Tag Archives: work

Couple live, work and travel on ‘ultimate UK road trip’ after transforming van into camper

With the cost of UK staycation accommodation rising in line with a surge in demand, many Britons have begun to eye new ways of saving money while exploring the country. Such was the case for one London couple who made the decision to ditch urban life after completely transforming their Mercedes Vario 614D van.

Charlie and Josh, who met on Bumble, have taken the “van life” trend to the extreme.

Not only do the pair use their van for holidays, but they also now live and work from the Mercedes as they embark on “the ultimate UK road trip”.

“I remember on our first date talking about wanting to get a camper van and doing it up – not necessarily living in it – but we spoke about that kind of lifestyle,” said Charlie, an ex-menswear designer and now graphic designer.

After 2020 spun the world into chaos, Charlie and Josh decided there was no better time to combine their savings and plough it into buying and renovating a van.

READ MORE: Britain’s most expensive breakfast unveiled

During the process, the duo recorded their journey via their blog, Wandering Home, as well as on YouTube and Instagram.

In one video titled “100 days of Vanbuild”, Charlie and Josh showed how they transformed the 16 seater minibus.

It began with ripping out the seating, removing the wheelchair lift and the back and adding in new flooring.

The couple then completely gutted the interior in order to create extra space.

The van was then kitted out with its own kitchen, including oven and fridge facilities, plus a lounge area and composting toilet.

There are also plenty of secret storage facilities dotted throughout the ban – including a pull-out table at the rear of the van to allow for alfresco dining on sunny days.

Charlie and Josh even took on the task of plumbing the van with a water tank tucked away underneath the bed and adding electric wiring and solar panels themselves.

This means the couple are able to benefit from electric lighting on the move and even a stand-up shower.

Now, the couple is embarking on the ultimate UK road trip – exploring all 15 of the UK’s national parks – from Dartmoor to the Cairngorms.

They are set to immerse themselves fully in “van life” until September.

“It was a big change, but as we moved into the van all our colleagues started working remotely,” said Josh.

According to Josh, his favourite moments are at dusk, cracking open a beer when the sun’s low in the sky, while Charlie relishes the stillness of the early morning as she gets out of bed and pops the coffee on.

“I feel more connected to the seasons and the weather,” she said.

Author: Aimee Robinson
This post originally appeared on Daily Express

Markets Work, but Untangling Global Supply Chains Takes Time

Now, there are higher prices for base materials like steel and aluminum. There are suppliers being forced to raise wages sharply to keep assembly lines operating. There are semiconductor manufacturers stretched too thin to provide enough computer chips to make as many cars as consumers wish to buy. There have even been shortages of resin, needed in the plastics that are part of a car, caused by Texas winter storms this year. And adding to it all, there are logjams of shipping capacity for materials imported from overseas.

“It’s almost like a patient who’s fighting cancer and heart disease and diabetes all at the same time,” Mr. Burris said. The power that automakers usually hold to dissuade suppliers from increasing prices is breaking down, he said, amid the urgency to obtain supplies.

And as automakers throttle production, there have been unusual dynamics in the retail side of the market.

The inability of automakers to produce at full speed, combined with strong consumer demand, shows up in both obvious (prices are higher than usual) and less obvious ways, said Ivan Drury, senior manager for insights at Edmunds, a publisher of auto industry information. In the past, the “manufacturer’s suggested retail price” was generally a mere suggestion, with dealers negotiating actual sale prices $ 2,000 to $ 3,000 below that level for an average car. Now, new cars are typically selling at or only slightly below the suggested retail price, he said.

And dealers are resorting to other techniques that restrict sales. With inventories lean, buyers seeking a particularly in-demand car may need to commit to buying it before it has arrived on the lot, sight unseen. Some dealers, he said, will refuse to sell to people from outside the dealer’s area, to ensure that the buyer will generate continuing service revenue.

Things are even more wild in the used-car market, where the down-and-up last 16 months for the rental car industry, among other factors, has caused a severe shortage and steep price increases. Used cars and trucks were a major source of overall consumer price inflation in April and May.

Mr. Drury doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon. According to Edmunds data, the average trade-in value of a car was still rising through the first three weeks of June, up an additional 2.9 percent after increasing a combined 21 percent in April and May.

