March 2016 archive

Spruce Up Your Home After the Spring Clean

Spring cleaning your home feels like it gives it a new lease of life… for a few weeks, before the clutter begins to pile up again and you are back to square one. Just getting the motivation to spring clean our homes can be tough at times, but with a bit of added extra effort, you can make just a few changes to breathe new life into your home for the year to come. As the evenings begin to last a little bit longer, now is the ideal time to grasp the opportunity to make your home feel more welcoming over the year to come. We even have a few tips to reduce the load when it comes to cleaning later in the year.

Accessories

These don’t have to be wholescale changes, in fact, small additions are the perfect way to add your own style to the home. Little additions like lamps, vases, pillow cases and picture frames all provide ideal additions to adding your own personal stamp to each room.

Effective Storage

So you’ve finally tidied away everything that was scattered across your home. This is an ideal opportunity to create a simple system of storage to keep them all tucked away, all while adding to the style of each room. Wicker baskets and shelving keep things neat and tidy while adding to the aesthetic.

Make the most of lighting

Often when you buy or rent a home, they’re installed with a standard single ceiling light. But having effective lighting is an incredibly useful way of making your home more inviting. Consider adding more lamps, a chandelier light or a floor lamp to illuminate even the darkest corners of the room.

Re-decorate

Perhaps you’ve been walking into the same room the past year, telling yourself that you will decorate it. Well this is the best time to add a new splash of paint in anticipation for the summer, all while improving the vibrancy in the room.

New Flooring

The floor is hardly something you will be looking at all the time, but a tired and worn out carpet or laminate will drag the rest of your room down. Depending on which you prefer, a good carpet will add to the cosiness of the room while a stylish laminate is a great addition to the clean design of the room.

Update your bathroom

As stated before, there is no need to redo the whole bathroom, but it is a great room to improve and maintain. Little additions such as candles provide a relaxing environment, but ultimately you should be aiming to create a room with a relaxing atmosphere.

Small details

Finally, a home is officially your home where you can find fleck’s of your personality spread all over the place. Rather than sticking with the design the previous owner had, include a mix of your favourite colours, add accessories which make you feel comfortable and make an environment that you will look forward to going home to.

 

Re-decorating

Making the Most of Space in Hospitals and Clinics

Space has become a commodity across hospitals in Britain as patient numbers swell yet the number of rooms available remains the same. As the budget will rarely stretch to acquiring new areas, it is therefore crucial to make the most of the space available while maintaining optimal care for every patient. Hospitals and clinics are well known for being dynamic environments which in the same vein of the issues they contend with, operate like a cell where each process needs to work together in order to run smoothly.

Portable room dividers and portable screens fit into this dynamic comfortably, allowing space to be created in seconds and it only requires one person to achieve. This frees up the vital time for staff to spread their care out amongst patients equally. Especially in wards and waiting rooms where privacy is vital, portable room dividers can be walked out in seconds, providing enclosed spaces when they are needed most. Many portable room dividers are now available with an anti-bacterial material which prevents the spread of germs and virus’ to ensure the high standards of the hospital are maintained.

This innovative material allows portable room dividers to be utilised across a wide range of healthcare environments where maintaining the privacy of patients and their families is of the utmost importance. Similarly, it prevents the spread of any illnesses brought in by other patients in clinics where contact with ill patients can be high. The flexibility of the system means they can be used in waiting rooms when required and then moved elsewhere if an issue arises.

The same applies in pharmacies, blood donation clinics and other medical environments which require space to be simply and quickly divided and providing patients with privacy during what can be sensitive times. There is the added option with some portable room dividers to have acoustic foam included which works by soaking up sound waves, reducing sound coming in, as well as keeping conversations between patients and staff strictly confidential.

Finally, for a unique use, the portable room dividers can be tailor made to adapt to training exercises and helping to develop the skills of the future generation of medical staff. The option to include printed panels means that medical environments can be recreated on the room dividers to assist trainees. Meanwhile, the lightweight material ensures they can be packed away easily and effectively when not in use.

If you would like to learn more about the options available with the portable room dividers from Rap Industries, then please feel free to give us a call on 01733 394941 or by sending an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

 

IMG_5055 Cobalt Blue model

 

Blow Off the Cobwebs and Gain a Fresh Perspective on your Life

It’s spring time, and for most of us, we are fresh from the misery of our misguided new year’s resolutions. As we begin to shed our coats and the thought of cleaning the house begins to creep into your mind, perhaps it is time to consider some realistic resolutions to make 2016 a positive year. Struggling to keep up with that rigorous fitness programme you laid out for yourself over Christmas can kick off a negative downward spiral later in the year, so don’t allow this to happen. Do a spot of spring cleaning in your life and just like cleaning your home, you will feel a lot better for it.

