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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Be flexible – and boost your efficiency

Category : Business

The work-life balance of small business owners is out of kilter, research shows. Time to tweak how your SME operates

Against the backdrop of a tough economic climate, many small business owners are feeling the strain and working harder than ever. We conducted some research to find out the real pressures that Britain’s small businesses are currently facing. Turns out, it’s pretty tough out there.

The results revealed that nearly half of small business workers now forgo a work-life balance. Business admin in particular is eating up too much time, with many forced to get jobs done outside of working hours. Worse still, almost a third feel stressed and under pressure and one in five admit that, as a result, customer service, as well as their personal relationships, are suffering.

Small businesses may be the engine of the economy but there’s no doubt it’s an extremely challenging time to own, run or work in a small and growing organisation. I believe that big businesses have a responsibility to lend better support by listening to the challenges, understanding the issues and offering practical services to give small businesses back some of that valuable time. No one has all of the answers – but there are some simple things your small business can do to regain a sense of balance.

Adopt a remote working culture

The adoption of mobile and the rise of connected devices mean we can stay connected, anytime and anywhere. Consumer devices are infiltrating the four walls of the workplace and, as a result, traditional “business” devices are no longer necessarily seen as an attractive option – employees want one device, one point of contact, and the latest technology.

At O2, we launched a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme in December 2011, which is now used by almost 2,000 employees – 60% of our Slough HQ workforce. This number continues to grow.

Employees are empowered by the ability to access the network via their personal devices. This is helping to improve their productivity, but most importantly work-life balance, by allowing them to shape their own ways of working on the devices they like best. Plus, it saves us money as a business.

The advantages of BYOD initiatives can be hugely favourable for businesses as employees feel supported to work in the way that fits their work style best, which can result in improved business agility, cost savings and enhanced productivity. If we can do it as a big business, think what a difference it’ll make to a small growing company – removing the pressure of managing multiple devices and giving staff some flexibility.

If you are considering implementing a BYOD policy, security is a key area to be clear on, so make sure that employees have passwords on their devices. You could also put in place software so that you can remotely wipe anything that is business-related should you need to protect it.

Enlist specialist help

Outsourcing to specialist businesses for help with web design, accounting or recruiting new staff means you can spend more time focusing on the critical needs of your business and what it requires to grow.

To make sure you get the right fit first time, it’s important to consider working with other companies of a like-minded culture. When deciding which operations you should outsource, think about the areas that are core to your business and those that aren’t.

Another option is to outsource complicated paperwork and contracts, such as health and safety management and employment law, to a specialist HR company. The benefit of this is not only more time, but also peace of mind that you have somewhere to seek advice if you need it.

Ultimately, outsourcing is a great way to reclaim some time, providing you select partners in the right way.

Flexible working practices will only become more prevalent as 2013 progresses as more employees use their own devices for work, so it’s worthwhile putting in place systems to help staff get better connected now. Alongside bringing in specialist help, you will be well on your way towards recovering time to concentrate on what you do best: running your business.

Paul Lawton is head of the small business division at O2

This content is brought to you by Guardian Professional. To receive more like this you can become a member of the Small Business Network here.

REPEAT-MEDIA ADVISORY/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: The More We Walk, the More They Can Talk in Ontario

Category : World News

- BMO employees in Ontario will be walking with community members in support of Kids Help Phone in the Walk so Kids Can Talk presented by BMO on Sunday, May 5

- Thousands of BMO employees participating in more than 30 community and virtual walks across Canada

Read this article: REPEAT-MEDIA ADVISORY/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: The More We Walk, the More They Can Talk in Ontario

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Apttus Announces Platinum Sponsorship of Salesforce Customer Company Tour in London

Category : World News

Salesforce Customer Company Tour Invites Attendees to Connect With Customers, Partners and Employees in Entirely New Ways With Social and Mobile Cloud Technologies

Originally posted here: Apttus Announces Platinum Sponsorship of Salesforce Customer Company Tour in London

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Next staff to share boss’s bonus

Category : Business, World News

Staff at retailer Next are to get a cash bonus after the company’s boss asked for a £2.4m share windfall to be distributed among employees.

Go here to read the rest: Next staff to share boss’s bonus

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Michael Dell lays out his plan

Category : Business

Michael Dell tells Dell employees what may come next.

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Firm sacks staff over Berlusconi ad

Category : World News

JWT India sacks employees over controversial adverts, including one showing former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with a group of bound women in a car boot.

More here: Firm sacks staff over Berlusconi ad

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VIDEO: Barclays’ millionaires ‘no surprise’

Category : World News

The 428 employees at Barclays earning more than £1m is “no surprise” to banking analyst and chairman of the Financial Services Club Chris Skinner.

Originally posted here: VIDEO: Barclays’ millionaires ‘no surprise’

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More than 500 bankers paid £1m-plus

Category : World News

A total of 428 employees at Barclays and 93 at RBS earn more than £1m last year, the banks disclose.

Original post: More than 500 bankers paid £1m-plus

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Apple computers ‘hacked’ in breach

Category : Business, World News

Computers used by Apple employees were hacked by the same attackers that targeted Facebook, the iPhone-maker says.

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Why did Dell force employees to sell shares?

Category : Business, Stocks

Dell made employees dump shares in the midst of buyout discussions.

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