Tag Archives: technology

Improving Your Staff’s Work From Home Experience

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Improving Your Staff’s Work From Home Experience

Working from home has become the new norm amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While some have taken to it like a fish to water, others are still struggling with not being at the office every day. If you are managing a staff that is working from home, it’s important to do what you can to keep their overall work experience a positive one. You could start with the following:

IT support:

Working from home can turn into a nightmare if one of the programs that you use crashes. Having the best IT support for your staff is a must so that your employee’s can get their tech problems solved quickly and stress free. It also might be a good idea to offer tutorial videos for new programs and updates for those who are not super tech savvy.

Checking in:

Remember the good old days when you could simply pop into an employee’s office to give them updates or shoot the breeze? It’s definitely not the same over email and instant messaging but it’s important to continue a rapport with each of your employees. They are looking to you for guidance during these unsettling times and it will be nice for them to know that they can still come to you for help or just a quick chat!

Offering for staff to continue to work from home:

So many of my friends would love to continue working from home post pandemic and I am sure that countless others feel the same way. A lot of employees have found that they are much more productive and comfortable when they are doing their job in their own space. If some of your staff is interested in continuing to work from home, giving them that option might be a good thing to consider.

A weekly just for fun meeting:

It is probably really difficult for some of your employees to not be around their coworkers when they are on break or have a spare minute. It’s a wonder what a little social time can do to improve your mood during a work day! Break up the day to day routine by offering a a fifteen or so minute Zoom meeting just for fun. Your employees will enjoy hearing updates from all of their work friends and will be in a much better mood for the rest of the day.

Hate it or love it, working from home is here to stay for a while longer. Use the tips above to continue to help your employees succeed and feel their best during these crazy times.

FaceTime Fun

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FaceTime Fun

Hi! This seems like a resounding theme on all of my posts but in my neck of the woods, we are currently in threat level PURPLE for COVID-19. Not to be confused with Threat Level: Midnight from The Office. Those of us that get the severity of COVID and are taking it extremely seriously are hunkered down hardcore right now. Johnny and I have not seen any of our friends in at least a month at this point and it’s lonely and it sucks. I think I would honestly go crazy if I didn’t have my Johnny with me and, thankfully, I’ve had technology on my side too.

I have become a FaceTime/Skype/Zoom/phone call addict so that I can still keep in touch with my nearest and dearest. I love having scheduled chit chat “dates” and it gives me something to look forward to. Being able to “see” my friends even through the computer or phone screen helps put a renewed pep in my step and it’s the next best thing I have right now to actually hanging out. I have wholeheartedly embraced this form of contact and I highly recommend that my readers/social media friends follow suit… Especially if COVID is as bad in your area as it is in mine.

A very special bestie in my life has added an extra ray of sunshine to my blah quarantine existence by our weekly or biweekly FaceTime chats. For those of you who don’t know, Johnny and I chose to sit out on Thanksgiving with our family this year. So, believe me when I say, I was completely touched when my darling Kate of Live In The Nautical suggested that we FaceTime on Thanksgiving day.

Kate has been one of my best friends since lifewithlilred began. It’s crazy, because we’ve only met each other in real life once but I feel like I can tell her absolutely anything through our constant back and forth via our blogs, social media, texting, and FaceTime. I am so thankful to her because she knew how shitty I was feeling on Thanksgiving and she took time out of her celebrations to talk to me. It meant so much and I really do treasure the times that we have to see each other and catch up.

I wish that I could see my friends right now and I know that a lot of you do too. Is a video chat the most ideal way to see them? In normal times, no. But things are far from normal right now so I’d say video chatting is friggen perfect. It’s hard to feel so isolated but Johnny and I have been doing our damnedest to stay safe since March. FaceTiming has helped with the loneliness and if you are feeling down, then schedule a chat with one of your besties. It can only help and I think you will feel much better after. I know I did. 🙂 ❤

How do you keep in touch with loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic? What do you miss the most about “normal” life? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

4 Steps To More Success: Helping Your Children Learn From Home

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4 Steps To More Success: Helping Your Children Learn From Home

As a parent, tutoring is automatically an additional responsibility once your kids are school age. Whether you are helping with homework or teaching them how to do basic research, you are engaging in some form of tutoring. With the COVID-19 pandemic still a real threat, many parents have taken on tutoring their kids full-time to keep up with the schoolwork they may be missing. Other parents have decided to co-tutor with teachers online using the various available technologies. This is the best time for you to step up your game as a tutor so keep on reading for our tips to help you improve:

Incorporate technology:

Technology is driving education, and you must find ways to incorporate it into your teaching. Students of all ages now have access to at least a mobile phone or a laptop – even if it belongs to their parents. There are tons of apps out there that can help you to deliver any conceivable topic from history, science, math, and English tutoring, the choice is yours. You can use these apps for your professional development or you may be able to introduce these apps to your kids as a fun way to learn and explore the subject area.

