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Home Office

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We’re still in the early stages of going back out into the world. There’s no certainty when this will all be over and we are being propelled to the new normal. Some are already back at it while some are still being very vigilant and would prefer working from home.

Well, if they have the means and luxury to make a living in the comforts of their home, why not? In this era of Zoom birthday celebrations, we’ve become more creative in gift-giving. And these ones are perfect for your friends you haven’t seen in a while and are grinding in their home offices during this time.

1. Starbucks Gift Basket

Caffeine is a staple in the office and Starbucks is, well it doesn’t need an introduction. This gift basket holds all the Starbucks essentials like chocolate truffles, cookies, shortbread, and a signature tumbler.

It’s a practical gift that can fuel them for work, gaming, or if they just want to kick back and recharge.

 2. Smart Neck and Shoulder Massager

This is a gift anyone needing some pain relief will love and not just people who work from home. The neck and shoulders are usually the most strained during long hours in front of the screen, so a little massager that they can wear and use during breaks will be a lifesaver.

3. Exercise Mat

The rise of Youtube at-home workouts urged a lot of people to finally get on the fitness bandwagon. Although it’s seen as a fad, any fad that’s eventually good for you, is always a good thing.

Whether your friend is just starting out or you want them to start out so you can have a workout buddy, this is a nice gift that they can use not only for exercise but also for yoga and stretching as well.

4. Headspace Subscription

Allow their minds to breathe in this guided meditation app. We know how sometimes it can be confusing for the mind to set a boundary between the office and home.

And even if we’ve created a separate workspace, an office inside the house can be an overwhelming change for someone used to going out for work.

So, even if they can’t physically go out. Their minds can momentarily leave the thousand thoughts inside the head and relax.

5. Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard

Some work from a laptop, others in PC, some in a huge desktop, while others mix and match according to their mood. If your recipient is like the latter, they will appreciate a Bluetooth keyboard they can carry around the house and connect with any of their devices.

6. Scented Candle

Help them feel more relaxed after a day’s work with scented candles that can transport the mind to whatever scent it’s infused with; the woods, the mountains, or the beach.

It can also be an instant booster or a manifestation tool much like when you make a wish and blow out a candle on your birthday.

7. Sleep Mask

This isn’t a typical sleep mask. It has a memory foam that totally blocks out ambient light. You know what this means? Your giftee can take power naps during the day and have a full night’s rest.

There’s both beauty and challenge in working from home. What you can do to show your care aside from checking up on them is to treat them with these gifts that will keep them balanced and on top of their game.

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When you run a company and want to save money on your electric bills, you should think of ways to conserve. Not only that, when running an office, it is wise to think of the environment in other ways. When doing so, you can protect the planet and save money. Simply put, with these six ideas, you can enjoy saving money and protecting the planet.

Eco-Friendly-in-the-Workplace

Temperature: Without a doubt, if you run an office, you will spend a lot of money keeping people at a comfortable temperature. In the summer, you will probably have to run the air conditioner all the time. In the winter, if you live in a cold place, you will have to run the heater all the time. To save money and keep your appliances in order, you should use an automated machine and remotely monitor the climate. With this, an office manager can make the right decisions and anticipate how much to use the air conditioner or heater. Since this is a major cost, you should find a local service company who can help you figure out the right path. At the same time, you will use fewer resources; this will help you protect the planet.

Casual: In some businesses, a worker can dress casually. If you run an office in one of these industries, you must allow people to dress for comfort and not style. When doing so, a person can dress for the weather. Think about it, when an employee comes in with a full suit, he or she will get hot quickly. On the other hand, if you allow people to wear shirts and shorts, they will not need you to run the air conditioner as often.

Bike rack: If you have an office in the city or near a lot of houses, you should install a bike rack. By encouraging workers to bike to work, an office manager can go a long way in helping the environment. When workers do not drive to the office, they will not use fuel and pollute the air. Therefore, you should encourage people to bike to work.

Windows: If possible, you should try to get free light into the building. Of course, in the summer this may not work very well. On the other hand, in the winter, if you can bring your blinds down, you can let light into the building and save money on electric bills as you will not need to have the lights on all day.

Dishes: It is easy for an office manager to run out and buy Styrofoam and paper cups for workers to use. This is a costly mistake, and you must make the switch to regular dishes. With this, you can offer a safe way for people to eat and drink. At the same time, people will not waste plastic cups and other items.

Work from home: If possible, you should set it up so people can work from their houses. Remember, if they do not jump in their car and come to work, they will use fewer resources. At the same time, the business owner will save money when he or she does not have to pay for their electricity.

With these six tips, you can run a green business. It is not hard as long as you take a proactive and smart approach.

Thousands of UK border staff (Home Office) will strike the day before London Olympics open, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has said.

PCS members will strike for 24 hours next Thursday – when many thousands of visitors are due to arrive in the UK.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the action was “shameful” as it threatens disruption to people travelling to London for the Games.

Immigration minister Damian Green said contingency plans were in place.

East Midlands Trains staff has also voted to strike during the Olympics.

PCS union members will take other forms of action from July 27 to August 20, including working-to-rule and an overtime ban.

The PCS said 57.2% of those who voted backed strike action – the turnout was 20%.

The action will involve staff across the Home Office, including the UK Border Agency, the Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau.

