Switching off at the end of the day isn’t always easy, especially if you have a tough and demanding job.  To enable you to be more productive you need to ensure you get the right work-life balance.

Here are 11 ideas to help you switch off from work when you can.  Why not try some of them this week and let us know which worked best for you by tweeting @averyUK?

1)    Change your clothes.  It mind sound obvious but getting out of your work clothes and into something more comfortable should be one of your first jobs.  Whether it’s your gym kit or your PJ’s it doesn’t matter.  You just need to know you aren’t at work any more.

2)    Read a good book.  Make sure it’s something that will help you take your mind away from the office.  So don’t choose a business book that will get you thinking about work.  A bit of romance, comedy or horror will help you escape after a difficult day.

3)    Watch a film.  Put your feet up and watch a good movie.  Once you get stuck into the plot you’ll soon forget those workspace worries.

4)    Have a bath.  When you get in from work run a nice, warm bubble bath.  On your way home pick a couple of magazines and let the time pass by whilst you unwind.

5)    Go to the gym.  Exercise is a brilliant way to take your mind off the day job.

6)    Try a new sport. Whether it’s simply a run around the block or something a little bit more unusual such as rock climbing or snowboarding, taking part in sport will focus your mind away from work.

7)    Go out for a meal or drink.  We appreciate you can’t do this every day but after a difficult day at work socialising with friends is a great way to relax.  You can put the world to rights on what’s happening in the news or on your favourite TV programme.

8)    Listen to music.  Whether it’s some nice quiet relaxation music or the latest dance tracks you can put on your headphones and lose yourself in the music.      

9)    Work through your TV recorder.  We record lots of our favourite TV programmes during the week so when we get our own time we can work through them and indulge ourselves for hours on end.

10) Call a friend or family member.  You can’t beat a good natter.  Catching up with an old friend or member on the phone will take your mind off work.  Although do make sure the person you call isn’t a colleague as it will be too easy to slip into office chat.

11) Go to sleep.  You have a tough job so when you get an opportunity, get some rest.  This will ensure you have lots of energy for when

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By Simon Jones, Motive Copywriting

“Another one for the snake pit,” I say to myself as I dump my shopping on my desk.  I think at this point I’d best explain:  I don’t keep snakes but have a habit of homing cables. 

Every time I get a new piece of tech, inevitably I take in a few more.  The snake pit is actually a wire basket where a wiggly mess of mobile, laptop, camera, satnav, eBook reader battery chargers and USB leads aplenty lurk.

All are in black. And the connections are on the face of it identical. So pulling out the one I need is a case of hook it up and see.

But thanks to Avery, order can hopefully be soon restored… I’m trying out their Cable Markers.

Avery has online templates for each of its label types. I just enter the product code (found on the label packaging) and a MS Word template downloads on my PC in a flash.

The cursor is there ready and waiting for me on the first label that I wish to identity. I type away in my chosen font and font size, hop on to the remaining ones on the page and hit ‘send to print’. 

It’s all very quick and simple. With the labels all printed, I’m just left to peel and stick them onto the cables.  I have to say I find this part a rather satisfying job. Maybe I have a label fetish. When I was a kid, back when tins of beans had sticky price labels on them, I would often fantasise about having a price label gun.  Little things please little minds as they say.

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Back to reality and I feel satisfied that I’ve tamed that tangle of wires.  My home office feels a more organised as well as a safer and more secure zone. Avery’s Cable Markers have sorted out my PC and printer set up, stopping me from guessing which cable I can safely disconnect.  Plus all cables not in use are tagged for me to grab quickly when I need them. So there’s no danger of making the wrong cable connections.

From now on it’s hands off the wrong cable and hands on the right one. 

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Hands Off Week runs from Monday 15th September to Friday 19th September.  Throughout the week Avery UK social media followers are being given the chance to win something from our Lost Property Box.  Prizes ranges from an iPad Mini to a garden gnome to toilet roll. You can find out how to enter each day here.

On the first day of Hands Off Week we gave away a digital camera to our first lucky winner.

An extra way to enter the Lost Property Box competiton

We’re giving followers an extra chance to win.  We want you to send us a picture of the item you would be most lost without and tweet it to @UKAvery with the hash tag #HandsOff14 or post on www.facebook.com/UKAvery.  On Friday we will select one person to win a prize from the Lost Property Box.  The prize will be selected at random from all those that are left at the time of the draw.  This competition closes at 12 noon on Friday 19th September 2014.

