Welcome to the ACCL Blog

IP Infrastructure Upgrades

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before & after (1)We recently carried out an IP infrastructure upgrade at The Writer.

Check out the below video to see what we did:

Want to find out more? Click the below link to read the case study.

http://www.network-data-cabling.co.uk/case-studies/the-writer-case-study

ACCL’s frustration at client’s own patching ‘skills’

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data-cabling-mess

A brand new installation, warranted and tested by ACCL and handed back to the client ready for patching….brush strips were requested instead of traditional cable management.

A couple of days later we were contacted by the client who suspected a faulty outlet and we were called in to investigate. We discovered that the outlet had not even been patched, is it any wonder it was missed judging by the client’s very own ‘freestyle patching’?…….we especially like the way the power injectors are left hanging by patch leads!

When you take pride in the work that you do, this is when it can become very frustrating! Feel free to share your horror patching stories, we know there are plenty out there.

 

How a data cabling cabinet should look.

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Beautiful red data cabling
Here’s another job we’ve completed which shows how a data cabling cabinet should look. Our engineers take a lot of pride in the finished product and this is just one more example of the meticulous work we carry out. We’ve posted a lot of pictures of poor data cabinets recently and pictures like these, which show a beautiful end result, illustrate why we do what we do and why we care. Our ethos is that, when it comes to data cabling, form and function go hand in hand.

Another Quality ACCL Data Cabling Install

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Cat6 InstallWe’ve been busy with brand new installations over the Summer, here’s our latest Category 6A install, another job well done!

ACCL faced with another interesting data cabling challenge!

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ACCL have recently been approached by our client to install a network data outlet for an underwater running machine to be positioned within a fitness pool at their training academy.

SFC hydro pool
Waterproof cabling components are out there but has anyone come across this before? In addition to the cabling being waterproof we are looking at the effect high levels of chlorine and other pool chemicals may have.
Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

Spaghetti Bola-Data Cable

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Warning: the below is an engineers attempt at satire
Three ACCL engineers sent to install some Fibre Optics are in hospital today after tucking in to what they believed to be a delicious pasta with pesto sauce. What first appeared to indeed be spaghetti with a rich pesto sauce ultimately turned out to be another data cabling cleanup job.

data cabling spaghetti

data-cabling-spaghetti1

The engineers have recovered well and are ready and rearing to get stuck in to the cable tidy.

ACCL’s Fibre & WiFi Install for Angel’s the Costumiers

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One thing we love about the data cabling industry is the diversity of clients we encounter, from large Premier League football clubs and retail outlets right down to the smallest start ups. ACCL were recently lucky enough to be called in to assist Angel’s the Costumiers. Angel’s required us to install a data cabling and WiFi solution into their Hendon warehouse and following the success of this project we deployed a new IT and WiFi infrastructure over six floors at their long standing Shaftesbury Avenue store.

Morris Angel Warehouse
The longest established costume supplier in the world, six generations of the Angel family have been dressing showbiz luvvies for nearly 170 years during which time they have won no less than 33 ‘Best Costume’ Oscars, check out their website, their film and TV credits are amazing! From Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet in 1948 to Anna Karenina in 2013.

Founded in 1840 by Morris Angel initially as a shop selling good quality second hand clothing and tailor samples direct from Savile Row, Angel’s took off after requests from actors who wanted to hire outfits as opposed to buying them outright. On moving to their Shaftesbury Avenue location they soon came to the attention of theatre managers seeking their services for their up and coming west end shows. The newly emerging film industry soon followed.  Angel’s Fancy Dress is still based here providing costumes for the general public.
In 2002 the company moved it’s costume collection to a 16,000 sq ft purpose built, temperature controlled facility in Hendon. With approximately 8 miles of hanging rails holding around 1,000,000 items it’s an impressive sight!

So what’s next for ACCL? It’s anyone’s guess!

 

 

8 mad weeks in the life of a data cabling company

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With Autumn fast approaching we finally have time to reflect on the past couple of months which have passed us by in a bit of a blur…! whilst everyone has been off enjoying their summer holidays spare a thought for us here at ACCL, we’ve been literally run off of our feet trying to keep on top of a seemingly never ending list of projects.

To illustrate the point, we have completed 52 different projects in the past 8 weeks, yep! you read that right and we’re not complaining!

It’s great to be busy, the website is bringing more new clients through the door plus word of mouth appears to be carrying the ACCL name far and wide, a great testament to the hard work that we have put in over the last few years.

Of course these things don’t just happen, in order to achieve success you need a great team with a shared vision willing to go over and above the call of duty! I would like to take the time to shout out a few people as none of this would have been possible without them.

As well as the office team co-ordinating the work, we are very fortunate to have a great engineering team bolstered by a first class group of subcontractors. Working flat out in order to complete jobs to a high standard and within time, well done lads!

We also need to say a big thankyou to our suppliers for providing a quality service ensuring we were able to deliver our projects on time,  in particular Danny and Sean and the rest of the guys at NBM for their continued support.

Thank_you_pinned_note

 

 

With no let up in sight we’re just riding it, ACCL are on the up!

 

Home Automation Cabling

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Home automation is a body of work encompassing data, audio visual and electrical cabling. The image below is of the cabling in a home in London which controls everything from the lighting to the security system. It also includes 4K video distribution via fibre optic cabling to every room in this 6 bedroom home.
Home Automation

Data is distributed primarily via Cat6e cabling OM2 fibre cabling. The use of various colour cables allows each cable to be more easily traced from source to destination.

The garage will house a data cabinet which will be home to the 16 camera CCTV recording system, LAN network equipment, control units for lighting, locks, blinds, etc, and internet distribution hardware.

Data Cabling – What not to do…

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On occasion ACCL is called in to take care of a truly disastrous mess. This is one such example where data cabling found itself buried with ciggy butts and other detritus.

This is an extremely good example of what not to do, especially in a structure data cabling situation such as this one.

But enough of the back story, enjoy the pictures!

Bad Data Cabling 3

Bad Data Cabling 2

Bad Data Cabling 1

ACCL launch their latest micro-site, this time about Free Space Optic Laser Links

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ACCL have just unveiled their latest micro-site, this time dedicated to free space optics laser links.