Be adaptable:

No two students are the same, so you must be adaptable and quick to realize your child’s learning style. Find a method that he or she identifies with and use that to teach them to increase their participation. Some students prefer to know the subject matter and prepare before the actual class. Others learn best when the teaching is interlaced with some activities that improve their retention. Another thing to improve upon is speaking in terms that will be understood and always encouraging questions when things aren’t clear.

Be patient:

Patience is key to understanding your child and finding ways to make learning easier and more fun for them. While some students are quick to understand certain concepts, others are not. Do not get flustered or impatient. Instead, take your time to explain and break down the idea so that they can grasp it. Other students have problems with retention, and this is quite common. If you do have a student that struggles with information retention, employ the use of memory retention techniques such as mind maps and acronyms, which can be helpful in such a situation.

Seek your child’s feedback:

If your child is struggling, ask for their feedback on what you can do to make things easier. It could be that he or she is not learning in a style that best suits them. Ask them how they feel about your teaching style or approach to a topic when you are helping with homework. You can also ask them how you can make the lessons more exciting or beneficial to them. This will help you improve your teaching methods while giving your kids the opportunity to voice their feelings and have a hands on experience with their education.

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Pixabay Image

2020 has brought parents directly into the classroom with at home learning. Help them be successful with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

5 Top Learning Apps For Kindergarten & Pre-School

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5 Top Learning Apps For Kindergarten & Pre-School

As a parent, you’ll want to help your kids with their education as much as you can. When you’re teaching them at home, it can be hard to know which resources are the best. There are many educational apps which can be used as learning aids at home. To get you started with a few of the best, try these five:

1. Teach Your Monster To Read

This fun-filled app is the perfect tool to teach your kids to read. It’s both simple to use and engaging. Teach Your Monster To Read was created based on the early phonics curriculum, so you can be sure that they are learning everything they need. It’s an award-winning game which takes your children on an exciting journey (with plenty of monster friends)! Kids get to match letters and sounds, blend, segment, master tricky words, and work towards making full sentences. The app is the perfect after school activity for a little extra learning!

2. Moose Math:

With the Moose Math app, your kids can learn all about geometry, sorting, subtraction, addition, and counting to 100. The activities make sure that learning about math is super fun! Your kids get to run their own juice shop, search the lost and found box, and meet plenty of cute and kooky characters. Your kids will just love the ‘pet bingo’ game and ‘paint pet’. Here they’ll learn plenty of skills, including:

  • Using algebraic thinking to solve word puzzles
  • Practice their pattern recognition skills
  • Recognize and identify shapes
  • Compare different lengths

3. Busy Shapes & Colors:

With the Busy Shapes & Colors app, learning colors and shapes has never been more fun. Here you’ll find plenty of cute penguin characters to entertain your children through the process! It’s a simple app to help little ones improve their fine motor skills. Each level brings a new challenge so your kids will never get bored! Further features of the app include four different play modes; the choice of fifteen languages; color and shape ‘makers’; multi-touch play and more!

4. Hungry Caterpillar Pre-School:

Based on the famous book by Eric Carle, this app is the perfect tool for preschoolers. The activities guide kids through math concepts, language, and literature too. Here your kids will learn about phonics and build their confidence over time. There are science topics, puzzles and reasoning, and plenty of fun songs!

5. ABCmouse:

ABCmouse is a fantastic learning program which covers music, art, reading and more. The app was designed for 2-8-year-olds, and is based on the pre-school and school curriculum. With so many fun activities your kids will have tons of options! Using the app, you’ll boost your child’s development across all their subjects, giving them a great head start.

All of these apps follow a pre-school and kindergarten curriculum. Choosing the right kindergarten is an important part of your child’s learning journey. If you’re looking for a top-quality kindergarten, be sure to check out jennys kindergarten and early learning. Ready, get set, and learn!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Fun & (Video) Games

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Fun & (Video) Games

Hi! Johnny and I celebrated our one year anniversary on September first – hurray! Pre-Johnny, I never played video games too often. Of course, I played my fair share of Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. back in the day. I was also addicted to Diablo II on the ol’ desktop computer. Besides from those, that’s about as far as my video game expertise goes. Until Johnny and I started dating that is! Before, all I had was a lowly GameCube and Wii – now we collectively have a Switch and a PlayStation 3.

