Why tech is our best friend during lockdown

Words by Ritam Gandhi, CEO and Founder, Studio Graphene

Rarely, if ever, have people spent so long within the remit of their own home. As daily freedoms remain curtailed in the battle to contain the spread of COVID-19, we have been forced to adapt our daily lives to this temporary new reality.

Social creatures at heart, for many people this transition has been challenging. Feeling productive and engaged during this time is paramount – not only to enable you to keep a healthy work-life balance, but also to maintain close relationships with your loved ones and protect your mental health.

As in many situations, technology has been a blessing in disguise, allowing us to continue our lives (almost) as normal throughout the continued period of social distancing. Below are just a few ways you can utilise technology to stay positive in lockdown…

Don’t isolate in isolation

Technology’s greatest strength is its innate ability to break down geographical barriers. And as people around the world experience lockdown in one form or another, there has never been a better time to test its ability to help keep us close to our loved ones.

You might be across the world from your friends and family, or you might be living just down the street – but for the first time, we are all in a position where we’re unable to keep in contact as we normally would. But this doesn’t mean we should shut ourselves off from the world; indeed, popular applications can invigorate social interactions and bring a fun new element to the table.

Skype, Facetime and WhatsApp are hardly new innovations – yet they have never been relied on as heavily as they are today. Newer to the mix are software solutions like Zoom and Houseparty, which have facilitated the rise of curious new phenomenon; pub quizzes, dinner dates, study sessions, and even birthday parties have gone digital as people seek ways to reinvent old habits. Formerly casual catch-ups are now done through the medium of online games and interactive activities.

Social connections are important in times like these, and we should be thankful that technology keeps our channels of communication open. You might find that you’re actually engaging with your loved ones more than usual, which can build a sense of real-life community from within our screens.

 

Healthy body, healthy mind

If your normal routine before lockdown involved a healthy dose of exercise, you may have struggled to get used to the transition to a largely housebound lifestyle. Especially for those working from home, it can be difficult to find the time – and indeed the motivation – to stay fit.

With their customers staying indoors, our favourite gyms and exercise studios have had to rethink the ways they can deliver their services. This has opened up a new world of online classes as people continue to share their knowledge throughthe medium of the internet. Livestreamed sessions have soared in popularity, bringing these spaces right into people’s homes and fostering a new sense of community among fellow fitness fanatics.

If this doesn’t strike a chord with you, personal training apps are readily available for those keen to integrate exercise into their day, while platforms like Flo enable people at all levels to engage in at-home yoga sessions. If you prefer to take your exercise outside, there are apps for you too! The rise of social media challenges like Run for Heroes has inspired a new wave of runners, with many using fitness applications like Strava to monitor their performance and share their achievements with their friends.

Whatever your preferences, exercise and activities in any shape or form can do wonders in helping to transform our mood; and technology can bring these well within our reach.

Pick up a new skill – or kick a bad habit

While there is no pressure to upskill during the lockdown, there is also no better opportunity to get around to any tasks you’ve been putting off. Whatever hobby or skill you’ve wanted to pick up, you can almost certainly learn it from the comfort of your own home.

Learning a new language, for instance, is firmly within everyone’s grasp thanks to platforms like Duolingo and Babbel. Keen to widen your horizons and enrol in a university course? Websites like Coursera are offering virtual classes from world-class universities like Harvard – and all for free! If, instead, you want to brush up on your cooking or pick up a new instrument, you’ll find no shortage of online tutorials to help you reach your goals.

On the flipside, there might be habits that you’ve been trying to give up for a while but haven’t had the motivation to overcome. Now might be an opportune time to work on kicking old habits for good.

Traditional journals can be used to track daily progress – whether it’s giving up smoking or spending too much time on your phone – but high-visibility habit tracker apps can help give you the boost you need to stay on track. A common feature across these platforms is the ability to set regular targets; and, backed by behavioural economic theories, platforms like StickK even allow you to assign a friend or family member to check in on you to see that you’re sticking to your goals.

We are soon realising that things we previously thought were reserved for face-to-face interactions can actually be done just as easily – if not more effectively – through digital means. And while there is such a thing as too much internet (remember to switch off every so often!), it’s been refreshing to see how technology has helped people stay positive and inspired through these hard times.

Ritam worked as a consultant for a decade for the likes of Accenture and Bank of America Merrill Lynch before, in 2014, going on to found Studio Graphene – a firm that specialises in developing amazing blank canvas tech products. Working with many startups alongside innovation teams in more established companies, the London-based agency plans, designs and builds astounding tech products for its clients. What’s more, Ritam and the team also use their experience and expertise to help leaders grow their business from ideation, to launch and beyond.