If you are interested in free space optics, or laser links as they are also known, or if you would like some more information, please take a look at our our new website http://www.fso-laser-links.co.uk and if you think it could be of benefit to you or your company then give us a call. It would be great to receive your feedback, so please get in touch and let us know what you think.

Why not check out the article we previously published on the successful Laser Link installation we provided to one of our customers here

free space optics laser link installed by ACCL

ACCL install fibre optic backbone to the No.1 logistics company

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ACCL’s latest project sees us at Heathrow for the next couple of months installing state of the art data cabling and a fibre optic backbone for DHL’s Aviation Division based at the airport’s Cargo Centre.  Also known as ‘The Horseshoe’ the centre provides direct airside access, essential for the company’s cargo transit. Having just acquired a further unit measuring 81,000 sq ft to add to its existing 100,250 sq ft the operation has nearly doubled in size in order to cope with increasing demand.

Founded in 1969 by Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn DHL is now the global market leader in logistics, the primary function of this arm of the company is to provide international transportation for the DHL group including all of their import and export as well as customs and security processing. No mean feat this, cargo is a 24 hour operation, down time is not an option! undaunted ACCL are always up for the challenge and in the words of DHL themselves, ain’t no mountain high enough :-)

ACCL install fibre optic backbone & data cabling at DHL

ACCL continues with it’s data cabling works at SFC’s Training Ground

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ACCL's data cabling works at Southampton FCSFC hydro pool

So this is where ACCL have been working the past year, cabling The Saints brand new state of the art training facility. Boasting 6 all weather pitches, a top of the range hydro training pool, fully equipped gyms, nutrition centre, physiotherapy, in fact there is everything you need to keep your multi-million pound football team in the peak of health. With investment like this it’s clear the club has big plans. In our totally unbiased opinion this has to be the best training facility on offer anywhere in the premier league, with more works keeping us busy for the next couple of years it will be interesting to see Southampton’s progression, come on you Saints!

ACCL’s latest data cabling challenge

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ACCL's latest data cabling tidy up (logistics)Got to pity the poor engineers charged with this data cabling clean-up task….Oh! it’s us :-) This one is particularly tricky because all systems need to remain online throughout – a formidable challenge.

I.T. Teams, don’t let your cabinets turn into this kind of tangle – get some data cabling experts in to help ensure a neat cabinet.

ACCL saves the day! Rapid response to assist a school with major network issues

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ACCL recently received a call from a school in a panic as half of their network was down, not good when they have the education of our children at the heart of what they do! We are renowned for our rapid response and our engineers were on site to assess and rectify the problem early the next day. Our engineers quickly identified a bad fibre termination and put a temporary fix in place to get the network fully operational.

ACCL data cabling at a school

Having completed a survey of the system we were able to offer advice and recommend changes to ensure the same issues would not happen again…happy with our service and quick turnaround we were invited back shortly afterwards to complete a new fibre optic install.

This is what sets ACCL above the competition and why we remain a leading data cabling company in London and beyond, we offer around the clock service and support, promising to be with you within 24 hours of your call and with it offering an unbeatable service, but don’t wait for something to go wrong, why not sign up for one of our many network maintenance packages today?

More evidence of ACCL’s data cabling OCD!

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Here is another cable tidy up we completed recently, client’s work vs ACCL’s work….. #jobsatisfaction #cablingporn

ACCL's OCD in reorganising a fibre optic data cabinet

 

ACCL wins a prestigious project with a multinational oil company

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Crude oil is the single most valuable source of energy throughout the world and as there is a finite amount costs continue to rise and research into alternatives pushes forward…Unfortunately that’s where my knowledge of oil ends unless we wish to start a conversation on Dallas and the Ewings! Luckily for ACCL this knowledge hasn’t been necessary and our area of expertise has recently been put to good use!

ACCL structured cabling at a multinational oil companyWe’ve been contracted to install a structured cabling system into an impressive 8 storey 1980’s building, the infrastructure has not been touched since the building went up so it’s fair to say well overdue an upgrade! ACCL have just finished stage one of a complete building upgrade which includes an overhaul of the main computer room installing fibre and copper inter-cabinet links and a vertical fibre and copper backbone for a multinational oil and gas company based in Basingstoke, this is a darn slight closer to home than the last oil company we cabled in Kazakhstan!.

With Phase one successfully completed and with another six floors at 400 outlets per floor its going to keep us busy for the foreseeable future…..

 

Structured Cabling for the Elite

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ACCL have just secured a re-cabling project for a top modelling agency based in the heart of Islington. Elite Model Management opened its London office in 2008, its aim, to bring a fresh new approach to the London modelling industry.
Founded in Paris in 1972 Elite has gone on to manage over 2000 models in 35 agencies across 5 continents, discovering many notable models along the way including Cindy Crawford and Gisele Bundchen. They’ve also represented a fair few including Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum and Eva Herzigova, with this in mind and the prospect of bumping into a ‘hot’ model there was no shortage of engineers volunteering for the work…. :-)
The offices are undergoing a complete refurbishment with ACCL responsible for renewing the structured cabling over 2 floors. A very straightforward job (unfortunately!) with the boys desperate to find snagging issues which could secure a return visit!

ACCL's structured cabling at Elite model agency

Installing Laser Links on the rooftops of London Town

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Having outgrown their current office space, a client of ours decided to relocate one of its departments into a new office location based approximately 800 metres from their main site, which involved moving across London boroughs too, from Camden to Islington!

Initial contact with their service provider made them aware of a 6 month backlog for the installation of a new lease line, not good enough when you’re running a business. Luckily ACCL were able to provide the solution in the form of free space optics, or laser links as they are otherwise known. This is the latest technology in the world of wireless communication, where the signal is transmitted through a cable passed through air, or free space…genius!

The concept is not dissimilar to fibre optic in that a light source is used to transmit data instead of cable. An initial survey was conducted to see if it was a viable solution, included in this was checking with local authorities to ensure no plans were in place to erect London’s next tallest building between the two sites which would have caused (obviously!) major interruption to the signal… on discovering no plans were pending it was all systems go.

