treatment.   As we try to get to understand this microscopic enemy, the world still goes round, and for most of us, we face an uncertain future, without awareness of exactly what will happen in just about every aspect of our lives. With enough struggles in life, people cannot suddenly become expert virologists, and getting to understand the invisible   This World War, goes far beyond fighting the invisible enemy. Once we know more about how the virus works, we can take better steps to test for it, isolate it, & eliminate it, and at that point, fully turn our attention towards global recovery.   In this strange time when we spend so much attention on social media, the ability to mis-inform, through fake news, poor interpretations of posts, and prominent skewed horror stories, it is easy to be carried away by emotion, and ignore the cold hard facts.   It's Life, But Not As We Know It: Firstly, life is currently known to exist in 5 main forms; plants, animals, fungi, bacteria & viruses. The first 4 have very similar origins, each consisting of living cells. Viruses, on the other hand are a completely different life form, in a near static form outside of invading cellular organisms.  

Stay Safe - Carry ICE - Corona Crisis Free ICE SmartBands

ICE SmartBands can save lives. We want to do "our bit". So we're giving away 100 Medical ID wristbands (including postage) to people in need. Although as a small business we can't afford to just give away free products every day, at times like this, if it saves just one extra life, it'll be more than worth it. Corona has turned the world upside down, with people being rushed into hospital, unaccompanied, all alone. With the NHS and other health services globally under excessive stress, mistakes are easy to make. It is important to make sure that ICE information (standing for In Case of Emergency), such as allergies, medical conditions, and contact details for people that understand your needs, is both easily accessible, but also kept up to date. We believe in our ICE Smartbands, and how they can make a real difference, save lives, and bring peace of mind to loved ones. If we can together help save just ONE life, give peace of mind for loved ones, or help someone vulnerable to be able to live a better life, it'll be worth it.   What we are asking: To help us find people in need, visit us on Facebook or Twitter share this post (and please like and follow us). Tag friends who might spread the word. You know. The ones who always ask you to like pages. Now it's your turn to ask! If you know of someone who many benefit, add a comment. Tell us how it might help/affect their life. If you comment is popular, we'll contact you, and send you/them one. We will even help you get it set up over the phone so that it arrives ready to use! No strings. No catch. If you're a lucky recipient, you could always show your appreciation by spreading the word on social media & tagging us so we can see too, sending us a photo of them with their new shiny ICE Smartband, writing a testimonial, or simply telling others about it. No obligation, but it would be nice!   Want To Get One Now? If you want to guarantee that someone you love will receive one, buy a limited edition ICE Smartband (Corona Support Edition) for just £12.99. Enter discount code corona for free shipping too!For every item you buy using this code, we'll donate £5 to either support the NHS, or support a charity you choose! Please help us spread the word, by sharing this article on all of your social media platforms!!! Click for a demo In brief, what are ICE Smartbands, and how can they save lives? Having up-to-date health/medical and contact information on hand is so important. Our Medical ID ICE Smart wristbands are easy to use, convenient to carry, lightweight, durable and affordable. They provide quick and easy access to important health/medical & contact information, using well proven NFC technology. They are also available as key fobs, buttons, badges, and many other designs too. How Medical ID ICE Smart Wristbands can save lives: Helps make your ICE (medical & contact) information quickly and easily accessible to first responders. Medical wristbands and wearables are one of the first things paramedics & first aiders are trained to look for Simple to access by over 95% of today’s smartphones, and no Special App is needed! Keep your ICE information up-to-date. Setup takes under a minute. Change it any time No Batteries, means no Charging. Guaranteed to work! Works Worldwide Automatically send a location alert to selected contacts/carers when read with an NFC/data enabled smartphone (*) 100% Waterproof / Washproof, with many of our products also being fully laundry proof Affordable one off price with no subscription costs or hidden extras A wide range of extra benefits for owners/wearers too! Find out more at or see our brochure below!   Please help us spread the word, & spread the importance of ICE and ICE smartbands in saving lives !!! Stay Safe, Carry ICE !!! * 95% of today's smartphones have a feature called NFC, allowing them to read tags around 1cm away. You ether know of NFc or you don't, but it's been around for quite a while, and is in passports, driving licences, hotel keycards, and many more places you've probably never even realised. Most phones have NFC working straight out of the box, iPhones (X and up), most Android phones e.g. Samsung, Huawei, Sony LG, etc. For iPhone models 7 & 8 you may need to download an NFC reader app, with many free to choose from on the App store. This means almost everyone with a smartphone can offer help in an emergency! 