In recent quarantine times, I developed a huge taste for Animal Crossing and try to check in on my island at least every other day. I also love playing throwback Mario games on the Switch’s Super Nintendo Arcade. Other than that, though? Nothing really. Until Johnny and I exchanged gifts for our one year that is!

For part of my gift (Tune in later for more on our celebration!), Johnny ceremonially turned the Switch on and displayed on the screen was both Paper Mario: The Origami King and Diablo III: Reaper Of Souls. I absolutely LOVE the Paper Mario games and have been telling Johnny I want to try The Origami King for the past few months now. I also haven’t played Diablo III in over half a decade so that was just the cherry on top of a perfect gift.

Johnny and I recently watched an excellent documentary on Netflix called High Score. The series was about seven or eight episodes long and it discussed the evolution of video games from the old school arcades to present day. I think the video game bug definitely bit the both of us while we bingewatched High Score and I can see it reflected in my anniversary gift – I’m so not mad about it though!

In fact, I think I shall dub our one year as the Fun & Games anniversary because I, too, got something entertainment based for Johnny. That’s right, I got him the Millennium Falcon LEGO set from Star Wars. No, not the crazy expensive sets – however, we decided our five year will be the Upgrade the Millennium Falcon anniversary! Johnny put his space craft together in one evening and I am already looking forward to more time with Paper Mario and Diablo, lol. I’m looking forward to more time with my MAN the most and here’s to our one year together. ❤

Which anniversary did you and your partner celebrate this year? How did you celebrate? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Live A Calmer Existence At Home

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How To Live A Calmer Existence At Home

Our homes should be much more than just places to lay our heads at night and store our belongings. It should be the place where we recover the energy that we’ve lost during the day; it should be our retreat from the mania of the outside world. But, of course, this is only in theory: sometimes we find that our homes are just as stressful as public spaces. If you find yourself in this position, then it’s recommended that you take steps to make your home calmer. Take a look at our tips below and turn your home into the ultimate place for relaxation:

Set the Tone:

You should always try to start as you mean to go on. If you’re walking into a chaotic home, then it’ll be little surprise if your state of mind is chaotic while you’re there. Instead, look at making a few small changes to your entrance way. For example, you could look at adding plants, making the space brighter, and having a space for your coat and keys. Setting the tone is about more than getting the space organized, however: it’s about adding those touches that enhance the mood. For example, candles and incense can both make your entrance space much more enjoyable!

Clean and Spacious:

It’s much harder to live a calmer existence when it feels as if our material possessions are piling up all around us, or we’re living in an unclean and all-around disorganized space. As such, one of the best ways to create a better environment at home is to look at taking the minimalist route, and creating a clear and calm space. If you’ve been in your home for a few years, then you’ve probably got more material goods than you really need. So take a look at having a clear out. You can sell the items or, if you know that you’ll need them in the future, you can put them in climate controlled storage. You’ll find that it’s much easier to enter a calm state of mind when you’re not doing battle with all your possessions.

Tech-Free Spaces:

There’s much to love about technology, especially in the home. Who doesn’t enjoy playing video games, watching videos, or browsing the web? However, it’s important to remember that there is such a thing as too much tech in the home. Technology generally isn’t very calming, so if there’s too much of it in your home, then you might find it difficult to really relax. It’s recommended to put together a tech-free room in your house. There, you’ll do nothing but read, meditate, talk, and other activities that help to calm your mind.

Deep Comfort:

Finally, look at upping your home’s comfort levels. Things like new blankets, towels, and bed sheets can really take your home’s comfort credentials to the next level. It’ll allow you to fully sink into all of the cozy goodness that your property can provide, especially during the chilly winter months, when there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch.

Get ready, get set, and relax at home with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Pexels

How To Save Money When Buying Electrical Goods

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How To Save Money When Buying Electrical Goods

We live in a fast-paced consumer society where all of the electrical items that we buy are out of date by next year. With many households changing their appliances and tech on a very regular basis, it means that there is a lot of waste. Perfectly good items often end up getting discarded and this has a very real and obvious impact on the environment.

But many people are considerate about these factors and will sell on any unwanted electrical items once they have been replaced. Or, where the value is relatively low, and there is still some use to be had, they may give them away using a service such as a freecycle site.

If you are savvy and want to save money on an item and are not too bothered about having all of the very latest features, then you may want to take a look online to see what you can find for free or very cheap:

Printers:

One electrical item that is often offered up for next to nothing or even for free are printers. With new features getting added all of the time, many people feel the need to upgrade. But, if you are just after something that you can use to print or scan the occasional document or photograph, then you may find that getting a used model is just as good as buying new. Before you get your new used printer, check online to make sure that you can buy the right ink cartridges for it still.