One of the many benefits to free space optics in addition to it being wireless, is that it takes less than a day to install and is very cost effective, just a one off payment unlike leased lines where you’re tied into a contract with monthly charges as well as the initial installation cost. The result is a very happy customer!
If you would like more information on Free Space Optics or any of the other services ACCL provide, visit our website, or pick up the phone and give us a call, one of our experienced team will be only too happy to help!

ACCL install Free Space Optic Laser Links over London Rooftops

A Day at the Races…ACCL install fibre optics at Lingfield Park

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Everyone enjoys a day at the races don’t they? It’s a great opportunity to dress up, quaff a Pimms and lemonade, have a quick bet on the gee gee’s… great fun whether it’s with friends and family or a corporate day out and from today your viewing pleasure at Lingfield Park in Surrey will be improved immensely as ACCL are undertaking a fibre optic termination for some outside broadcast screens.

The racecourse is set within a 450 acre estate, opened in 1890 by the then Prince of Wales who was destined to become Edward VII. Initially only jump racing was held at the estate but The Jockey Club granted permission for flat racing to be held in 1894. Nowadays it is a major events venue offering great facilities in addition to the racing.

Lingfield Park is best known as an all-weather flat racing course, one of only four in the UK, what this means is that instead of the usual sand, grass or dirt, the track is made from Polytrak, a synthetic substance made from a mixture of silica sand, carpet, spandex and recycled rubber or PVC …stuff that wouldn’t sound out of place in an Ann Summers catalogue :)  this has the benefit of allowing racing to continue when bad weather would have normally cancelled race days.
ACCL can assist with all areas of cabling, take a look at our website or give us a call, a friendly voice will be ready and waiting!

Dramatic Data Cabling Cleanup – Before and after

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Take a look at these before and after pictures from a data cabling cleanup job we successfully completed.

ACCL's dramatic data cabling clean up SFC before & after

If you’d like to see a video and read the data cabling case-study, click here

ACCL Impressing a US Corporate

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America’s lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret has successfully arrived in the UK. The retail giant recently opened two flag ship stores in London last year, followed by Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds this year. The arrival of Victoria’s Secret to the UK has been great news for Active Communication Company Limited (ACCL). Our organisation is the sole UK contractor for their innovative call system technology. ACCL’s engineers have been busy behind the scenes installing cable and IT hardware.

With 1000 stores already in operation throughout the US, Victoria’s Secret is to America what Marks & Sparks is to the UK, you just know you’re going to get a great set of undies. Judging by the reaction in the press and the crowds that have been seen, maybe more stores are set to open.

So, it’s happy days for women everywhere and let’s face it, it couldn’t have come at a better time.  With the football season now in full flow, women can spend their Saturday afternoons leisurely perusing rails of underwear minus the clock watching other half, they will be happy chewing the fat in the local pub.

Author: Wayne Connors

Sailing with Mr Rhino – teambuilding ACCL style!

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Last Friday saw the boys off on a jolly, time for a bit of overdue male bonding, a chance for boys to be boys and let that manliness run rampage! Chris had organised a day’s sailing out on the Solent, on a boat aptly named Mr Rhino – an image forms of power, muscle and testosterone, using your imagination our boys can be described as being a bit like the rhino.. minus the horn! I believe the boys were probably thinking they were having a day out in a Strip Club, but Spearmint Rhino it wasn’t, just a bunch of men wrapped up in waterproofs as a barrier against the changeable English climate! Unfortunately they didn’t get to do much ‘sailing’ more ‘drifting’ as the Solent resembled a mill pond…. no wind, allegedly, although I find this hard to believe knowing the amount of hot air that regularly escapes this lot!

It took 2 1/2 hours to get to the Isle of Wight, even the seagulls were faster! Shame, as I was imagining Simon le Bon, hair teased by the wind, gliding through the water at a rate of knots! However, we can safely say it was not exactly a Duran Duran ‘Rio’ moment!

Chris is an experienced sailor, out on the water at every available opportunity. Keith is a frequent cruiser, so he was completely unfazed by the whole boating experience, Steve is up for anything, and after sea fishing on our trip to Grenada last year was not worried about the Solent. Wayne ‘land lubber’ Connors however,originally thought he’d left his sea legs back at Hamble, he was fine for the first couple of hours but started to feel a tad unwell after dinner…an allergy to shellfish, finally revealing itself in all its glory! He had the DT’s and hives all over his skin…the boss is gutted, as am I, he will never be able to look into the eyes of a prawn the same way again, and I, for my part would have had some serious mileage pulling his leg on the fact he’s a girl pants on the water!

The boys came back to the office full of it! They’d had a great day, and Chris is looking to organise a further trip, this time up the Thames. I think the girls should be invited on this one, however I’m not into the whole waterproofs look, I would rather have the opportunity to dress up and quaff champagne, leaving the sailing to a dishy captain

Author: Wayne Connors

 

 

ROI in a Throwaway World?

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The Shard in London is a very impressive sight, towering over the landscape of our metropolis it really is an amazing feat of engineering.  It was quite surprising to learn however that the life expectancy of this, the tallest building in Europe, is just 60 years!  The fact that the Shard towers over many historic buildings that have been standing for hundreds of years, Southwark Cathedral standing since 1220, gives some perspective on this expectancy!  It would appear that the throw away mentality is getting very extreme, wouldn’t it?

Equally interesting to note is the fact that office space is now available with lengths of lease that have significantly reduced over the last 12 years.  The average length of any lease now being 7 to 9 years rather than the 10 to 17 years, as it was then.  With this decrease the evolution of many businesses are impacted by not only changing rates but also the option to move to larger and smaller premises.  The churn of moving people and their equipment from one place to another is becoming more and more evident as is the reshaping of a building layout to suit a particular business need.

In many parts of the world there is a driving trend towards renovation and refitting of existing building premises rather than new construction and with such a dramatic decline in the lifespan of new buildings there is little wonder.  Studies in the UK have demonstrated the benefits of office refurbishment when compared to demolition and rebuilding. In addition to the environmental benefits, property values and planning restrictions are combining to make renovation an economically attractive alternative to demolition and rebuild. Even when the same company occupies the same building, office buildings usually require a major refurbishment every 20 to 25 years.  The likelihood of a need to refurbish is increased when occupancy is changed.  Therefore it can be expected that commercial refurbishment activity is likely to be a significant and increasing portion of overall construction activity for the foreseeable future.

