Remote working – Is it right for your business?

Do you work from home? A cafe? A coworking space? Maybe you should – remote working is on trend. I mean, just look:

See? It’s never been more popular.

More and more businesses are offering the option to work from home, or work wherever you have a computer and internet access. It makes sense: if your job basically just requires a computer and an internet connection, what’s stopping you from taking that work wherever you feel like?

There’s obviously a minefield of potential issues with working from home. If you have kids or pets you might find them tugging at your heels for attention or barking through a conference call (note: if your child barks a lot maybe it’s time to sit them down for a chat). There are also various other temptations to distract you: radio, television, a lack of authoritative presence pressing you to get the hell on with it and stop reading Facebook.

But then is working in an office really going to be better? Many places opt for something open plan, which is a superb way to be constantly distracted by chatter and those quick informal questions people might fire at you. Oh, and meetings.

Evidence suggests that remote workers put in more hours and achieve higher levels of productivity. However, this increase in productivity is probably in line with those extra hours rather than because remote workers are inherently more prolific.

Mostly I think it’s down to how you want your people to work, and the kind of expertise you can find nearby. If you need to hire someone on a different landmass to get the job done, then you’re probably going to end up with remote workers generally. There are plenty of tips out there for those thinking about the logistics of such a decision.

Personally, I do think remote working is the future of any industry where you primarily only need a computer and an internet connection. Who doesn’t want to be able to solve problems for a client in Manchester while drinking a latte in San Francisco when working as a contractor for a company based in Copenhagen? Go mobile!

Who Do You Support?


Supporting your community. Boosting the local economy. There are lots of high-minded reasons to buy from local businesses, but ultimately I do it because I get better service and meet interesting people who actually care about what they’re doing, rather than just trundling into work and waiting to go home. Plus, you just don’t get cool points for going to Starbucks. You don’t want people thinking you’re basic, do you?

Here are some places I like:

House Martin

House Martin is one of the best barbers in Glasgow. Bet you never thought you could have a relaxing experience with a razor at your throat, but the informal atmosphere, impeccable aesthetic, and expertise of the staff contribute to an experience that feels decadent but comes at an easily affordable price.

Plus they have a huge old bank vault through the back (pictured above), stocked with cigars and a full poker setup. So get over there, have a seat, have some coffee (did I mention their coffee is pretty great?), and get your beard done.

Coffee Chocolate and Tea

I used to think that CC&T was a well-kept secret until I found it mentioned in 2014’s Wallpaper Glasgow City Guide. Even so, it’s mercifully quiet. The house blend is superb and they’ll grind you a fresh bag to take home.

I have this theory about coffee places: you can either have great coffee or a decent seat. CC&T continues to prove this rule and thankfully falls into the former category. I think one day I’ll go get coffee from somewhere and they’ll just have these big pointy spikes for sitting on so you can slowly be impaled as you have the absolute best coffee of your life.


I love my RHA headphones. I put a set through the wash and they continued to work fine though the sponge bits on the inside of the headphone fell out. I bought some noise-cancelling ones and they may be a fire hazard as I only noticed there was an alarm going off when I took them off to leave my desk.
They’re pretty, they’re solidly built, and they’re made in Glasgow. What more could you ask for?

Hanoi Bike Shop

Apparently Beyonce loves it (and by ‘loves it’ I mean ‘posted an Instagram picture of a wall outside it’), so that’s going to be enough for some people. This is our go-to place when visitors are in town and we need something different but also tasty. The experience is distinctive: you pick some small bits and pieces to share around the table and a bigger thing (usually pho) for yourself.
Situated on Ruthven Lane, it’s right beside Hillhead subway. No excuses if you’re in Glasgow.


Nord Fine Foods (previously Nord Kitchen) is an upcoming Scandinavian-themed food truck that will, with any luck, be servicing the Glasgow area in due course. Have a look at their example menu and tell me you don’t want something off that right now, damn it.

So what local businesses do you support, and what do you like about them?

