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Daily Disasters: More than half of workers damaged business technology whilst working from home

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More than half of workers (52 per cent) have seen vital business technology damaged since Covid-19 forced millions to work from home in March 2020, according to new Direct Line business insurance research.

More than six in ten (62 per cent) said that they were responsible themselves, but others cited surprising culprits.

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Over a quarter (26 per cent) said mischievous or clumsy children had caused the damage, while more than one in five said their housemates (22 per cent) or partners (21 per cent) were responsible – hopefully not upsetting too many relationships in the process.  

Regionally, London was the most accident-prone city, with an astonishing 77 per cent of Londoners saying that they had damaged their business technology since the first national lockdown.

Overall, more than one in three (35 per cent) said that they’ve had more accidents than they did when they were working every day in the office.

The most common reasons for the damage were:

  • Spilling food or drink on the equipment (29 per cent)
  • Electrical faults, including power surges (23 per cent)
  • A trip or fall resulting in equipment being damaged (20 per cent)
  • Leaving the equipment on a hot surface (19 per cent)
  • Partner or housemate using the equipment (16 per cent)
  • Leaving the equipment outside (13 per cent)

More than seven in ten (72 per cent) said there was more than £500 worth of damage, while over one in three (35 per cent) reported it to be more than £1,000.

These problems are also taking time to be resolved. Over a quarter (29 per cent) said it took 3-5 working days to get the issue resolved, with 26 per cent saying it took 1-2 working weeks – hugely inconvenient for those trying to meet deadlines and keep projects moving.

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Surprisingly, many employees aren’t reporting these issues to their businesses. More than four in ten (42 per cent) did not make their organisation aware because they thought they could fix it themselves (25 per cent), thought they could still use the item (24 per cent), believed they might have to pay out of their own pocket (24 per cent) or were worried about getting told off by their boss (21 per cent).

The most common items of business technology damaged were:

  • Laptops (25 per cent)
  • Work mobile phones (22 per cent)
  • Desktop PCs (19 per cent)
  • Desk phones (11 per cent)
  • Tablets (10 per cent)

Direct Line has launched Business Tech Essentials, a new service to help businesses get back up and running quickly in the event that essential tech is damaged or stolen while working from home. The service is included with Business Contents cover for Retail, Hair and Beauty and B&B as well as with Electrical Items cover for Office and Professional customers. It provides customers with £2,500 worth of complimentary business equipment cover, per person, whilst they work at home and replaces tech within 24 hours of a valid claim.

Jane Morgan, SME Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance, said: “Our research shows that working from home can be risky. When vital business technology is damaged, there can be a significant impact on an organisation’s ability to operate and on its overall productivity levels.

“There is also the financial impact to consider. If an organisation doesn’t have insurance which covers business technology, the costs of replacing or repairing equipment could be significant – hitting SMEs at the worst possible time just as the economic outlook is improving.

“Our Business Tech Essentials services help small businesses to feel secure in a hybrid working model – providing confidence that employees will never be offline for long should disaster strike.”

Customers needing cover above £2,500 per person when working from home, can increase this by adding Property Away from the Premises cover to their policy. This add on covers their business equipment when out and about elsewhere and also comes with the Business Tech Essentials service, providing 24-hour replacement of essential tech following an approved claim.”

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Business Tech Essentials covers mobiles, laptops and tablets, desktop PCs and phones, TVs and printers.

(Lead image: shutterstock / mdbildes)

Arts and Entertainment

Parents warning over ‘Huggy Wuggy’ teddy bear videos that sing of hugging and killing

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Parents are being urged not to let their children watch terrifying TikTok and YouTube videos of killer teddy ‘Huggy Wuggy’

The warning, from SAMHI Suicide Prevention and Awareness Initiative has been echoed by Police forces around the country.

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Looking like a horror version of a Sesame Street puppet, Huggy Wuggy is not aimed at children. He’s a character from an adult online game known as Poppy’s Playtime.

Poppy Playtime was created by MOB Games and is a horror survival game. Huggy Wuggy is one of the main villains and appears as a furry blue monster with razor sharp teeth.

But as the game has becomes a viral hit, the characters have appeared in numerous stand-alone YouTube, Roblox and TikTok videos.

One of the most popular videos features the teddy bear, singing about “hugging and killing” and asks those watching to “take their last breath”.

Police have issued a warning over the character after some kids have been seen recreating the bear’s actions on the playground.

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One line says: “I could hug you here forever, til you breathe your last breath together.”
It continues: “My teeth sharp and ready, in my grasp, yeah they’re deadly”.

The blue bear also invites people to “lean in for a spine-breaking embrace”.

In issuing the warning, the SAMHI Suicide Prevention and Awareness Initiative say: “If your child hasn’t mentioned Huggy Wuggy or Poppy Playtime, don’t name it. You may pique their curiosity which in turn could lead to them searching out the content for themselves on platforms they might have access to.

“If you hear a child in your care mention Huggy Wuggy, pause and remain calm. It could be that they have overheard conversation about in school or online, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have viewed content or have a full understanding of who Huggy Wuggy is.

“Ask them about the content they enjoy watching online, and if anything they’ve seen has ever made them or their friends upset or scared.

