4 Ways to Prepare Your Pipes for Winter Months

4 Ways to Prepare Your Pipes for Winter Months

This year we’ve seen dramatic temperature changes in the UK. From experiencing the freezing snow with Beast from The East, right through to summer’s scorching heatwave featuring one of the hottest days of the year being named Friday Furnace. Autumn is fast approaching, which means temperatures are likely to drop, and for businesses, this can mean very expensive consequences if you’re not looking after your pipes properly. From bursts to leaky pipes, we’ll be explaining the 4 ways you can prepare your business’s pipes to get ready for the cold winter months ahead.

Clearing out your pipes

Affinity for Business 4 Ways to Prepare Your Pipes for Winter Months

Autumn may look beautiful as the streets fill with burgundy, brown leaves, but for your pipes, this may not look as pretty. Pipes often build up with leaves and debris which can leave them clogged if not maintained. Once your pipes are clogged, the water will have nowhere to go and simply overflow onto the building and its foundation. To avoid any overflow, be sure to clear your clogged gutters and downspouts regularly, rather than waiting till the end of the season.

Understand your pipe responsibilities

Affinity for Business 4 Ways to Prepare Your Pipes for Winter Months

As the temperature cools down, it can be common to have leaky pipes, therefore it’s important to get familiar with your pipe responsibilities. In fact, we’ve even written a blog post explaining the different types of pipes for you to be fully prepared, in case you encounter a problem.

Going away for a couple of weeks?

Affinity for Business 4 Ways to Prepare Your Pipes for Winter Months

If your planning on setting your ‘out of office’ on for the next couple of weeks, we recommend turning on the heating at a low temperature while you’re away. It can be tempting to switch off the central heating to save money on energy bills whilst nobody is at the premises. However, the cost of keeping the heating on low is much more efficient than the cost of having a burst pipe.

Have proper measures in place

Simply having a chat with your staff members or the facility management in your building can make all the difference. Get everyone informed on how the weather can affect your businesses pipes and set proper measures in place for both Autumn and Winter months. We recommend having rules around the heating levels, making sure that exposed pipes are properly insulated for winter and discuss the duration that your heating it’s left on while the office is vacant. For more top tips on getting prepared for winter months, click here.

If you’re wondering how to detect a leak in your pipe or not aware of where your stop tap or meter is located, you can click here for some more useful information and advice.

Have a question or query for the AfB team? Feel free to give us a call on 0345 357 2424, or send us an email to enquiries@affinityforbusiness.co.uk and a friendly and helpful member of our team will be happy to help.

Getting to Know A Smile For A Child

Getting to Know A Smile For A Child

Every month Affinity for Business donates £250 to a chosen charity of the month. Each month team members will suggest charities they feel passionate about. These charities will then be put into an anonymous poll where the AfB team can vote for a charity to donate to.

This month’s chosen charity is A Smile for A Child, which help disabled children to participate in sport, a cause that is close to our hearts. So, we thought we would raise awareness by kindly asking Chris Read from A Smile for A Child to discuss the importance of the issue. We’ll be answering any common questions and informing the local community of what they can do to help.

Question #1: Can you tell us a bit about A Smile for A Child and how the charity came about?

Affinity for Business Getting to Know A Smile For A Child

I founded A Smile for A Child 9 years ago and I run the charity from home. As we are a grant-giving charity, this means that we host a range of fundraising activities to raise money for disabled children to participate in sports.

Question #2: How do you provide for young disabled children?

We provide grants for disabled children, families will apply to A Smile for A Child to help them purchase much needed sports equipment such as disability chairs, frames, and hoists to help them better participate in physical activities.

Question #3: What sports activities do you run for disadvantaged children?

Affinity for Business Getting to Know A Smile For A Child

As mentioned previously, we provide families with special equipment needed to participate in sports. The donations we receive can also be used to pay for swimming lessons and the hiring of sports halls.

Question #4: What ways are there for people to donate money?  

Affinity for Business Getting to Know A Smile For A Child

There are many ways to donate to A Smile for A Child including; Just Giving, Virgin Money Given, and you can create a fundraiser through our Facebook Page which gives the opportunity for you to invite your Facebook Friends to donate too.

Question #5: In our AfB company lottery we donated £250 towards A Smile for A Child, what can this size donation do for a child with disabilities?