Medium – A Means to Express Yourself

I love Medium. Maybe it’s just the clean layout and attractive fonts that make almost every user-created slice of content seem like an insightful thinkpiece from a glossy magazine. Maybe it’s the fact that people put up soul-baring stories or anonymous relationship insights. Maybe it’s because interesting entrepreneurial types share their hopes and fears.

Of course there are entrepreneurs here. It’s a new technology, a shiny bauble to toy with. It’s also the product of Twitter’s co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams. I guess after creating a platform known for its brevity they wanted to try the exact opposite? But then Williams invented Blogger (both the platform and the term), so maybe he just wanted to finish what he started, or change it, or push it in a better direction.

“It turns out the Internet, like every other technology, doesn’t trend toward good or bad. It is just a convenience machine for what people want,” he said. “Television was going to make us all better people, smarter and better educated, but people ended up sitting back and watching sitcoms. We want to create something that rewards other things that have more lasting value.” – Evan Williams [source]

Lots of people talk about why Medium is great for writers generally, and trans writers in particular with its effective ways of diminishing harassment. I can’t comment on that. I’m still only a passive participant. I haven’t even left a comment. But the toolset is seductively streamlined so I think sticking a few things up there is inevitable.

It’s built with thoughtfulness in mind. Just look at the writing prompts. In my mind a writing prompt is a sentence or a paragraph that gives you a question or two to answer. On Medium a writing prompt has responses from writers, quotes, pictures, a whole host of ways to be inspired. And hey, you even have people like Matthew McConaughey give muddled inspirational screeds delivered right to your feed if that helps you put something out there.

There are obvious drawbacks – publishing regularly on a content platform instead of your site can have no SEO benefit. But the pros might outweigh the cons: a built-in audience, automatically readable-looking articles, a simple interface, a wealth of social interaction.

So check out the Entrepreneur tag, read a few thoughtful articles, and see for yourself.

Decision fatigue and how to avoid making poor choices

I had originally written this extremely long-winded article about decision fatigue and the general uselessness of advice on the subject, but I’ve decided to pare it down to the vital points.

What is decision fatigue?

Also known as ego depletion, this is where things that try your willpower damage your ability to make average to difficult decisions. Things that can cause decision fatigue include:

  • Clothes purchasing choices
  • Choosing to wage war on another country
  • Decisions that affect your business
  • Watching a sad film and doing your best not to cry
  • Being tempted by food during a diet and abstaining

It’s clear what can drain your willpower will vary depending on your situation. I imagine somebody that declares war on a country every other day would probably be a lot less depleted by it than someone reading this post who somehow had the task dropped on them. And someone who buys the same few shirts is less likely to be affected by it than someone who needs to find the latest designs or whatever.

Why should I care?

Because you run a business. You’re asked to make many important decisions each day. Imagine if it turned out you were making poor decisions because you hadn’t had an apple or a Boost bar in the afternoon? People literally went to prison because of decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue makes it hard to think about big-picture ideas and causes you to concentrate on maintaining the status quo, refusing to make trade-offs which would be beneficial.

What can you do about it?

Have some glucose. Your willpower is affected by the glucose levels in your brain. This is why dieting is actually very difficult. You need willpower to refrain from eating, and yet this simple sugar is one of the biggest factors affecting your ability to control yourself. Have some fruit, or even just buy some flavourless glucose to cut out as many unnecessary calories and potential temptations.

A dose of glucose has been shown to completely reverse ego depletion, according to the above-linked article.

Rest. Sleep is a great way to get rid of unnecessary brain gunk.

Strategise. This is probably one of the most important ones. Make your tough decisions earlier and don’t make any during the evening. Use some life-hack magic rituals to convince your brain that the things you’re dealing with are much less stressful or willpower-demanding than you would normally think. Understand the habit loop and create routines that avoid willpower-triggering situations. Essentially, remove as many difficult decisions as possible.

To make it simple: your willpower is a precious resource so only use it where absolutely necessary.

How to make a great LinkedIn profile for your company

Despite 3 million companies utilising it and 148 industries being represented on the platform, LinkedIn still seems vastly underrated. LinkedIn is perfect for B2B connections, promoting your company and even headhunting for new employees. For businesses, LinkedIn is only going to become more prevalent meaning that now, more than ever, it’s important to understand how to create a successful page for your brand or company.