Are you an Employer, and worried what to do about Corona Virus ? here is a guide to what to do

  In case coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads more widely in the UK, employers should consider some simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff.   It's good practice for employers to:   ·         keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace   ·         make sure everyone's contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date   ·         make sure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace develops the virus   ·         make sure there are clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap, and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly   ·         provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them   ·         consider if protective face masks might help for people working in particularly vulnerable situations   ·         consider if any travel planned to affected areas is essential   Employers must not single anyone out. For example, they must not treat an employee differently because of their race or ethnicity.   Sick Pay   The workplace's usual sick leave and pay entitlements apply if someone has coronavirus.   Employees should let their employer know as soon as possible if they're not able to go to work.   Self Isolation   The government has stated that if NHS 111 or a doctor advises an employee or worker to self-isolate, they should receive any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them. If the employer offers contractual sick pay, it’s good practice to pay this from day 1 rather than after 3 waiting days.   The employee must tell their employer as soon as possible if they cannot work. They should tell their employer the reason and how long they're likely to be off for.   The employer might need to be flexible if they require evidence from the employee or worker. For example, someone might not be able to provide a doctors certificate or fit note if they've been told to self-isolate for 14 days.                 If an employee is not sick but the employer tells them not to come to work   If an employee is not sick but their employer tells them not to come to work, they should get their usual pay. For example, if someone has returned from China or another affected area and their employer asks them not to come in.   If an employee needs time off work to look after someone   Employees are entitled to time off work to help someone who depends on them (a 'dependant') in an unexpected event or emergency. This would apply to situations to do with coronavirus. For example:   ·         if they have children they need to look after or arrange childcare for because their school has closed   ·         to help their child or another dependant if they're sick, or need to go into isolation or hospital   There's no statutory right to pay for this time off, but some employers might offer pay depending on the contract or workplace policy.   The amount of time off an employee takes to look after someone must be reasonable for the situation. For example, they might take 2 days off to start with, and if more time is needed, they can book holiday.     If an employee does not want to go to work   Some people might feel they do not want to go to work if they're afraid of catching coronavirus.   An employer should listen to any concerns staff may have.   If there are genuine concerns, the employer must try to resolve them to protect the health and safety of their staff. For example, if possible, the employer could offer flexible working.   If an employee still does not want to go in, they may be able to arrange with their employer to take the time off as holiday or unpaid leave. The employer does not have to agree to this.   If an employee refuses to attend work, it could result in disciplinary action.   If someone becomes ill at work   If someone becomes unwell in the workplace and has recently come back from an area affected by coronavirus, they should:   ·         get at least 2 metres (7 feet) away from other people   ·         go to a room or area behind a closed door, such as a sick bay or staff office   ·         avoid touching anything   ·         cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow   ·         use a separate bathroom from others, if possible   The unwell person should use their own mobile phone to call either:   ·         111, for NHS advice   ·         999, if they’re seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk           They should tell the operator:   ·         their symptoms   ·         which country they've returned from in the last 14 days   If someone with corona virus comes to work   If someone with coronavirus comes to work, the workplace does not necessarily have to close.   The local Public Health England (PHE) health protection team will get in contact with the employer to:   ·         discuss the case   ·         identify people who have been in contact with the affected person   ·         carry out a risk assessment   ·         advise on any actions or precautions to take           If the employer needs to close the workplace   Currently it's very unlikely that an employer will need to close their workplace.   But they should still plan in case they need to close temporarily. For example, making sure staff have a way to communicate with the employer and other people they work with. Where work can be done at home, the employer could:   ·         ask staff who have work laptops or mobile phones to take them home so they can carry on working    ·         arrange paperwork tasks that can be done at home for staff who do not work on computers   In some situations, an employer might need to close down their business for a short time. Unless it says in the contract or is agreed otherwise, they still need to pay their employees for this time.   If the employer thinks they'll need to do this, it's important to talk with staff as early as possible and throughout the closure.      

