How to safely wear a reusable face mask 

Wearing a face mask or face covering is an essential step to help stop the spread of Covid-19. However, it’s important to use masks safely and hygienically to prevent cross-contamination and ensure that you’re wearing a face mask that offers ultimate protection for your needs

When wearing a reusable face mask, there are some vital do’s and don’ts to consider before choosing and wearing a civilian face mask in public. Take a look at our handy infographic:

What face mask is right for me?

Now that wearing a face mask in shops, galleries, museums, hair salons and on public transport is compulsory, it’s important to choose a mask that is comfortable and offers complete protection. Surgical masks are for use in a surgical environment.  Fabric masks are suitable as a civilian mask for use in public places. 

Antibacterial Coated Masks

Our top picks for eco civilian face masks with enhanced protection is the Nano-Silicon Antimicrobial Mask.  It’s a reusable and eco-friendly face mask and provides enhanced protection due to its antimicrobial coating. Click here to find out more

Already have a disposable face mask? Check out our top tips for safely wearing a disposable face-covering here.

Which face mask should I choose and why?

face masks blog

Now that it’s compulsory to wear a face mask in shops, galleries and on public transport, it’s vital to have a face mask as part of your daily essentials. However, it is equally important to choose a face mask that will offer you protection against bacteria and airborne pathogens and one that is comfortable enough to last a long time (after all, it’s been a long time since we’ve been allowed to go on a shopping spree right?)

Our top pick for face masks to help keep you protected and cool during this hot weather is the Nano-Silicon Reusable and Eco-friendly face mask and here’s why:


Firstly, what are Nano-Silicon Face Masks? 

Let’s get technical: the photocatalytic antimicrobial surface of the mask has 25 nanometers diameter of nano silicon on each of the three mask layers which absorb light and produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). These powerful microbiocides can kill and bacteria and other harmful pathogens by breaking down the bacteria cell wall and attacking their DNA, ensuring they die and cannot reproduce.

Each mask has 3 layers of nano-silicon fabric with the antibacterial surface to prevent cross-contamination each time the mask is put on or removed.  They are made from 100% cotton which means it’s comfortable and breathable. The cotton is biodegradable and recyclable reducing the environmental impact that disposable masks can cause. The mask can kill 99% of bacteria on contact and the masks can be worn for up to 24 hours or for several hours per day over 3-8 days and there are no bad odours due to the bacterial coating. 

Nano-Silicon Face Masks


How long will a Nano-Silicon mask last?

One mask can last at least 6 months so they are a highly cost-effective solution. Tests have proved that the mask is still 99.9% bactericidal effective after 50 washes. Great value and great for the environment as less waste that you’d find with a surgical mask.


How do Nano-Silicon face masks offer more protection than other masks? 

Convenient & Reusable 

Whilst most other cotton and reusable face masks need to be washed after every use, the Nano-Silicon face mask can be worn for up to 24 hours or for several hours per day over 3-8 days and there are no bad odours due to its antibacterial self-cleaning properties. 


Safety & Cross-contamination

Throughout Covid-19, there’s been an ongoing worry that bacteria, viruses and other pathogens remain on face masks which we then touch and this causes the pathogens to quickly spread to your hands, face and key touchpoint areas. Unlike other masks, the Nano-Silicon face mask tackles this problem by providing a self-cleaning surface which instantly kills 99% of any bacteria that comes into contact with the mask. This then also helps to prevent the risk of cross-contamination when the mask is removed. 


Help protect our environment 

Most disposable face masks are made from polypropylene which is hard to recycle and takes decades to decay. The Nano-Silicon face mask is 100% cotton which means it is biodegradable, recyclable and reduces the environmental impact that single-use masks cause. Nano-Silicon masks have no added bleach, fluorescent agents or chemical additives and one mask can last for at least 6 months!

For more information on the Nano-Silicon face masks or to stay protected for you or your employees, head over to the Quills web store here: Colours available include: black, blue, pale green and branded options are available too.

Find Quills in the Evening Standard & win a £50 Love2Shop voucher

Are you going to be in London on Tuesday 24th September? Pick up your copy of the Evening Standard and look out for Quills feature in the ‘Be Your Own Boss’ article (psst…it’s just past the middle pages!).

We’ve snuck a hashtag in the article and your job is to tag us in a post on Twitter or Facebook and comment what the hashtag was we used for your chance to win a £50 Love2Shop voucher!

You must also be following the account you used to submit your entry.

Entries are open until Sunday 29th September 2019 and the winner will be announced on Monday 30th September.

Good luck!