Appliances:

Kitchen appliances such as washing machines, fridges, and freezers, often get replaced. With the internet of things on the rise, people want an appliance that they can control from their smartphone from anywhere in the world. But if you are not interested in all of that, you could get a perfectly reasonable appliance for very cheap.

Before you take it, make sure that you check to see that there are no nasty noises coming from it when it is working. Washing machines that rattle about when they are in use may be on their way out and, in reality, it is probably not worth you taking it in that condition.

Computers:

If you need a computer for the basics such as web browsing and working on documents, then why not get a second hand one? Unless you are gaming or using the computer for a lot of complex operations, then you will be able to get a computer that suits your needs very cheaply.

The things that you need to look for when you get a second hand computer are that the hard disk has been cleared before you get it. It should have a new installation of the operating system ready for you to set up as you like. Check to make sure that the laptop batteries still hold their charge, and that everything boots up and works as it should.

Reusing electric goods helps save the environment and you some money. Try this option out when you’re ready for a new printer or computer!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

How Do You Connect With Your Parents?

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How Do You Connect With Your Parents?

When you’re a child, your parents are the center of your world. It’s difficult to imagine that you could one day not need to have them around anymore. However, as you grow older, your relationship evolves. You are not an inexperienced child anymore. You’re an adult. And with the realization that you can do everything you want by yourself comes another one: You don’t need your parents anymore. You can be sure that they are aware of it. As a result, a lot of adults struggle to maintain a sane and happy relationship with their parents. If this is something that you are having a hard time with, then try utilizing the tips below:

#1. Twin your hobbies

Hobbies are a great way to bond, so why not find something you both enjoy? Gardening is a great activity that you can both share without needing to be in the same place. You can discuss your plans for your respective gardens and exchange tips and tools. You could even share flowers by giving each other cuts from your favorite plants. If you don’t have a garden or don’t have the time or energy to manage your lawn and bushes, you can opt for a more relaxing approach. A zen garden is not only a tasteful addition to your interior decor, but it’s also a playful, meditative tool. You could compare designs and patterns, or even create a joint album on Facebook where you can both upload photos of your creations.

#2. Try something new together

New experiences are enriching. Your parents have watched you grow up, walk, and discover the world from the start. Reconnect with those feeling by choosing to try something new together. For instance, if you’ve never tried golf, you can take lessons together and rejoice in being the witness of each other’s discovery journey. You can find all of the equipment you need at a lower cost online – rock bottom golf is an excellent address for amateur golfers. If sports aren’t your thing, how about booking an escape room experience together? There’s nothing more rewarding than working together to beat the clock!

#3. You’re never too old to play games

Do you remember board game nights at home? Everyone has played Monopoly with their parents during the holiday. And, despite all of the frustrations that come with the game, it was fun to share a moment. When you play games, you connect at a deeper level. It goes beyond your age, life experience, or even social responsibilities. You are players all equal in the context of the game. If board games aren’t your cup of tea, video games are a fantastic choice. Over a quarter of gamers are 50+, meaning that age has never made any major difference. All you need is a gaming console that attaches to the TV, and you’re both ready to interact in the virtual world. With online platforms, you don’t even need to be in the same room!

#4. Booking a holiday together

If the idea of going on holiday with your parents is terrifying, you might want to give it a second thought. Most people find it challenging to survive a shared vacation. But you need to think beyond your family bond. The reason why most cross-generational holidays fail is that people revert to previous behavior patterns, namely your parents trying to care for you in the way they’re always used to and you, instinctively, react in the passive-aggressive way that you used to as a teenager. As a result, tensions occur. But, you can avoid this trap by treating your parents as friends, AKA equals. If you don’t give them the upper hand in the relationship, there is no reason for conflicts anymore.

#5. Plan regular catch-ups

Many adults complain that their parents are out of touch with their lives. Be honest, can you blame them? Do you give them the opportunity to know what is going on in your life? If you don’t organize regular catch-up dinners and casual meetings, they can never get to understand your hopes, passions, and struggles. Unless you share about yourself, people can’t stay updated about your journey.

#6. Group chat for everyone!

No time for a catch-up meal? Make the most of modern tools and create a group chat that keeps everyone in the loop. Family group chats can be frustrating at times. But, they’re the perfect tool to share little moments of your every day life, discuss big decisions, or merely check on how everyone is doing. By making your interactions more casual, you design a new relationship with your parents.

Adulthood can create distance between you and your parents. It’s never easy to change the base of a relationship. But, as you grow up and become independent, the foundation of your relationship naturally evolves. Don’t let it damage your bond. On the contrary, find new ways to get to know each other again.