Admittedly, self-improvement can be significantly harder than arming yourself with a duster and some surface spray and sometimes this can be a little daunting. The trick is to not inundate yourself with additional pressure, so remember, you are doing this for you and not for anyone else, so there is no time limit to getting it done (although be careful of putting it off altogether). This gives you the breathing room to take things a step at a time and move out of your comfort zone at your own pace. Sometimes what you hope to achieve requires a big leap, whereas others must be done in small increments, but always remember your goal at the end of it.

If your resolution was to lose weight, then be realistic about your goals. You can’t be at the level you expect in a few weeks as aims such as these require patience and fortitude. If the thought of attending the gym fills you with nerves, don’t allow them to overcome you, take a step back and have a look at how you can make exercising work for you.

Firstly, if you have a friend who likes to go, ask to go with them as they can provide the ideal source of motivation you need to get started and find out if it truly is for you. Alternatively, there are many other ways to get fit; try a new sport, take up walking or join one of the many fitness groups around such as Zumba where you will be joined by likeminded people.

Quite often, people of all ages will end up asking themselves, ‘what am I doing in life?’. Rhetorical questions such as these pretty much exclusively serve to raise your stress levels. If it is something that keeps occurring in your mind, then it is time to take a break a get a fresh perspective. Travelling alone or with others provides a perfect escape from your day to day life and provides you with the opportunity to see the world differently from another culture.

Europe provides an ideal location to escape, while countries further afield will truly immerse you in a different culture. At times, it can feel impossible to escape your thoughts, so travelling grips your attention constantly and will pull you out of your comfort zone. Being away from work and family gives you the freedom to think and the room to appreciate what you have in life. It might even give you a new perspective on what you can do to give you a more positive outlook for the future.

While bucket lists can be somewhat cliché, they have an honest purpose and there is no harm in keeping one. They at least allow you to keep track of your goals and dreams from previous years which may have slipped out of your mind, but also they serve as reminder of what you are working towards and the purpose that you have. If you can even just tick a few of these things off of your list this year, then you are making great progress and making your life all the better for it.

 

Spring Cleaning

 

Why You Shouldn’t Have to Dread Spring Cleaning

With the cold weather beginning to ebb away, the days are getting longer and flowers are starting to blossom again, it is that time of year again. That sinking feeling in the bottom of your stomach, just the thought of scraping the remainder of your festive food off the base of your oven is giving you horrible flashbacks to a year ago. Most of us have all experienced that looming sensation as we literally watch the crumbs build up on the carpet and remind ourselves every morning, “I’ll wash that limescale off later” only to rinse and repeat the neglect for weeks on end.

But don’t fear, remarkably, there is in fact a way to rid yourself of that feeling every year, and its somewhat more straightforward than you may have thought. Unfortunately, it is not some kind of magic spray which will evaporate dust and grime into thin air, but with a bit of dedication, you can be free of those gruelling couple of weeks you spend removing layers of goodness knows what from every crevice of your home.

In terms of dedication, we are talking a couple of hours of your time every week or two weeks. When you wake up on Saturday morning and fancy just lying in bed for a couple of hours, take advantage of this time. Clean an area of your home quickly and efficiently and I guarantee you will feel better after doing it. It can be a draining feeling looking at the dirt build-up throughout the week, re-assuring yourself you will wipe away, before Monday rolls around again and it is still there, mocking you.

Try to avoid going into this blind, while the free spirits of you that are out there will feel comfortable tackling whatever has been pestering them during the week, for the remainder of us who need a rigid structure to tackle the problem, it’s time for a plan. The best part about this is you can tailor it to suit how much you fancy doing, how often you want to do it, and how much you want to get done. Personally, I prefer tackling one room at a time, taking on the living room one week, then the kitchen a couple of weeks later.

Giving yourself such an approach will breakdown the house work into more consumable chunks, which won’t wear you out and will give you a little boost at the weekend as you can reassure yourself that you have completed something during your time off. The best part is you can customise it around your schedule, the only thing you need to maintain is the dedication to get it done.

If you are struggling to motivate yourself, just have a think back to the spring clean, imagine those layers of muck you thought you would never get off, then remember that just by wiping surfaces down regularly means you will never have to go through that pain again.

 

Spring Cleaning

Where Does the Concept of Spring Cleaning Originate from?

