Raising Awareness on Automatic Enrolment: A Guide for UK Employers

People are now aware of the new pension laws in the UK through media reports. Many have made thorough research on how these would affect them. However, it is still mandatory for More »

Quality Commercial Renovation for Improved Business

People renew and repair their homes to modify or update the construction and the décor of some rooms. But with offices, the management rarely makes any kind of modification. They seldom update More »

Accounting Periods: Understanding its Basic Principles

All accounting services are based on the concept of accounting periods — a time span during which specific financial events have taken place. Bookkeeping services, similarly, are offered and carried out every More »

1 in 3 Approaching Retirement Unaware of Changes to Pension Regime

New research from specialist retirement solutions provider MetLife has suggested that 35% of pension savers aged 55 or above are either unsure as to what the pension changes announced in the 2014 More »

Awnings: From Store Protection to a Marketing Piece

Awnings may look like a simple way of providing shade and protecting your store from the elements, but these installations are a great opportunity to market your business. From simply serving as More »

 

EB-3 Visas: A Guide for Applicants

Letter box in American flag design

People who want to migrate to the United States can apply for a visa in the EB-3 category. Known as third preference category of employment-based immigration, EB-3 is reserved for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers who don’t qualify for the EB-1 or EB-2 preferences.

Applicants need to have a permanent, full-time job offer and a labor certification. To learn more about this type, Eb5link.com discusses details on the EB-3 visa issued by the US government:

Letter box in American flag designIssuance

Each year, the United States allocates 40,000 visas for this category, along with those that have been unused from the first and second preference categories. Compared to EB-1 and EB-2, the requirements for EB-3 are far less stringent.

Professionals

Applicants for the EB-3 category must be professionals. A professional is an individual who has a baccalaureate degree or its foreign counterpart. They are those who belong to but are not limited to the following professions: architects, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers in elementary or secondary schools.

Skilled Workers

The EB-3 may also be issued to a skilled worker. The USCIS defines a skilled worker as an individual who has at least a couple of years of work and training experience. As the skilled worker category is backlogged at present, the employer needs to prove that the position is one that requires at least 2 years of training and work experience.

Other Workers

This is for individuals applying for positions that require less than two years of experience or training to perform. There is an annual limit of 10,000 visas for this category. There are extreme backlogs for people who want to apply for this type.

Process

The employer needs to file an I-140 petition on behalf of the professional or skilled worker. Once this is approved, the alien and his or her spouse and kids under 21 years old may apply for immigrant visas via adjustment of status in the US or through consular processing. Once the papers and documents have been verified and the applicant has passed the visa interview, the visa is then issued.

 

Proper Hygiene and Healthy Habits: Helping Children Avoid Food and Water-borne Diseases

Little boy drinking

Little boy drinkingWaterborne diseases, such as Legionnaire’s disease, Giardiasis, and Amoebiasis, are common among children around the world. In Western Australia alone, there are about 700 cases of Giardia infection annually. Majority of the cases involve kids younger than five years old.

With the right information, you don’t have to worry about water-borne diseases. Here are some tips to keep your family healthy and lower their chances of getting sick:

Use water purifiers and filters

According to Purity Water, filtration systems do not remove certain water contaminants completely. Some of these are heavy metals, such as arsenic, lead and mercury; parasites, and bacteria. To prevent health problems, many families install water purifiers, which is a cost-effective solution compared to buying bottled water regularly. Unlike in the past decade, using a water purifier at home and in the office is now easier. You don’t have to think about complicated plumbing systems, as you can simply buy countertop or floor standing units.

Learn proper hand washing techniques

Frequent and proper hand washing is an important habit that everyone in the family should learn. Wash your hands thoroughly and scrub all surfaces, including the spaces between your fingers and the areas under your nails. Soap your hands for about 20 seconds before rinsing. Some parents teach their children a hand washing song, such as the Wiggles Hand Washing Song, and let them sing it while they learn and master the skill.

Make it a habit to wash your hands before and after preparing or eating food. You should also wash your hands after handling animals, changing a diaper, and using the toilet. You can pass on germs, parasites, and bacteria easily when you don’t wash your hands often.

Take precautions when travelling

When out of the house, be careful when drinking tap water or adding ice to your drink. Unless you’re confident of how the water is treated in the facility, it’s best to bring some bottled water with you. You can also use water bottles with filters.

Don’t put your family at risk for water-borne diseases. Use water purifiers and help them develop healthy habits, such as proper hand washing.

