Weekly Digest – 27 November 2020
Hello again – welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas that will help us all move forward.
Government Working Through Ramifications of Vaccine
The Government is working out how many people would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the borders could be opened. According to COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, it could still be 12 to 18 months before borders open and life returns to normal.
NZ has a purchasing agreement with Pfizer and is still looking into other potential vaccines that will be developed. Priority will be given to those more at risk of spreading, catching, or dying from the virus.
Kiwi Dollar Hits Two-Year High
The New Zealand dollar hit a more than two-year high on Tuesday, as investors scaled back wagers of more policy easing by the country’s central bank. The New Zealand benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index also ended 0.4% higher on Tuesday.
Retail Sales Increase By Biggest Margin in 25 Years
Recent data by Stats NZ showed retail sales jumped 7.4% year-on-year in the September quarter, the largest rise since 1995. Spending on major household items, vehicles, and groceries contributed to the $1.8 billion increase in total retail sales. However, it still did not make up for the 15% decline in the COVID-19-affected June 2020 quarter.
NZ Central Bank to Resume Loan-to-Value Ratio Restrictions From March
New Zealand’s central bank announced that it intends to re-impose mortgage lending curbs in March next year amid growing concerns of a housing bubble in the country. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand had removed the loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions on mortgage lending for 12 months until May to spur credit flow and boost the economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
FREE Team Collaboration Tools for Small Businesses
As remote work arrangements have become far more common than ever, team collaboration and communication tools have become necessary to keep the work running smoothly. If you are looking to cut down on your monthly expenses, below are some FREE tools that can help.
Best Tools for Chat
Slack sorts out team communication into various messaging channels so everyone can stay in the loop. Its free plan will give you access to unlimited messages, video calls, and channels.
A great alternative to Slack, Flock makes it easy for your team to stay in touch. The free version comes with unlimited one-on-one and group messages, 5GB of storage for each member, and access to up to 10 different channels.
Initially exclusive for companies with Office 365 subscription, Microsoft Teams now has a free plan for small businesses and startups. It is free for up to 300 users, offers unlimited messages and channels, and can integrate with over 140 different popular apps.
Best Tools for Video Conferencing
Currently the most popular video conferencing app today, Zoom offers video and private chat options, screen-sharing capabilities, and private chat options. The free plan allows up to 100 participants, unlimited one-on-one meetings, and group meetings limited to 40 minutes.
RingCentral is also a reliable way to host video and audio calls. You can also share screens, record meetings, unlimited one-on-one calls, engage in group or private text chats, and group calls limited to 40 minutes.
Also a widely used video conferencing tool, Skype provides audio and HD video calls, public and private chats, group calls for up to 25 participants, and screen sharing. What makes Skype unique is its voice translator which supports 10 different languages.
Best Tools for Project Management and File Sharing
Google Drive allows you to collaborate with your team over documents in real time. Signing up to Google Drive also allows you to gain access to Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
An all in one project management tool, Trello boards let you manage every aspect of a project from start to end. Users can assign tasks, due dates, tag other users in comments, share documents, and create built-in workflows.
One of the best apps for assigning tasks, staying on top of your team’s progress, and improving team communication, Asana is free for up to 15 team members.
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