Category Archives: Office Motivation

Giving the gift of clean water in Africa – Eden supports World Water Day

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World Water Day 2016

Uganda boreholes

Uganda boreholes

Each year the arrival of World Water Day on 22nd March is a positive reminder of the importance of water globally. It also raises awareness of the almost one billion people who don’t have access to safe water worldwide. So, we’re firm supporters of the initiative here at Eden Springs.

With water being central to our business, it’s important to us that we support projects throughout the year to bring clean water to those who need it most. We work with a carefully selected corporate charity partner – People Help People-One World – who helps communities in Central Africa, at a grassroots level, gain access to clean drinking water.
One project we’ve supported was the building of several clean water wells in the Wakiso district, which in turn is helping to improve access to drinking water for the area’s 1.4 million inhabitants – 70% of whom don’t have a source of clean water.

We are excited to announce our support of a second and new project for 2016. Through our association with the Carbon Neutral® organisation, Eden’s carbon neutral offsetting will lend support to another water infrastructure project in Sub-Saharan Africa.

About the project

Based primarily in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi, the project provides clean drinking water to small rural communities by repairing broken boreholes and drilling new ones. The boreholes are used as water wells by installing a vertical pipe casing and well screen which allows water to be extracted from the ground. Funds from the carbon offsetting pay for this activity, as well as ongoing maintenance to ensure they continue to operate.

Estimated to impact 3,000 children and 5,700 adults, the project is successfully reducing incidences of diarrhoea and fatalities in the local communities and, importantly, freeing up the time women and children used to have to spend collecting water located hours away.
It’s often the case that in many communities health, education, income and general development is negatively impacted due to a lack of water. So, providing access to clean water has a wealth of benefits.

World Water Day has our full backing and we all need to be playing our part in helping ensure safe water year-round.

To find out more about our charity partnership and our carbon offsetting, visit our website.

 

Raising Awareness of Clean Water: World Water Day 2016

Posted in Office Motivation on by .

World Water Day 2016

Uganda Boreholes

World Water Day 2016

Every March 22nd since 1993 the United Nations has celebrated World Water Day, with the sole purpose of raising awareness of the importance of this vital natural resource. The occasion is a time to bring water to the forefront of our minds and shine a light on those across the globe who need it most.

The theme of this year’s World Water Day is better water, better jobs. It’s aiming to highlight the power water has to transform people’s lives. The United Nations (UN) states that 1.5 billion people, that’s around half of the world’s workforce, work in water-related sectors. Nearly all jobs depend on water in some way though this is not often recognized. Here’s some examples:

• 40% of the global economically-active population work in crop and animal production, fisheries or hunting. Yet, only 20% are employed as waged workers, according to the World Bank.

• In terms of agriculture, which represents 70% of freshwater withdrawals worldwide, a farmer’s job is heavily dependent on water, from managing the available resource, addressing groundwater depletion, climate change and water scarcity.

• In some communities, including many in Africa, women and children have to walk for hours to collect safe water. This is a demanding job that is not recognised as such or paid. It’s important this changes to help empower and improve the lives of women.

So, whether it’s the presence of water, its quality or its quantity, it’s easy to see how it has such a significant impact on workers across the globe. It’s certainly time to shine a light on the topic this World Water Day –better water, better jobs. Show your support by visiting the website and learning more.
Water sits at the very heart of the Eden business, so this year’s theme really resonates with us. We are proud supporters of projects to provide clean water to communities in need in Africa and we’ll be telling you more about these in an upcoming blog.

7 Tips to Increase Creativity

If you’re looking to improve your creative output then this list is for you. Some of these hints and tips may seem surprising, but give them a go and unleash your creative side.

Finger pointing to brain

Switching the brain on

1. A tired brain is more creative.

At first glance this seems very odd but allow me to explain! Creativity springs from allowing our minds to be free to wander and explore what may seem like unrelated thoughts. In contrast when we need to solve problems or be analytical our brain needs complete focus which can only be achieved when we are wide awake and at our optimum. A tired brain finds it difficult to filter distractions but creativity benefits from distractions and random thinking.

2. Exercise for creativity.

Exercise is good for us for a myriad of reasons and a recent study shows that it is beneficial for creativity.

“Sweat is like WD-40 for your mind-it lubricates the rusty hinges of your brain and makes your thinking more fluid. Exercise allows your conscious mind to access fresh ideas that are buried in your subconscious.”