The concept of spring cleaning has become so ingrained in our society that for many, it has become tradition. While we can trace the history of national holidays such as Christmas back thousands of years, the origins of spring cleaning are not quite so obvious. In fact, nobody knows the true answer and throughout history, various cultures have adopted the concept of cleaning in spring, passing it down from generation to generation. Often the reason has been due to cultural celebrations with the purpose simply being ‘out with the old and in with the new’.

In Jewish customs, the festival of Passover is said to be one of the originators of modern day spring cleaning. While Passover traditionally commemorates the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses, it is deeper within the celebration that cleansing the home became an annual event.

The Feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is celebrated over seven to eight days. While the Jews were enslaved in Egypt they were fed unleavened bread (bread without yeast) and this is observed during the feast. In fact, any leavened bread left in the house is considered an insult to God, therefore before the celebrations can begin, the home is thoroughly cleaned to remove even the smallest breadcrumbs.

Meanwhile, a similar tradition is observed in Iran as they celebrate their new year on March 21st. Annually, two weeks of celebrations are held to celebrate customs, rituals and symbolism residing from their history. This celebration is commonly known as Now Rouz, a time of regeneration for Iranians which is celebrated through the burning of old and the planting of new to signify renewal and optimism for the year ahead. Once the festivities have died down (approximately two weeks), Iranians complete another ritual, Khaneh Takani (Shaking the House) whereby every part of the home is scoured and cleaned from floors to the ceiling.

Alternatively, in China, spring cleaning traditionally is completed in preparation for the Chinese New Year. Every household completes this ritual to be rid of bad luck and misfortune from the previous year, giving them an opportunity to start afresh. In fact, cleaning is restricted until a couple of weeks after the Chinese New Year to retain good luck from the festivities.

Certainly, there is a fairly obvious cultural trend as to why most of us clean in the spring, however there is a more practical aspect to consider. Biologically, we all produce melatonin which is released during periods of sunlight and helps our bodies to identify when nightfall is coming. So when the evening sets in, our melatonin levels drop, causing us to feel sleepy and altogether less motivated to clean. As spring rolls around, the days are getting longer and with an extra dosage of sunlight, we have more energy to complete the annual spring clean.

This is in line with more recent times, as more and more people began to use coal, oil and wood to heat their homes, the levels of ash and soot would drastically increase. While the winter months are cold and we lack the energy to clean away the soot, it often piled up. Therefore, when spring arrived, it was warm enough outside to open the windows, release the tinge of smoke stained sheets and clean the house of all of that unhealthy soot.

Even with modern central heating, I think we are all prone to that ‘can’t be bothered to clean’ feeling over the winter months, which is why spring cleaning continues to feature so prominently on our calendars.

Spring Cleaning

 

How You Can Breathe New Life into Your Workspace

The deep spring clean should not be restricted to the home, after all, you spend a large majority of your time at work. In particular, for those of you sat at a desk from 9 until 5, the clutter can build up considerably throughout the year. I’m not just talking about those chocolate wrappers which you had a few too many of over Christmas, it’s the unfiled paperwork and your computer too. In fact, when you are sat in one place for many hours a day, you will be surprised quite where the mess can seep into.

After giving the desk a quick wipe down, it’s time to get down to business and start re-organising. Let’s start at the worst part – your catch all drawer. You know the one, when something drops on your desk and you do not want anything to do with it, you whip open the drawer and stuff it in there, hoping you will forget. Unfortunately, unlike the wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia, it is still there and now your drawer is overflowing with random junk.

With most of that safely deposited in the nearest bin, you now have the ball rolling, congratulations. Next up, create a system to maintain the flow of your work with a way to distinguish what is outgoing and what work you still need to complete. It does not need to be complex, a couple of baskets will keep things neat and tidy on your desk all while ensuring that important report does not slip through the net again.

Now, your physical space is looking a lot more organised, but your computer is a complete minefield. Freezes, crashes and your virus protection flashing at you have all become the norm in the past few months. Just like the catch all drawer, your computer gathers up all the mess and it looks like it has disappeared forever thanks to technology, unfortunately after a year of flooding it with downloads and word documents, it will become full like the catch all drawer, and when it does, it will get stuck. So set up a few folders to organise all those documents you haphazardly saved to the desktop and give your e-mail inbox, outbox and sent folder a deep cleanse. E-mail programmes enjoy taking up tonnes of space.

Nearly there now, and with your work space in order, there is but one thing left to remedy. You’ve given the area you work in a fresh start, so be sure to give yourself a clean slate. If there is something you have been putting off, perhaps it got lost in the mire of the catch all drawer or you found it floating in your inbox amongst thousands of e-mails trying to sell you a *Rolex* watch, now is the time to get it out of the way.