Author: Neil Irwin
This post originally appeared on NYT > Top Stories

Dan Walker on Louise Minchin's strict rule after work error: 'I'm not allowed to touch'

Dan Walker, 44, admitted his BBC Breakfast co-host Louise Minchin, 52, has some very strict rules for him when it comes to precious items. After the pair were discussing the launch of the new £50 note, which features World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing on alongside the Queen, Dan took to Twitter to reveal he’s not allowed anywhere near it. But it appears Louise has good reason to keep him at arms length, after he misplaced a new £1 coin which he said was “in the studio somewhere”.

On the show, Louise wouldn’t allow Dan to handle the money, placing it far away from him.

It turns out they weren’t the only two to have got their hands on the new note, as Radio 5 Live‘s Rachel Burden also boasted about handling the iconic item.

Taking to Twitter, she shared a photo of the pristine currency and it soon caught Dan’s eye.

“Is that the same one we had or have you got your own?” he wondered, as she held it in her hand.

Rachel joked: “Man this note has been passed through more hands than a baby at a political rally!”

READ MORE BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin’s money jibe with Dan

Fellow BBC reporter Peter Ruddick also replied, laughing: “I was copied in on lots of emails on this yesterday. I believe the risk assessment involves lots of alcohol wipes before/after the handover/transition.”

But Dan found out that BBC Breakfast had their own note, adding: “Apparently we have our own – which I’m not allowed to touch.

“@louiseminchin has it in a plastic bag.”

Rachel winced as she confessed the radio team hadn’t been too careful with theirs.

She said: “We’ve had our greasy mitts all over our one – apols @bankofengland!”(sic)

Louise continued: “Look at this – the new plastic £50 note has gone into circulation.

“It really feels great as well Dan, but you can’t touch it, sorry,” she joked.

“No,” Dan replied before adding: “But could you show us the back of it again, you might recognise that face, that is Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing of course.

“Celebrating his work, and it’s been issued on what would have been his birthday.”

Louise continued to keep hold of the note while laughing at Dan, who said: “Look at you caressing that” before the show cut to personal finance correspondent Kevin Peachey, who had visited a money printing facility where the note is being produced.

But after showing viewers how it all worked, Dan was reminded once again that he wasn’t trusted to touch money.

Louise said: “I’m actually quite worried because I’ve got to look after it now haven’t I?”

Dan replied: “I don’t think I’ve ever had a £50 note,” before Louise said: “You’re certainly not having this one.”

She continued: “And there are some advantages of me not being able to give it to you.”

“I love the way you’ve put it even at the other side of you, so I can’t get anywhere near it,” Dan giggled.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

England's Euro 2020 so far: Work to be done for last 16 but Southgate deserves credit

SUBJECT: History. TASK: Ending 55 years of hurt. MARK: 6/10

With their youngest ever tournament squad, perhaps the past weighs less heavily on the shoulders of the Southgate’s players. Certainly the future looks promising. But with every step, pressure will increase and the experience gained through those club achievements will be tested to the full.

Gareth Southgate pinpoints area England must improve on for next tie

England’s Jack Grealish sets himself Gascoigne and Rooney target
England have four players in danger after Czech Republic Euro 2020 win

SUBJECT: Homeschooling. TASK: Schooling teams at home like in lockdown. MARK: 4/10

Ultimately, the Wembley factor is going to have to be massive to get England over the line. Provided they can win in Rome, every other game in this campaign will be under the giant arch. Three times in the first four halves they were booed off the pitch. The fans – an increased number of them, it turns out – have their part to play.

OVERALL ASSESSMENT: A solid if unspectacular start. Will need to work harder to attain the levels expected of them. As always. But fans can play a part…

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

'No one wants to work anymore': Oasis on Lake Travis needs employees

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Friday, the extra $ 300 a week in federal unemployment assistance for the COVID-19 pandemic ends in Texas.

According to data from Indeed, in states where they have already ended that extra money, fewer people are searching for jobs compared to the rest of the nation. In states yet to end the benefits, people are searching for jobs at a higher rate.

Despite the concern, the Austin Chamber of Commerce reported Austin regained 97% of the jobs lost due to the pandemic last spring.

Leisure and hospitality industries added 4,800 jobs last month, which is nearly 74% of all jobs lost in that industry in March and April last year.

This data makes it tough for some restaurants who are searching for workers. The Oasis on Lake Travis, a popular Austin-area attraction, is saying “no one wants to work” there.

Outside the Oasis, you’ll find a sign that reads: “Thank you for coming. We are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did show up. No one wants to work anymore.”

The Oasis on Lake Travis now hiring (KXAN/Kaitlyn Karmout)
The Oasis on Lake Travis now hiring (KXAN/Kaitlyn Karmout)

“The entire public is ready to come back, and enjoy the summer as much as possible,” said Billy Enney, Oasis assistant general manager.

