What inflation tells us about the UK economy – and how you’re spending your cash

What inflation tells us about the UK economy – and how you’re spending your cash

With price changes in the public eye as Britain edges towards post-pandemic recovery, an ONS statistician explains what they mean.
One of the key economic statistics we produce at the ONS is consumer price inflation, a measure of the prices people pay for goods and services. With this number slowly creeping up, partly as a response to the short-term effects of the pandemic, this metric is again being drawn to people’s attention.

In the first two decades of this century, inflation – using our most comprehensive measure, CPIH – averaged around 2 per cent a year. On the surface, this sounds quite modest (and, dare I say, dull?). Of course, inflation has not remained steady throughout this period, from a high of 4.8 per cent in 2008 to a low of 0.2 per cent in 2015, so the 2 per cent figure is merely an average. But there are two points to remember.

Firstly, inflation cumulates over time – in fact it ‘compounds’, to use the more technical language, so the 2 per cent a year means that prices in 2020 are 48 per cent higher than in 2000. A price increase of nearly one-half is much more dramatic: an item that cost £10 in 2000 would cost around £15 in 2020.

Most employees believe hybrid working is helping productivity

Most employees believe hybrid working is helping productivity

Many employees believe hybrid working is good for productivity and overall mental state, and would love to see the practice kept on after the pandemic, according to a new report from Slack, which found that the majority (57%) of adults think employers should continue to offer hybrid working.

Some workers are quite passionate about hybrid working, with almost a quarter (22%) saying they would think about changing jobs if it was no longer an option.

Those aged 25-34 were the most passionate, with more than a third (35%) saying they would consider leaving their current role if there was a change.

Addressing business mobility in a post-pandemic world

Addressing business mobility in a post-pandemic world

The pandemic continues to evolve and influence how we do business. Although, with the vaccine roll-out looking optimistic, there is hope that life will soon start returning to normal – with offices opening their doors and employees back at their desks.
When the mass return to the workplace commences, and a newly flexible workforce emerges, addressing the new business mobility puzzle will become ever more important. However, said puzzle is increasingly complex. In the wake of the pandemic, organisations will need to navigate changing employee expectations when it comes to ways of working, new technology requirements and the challenges that come with adopting these.

Smartphone battery tech: what could the next 10 years bring?

Smartphone battery tech: what could the next 10 years bring?

We’ve all suffered from smartphone battery-range anxiety. From the dreaded 15% warning one day into a weekend festival, to navigating maze-like backroads to reach your destination before Maps sucks your handset dry, the dread of running out of juice is one that we can all relate to.

It’s no surprise, then, that battery life is one of the most important features for consumers. The trouble is, while other areas of smartphone tech have improved at a blistering pace – bigger, higher-resolution screens, more powerful innards and pixel-packed cameras – battery tech has lagged sorely behind. When the ancient and miniscule Nokia 8210 is capable of comfortably outlasting your modern pocketable computer by days, it feels like in some ways, we’ve gone backwards. But there is hope.

Battery tech has already improved immensely over the nickel-toting cells used in the 80s. The following decade’s switch to lithium-ion/poly batteries has allowed more power to be crammed into smaller spaces, helping kick-off the smartphone revolution. Today, manufacturers are already using innovative solutions to provide more power, and there isn’t a day that goes by without news of a potentially revolutionary new bit of battery tech hitting the news.

China’s drive to compete against Starlink for the future of orbital internet

China’s drive to compete against Starlink for the future of orbital internet

There has been a wave of businesses over the past several years hoping to offer broadband internet delivered from thousands of satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO), providing coverage of most of the earth’s surface.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen excitement in the category. Companies and people that you have heard of — Bill Gates and Motorola, to name a few — invested billions of dollars into this business model two decades ago in an adventure that ended in many bankruptcies and very few people connected to the internet from low-earth orbit. Yet, here we are 20 years later, witnessing billionaires from Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos and entities from SoftBank to the United Kingdom investing billions into broadband from space in a gold rush that began around 2015, and has only accelerated since the beginning of 2020.

During that same period, we have seen a parallel ascendance of China’s space capabilities. In tandem with the accelerated deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation in 2020, China has rapidly responded in terms of policy, financing, and technology, including most notably the creation of a “Chinese answer to Starlink”, namely constellation operating company China SatNet, and the associated GuoWang (国网, or National Net(work)) constellation.

Hybrid working could be a catastrophic mistake

Hybrid working could be a catastrophic mistake

A hybrid working model is anything but the perfect solution, says Head of Remote at GitLab

In the spring of 2020, the pandemic was said to have brought about the world’s largest remote working experiment. But as some nations now begin to unlock, there is little agreement over the conclusions that can be drawn.

Eager to escape the confines of the home office, many people are calling for a transition to a hybrid working system, whereby time is split between the home, office and any other preferred location.

Others, like Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, believe businesses are heading blindly towards catastrophe, having underestimated the logistical challenges a shift to hybrid working will create.

“Hybrid working is going to wreck a lot of companies; it’s going to create a lot of chaos and friction,” he told TechRadar Pro, in no uncertain terms.