5 Ways to Celebrate Thank You Month

“Manners Cost Nothing” is something you probably heard a lot as a child, and as we get older, we start to appreciate the simple things, such as a “thanks” after helping someone out. 

In some parts of the world, January marks ‘Thank You Month’, a time to make sure our manners are still at their very best. And at the same time that you show gratitude for what others do for you with that simple “thank you”, you can take time to acknowledge why you are thankful. More than that, you can try to do something, however small, for others and give back to the community, as a simple act of kindness can go a long way.

There are many ways you can take part in the month, and getting involved can have some real, positive effects on both you and your community.

Getting Involved

  1. You could start a thank you journal, in which each day of January you write something that you are thankful for. You may be surprised at how much there actually is to be thankful about and you can start appreciating the little things in life.
  2. Reach out to someone who is there for you and thank them for something they did, or for just being a part of your life. Reassuring and showing gratitude to the people who are there for you is important, as making them feel appreciated shows them they are doing the right thing.
  3. Make sure to thank people who provide services, whether it be a teacher, a cashier or someone serving your breakfast at a café; hearing it will make their day and it doesn’t cost you anything.
  4. Give other people a reason to be thankful by providing acts of kindness to strangers and friends alike, it will brighten their day and yours, and makes it more likely for that person to pass on the kindness to a new stranger.
  5. Did you know that being thankful can actually produce dopamine, a chemical released in your brain when you are having a pleasant experience. Thanking someone can actually lift your mood and make you feel happier!

Santa Paws: Saving Christmas One Puppy At a Time

Within the UK it is estimated that 100,000 dogs and cats are without a loving home, either in shelters or strays on the street. With Christmas around the corner, it is the perfect time to donate to charity and help the community in the spirit of togetherness. 

Many families decide a pet would be a perfect Christmas present, but a lot of cats and dogs are returned later in the year when they become “too much responsibility” as people may not understand the amount of time animals need. 

To help with the increase in animals within shelters that are already at their limit, there are charity events called Santa Paws around the country to encourage people to support a variety of causes. 

In 2019 nearly £2,000,000 was raised at the Pets at Home Santa Paws appeal, allowing for new equipment and a continuation of their work with animals. Other organisations have more specific causes, such as training hearing dogs for deaf people which support them with their disabilities. 

Hearing dogs are used to alert their owners about sounds they would usually miss, this can be from the doorbell, alarms and phone but can also help with devices that help us identify hazards, such as a fire alarm, potentially saving lives.

They encourage people to hold Santa Paws events such as a coffee morning or a bake sale, you can make the event as big or as small as you want and every little helps for this organisation. 

Christmas is a time about coming together as a community so it’s the perfect opportunity to get involved and have fun doing so. 

Get involved in helping charities and raise money for this wonderful cause, you can help change an animal’s life. 

Creating an Equal World For All With Human Rights Month

December marks and celebrates Human Rights Month, a time for international awareness for people and nations to join together and stand up for the rights and freedoms of individuals around the globe. The month stems from Human Rights Day, which is the 10th of December and marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights created by the United Nations in 1948. 

Whilst it is true that many people around the world have their freedoms and can express themselves for who they are, there are many people who unfortunately can not, and December is a time to spread awareness about human rights violations around the world. 

Each year, the movement focuses on a different theme, this year international Human Rights Day is focusing on how rights are the beginning of peace within societies, and a way to create a fairer society for future generations. 

How to get involved

There are many ways you can get involved, by donating to many charities around the globe to help people get the necessary resources they need and help improve local communities.  

Currently, there are many human rights violations in which you can help with including the current Afghan crisis, in which many civilians are unable to access necessities and are being displaced by the war. 

Not too far from home is the UK’s poverty crisis, in which food prices rise and wages stagnate, with 2.5 million people receiving emergency foods from food banks in 2021.  

Take this time through the holidays to reflect and grow, keeping in mind that every person from every walk of life should be entitled to their basic human rights. 

The UN has a lot of information on Human Rights Day about how you can get involved and what they are doing in order to ensure Human Rights for everyone. 

Setting Up and Using OneDrive

OneDrive is the cloud storage service from Microsoft which will both store your files securely and allow you to access them from almost any device. It is one of many online storage services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud, but only Microsoft OneDrive is built directly into Windows 10.

Like all Cloud storage services, OneDrive acts as if it is an external drive, but because it is available through the internet folders and files can be backed up and synced in the cloud. OneDrive works across different devices and platforms. It is entirely possible to create a file on one device and continue working on it on another (PC, laptop, tablet, or phone).

Files on OneDrive can be easily shared with other people, and if you have Microsoft 365 you can collaborate with someone else, on a file, in real-time.