Psychology Today-Christopher Bergland-The Neuroscience of Imagination

3. Creativity flows in ambient noise.

Silence is useful for sharpening our focus but creative thinking thrives in ambient noise (think buzz of your favourite café), which promotes expansive thoughts and fresh ideas.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

4. Creativity is not necessarily original.

Coming up with new ideas can be scary and put us under enormous pressure. Actually often generating new ideas comes from making connections between ideas that already exist.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” Steve Jobs

5. Travel to promote creative thinking.

A study has shown that amongst a group of university students, those who travelled abroad rather than just staying on campus scored better on creative thinking tests. This could be explained because when we travel to different countries we experience different cultures and traditions which is bound to broaden our thinking.

Dim Light Bulb

Dim Lighting

6. Dim lighting encourages a sense of freedom.

Research shows that dim lighting increases creativity. This is due to our subconscious feeling more free to explore; “…darkness elicits a feeling of being free from constraints and triggers a risky, explorative processing style.”

7. Mess can enhance creativity.

Check out this research…which proves beyond reasonable doubt that having a messy desk can lead to more creative thinking! Wonderful news for a messy person like myself but perhaps not so with your hyper organised tidy boss, still at least you can legitimately argue the case for messiness now!

Reference: We have used this article by Belle Beth Cooper  for inspiration: Creativity Methods For More Ideas –  Take a look at her full article

-Things to do mug - be time efficient

8 ways to be more time efficient

Be more time efficient – Stop trying to multi-task!

In order to prove just how time efficient and competent they are many people practice the art of multi-tasking. This often leads to outcomes that are the very opposite of what they were at the time. The majority will end up being less efficient and the quality of what the person has produced suffers. The truly time efficient know that concentrated focus on one project at a time yields faster and more satisfactory work.

 

Delegate delegate delegate!

If people bite off more than they can chew, productivity and efficiency take a huge hit. The uber efficient know when to delegate and who to delegate to in order to achieve the aims of the task in hand.

 

Good communication is key.

It is important before communicating to consider what the objectives are for the interaction and also to communicate effectively so that there is no confusion about the subject. For example before you send an e-mail consider how it can be worded to convey your intentions succinctly and politely. A little thought before you pick up the phone or hit send can save hours being lost if all you’ve achieved is to cause confusion or offence.

 

Structure your time.

In order to achieve a disciplined approach to your schedule create standard routines to stick to within each day. This will help you be ready for important events and gain control over projects. The more control you have over your schedule the easier it will be to cope with the unexpected when it arises. Control your time, don’t let it control you!

 

Organise your physical space.

Ensure that your workspace is organised and that everything has its place. Organisation is key if you want to avoid situations where you lose precious minutes every day trying to hunt down essential equipment for you to complete tasks. Spending time decluttering your desk and finding everything a home will save you significant time in the future.

 

Keep a productivity diary.

Try keeping a diary for a week which logs how long it takes you to do specific activities and also note down time that for whatever reason hasn’t been productive. Then the following week try to reduce time spent on similar activities, just being aware of what can potentially hold you back or distract you can yield large efficiency gains.

 

Do engage in downtime.

It is a fallacy to sacrifice your own leisure time in order to accomplish more at work. We know now that overly tired stressed out people are not as competent or efficient as their rested relaxed counterparts. A well-rested person will perform at their peak which is a win win for everyone.

 

Plan plan and plan some more.

When given a project many people in a bid to be efficient practise the art of impatience and completely fail to plan their objectives and how to tackle the task. Super-efficient people research the project and break it down into small steps in order to achieve success . This planning may require time at the beginning of a new assignment but it will be worth it to have clear objectives and a pathway to success clearly mapped out.

Energy on a budget

Posted in Office Motivation on by .

Energy on a budget – If you find your post-Christmas resolve to lead a healthier lifestyle and become more ‘zen’ quickly dissipating as the cold dark days of January seem like they may well last forever, you’re back to binging on processed sugary snacks to get you through the afternoon slump and then experiencing post sugar energy crashes when you get home, try these no bake raw energy bars, oozing with health and vitality to get you feeling positive and back on the health wagon again. Not only are they delicious and easy to make, they will also be considerably cheaper than buying something of similar ilk at your local supermarket, leaving you more money to put in that holiday fund to escape the cruel British winter!

The beauty of these bars is that you can completely adapt them to your tastes and change flavours often so you don’t get bored. Also for added oomph in the health stakes you could add a spoonful or two of chia seeds, coconut or flaxseed if you wanted too.