Here are some of the key facts from the Hands Off Week 2014 survey.

Ever noticed how things can sometimes go missing in the office? New research from Avery UK has revealed that the ‘office thief’ is most likely to be a middle ranking member of staff or even the boss, while interns, temps and office juniors were the least likely to be light-fingered with office property.

The study was commissioned by Avery UK in aid of Hands Off Week (15th – 19th September), a national awareness campaign encouraging organisations around the country to protect their possessions and safeguard company property. The survey of 2,000 UK workers found that over 60% reported things going missing from their desk with pens, staplers, notebooks, snacks, files and folders being the most likely to go walkabout. A further 38% of workers often fell victim to lunchtime theft too with food from the office fridge or kitchen disappearing. More worryingly there were also reports of gadgets and IT equipment such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones going missing.

While stationery and specialist tools were cited as the most common things to go missing from the workplace, one in ten people also reported the disappearance of several unusual items too. Among the stranger items lost or stolen from the office were socks, toilet rolls, inflatable animals, a garden gnome, nail polish and even a carpet.

The Avery research also revealed the average cost to companies, with losses in the last year averaging £1,334.85. Despite this over a quarter of respondents said their company wasn’t taking any special precautions such as labelling, locking or hiding important company property. Although 2 out of 5 respondents did feel that labelling valuables could act as an effective deterrent.

Fiona Mills, Marketing Director at Avery UK commented. “As well as looking at the wide range of items to go missing from the office we also wanted to explore the impacts of this. Our research found that almost three quarters of respondents said that losing key items from the workplace would affect their ability to work. Yet just a few simple security solutions like labelling company property or displaying effective signage could help make all the difference. That’s where Hands Off Week comes in, to help both businesses and their staff protect their possessions, deter theft and improve the chances of their lost property being rightfully returned.”

Taking place 15th – 19th September 2014 Hands Off Week is encouraging people to take simple steps to ensure the safety and security of their possessions at home and work. Whether it’s deterring theft with signage or applying specialist labels from the Avery Protection & Security range to company property – Hands Off Week will offer plenty of practical tips, advice and support. There will also be chances to win all sorts of prizes from the Avery Lost Property Box. The box is bursting with mystery items to be won, check out the Avery UK Facebook and Twitter channels to enter.

To take part in Hands Off Week, try your luck with the Avery Lost Property Box or find out more about the great range of Protection & Security products available from Avery visit www.handsoffweek.co.uk.

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Hands Off Week (HOW) 2014 officially kicks off today and we’ve got an exciting week ahead.  Not only will we be announcing the results of the HOW survey and sharing lots of advice but we will also be giving away daily prizes.

You could win one of the wide range of prizes from the Avery Lost Property Box.  This includes an iPad Mini, digital camera, iPod shuffle and some of the more unusual items to go missing such as a garden gnome, hi vis clothing, lunch box, tea bags, toilet roll and even an inflatable animal.

Each day you can enter the competition for the chance to win a daily prize and on Friday 19th September we will have a grand prize draw to giveaway the rest of the items in the Lost Property Box. Look out for our daily videos and pictures to see who has won a prize and what they have won at www.facebook.com/UKAvery and www.twitter.com/UKAvery.

Terms and conditions

1.By entering this competition users are deemed to have read, understood and accepted all of the ‘Terms and Conditions’ and agreed to be bound by them and any requirements set out in accompanying material.

2. One winning entry will be selected each day at random from the entries received by the closing date and time.  On Friday 19th September we will select a winner at random for each prize left in the lost property box.

3. To enter you must follow @UKAvery on Twitter or like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/UKAvery AND complete the daily task as follows:

Monday 15th September – Reply to the competition tweet sent by @UKAvery before 3.30pm.

Tuesday 16th September – Like the competition post on www.facebook.com/ukavery before 3.30pm.

Wednesday 17th September - Reply to the competition tweet sent by @UKAvery before 3.30pm.

Thursday 18th September - Like the competition post on www.facebook.com/ukavery before 3.30pm.

Friday 19th September – Reply to the competition post on Twitter OR like the Facebook post before 2.00pm.

4. The prize will be selected at random and the winner will be informed and notified which prize they have won via Facebook or Twitter after the closing date and time.