Taking all of these elements into account and combining it with the fact that technology has become an indispensable tool for business, industry, and education, what importance should be given to warranties or guarantees that are placed on the installation of any voice or data cabling solutions?  Whilst a warranty can offer you 15 to 25 years peace of mind,  if you are not planning to occupy the same building why would this particular aspect be of any value to you?  So what is important?

Within the past few years a need has developed to create a new generation of “flexible” buildings and workplace environments, providing adaptable delivery of power, voice, and data.  Buildings that have infrastructures and structures that can fully support change and adopt new technologies.

Return on any investment is the highest priority for most businesses, so price will always be a factor that will determine who wins a contract.  Price does however need to be tempered with quality of workmanship, and the solution being just that, and fit for purpose.

A recent debate in a group on linked-in weighed up the merits of dealing with “big names” or small local businesses.  The majority of responses indicated that whilst the preference would be to deal with the local traders, more often than not the larger companies won out purely based on the fact that they were a recognised name.  The irony that was also noted was that the work was then frequently sub-contracted out to the smaller local business!

My own thoughts on the matter are that I would rather give work to the company that I felt would provide me with good sound advice, warranties and guarantees, should I need them, as well as providing fully trained and qualified engineers.  I would be looking for a company that gave me confidence in their abilities as their background had the evidence to back up their commitments.

Author: Wayne Connors

Couch to 5k – Still smashing it!

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Now a couple of weeks in and, I’m pleased (actually totally amazed) to report we are all still pretty much on track! I know, get us!

For the most part I have been pretty good, running round the woods with me mucker Sal a couple of times a week, of course I use the word running in the loosest sense! run a bit, near collapse, walk a bit! not quite Steve Ovett and Seb Coe but, watch this space, Rio 2016 is beckoning. On the days I don’t run I walk briskly for at least  40 minutes and I do this at least twice a week, sometimes everyday *smug smile*  I have invested in a pair of Tone Up trainers, on the recommendation of said friend Sally. I like them. Mostly. They tone up muscles I never knew existed, the pain in my backside has been excruciating at times, but it has to be for the greater good, it will be toned and sassy, J Lo butt here I come!

Another downside to this exercise lark is the increased need to use the toilet, for number two’s – I don’t wish to sound gross but for a while I was scared to don the lycra and step outside ’cause within 10 mins I was having to speed up at bit for fear of releasing more than endorphins! This is normal apparently and thankfully this aspect settled quite quickly! I have been watching what I put into my mouth too, although I refuse point blank to diet, not a single onion ring has passed these lips…..my reward is a 3lb loss in 2 weeks, not mind blowing granted, but 2lb more than I lost in the whole 6 months of the ACCL Team Diet, so, believe me I’m chuffed to bits!!

So Sally my twice weekly running/walking partner has been venturing into the woods more or less every day, top bird! She has to take the dog out anyway so gets her exercise kit on and off she trots, I’m sure she runs most of the course when I’m not there holding her back, she’s good, I’ve seen her! She runs whilst carrying a bag of sausages, she assures me these are for the dog, but she disappears from sight occasionally so one can never be entirely sure! Sally has not drunk a single glass of wine in the last 2 weeks, which is incredible, I’m not joking! She runs funny but that I put down to the shaking from the DT’s!! She is feeling fitter, and so she should, however she is slightly concerned about the size of her calf muscles, which she feels are looking a bit like Popeye’s!

Dee is still following the plan to the letter and is out 3 days week (no more!) gradually increasing the amount of running she does, she even comments on the forums, go Dee! Another one that goes out with the dogs, in Dee’s case she has 2 German Pointers, I’m not convinced that she is doing all the work here, those dogs can move and who’s out with her to check she isn’t wearing roller skates? I’ve read plenty of Miss Marple in my time to be suspicious of everything! On the downside though she has increased the amount she has been shoving into her gob, exercise makes you hungry she says and she can justify the non-weight loss with the old saying ‘muscle weighs more than fat’ However, she is beginning to realise that in order to lose a bit of weight she’ll have to start cutting back on what she’s eating and avoid the doughnuts!

Steve, what can I say? he is still torturing himself by talking CONSTANTLY about food,bacon sandwiches, Nando’s, chinese…you name it he’s talking about it! He feels deprived, so we have decided that if we are good all week we can afford ourselves a treat, so we have treat Friday, I support him in this as only a true friend can, it’s not a treat if you partake on your own is it? It keeps us focussed, like a reward for good behaviour and it works, his mood on a Friday is a joy to behold!  He bought himself a rowing machine this week, that’s how serious he is, he was getting bored of the running machine, and more to the point his knees were giving out, poor old codger. He has lost a couple of pounds too sofair play to him.

Can we REALLY keep this up?!

 

ACCL Smashing Couch to 5k

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Following the *ahem* success of the ACCL team diet, we are regrouping and gearing up for the latest fad grabbing the country by storm – Couch to 5k……the idea is to turn you from couch potato to Zola Budd, they *promise* to get you regularly running 3 miles in the space of just 2 months! Achievable? If I’m honest I have my doubts, but we shall see….. :-)

The boss is giving this one a wide berth, having been the stand alone hero of the team diet I am only too pleased to hear it, one thing Wayne does have is willpower so he’d blow us all out of the water and if I’m totally honest I couldn’t bare any more of his smugness…! He is instead sticking to being careful about what he shovels into his gob… Personally, I think it has more to do with his fear of lycra :-)

So the team consists of me. Obvs. Sally and Dee, also obvs :-) and the Lawrence…a very welcome, if not reluctant addition to the team!

In my youth, not so many years ago (don’t laugh!) I was a good middle distance runner, being told to try out for the county. I was however more interested in beer and boys at the time so it never happened…. Now as a grown up (debateable??!) I am ready to take on the challenge :-) This HAS to work, for those of you who followed my Clash of the 2 Tonnes blog will know, having started the diet at the beginning of the year with high hopes I failed at it. Miserably. Onion rings and red wine are my life and I just couldn’t manage without them.  I have gained another 1/2 stone since, which is a disaster…!  according to my mum it all goes downhill from the age of 40 anyway so I should just accept my fate! but I’m not ready to throw in the towel, just yet :-)

Sally will be my jogging/walking partner a couple of times a week (her house backs woods, and we thought it only right that our attempts at getting fit should be viewed by as few people as possible, at least until we can jog without looking like someone in the throes of an asthma attack..) Sally’s diet journey was about as successful as mine, yep, that good :-) and she is determined to get out of the ‘fat’ wardrobe once and for all…!