Ingredients:
1 cup of nuts (e.g. cashew, peanuts, it’s totally up to you)
1 cup of dried fruit (again the choice is yours, perhaps a mixture of berries)
1 cup of pitted dried dates (Medjool would be best if you can get them)

Unbelievably you need nothing else for scrumptious snacks except a food processor, cling film and a sharp knife!

Add all the ingredients into your food processor and pulse a few times to start breaking up the ingredients, if the dates clump together then separate.

Process for 30 seconds until everything has broken down into crumb size pieces. If necessary scrape the bowl to ensure nothing is sticking.

Process again until a ball is formed (about 1-2 minutes). Turn out onto a sheet of clingfilm and press into a thick square. Then wrap and chill overnight.

The next morning unwrap and cut into a bars, wrapping each individually. They will keep in the fridge for several weeks or up to 3 months in the freezer. Most tasty eaten straight from the fridge so if you’re taking them to work then store them in the staffroom fridge until hunger strikes!

Share with us your ideas for energy boosts during work: @eden_springs

10 Ways to a more environmentally responsible business

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It has never been more important or indeed urgent, especially in the wake of ongoing scientific research and the Paris Climate Summit, that every single person needs to become more environmentally aware. This doesn’t simply mean that we need to take stock of our carbon footprint and attitudes to the world around us only in relation to our personal lives. It is critical that businesses no matter how large or small also seek to do all they can to reduce their carbon footprint and do their bit for combatting climate change. Here are ten ideas to get you started.

Don’t just recycle waste paper, recycle everything you possibly can. Old electrical items, printer cartridges…………………….

 

1 – RECYCLE YOUR RUBBISH

Ensure that there is a food waste bin in the kitchen or staff room and that people are actively encouraged to recycle their rubbish, (generated by lunch for example) by providing different bins for recyclable materials that is separate to that of a general waste bin.

recycle-57136_1280

2 – GO PAPERLESS

As a business go paperless. Not only is this excellent in terms of reducing waste, it also has the added bonus of banishing the cluttered untidy desk to a thing of the past. It is simple to invoice electronically now for example and to send documents by e-mail.

paperless office

 

3 – CARBON NEUTRAL

Research and then use carbon neutral companies where possible for services that as a company you have outsourced. In addition to this, research how as a business it is possible to become a carbon neutral company yourself.

 

4 – TRAVEL LESS

In the digital age of skype, facetime and the like, consider whether it is absolutely necessary to travel to attend meetings and conferences. If as a company you can lessen the amount of miles travelled for business purposes, not only will you dramatically decrease your carbon footprint, you will also save huge amounts of money in the process (petrol and expenses such as food and hotel costs). It’s a win win!

 

5 – GET SMART

However if it is necessary for your business that you or your colleagues have to travel then forget about the traditional company car and invest in the new breed of electrical vehicle, or at the very least a hybrid. After the initial investment this course of action will also yield significant financial savings.

electric car

 

6 – GOVERNMENT CYCLING SCHEME

Encourage and even incentivise employees to find alternative ways to travel to work, such as cycling or using public transport. There are government schemes to facilitate this.

cycle to work

 

7 – IS YOUR OFFICE ENERGY EFFICIENT?

Spend time everyday ensuring that your office is as energy efficient as it can be. Check that the light bulbs are energy saving and that computers and all other electrical equipment is completely switched off at the end of each day or when not required. Have specific times for tea breaks so that the kettle isn’t boiled unnecessarily. Reduce frivolous usage of heating or air conditioning unless absolutely needed.

efficient bulbs

 

8 – GREEN ENERGY

Consider whether it would be possible to harness alternative energies such as solar power at your place of work. Any energy generated that isn’t utilised by your business can be sold back to the National Grid.

 

9 – WORK FROM HOME

Allow employees when appropriate to work from home to reduce their carbon footprint. As well as benefiting the environment it will also be greatly appreciated by staff.

 

10 – RESPONSIBLY SOURCED TEA AND COFFEE

Only buy environmentally friendly and ethically sourced tea and coffee products. Look at http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/ for companies who source and supply these products. Rainforest Alliance approved products help alleviate poverty in the developing world, combat the decimation of forests and curb climate change through investment of people and the environment.

5 Workplace Resolutions

Posted in Health, Office Management, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

5 Workplace Resolutions for the year ahead…

If returning to the office after the Christmas break left you full of dread and catapulted you back to feeling like a small child begrudgingly going back to school, then the 5 Workplace Resolutions list below is for you. Not only will it benefit you but also your colleagues around you.

  1. KEEP CONTROL OF TECHNOLOGY

    worklife

    In this digital age of smart phones and tablets, it is becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible for people to switch off and go incommunicado.