Affinity for Business Getting to Know A Smile For A Child

Firstly, thank you very much for the donation. A £250 donation could teach an autistic child to swim with private lessons. Swimming is known to bring joy, confidence and coordination towards a child with autism as well as improving and reducing anxiety, how fantastic is that?!

Question #6: Lastly, how can people get involved with the activities that you run?

Affinity for Business Getting to Know A Smile For A Child

We have a fantastic bunch of volunteers who help with collections in supermarkets such as Waitrose and in train stations, in fact, Adam Slater one of AfB’s customer support advisors takes the time to fundraise for A Smile for A Child in his spare time.

You can also get involved by sponsoring an event for us if you would like to get involved simply fill out our sponsorship form here and send it to Chris Read at asmileforachild@btinternet.com

If after reading this blog, you feel that you would like to make a donation to A Smile For A Child please visit their website, or you can get in touch with Chris Read on 07904 448296, email him at asmileforachild@btinternet.com.

Time to Change: Improving Our Mental Health & Signing the Employer Pledge

Time to Change: Improving Our Mental Health & Signing the Employer Pledge

According to Time to Change, 1 in 4 of us will fight a mental health problem each year. That’s why it’s so important to AfB that we do our best to improve the quality of our mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. This week we’ve been getting on the Time to Change social movement by using their helpful resources, running activities such as a pub quiz on the topic of mental health and hosting a lovely breakfast morning. The Time to Change movement is a commitment to changing the way we think and act about mental health at every level in the workplace. One of the highlights of the week was our Managing Director, Helen Gillett, signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge, which is a pledge to take action and reduce mental health discrimination in the workplace. We thought it was only right to reflect on this week and show you our mental health awareness efforts in this week’s blog post.

Making use of the Time to Change Resources

We introduced the Time to Change movement by creating our very own mental health badges stating, ‘you are safe here’. We handed these out to everyone in the office to wear in hopes of reminding the team that they are safe in the AfB workplace.

We also took advantage of the Time to Change resources. We added some vibrant colour to the office by putting up helpful posters, bunting which included mental health-related quotes and conversation cards. Time to Change has many resources on their website that you can download and use within the workplace, you can find all of them here.

Pledge signing day

To start the day off right, we hosted a delicious wellbeing breakfast which was a great excuse to get everyone chatting and up from their desk. Looking after your body and thinking about what you put in it, is a big step towards improving your mental health (they do say you are what you eat!).

Later in the day our managing director Helen, signed the time to change pledge which is a commitment to the team to change how we think and act about mental health at every level of the organisation. We even captured the moment in a Facebook Live video which if you missed, you can catch up on our Facebook Page.

Getting the conversation started

Last Wednesday we introduced a ‘What’s on Your Mind?’ box where the team can anonymously talk about how they’re feeling and suggest ways to make AfB a better place to work. Sometimes when we’re feeling a bit low it can be hard to reach out to friends or family, however, just by anonymously writing down your feelings, it can sometimes make all the difference.

Throughout the day we also hosted a pub quiz on Yammer, our internal social network. We asked questions based on mental health related facts which really helped with coming to terms with the reality of the issue.

We had an AfB Pooch running around the office

Over the last couple of months, we’ve made bring your dog to work day a weekly occurrence in the hopes of increasing mental health awareness, creating a happy working environment for the team and we can honestly say it’s working! On Thursday, the office was filled with smiles as we had the lovely Cushti making a return to the office.

We also looked back on our childhood games by using the Time to Change chatter boxes. They brought back the memories of making them at school but above that they were great conversation starters.

As you can probably tell, we’re big on Mental Health and Wellbeing here at AfB. We have even written a blog about why it’s so important to us, click here to find out more.

And if you’re interested in a career with us at AfB, you can keep an eye out on our website for openings.

Lidos and Leisure Centres: 5 Tips to Reduce Your Water Consumption

Lidos and Leisure Centres: 5 Tips to Reduce Your Water Consumption

It’s peak season for lidos and leisure centres in the summer, from squeezing those last few workouts in before your next holiday, to entertaining the kids during the school break. Running your business during these months can lead to an increase in utility bills including rather large water bills. This may sound scary when you’re managing a swimming-pool but fear not, AfB are here to help you reduce your water consumption with our five top tips.

Cover your swimming-pool

Affinity for Business Lidos and Leisure centres: 5 Tips to Reduce Your Water Consumption

Did you know that when a pool is uncovered, it can lose up to a thousand gallons of water from evaporation each month? That’s enough to fill up 10 full bathtubs! To stop water in your pool evaporating, a simple solution is to invest in a solar cover. This is a cover made out of propylene (a thermal plastic) and stops the water in your pool from evaporating. The thermal properties in the cover conserves the temperature of the water in your pool meaning you’ll spend less on both your water and energy bills.