It’s a great, but frustrating struggle for Enney, who does the scheduling for staff at the Oasis.

“I’m more flexible than I’ve ever been before. We’re accepting part-time work, we’re accepting less than part-time work,” said Enney.

As a manager, he’s having to work in the kitchen and wait tables too to fill in those gaps. Enney said staffing is down by 30% for the summer peak hours. Generally the Oasis needs 200 employees to efficiently run during the summer. Right now they’re a little over 100.

“We’ve tried incentive programs, we’ve tried referral bonuses, we’ve raised the pay across the board,” said Enney.

In Austin, the Capital Area Workforce Solutions organization helps connect people to jobs. Leslie Puckett, a research director for the group, said unemployment in Austin is trending down.

“Some individuals are still hesitant to move into those face-to-face jobs,” said Puckett.

In May 2021, more than 30,000 new jobs were posted for the Austin metro area. 5,000 of those postings were for the tech industry, with roughly 3,000 being for retail.

The National Restaurant Association blames three things for the shortage of employees: People nervous about working in a close environment, switching from cooking and serving to driving for Door Dash or Uber Eats and unemployment benefits that often exceed the pay for some jobs.

“Everyone is different, and everyone has a different situation in life with their family and health,” said Puckett.

Enney is banking on the worker pool expanding as benefits run out.

“We’re pretty much always at 90% capacity for the first floor,” said Enney.

According to Capital Area Workforce Solutions, the Austin-area unemployment rate is 4.2%, which is about 54,000 jobless residents. That number is 2% higher than pre-pandemic, however, it’s still less than the national unemployment rate at 5.5% and the Texas unemployment rate at 5.9%.

Author: Kaitlyn Karmout
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Britons able to work in Australia more freely as farm work requirement scrapped – new deal

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison have agreed in principle a free trade deal, which sees Britons able to work in Australia for three years with no farm work. Tariffs will also be removed on various goods under the expected completed deal in 2022.

Downing Street has said that Britons under the age of 35 will be able to travel and work in Australia more freely, with the farm work requirement to be scrapped.

The major change in policy is welcomed by many travellers who currently must complete 88 days of work on a rural property if they wish to stay in the country for a second year on a working holiday visa.

This involves working in regional areas in specific jobs such as fruit picking and packing, trimming vines, working in tree farming or working in mining or construction.

The work requirement aimed to help farmers in Australia by providing them with seasonal workers.

READ MORE: Airlines demand travel standards to be discussed at the G7

He said: “There is a great opportunity for young people from both the UK and Australia to move and operate in different countries.

“That builds capacity, in both countries, with that easy engagement.”

The huge move is likely to have an impact on farmers who relied on backpackers, but a new agriculture visa allows British farmers to work in Australia.

The changes will not come into force until at least summer next year when the free trade deal is expected to be officially signed.

The two leaders were said to have agreed the deal on Monday evening, with a final agreement in principle set to be published in the coming days.

Various different tariffs will also be removed from goods.

In a statement explaining the benefits of the deal, Number 10 said the new deal will help distillers by removing tariffs of up to five percent on Scotch whisky. 

For Northern Ireland, 90 percent of all exports to Austria are machinery and manufacturing goods, with tariffs set to be removed and custom procedures simplified. 

Car manufacturers in the Midlands and North of England will also see up to five percent of tariffs cut.

It is also set to eliminate tariffs on Australian goods like Jacob’s Creek and Hardys wine, swimwear as well as confectionery and agricultural products.

However, UK farmers have spoken out about worries regarding the deal, explaining that the market could be flooded with cheaper, lower-quality meat produce.

Farmers in the country have feared that they cannot compete with Australian producers who operate on a much larger scale.

Downing Street has said there will be a cap on the level of tariff-free imports from Australia from 15 years, with other “safeguards” being brought in to protect farmers in the UK.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Biden Offers Work Permission to Migrants Who Were U.S. Crime Victims

The Biden administration announced Monday that it will speed the process of issuing temporary work permits to some undocumented immigrants who are victims of crime in the United States and who agree to cooperate with law enforcement, giving thousands of people faster access to temporary protections while they wait for a final visa determination.

The change will benefit immigrants who have applied for the U visa, a program that currently has a backlog of 270,000 applications, a number that grew significantly during the Trump administration. The average wait just to get placed on an official waiting list for temporary work authorization is now at least five years, up from about 11 months during the 2015 spending year.