Putting More Value Back into Your Property – The Secret in Bagging a Sale

Wind chime in the garden

Are you thinking about putting your home up for sale? With the real estate market struggling to pick itself up after the global recession, selling your property may be a challenge. To make your house sellable, below are some useful pointers:

Increase Your Property’s Appeal

Wind chime in the gardenMake a good first impression by improving your home’s exterior. By doing this, you can be sure to bag a sale at the best possible price. Consider repainting your house to breathe a new life into your property. Your front yard must also have well-kept foliage and manicured lawns. Look for garden designers in Essex to help you beautify your frontage.

Cut the Clutter

Make sure your property is clutter-free. This is a great way to make your prospective buyers feel welcome. The moment they stepped through your front door, they should have a feeling that they could live in your house. Start with organising your things. Not only will it make your property look and feel bigger, it’ll also help potential buyers imagine how they would use the space.

Improve Lighting

Potential homebuyers are attracted to houses that seem bigger. Make your house as bright as possible by using quality light fixtures. Lighting can make your property feel much more spacious. Consider opening all your curtains during viewing to allow natural light enter your home. For darker rooms, place light fixtures strategically to light up even the gloomiest areas of your house.

Make Minor Repairs

Do not forget to fix broken doorknobs, holes in walls and cracked tiles before the viewing day. These maybe minor damages, but they are some of the first things potential buyers notice.

Upgrade Your Roof

The roof of your house protects the structure beneath. Reroofing your home will not only improve your home’s appeal, but it’ll also lessen the risk of damage in the future. If your roof is more than 15 years, hire a roofer to inspect and possibly replace it. To add value and durability, consider upgrading an asphalt shingles to clay tiles or standing metal seam.

Put more value back into your property by following these pointers and bag the price your home deserves.

4 Fab Reasons Why Buying Used Clothes is Not That Bad

Pile of jeans

Pile of jeansWith the current so-so economy, we’re all bound to tighten our budget and stick to the most basic of needs. Being a fashionista who should always wear trendy clothes yet on a budget, purchasing used clothes is a good option. Not only this option will help us save money for food and other items, we’re also able to get access to high quality clothing that is still in excellent condition. Other than that, when we decide to buy used clothing, we also get to help organizations like Goodwill where we can send in items we don’t need any more.

Here are some fab reasons why buying used clothing isn’t so bad:

  1. Cheaper and More Value

Purchasing used clothing is ten times cheaper than buying brand new ones. If you are interested in designer labels, you can get items at more than half the original price, if you opt to go second-hand.

Compare that with the high price of buying brand new. The moment you take out the item out the door and wear it with the tags removed already, the dress has already begun to depreciate.  With second hand clothes, you do not have to worry anymore about depreciation as you get more value for your hard-earned cash.

  1. The Clothes Don’t Shrink

Second hand clothing is highly wearable and is less likely to shrink than brand new items. The simple fact that second hand clothes have been worn and have probably shrunk means you need worry about shrinkage anymore. My DeeLux recommends you compare that with brand new clothing, where you pay hundreds of dollars only to discover it shrunk after wash.

  1. The Choices Are Endless

With second hand clothing, you get tons of various choices and you can even get stuff that is no longer available in the stores.  This is particularly useful when you are very picky about the style of clothes you want to wear.  You do not have to pay a lot of money to get limited edition clothing.

  1. The Perks of Shopping At Home

If you’re so conscious with what your friends have to say if they find out you buy used clothing, you don’t have to fret anymore. You can always shop for used clothes online! But, should you decide to buy online, it is important that you select a supplier that deals only with the highest quality pre-owned clothes.

Research about the online seller; check their reputation (read reviews if they are any) and get feedback from other customers. Make sure that they have a secure online payment system and delivery service. In addition, if you’re ordering online, you need to provide the correct size, to avoid delays and returns.

Colocation Data Centers: Cost Effective and Reliable

data center

Many organizations worldwide provide colocation services, otherwise known as “colo.” These services are available in different price ranges and options. When you go for colocation services offered by a data center, you get to own the servers, the routers and the different hardware systems that belong to the vendor.

Before going for colo services, understand the differences between wholesale and retail colo providers. Wholesale providers usually deal with huge spaces with cooling and power infrastructure. The servers, racks, cables and all the gears come from the customer. Retail colocation providers, on the other hand, deal with smaller spaces and even cages or individual servers. But, you can get more help when it comes to the set-up for an extra price.

The Data Center Journal, the leading publication for data center professionals, discusses the following benefits of collocation services:

Better Connectivity

data centerNetwork connections provided by colocation centers are usually fully redundant. So, you can be assured that your business applications will always run uninterrupted.

100% Network Security

Data centers that offer colocation services provide 100% network security with the latest IDS systems and firewalls. This will be helpful in preventing unauthorized access to your systems.