Terms and conditions:

  1. Entries should be based in the UK&I and must not be a Quills employee
  2. Closing date for entries is 11.59 pm on the 29/09/19
  3. Only one entry per person can be submitted on Twitter and Facebook
  4. A winner will be selected at random on the 30/09/2019 and the winner will be notified via the relevant social media channel that their entry was submitted on
  5. Entries must be submitted via Quills UK Facebook or Quills UK Twitter and the participant must be following the social media account used to qualify
  6. A £50 Love2Shop voucher will be sent to the winner by post and no cash alternative or prize will be provided
  7. Quills Group is a trading name for Quills Office Supplies Ltd and our registered address is Unit 2 Spitfire Business Park, 1 Hawker Road, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 4WD
Croydon Business Awards

Quills are finalists for the SME Business Excellence Award!

We are delighted to share that Quills has made it to the finals for the Croydon Business Awards, SME Business Excellence category.

After a very busy five years with four acquisitions, a full rebrand and various other challenging internal projects we decided to enter the Croydon Business Awards for the first time. We answered the five questions which formed ‘round one’ and were delighted to find out that we’d successfully made it through to ‘round two’ as a finalist and answered a further six questions supplying supporting documentation.  We also attended a face to face interview on Friday 6th September at Croydon College to complete the final stage of the competition.

Jerry Irving, independent adjudicator and business consultant praised the high quality of submissions and said “2019 has seen more entries than ever and the overall standard was excellent. Deciding who should go through to the next round was very tough as several categories were hotly contested, including SME Excellence, Women in Business, Customer Service and Digital, Data and Technology.” Read the full Croydon Business Excellence shortlist article here.

Quills supports the community and will always looks to use a variety of local suppliers including Square Mile Insurance Brokers, The Studio (design company), VOW (wholesale), Step Ahead Recruitment, Wallington Couriers and The Hilton Hotel to name but a few. We also support the future of tomorrow by taking on work experience students and recently recruited a local Croydon digital marketing professional who had just completed an apprenticeship and was looking for her next challenge.

The winners from each of the 14 categories will be announced on Thursday 3rd October at the Gala Dinner & Charity Ball being held at the Grand Sapphire Hotel.

Good luck to everyone who has entered and Quills have everything crossed for our category and a positive outcome!

Ways to Reduce the Cost of Employee Absences

We all know that germs can be spread easily when someone sneezes and then touches a handle whether it be on the tube, a bus, the toilet or your desk phone.  Germs spread like wildfire and this, in turn, will increase your employee absenteeism.

Did you know that touching door handles is one of the most common ways bacteria spreads throughout the workplace? This is because the virus is spread by direct contact with the contaminated object and then we touch our face and so on…the everyday dangers are obvious.

In fact, there are a number of shocking statistics that may put you off of your breakfast or lunch so be careful when you read on…

80% of infections are spread by touch Copper Development Association Only 33% of people wash their hands after using the toilet British Toilet Association 1 in 4 Britons had faecal matter on their hands The Sunday Times Common microbes found on door furniture include E-Coli, Salmonella and Staph Aureus

So we’ve all heard of the NHS slogan ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’ which refers to us sneezing into a tissue (catch it), and then placing the tissue in the bin (bin it!) and then wash your hands (kill it…the germs we mean!) which is one way to stop the spread of germs but we’ve got another way to share with you.

There’s a new kid in town and it goes by the name of P-Plate and P-Hold which are antibacterial push plates and door handle covers.  The innovative technology uses silver ion technology which helps kill 99% of germs on contact and in turn could help your business reduce employee absenteeism and help save your company thousands of pounds.

Antibacterial door handle – P-Hold

The P-Hold antibacterial door handle can be fitted onto a pull door handle in 30 seconds. You simply ‘snap’ it into place!

Using silver ion technology, the P-Hold handle kills 99.9% of bacteria and combats pathogens deposited onto the surface by users and then works continuously 24/7. This prevents cross-contamination between one user and another which ultimately reduces the spread of infection and germs.

The action lasts six months and has a visual indicator to advise when it needs to be changed. There are no tools required to change the handle either.

Key facts:

  • Kills 99.9% of bacteria using silver ion technology
  • Proven to be 96.4% cleaner than standard handles
  • The action will last for 6 months and has a visual indicator when it needs to be changed
  • Will fit any cylindrical pull door handle with a diameter of 19mm, 20mm or 22mm – the three most popular handle sizes in the UK and in less than 30 seconds
  • Extremely robust and sturdy
  • Available in 2 colours: ice blue and black
  • Recyclable

Antibacterial door push plate – P-Plate

This innovative door ‘push plate’ is robust and sturdy and is proven to kill 99.9% of bacteria using silver iron technology. The P-Hold technology action lasts 12 months and has a visual indicator that notifies staff when it needs to be changed.

The push plate is incredibly simple to install, it comes with the fittings required and an instruction guide and there is also no maintenance required.