Short back and sides ? MANSCAPED keeping you smart all over

For years ladies have been maintaining and caring for the upkeep of their nether regions and in recent years this has been a trend adopted by an increasing number of gentlemen. The idea of being free and letting your private areas reflect this laissez-faire approach is fast becoming less and less popular amongst the male, well groomed, of the species.

Now such brands do experience serendipitous elements when they launch and MANSCAPED are very much one such brand. With The Arrival Of Leading U.S. Premier Below-The-Waist Male Hygiene Brand, MANSCAPED, have launched in The United Kingdom.

“British men pride themselves on being very refined, and rightly so. They are highly invested in fashion and grooming – and are certainly not new to manscaping,” claimed Katy Hopwood, MANSCAPED’s chief financial officer, who was born and raised in the UK. “The massive volume of blokes who already manscape, coupled with their discerning taste in grooming products, makes this launch extremely exciting for us.”

MANSCAPED offers a full line of premium products that have become part of a daily ritual of more than 1,000,000 consumers in the U.S., plus thousands more in the company’s two new key markets, Australia and Canada. The intelligently designed product range includes precision-engineered tools, unique formulations and accessories that ensure an effective and hygienic manscaping routine.

“85% of women prefer men who manscape, and British women have a big voice,” added Katy. “They feel that if they are taking care of themselves down there, the men should, too,” Needless to say, all genders and walks of life across the UK will resonate with MANSCAPED’s notion of Refining the Gentleman and the brand’s commitment to providing the great products available on the market.

MANSCAPED offers a one- stop-shop online at uk.manscaped.com. This platform allows consumers to purchase a range of packages and hygiene plans, get limited time offers, and even learn trimming tips and tricks on the highly educational and entertaining blog, The Man Cave.

Founded in 2017, San Diego, California-based MANSCAPED is the only brand dedicated to men’s grooming and hygiene below-the-waist. The product range includes top-of-the-line precision- engineered tools, unique formulations and accessories to ensure a simple and effective manscaping routine. With direct-to-consumer shipping in the U.S., UK, Australia and Canada, as well as in-store options across the U.S., MANSCAPED is a one-stop shopping destination for men looking for a brand that is focused on the needs of what has, for too long, been a sensitive and often taboo subject.

British made craftsmanship – Tayroc Watches

With Father’s Day around the corner and shopping for dear old Dad, not being as, maybe, easy as it was, inspiration is key at this time we find ourselves in.

Well today could be your lucky day. A self-funded, independent company, Tayroc was the brainchild of two sets of brothers,  Reiss, Dominic, James & Kristian, with the aim of bringing stylish timepieces to the market at an accessible price. Since 2014, they have worked hard to take their idea and develop it into the global company it is today. Despite our unprecedented growth, they are committed to maintaining the vision and values on which Tayroc was founded.

Available online, the collection features quartz and chronograph watches that use Japanese Miyota movements. Tayroc has established itself in the jewellery industry for its first-rate, premium men’s, ladies and unisex timepieces. The collections showcase high precision stainless steel and hand-beaten leather interchangeable straps which can be purchased separately. Products have sapphire coated lenses and all of this is complimented by cutting edge design.

The Classic collection has a water resistance of 3ATM, whilst the Boundless range has a resistance of 10ATM. All timepieces are designed with high quality 316L stainless steel as standard throughout the range. Simple, modern and contemporary design is paramount within the collection. Contrasting watch faces, a variety of luxury straps with meticulous horologist expertise, there is a style for every occasion, from the chunky sports inspired to the everyday casual and slimline formal.

Tayroc prides itself on its premium design ethos, functionality and affordable price points. Calling upon the highest quality materials, they deliver cutting edge designs, which are perfect for the fashion-conscious individual who appreciates simplistic, contemporary styling.

How to Dress for an Online Job Interview

Online job interviews have become very commonplace especially with the rising trend of remote work. Companies just find it a lot easier to conduct an online interview, mostly over Skype instead of over a phone call or having you come in physically.

For some jobs, an online interview is the first stage before the physical interview comes up. Handling your interview professionally is an indicator of how seriously you would take your job. After all, you should recall the thing about first impressions.

An online interview can be described as being the midline between a phone interview and an in-person interview.

While the visual factor is present, it is not as personal as an actual face-to-face setting, however, you would still be making a huge impression that your interviewer would pick up on.

This implies that a simple video call would determine whether or not you eventually land the job. And one of the main factors that would determine this, like it or not, is your dressing.

In most cases, beyond the brains, employers or HR personnel factor your dressing into their final decision. If you assume that you’re home and can, therefore, dress however you want, then you would be making a big blunder.

So, if you want to ace that interview, here are some tips that you must remember:

  1. Dress Like It’s a Physical Interview

This basically covers all the bases or premises that you weren’t certain of previously. The only difference between an online interview and a physical one is your physical presence.