Uninterrupted Power Supply

A data center that provides colocation services is equipped with multiple power grids, double battery backup systems, diesel power generators and excellent maintenance practices.

Bursting Capability

When you go with colocation services, you can increase your bandwidth levels if your traffic demand is high. There is no need to make any capital investments, too. The data centers distribute data spikes across a number of users, so their bandwidth costs get reduced significantly.

Growth Opportunities

When your company grows, you may have to invest more to expand your infrastructure. But, you may not have to do this if you go with colocation services. The IT infrastructure of colocation data centers will automatically expand to support your business.

With the kind of support and infrastructure you can get from colocation data centers, your business has a great chance of growing without the need for any additional investment.

Raising Awareness on Automatic Enrolment: A Guide for UK Employers

In a meeting

In a meetingPeople are now aware of the new pension laws in the UK through media reports. Many have made thorough research on how these would affect them. However, it is still mandatory for all employers to keep their employees informed about the periodic changes in pension schemes.

With the introduction of these new pension laws, employers need guidance on automatic enrolment for their workers. To help them share the news more effectively, here is a simple guide:

Spread the Word

As an employer, you need to communicate this message to all your employees extensively. The basic details on new pension schemes should be included in your human resources manual handed out to all newcomers. This will contain all key points and messages to your staff. You may also use online articles, email or text, posters and make all data available in the FAQ section of your website. You need to exert more effort to keep them informed, as your active participation will have better impact on them. Send out simple messages to them occasionally to help them understand all about auto enrolment and the changes that may occur.

Communicate Key Messages

You can direct your employees to online articles on auto enrolment or print the information in your corporate newsletter. Keep these short and easy to understand. If they need additional information, suggest some reliable sources. You can also send text or email to inform your staff when auto enrolment is being implemented in your company. The server, however, may dump the messages to the wrong folder. Make sure that your mails do not go into the junk mail folder of the recipient. Do not rely solely on e-mails to spread such an important message. Posters are another time-tested and effective way of raising awareness on any issue. Customise the poster design and make it appealing, so your employees will notice them immediately. Also, make sure that all necessary information are included.

Air Conditioning Filter: Essential Part of Heating and Air Conditioning

Air conditioner

Among the different parts of an air conditioner, the filter is considered t one of the most important ones. Without this, the system will become contaminated with dust and other particles, and the air you breathe will become filled with impurities.

According to air conditioning specialists, all parts of the air conditioner —ranging from the ducts up to the refrigerant —will require a clean filter to offer the best quality cooled air.

Low Energy Expenditure

A clean air conditioning filter can lead to lower energy costs, as it will provide better cooling efficiency to the unit. Compare that with a dirty filter, and what you’ll get is a system struggling to churn out cool air. This will result in higher energy expenditure and shortened life span of the unit.

Air conditioner

Regular Maintenance

Clean the air conditioning filter every month or once every couple of months for residential cooling systems. For commercial units or those used for industrial purposes, the frequency of filter replacement should be at least once every couple of weeks. If you do this regularly, you’ll enjoy many health benefits for your family or employees. Not only will you see lesser asthma attacks and allergies, but you’ll also make sure your unit is running optimally.

Filter Ratings

The filter’s capacity to clean is defined by its MERV rating or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The rule of thumb is that the greater the value from 1 to 12, the better it is at removing pollutants from the environment. Most filters can screen out impurities that measure 3 to 10 microns.

Proper Usage

When using a filter for your air conditioning system, place it in the appropriate location provided by the arrow printed on the filter. The air must flow in the right direction, so it would work as designed. It’s also important to attain a perfect seal to prevent unfiltered air from contaminating the air conditioner. Minus the seal, the filter won’t work as it should.

Perfect Designs for Elderly Homes

Modern house with granny flat

The population of elderly people has increased due to better medical facilities and higher standards of living. While they get better quality of health services, sheer aging brings in some constraints to older people and they require occasional assistance.

Unique Perth granny flat designs from classicgrannyflatswa.com.au and other top providers are designed appropriately to meet this new demand. These designs should aim at making them comfortable and safe. Many homes for the elderly now come with grab bars, wider openings and easier door handles. Today’s designers are equipped to plan houses to suit all stages of life and accommodate lifestyle changes. This will prevent them from moving away from their family’s homes even at an old age.