The U visa provides a path to citizenship for victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Congress only allows the government to issue 10,000 such visas a year, leaving many other applicants on a waiting list for future years and vulnerable to deportation.

Under the new policy, the government will make faster decisions about whether to grant four-year work permits to immigrants waiting for U visa determinations. This will give applicants the ability to “work and remain safely in the United States while they provide valuable support to law enforcement to detect, investigate or prosecute the serious crimes they have survived or witnessed,” the acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Tracy Renaud, said in a statement on Monday.

The work permits will not be granted to everyone who applies, and will require registering fingerprints and other biometrics with the government. It was not immediately clear how quickly applicants would receive temporary permission to work once the government believes they are applying in good faith.

The change is part of President Biden’s efforts to roll back the restrictive measures of the last administration and make it easier to immigrate to the United States, with shorter and simpler forms.

State and local law enforcement officials have cheered the U visa program, which started in 2000, but have raised concerns in recent years about the delay in granting protections to undocumented immigrants whom they rely on for help in investigations.

The Center for Immigration Studies, which promotes limits on immigration, has said the U visa program is already vulnerable to fraud and abuse, and fast-tracking work permits will only make that worse.

“That’s going to be a huge incentive for people to apply, knowing that they’re only getting a cursory review and a four-year work permit,” Jessica M. Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the center said.

Author: Eileen Sullivan
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Carol Vorderman rules out TV work after falling ill but will return to Pride of Britain

Carol Vorderman, 61, will be back to present The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, this year, but doesn’t want to work in television for much longer. The ex Countdown star said she will instead continue to focus on prioritising her health and helping others. Reflecting on 2020, the mother-of-two said she was “beyond tired” after having a packed schedule.

Carol marks her 22nd year presenting The Pride Of Britain Awards this year, which will return in person.

The host’s work on the show has made her determined to spend more time helping others.

She revealed she’s been working with Swansea and Cambridge universities for years and has also given away educational bursaries to help children from deprived backgrounds.

“And now I want to do even more,” she added, revealing she hoped to set up a foundation in the future.

READ MORE: Meghan and Harry urged to ‘grow up’ as Anton Du Beke slams baby name

The presenter added she is keen to focus on her health and isn’t “bothered about being on the telly anymore”.

“I worked my butt off last year and I don’t want to do it anymore,” she admitted.

“I was really busy, I was making a couple of new TV shows and books, plus filming new stuff for The Maths Factor.”

The Pride of Britain Awards star said she ended up not being well last year and didn’t find filming pleasant.

She has been married twice in her lifetime; firstly to Patrick King, who she shares two children with, followed by Christopher Mather.

This year, The Pride Of Britain Awards 2021 will be broadcasted from its usual location at Grosvenor House Hotel.

She said of her long-serving role: “It is always such a thrill and an honour to meet the Pride of Britain winners.

“They are the absolute best of our wonderful country, but they also tend to be incredibly modest, which is why we need people to tell us about them.

“So, if you know an unsung hero, whether it is someone who has changed one life or changed the world, tell us about them and nominate for Pride of Britain today.”

The Awards, which celebrate ordinary people doing extraordinary things, are now open for nominations.

The chance to nominate an unsung hero will close on Friday 13th August.

Winners will be chosen by the Pride of Britain judging panel, from a shortlist drawn up from all the nominations received.

You can nominate now via https://www.prideofbritain.com/nominate

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

Help! How Do I Make Work Friends When Everyone’s Remote?

I love working remotely, but I feel more isolated than ever. How do I make friends with my coworkers? My company switched to remote work during the pandemic, and no one is in a hurry to go back to the office anytime soon. That means I get to work from home for a while yet, but with friends leaving and new people starting remotely, how do I reach out to them, or stay close to my current work friends?


You might think that the hardest part of starting a job—or even holding on to a job—while working remotely during a global pandemic is figuring out how to collaborate productively with your colleagues away from meeting rooms and drive-by brainstorming sessions that, let’s admit, no one really really likes. But what I miss the most is the unofficial communication: the smiles and gripes of my officemates; the people who pass by my desk to say “hi”; and that sense of camaraderie that makes the commute at least partially worthwhile. It sounds like you miss that too.

The fix is pretty easy. Well, easy for me to write, not necessarily easy to put into practice. I also started a job (the one I have now, actually, here at WIRED) during the pandemic, and the first steps were hard, but I’m glad to say I’ve made more friends in a year here than I could have ever imagined.

