Monday, 22 December 2014

Will You Exercise Your Right To Request Flexible Working?

You may not know it but earlier this year, the Government put a new legislation into effect. This legislation gave everyone the right to request flexible work. This can be greatly beneficial to those with young families, those needing to drop down a few hours or even those who are trying to get their sideline off the ground - I know of a few people who have exercised their right as it gives them some more time to spend with their families or working on their business plans for something else entirely. If the employer cannot say yes, they legally have to give you a valid reason why. 

Citrix Go-To Meeting have put together a handy infographic (available to view here), designed to explain the ins and outs of this new legislation. After completing some research with British SMBs, it turns out only 55% were aware of the new legislation and almost half (46%) have no such flexible working policy in place - shocking, right?

Only 43% actually support the legislation and some others think it will impact on their business negatively. There also seems to be a generation difference in regards to support and opposition of the legislation - SMB bosses aged 25 to 34 are twice more likely to support it than those other 55.

What are the benefits of flexible working? Increased productivity, reduced stress, reduced unauthorised absences - it is easy to see why some bosses are getting behind the idea. 

I currently work from home so can be as flexible as I want - I'm my own boss - however, it would be great if Steve could get some more flexibility in his working life. His area of work though doesn't really lend itself to flexible working - he could request it and would most probably get it - however, at what cost?

I know that if I ever went back into the working world with someone else as my boss, I would be exercising my right. With a young family, elderly parents and a home to look after, I'd need to be as flexible as possible. I feel this legislation could greatly benefit us all, how about you?

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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Ten Reasons You Should Attend Blog Events

I've been a bit slack on the blog event front for a while now, I have to admit. Working from home and lack of childcare has often meant having to decline formal and informal invites to blog events. However, I am determined to get back into the swing of things come 2015 as I find blog events, whether formal or informal, can be extremely beneficial for both your blog and your own peace of mind.

That being said, we will often get invites to events that aren't relevant to us in the slightest. Don't feel bad saying no to these, it will free up a space for someone who is relevant to whatever it is the event entails.

Living just outside London, I am quite lucky as I tend to get invited to a lot of events. However, I am very picky and choose only the ones I truly want to or can attend. I've been to some fantastic brand focused formal events but I've also often found that the informal blogger-run events can be a lot more fun.

I've made a list of ten reasons why you should attend blog events. Wherever you are in the country or indeed the world, I'm sure you will have some form of blog event going on nearby - why not go along? I'm aware that plenty of blog events are based in the capital cities but in the past year, we've seen an increase in events across the country - I even got to attend one in my local village! Brands and bloggers alike see the benefits in such events - do you?

Ten Reasons You Should Attend Blog Events - Why they are useful and tips on how to survive them

1. They can be extremely beneficial to your blog
Let's just get the biggie out of the way. No matter if the event is formal or informal, there is a huge chance of getting your blog out there to a new audience. I've met plenty of new people at blog events and grown to love their blogs - even now considering them good friends.

I've also had the chance to interact with a number of brands that I wouldn't have had the chance to get to know otherwise - some of these brands have now become my favourites. What would I have done without them?

2. They can be extremely beneficial to YOU.
Although I do claim that life working as a barmaid helped my confidence, it cannot be denied that blogging has really increased my confidence. I remember meeting my first bloggers Lisa and Louise on the train to TOWIB 2012 and I was so nervous stepping onto that train. I needn't have been - we got on like a house on fire within minutes and now these two are some of my closest friends.

3. You have the chance to meet some of your favourite bloggers.
This isn't always necessarily true as it depends on the location of the event but I've happened to meet a few of my favourite bloggers - namely Charli and Zoe - and its so great, seeing those bloggers whose blogs you absolutely adore in the flesh.

4. You get to visit places you may not have thought to before.
Of course, this all depends on your niche and other elements but bloggers have been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, for meals in elegant London restaurants with some really influential bloggers - things like these cannot be passed up in case you never get the chance to do them again. I've just been invited to a Jack The Ripper walk event - anyone who knows me knows I love reading all about the case and watching TV shows about it - its perfect for me but I would never have thought to do it myself!