So now you are ready for another year, armed with a fairly coherent filing system and a clean drawer, ready for you start flinging paper clips into. If you fancy adding a couple of finishing touches, I would suggest adding a bit of greenery. A small plant will do, or if you are feeling particularly creative, a bonsai tree will not only add a bit of life to your desk, but you might be able to kill a few more minutes of your day tending to it.

 

Cleaning

 

Schools Competition

We are excited to announce our competition to give schools the opportunity to win £500 worth of Rap Industries vouchers. This year, we are opening the competition up to schools from around the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire area.

To have a chance to win, all you need to do is tell us how you would use the vouchers and what winning the competition would mean for your school. Simply send your entries in to us by the 13th May 2016 and we will pick out the best three who will then go head-to-head against each other in a public vote. You will be able to find the vote over at our blog where you can pick your favourite and the entry with the most votes by the 3rd June 2016 will be crowned the winner.

Many of the products from Rap Industries are designed to enhance the learning experience for pupils. From display boards to acoustic room dividers, there are a variety of different products you can put the voucher towards.

How to enter:

  1. Explain how would you use the vouchers? Which products would you go for?
  2. Let us know what winning the competition would mean for your school and how the vouchers can help.
  3. The entry can be as long as you like. To submit, simply post your entry and paste the link to the product you are interested in to either your:
    • Website
    • Facebook page
    • Google+ page
    • Twitter
  4. Then simply send over the link to us at amie@rapind.com where we can find your post.

And that is all you need to do to be in with the chance to win £500 worth of vouchers from Rap Industries.

A few tips:

If you are struggling for a few ideas or you are looking to get the edge over the rest of the competition, then there are a few ways you can help your entry to stand out.

Convince us:

  • Make sure you don’t miss a detail when explaining the impact that the vouchers can have at your school. Remember that each entry will ultimately have to go head-to-head in a public vote, so give people a reason to choose your school.

We love unique entries:

  • Of course, your entry does not have to be written. If you are a dab hand with a camera or you would like to let your creative spark loose then this is a great opportunity! You could even get the pupils involved to help your entry really stand out.

Please don’t hesitate to call us on 01733 392583 where Amie or Lee would be please to help.

Good luck, we are looking forward to seeing your entries!

 

competition

Getting Creative with Portable Room Dividers

I know, portable room dividers hardly roll off the tongue and while dividing space is useful, this alone hardly warrants the potential to get creative. However, hear me out, portable room dividers have developed well beyond generic styles and are now designed to serve as multipurpose partition screens. The ability to have what is essentially a portable wall opens up a range of opportunities which you may have not considered. Aside from the financial benefit of picking up a portable partition as opposed to something a bit more permanent, the practical benefit is they can be customised to adapt to the environment you are in, whether that is in a school, hospital, office and more.

Standard versions of the portable room dividers often feature a colourful fabric to add that sense of style. Now, portable room dividers such as these include a lightweight pinnable core which enables them to also be utilised as a display board. Perhaps you are unsure what kind of backdrop you require? Having a versatile backdrop with a pinnable fabric allows for the portable room dividers to integrate with the environment while giving you the option to add further content related to the event you require the space for.

A fabric is as basic as it gets and the following materials provide specialist options to a variety of workspaces, and what they have been used for in the past may just spark some inspiration as to how portable room dividers could benefit you. Here at Rap Industries, one of the options we provide is white gloss high pressure laminate which combines the portable room dividers together with a portable whiteboard. The potential to use dry wipe markers with these opens up many avenues as in schools they can allow children to contribute or provide a whiteboard for teachers operating in temporary classrooms. Elsewhere, in environments such as offices, they provide a unique backdrop, allowing space for staff to collaborate ideas and encourage creative thinking.

A particularly niche option available is to include anti-bacterial panels with the portable room dividers. This will obviously only appeal to a certain number of you, but if the spread of nasty bugs in nurseries or clinics is getting under your skin, then portable room dividers can deliver an interesting solution. Whether you need to quickly create a play area, or get the most out of the space at the clinic, anti-bacterial portable room dividers are ideal.

The final option provides you with complete control over how you wish to utilise your space, or even use them for an entirely different purpose. Printed panels allow you to apply a graphic of your own design to the portable room dividers, giving you the freedom to allow your creativity to flow and personalise them to suit whatever you need. Here at Rap Industries, our graphic design service enables you to utilise our graphic design team to produce bespoke panels. In the past, clients have taken advantage of this to create dividers featuring multiplication tables, creating a stimulating backdrop in schools and nurseries as well. Another use was to introduce graphics for training purposes, making them so much more than portable room dividers.