5. This competition is limited to one entry per person.

6. The prize is non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for money or any other items.

7. By entering the competition the winners agree to participate in such promotional activity and material as Avery UK requires.

8.The judges’ decision will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.

9. The promoter is Avery UK, The Switchback Gardner Road Maidenhead Berkshire, SL6 7RJ.

By Natalie Winkworth

Twitter - @smallpricetopa

Website - www.smallpricetopa.co.uk

My name is Natalie and, after graduating from university, I worked as an office manager for twelve years. I have a husband and two beautiful children; a boy and a girl. 

My husband and I have spent the last seven years renovating our Victorian Bungalow; our forever family home which we adore. 

I had everything I could have always dreamed of; lovely family and friends, a beautiful home, a well paid job and annual holidays abroad so why was I still not content? 

Whilst other ladies may be jealous of women who are thinner or prettier than them I found myself becoming increasingly jealous of women who ran their own successful businesses.  

I was genuinely satisfied with my lot but I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I gave running my own business a go! 

But where to start?! I couldn’t give up my employed job straight away as we relied upon my income.  So I found myself in the position of being a working mum and then taking on additional work setting up my new Virtual Assistant and Lifestyle Management business – Small Price to PA

I no longer felt envious but one other feeling dominated the majority of my waking hours; guilt! 

I felt guilty if I didn’t spend enough time with the children; my son needed to learn to swim and to ride a bike and my daughter needed potty training!

I felt guilty too on my employer who I had, up to that point, been loyal to for twelve years.

If I didn’t spend enough time working on my new venture, I felt guilty that, if it failed, I would let my supportive family down! 

The thing I kept telling myself was that nothing worthwhile was ever easy and it was this that got me through those manic months of plate spinning.

I knew that the flexibility of running my own business would, eventually, have a positive impact on my children; I never need miss a Sports Day, Christmas Play or Parents Evening again.  I dreamt of the day that they took over the running of the business knowing that I had built the business up from nothing but sheer determination.  

It is, therefore, a little ironic that my company Small Price to PA offers virtual assistance and lifestyle management support to small businesses owners and busy working parents knowing that, at one point not too long ago, I could have done with this very support myself! 

 

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Tonight the Great British Pub Awards take place and we want to wish all the finalists a fantastic evening. 

A public house is often the centre of a community and we wanted to share this story of how Avery can help local pubs communicate their messages with their customers.

Read Sarah’s story

The Allied Arms in Reading is a lovely place to spend an afternoon or evening.  Despite being slap bang in the centre of Reading, with its beautiful secluded garden and a wide selection of frequently changing real ales, it’s no wonder it was voted Reading’s Pub of the Year in 2013.  Avery UK’s Sarah visits the Allied Arms every fortnight to participate in their famous Pub Quiz and noticed one week how long it took landlady Moya to change all the notices in the pub.  “I watched Moya walk round replacing her event signage for about 25 minutes.  She had to go to each poster’s location, peel the old one from the wall, carefully remove all the blu-tac, then reapply the tac to the 4 corners of the new A3 poster (which was quite fiddly when customers kept jostling past/opening the doors she was trying to stick the posters onto!).  I thought to myself what Moya needs are some Avery A3 Changeable Sign Slots!”

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Avery Sign Slots are ingenious plastic pockets which have a removable and repositionable adhesive backing.  Stick these clear durable pockets to any smooth surface and you can slip your signs, notices and posters into and out of the slots in seconds.  Ideal for frequently changing information like menus or forthcoming events, they are also perfect for environments such as pubs as the signs are immediately protected from passers-by, drinks… or any other eventualities!

Sarah gave a pack of Avery A3 sign slots to Moya to test out and they are still there a year later!  All Moya has to do now is pull out the redundant poster and replace with the new information.  It’s all competed in a matter of seconds. 

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Next week Avery UK will launch Hands Off Week, a special security themed campaign encouraging businesses and individuals around the country to protect their possessions and safeguard their property.

Taking place from 15th to 19th September 2014, Hands Off Week is encouraging people to take simple steps to ensure the safety and security of their possessions at home and work. The campaign will offer plenty of practical tips, advice and support to help deter theft and see lost property rightfully returned.