5. They can be an escape from real life.
Of course, blogging is real life but sometimes we need a break. Maybe you work from home and are stuck at your desk all day and just need to get out. Or maybe you're at a loose end one weeknight and feeling a little down as none of your friends want to know - go along to that event you've been invited to, meet new people, enjoy yourself!

6. People you meet can become your closest friends.
Whilst I touched on this in my second point, that was mainly talking about confidence. However, it is true - blogging can bring some friends into your life that you couldn't be without now. I have a few really close friends in the blogging community who I talk to pretty much everyday - I only speak to two non blogging friends that often so it shows how close to them I have become.

7. You have ready made blog content right there.
Not everyone blogs about all of the events they go to - especially the informal ones - but the PR invited ones tend to be so you can speak about them or their products on your blog. Whether you touch on them in a whole post or a round up, you will always have some form of content available after attending an event.

8. You can learn something.
I am going to include conferences in this list - whilst I did not attend this year and will not be attending next year due to certain reasons, I learnt a lot from Britmums 2013. I learnt a lot about the legal side of blogging, photography tips and much, much more.

9. You have something to look back on.
Whether you blog about it, tweet about it, Instagram will always be able to look back on the event and remember how great it was. Whether it was something as simple as a meal out with other bloggers or something very unique that you won't ever be able to do again - isn't it nice to have those memories?

10. You can be inspired.
Whilst it is true that the event itself can provide you with content, you can also find inspiration whilst at blog events. Many posts of mine have come about after chats with other bloggers or PR's at events - even things I've seen. I remember chatting with other bloggers about 'professional compers' entering their giveaways and their thoughts on the topic - this in turn created a post that created a lot of debate. I also found out that a lot of bloggers didn't understand Rafflecopter and neither did their readers (this was when Rafflecopter was fairly new). That information created this post.

I love attending blog events and getting to meet new people, learn new stuff or just generally have a good time. I went to the Hertfordshire Christmas Meal on Friday night and had an amazing night - it was so nice to get out with some friends!

Do you ever go to blog events?

Silent Sunday


Thursday, 18 December 2014

New Years Eve Plans

Now that we have Jack, our New Years Eve celebrations are a pretty understated affair. The past three years we have stayed in and we only popped out for about half an hour in 2011 whilst my Mum babysat (we lived with them at the time!). Before that, I was either working them, Steve was working them or we celebrated them mostly in the pubs we worked in (mainly because we had a whole nights worth of drinks 'in' for us, where people had bought them for us in the week leading up to it and we'd saved them up!)

Jack is now a little older and will soon be spending nights over at his grandparents houses so we've begun thinking about what we can do with our time off from being parents. Since Steve is almost always at work (and with his new job starting soon, even more so), this means time is very limited and has to be booked months in advance. It is probably too late for this New Years Eve but who's to say we can't start planning a year in advance for the next one, eh?

I've always loved the idea of New Years in London - as a child, I used to watch the television in awe and jealous of all the people stood there watching the fireworks over the London skyline. It just seemed so magical back then and I just know the atmosphere would be amazing - who wouldn't want to experience that? 

If we did spend our New Years in London though, we'd have to find somewhere to stay - perhaps somewhere like the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum hotel - as travelling home would be a nightmare even if the transport was running. We may only live 30 minutes from London but I would not be looking forward to that particular journey home. 

We all know that prices get subtly increased when it comes to New Years - taxis charge more, rounds of drinks cost some more pennies. At the end of the night when you want to lay your head down - does it matter how much it costs? I would be looking for the most affordable option so I had more money to spend enjoying myself, I don't know about you?

Whilst it is a little too late for me to make big plans for this New Years Eve, it is something I am going to consider for next year. After all, I'm not just a mum, I am a fiancĂ©e, I am my own person. I need to make some more time for that too. 

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