If you’ve got a unique idea in mind and think portable room dividers could be suitable to bring it to life, then please feel free to get in touch by calling 01733 394941 or by sending an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

 

Mobi Printed

Take A Fresh Approach and Make the Most of It When You Are Spring Cleaning

When it is time to spring clean, you might just surprise yourself with the space you have available at the end of it. Whether you are spring cleaning at home or at work, the process provides you with a blank canvas which needs to be appreciated before the clutter sets in again. The spring clean does not just have to be tidying your environment either, if your fresh start motivates you then embrace the wave of enthusiasm and apply this to other areas of your home or business.

With a fresh perspective and a clean slate, this offers the perfect opportunity to develop and grow the environment you live or work in. If you find you have a large space available, then portable room dividers can be exactly what you need. Combining a stylish design with lightweight panels creates a temporary wall that is sturdy enough to become a permanent feature if required, but also can be packed away if you require the space once again. Here at Rap Industries, we specialise in manufacturing portable partitions, meaning that we can tailor make them to suit any environment which you require them for.

If spring cleaning has got you inspired, then acoustic office pods provide a dynamic way of making the most of the space you have in the office. They are particularly ideal for open plan layouts and rather than the considerable cost of hiring a contractor to create a permanent room, the acoustic pods deliver a cheaper yet more stylish solution. Rather than wasting your new found office space, acoustic office pods allow you to establish a new meeting room, conference room or break room within minutes.

Alternatively, if a completely new temporary room is a bit too much then partition screens provide a simple way of dividing the open plan office. From desktop screens to full size panel screens, there are many options available to add a sense of style and practicality to a variety of different environments. Each is completely customisable to suit what you need, for example there is the option to include acoustic foam which is ideal for soaking up ambient office noise, meanwhile there is the added option of including Perspex in the panel to allow natural light to continue flowing through.

Spring cleaning can often be a fairly depressing task that we all feel obliged to do once a year, but by giving yourself the incentive and motivation not only makes the clean feel easier, but you will appreciate the satisfaction by the end of it. All too often families and business conduct spring cleans, only for their homes and offices to return to their previous condition within just a few weeks. Instead, revitalise your environment and appreciate something new for the year ahead.

 

MOBI_4_Fabric blue

 

How Spring Cleaning Your Business Can Give You a Fresh Perspective…

While we may normally associate spring cleaning with our homes, it is also a great opportunity to rejuvenate your business for the new tax year ahead. The clean does not need to be so simplistic as in tidying desks and hoovering carpets, instead take it as a chance to review your companies’ practices, looking for ways to be more efficient and how your business can be more innovative. From tweaking the minor details to dusting off your business plan, every update you make can prepare your business for the new year and help you to define your companies’ goals for the direction you are taking.

Before you start preparing anything for the future, take a step back and review where your company currently stands. How is your website and social media doing? A well designed online shop front grants access to a whole new audience of customers, whereas a poor, out of date site will only damage your reputation. Make sure content is kept up to date and relevant to your companies’ goals, then ensure your social media is active and engaging with your clientele. Small details here can make a significant impact long term, so don’t risk falling behind your competitors.

Once you have your shopfront looking fresh, take a look at where your team is working. The environment which staff are operating in has a subtle yet substantial impact on their mood and motivation to improve. A complete re-design of your office is unnecessary, but updating equipment and adding a splash of colour can really liven up the workspace and make it a more enjoyable place to work in.

Now you have the basics in order, it is time to streamline how your business operates. Review the team you have on board, which areas are working well and which are not. Sending some packing does not need to be the answer, instead play to the strengths of the staff you have available. A year is a long time and some staff may be ready for more responsibility while others could be struggling to cope with the workload they are under. Creating an efficient system will not only save time, but also save money as productivity increases.

If possible, look for potential in staff and train them in new skills which will benefit your business and them in the long term. Communication is key when it comes to moving forward, take this as an opportunity to speak with staff and find out how they want to move forward and how they envisage your company improving. The best ideas can often come from unlikely sources, but a short chat can quickly help you to identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as their opinion of the direction the business is going in.

With all of this in mind, revisit your business strategy and ensure your aspirations are in line with your companies’ aspirations. It is important to be proactive to stay ahead of your competition, rather than risk reacting to what they are doing. Analyse the relevant market trends and review which of your products and services are succeeding and which require attention. Rather than allowing your business to go stale, continue to innovate and stay ahead of your competitors.

Spring cleaning your business in the same way as cleaning the home will declutter your company, revealing the barebones of how it is operating. With the year ahead, now is a great time to assess what needs to be done to ensure 2016 will be a successful year, and you never know, you may even surprise yourself with what you find during the process.

 

Rap

 

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