Healing a Divide in the Aftermath of Brexit

Brexit is such a volatile word. Sadly, all I see in the media and on social media about Brexit are posts from people mourning leaving the EU. We have had a marriage with the EU for 47 years, and if we were all 100% happy with the marriage it never would have ended. Media hype seems to use posts to imply that Brexit is now somehow going to open up the UK to allowing and supporting racist acts. Firstly, it won't! Anyone being racist should be punished accordingly. It has nothing to do with the laws around Brexit. (Let's face it, a racist typing & printing a note to stick on a tower block door seems more staged for media attention, than a reflection of the views of the more intelligent masses!). Any racist who think that their 'genes' are somehow better only prove through behaviour quite the opposite if this is the sort of thing that they turn to doing. Not many of us, except the more mature baby-boomers, can remember what it was like 50 years ago before our EU relationship status changed from "single", to "married". Any relationship can deteriorate with time, and living in it day after day, we can lose sight of the other opportunities out there and no longer be aware of any EU led constraints that we have simply come to accept as the norm. Ending our EU relationship, or to be more precise, changing our status to "it's complicated" gives us a new opportunity to negotiate a new relationship agreement, like marriage counselling with a former-spouse, for the sake of the children. After all, we're not going to float away, and Europe will always be just a short hop across the channel, so why are we (wrongly) acting like somehow we are at war with Europe? After 47 year, many thought the marriage had gone stale. Sure, there were some advantages, but also there were some restrictions. We now have the chance for a fresh start. It's not a time of divide, but a time for a new beginning. It should be an exciting time, as the country has a lot to offer. Quite frankly, I believe in self sufficiency. Blame solves nothing. I believe in being able to stand by ourselves. that doesn't mean we have to, but it does mean we have the skills to. We are now in unique position where we as a country are not bound to adhere to all the EU rules which we have had to since 1973, and can, as a country, now pick and choose the 'good' ones that are best for the UK, and eliminate the 'bad' ones that we have outgrown or that simply don't support us. We're not raising anchor, and sailing into the Atlantic. We are staying still, and Europe will continue to be our Neighbour. Switzerland hasn't ever been in the EU, and it's doing pretty well for itself, without the need for panic & locking down borders, or for constant media led fear-mongery. The end of the EU marriage is nothing to mourn. We still live next door, and no-one is stopping us from passing by for a visit. Instead it's a new opportunity for us to grow, and to get our neighbourly relationship right. It's time to discover what we are capable of again, and to become friends with our 'ex' without having to share a marital bank account, and not to continue this divide that seems to have emerged during the end of this increasingly toxic divorce. I believe anyone should be allowed to come to this country IF they can 'contribute' by more than they may 'take'. (I also think this should apply to everyone!) The UK should be a country of contributors, innovation, hard work, and rich rewards, whatever anyone's language or distant genetic origins. Sadly though, peace does not sell papers, and I think the media will continue to use Brexit stories to promote volatile headlines, that offend almost everybody, because it makes for good clickbait stories, even though they don't reflect the opinions of the vast majority of the country's inhabitants. Brexit is done. It's behind us. Whether each of us agreed with it or not, it's finished, and we are all on the same island. Isn't it time we stopped using it as an excuse for hatred & blame, and instead looked forward at what we can all achieve by pulling together?