Thousands of UK border staff will strike the day before London Olympics open

Thousands of UK border staff will strike the day before London Olympics open

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “I think the government is whipping up hysteria about the Olympics, there’ll be no disruption to the Olympics, this is a 24-hour strike before the Olympics actually takes place.”

He said he was prepared to meet the culture secretary and home secretary any time in the next week to avert a strike but if they kept their “heads in the sand” the strike would continue.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has said he does not think the union will succeed in disrupting the Olympics and the majority of PCS members want to put on a great Games.

In other developments as the UK prepares for the start of the Olympics on Friday 27 July:

• An additional 1,200 troops have been put on standby to provide security at Olympic sites following G4S’s problems deploying enough staff

• The Duchess of Cambridge has met the London 2012 Olympic torch relay’s oldest bearer at the opening of a new exhibition in London

• Olympic medallist Steve Backley and artist Tracey Emin are among those carrying the Olympic torch as it travels from Deal to Maidstone, in Kent

• Great Britain’s women’s basketball team are beaten 88-63 by USA despite a spirited performance in a Games preparation match in Manchester

• Drivers on East Midlands Trains will strike from 6-8 August, union Aslef says, threatening disruption to spectators travelling to the Games

• Certain ministers, including the prime minister, chancellor, culture secretary and foreign secretary will be allowed to use the priority car lanes

Immigration minister Damian Green said: “If this strike goes ahead it will be a selfish and irresponsible act by the union leadership, they have got no authority for this, only about a fifth of the membership voted in the ballot, and of that small minority only just over half want to go on strike.”

Damian Green said he was confident disruption at immigration desks could be minimized because extra staff from the Home Office and other departments had been trained to provide cover.

Theresa May condemned the action saying: “I think that is shameful, frankly. They are holding a strike on what is one of the key days for people coming in for the Olympic Games.

“We will of course put contingency arrangements in place to ensure we can deal with people coming through the border as smoothly as possible.”

John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industries, said: “For PCS to go on strike on this key day beggars belief. For it to happen because of a vote by 11% of staff is simply outrageous.”

But Labour MP John McDonnell, who chairs the PCS Parliamentary Group, said: “The government has brought this dispute on its own head.”

East Midlands Trains drivers from the union Aslef plan to strike on 6-8 August in a row over pensions. But South West Trains staff has voted not to strike over the Olympics.

Prime Minister David Cameron insisted the Olympics would be safe and secure.

Speaking at a press conference in Afghanistan, he said: “I do not believe it will be right, I do not believe it will be justified.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband also condemned the strike.

The PCS is in dispute with the Home Office on plans to cut 8,500 jobs and the threat of compulsory redundancies in the passport office in Newport, South Wales.

There are also disagreements over pay rises capped at 1% following a two-year wage freeze, privatization of services, and alleged victimization of union reps.

This week the National Audit Office said the UK Border Agency had laid off 1,000 more staff than intended and was having to hire extra people and increase overtime to meet its workload.

The PCS is one of the largest unions in the UK with around 250,000 public sector members.

PCS members at the Department for Transport have been taking industrial action over the past few weeks, while staff in other departments, including the ministries of defence and justice, are set to vote shortly on how to campaign against cuts.

 

Anonymous hacking group is alleged to have disrupted access to the UK Home Office website after an apparent cyber attack in protest against government surveillance plans.

A message on the Home Office website said the page was currently unavailable “due to a high volume of traffic”, suggesting a denial of service attack had been perpetrated.

A message on Twitter claiming to be from Anonymous, a loosely organized group of hackers who promote access to free speech, information and transparency, said the action was “for [the Home Office’s] draconian surveillance proposals”.

However, another message claimed it was over extradition rules from the UK to the U.S.

One tweet claiming to be from Anonymous said: “You should not give UK citizens to foreign countries without evidence. If an offence happened in the UK, so should the trial.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are aware of some reports that the Home Office website may be the subject of an online protest. We have put all potential measures in place and will be monitoring the situation very closely.”

Anonymous hacking group is alleged to have disrupted access to the UK Home Office website

Anonymous hacking group is alleged to have disrupted access to the UK Home Office website

The Home Office added that if a successful denial of service attempt did occur, it would “liaise with the technical team and update as necessary”.

A denial of service attack prevents a website from functioning properly, sometimes by swamping it with more traffic than it can handle. Such an action was believed to have been responsible for crashing the Home Office site.

The apparent attack came after it emerged last week that the British government was planning a massive expansion of its powers to monitor the email exchanges and website visits of every person in the UK.

Under legislation expected in next month’s Queen’s Speech, internet companies will be instructed to install hardware enabling GCHQ – the government’s electronic “listening” agency – to examine “on demand” any phone call made, text message and email sent, and website accessed, in “real time” without a warrant.

Ministers have faced a backlash over the plans, with senior MPs from both coalition parties, as well as civil liberties groups, lining up to denounce it.

Just days ago China felt the effects of Anonymous after the hacking group claimed it had brought down several government websites in a protest against the country’s internet restrictions.

The sites included government bureaus in several Chinese cities, including Chengdu, a provincial capital in southwest China.

In a message left on one of the sites the hackers said they did not agree with blocking information from the public.

Part of it read in English: “Dear Chinese government, you are in infallible, today websites are hacked, tomorrow it will be your vile regime that will fall.”

Included in the message were instructions for Chinese people on how to get around the restrictions imposed by their government.

Chinese officials block citizens from seeing social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and information on politically sensitive topics.