Key facts:

  • Magnetically secured to backplate
  • Changed effortlessly with no tools needed
  • The action will last for 12 months
  • Visual indicator when it needs to be changed
  • Available in silver

How does it work?

So, check this out: the handles and plates are made using silver ion technology which penetrates the cell membranes of any microbes that land on the handle. The ions then suffocate and attack the cells to prevent them from reproducing. Sounds cool right? But don’t worry, we will deal with all the science stuff so that you can relax knowing that your handles are safe to touch, all the time.

How will it benefit my workplace?

Whether you’re swaying towards the P-Hold handle or the P-Plate, each handle type is guaranteed to directly benefit your business. Less bacteria will be spread through the touching of handles and this will, in turn, reduce sickness levels as well as the number of office borne illnesses. A win-win for both organisations and employees!

To put this in perspective, the annual cost of a handle or push plate is actually less than the cost of even a single day’s basic salary at the minimum wage rate.

Having the handle or push plates installed throughout the office will also help your employees recognise that the organisation cares for their wellbeing and health and safety. This means that they’re likely to work harder and be more productive in their day to day roles.

How do I find out more?

To take the first steps towards a healthier workplace, contact us for further information. We can also arrange a free site survey to identify your office germ hotspots and send across a proposal suggesting the areas that need attention. Your equipment can then be installed and our team can also help advise on education and awareness programmes for your staff. It really is as simple as that.


Evolution Acquisition

We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Evolution Group Ltd on 2nd January 2019.

Andy Efstathiou, Managing Director of Quills said “For Evolution customers the acquisition will mean the same high level of service with the additional benefit of our internal infrastructure, additional customer services and features like Live Chat to provide answers quickly to any queries or questions. We’re an organisation constantly striving to improve how we do business every day.”

The existing Evolution team will move across to Quills (Customer Services, Sales and Drivers) which will ensure a smooth and seamless transfer.

We look forward to working with Evolutions employees and customers and extending a warm welcome to all.


GDPR – How To Keep Your Office Compliant

What you need to know about the GDPR

What is the GDPR ?

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a new data protection regulation that came to pass on 14th April 2016. The legislation has been undergoing a 2 year transition and implementation period throughout Europe.

It is coming firmly into force on 25th May 2018, replacing the current Data Protection Directive. After this time, any businesses found non-compliant with the new regulations may be subject to fines.

One of the largest things to change is how you collect data.

Under Article 6 of the European Union’s GDPR, you must ensure that you have lawful grounds to process personal data.

The regulations define the six legal grounds for processing personal data as:

  1. Consent given freely and unambiguously by the data subject
  2. Processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is a party
  3. Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation of the data controller
  4. Processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject
  5. Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest
  6. Processing is necessary for the purpose of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or rights and freedoms of the data subjects

Organisations need to know on what ground(s) they are processing personal data and they need to maintain relevant documentation on processing activities.

What fine will businesses face if they breach the GDPR?

The penalties for breaching the GDPR are fines; at present, the highest fine is €20 million, or up to 4% of the company’s annual turnover, whichever is highest. However, these fines are only applicable for extreme cases and serious breaches.

The fine system works in a tiered format, so smaller breaches will not be subject to the same penalties. Even so, the fines are still far steeper in the new GDPR than they have been previously.

What’s the difference between the GDPR and the previous legislation?

Both the GDPR and Data Protection Directive are applicable to Europe as a whole, not just within the UK. The main difference between the General Data Protection Regulation and the previous Data Protection Directive is mainly in the nature of legislation.

A directive is an act of legislation aimed at designating a goal to work towards, wherein each country subject to the directive has to work towards this aim, but is free to do so how they decide.

A regulation, however, is an act of legislation that is binding across all of Europe and must be followed fully by all countries within its domain. If your company collects personal information from within the EU, even if it operates outside the EU, all devices that access said data need to comply and be secure. 

What NEW things does a business need to do to be compliant with the new GDPR?

  1. You must document your compliance – the more detail the better. The new regulations have increased importance placed on maintaining improved documentation about compliance. Businesses must now conduct audits, risk assessments, report breaches and, every time a new device connects to your network, it’s your responsibility to make sure it’s operating in line with all of your policies.
  2. Businesses must report any breaches within 72 hours.
  3. Be aware of what now defines personal data. As the scope of what is considered personal data has been widened so significantly, your business needs to get up to date on what data is considered personal as it may not have been treating it as such previously.

What is now considered personal data?

One of the largest differences the GDPR is introducing is the increase of what is considered personal data. This makes a lot of sense in the context of our ever-increasingly connected world; identifying people on the internet has never been so easy.

Here are a few of the new inclusions for what you should now consider personal data:

  • Economic information
  • Cultural details
  • Mental health information
  • ‘Pseudonymised’ data (such as social media usernames or other online personas) – providing it’s easily identifiable

Most businesses will be processing personal data . . . so being up to date on the GDPR requirements and compliancy is essential.