As long as we’re working remotely behind screens, it will be tough for any of us to feel truly connected to each other. That’s true whether you started a job while everyone’s remote and haven’t had a chance to meet anyone in person, or you’ve been there for ages and your current work friends have left for new gigs. The only real solution is to do the thing everyone hates: put yourself out there and talk to people.

Ask them to hop into a video call with you just to chat about what you’re working on and what their interests are. Suggest a virtual coffee, or a virtual drink after work. (Or ice cream, for the folks who don’t drink. My pal Karen Ho, a sustainability reporter at Insider, taught me that one!) Make plans to hang out after a big project is finished, for example. And follow through! Book that 15 minute coffee break on their calendar so no one forgets, and be willing to move it if you (or they) aren’t feeling it today.

Not every overture needs to come in the form of a calendar appointment. Join in threads in Slack or Discord when someone says something funny. When a coworker shares cat photos in Slack, share adorable photos of your own. Every company (trust me, every company) has Slack channels for jokes, memes, snack alerts, or just sharing stories and gossip. Dive in and share! It’ll feel awkward at first, but the more you do it, the more people will respond favorably to you and the more you’ll get a feel for what resonates with your colleagues and what doesn’t. Follow your coworkers on Twitter or Instagram or TikTok (if you feel safe doing so) and interact with them, gently, letting them know you appreciate their presence. Engage with them on a human level, not a coworker-trying-to-network level.

I know, actually opening up a bit and talking to people? Gross. I wish there were an easier answer, one that let me sit on my ass and let respect and validation come to me without having to actually be vulnerable or stumble through my awkward social anxiety. But a) we don’t always get what we want, and b) you’re asking a question that many of us have trouble answering even in the best of times, before “social distancing” was even a thing.

Author: Alan Henry
This post originally appeared on Business Latest

Spotify Only You: What is the audio birth chart feature, and how does it work?

Spotify has launched a new personalised feature, dubbed Only You, that generated all-new playlists around a certain theme to keep you entertained with new and well-worn tracks. Only You centres are six lists – with your tunes organised around each theme.

For example, Your Audio Birth Chart is one of the new playlist themes. As the name suggests, this picks tracks like a horoscope, with music suggested by the clever AI algorithms presented with links to your birthday and horoscope. For example, the artist branded as “Your Sun” will be your most-streamed artist from the last six months.

According to Spotify, Only You is designed to be a fun way of presenting its vast library of music throughout the year. Spotify launches its feverishly-anticipated Wrapped feature at the tail-end of the year, which creates a playlet of your most-listened songs, albums, artists and podcasts from the last 12 months.

It also generates facts and statistics about your habits within the Spotify app, which users can share with friends and family in messages apps, like WhatsApp, or social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook.

“While you’ll have to wait a few more months for Wrapped and the songs and podcasts that soundtracked your 2021, Only You is all about celebrating how you listen,” the music service, which recently cranked-up prices for subscribers across the globe, announced.

Here’s how the company describes the six possible themes for playlists generated by Only You…

1. Your Audio Birth Chart: It’s a musical meeting of cosmic proportions. Your Sun sign details the artist you listened to most over the last six months. Your Moon sign demonstrates an artist you listen to that best shows your emotional or vulnerable side. Your Rising sign brings it all together with an artist you’ve recently connected with.

2. Your Dream Dinner Party: Choose the three artists you’d invite to the dinner party of your dreams. Once you select the trio, Spotify will create a personalized Spotify Mix for each artist to set the mood of the meal.

3. Your Artist Pairs: This experience demonstrates unique audio pairings that you’ve listened to recently that show your range of listening interests. For example, who else would play some Greta Van Fleet right after jamming out to Olivia Rodrigo?

4. Your Song Year: When is the music you listen to from? This part of the experience shows how you’ve musically travelled through different time periods with music.

5. Your Time of Day: Early bird or night owl, discover the music and podcast content you listen to at certain times, whether early in the morning or late at night.

6. Your Genres/Topics: Finally, bring it all home with the combination of music and podcast genres that sets your listening apart.

Only You isn’t the only new playlist-generating feature launched by the hugely popular music streaming service. The second, dubbed Blend, is the first time Spotify has forayed into collaborative playlist creation.

Currently in a public beta, Blend is designed to enable two friends to merge their musical tastes into one curated playlist made just for them, which Spotify hopes will make it “even easier for users to connect, discover, and share the music they love with one another.”

Blend will be updated daily. Spotify subscribers only need to invite a single friend to blend with. Blend will grow with each user over time based on how their listening changes, Spotify says.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed