I am working in a 5* hotel this week, delivering an auditor training programme. Whilst my personal experience of the hotel may not be brilliant, as far as conference facilities go the place has been first class and it made me wonder just what made it feel 'right'. Firstly we've got a lovely room, plenty of natural light and kept at a good temperature by some unobtrusive air conditioning. Lots of space for delegates to spread out their stuff. A really big and easy to operate screen to project stuff on. A very attentive and helpful porter who is keen that things are 'right'. Tea and coffee available 'on tap'. Decent biscuits and best of all, a big bowl of fruit. Lunch service slick with a simple but good range of food. Lunches staggered so that we slotted in neatly between 2 large conferences and didn't have to queue. What could be better? More paper on the flipchart stand, as we've nearly run out - but John will happily provide more so it's not really an issue. Well done Thistle Altens for getting it right!
Just had dinner in a very swanky 5* hotel. All I can say is that it was VERY disappointing, and the customer service didn't impress either. £160 per night? I'd rather pay less and enjoy the same level of comfort and get better food in a Premier Inn. Disappointed!
Can highly recommend Laurel Bank Locksmiths, thanks to Kevin I'm back in the house after locking myself out this morning.
An interesting piece from Workplace Daily Law:
The UK’s largest information security firm, Shred-it, has warned that SMEs in the UK are putting their own businesses at risk and could also be damaging larger firms they supply services to by not taking sufficient care of confidential data.
Its new research reveals that SMEs are not taking enough care when managing and disposing of documents and hard drives, and Shred-it has urged larger businesses in the UK to help SMEs they work with to improve their information security measures in order to maintain the integrity of their supply chain.
Commenting on its findings, Robert Guice, Vice President Shred-it EMEA, said:
“It’s good business sense for larger companies to ask whether their suppliers have a data protection partner and an information security system in place – not only to prevent sensitive information being lost by a
third party but also because the financial and reputational damage of a breach could put that supplier out of business and cause havoc in the supply chain.”
This, the third annual ‘Security Tracker’, also suggests that despite the threat of severe fines and reputational damage, SMEs still do not feel that a data breach would have a material impact on their
Mr Guice added:
“SMEs continue to hugely underestimate the potential cost of a data breach to them. In terms of financial loss, the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK can fine companies up to half a million pounds, enough to send many companies into insolvency.
“We believe that smaller companies maybe over-estimating the costs involved in making sure confidential information is kept safe.”
The Shred-it survey also revealed that two in every five large businesses prosecuted for a data breach have suffered losses of more than £500,000 and that the average fine is approximately £150,000.
Mr Guice continued:
“Whilst larger companies may be able to absorb this cost, SMEs risk a huge hit to their bottom line and a tarnished reputation which can impact relationships with customers and other business partners.”
According to Shred-it, there is a worrying gap between the procedures in place between smaller and larger companies. It stated that while companies with revenue over £1m are eight times more likely to use a
professional shredding company to dispose of their sensitive documents, 37% of small businesses in the UK have no information security management system in place. Furthermore, the survey revealed that 28% of small business owners have never provided any information security training to their employees.
Another key finding of the research was that 77% of larger businesses have an employee directly responsible for managing information security issues at management level (66%) or board level (11%). In comparison, only 48% of SMEs do.
I was extremely lucky to have a forward thinking boss when I returned from maternity leave. He gave me the option to adapt my hours to suit my changed circumstances and we had a clear win:win situation. Now I work for myself and have an even greater degree of flexibility and it's one of the big benefits for me of stepping out of corporate life. Now research from HR recruitment firm, Ortus, has suggested that the
best way to increase day-to-day productivity is to introduce flexible working. Its study found that 96% of respondents feel it would increase work levels, while 59% said working from home would also boost productivity levels, which Ortus suggests means allowing employees to work around their home
life would create a more productive workforce. How many of us slavishly stick to Monday to Friday 9 to 5 contracts just because 'it's easy'? Have a look at the possibilities for some flexbility - you might surprise yourself with the benefits which you could see!
I have been awake for hours, and managed to achieve the updating of some documents which have been sitting looking at me in that ominous 'we are overdue' sort of way. There can be no better way to follow this than the lovely snuggly cuddle I've just had from the small dog. So very pleased to see me, so warm and so snuffly! A lovely start to the 'proper' day!
We are shortly to commence some structural work at Church. As part of that the Church Warden and I have today being starting on a process of risk assessment. I am keen to keep this simple and straightforward and it will be interesting to see whether we manage to produce an assessment which allows us to put in place simple straightforward control measures. Far too often risk assessment takes on a monstrous overtone - and I am keen that this one is simple and easy to undertake and use. Time will tell, watch this space!
My daughter tells me that they won't be running the 3 legged race this year 'because of Health and Safety'. Has the world gone made? Presumably egg and spoon will be similarly banned because of the risk of salmonella, and the sack race - well just imagine what problems that could cause! I shan't run in the Mothers Race as a matter of principle!!
I am now 12 minutes into a conversation with Indesit, and am yet to speak to a human being. My Hotpoint washing machine has broken down, was repaired on Monday and has now broken down again. I'd love to speak to an Advisor, but 'we are experiencing unusually high levels of calls at the moment'. Wonder why that is then? Perhaps because the products aren't up to the spec?
Of course on the upside I've now got a brilliant new example of the impact of poor customer service on reputation and customer confidence . . . . but a lot of washing waiting to be done.
OK, so it's not exactly tropical but the little bit of sunshine we've had has prompted me to think about summer suppers, and the combination of asparagus, new potatoes and some chicken cooked with black pepper and chopped coriander was a winner last night (mustn't forget the Hollandaise Sauce). Tonight it's new potatoes again, some Stilton and Brocoli Quiche and a tomato salad. Quick, easy, light, healthy! Bring back the rain and those cravings for stews, roasts etc will return but in the meantime I shall enjoy some seasonal salads!
thoughts on current business issues