Hands Off Week will also highlight the many ways that our products can help businesses and individuals to keep their valuables safe, from deterring theft with signage to applying specialist labels from the Avery Protection & Security range to important property.

Look out for details of our new research findings from a study of 2000 UK workers. The study will reveal the costs to business of theft and loss, as well as looking into items lost and stolen from the offices, desks and homes and much more. .

To take part in Hands Off Week or find out more about the range of Protection & Security products available from Avery visit www.handsoffweek.co.uk. You can also join in the conversation on Twitter @UKAvery using #HandsOff14 and at Facebook.com/UKAvery and LinkedIn.com/company/AveryUK.

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Today is National Grandparents Day over in the US and the official UK event takes place the first Sunday in October. I’d never heard of National Grandparents day until recently, however I wanted to organise a little something to say thanks for everything they do with Zoe.

I would be lost without my Mum and Dad, and Zoe just adores her Grandparents. So we had a little think about what we could get them as a special gesture, and naturally of course, came up with Cider. Using Avery MD4001, we could create a personalised bottle, especially for Franma (who was far too cool to be a ‘Grandma’) and Grandad. I’ve put together an simple ‘how to’ guide, so that you too can do the same – whether it’s for your Grandparents; or like me, a fun project to do with your child for their Grandparents.

First step – you’ll need the product, of course! You can view the Avery MD4001 on www.avery.co.uk, and buy on-line. Remember, it’s not just bottles these are great for – these can be used horizontally around a jar too, for things like chutney or jam. What will you use yours for? Home-made lemonade perhaps? Or even a bottle of weed killer to protect Grandad’s garden.

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Next, go on to the Free Avery Design and Print on-line software, www.avery.co.uk/print, where you can easily create your personalised Grandparents Day present. Why not add your favourite photo of you and your grandparents? There’s a nifty help button at every stage too, so don’t worry if you’re not too technical!

Just a little Tip – you will need to have Adobe Flash Player installed to be able to use this handy software.

Once you have your unique label designed, print away! You can even save your project to an on-line account or your computer for next year – or if by the following Grandparents Day you have a new favourite photo, you can edit as well.

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That’s all there is to it! Pick your Grandparents favourite tipple, get creative with Avery Design and Print on-line, Print, Stick and enjoy the reaction when you hand over their very own personalised present to say thank you for being the best Grandparents.

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We love it when we start chatting to someone on social media and find out they are a fan of Avery products.  There are so many ways our labels can be used it’s always interesting to see some of the fabulous designs that consumers have created using our software and products.

Last week we came across Isa Marie Skincare and wanted to share with you some of the fantastic pictures of their products and our labels in action.

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But first, here’s a little bit of background to the company

Isa Marie Skincare is a business owned and run by Marianne Hayfron. As with most ladies, Marianne loves using creams, lotions and scrubs but one day when she looked closely at the ingredients of some of the products she was using, she realised that they contained many questionable chemicals.

She decided to do her research and learn how to make her own exfoliating scrub using natural ingredients. Her first scrub made her skin soft and healthy looking with a wonderful glow and she wanted to learn more and expand the range. Marianne was so excited about her discovery that she encouraged her friends and family to try the products and they loved the products too. Many friends had suffered with various skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis and after using some of the products they found that their skin conditions had improved dramatically. The Isa Marie Skincare Brand was born.

Every product is tried and tested by Marianne, her friends and her family and to comply with current UK and EU Cosmetics Products Regulations, all products have passed a Cosmetic Safety Assessment

Creating professional looking labels

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Marianne uses Avery labels and the Design & Print Online software for all her product labelling. Not only is she able to add the product name and information but the flexibility of the software enables her to personalise products when required.  This is ideal if someone is buying a product as a gift as it makes the item extra special.

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You can find out more and purchase the skincare products at http://www.isamarieskincare.co.uk/

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Getting the right advice is vital for small businesses but it’s not always easy to know where to look.  Avery is constantly looking for ways to help businesses like yours and that’s why we’ve created this podcast with business coach and mentor, Lena Robinson, founder of Kiwi Girl Ltd.

Lena shares advice about everything from making that first jump into starting out in business to taking steps to grow. She has some really inspiring stories and quotes to share with business owners.

Before you make any new steps in business it’s important to listen to advice from others to ensure you can make the right decision with a clear mind.

Why not make a cuppa and take ten minutes out of your day to hear what Lena has to say?