    For many gone are the days when a person could leave their desk at the end of the day and not have to think about work until the next morning. As technology becomes more sophisticated the boundaries of work and personal life become ever more blurred, and expectations of companies for their employees to be ever available is on the rise.

    Let this be the year when you reclaim your personal life and reset clear boundaries with your employer. If you must take your work home with you then let the times you do so be the exception not the rule. You will feel more energized and motivated within the workplace if you are able to enjoy a life outside of it.

  2. MAXIMISE YOUR ANNUAL HOLIDAY ALLOWANCE

    holiday

    Still on the subject of work life balance, make the most of your holiday allowance, and by that I mean take every single day of holiday you are entitled to.

    Too often people neglect to take time owed to them because they feel under so much stress from their work load they feel they cannot afford the time off.

    Taking a holiday from work will help you be more productive when you return, as well rested refreshed employees will feel motivated and be more resilient to stress. Remember you’ve earned your holiday, so make the most of it and enjoy it!

  3. DEVELOP YOURSELF

    personal development

    Examine ways in which you can develop yourself and your role within the company. Research courses and training which would benefit your company but most importantly benefit you by building your confidence and skills which leads to greater job satisfaction and future prospects.

  4. KEEP POSITIVE

    Keep positive

    Be a positive force within your office; take the time to speak to your colleagues especially those you have never taken the time to get to know.

    Give compliments and positive feedback to others. Listen to those around you and be proactive and constructive when solving problems. Fellow employees will respect and appreciate your positivity which in turn will contribute to a happier more cohesive workplace environment and better team work.

  5. ENJOY YOUR LUNCH

    enjoy your lunch

    If you are somebody who is forever chained to their desk and who has forgotten what a lunch-break is, take action to remedy this. It is hugely counterproductive no matter how heavy your workload to refuse to leave the office and have a break. This will only lead to stress and eventually burnout.

    Even just a five minute walk in the fresh air can do wonders for your mood and on returning to work you will feel reinvigorated to carry on with your toils!

    Try once a week to share your lunch-break with a colleague, leave the office and work behind and enjoy good food and conversation-you deserve it!

Hopefully these ideas will set you on happier path for the year ahead. Remember folks we work to live, not live to work!

 

Best Secret Santa Gifts

Posted in Office Motivation on by .

It’s that time of year again when offices throughout the land succumb to the ever growing ‘Secret Santa’ craze. Read our essential guide to the best gifts available that’ll make you want to break with tradition, become Unsecret Santa and be applauded by your colleagues for your fabulous present buying prowess!

1. Wooden beard and moustache comb

For something unique look no further than www.notonthehighstreet.com With something to suit all ages, tastes and budgets this fantastic company make buying a thoughtful and quirky gift easy peasy. For the hipster in your office bestow upon them this personalised wooden beard and moustache comb by Wood Paper Scissors and be their friend forever!

 beard comb

2. Christmas chocolate bar library

Gone are the days (thankfully) when it was acceptable to gift a naff box of unimaginative chocolates to a poor unsuspecting colleague. The independent and artisan chocolate business is a growing market and the pick of the bunch has to be Montezuma’s, with such a vast array of high quality deliciously decadent chocolate gifts to choose from you’ll find it hard to resist ordering a little something for yourself too! Check out this Christmas chocolate bar library-genius!

chocolate library

3. Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

For the environmentally conscious (hopefully that’s all of us) you simply can’t go wrong with Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, purveyor of wonderfully fragrant natural products. They have an imaginative and expansive festive range to explore, but for those of us in a present buying induced panic they have kindly provided us with a creation specifically designed for our covert gift giving operation….

lush

4. Wind up salt and pepper ‘bots

For the resident stationary lover in your office a trip to Paperchase will guarantee a happy recipient. With everything from funky diaries, to hip flasks (see what I did there!) for transporting your morning coffee there really is something for everybody. Who could fail to be delighted with these marvelous not to mention unusual wind up salt and pepper ‘bots?

saltpepperbots

5. 642 Tiny Things to Write About record book

Buying for a bookworm or wannabe future writer? Waterstones is more than a safe bet. With a huge array of fiction and non-fiction titles, they also stock imaginative gifts designed to lure out our creativity that’s been locked away since our carefree pre adult days! Unleash that inner author with the inspiring 642 Tiny Things to Write About record book. It’s bound to get those creative juices flowing.

book

There you have it, some festive shopping inspiration! Perhaps you can tick off more than just your secret Santa with these excellent ideas…Happy shopping!