Modern house with granny flat

Attribution: Brian Shaw via License: CC BY-SA 2.0

Single Level Plans and Slip-Resistant Flooring

It’s common for families to have elderly parents living with them. So, follow this simple plan to make life easier for all the occupants:

  • Single level is the most advisable design, as stairs can become challenging after a certain age. Wheelchair movement is also not possible. If it has to be multistoried, install an elevator.
  • Wheelchair should be accessible throughout the home, including the bathrooms. The showers should not have curbs, and there should be a seat in the shower area.
  • As falling is a serious concern for all old people, the flooring and all the other surfaces should be slip-resistant. There should also be grab bars in all places where spills might occur, including the shower and toilet areas.
  • Lighting should be bright and completely functional. The home should be well ventilated to let enough natural light inside.
  • An open floor plan will also help wheelchair movement. This will also be beneficial if the elders have eyesight and hearing problems, as everything will be in their line of sight.

In addition, shallow and pullout cabinet shelves will be less troubling for the elders. If your budget permits, install remote controlled blinds and windows. The homes for the elderly should never include any feature that is hard for people with arthritis to handle. It will also be thoughtful to have flat panel light switches, remote controlled ceiling fans, television, and air conditioners, among others.

Every feature in the home should be functional using less than five pounds of effort, as older people have very little strength left.

The Life Down Under: Best Places to Visit in South Australia

The Blue Lake, Mount Gambier South Australia

South Australia has some of the world’s most beautiful tourist destinations, which attract thousands of people all over the world every year. Adelaide, its capital city, is highly known for its sophistication, vibrant culture and cleanliness. It also has all the advanced amenities that come with any modern city, including parks, amusement centres and a well-developed transport system.

Enjoyable Wildlife

The state has found success in its tourism industry, resulting in the growing number of accommodations and motels for sale from resortbrokers.com.au. There’s always something to do in the city. Visitors may find a spot close to Kangaroo Island because of the well-developed car ferries plying from Cape Jervis Kangaroo Island. The place is best known for its wildlife that includes seals, dolphins, birds, echidnas and kangaroos. There are also spots on the Limestone coast near the lower part of the Murray River close to the Victorian border. These are known for their lagoons, sequestered bays and surf beaches.

The Blue Lake, Mount Gambier South Australia

Exquisite Taste

Other notable areas in South Australia include the West Coast and the Eyre Peninsula. These are popular for their seafood, so nearby motels can offer some of the best tuna, oysters and whiting to keep their guests coming back for more every year.

The Barossa Valley is another spot you shouldn’t miss. The region is famous for its moderate winters, along with being one of greatest wine regions in the world. Adelaide has more than 200 cellar doors on its doorstep, and you can taste the world’s best Riesling in the Clare Valley. Any spot near the Murray River would also be ideal for conducting businesses, just like the Adelaide Hills with its cool climate, labyrinthine valleys, crisp air and woodland shade. You can also visit the ancient Flinders Ranges to witness its remarkable colours of mauve, chocolate and ochre red.

Quality Commercial Renovation for Improved Business

Commercial buildings

People renew and repair their homes to modify or update the construction and the décor of some rooms. But with offices, the management rarely makes any kind of modification. They seldom update or improve their workplace once they have started operating and become extremely busy. Some offices who are client-oriented might change the ambience in their lobby or make some decor changes. But, they never think of remodelling or changing anything major in the office.

Making a few changes to any commercial space can actually help increase the volume of customers. Fortunately, many companies specialise in this kind renovation project. These are called commercial remodelling. To learn more about its benefits, here’s a brief discussion from The Caretakers:

Commercial buildings

More Customers, Higher Sales

Commercial remodelling improves workspaces and the general office space for the employers. It can also improve the retail space, which is considered an integral part in achieving customer satisfaction and improving sales. In restaurants and garments stores, the ambience and atmosphere are highly important. This can modernise the image of the business and attract new clients by increasing its likability factor.

In a restaurant, the interior design can have a huge impact on whether people want to visit or not. If they like it, the word will spread and the restaurant can expect good business. Similarly, in retail stores, if they’re carefully and purposely designed, the customers will find it easier to look for items and will visit the place more often.

Increased Productivity

In an office, if the kitchen and meeting spaces are improved both in appearance and functionality, employees will be happier and become more productive. Well-designed office premises can increase productivity by stimulating creativity in their employees. It’s surprising how a changed environment can alter the mindset of the employees instantly. While remodelling may require a fraction of the company’s budget, the payoffs are long-term and immediate.

Consult a Professional

Bring in a contractor for consultation and explain the concept of your business. They’ll be able visualise and come up with a suitable plan. Sometimes creating elevated spaces, installing windows, skylights and customised counter spaces can completely modify the area and lend a new look to it. These specialised contractors can turn drab spaces into impressive and professional looking business rooms or workspaces.