Employment Law Changes

   Employment law changes - preparing for April 2020   By People Tower Ltd   As my clients are usually aware, April tends to be a busy time in the year where employers are usually required to implement/amend something in line with any new legislation. April 2020 will be here before we know it and this time, we are seeing many many more changes than normal…    THE key messages are: -   “review, and update if necessary, your contracts”; and “scrutinise your working relationships/arrangements with staff carefully”.   The reasons will become clear, but in summary, not only will this be necessary to ensure that your contracts will be fit for purpose (considering the new requirements to issue more detailed statement of terms - see below), it will also assist organisations to analyse its working relationships with its staff to make sure that it does not fall foul of the new requirements when it comes to workers.    Some of the upcoming changes have resulted from the Good Work Plan which was published in December 2018 and which has been described as the government’s “vision for the future of the UK labour market”.   We have all seen the negative press over zero hours contracts, and it is certainly clear that the government is seeking to enhance clarity when it comes to employee/worker status.    We have detailed below some of the changes which we are expecting in April 2020 and how employers can begin to prepare for these changes.    Holiday pay   In the Good Work Plan the government made a commitment to improving the holiday pay arrangements for seasonal workers.  To achieve this, the reference period for determining an average week’s pay will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, or if the worker has been employed for less than 52 weeks, the number of complete weeks for which the worker has been engaged.   Recommended Action Points:   Employers should consider which workers this new reference period will relevant for and how to go about implementing the new reference period. Employers should also ensure that records of pay for the 52 weeks prior to 6 April 2020 is up to date and continue to accurately record such data.    Statement of terms   As a result of its commitments set out in the Good Work Plan, the government will be extending the entitlement to a statement of ‘written particulars’ to include workers as well as employees.  Currently employers have up to two months to issue the statement to any employee working for them for more than a month, but from 6 April 2020 the right to a statement of written particulars will become a day one right.   The information to be included in the written statement from day one is also being expanded.  In addition to the current information that must be provided for all new joiners on or after 6 April 2020 the statement should also include:   how long a job is expected to last, or the end date of a fixed-term contract how much notice the employer and worker are required to give to terminate the agreement details of eligibility for sick leave and pay details of other types of paid leave e.g. maternity leave and paternity leave the duration and conditions of any probationary period all remuneration (not just pay) e.g. vouchers, lunch, health insurance the normal working hours, the days of the week the worker is required to work, and whether or not such hours or days may be variable, and if they may be how they vary or how that variation is to be determined any training entitlement provided by the employer, any part of that training entitlement which the employer requires the worker to complete, and any other training which the employer requires the worker to complete and which the employer will not bear the cost.   Recommended Action Points:   If People Tower has written your contracts of employment in the past 2 years, no action is required – if not then - Employers should start to review their current contracts and recruitment processes to ensure that all the required information is included in their contracts. Also consider putting in place procedures as part of the recruitment process to ensure documentation is issued on or before the first day of work.   Extension of IR35 to private sector   The IR35 tax rules are aimed at reducing tax avoidance for off-payroll contractors working through personal service companies (PSC).   It was proposed that from 6 April 2020, medium and large sized private sector businesses will become responsible for assessing the employment status of the off-payroll workers they engage.  The simple reason behind this is cost.  The government has reported that the cost, in terms of lost tax revenue, of non-compliance with the off payroll working rules in the private sector is growing and will reach £1.3 billion a year by 2023/24.    Whilst this is the case, this proposal is contained in the draft Finance Bill – the passage of which may be delayed as a result of the General Election on 12 December 2019.  The expected implementation date of 6 April 2020 should be regarded as provisional, dependent on the outcome of the General Election.    Recommended Action Points:   It has been recommended that businesses affected by the proposed reform should consider:   looking at their current workforce (including those engaged through agencies and other intermediaries) to identify those individuals who are supplying their services through PSCs. determine if the new off-payroll rules will apply for any contracts that will extend beyond April 2020. Businesses are encouraged to use the Check Employment Status for Tax service to do this. start talking to contractors about whether the off-payroll rules will apply to them; and put processes in place to determine if the off-payroll rules apply to future engagements.   Agency Workers – Swedish Derogation Appeal   The “Swedish derogation” principle (which currently allows employers to avoid pay parity (after 12 weeks) between agency workers and direct employees if certain conditions are met) will be removed.    By no later than 30 April 2020, temporary work agencies must provide agency workers whose existing contract contains a Swedish derogation provision with a written statement advising that, with effect from 6 April, those provisions no longer apply.    In addition, temporary work agencies must provide agency workers with a Key Information Document, including information on the type of contract, the minimum expected rate of pay, how they will be paid and by whom.   Recommended Action Point:   If you do not have agency workers, then there are no action points to take.  If you do have agency workers, you should review the information that is being provided to them to ensure that it will meet with the new requirements.   Parental bereavement leave   In October 2017, the government confirmed its backing for a private members’ bill.  The Bill, which became the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act on 13 September 2018, will entitle employees who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy, to two weeks’ unpaid leave, as a right from day one of their employment. The act is expected to come into force in April 2020.   Recommended Action Points:   Employers can start to prepare by: Considering a written policy – employers should consider having a written bereavement leave policy in place, as this can provide certainty and security at a difficult time. Being aware of religious and cultural requirements around bereavement – employers should be aware of the risk of racial or religious discrimination claims that may arise from refused requests for time off for religious observances on death.  Certain religions require a set time for mourning. Preparing for the possible long-term effects of bereavement.  The effect of grief could manifest itself both physically and mentally, resulting in a long-term condition or illness.  Employers should be mindful of this should there be a change in performance, behaviour or absence.  Requests for time off or increased sickness leave should therefore be treated carefully, in the knowledge that a long-term condition could give rise to the risk of a disability discrimination claim. Being aware of bereaved mothers’ maternity leave rights - employers should remember that mothers who lose a child after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or during maternity leave, will not lose their entitlement to maternity leave and pay. Rights to paternity leave and shared parental leave (where notice of leave has been given) will generally also be maintained in these circumstances.       If I can be of any assistance, please contact me :-  