Dee is following the plan to the letter (I bet she was teachers pet at school!) 20-30 minute sessions, 3 times a week, gradually increasing the amount of running she does (she has even downloaded the iPhone App, so she has someone talking in her ear, personally I get enough of that at home from my kids, so it’s not for me :-). Lethargy following ill health has been her catalyst for her getting fit, and age…..did I mention we are all women in the prime of life (ie our 40′s :-) )??!

Steve Lawrence, the man who laughed when we talked about the team diet is now finding that age is finally creeping up on him and with it comes extra poundage in the form of a spare tyre, ha! there is a God :-) Again, not wanting to scare the general public with his attempts at exercise, he is using his parents’ treadmill…. Personally, I think it’s just an excuse for him to go home and get his mum’s cooking :-) He is determined to lose weight though and as someone who avoided the diet at the start of the year I have no idea of his resolve…. he’s also watching what he’s eating (whilst CONSTANTLY talking about Nando’s – unnecessarily torturing himself I might add) One thing I will say here though is that it’s making him grumpy :-) well, more grumpy than normal if that’s possible… :-) He is telling us that he is jogging for 30 minutes, however, we have no way of proving this……video footage may be required and trust me I will upload it on here if we manage to acquire any :-)

Putting the ‘Great’ Back into Britain

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What a year to be British! We’ve had a patriotism overload this year haven’t we??  With bunting and Union Jack flags billowing from the windows of houses and High Streets up and down the country since April in preparation for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at the beginning of June.

People came out in their droves to ‘big up’ the Queen on her 60 years as our Head of State, only the 2nd monarch in British history to achieve such an accolade (Queen Victoria being the other)… No other country in the World has our pomp and ceremony, and visitors come from far and wide to revel in our glorious heritage, and we certainly know how to throw a party, don’t we :-) ??…. we Brits do all this in spite of our unpredictable climate :-) mind you, I say in spite of, but let’s face it, rubbish Summers are the norm for us aren’t they?? Always prepared with a rain mac and brolly….our stiff upper lip and fighting ‘bulldog’ spirit comes to the fore :-)

In spite of the deluge of rain the flags are still flying, and 2 weeks after England’s footballers crashed out of yet another Euro’s, this weekend saw us Brits once again huddled around the TV on yet another wet Summer Sunday :-) Flags still flying, beer and optimism flowing…The British Grand Prix at Silverstone saw unfortunately another dismal day for the Brits…. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button coming in 8th and 10th…

Our optimism remained resolutely in place for the men’s Wimbledon Final, the hopes and dreams of the nation pinned solely onto Andy Murray – could he possibly do what Fred Perry did way back in 1936??! Alas, it wasn’t to be, and as we all cried along with him, we hope that he will soon have his day…..there’s always next year when Wimbledon will see ‘Murraymania’ in full flow :-)

And now less than 3 weeks away from the Olympics, once again British hopes are flying high :-) The home nation, that has to count for something, right??! We have some fantastic athletes and some strong contenders for medals….we may not be the best, but as our Mum’s used to say ‘it’s not about the winning, it’s all about the taking part’!!!!!

You seriously wouldn’t want to be born anywhere else, well, this year anyway

Author: Wayne Connors

ACCL enter the Premier League of Network Cabling

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We all relish a challenge and when ACCL were approached to complete a major network cabling upgrade for a football stadium, how could we resist? A system that had seen a lack of investment and been neglected for 5 years resulted in their network continually falling over, servers going down, poor reception and e-mail crashing, they were constantly fire fighting day in, day out just to keep things working. In a bid to resolve these issues a new Communications Manager was appointed and he made the (very wise :-) ) choice of inviting our company to get involved. The vision of the club was to install a new, fast 10GB network, the only club currently in the UK to go down this route.

Our project was made up of four key stages…phase one at the stadium was to install a new air blown fibre optic cabling ring for the new network to sit on. Phase two involved an audit of the current infrastructure, ascertaining exactly where any faults were, whilst phase three was the re-design, creating a solution to correct any network cabling faults. Phase four saw the implementation and installation of the new comms. cabinets, new core network and cable management upgrade as well as recovery of the old patching system and new patching.  An upgrade was indeed well overdue and to put into some context, 2000 cables needed de-commissioning and re-installing….and all having to be completed over a weekend to ensure minimal down time.

Our best team of engineers were deployed, six of them in total…….Greg and Simon our Northern contingent, Mark and Andy, our Southern lads and last but by no means least our very own Managing Director Wayne Connors and Project Manager Steve Lawrence. Arriving Friday afternoon with no time for a Stadium tour or a quick kick about, the teams got stuck straight into the job. Working from 4pm until 11pm on the Friday, and with an eye rubbing 8am start on the Saturday, there was no time for chewing the fat!  Another 2 long days ensued, 6 men, split into 3 teams, working in 4 Comm’s Rooms, and up to their eyeballs in cabling with, I think it’s fair to say, some pretty nifty footwork going on, although actually maybe not all of it pretty…!

Dealing with a system that was 10 years old that had some poor repair work done 5 years ago did not make the task easy, that’s for sure!  Kinks, bends or breaks in your cabling will cause you all manner of problems, to say their network cabling had been neglected was an understatement, the boys definitely had their work cut out…..!

Where to start…? As the boss, Wayne explained, it was a bit like climbing Everest, one step at a time, only this had to be tackled one cable at a time. Each patch lead needing to be unplugged and individually documented, not an easy task looking at the ‘before’ pictures! Do it wrong and it throws everything else out….no pressure then!

Throughout the whole weekend we recorded the progress of our work and have decided that it is worth sharing our experience with a wider audience in the hope that they may a) hear the warning bells…and review their own system or B) find some amusement from 6 grown men scratching their heads a lot!!  Watch it here and let us know what you think!

