Staff working from home ‘miss out on camaraderie’

Staff working from home for fashion retailer Next have been “stultified” by boring online presentations and missed out on office camaraderie, the company said.

Next said that overall, the impact of the pandemic on business had been “expensive and miserable”.

But it had also seen some advantages from the upheaval, it added.

Next said it expected some home working to continue and that the balance would “evolve over time”.

Along with all “non-essential” retailers, Next was forced to close its doors when the pandemic struck. But it continued to meet online orders after overhauling work practices at its warehouses to allow for social distancing.

Announcing its financial results for the first six months of the year, including a 34% drop in sales over the worst of the lockdown, the fashion chain said some good had come from the experience.

“It is remarkable what can be learnt from shutting down your

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6 best ergonomic office chairs that make working from home more comfortable

Say goodbye to back pains without compromising on style (The Independent/iStock)
Say goodbye to back pains without compromising on style (The Independent/iStock)

If you’re an average Brit, your desk chair could well be one of the most important objects in your life. Eighty-one per cent of us spend between four and nine hours a day seated at our desks. Our choice of chair will affect our comfort, concentration and wellbeing during every minute of that time, whether we’re consciously aware of that or not.

Harvey Kempton, head of key accounts at Flokk, a desk chair specialist, says in order to choose the right chair, you should consider these factors: “Start with how you work. What is your working day like? Do you use computers regularly? Are you a writer, for instance? Do you copy type? It’s not just about the chair; it’s about where your keyboard is, your mouse is, where your paperwork is being supported. The chair needs to make

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How to Build Your Own Chicken Coop at Home

Morsa Images / Getty Images

If you’re lucky enough to raise backyard chickens, you already know how beneficial they are at home. “In addition to providing fresh eggs, with thicker whites and more flavorful yolks, chickens offer wonderful, all-natural bug control for your lawn and garden,” explains Lisa Steele, author of DIY Chicken Keeping, and the founder of Fresh Eggs Daily. “Their manure also makes a great garden fertilizer.”

However, a dependable coop is crucial when raising chickens at home. “The most important detail with any chicken coop is that it must be predator proof,” says Andy Schneider, author of First Time Chicken Keeping and founder of The Chicken Whisperer. “Chicken owners must be willing to spend the time and money necessary to implement a coop that’s safe from predators.” Additionally, Steele says it’s also imperative that a coop provides your chickens with a dry but ventilated place to

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COVID-19 Sparks Changes in Home Life Among US Families

2020 will undoubtedly be a year to remember, but no one could’ve predicted that it would also change the way people exist inside their homes. The deadly coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually all areas of life, and family life is no exception.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, home offices everywhere have changed to accommodate spaces for kids' homeschooling.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, home offices everywhere have changed to accommodate spaces for kids’ homeschooling.

Although the ideas of students being homeschooled and adults working from home have always been around, both were still relatively rare before the pandemic. Now that they’ve become the new norm, parents are trying out all sorts of new things to prepare accordingly.

One family in Montclair, New Jersey has simply brought their inside office outside. Ms. Meehan has propped her chair on her front lawn and is now ready to work. Although an outdoor office is not everyone’s first choice, it seems to be the best choice for this

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Did an out-of-control home renovation lead to murder?

A successful businesswoman is found dead in the bathtub. Her home had been under construction for years. Did the renovation lead to her death? Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports in “Home Renovation Homicide.”

“This house became more than just a project to David Tronnes. It was his life,” says Ryan Vescio, a former prosecutor with the Orlando State Attorney’s Office. Vescio led the investigation into the death of Shanti Cooper. “He obsessed on it … this house is the center point to the story.”

Shanti Cooper and Dave Tronnes met on in March 2013. / Credit: Shanti Cooper
Shanti Cooper and Dave Tronnes met on in March 2013. / Credit: Shanti Cooper

Dave Tronnes was living in Minnesota in 2013 when he met Shanti Cooper on Both were going through a divorce, and Shanti had a young son. After a whirlwind online courtship, Dave moved to join Shanti in Orlando and bought the house on East Copeland Drive in April 2015. Three years

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Was a man’s obsession with a home renovation a motive for murder?