Appearance Matters

Ignore what your sympathetic teachers told you- appearance matters. Big time. Well, it does if you’re using LinkedIn as a company. Captivating pictures are the machine behind the internet right now and LinkedIn is no exception. So before we get into the nitty-gritty of LinkedIn, let’s give your page a stunning makeover.

Cover Photo

Anyone who isn’t all that creative in terms of digital design etc have been tempted to use stock photos as cover photos but it’s important to remember that a cover photo is the first thing people see on your page- that’s the point of it. Which means it needs to be captivating but also needs to express what your brand is about without being obnoxious.

A good example of a unique, captivating cover photo is HubSpot’s:


Hubspot Cover


Featured/Highlighted Products

To truly make the most of the Featured Products section, think of this as your ‘shop window’. This is where you showcase the best of your products, the place to really reel new customers in. There are options such as sharing images of your products, descriptions and of course, links to them. Shop window!

Stay Connected

You’ve created the account, you’ve made it visually appealing which means it’s now time to connect and make the most of the connections you have.

Ask Employees to Connect

If you really want visitors to get a feel for your company through LinkedIn, a great avenue is connecting with your employees on there. They will then be accessible through your company page where visitors can learn more about them and your company as a whole.

Follow Your Favourite Influencers

Influencers are a big deal on LinkedIn. Some of the top influencers on LinkedIn include Richard Branson, Bill Gates and even Barack Obama. By following the top influencers in your industry, not only do you get to fan-girl on a professional level, you can also find incredible insights that could be very beneficial to your company overall.

Stay Current

Once your page has been created, filled and connected, your work is not done. Now is not the time to be a Facebook granny on LinkedIn. That is to say, you shouldn’t make the account and then stay up to date with everybody whilst quietly lurking and judging.

A great example of a current, successful brand on LinkedIn is Dell who do between 4 and 7 posts per day on LinkedIn. Some call it overkill, I call it good online business sense.

Post Statuses

Posting statuses is not only a great way to keep people in the loop with what’s new, what’s worth knowing etc, it’s also a good way to implant yourself in your follower’s minds so that when you have something that you want to promote as much as possible, people will recognise your name and will be more likely to pay attention because of that.

Relevant Articles Are Your Friend

One of the most baffling things about all forms of social media is that even when people follow your pages to keep up with your brand, they don’t want to hear all about you. It’s a sad realisation. You think you’ve finally found somewhere to be shamelessly self-indulgent and it turns out, there is no such place.

Try to have a ratio of 70:30 when it comes to your own content vs shared content. Share articles that are relevant to your industry- either helpful or informative. These can be the route to reaching out to other companies, to engaging with your followers and becoming a more reputable company on LinkedIn.

Mix It Up

Videos, pictures, articles and plain ol’ statuses are all great ways of keeping your LinkedIn account relevant and interesting. Nobody in this digital age likes seeing a block of text and nothing more. Try and keep your LinkedIn profile a multimedia mixed bag and as relevant as possible.


Celebrate Christmas the Glasgow way

I don’t know how it’s that time again but I’m not complaining because it is CHRISTMAS and ever since I first saw it in 2003, Glasgow has been my favourite place at Christmas. I love looking at the beautiful Christmas lights, wandering around the city with a hot chocolate soaking in the atmosphere and of course, shopping. I usually love shopping but when I’m shopping for other people, surrounded by Christmas songs and wrapped up in a huge coat and scarf… bliss. That’s why this year, I wanted to share with you the best places to shop, hang out and soak up the Christmas spirit the Glasgow way.

Granny Would Be Proud Fairs


Taken from Granny Would Be Proud Facebook page

Granny Would Be Proud is a vintage and handmade crafts market that regularly hosts a series of vendors in either Hillhead Bookclub or The Shed. It’s got cupcakes, handmade jewelry and all the vintage goodies you could hope for. As well as this, every vendor is always delighted to chat with you whether you’re buying or not and nothing is overpriced. This weekend Granny Would Be Proud is hosting a Christmas event in The Shed. There you can find all the usual Granny Would Be Proud goodies, a retro photobooth, vintage hairdressers, massages, free shows and a tearoom!   Event page here.