If there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this experience, it’s that it definitely pays to maintain your Network cabling, opting for annual cable health checks, ensuring the smooth running of your business, prevention is always better than cure

Author: Wayne Connors

Lets Talk Double Dips……Again :) !!

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Double Dip is trending on Twitter again :) so I thought I’d repost ACCL’s blog about all those things that we in the office  love to ”double dip”  those things where sometimes one dip isn’t enough! Here’s our positive take on the Double Dip situation…

Marker Pens……you’ve just gotta sniff that tip….but is once enough or do you go again….consensus in the office is that once is just not enough and the marker pen goes into our little pot of double dip pleasures.

Your toe in the water……hot or cold…once you’ve dipped to see how it feels…..you know you’re gonna go again.

Pringles….once you pop…you can’t stop….enough said !

Rollercoasters……you either love them or you hate them….but once you’ve had that adrenalin rush you are happy to pop yourself back in that queue….aren’t you?

After Eights….no-one has just one!

Sherbert Fountains….oh my goodness…childhood memories come flooding back don’t they.  Dipping into that lovely white powdery fizz…..yup….it’s a double, double dip!

9V batteries…..it’s a bloke and Faye thing …..placing your tongue on the battery and getting a rivet of shock running through you.  Once just isn’t enough.

Ginger Nuts….. now, I do love to dunk a biscuit into a cuppa, certain biscuits can only be dunked once, like the chocolate digestive, any more and you will end up with a mush at the bottom of the mug, not good! however, the ginger nut is a whole different ball game – go on, double dip, I know you will agree

So perhaps we’ve already mentioned your favourite double dip but if not then please feel free to let us know….I, for one need cheering up from all this rain

Author: Wayne Connors

Let the Cash, See the Flow

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This week’s guest blogger is Chris Lowe, Principal at Colobus, a London-based firm of Experts in Company Turnaround, Finance and Negotiation Support.

These are difficult economic times with many companies struggling to make ends meet. If you supply capital goods you are trying to sell into a market where customers’ budgets are constrained; retailers are faced with the combined threat of consumers with less cash to spend and online competitors eating into revenues; all companies are having to manage in the face of stricter and more expensive bank lending.

As a turnaround specialist, we see the effects of the current economic downturn but some fundamental problems keep cropping up, in good times and bad. We see these things tripping up companies time and time again: Poor debt collection –  If you supply business customers you are likely to give credit. You’ll rank as an unsecured creditor. Too often companies allocate the task of credit control to untrained staff. This is particularly true in small and growing companies where the emphasis is on growth and building sales. We see two tendencies: • Wait until the invoice is due, then chase aggressively, which risks aggravating an otherwise happy client • The timid “hope and pray” approach, on the basis that asking for YOUR MONEY might upset customers! If you’ve provided something valuable, you should be paid for it. Effective collection is a skill and skilled credit controllers will be polite, persistent and perceptive. Good collection will get your invoices paid and it will keep your customers.

Excess stock holding stock (or un-billed work in progress) is expensive. The longer you keep it the more likely it is to become damaged, to disappear or to become obsolete. Your target should be to reduce stock to a minimum. You’ll reduce financial holding cost, space costs and loss due to damage and theft. As a minimum benchmark you should monitor slow moving items and by slow moving we mean anything that hasn’t moved in 90-days. You should do all you can to keep your investment in stock low.

Poor payment record – If you’re cash is tight, you’re likely to be paying people slowly. It’s a fact of life that you’ll lose some goodwill by being slow but the mistake we see frequently is being unwilling to talk to your creditors. This is the reverse side of your own debtor position: if your debtors won’t talk to you or your credit controller, it’s frustrating. The same is true for your suppliers. However hard it is, however pushed for time you may be, you should ensure that you respond to suppliers’ calls. You get more good will from your creditors by taking their calls and telling them honestly when they can expect to be paid than by not, and some of the working capital improvement should be used to improve payment of your suppliers. Self-payment at high watermark. This is a problem across all sectors and more particularly for small growing businesses. There is nothing that consumes capital like growth so it is no surprise that small growing companies are frequently under-capitalised, there is always more need for capital than there is cash available. If you, as an entrepreneur, pay yourself from the profit figure and especially if you live to the full extent of your pay, you will find it very difficult when you suffer a cyclical down-turn (which you possibly will), suffer shock such as a bad debt from a large customer or losing a key client to a competitor (which will also probably happen). The implicit deal you need with yourself and your family is that you live lean while your business grows.

Build value in the business and take it out over the long term. Inadequate internal reporting Managing your business with historic data is impossible. If the only numbers you see are last year’s financial accounts or even last quarter’s VAT return, you’re unlikely to be close enough to know what’s going on. Well managed companies will see accurate, timely, fully analysed monthly accounts; there’ll be a mechanism for monitoring the sales pipeline (and some procedure for checking that reality matches up to expectations).

Good companies have systems for managing working capital and cash at least weekly. These are simple systems and they need to be in place. Using creditor’s funds to address inefficiencies. Most of the previous points are about managing your working capital and knowing where your business is at any point in time. We see companies where the proper tools are not fully used. Those businesses tend to use other people’s money to get by. Cash demands will be met by delaying payments to suppliers, dipping beyond the limit into bank facilities or by underpaying HMRC. This is risky. Suppliers can withhold product, banks can withdraw funding and HMRC can recover unpaid tax.

Author: Wayne Connors

 

Are you Re-Active or Pro-Active?

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What is it about the being British that makes us just a little but more re-active than pro-active?  Why when we see a queue do we get the sudden urge to join it…..are we afraid that we are missing out on something?  Last week’s fiasco at the petrol pumps had the drivers of Great Britain literally fighting over fuel for their vehicles, a very sad state of affairs indeed, especially as there was absolutely no need!  Who was to blame….because we have become a blame nation!   The Government?  The first selfish person to think only of themselves and use more petrol than they would usually need…or the next one who thought that everyone seems to be filling up so should I? The press for gleefully whipping up this man made frenzy?  Possibly a combination of all three?  The public at large is sadly stressed to the eyeballs…fed up with bad news and the weight of financial hardship sitting heavily on our shoulders. The news is full of doom and gloom and anything that threatens our precarious peace of mind is likely to tip us further still into crazy re-active situations.