Business Bank Accounts in 2020

Business banking exaclt the most stimulating topic, but getting it right can save huge amounts of haste. Experiences between high street banks and internet banks are not only different, but customer experiences are also wide ranging, so my experience here is subjective. It is also worth adding that it is very much up to date with the ones I quote. Every business is different. Everyone has different products, services, skills, time to dedicate, and everyone has different comfort levels with technology too. A good business, in my humble opinion can only truly be uncovered when something goes wrong. When things go right, it's simply business as usual. The lucky thing for readers to benefit from, is that I'm fussy when it comes to making the right decision on something I don't want to be chopping and changing with. This, gave me great exposure to the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of each of the three I am quoting below. Needless to say, this is a reflection of my experience, either of my own business, or of a business I have helped support, and my not be a reflection of the service provided to everyone. I'm also the sort of person that likes to deal with real people for any questions, as opposed to technology, chatbots and automated responses. I'm the one who prefers to queue at a supermarket for longer, to say hello to the cashier, than to do the scanning at an automated till. Not everyone is like that, an I'd like to think I've covered this too. Some businesses need to consider access to money withdrawals, deposits, different currencies, card payment handling, statements, as well as who can access the accounts. I have tried to touch on each of these to provide my view. How do Banks Make Money? Banks make money in two main ways. The first is that they using your money that you deposit, to invest wisely elsewhere to give themselves a good return. They can use it to loan to other customers, or they use it to invest in everything from real estate, stocks, shares, bonds, or any other investment vehicle they choose (within the confines of regulatory restrictions). The second way they make money is by selling services, often as the middle man, charging fees to cover their costs, such as charges for overdrafts, interest on loans, currency exchange fees, reclaiming on defaulted debts, or credit card handling charges. Overall, they make a profit from using your money to make more money. By being on the pulse of the best investments, they can make large quantities if invested wisely, which is then used to cover the overheads. Before we compare, we must realise that the key word in banks is 'Risk'. Every decision a bank makes is carefully weighed up as invest-worthy by analysing risk. Bigger banks may be able to carry more risk, and some banks are even considered too big to fail, able to absorb huge costs if a risk does not end favourably. Large institutional retail banks (like HSBC, Barclays, etc.) also know as the "High street banks", have the biggest physical presence, but also have the bigger overheads where it comes to real estate, and staffing, by comparison to an 'internet' bank, such as Revolut or Starling. Small banks may be more nimble, be designed to be more efficient, an may even be more innovative than the high-street banks that get away with charging for the same or similar service, and their justification is often that of perceived risk. Reality, however is that regulations make it quite hard for a bank to fold unless as a result of an over-powered rogue trader or internal fraud, both of which being increasingly more unlikely. Smaller banks may have lower overheads, but also their smaller presence means they cannot ride the 'risk' wave in the same way as a larger bank. This is why banking licences help offering some protection against a bank that over-exposes itself to risk. Revolut grew surprisingly big without a banking licence, although in the last year or so, has managed to secure one, meaning that HSBC, Revolut, and Starling, all have a licence, and therefore offer varying degrees of consumer protection. So that's a point to both the high-street and internet banks, for providing proof that they won't simply be here today and gone tomorrow. But what has this got to do with choosing a bank? The only reason worthy of the above explanation is for you each to ask yourselves what your view is on risk. Are you comfortable ony with a branch you can walk into, or can what you need be done over the internet?