However, a lack of your physical presence doesn’t imply that you should let your guard down. If you’re interviewing for a managerial role, then you should be dressed to suit that particular portfolio.

For men, a nice plain shirt with a striped tie tucked into pants and a pair of good shoes. This sounds exactly how you would dress if you were going to a physical interview and that there is the idea.

For ladies, a corporate dress or a shirt and blazer would do as well. While your interviewer would most likely not ask you to get up so that he can check out your outfit, dressing this way is a constant reminder that what you’re doing is serious business.

Similarly, it would boost your confidence as well, coupled with the fact that you’re in an environment where you feel very comfortable.

  1. Be Wary Of Harsh Colours

This mainly has to do with the camera during your video call. While certain colors may be great in reality, they may look harsh through the eyes of a camera.

This is, of course, no fault of yours but it might go on to annoy your interviewer or make you look pretty unattractive, thereby affecting your intended professional demeanor.

Monitors differ a great deal and some might transform your otherwise perfect shirt or dress into an unappealing spectacle. You don’t want to have your dress as what stands out in place of your performance.

So, it is advisable to run a simulation of sorts. Ensure that you sit in front of your webcam before the interview and confirm that the color of your dress is alright and wouldn’t be the cause of any problems.

If the colors hurt your eyes or they have an unnatural look to them, you should try on something else.

  1. Ensure That You Are Well Groomed

Since you are striving to make a good first impression, you should ensure that you have all bases covered. And this includes stray hair or a generally unkempt appearance.

You want to look as sharp and composed as possible and this would be impossible if you’re not properly groomed. It goes without saying that you should definitely have a bath before your interview.

Aside from looking good, it also boosts your confidence. With your interview already scheduled, you should get a haircut if you think your hair is getting out of line.

Keeping your facial hair healthy and trim is essential as well, you don’t want to look like a hobo. For this, you would need to get a top-notch beard grooming kit. For ladies, pluck out the stray eyebrows and facial hair if any.

Your face, which your hair complements is a major player during the interview in terms of physical appearance, so, you know that this point cannot be overemphasized.

  1. Prepare Your Environment

Beyond your face or any other factors that your interviewer may be interested in, your environment is another one that may factor in heavily. You don’t want the mess behind you during your video call to be the reason that you’re disqualified on the basis of “lacking organizational skills.”

The background of your video call is very essential, especially if you’re dealing with interviewers who are sticklers for cleanliness. It can be a huge determining factor.

Therefore, you should ensure that it’s all spick and span and what needs to be put in order is done. Having a nice video background in your call complements your dressing as well since your interviewer would be taking in the full picture at once.

You could use backgrounds with a bookshelf in the distance or even a plain wall that doesn’t have a harsh color.

Whatever background you are using, just ensure that it is presentable and would not come back to haunt you.

  1. Act The Professional

There are particular postures that are deemed a professional stance during physical interviews, it is no different for online interviews.

Although your upper body is what would mostly be seen, you still need to assume a professional stance. For instance, you should sit up straight in a chair with your face squarely in the camera.

It would be very wrong to have your interview while in bed, this would be completely unprofessional and would not paint you in a flattering picture.

Furthermore, your head should be straight with your chin upright — it would be wrong to tilt your head.

These are little actions that would show that you are indeed taking your interview very seriously.

The Bottomline

In summary, while you are looking to portray a professional image, ensure that you are relaxed. You don’t want to stutter over a video call.

Also, ensure that you have got a strong internet connection and mentally prepared as well. With these tips in mind, go crush that interview

World Class – British Vintage Boxing

British Vintage Boxing or BVB is a distinctive boxing inspired classic sportswear brand that celebrates authenticity and proudly displays its British character – with an emphasis on creating stylish and practical garments that are everyday yet aspirational.

As an official licensee they are proud to bring limited edition wares celebrating a British sporting icon Sir Henry Cooper. Designs capsule his career of the 1950’s & early 60’s, reworking his effortless understated style with the BVB brand spirit to reinvigorate a golden era.

As Britain’s most loved boxing figure Sir Henry Cooper’s anniversary approaches, I’d like to introduce you to the family run British business, BVB, inspired by the late British sporting legend.

 

British sporting legend Sir Henry is at the core of BVB’s inspiration. Cooper was best known for his two bouts with Muhammad Ali, the first a non-title fight in 1963 when he famously floored the then Cassius Clay, the second for his world title tilt in 1966. Cooper lost both, but in the process cemented his place within the hearts of the nation, and his name in boxing history. 

 Cooper was an archetypal working-class hero, noted as a gracious man who carried himself with dignity at all times. His appeal would transcend boxing into the very fabric of British sporting heritage, culminating with a knighthood in 2000. A great fighter but an outstanding man, Cooper was the epitome of an athlete and a gentleman. Considered by many as the patron saint of modern British heavyweights.