Sloans EatFilm

  THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL. If there is anything that I maintain as a tradition, it’s this film. I have been watching this every year since I was three years old and I NEVER tire of it. It’s one of my favourite films of all time, one of my favourite stories of all time and of course, The Muppets are my heroes. Well, Jim Henson is I suppose. Anyway. If you are similarly ecstatic that you can now shamelessly watch this film, why not go to Sloans Bar to enjoy it with a meal? It’s 13.95 for 2 people and it means you can enjoy this with a bunch of other supposed adults who refuse to let themselves grow out of The Muppets. If for some reason you have no interest in this, there are also multiple showings of Elf across the month as well as Miracle on 34th Street and everybody’s favourite Christmas film, Die Hard, also has a showing! Event details here 

Christmas Market

stand-11463_1280     Technically, this isn’t solely a Glasgow thing. But there is no way I could write about Glasgow at Christmas and not mention the Continental Christmas Market which is inexplicably described here as the German market. The Christmas market is one of the highlights of the build up to Christmas. A winter bar, continental foods, more Russian dolls than anybody could ever need, colourful bags and clothes, Christmas ornaments, massive wooden giraffe ornaments (because who doesn’t want one of those?) and a plethora of options for Christmas presents. My particular favourites are Russian dolls and leather notebooks, in case you were wondering. The Christmas Market is in Glasgow already and will be here until December 21st. Even if you just go for the mulled wine, this is something you absolutely shouldn’t miss.

George Square

George_Square_Christmas Finally, for plain ol’ Christmas magic with ice-skating, a ferris wheel and the most traditional Christmas lights… Look no further than George Square. This place is the epitome of Christmas and unlike some of the places I’ve listed, very suitable for children. The ice skating usually has a bit of a queue so best to arrive early but if that’s not your thing, there is still plenty to do and an atmosphere that would make even the grumpiest Scrooge soften towards Christmas.


Where do you like to go at Christmas? Which small businesses would you recommend? 



Have you ever wondered why Americans don’t have passports? Well, me neither but now I know… In America, no employer is legally obliged to give their employees paid annual leave. So, unless employees are well-off or fortunate enough to have an employer that grants this amount of days, they can’t go on holidays (vacations!). This is a startling observation and one that has left me, somebody who is desperate to live in America, feeling a little cold. I have a job I enjoy but when I didn’t, the only thing that got me out of bed in the morning was knowing that I had some holiday time booked up. Even now, I try to keep my holidays in mind when I’m having a particularly hard day at work.

So for me, the news about America’s employment  laws leaves me with one question… How low is morale overall?  

Time away from work is good for both physical and mental health. It is extremely beneficial to employees but of course that means that overall, it’s extremely beneficial to employers. If an employee is feeling both mentally and physically sound, they’re more likely to be productive and an asset to the company they’re working for.

Recently, Richard Branson announced that he’s letting employees take as much holiday time as they’d like. In contrast to the standard American employment laws, this is a breath of fresh air. It seems far more humane, up-to-date and far more fair. But is it?

I don’t want to accuse Mr Branson of reverse psychology or anything along those lines because I’m sure this was a rule brought in to improve employee’s wellbeing and of course, it’s been brought in with a level of trust. He’s trusting employees to take the holidays they need without taking advantage of him or his company. On paper, this is fantastic and something that all employers should aspire to but in reality, and maybe it’s just me, I’d be pretty nervous about requesting time off.

The one thing about having annual leave is knowing where you stand with it. If you get 24 days a year and you’ve taken 21, you have 3 days left. Pretty simple stuff . If you have an unlimited amount of days off, to take at your own convenience, you may be left a little nervous about taking more than the statuary amount. You may even fear being judged by your peers, your manager etc which may ultimately lead to less time off!

 So where do we draw the line? Between no time and too much time, where can we find a happy medium that suits both employees and employers? How much time is enough to refresh and motivate employees and is Richard Branson actually pulling a fast one with his “ethical” rule?