Here at ACCL we are constantly dealing with companies whose infrastructure has suddenly fallen over, causing costly downtime when, had the problem been highlighted sooner, the work could have been completed without any disruption to their day to day operations.

Now, are you happy with how your Voice and Data cabling installations are running? I fully appreciate that any large organisation may very well have their own internal IT Department, however if you are experiencing problems with your internal or external phone lines, or your computers are running slowly or crashing, then it could be that you already have a problem within the backbone of your infrastructure that may be easy to resolve if it is identified. It is very easy for anyone to get used to the inadequacies of a system when the impact on performance has been a slow decline. Bends or breaks in your cables, tangled cables or just broken RJ45 plugs can cost your company money on a daily basis if ignored, the performance of your system could be hindered, and possibly decline further until a greater problem is triggered.

With the demands on your company being greater and greater your data centre is rammed to the gills with the equipment needed to keep your business communicating with your customers.  Very costly to install initially, but vital to the success of any business.

In today’s financial climate it is really easy to ignore something that is on the face of it working perfectly well and not causing you any headaches. However routine maintenance can alleviate so many issues. But what are a lot of company’s doing to ensure that their infrastructure is healthy and effective? Are you being pro-active or waiting to be re-active?  Which can you afford to be?

If you would be interested in either reviewing your current arrangements or would like to speak to ACCL’s Team of Experts  to see what they can do to assist you, then please contact them for free on 0333 900 0101. Alternatively if you would like to visit their Website to find out a little bit more about what they may be able to do for you here is the link www.accl-ltd.com

Author: Wayne Connors

Westcombe Park Cougars – A Team to be Proud of

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ACCL has been actively involved in sponsoring what is now the Under 13′s team at Westcombe Park RFC, our local Rugby club, affectionately known as ‘Combe’. The club is based at Goddington Dene in the heart of Orpington. The club was founded back in 1905 by Dudley E Roughton, a disabled man who was unable to play the game himself, founding members included family, extended family and friends.  The club takes its name from the Westcombe Park area of what is today part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich where it was originally founded. The club subsequently played in Lee, Shooters Hill and Sidcup and finally settled on it’s current location after a spell in Avalon Road, Orpington in 1990.

The club has 5 rugby pitches, a grandstand, fully equipped gym, 3 football pitches, 2 cricket squares plus 6 tennis courts…not bad eh? out of breath just saying it!!

‘Combe’ aims to be a club to suit all standards and levels from its ‘mini’ team (age7) through to its National League First Team.

Most of the youth rugby occurs on a Sunday with the club fielding at least one team per age group between the ages of 7 and 19. It has built a strong reputation amongst other Kent clubs, boasting International representatives at several levels.

ACCL have been proudly  sponsoring The Cougars for the past 18 months, I have to admit when Wayne first mentioned that we were looking to support the local Rugby team my heart did skip a beat, I was thinking lean, fit, muscley young men :) …… but, honestly, I’m not disappointed :) encouraging kids into sport and away from computer games can only be a good thing, and for boys especially, a contact sport is a great way for relieving some of that built up energy and testosterone…I would know, have 2 of my own! Little darlings……

This season has seen the boys jump up from ‘mini’ rugby to junior rugby where the team increases from 13 to 15 players, same as for an adult team…..not all the same rules apply yet as the boys are still a bit young….! 4th March saw the boys gain their first win in a couple of years and first as a 15 man team, they beat Aylesford 31 points to 10…get in :) !! this was in spite of losing one of their best players of the season through injury…..

The team has been steadily gaining strength, with dedicated coaches on hand to support the boys. We wish them all the best going forward…. “COUGARS!!!”

Who is that gorgeous man, centre back row???….oh yeah, it’s the boss :)

Author: Wayne Connors

The Secret of our Success

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Drag your heels on the way into work on a Monday morning? Long to get out of the rat race?  With the sniff of spring just around the corner and the distant allure of summer beckoning…..Are you thinking of long golden beaches and warm sun on your face?

I was sat here the other day reflecting over last year (yep, boredom sometimes has me doing that!) and it got me thinking about our company “jolly” to Grenada last May.

Working hard can have its rewards, with last year’s Brand Rex promotion we won 4 tickets for a week long, all inclusive, holiday to Grenada, staying at the closest thing to paradise, the 4 star luxury Hotel  ’La Source’,  in the heart of the Caribbean.

Our motley holiday crew consisted of Eddie “Pops” Connors, Wayne “The Boss” Connors, Steve “straw hat” Lawrence and me…Faye “where’s the cocktail” Cannon  :)  ….. yes, you could say a rose amongst 3 thorns……it just had “relaxing break” written all over it !!!

We arrived bleary eyed at Gatwick early on the Thursday morning, I thought i’d packed everything but the kitchen sink, only to arrive and see that, judging by the size of the boss’s case, he must have actually packed it!  Now who says women can’t travel light?!

Duty Free was a whole different experience for me, travelling with 3 men….. and 3 wallets that remained firmly shut!  Whilst I was eyeing up the gorgeous merchandise in the stores, the boys were walking along, eyes upwards, completely oblivious to the bargains on offer, checking out the cabling in the ceiling…..discussing how it should be improved….bring on the blue skies….please!

I won’t bore you with details of the flight, just to say we all had the onset on DVT by the time we arrived and were happy to be back on terra firma! It was at this point however that I wish i’d paid more attention to Eddie’s bag at Gatwick as he’d forgotten what it looked like!  Watching the carousel parading bags in front of us, not knowing which one was his, having to check all the luggage labels was not the best start to the jolly hols!  Onwards and upwards things were about take an upturn as we then managed to get a chauffeur driven limo to the hotel, which apparently wasn’t for us! We should have joined the rest of the Brand Rex mob on the coach!  Suffice to say that everyone knew who we were after that! We weren’t to know……  :)

We are a team and the boys looked out for me the whole week, I had to draw up a rota to stop them fighting over who applied sun lotion to my back…..! no fighting taking place over who should make sure I got back to my room safely when I was looking slightly green after consuming one too many cocktails …… they were free :) … what’s a girl supposed to do?