Decrease the temperature of your pool

On the topic of evaporation, reducing the swimming pool temperature will also help to cut down on your business’s water consumption sustainably. Evaporation not only affects water levels but it also evaporates the chemicals in your pool too. By lowering the pool temperature and having the added insulation from your solar cover, you may even be able to notice the difference in your monthly water bills.

Install water saving appliances in your shower rooms

Affinity for Business Lidos and Leisure centres: 5 Tips to Reduce Your Water Consumption

A lot of water consumption in a lido or leisure centre comes from the changing room showers. Whether it’s in use after training in the gym or doing lengths in the pool, your customer usage is pretty much out of your control. Thankfully, there are water-saving appliances that lower water consumption, including low flow shower heads and self-closing shower valves.

Low flow shower heads push out 50% less water compared to your regular shower, through pushing out air instead of more water. Additionally, you can reduce water consumption by installing a self-closing shower valve, which stops water from coming out the head after a period of time automatically. They’re great for ensuring showers aren’t left running and they reduce the amount of time spent using in the shower too.

Manage the chemicals you put in your swimming pool

Affinity for Business Lidos and Leisure centres: 5 Tips to Reduce Your Water Consumption

Maintaining the pool’s filter systems can prevent a huge amount of water loss. Using an automatic pool cleaner, a vacuum cleaner designed to collect debris and sediment from the bottom of a swimming pool is an effective way to maintain clean filter systems. It also reduces the frequency of having to backwash the pool water to rinse the filter from debris.

Lower the Pool’s Water Levels

Affinity for Business Lidos and Leisure centres: 5 Tips to Reduce Your Water Consumption

The higher the water level of your swimming pool, the more chance you have of wasting water. Large amounts of water can be lost through everyday use, such as splashing and jumping in the pool. We would recommend keeping the water levels of a swimming pool around 5-10 Inches below the surface of the pool.

If you enjoyed these top tips on lowering your water consumption, you’ll really like our blog on tackling your water usage in the leisure sector.

We would love to see photos of your lidos and leisure centres, Tweet us a photo @affinityfb.

Water Saving and Sustainability Hacks for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

Water Saving and Sustainability Hacks for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

Whether you run a one-man band or a company of 200 employees, we’re all guilty of taking our water supply for granted at times. From the brew in our coffee to the water in your florist bouquet and the daily washing of the bath towels at the local B&B. We can all do our part to help the environment and be sustainable in our daily habits – with that being said, let’s show you how with these brilliant water-saving hacks!

Eco-friendly laundry

Affinity for Business Water Saving and Sustainability Hacks for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

For some SME’s washing laundry is a weekly or sometimes daily operation, for example, washing hotel towels, kitchen chef whites, and everyday cleaning cloths. However, using the washing machine can waste both energy and water if you’re not using the eco settings provided – you’ll also find these settings on a dishwasher too. In addition to using the eco settings, you can further save water during your washing load by storing grey water, which is the relatively clean waste water from your machine. Here’s a step-by-step guide for extending the life of the grey water from your washing machine and how to install a water butt. Storing grey water is one of the best ways to keep your garden or office plants replenished as they can save you around 5,000 litres of water per year!

One of the common ways to waste water is if you happen to experience a leak through your washing machine. Not only will it waste your precious water supply, but you’ll see a dramatic increase in your business’s water bills too. It’s important to check regularly for leaky valves, that way if you experience a leak via your washing machine, you’ll spot the signs before it’s too late.

Sustainable taps

Affinity for Business Water Saving and Sustainability Hacks for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

Installing tap aerators are a great way to save your business water because they reduce the water flow by up to 50%. It’s the perfect hack that creates the illusion of a normal running tap, injecting air into the water that runs out. Aerators are easy to use and simply screw onto the end of your tap’s spout.

Did you know that dripping taps can waste up to 90 litres of water a week?! As well as installing a tap aerator, you can also invest in water saving taps such as self-closing taps or battery-operated touch taps. Both water-saving devices ensure you’re not wasting any water with a dripping tap, and what’s even better, is it can save your business money off your bills too.