You don’t even need to use Windows to be able to use OneDrive, but if you have a Windows 10 device, there are even more features available, including a ‘Personal Vault’ where important and sensitive files are protected with an extra level of security.

Whatever device you are using, whether it is a Windows 10 Laptop, an Android phone, or anything else, to sign up for and use OneDrive, you will need a Microsoft Account. This is easy to set up and you can sign up for one here. The good news is that if you already have a @outlook.com, @live.com, or @hotmail.com email address, or Xbox network account, you already have a Microsoft account and can use any of these.

Storage

A basic free plan for OneDrive provides 5GB of OneDrive space. You can get 100GB of storage by paying a small monthly fee, but if you already have a subscription to Microsoft 365, then you may already have a whole 1TB of OneDrive space available.

Creating a OneDrive Account

Firstly, go to the OneDrive website here. You will need to click the ‘Sign In’ button.

You will get an option to either enter the email of an existing OneDrive account or to Create a New Account.

Click the ‘Create one!’ option.

If you do already have a @outlook.com, @live.com, or @hotmail.com email address, or Xbox network account, you can enter this to create your account, otherwise, click ‘Get a new email address’.

You can choose whether to have an @outlook or @hotmail address and then just follow the on-screen instructions to complete the signing-up process.

Once the OneDrive account is created, on Windows 10, OneDrive is usually automatically configured. In most cases, in Windows, the one Drive Client software will already be on your device, but if not download the OneDrive client offline installer from Microsoft and double-click the file to install it.

If you are installing on another device, like an Apple or Android phone, you will need to get the OneDrive App from the appropriate App store.

Once you have the software or app on your device, you just need to sign in. In Windows,  click the cloud icon from the notification area.

Then select the Sign in button.

Follow the directions to confirm your Microsoft account address and password. Click the Sign in button again.

You should be good to go.

View and Manage Folders and Files

In OneDrive, you can change settings for managing, syncing and sharing files. OneDrive will appear in File Explorer, like any other drive on your computer, and you can view and manage files there.

If you want to view your files online, just right-click any of the folders or files in OneDrive and choose ‘View online’ from the menu.

You can change a wide variety of options in OneDrive. Click on the cloud Icon in the Notification Area. Click on ‘Help & Settings’ and you will be presented with a dialog box where you can change whether OneDrive starts automatically with Windows, control Notifications, add other accounts and many other options.

Share Files 

Sharing files with others, whether they have OneDrive or not, is easy. You can share whole folders or individul files and this can be done from both File Explorer or from your OneDrive site. Just right-click the file or folder you wish to share and click ‘Share’ from the menu.

Before the link is sent, you can control how whether the person being sent the link will have editing rights, when the link will expire and if a password is  required.

There is much, much more to OneDrive. If you want to learn more, contact us here at Infero.

Learn Something New By Getting Involved With Spiritual Literacy Month

December marks the start of spiritual literacy month, a time to reflect on one’s own spirituality; whether that be through organised religion, your own spirituality or just learning to understand other people’s spirituality.  

Spiritual Literacy Month was created by Frederic and Mary Brussat in 1996 as a way to help people respect all the world’s religions and the culture that comes alongside them. 

Frederic and Mary Brussat are authors of the book “Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred of Everyday Life”, which is a book that is compiled of 650 examples of spiritual perspectives using readings of passages from a variety of spiritual sources and is also the basis of a 26-part film series by the same name. 

The goal of the month is to encourage anyone who is interested into reading at least one book about spirituality and how doing so can have some positive effects on your mind. 

It’s important to remember that being spiritual does not automatically mean religious, there are many ways one can be spiritual and even if you’re not, you can just learn something new and interesting about a community. 

One believed benefit of trying out this challenge is that it can give advice and open your mind in ways you may not have previously thought, and even if you don’t agree with the content written you have opened yourself up to a new perspective. 

How You Can Reduce Stress With These Time Management Tips

November 1st is the start of stress awareness week, a time to reflect about how we can deal and prevent overwhelming stress.

Retreating to the island of Erraid in Scotland (Like Ben Fogle did) is one way to escape life’s stress, but maybe not a practical one, so here is a few things you can do to help you live a stress-free life.

Not being able to manage your time correctly can lead to a stressful life, whether that’s through procrastinating or simply not giving yourself a decent work-life balance.

Create a Schedule

Creating a schedule and planning your days in advance can be a great way to add structure to your life, allowing you to relax knowing that you have set times for yourself throughout the day. It also allows you to be productive whilst working since you already have planned what to do ahead of time, but remember to be flexible in case anything urgent appears.

Use Modern Apps

There are many applications to help you become a time management expert, whether it’s keeping it simple with calendars and journals, or trying some specialised apps such as ‘Rescue Time’, an app that gives you weekly reports on how you’ve spent your time each day.