How can we help you prepare for the GDPR?

Whilst GDPR remains the organisations responsibility, there are some things that we can do to help you ensure you’re on track to be compliant by May 25th. While you may think of your PC and virtual files when you consider data, there is a lot contained in the office too. Let’s talk about a few ways to keep that data compliant.

MPS (Managed Print Services)

You may not have previously considered printers to be a potential area of risk for a data leak, but they’re vulnerable for multiple reasons:

  • They contain physical data. Printed documents often contain data – how is this being protected? Who has access to it? Is it compliant?
  • The new GDPR requires you to demonstrate how you are compliant; a good example of this being documentation. Most employees don’t necessarily think about what they’re printing, if it’s personal data – and whether it’s a breach of the GDPR – let alone document how their printing habits are safe.
  • Printers can be a weak spot for hackers to exploit.

Moving forwards, your print services need a secure strategy and set up; our Managed Print Services can help by offering a audit and recommendations to be GDPR compliant.

Quills Secure Software

Quills offer a Managed Print Service specially developed for security – Quills Secure Software. The software provides a variety of features that will not only ensure your printers are secure, but entirely GDPR compliant. We highly recommend that customers of ours utilise this new service we are able to provide.

Some of the features include:

  • Digital Signatures and Watermarking
  • Simple tool reporting all information about a user
  • Secure print release
  • Erasing past users
  • And more!

If you would like further information about our Quills Secure Software, read here.

Shredding and Archiving

Another crucial aspect of your office’s approach to data is how to safely store and destroy it. At Quills, we offer both destruction and archiving solutions, so feel free to contact us to help ensure your office is being compliant with data from collection to destruction.


Although a somewhat old-fashioned approach, shredding is still an incredibly effective way to securely dispose of data and remain GDPR compliant.

Non-shredded documents are readable by anyone that finds it. Such easily accessible data poses a security threat in many ways – employees can easily see documents they aren’t meant to and, if that isn’t worrying enough, so could visitors to your office.  Print documents can be easily accessible by the wrong people.

Through destroying the physical data, shredding ensures that data is incomprehensible and not seen by a third party.  However, there’s more to it than just running your documents through a shredder.

How We Can Help Your Data Destruction Keep GDPR Compliant
  • Cross-cut shredding. There are multiple types of shredding – some more secure than others. At Quills, we offer highly secure cross-cut shredders instead of the standard strip-cut. We ensure we shred your paper between 15mm to 4mm cross cut in accordance to BSIA standards.
  • Certificate of destruction. A large part of being GDPR compliant is documenting the steps you’re taking to protect data so ensure you receive your certificate of destruction for your records.
  • Reputable and trustworthy.  ISO9001 accredited and a member of the BSIA (British Security Industry Association) and NAID Europe (National Association for Information Destruction).
  • We dispose of the paper at recycling plants. As well as making sure we’re destroying your data securely, Quills can help your business stay environmentally friendly by recycling your waste.
  • Option for on-site shredding. If your business prefers to see their data shredded on-site, but doesn’t have the resources, we can accommodate you. We provide mobile shredding trucks that can securely destroy data on site.
  • Of course, this is all completely confidential. Needless to say, we operate with the utmost professionalism and adhere to European standard EN15713.


Data destruction is not always necessary, so the next issue to consider is keeping data you’re storing GDPR compliant.

Quills are partners with the largest privately owned Records Management company in the UK, so we can provide an extensive list of services and a complete solution for any data you need archiving. For more information about our archiving solutions, feel free to take a look at our archiving service list.

If your office is preparing the upcoming GDPR policy changes and would like some assistance within the areas of shredding, archiving or your print fleet, feel free to contact us:

Call: 0845 078 0324   Email:   Live chat:

Aaron Fairman

New Line Learning Academy student Aaron Fairman joins Quills Group for work experience

Aaron Fairman who is 16 years old has joined the Quills Group team to undertake his weeks’ work experience.

Before arriving at Quills Aaron’s objective for his placement was to understand how a business operates and in particular the financial side of the company, including the systems used on a day to day basis.

So far Aaron has had a full rundown on the company from Andy Efstathiou, Managing Director, managed product updates, edited web copy, published a web article, delivered and built some chairs and spent the day with one of the Quills drivers George.

Aaron said, “I have found this experience very enjoyable and I love how friendly and understanding all of the staff have been since I arrived on Monday.  I’ve enjoyed understanding the full process of an order being received right through to the point of delivery. I was really keen to see how all of the financial data was logged onto the Quills back-office system and I feel I have a good understanding of this now. The not so good part for me was being out on the road assisting with deliveries when it was unusually hot for the UK and reached over 30 degrees!