What are Life Saving Wearables

Aurora offers a unique range of life saving wearable technology (SmartBands & SmartDevices), designed to help anyone in need of medical care, by providing key medical, contact, and location information, and are ideal for anyone with long term health conditions, anyone vulnerable or requiring special care, including animals, or anyone at risk of potential injury.   As part of our mission, our unique range of revolutionary life saving wearables, utilises well proven, tried, tested and easily accessible technology. If you or a friend are involved in an accident and suffer from diabetes or other medical ailment, how does your rescuer know: 1. Your Medical history 2. Your Medication & dosage 3. Your Allergies, if any 4. Your Blood group 5. Who to contact   True, this vital information could all be contained on a card. But how many of us carry such a card in our handbag or wallet? And what if, instead of a card, first responders could simply access all this information through a durable, waterproof wristband, keyfob, sew-on button or other wearable device?   If you currently wear a medical alert wristband, it is likely to be either 'chunky' or if not, highly degradable, and often fairly costly. Happily, an ingenious lightweight wristband is on the market, that solves these problems & in addition, enables paramedics to view your medical details on their phone.   It even provides location information, helping Emergency Services, carers, or loved ones get to your position quicker.”       Smartbands use proven contactless NFC technology...the same ‘swipe-&-go’ technology found in travel-cards, passports, hotel keycards, credit cards, security tags, & more ...already in the hands of almost everyone with a Smartphone…     Available in a variety of forms from wristband & key fobs, to sew on buttons and stickers, making them practical, easy to use, & quick to set up, with NO subscription costs, NO batteries to charge, & designed to last.   And all with a range of extra benefits to enjoy every day.   Order yours today at Aurora.Enterprises, or pre-order our new designed bands, & remember to like us on Facebook, & Follow us on Twitter, and share our story across Social Media, and tell your friends how we can change the world together.

What is NFC

NFC is the worldwide standard used for a range of uses. Otherwise known as RFID, uses for this technology include: Hotel keys Shop security tags and product packaging tags Animal livestock tags Electronic Car Keys B&B Keyfobs Passports, driving licences, and security identification Contactless payment bank cards .... and now our life saving ICE Smart Devices This means we are building on well proven, tried and tested technology, making it robust, affordable, and highly durable, and easy to use with most Smartphones. NFC technology is a standard for Android Phones, Windows Phones, and even iPhones (although only unlocked by Apple on iPhones 7 and above). In 2019, we predict NFC technology to be 'everywhere', with countless projects being launched to maximise this simple, and durable technology, in a range of fantastic ways.   NFC is used in ICE SmartBands. Learn more about ICE SmartBands life saving wearables, by visiting the site

Integrate our Wearable Technology into Your Products

Our Wearable technology is designed to save lives, help recover lost items, and brings great deals while helping charities. But it doesn't just stop there. Our unique Smart-Device can easily be integrated into your product range, such as bags, suitcases, phone cases, laptop cases, and even clothing (especially with our washing machine-proof models!), and much more. If you have a product that might benefit from our cost effective life saving add-on, why not contact us to discuss further how we can partner together. Together, we can make a difference.

