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December 14, 2012

Also in the news this week — 14 December 2012

Noisy kids, bad backs and slow internet — the perils of working from home

Regus has polled more than 3,000 UK business people on the pros and cons of home working and found that there are 15 obstacles to productivity for those that work from home. Interruptions from kids and family affect almost 60% of respondents, and bad posture from makeshift home offices causes problems for one in five. Respondents also said poor internet connections, no access to office equipment and even pets disrupt their productivity. However, the research also finds that over half of remote working staff (51%) put in longer hours when they do not have to commute every day.

Lack of tender experience means SMEs are losing out

SMEs are still missing out on public sector contracts because they lack experience in completing tender applications, according to not-for-profit public sector procurement consortium, LHC. John Skivington, director at LHC, said: "There are thousands of fantastic local companies with great experience who would do brilliant jobs and provide great value for money, but they cannot get a look-in because of the complicated tender process." LHC is calling for tender processes to involve SMEs at an earlier stage and to be simplified, and for a shift of focus from company accreditations and policy to experience.

Mobile shopping increases

The first week in December is traditionally the UK's busiest shopping week — and according to the results of research by Clash Group, this year more people are using their mobile phones to shop than ever before. Its research reveals a 100% increase in mobile ad spend during the first week in December compared to the same period in 2011. In addition, click-through rates (CTRs) on mobiles were 5% higher than the year before.

Scrap town centre parking charges for 2013, says FPB

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is urging local authorities to do their bit for retailers by scrapping town centre car parking charges. This, it says, would increase footfall, boost business and reduce the number of vacant commercial premises. The FPB's head of policy, Alex Jackman, said: "High streets across the country are under threat and have been for many years now from the likes of out-of-town shopping centres where parking is universally free. Then there's the internet and the rise of e-tailers taking an increasingly bigger slice of a shrinking consumer pie. It doesn't take a genius to work out that councils charging people ever more for the privilege of coming in to their town centres to spend their hard earned cash is not the best plan to grow footfall."