8 ways to keep your team engaged during meetings

Posted in Office Motivation on by .

business_man_with_tablet

If you are struggling to keep your team motivated and proactive during meetings then perhaps you need to rethink the way you present and approach the structure and content of these sessions. Below are some simple ideas to help you get the most from your team…

  1. Purpose

    Ensure your team know the purpose of the meeting and their role in attendance. Getting their buy in from the start will help to keep them engaged, especially if they know they have a role to play and the importance of that role within the project

  2. Agenda

    Create an agenda and stick to it. If you do not do this your team will start to see their precious time drift away. This may cause resentment and it is likely that those who have no part to play will drift off as they see less and less relevance to why they were asked to attend. This means that their attention may not be 100% when you are covering the agenda item

  3. Timing

    Make sure your meeting starts on time – as scheduled. Otherwise those who made the effort to be punctual may start to lose interest as they clock watch their colleagues rolling in. It also sets the standard for the next meeting and shows that you are serious about conducting an effective meetinghandshake_office_reception

  4. The 10,20,30 Rule

    When presenting stick to the 10, 20, 30 rule  – 10 Slides max, keep your presentation to 20 mins and use 30pt font min. Pictures are great for putting across your points and remember people like being presented to, rather than read to. Also, when presenting, make sure that your bullet points appear on click rather than, on permanent display from the outset. If you don’t do this your team will already have read the content of your slide before you’ve had a chance to present it

  5. Comfort

    Keep an eye on the room temperature and ensure that everyone in your team has adequate refreshments at hand. Never underestimate the importance of a glass of water or a good quality coffee – hydrate your team

  6. Questions

    Ask your team questions during the meeting. Let them know that you will be doing this at the start and just see how this improves their engagementmeeting_with_coffee

  7. Ideas, ideas, ideas

    Start the session with some brainstorming techniques to engage your colleagues straight away. Remember these rules:

    1. Criticism of ideas isn’t allowed
    2. All ideas, no matter how wild, are encouraged
    3. The more ideas, the better
    4. Every participant should try to build on or combine the ideas of others
  8. Review

    Finally, at the end of the meeting why not review its effectiveness with your team and see where improvements can be made for the next one.

10 ways to impress customers in your office

Posted in Coffee, Environment, Office Management, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

modern office meeting room

Conference room

  1. Positive interaction

    It is of great importance to make sure that every single member of staff, no matter what their position can and will positively interact with any visiting customers. Employees should be friendly and polite and ready to offer assistance to a visitor if need be

  2. A great receptionist

    A receptionist will often be responsible for the first impression a customer will have of a business. It is therefore essential that your receptionist is a fantastic ambassador for the company. Ensure that he or she is an excellent communicator with good people skills and the ability to multi task. If for example your receptionist is on the phone when a visitor arrives it is important that they make eye contact, smile and can indicate that they will be with the customer ASAP

  3. Cleanliness is next to godliness

    Ensure that the office is clean and tidy, paying particular attention to anywhere that the visitor may have access to including toilet and kitchen facilities

  4. Refreshments

    Have high quality refreshments available for visitors. A high end coffee machine and water cooler that the customer can operate themselves in the reception area would be a brilliant idea

  5. Branded stationery

    Have professionally designed (complimentary) stationery with your company logo that can be given to the customer to keep (notepads, jotters, pens etc.). As well as being a nice gesture, it will also keep your business at the forefront of their minds

  6. Inspiring décor

    Offices don’t have to be boring and sterile spaces. It is certainly possible to inject some colour and personality into your workplace whilst still remaining professional. Perhaps for example, you could incorporate colours from your brand identity into the office

  7. Dress code

    Decide on a dress code within your company and stick to it. Employees at all times should adhere to the companies chosen dress code so that unexpected visitors always gain a good first impression

  8. Space and layout

    Modernise your layout and make the most of your space. Customers will be impressed by innovative technology which gives the impression that you are a forward thinking company. Avoid unnecessary clutter on desks and in the surrounding workspace which can be distracting and look unprofessional

  9. Genuine engagement

    Genuinely engage with customers through small talk so that they don’t feel they are yet again being schmoozed. Actively listen to what they are saying and if they offer small details about their lives be interested and remember to ask about for future meetings. For example they may mention a child of theirs or an approaching holiday somewhere. This shows that you view them not just as a potential business deal but as an actual person

  10. Go green

    Adding greenery to your office space, from reception to boardroom, enhances the environment both aesthetically and in terms of mood. By creating an inviting atmosphere, visitors will feel at ease and welcome from the moment they enter your office