Specialised help

If you are looking for a more in-depth course on how to manage your time and reduce stress, we offer high quality time management and stress management courses.

10 Reasons November Is THE Best Month

Many people dismiss November as just ‘that month between Halloween and Christmas’ when nothing much happens, but they are wrong. November was the ninth month of the year under the Roman calendar and got its name from the Latin word novem, meaning nine. Now it’s the 11th month and it might just be the best. Here are ten reasons why:

1. Back to Greenwich Meantime

The clocks go back at the end of October and we get back the hour that was cruelly stole from us in Spring. The mornings are lighter, so every day feels like a lie in. Evenings are darker and it feels like it’s properly winter.

2. Colourful Leaves

Some people would argue that trees are at their most beautiful in Autumn, when their leaves turn spectacular colours. The leaves change because of changes in the length of daylight and temperature that causes chlorophyll breakdown. Green leaves are replaced by yellows, oranges and even reds.  

3. It’s Movember

Men everywhere are suddenly sporting a moustache, whether it’s a mighty handlebar, or barely visible pencil moustache. Movember seems to get bigger every year. It is all in good fun and for a great cause. It started off in a bar in Australia and has grown into one of the biggest charities promoting men’s health in the world.

4. You can select your Advent Calendar

Advent Calendars need to be ready for the 1st of  December. With everything ranging from the ones you can pick up from Poundland to the ridiculously expensive, containing beauty products, beer, cheese, chocolate, Harry Potter and tea, and everything in between, there’s an Advent Calendar for you.

5 Bonfire Night

Remember, Remember, the fifth of November. These days the UK’s own celebration seems to take second place to Halloween. Perhaps that’s a good thing, as the event commemorates the brutal execution of someone, (even if that person was someone who attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament.) There are still many organised displays on, or around the 5th November for those who enjoy fireworks.

 6. Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Thankfully, the scenes of fighting in shops over bargains seem to be a thing of the past, but you may still be able to get some good deals in the Black Friday sales held on the High Street and online. Or maybe you should wait until Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, when much of the buying is done online. Black Friday is said to be a better time to buy newer, big-ticket items and to visit stores physically. Cyber Monday is a better day to shop for tech deals and smaller gifts.

7. St Andrew’s Day

This happens every year on the 30th November and in Scotland is a Bank Holiday. Celebrate if you are Scottish or have Scottish connections, or just like Scotland. Break out some 15-year-old whiskey and raise a glass, listen to the Bay City Rollers or Big Country, or watch Billy Connelly.

8. Tins of Sweets

The supermarkets are full of walls of tins (alright plastic tubs) of sweets; Quality Street, Celebrations, Heroes and many more. At this point, they are so ridiculously cheap that it’s the best time to pick some up for Christmas. Pity you’ll have to buy some more next week after finishing them off watching a Marvel movie marathon.

9. Christmas Lights Go On

All up and down the country, in cities and Towns, Christmas lights are switched on in late November, many with Countdowns and, in some cases, the switching on is done by an actress that was once in Eastenders, back in the 90s. Ignore the turning on and just go and enjoy the spectacular sight of the lights in the darkness.

10. … And you can prepare for Christmas (A little)

Even though Christmas belongs in December, you can start your Christmas shopping, to avoid the rush. (Run out and buy that Christmas Pudding, definitely, because there won’t be any left on Christmas Eve!) You might need to think about sending the present that will take a while to get to its recipient and, if you really really have to, you can sneak a listen to some Christmas music. (Just a little, to give you the taste for when December begins!)

November is perfect for cosy nights in, moving to comfortable winter clothes and so much more.  Enjoy November. It’s a better month than you think! 


What is Visio?

MS Visio is, basically, software for drawing diagrams; a very, very wide variety of diagrams. Along with the flowcharts, org charts, building plans and process flow diagrams that you would normally expect in a diagramming app, there are floor plans, network diagrams, mind maps, infographics, data flow diagrams, business process modelling, swim lane diagrams, 3D maps, and many more.

Visio is part of the Microsoft Office software suite, but is not included in standard editions as Excel, Word and PowerPoint are. It is sold as a stand-alone program, which is why it is much less well known. Despite this, it integrates seamlessly with all of the other Office Applications, using the same Ribbon interface and shares functionality with MS Office Word and Excel. Visio also has a large library of templates and shapes for various types of charts and there are even whole websites that have collections of Visio templates developed by third parties.

Another feature that Visio has is pulling live information from an external source. It can, for example use data dynamically from Excel and Access, making diagrams functional and current. And along with the very wide variety of built-in shapes, objects, and stencils to work with, it is possible to create your own shapes and import these for use in Visio.