The hotel was fantastic, the people of Grenada are so friendly and can’t do enough for you!  I think it would be fair to say that I consumed my body weight in food and drink…daily, and flopped on the sun lounger for the best part of each day, disturbed only by the treatments on offer.  Full body massage one day, hand and foot massage the next, I was pampered within an inch of my life! Now that is something I could definitely get used to!

Brand Rex laid on excursions every day, we went on a Catamaran cruise where we stopped off at a private beach for a BBQ lunch.  An island tour which took in all the sights of this beautiful island, it is famous for it’s spices (nutmeg, mace, cinnamon) so we visited a spice plantation and a nutmeg factory…. then it was  back to the hotel for more chillaxing, food and of course drink, in fact the only ‘stress’ was trying to decide what to eat….. so much choice and very delicious, nom nom!

The week went far too quickly and before we knew it we were being bussed back to the airport…sadly no limo for the return journey – gutted! had to join the riff raff :) .  Edde’s bag was labelled within an inch of it’s life and sunburnt smiles ready to embrace the comforts of the return flight…..just the joy of holiday snaps to look forward to!

It is with sad acknowledgement that I recognise there will be no Brand Rex jolly on the cards for 2012 but going to go all guns blazing to give it our best shot for 2013!

Author: Wayne Connors

We’re Not Talking Stalking – It’s Just a Follow!

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ACCL is slowly building a presence in the world of social media as a way communicating with our customers, existing and new, also as a way of improving our relationships with business partners and employees.

We all have to acknowledge, that where the world is, business needs to follow… Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + etc –  is a rapidly growing platform of communication, enabling people to communicate in a way that is less formal and stuffy, providing relevant information but in a more friendly, casual way. The idea is to build an audience and get people talking, honestly and transparently.

Sally and I are the social media team at ACCL and have been on a journey of learning since the end of October – there is a lot to learn…..! Having dabbled with Facebook and the like socially for a while, we are now (trying!) to get to grips with it all from a professional point of view..

Helen Tonetti came into the ACCL offices in October to teach us the ropes, giving us a sound background to build on! The beginning of February saw us attend a LinkedIn seminar run by The Social Media Bureau at a hotel in South Kensington. The main reason for attending the seminar  was to increase our knowledge of LinkedIn as currently although we both have personal accounts, we knew we needed to set up a company page in order for us to showcase our company’s services. Why LinkedIn? March last year saw LinkedIn hit a milestone – 100 million members world wide and growing by roughly a million each week – some serious networking potential….!! Of all the social media platforms available, LinkedIn would probably be seen as the most professional, a great way to interact with other professionals via groups etc. It is a fact that LinkedIn is the preferred social media platform of the professional man…..which, by the nature of our business, is our target market.

We are learning something new every day, it’s definitely a case of trial and error…we’re not always going to get it right first time! Regular blogs and interactions on LinkedIn and Twitter are building our confidence, we have gained lots of great new contacts and anticipate that this will continue – onwards and upwards :)

With all this learning, it’s becoming clear just how important the role of Social Media is, every company wanting to move forward should embrace it wholeheartedly – feel the social media love :)

Author: Wayne Connors

Media Suite and Meeting Rooms for Rent Within the M25 Area

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ACCL offers Media and meeting rooms suitable for a range of uses at our offices situated just off of junctions 3 & 4 of the M25.

A convenient venue for meetings, training seminars, small conferences, classes, and networking events, our multi functional  suite of rooms also offers the additional facility of the usage of a Green room for the filming of your own in house training video’s.

Suitable for up to 30 people standing, comfortably seating up to 20 people theatre-style, or 10/12 people seated with desk space, for training, classes or conferences

  • Additional breakout room available
  • Refreshment facilities
  • Interactive White Boards and DVD/Video projector

Media and meeting rooms available for hire by the day or week

If you need a central, convenient, room for occasional or regular use, the ACCL Suite could be the ideal solution.

These facilities, just off of the M25 near Orpington can be hired when you need:

  • A formal meeting with clients
  • A convenient and business-like venue to conduct interviews
  • An away-day space to work with colleagues on new ideas or away from the phones
  • An office space away from a home-office environment
  • Occasional office or meeting space as a start-up business
  • Or just somewhere different to think clearly, generate new ideas or plough through a backlog uninterrupted!

The ACCL suite has access to Wi-Fi and photocopying and printing facilities (a small charge may apply for higher volumes). You just need to bring your mobile phone and a laptop computer be up and running.

The suite has a receptionist and waiting area so your clients or interviewees can be received and directed to you in a professional manner.

To find out more, make a booking or arrange to view ACCL suite, please contact ACCL on 01689 896961.

Author: Wayne Connors

That Time of Year Again

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With the Christmas Party looming I am now sitting here in the unenviable position as the person who has again organised our ’soiree’.  Anyone else who holds this responsibility for their own Company will know that this can be a daunting prospect! I’ve been responsible for the last 3 and of course, it goes without saying they are the best do’s the company has experienced!  I actually start to think and research it back in April (I know, I know!), experience has taught me that leaving it til September/October can leave your choices a bit limited, and no-one really wants to be sat at a McDonalds Drive Thru eating a Big Mac and Fries, now do they?  Do they?

We generally go for  an ‘overnighter’ in a hotel, usually far outstaying our welcome, starting by a meet in the hotel bar at lunchtime, sinking a couple of bevvies (just to be sociable you understand!) back to the room for a quick change. Now every year Dee and I say we will leave the bar early to allow plenty of time to luxuriate in a bath full of bubbles, take time to apply the make-up that will set off the outfit, bought especially for the occasion, beautifully.  Every year we find we have left ourselves half an hour…max! Have you ever tried applying make-up in a rush when you’ve already consumed the best part of your body weight in alcohol?  Once into the glad rags it’s a return journey back down to the bar for pre-dinner drinks, then a nice bit of food, a tad of wine, cracker pulling, dancing, followed by more drinks then once the music dies, a night-cap before retiring, notice a theme?

Always good to see everyone the morning after the night before hunched over their full English, bit grey around the gills!  Hilarious……and to think how good they looked last night in all their finery!

Not for the feint hearted, what about yours?  What do you get up to each year

Author: Wayne Connors