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“If they have seen anything upsetting, reassure them that they are safe. It’s important children know they can come and speak to you without fear of judgement. If necessary, ask them to show you the video or game, and follow appropriate reporting procedures if you are concerned.

“If your child is having nightmares or is anxious about something they’ve watched, it’s important to have a conversation about expressing their feelings.”

(Lead image: YouTube)

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£67k contract win with leading power tools specialists for Swansea’s Uplands Communications

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Uplands Communications is celebrating a major contract win to the tune of £67k, having closed a deal with a division of Techtronic Industries EMEA Ltd.

The deal sees the Swansea-headquartered telephony specialists supply connectivity for more than 130 users.

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Techtronic owns brands including Ryobi, Milwaukee and AEG. The company enjoyed record 2021 worldwide sales of US$13.2 billion and has more than 51,000 employees.

Paul Hooper, MD of Uplands Communications, which is based in Swansea, said: “We are pleased to forge a new partnership with Techtronic Industries EMEA Ltd, a leaders in its field which is committed to ensuring its customers receive the best experience whenever they interact with the business.

“The past two years have been challenging for businesses across all industries, including for telephony and communications, and, of course for construction and for their supply chain colleagues.

“However, we are seeing, across the board, companies becoming increasingly aware of the need to make sure their communications are in the best shape possible and are modern and fit for purpose.

“The pandemic has brought about a sea-change in the way consumers and businesses interact with each other. Carefully-tailored telephone and communications solutions are more essential than ever if businesses want to thrive.”

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Natasha Russell, Financial Accountant at Techtronic said: “We operate a multi-million pound operation across a range of products and sites and we deal with a broad customer base – both commercial and domestic.

“The solution we sought from Uplands will give us a more seamless billing functionality and smoother processes, as well as more robust day-to-day support. We are pleased to enter into an agreement with Uplands Communications and we look forward to our ongoing relationship with them.”

Uplands Communications, based at Swansea Enterprise Park, is a leading managed services company delivering flexible voice, data and mobile communications.

The firm, which has its HQ in Swansea and an office in Somerset, specialises in independent network management and providing bespoke, converged solutions that aren’t tied to technology and supplier.

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New report reveals Swansea would see ‘very high benefit’ from full 5G rollout – but Government policy and regulation changes needed first

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pexels-photo-6200343.jpeg

Swansea features in a new report that identifies 58 local authority areas which would see a high or very high benefit from a good investment environment for 5G – and which would fall further behind if investment continues to be limited to major cities.

The new Vodafone research shows that current regulatory and policy environment around full 5G could see UK missing out on £7bn worth of economic benefits.

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Failure to make the UK attractive as a place for investment in future 5G technology will cause the UK economy to miss out on up to £7bn a year. Towns and smaller cities will be the ones to miss out most in the current regulatory and policy environment, according to new research commissioned by Vodafone.

The benefits of full 5G – developing high capacity, standalone infrastructure rather than building on top of existing 4G equipment – are enormous, especially for industrial uses such as smart factories, and public services such as hospitals which will require ultra-reliable and ultra-low-latency communications.

However, this all depends on significant investment across all parts of the country, and the report warns that the difference between an attractive and an unattractive investment environment is worth £7bn a year to the UK economy by 2030 – most of it seen outside London and other major cities.

The biggest cities, which have the biggest populations and are most commercially attractive to investors, previously saw the fastest 4G roll-out and are now well-positioned to attract investment in 5G. But smaller cities and medium-sized towns are at risk of missing out if the changes aren’t made quickly.

The report makes a series of recommendations which would help to support investment in full 5G across the UK, including:

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  • The Government should publish an updated 5G strategy which sets out specific ambitions for the roll-out of full 5G networks.
  • Ofcom should be open minded about market consolidation when it publishes its review into the mobile market this summer.
  • Government should use its procuring power to create market demand in 5G related services. For example, the installation of smart energy management systems in all public buildings would reduce emissions in those buildings, expand interest in, and the market for, these systems elsewhere, and save money on energy bills.
  • Planning rules need to be set in such a way that they do not stop 5G infrastructure from being rolled out where it is needed and wanted.
  • The business rates system needs to avoid deterring investment in high-value infrastructure.
  • Net neutrality regulations should enable mobile operators to maximise demand by offering consumers attractive propositions that make use of the full technological capabilities of 5G.
  • The approach to annual spectrum fees needs to change so that fees can be reinvested in network deployment instead of being ripped out of the industry.

Ahmed Essam, Vodafone’s UK CEO, said: “5G technology enables both massive innovation and operational efficiencies, especially for industrial uses such as smart factories, and public services such as hospitals which will require ultra-reliable and ultra-low-latency communications.

“But the benefits of this will not be felt equally across the UK in the current regulatory and policy environment – we have to ensure the UK can attract investment in future technologies.

“5G roll-out can be a major boost to Levelling Up, or it can leave some places falling further behind: it all depends on getting the investment environment right.

“As our research reveals, there is a £7bn a year difference between getting this wrong and getting this right. The UK – and in particular our smaller towns and cities – risks missing out on the incredible benefits that the 5G revolution can deliver.

“It’s not too late to create an investment-friendly environment, so we can all benefit from this powerful technology.”

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