UK Homes

UK Homeowners Struggling To Complete Interior Renovations Due To Labor Shortages

An industry-wide labor shortage in the United Kingdom is causing a multitude of homeowners to be left waiting for months longer than usual for bathroom and kitchen renovations/installations. The labor shortage is growing due to a combination of Brexit-related issues as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. 

While the pandemic overall has caused a major increase in the amount people have invested in their homes, the demand for labor hasn’t been able to keep up. Specifically, bathroom, kitchen, and room renovations would, on average, take about four to eight weeks to complete before the pandemic, and now homeowners can expect to be waiting at least 12-18 weeks. 

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Damian Walters is the chief executive of the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom, and Bathroom Installations, and recently spoke to the press about the “unprecedented demand for kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and home improvement in general” throughout the pandemic. 

“Lengthening lead times were part of the fallout from the incredible labor shortage. Our organization has been inundated with inquiries from retailers desperate to recruit more fitters. There were a number of problems, including an ageing workforce and a decrease of youngsters wanting to take up apprenticeships. Brexit had also deterred tradesmen from moving to the UK for work,” Walters explained.

“There are not going to be any tradesmen parachuting in from Europe, or anywhere else for that matter. EU migration was a little bit like a Band-Aid that’s been ripped off and the real problems have been exposed,” he said.

B&Q is known as the UK’s largest DIY project chain, and according to their data sales of supplies for interior DIY projects have increased by 13% within the last year of the pandemic, with some of the most popular projects being organizing outdoor spaces, and new kitchen and bathroom designs.

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Global supply chains are still dealing with trading disruptions brought on by the pandemic while demand has continued to increase for these supplies. This is not only bad for the DIY renovator, but for contractors who are still in business but don’t have access to the supplies they need to complete the projects being asked of them. 

The EU has reported shortages in everything from plumbing materials, to screws, handheld and power tools, as well as appliances like washing machines and fridges. 

The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom, and Bathroom Installations has announced a campaign that will begin this fall and hopefully recruit 700 apprentices from the UK’s school systems every year to become apprentices in the construction industry. Without new recruits, according to Walters, the “problem will only worsen, as a third of sole traders are due to retire over the next decade.” 

“We simply haven’t focused on vocational learning, and that has caused huge problems in terms of a gap between the demand and the available labour to do this type of work. Put bluntly, we’ve relied for too long on an ageing workforce who are now looking forward to their retirement. We need to pull out all the stops to prepare a new generation of skilled installers ready to take their place,”  said Walters.

Home Gym

Easy ‘Five-Minute’ Home Improvement Projects To Brighten Up Your Space 

As we all continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are trying to figure out how we’re going to occupy our time during the next few months as temperatures drop, and socially distanced outdoor gatherings become obsolete. Many are turning to home improvement projects to not only give them something to do in their spare time, but also finally check some of the boxes off their growing to-do lists. Here are some easy home improvement project ideas that anyone can do:

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Decorate Your Walls With Frames: Framing personal photos and artwork can draw the eye to certain walls within your space, and are perfect accent pieces to really tie a space together and make it personal. Even if you just want to hang artwork on your walls, pick some pieces that not only match the rest of your design aesthetic, but also speak to your personality. You’re going to be looking at your walls everyday, so you want something to be on them that’ll make you feel good. Consider buying seasonal art as well to freshen up your space every few months. 

Create A Makeshift Gym: This is a great idea for fitness lovers everywhere, as well as those with young children who have a lot of energy to spare. Making your own home gym doesn’t have to break the bank either. If you have a spare room or area in your house, consider investing in some rubber mats and simple dumbbells to start, and then work your way to buying more equipment that you think will fit into your daily fitness routine.

Hang Up Some New Shelving: Just like hanging artwork or photographs on a wall can make a space more personal shelving can do the same. Shelves don’t just have to be used for placing your random tchotchkes, instead, consider adding a plant vase to heighten up your walls and ceilings by bringing the eye up. Candles, figurines, and frames themselves are also great for adding height and pops of color around your room. 

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A Bird Bath Fountain: Even though winter is approaching, for some parts of the world the weather stays warm year round. Bird feeders and bird baths are great ways of inviting the natural world to your property. Take a step further and get a fountain attachment that will make any bird bath come to life, and give your yard a secret garden type of vibe. 

Coat and Mask Hooks: If you’re tired of your family members throwing their coats and masks wherever they please when they get home, consider either investing in a coat rack, or hang up some simple command hooks right next to the front door for easy access. To make it feel like an even more cohesive storage space for your clothing, add a simple ground level shelf/rack to place your shoes. This is also beneficial in the winter months to prevent snow and mud from being tracked into your home. 

Lighting: Lamps of all kinds are amazing accent pieces for any space in your home. For dining rooms, consider getting a high-quality floor lamp that matches the same design aesthetic of that space. For rooms that are more prone to having side tables (living rooms, bedrooms, offices) simple table lamps can fill the empty space and warm up any room. Be conscious with the designs of the lamps you get as well, like artwork, lamps can be viewed as those perfect design touches that really tie a space together.