Produced by Paul LaRosa and Dena Goldstein

In 2015, Dave Tronnes found the house of his dreams — a gargoyle-adorned home in the upscale Orlando, Florida, neighborhood of Delaney Park.

“The house was beautiful,” realtor Tara Stevens told “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty. “It was 4,000 square feet. It had a pool, a garage apartment.”

Stevens sold Dave the house for a little more than $600,000 and it wasn’t long before Dave and his new wife Shanti Cooper began remodeling — in their own way. 

“Dave just called me on the phone … and asked if I’d come by and take a look at the project, he said that they had done some work,” said local contractor Keith Ori.

But “some work,” didn’t quite describe what he found.

“They had — fully disassembled this house to a degree that — I’d never seen before. It was rather astonishing,” Ori told

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HGTV’s Jasmine Roth Says Homeowners Should Never Tackle These Two Home Reno Projects Without a Professional

Photo credit: HGTV
Photo credit: HGTV

From House Beautiful

Jasmine Roth is back with her new show Help! I Wrecked My House and already we’re obsessed. The HGTV series follows the California designer as she helps families whose DIY home projects and repairs turned into… well, DIY disasters. Not only does she bring success to these failed reno projects, but she gives their space a major style upgrade.

Between this new series and her many years in the home design industry, Roth has seen her fair share of renovation projects gone awry. We asked the HGTV star to name some typical projects that no matter how many tutorials or videos consumed, the average homeowner should never attempt without a professional. “Electrical and plumbing,” she tells House Beautiful.

“They may seem like things that would be a lot less expensive if you did it yourself, but at the end of the day,

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The 10 Best Cast Iron Skillets Home Cooks Need to Know About

Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

A cast iron skillet is a kitchen essential for any home chef. It’s an incredibly versatile piece of durable cookware that you can use to sauté vegetables, sear meat, or even bake deep dish pizza for years to come. That’s because a high-quality cast iron pan heats evenly and offers a nonstick surface for easy cleaning that won’t wear quickly, making it a great companion for just about any recipe.

If you’re in the market for a new cast iron skillet, you have plenty of options to choose from. You can splurge on a popular cookware brand like Le Creuset, which is well known for its beautiful pots and pans. You can go with a top-rated option from Lodge that has thousands of fans on Amazon (and an affordable price to boot). You can stick to your Southern roots and shop from South Carolina-based ironware brand

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Two Locust Projects exhibitions tackle themes of home, migration

Miami’s Locust Projects presents two new exhibitions this month, both exploring themes of home, migration and sense of place and community.

Juana Valdes’ “Rest Ashore” and Raúl Romero’s “Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape” will be available from Sept. 12 to Oct. 24 at the nonprofit exhibition space at 3852 N. Miami Ave. The space is open by appointment only, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

“Both are dealing with the migrant experience and immigrant experience. Both really give us a moment for pause and reflection,” says Locust Projects’ executive director Lorie Mertes. “There’s a lot of divisiveness and a lot of conversation about immigration, and there are various sides of the conversation, but both of the shows bring a real sense empathy for that person in that journey that someone takes when they make the decision to seek a better life.”

Valdes’ “Rest Ashore” is an

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12 best natural rugs for great eco friendly home decor

The materials are durable, but become softer over time (iStock/The Independent)
The materials are durable, but become softer over time (iStock/The Independent)

The trend for organic textures, earthy tones and artisanal products in home decor is on the rise and, when it comes to your floor space, the best natural rugs will add warmth and character to any area.

Not only are natural rugs – like jute and seagrass – an easy way to add a modern rustic feel to your interiors, they’re also a really practical option.

Jute fibres exhibit naturally anti-static, insulating and moisture-regulating properties, and will work to protect a wooden floor.

It’s also a highly durable, resilient material, making it ideal for heavy-traffic areas like the living room, as well as a great investment.

What’s more, natural rugs are perfect for the eco-conscious consumer of today. Jute in particular is a highly sustainable, rapidly renewable resource that relies on rainfall rather than hugely consuming irrigation systems to

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