Water saving toilets and urinals

Affinity for Business Water Saving and Sustainability Hacks for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

A great hack for saving water in your toilet is to install a water-saving hippo, it’s a plastic unit that opens to look like a box, sitting neatly in the cistern of your toilet saving you water every time you flush. In fact, it can save you up to three litres of water per flush! It’s easy to fit and they immediately start saving you money.

When it comes to saving water in your urinals, we recommend getting infra-red urinal controls which only flush when movement is detected. That way you’re only flushing when the urinal is in use.
On the other hand, if you have urinals that flush on a timer it’s important to make sure you manage the timings effectively in order to save water. A good way to manage the time right is to match the hours that your business is open, that way you won’t be flushing water whilst there’s nobody there. For more tips on making your urinals more water efficient, click here.

Want to further tackle your business’s water usage? Here are some handy tips for managing the water in your industry sustainably.

National Allotment Week: 5 Reasons why your business should have an allotment

National Allotment Week: 5 Reasons why your business should have an allotment

Happy National Allotment Week! We thought it was only right to celebrate by letting you know the benefits of having an allotment in the workplace. There are lots of resources out there to help you start your own allotment. From numerous book guides,  through to the hit BBC show Gardener’s World, there are even handy YouTube videos, meaning getting started has never been easier! Gardening is a hobby that has so many benefits such as healthy eating and getting everyone active.  It’s also a stepping stone for implementing sustainability practices. Grab your shovel and let’s talk you through five reasons why you should have an allotment in your workplace…

It’s a great form of exercise

Affinity for Business National Allotment Week: 5 Reasons why your business should have an allotment

Did you know that the average weighing person can burn around 324 calories just by gardening for one hour? Whether that be from lifting and cleaning plant pots, sowing seeds or giving your crops a drink of water in your lunch break. Squeezing in that extra activity is perfect for those with a low-intensity job such as working in an office or being cooped up in a school classroom. Exercise from gardening can have amazing pay-off in the long run as it can prevent brittle bones, heart disease and touching on our next point, it can improve your mental health too.

Gardening can improve your mental health 

Affinity for Business National Allotment Week: 5 Reasons why your business should have an allotment

Work can sometimes be a stressful place, whether you’re feeling tense from the morning commute, work in a fast-paced restaurant kitchen or have a day full of intense meetings. Taking thirty minutes from your day to refresh your mind and digest your thoughts in an allotment has lots of stress relieving benefits. Just being out in the sun for around 20 minutes can increase your serotonin levels. These are hormones in the body that regulate your mood. Starting an allotment can make your employees feel happy and content – happy mind, happy workplace!

Starting an allotment helps the environment

Affinity for Business National Allotment Week: 5 Reasons why your business should have an allotment

When growing your own fruit and veg in the workplace allotment, it’s important to be sustainable in the process. A few of our top tips include reusing rainwater by collecting it in a water butt (a tank that’s connected to your pipes and stores rainwater) and recycling it to replenish your fruit and veg. The most sustainable way to water crops is to use a watering can and water your plants at the root, helping water get to where it’s most needed. Timing is also key to being water efficient, watering your allotment at a time that’s cool will reduce the chances of evaporation. A good time to water your allotment is in the early morning or in the afternoon before leaving work.

There are sustainable ways to plant fruit and vegetables too. No need to buy any seeds, you can extend the life of your used veg by re-growing your kitchen scraps! There are lots of different types of healthy foods that you can repurpose such as lettuce, avocado, and potatoes. In fact, here are 25 different types of crops that you could grow in your allotment by using this recycling method. Plus, you won’t be breaking your business’s budget on plant seeds.

Healthy eating, healthy lifestyle

Affinity for Business National Allotment Week: 5 Reasons why your business should have an allotment

Healthy eating is said to encourage higher levels of productivity in the workplace and generally adds to a healthier way of living, they do say an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Encouraging your employees to eat healthier is easy, just place the fruit and veg grown from your allotment in a communal area of the workplace for people to take as a healthy snack, add to their lunch or take home and use as ingredients for their dinner.

Getting social

An allotment is a great team activity, it encourages effective communication and creates a social environment for colleagues to bond. During warmer months, the allotment is a great spot to have lunch with others, sit in the sun and soak in the calming surroundings.

We hope you found our five reasons for having an allotment helpful! For more advice, here are our top water saving tips for gardeners this summer to help you become more sustainable and water efficient whilst maintaining your allotment.

Have you already got an allotment in your workplace? Tweet us a photo @Affinityfb, we would love to see them!