Feng Shui

Easy Feng Shui Tips To Enhance Positive Energy In Your Home

With so many of us now stuck inside indefinitely, many have begun redecorating, renovating, and reorganizing their homes. Now that we’re stuck in these places, it only makes sense that we’d want them to look and feel the most comfortable and personal to us as possible. Many have been looking to the Chinese practice of Feng shui for inspiration, as well as the best ways to create balance between the natural world within our interior spaces. Feng shui also uses energy forces as a means of creating harmony between the individual and their home, so it makes sense that so many would want to bring that idea into their own spaces, especially during times of such global unrest. 

The most general rule to Feng Shui is maintaining a clutter-free space. Open spaces are not only more appealing to look at, but they’re also proven to promote mental clarity. Think about it, in the past when you would come home from a long day at work to a messy house, that work stress would then follow you into your off time. Coming home to a clean house, however, allows us to feel completely separated and calm, because there’s nothing out of place that needs cleaning. 

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Clutter also brings down our energy and holds us back from seeing good opportunities, according to Feng shui practices, so before you do anything else, make sure your home is clean. 

Feng shui also views the front door as one of the most important areas in the home when it comes to promoting good energy flow. It’s important to keep the space around your front door open and clear, this way positive energy has the ability to freely come into your home, and negative energy can easily be pushed out. 

Bringing the five elements into your home is also a very important aspect of Feng shui. The five elements include earth, wood, fire, metal, and water, and by incorporating these elements into decorative pieces in your home, you’re balancing the energy of the space while also creating an open path between the natural world and your home. 

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Bringing in these elements is also much easier than it may sound. Earth can be represented by a real house plant in your window while wood and metal can easily be accomplished through furniture choices. Water can be utilized either through a vase of flowers, or a small fish tank, which would also bring life into the space, literally. Fire may sound dangerous, but this can easily be implemented into your space through candles or a fireplace if you have one. 

Maximize natural lighting as much as possible in your home. Even if you only have one small window in your room, accentuate that space on the wall. Feng shui tells us that windows are like our front door, in the sense that it helps promote energy flow and brings in positivity and happiness. 

Besides living in a clutter-free space, one of the other most important aspects of Feng shui is balance, and making your home feel as though everything is in its proper place. When you bring in larger elements like a television, floor-length mirror or anything mounted on the walls, make sure you’re placing them in a way that seems intentional and fitted. 

Balancing the space will allow you to remove any aspects of the home that you deem to be negative, or bring in negative energy, because it’s easier to see what elements of a room don’t seem to fit with the way that you’ve organized the rest of it. 

No matter how strictly you adhere to the Feng shui guidelines, make sure you’re organizing your space for yourself and in a way that makes you happy. Our homes are meant to be safe spaces, which is something we all need in a time like this.

People Working

How To Create A Workplace Culture Of Learning And Growth

Workplace culture is extremely important from any perspective. According to Forbes Magazine, no matter what kind of workplace you’re either running or a part of, creating a space for constant learning and growth from one another is the recipe for the most success. When you go into a job and view the environment as one where everyone has an open line of communication with one another, you’re less likely to feel negatively towards that job. It’s up to employers to create this sort of workplace energy, luckily it’s not that hard to let your employees know that their voices matter. 

Forbes reports that seeking input for company projects, especially in their initial stages, from any and all employee’s will help create an environment of open discussion and learning. Learning from one another is a huge key in the success of any business. Having monthly check in meetings with an entire staff about areas in which the company can improve will allow for the group to build off one another and where they all agree more work needs to be done. These check in meetings should also allot time for employees to share what’s working well, and successful aspects of the business. This not only can inspire different branches to learn from one another, and what skills or tools they can adopt from each other, but will also allow employees and employers to praise one another on a job well done. Hearing that validation, no matter how small, will surprisingly increase overall motivation to keep up the good work, and also inspire others to aim to reach that same level of success. 

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According to Forbes, incorporating real-world experiences and stories into work related conflicts, or projects can help employee’s brainstorm and learn from each others past. Lindsay Tanne, the CEO of LogicPrep, an education company that helps families navigate the college admissions landscape, wrote with Forbes about how her and her employee’s like to bring in their real life experiences from on the job and outside of work to help each other learn from one another. 

“We’ve found that incorporating real-world experience and discussing actual case studies helps participants to see the immediate relevance of the discussion. In a recent session, I actually asked our college consultants to bring current student files to the table so they could learn from one another and immediately apply the lessons to their students. In order to make this happen, especially in a service business, I like to encourage my team members to think about the most formative client experiences they’ve had and bring them to the group.”

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If you want to learn from your employee’s or employer or just want to create a workplace in which everyone is constantly learning from each other, the best way to do that is to just straight up ask. Ask your employee’s for feedback on a completed project and what they thought about their role in it. Ask where they felt everyone could’ve improved, and what worked the best. If you’re an employer, it’s important that the people who work for you respect your authority and position, but are never afraid to approach you with questions or even critics on how something is running.

As previously stated, creating an environment for open communication will lead to the most success because everyone feels comfortable enough to work with one another and state their discrepancies if they have any. Success is the general goal for everyone, regardless of position or title. Going out of your way to ask each other for feedback, experience, ideas, and new ways of function are the keys to learning and growing with each other as a company.