Featured Image By: Flickr

Why Working From Home Can Be Difficult

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Why Working From Home Can Be Difficult

Did you know that there are 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK? Whether you run your own business from home or you’ve snagged a job that allows you to work remotely, there are many benefits that you can take advantage of. Being able to work from the comfort of your own home and around other commitments are usually the most popular reasons as to why people choose to do so. However, working from home isn’t as luxurious as you may think, and here are some things you should know if you’re looking to work from home rather than in an office:

You can fall out of schedule:

Having the freedom to work around other commitments such as children and your social life is an amazing bonus of being able to work from home. However, it’s easy to put tasks off while you’re having fun and this can quickly lead to falling behind on your schedule. Things happen – yourself or your kids get sick, your laptop stops working, or your internet is down and suddenly you are officially behind on all of your deadlines.

Communication isn’t as easy:

Another problem that many people face when working from home is communication with their peers or clients. Working from home means the face to face interaction pretty much goes out of the window, and this can make it much harder to secure clients or satisfy customers.

Luckily, we live in an age where communication is easier than it’s ever been, and now with a simple click of a button, you’re able to speak to someone from across the world. There are a plethora of different methods that you could use to effectively communicate with the world around you, and the same goes for your business. Working remotely no longer has to be something that secludes you off from the world, and here are 10 ways to get the most out of remote working to read so that you’re not missing out.

You’re never ‘away’ from your work station:

You could speak to pretty much anybody who works from home and they will tell you the same thing – you’re never truly away from your office! Even though you may have finished your workload for the day, you will still have lingering thoughts when you’re near or around your work station. Unlike working in a regular office or working environment, you can’t escape as easily as simply going home, because you’re already there!

It’s important to find a way of shutting yourself off from work when you’ve finished for the day. This could perhaps be by shutting the door to your office and locking it or, if you don’t have a room dedicated to an office, switching off your computer and packing your work materials away will help let it sink in that now is the time to relax.

You could be in danger:

The last thing you’d think about when working from home is that you could be in danger. After all, you’re in your safe haven! However, running a business from home will require you to list your business address for mailing purposes and this, obviously, means listing your home address for the world to see. Exposing yourself like this can be dangerous, especially if you find a disgruntled customer that wants to confront you face to face. A great way around this dilemma is by purchasing a virtual office address. Doing this means that your mail will be redirected to your home and you won’t have to worry about exposing your home address to the world.

As you can see, there are problems that come hand in hand with working at home, but when you weigh up the pros and cons, is it really worth it? Not everyone can handle feeling secluded and out of routine. But, if you get it right, it can be one of the most rewarding choices you make for your career.

Featured Image By: Bruce Mars from Pexels

New Kut From The Kloth Starred Skinnies

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New Kut From The Kloth Starred Skinnies

Hello everyone and welcome to the final post in the PANTS PATROL series! This little number by Kut From The Kloth is probably my favorite new pair, because they’re really different than anything I’ve ever owned before. I’ve never had a pair of patterned pants, even though I have always wanted to. But, I would shy away from them because I thought that they would draw more attention to my curvier skater thighs and booty. I liked this pair by Kut From The Kloth so much, though, that I just had to give them a try and I am sure glad that I did! Take a look and let’s discuss:

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In all of my years of searching for a pair of patterned pants that I actually liked, I have never seen a black pair with some visual embellishment. So, when I found these on TJMaxx’s website, I had to give them a go and see if a black pair would suit me better and it definitely did! At the end of the day, Lil Red just isn’t a white pants with flowers on it kind of girl and, it took this starry pair from Kut By The Kloth, to make me realize that I was trying to play the patterned pants game all wrong.

Not only do I adore the charcoal grey stars adorning my new jeans, but I simply love the fit of them, too! I think that in all of my years of pants failures, the shopping gods decided to smile on me and throw a dog a bone by introducing me to several bottoms that actually fit well. This Kut From The Kloth pair is tight and curve hugging but they look more edgy than sexy to me and that’s the look that I always go for. And, if people happen to think that I look sexy in whatever I wear, then that’s just fine!

I cannot wait to pair these skinnies with my red and black faux fur jacket by June & Hudson and my favorite platform boots from Forever 21 for a look that it totally glam rock. But, I can also see myself wearing them with my ladybug button down from Zara and some ankle boots for an OOTD when I have a more laid back day at work. Dressed up or down, these jeans freaking rule, and I am SO happy to have found such a perfect pair for my first patterned skinny jeans. :*)

How would you style these jeans? Which types of clothing do you shy away from wearing? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah