Clones have just got bigger

Since its launch in September 2018, UpdraftClone has been helping to revolutionise how people ‘copy and paste’ WordPress sites. While this clone feature was launched to allow users to create a ready-hosted cloned site instantly from UpdraftPlus, there have been some users that have requested the ability to generate larger clones. 

Following these requests, many people will be pleased to hear that launching soon, users of UpdraftClone will now be able to boot larger clones should they need to. This new feature will be of particular use to users that have a site larger than 25GB (the smallest clone size). UpdraftClone will also automatically choose the correct size of the clone should the user select an existing backup. As the larger clones take up more server space, they will cost a little extra in tokens to run and renew. 

We have also extended the larger clone option to existing clones. To increase the size of your existing clones, just go to your UpdraftPlus account “My-Clones” page and click on “Manage Clone” for the clone that you wish to resize. An option will then appear allowing the user to increase the size of the existing clone, should you require more space. 

If you have any questions, be sure to share them with us in the comment section below. 

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Working from home: What we can learn from WordPress bloggers

Working from home: What we can learn from WordPress bloggers

With the current world-wide situation regarding the Covid-19 virus necessitating many people to either start or exclusively work from home for the first time in their careers, the traditional 9-5 working day is constantly being rewritten and re-evaluated by companies being forced to change the way their staff work. 

Due to the current crisis, many companies are now being forced to update their working practices for the first time in generations or risk going out of business and potentially contributing to the spread of the virus to vulnerable parties. With the changing of these traditional working attitudes, companies all over the world are having to find new ways to adapt in order to remain active, relevant and accommodating to workers affected by the current situation

Why have some companies resisted the working from home movement?

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, it was estimated that 70% of people worldwide work remotely at least once per week. Even before the virus forced a fundamental shift in working patterns, statistics have shown that working from home has been gaining in popularity all over the world due to the increase in high speed internet and changing demands and expectations of a younger workforce to have a better work/life balance. However many old school companies have been resistant to change and have clung to the traditional 9-5 model due to lack of trust in staff, poor infrastructure and the inability or desire to evolve. In the UK the TUC estimates that around 4 million UK workers would like to be given the chance to work from home at least some time during the week, but have never been given the opportunity.

It is not just the improved work/life balance that attracts many workers to the idea of working from home. Nearly 10% of commuters spend 90 minutes or more travelling each way to get to work, with “extreme commuters” now hitting 2 million in the UK. The environmental impact of having millions of people travelling such great distances for work (that we are now seeing can largely be done from home) is another major factor in the desire to commute less for many workers. 

While it may be an extreme example given the overall quarantine guidelines enacted during the early stages of the outbreak, the Nitrogen dioxide levels from China dropped massively during the lockdown period of February and March, showing what can be done to limit climate change and improve air quality just by eliminating the commute to a job.

What can we learn from WordPress bloggers?

A big share of WordPress users are those who use the platform for blogging. For this army of WordPress users very little will change during this time, but there are valuable lessons about how to successfully remote working we can learn from our blogging colleagues. 

There are many guides on the best methods and rules to follow when working from home. As we discussed in our previous blog, there are several basic rules you can follow during your enforced ‘work from home’ period if you hope to achieve the same kind of work ethic as a successful WordPress blogger.

  • A designated work space
    While you may not be able to dedicate an entire room to your new ‘home office’, there are still things you can do to help create a more work-like environment. Sitting in front of the TV on your laptop isn’t going to result in much work getting done, so if you are working from a dining table or the desk in your bedroom, make sure that it is free from clutter, obvious distractions and you have enough room to work comfortably. 
  • Plan your work day
    If you make a list in the morning of what jobs you want to get done and by when, it can help keep you motivated and give you clear goals and targets for the day ahead. Working to a pre-set plan can help create the traditional ‘deadline’ mindset that can help improve your output and performance.
  • Limit your hours
    While working from home can save hours everyday as you no longer need to commute, it might be tempting to put those hours towards your work instead, This can result in someone potentially facing burn-out from working too long and not taking enough breaks.
  • Remember to exercise
    From getting up in the morning, to sitting at your desk: The whole process could take less than 10 steps. Sitting at your computer all day in the comfort of your own home could potentially cause you to neglect the need to get up, move around and step away from the screen for a break. By spending too much time at your computer, you can risk eye strain, repetitive stress injuries and fatigue. By taking regular breaks and exercising, you can re-energise your mind, re-focus your concentration and increase your productivity. 
  • Limit distractions
    With smartphones, the internet and streaming services, there is literally an unending amount of content and services to distract you when you are trying to work. As WordPress bloggers know only too well, it is necessary to limit these distractions if you ever want to get anything done. The easiest way to do this is by making sure your new home working area is free of these distractions. While it may not be possible to remove every attention g rabbing app or website, you can still limit their impact on your focus. For example, try setting your mobile phone to silent so you are not distracted every time you have a notification

In summary

While we do not know how many weeks, months or even years the current situation will continue for, we do know that when it comes to remote working, WordPress bloggers around the world have shown that we can still have a rich and fulfilling work life environment. By following the above steps when setting up your home office and work environment, it is important to remember that it is going to take a fair bit of time, effort and focus in order to establish what does and doesn’t work for you personally.

 

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How has your business and WordPress site been affected by the Covid-19 crisis?

It feels like the whole world is turned upside down. 

Everybody and everything has been affected by the global pandemic. Even those who avoid exposure to the dreaded virus have their businesses exposed to a new, unknown environment of economic uncertainty. This is an unprecedented time and for many, it’s deeply unsettling. 

At a time when so many of us are shut in, the internet provides us with some consolation: it is, for many, a vital lifeline to the outside world providing news and advice, a way of us getting hold of groceries, medication and other necessities, and of getting e-learning resources for our children.

This time of crisis makes us more aware than ever of our frailty- both as individuals and as a society. It makes us conscious of just how interconnected our world is, and there’s strength in that fact too. We can all do our bit and stand shoulder to shoulder with others.

We want you to know that at UpdraftPlus, we’re here for you. With so much else going on, the last thing you want to worry about is your WordPress site’s basic functioning, so rest assured that we’re here to provide expert support 6 days a week, around the clock.  We’re a team of 15, distributed across 9 different countries and 4 continents and as of the last few weeks, we’re all working from home. Whatever happens over the coming weeks and months, someone will be on hand to help with your backup queries. 

In the midst of reports of the internet becoming slower from all the people working from home, we’re also working hard to process all your support requests at Updraft’s WP-Optimize Cache to ensure your website runs as fast and efficiently as possible.

Finally, the team here at UpdraftPlus want to hear about how your WordPress business is being affected by this crisis. What’s your experience? How have you adapted? Has your business been hit or your online presence providing a crucial service? And what advice would you pass on to other businesses?

Please share below how your WordPress business has been affected for the worse or better at this time.

The UpdraftPlus Team

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Top 5 tips to keep active and healthy during lock-down

Trying to keep active and healthy during lock-down is proving to be challenging as the spread of the novel Coronavirus has now reached every corner of the globe, including Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas resulting in many people across the world being directed to begin working from home in the largest mandatory change in work direction since the second world war. 

If you had asked most businesses if it was possible for them to switch to a work from home platform, the majority would have no doubt told you such a change was impossible and would result in mass firings and countless businesses going under due to lack of constant management oversight and inadequate infrastructure. Yet here we are just a month or two later and countless millions across the world have joined the existing 1.5 million that currently work from home in the UK. 

Of the millions of new employees that are now remotely working, only a small fraction of those have the experience and knowledge of how to successfully balance your home based work demands and the need for an active and healthy lifestyle. Those of us at UpdraftPlus have also had to adapt to the full-time ‘at-home’ working experience currently recommended, with our Monday morning video conference chats becoming an important factor in maintaining important working relationships and giving everyone a chance to catch up with colleagues, while sharing their latest work and developments. 

While maintaining social interaction with colleagues during the lock-down is important, the challenge to keep active and healthy (both mentally and physically) while balancing the demands of our new work/life schedule during this time is something we all need to address, especially given the restrictions imposed on going outside unless absolutely necessary. 

Following on from our recent blog: WordPress community: Helping to provide services online for people in isolation, there are a few simple ways to make the best of a bad situation and we are happy to share with you some of the tips and tricks we have been following in order to make the best of this difficult and challenging time.

  1. Keep work separate

While this may not seem like an obvious ‘health-tip’, it is important to identify when you are actually at work, even when at home. This will play a massive part in your overall health and well-being (not to mention quality of work) while stuck in the house. It can be tempting to blur the lines between personal and work life when they occur in the same building, so it is important to try and follow something broadly familiar to your normal working patterns and routine. Stick to a regular start and finish time, wear appropriate work clothes (no pajamas!), follow the same hygiene pattern you would as if you were going to your office (shower, shave etc) and create a suitable home office environment so you are not distracted by family, pets or the TV. 

  1. Have a proper home office set-up

The thought of working from home probably brings up images of slouching on the sofa in front of the TV with a lap-top, and while this may sound appealing, it could cause some serious problems with your health. The lack of proper lumbar support, constantly slouching and looking down at your screen can cause serious neck and back problems if you are not careful. This is why it is highly recommended that you have a dedicated home office space from which to work, an office chair with lumbar support, a monitor properly adjusted to your eye level and a traditional separate mouse/keyboard (not a track-pad) to use. 

  1. Try to avoid being too isolated

While governments all over the world are recommending social distancing as a way to slow down the spread of the virus, for people who are used to the hustle and bustle of a busy office in which they interact with people all day, this can be very challenging. To counteract the enforced isolation, try to physically talk to someone on the phone or via video conferencing at least once a day if possible. You can also undertake personal social interactions remotely by having a group Netflix viewing party with your friends. Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that allows a single person to share a video with friends, allowing you and all your invited friends to binge watch Tiger King together. 

  1. Watch what you eat and drink

With the confines of a traditional office, you are somewhat limited to what you can eat or drink during a working day. The fact that the canteen is at the other end of the building or a neighbouring office has stolen your milk again probably limits what you consumed while in work. When working from home however, these issues are out the window. Unlimited cups of tea, toast, sandwiches and snacks and just a walk to the kitchen away. To limit your excess consumption, make a list of what you would normally consume during a regular working day and try to stick to the same pattern when working from home. With all the extra food available combined with an increased sedentary lifestyle, the risk of putting on weight (which could lead to health problems) is very real. If you do find yourself consuming more, try purchasing fat free or diet options the next time you go shopping.

  1. Get as much exercise as you can

This may sound like the most obvious advice, but with an effective lock-down essentially in place, the options and opportunities to stretch your legs and go outside have become incredibly limited. With all the gyms closed and Police being somewhat overzealous with what constitutes an acceptable reason to go out and exercise, home workers are having to look elsewhere for their daily fix of endorphins. 

All is not lost however. With just a yoga mat and a YouTube link, a whole world of possibilities can open up for those stuck inside. Consider trying a high intensity work-out from professional exercise instructors such as The Body Coach, who have generously put videos online for free. 

If that is not your speed, you could take a leaf out of a book from people who have no choice but to exercise with limited space and follow the tried and tested ‘jail-house’ exercise regime of push-ups, sit-ups, squats and planks. Remember to start slow and slowly build you way up though as the last thing you want to do right now is to go to hospital due to a pulled muscle or a head injury from over enthusiastic jumping jacks. If you are not able to undertake these kinds of exercises, at the very least remember to get up and walk around for at least 5 minutes every hour.  

In summary

While the dangers presented by the COVID-19 virus have rightly confined us to our homes and out of our offices for the foreseeable future, it is important to remember that the dangers to our health come not just from this virus, but from the new (for many) and unfamiliar working environment most of us now find ourselves in. 

Without proper consideration of our health and well-being (both body and mind), we could risk becoming overweight, depressed and anxious. Be sure to create and set up a work schedule and exercise plan to see you through the lock-down in order to give you a better and happier work from home experience. 

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