How Visio is Used

It is possible to create very professional-looking diagrams relatively easily with Visio and these can be as simple or as complicated as required. Some of the most used Diagram Types in Visio include:

Flowcharts

Flowcharts are a visual sequence of steps and decisions for a particular process, using shapes to show the steps and arrows to show progression between steps. Flowcharts can include process flows, process maps, work flows and flow diagrams.

Organizational Charts

Organizational charts, show reporting relationships and the hierarchies within organisations. They can show the detail of who reports to who and/or the overall hierarchy of a company.

Floor Plans

Visio can create scaled diagrams like floor so that a room can be modelled using exact measurements. Tables, chairs and equipment can be moved around to find the best layout, relative to one another, within the space of a room.

Network Diagrams

A computer network diagram depicts nodes and connections in a computer network. Network diagrams use symbols to represent common network devices and diagrams can be made at the LAN (Local Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network) level. Visio is used extensively by IT professionals to design network diagrams.

MS Visio is so popular for creating Network Diagrams that many network equipment manufacturers supply downloadable Visio network drawings on their websites. There is an extensive collection of stencils to help aid in making network diagrams at the VisioCafe website.

Gantt Charts

Used extensively in Project Management and the default view in MS Project, a Gantt chart shows individual tasks in a project, their start and end dates, the people assigned to the tasks and other information.

Mind Maps

Mind maps, also known as concept maps, are diagrams showing the connections between ideas. Related ideas can be grouped and connected to the overall topic. Mind maps are effective planning tools.

Charts & Graphs

Although more commonly used and seen in Excel, Visio also includes charts and graphs. Used to visually represent data in a way that makes the information simpler to understand. Visio can create bar charts, line charts and pie charts amongst others.

There is a lot more to Visio and Infero Training offers courses at all levels. Contact us today to find out more.

Festival of light – Diwali

November 2nd  marks the start of the 5-day Diwali celebration with the main events and celebrations taking place on the 4th dubbed the day of Diwali.

The five days are named, in order, Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Diwali, Padwa and Bhai Duj, to find out more information on the specific celebrations of each day click here.

Although there are many festivals of light , Divali is possibly the original Festival of Lights and is also a major celebration for many religions including Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. It involves gift giving, feasts, lights, sweets and prayers and represents new beginnings.

Central to Diwali is the lighting of oil lamps and divas/diyas, both at places of worship and in homes, alongside fireworks and candles. These represent enlightenment, wisdom and knowledge.

After Covid-19 cancelled a lot of the in person celebrations last year, it will be exciting to see communities gather for such a beautiful event.

Many major, multicultural cities around the UK, most notably London, Leicester, Birmingham, Belfast and Edinburgh, with large south Asian communities, hold major Diwali celebrations, with spectacular light displays.

Why not check for Diwali festivities near you and take part in the celebrations this year, whether you have celebrated before or are new to this festival.

Top Tips to Keep Yourself Secure Online

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

According to a government survey, two in five businesses (39%) have experienced some form of security breach in the last 12 months.

With more workers operating from home, it is now more important than ever to keep important data and documents secure, and by following these helpful tips you can be extra safe online:

Passwords

The easiest way to keep yourself and your data safe online is to use stronger passwords for your accounts.

This can include a number of things such as using capital letters, special characters, numbers and most importantly not having the password relate to you in any obvious way e.g., a family pet. Obviously remembering multiple passwords is not easy, but there are many free password managers available that can help with this.

Wi-Fi

For work involving data and important documents, it is paramount that you use secure and passworded internet. Wi-Fi has its own security issues. At home, make sure you have changed the default password on your router and changed the network name, so that it is not recognisable as belonging to a particular provider.

The best advice on Public Wi-Fi is to avoid using it, as so much of it is out of your control. Cyber-criminals can intercept communications between public Wi-Fi users and the public Wi-Fi router. This is known as a known as Man in the middle (MITM) attack and essentially means that a hacker can steal data, documents and even passwords for things like banking sites.

If you really have to use public Wi-Fi, then use a good VPN or, at the very least, only connect to sites that use HTTPS. Look for HTTPS at the beginning of a website’s address, which means the connection between the browser and the web server is encrypted.

Anti-virus software

Your computer is constantly of danger of downloading malicious code and malware which can completely break your device and leave your data in a vulnerable state.

Using anti-virus software can protect your device by warning you about unsafe websites and dangerous emails, blocking downloads and deleting the malicious code from your computer.

Make sure that your anti-virus is up to date and perform routine scans, ensuring nothing has breached your device. You don’t need to pay. There are some excellent, free anti-virus programs available.

Following these tips should maximise your cyber security and stop any threats you may have had. Remember, you can never be too careful.