Why 3 messages are better than 1

When you first set up an account with Aurora, you can choose to add an ICE (In Case of Emergency) message, which can be changed at any time. For owners of ICE smart tags, this is used as your default message when your tag/band is scanned.   But you may be a carer for an elderly person, have 2 cars in the household, 3 children, a dog and a cat. Having one or more devices for each person, pet, or set of keys means that you may, or may not, want different messages to be displayed for each, without having to set up individual accounts for each!   For example, your own band may want to show your ICE information, your car keys may want to show the information for you and your partner, either of whom might be driving, your children’s bands might need to show who to contact but you might not want to display a photograph, and your pets may benefit from showing not only a photo to help confirm identity, but also list what medication your pet takes, which vets you use, and a telephone number to contact you if found.   And if you lose your keys, you can activate the 'lost mode’, as you hardly want it to show your car registration, or your home address, and see no benefit in telling the finder your medical conditions, but may wish to offer a reward for its return, so all devices have a ‘lost mode’ too.   For some, 3 message options may seem like overkill. For others it is absolutely essential to be able to do from the one central account.   Aurora's Smart-Tech ‘ICE’ devices are built to accommodate your life, and designed to be a remarkable addition to enhance your life.   Flexibility guaranteed.

ICE SmartBands - In Case of Emergency

ICE was a scheme started by first responders for first responders (paramedics, firefighters, police, first aiders etc.) to help people receive the right medical treatment in an emergency. Whether or not you have a medical condition, wouldn’t it be great if in an emergency, someone could simply swipe your wearable Smart-Tech band, or keyfob, and know whether to consider any medical conditions or medication that may affect treatment, be able to help emergency services get to where you are, and know who to contac, all through a well constructed emergency message, with a photograph to aid identification too? Well with ICE SmarBands smart wearables, you can!! Welcome to ICE.... version 2! And as long as the phone has NFC enabled, no special app is needed!! So Buy one from the webshop now, and be ready…. In case of Emergency.

How to register a device

Linking the device to your account takes 3 easy steps: 1. Scan the device ------------------------------------------------------------ 2 Either: a) Sign In (If you already have an account) OR b) Register (If you don’t yet) Use the blue button - "Not got an account? Sign Up / Register" Create your free account, verify your email & sign-in + Continue the “Add a Device” process or rescan if necessary ------------------------------------------------------------ Optional Step - Give your tag a name ------------------------------------------------------------ 3. Click "Add" to register the device to your account ------------------------------------------------------------ Optional Step - Make any changes you wish, such as personalise your message, set carer alerts ------------------------------------------------------------   ... and you are done!     (*) When registering a device, first turn on NFC in your phone settings

If you find a Lost device

If you find a lost device, simply scan it with any NFC enabled smartphone, ranging from most Android phones, Windows phones, and all iPhones from, and including, model 7 upwards (may require any available NFC reader app to be installed on some iPhones to read NFC tags). Scanning the device will give you access to details from the owner on what to do.

Device Error - Device not found

If your werable smart-tech device produces the 'Device not found' error, this is caused by a programming error with the device, by it not being correctly added to the site, by it being removed from the site, or by the device being a counterfeit clone! If this is the message you experience, please contact us, or the shop where purchased, where we will ensure that your device is swapped, without quibble. If you do get this message, which is extremely unlikely, we sincerely apologise, and will attempt to reward you for the inconvenience.   The Help and Support Team

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