My Column

City award will be richly rewarding

  • Date: Monday 11th November 2019
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Glasgow is no stranger to punching above its weight no matter when it comes to business, sport, the arts and a lot more besides.

Last week’s news then, that our ‘Dear Green Place’ has been named the UK’s top cultural and creative city as part of a landmark report by the European Commission is the very least the city deserves.

It’s also a sign of how opinions and reputations can be changed with good ideas, creativity and hard work, as it wasn’t all that long ago the city’s main export was a fearsome image of a No Mean City.

Now though, Glasgow is the beating heartbeat of culture not just in Scotland, but across the UK and beyond – and that’s official.

The one time industrial heartland now boasts a remarkable 100+ cultural organisations, while five of Scotland's six national performing arts companies are based there, namely the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ballet; National Theatre of Scotland and the Scottish Opera. Whether you are a culture vulture or not, that’s really something we can all be proud of.

The art scene is thriving too, with the Turner Prize winners and nominees coming from or working in Glasgow so often the organisers might as well just set up a permanent base on Sauchiehall Street.

As for music, well Glasgow is the best place in the world for that. Ask any band or singer who ever comes through the doors of the legendary Barrowland, the SSE Hydro or King Tuts and they’ll agree that there’s nowhere else quite like it. Also in the last few years we have the brilliantly-run TRNSMT bringing in tens of millions to the city and showing just how a massive Inner-City festival should be run.

We can look back to the city becoming one of the first-ever City of Culture winners way back in 1990 as a turning point and since then, business and creatives have worked hand in hand to transform Glasgow into the shining light that it is now.

A key element is in how creative talent is encouraged and nurtured, meaning companies and entrepreneurs further afield could do worse that to pay closer attention to how it’s done in the former Second City of the Empire.

Despite the economic and cultural challenges Glasgow has historically faced, there’s a resilience and character that never fails to shine through in its citizens. Employers know that when bringing their businesses to the city that they can draw on a talent pool that’s positively overflowing with both experience and untapped potential that at the very least rivals London. Not only that, but with expenses in England’s capital rising all the time, running operations out of Glasgow offers huge savings on all aspects of running costs.

Not only that but you’ll struggle to find a friendlier and more welcoming city anywhere else in the UK, meaning its somewhere we can all be happy to live and work in.

Let Glasgow Flourish indeed!

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We spend over 90,000 hours working over a lifetime so it’s no wonder that our personal and professional lives become intertwined. Workplace romances are common place, but they are becoming more regulated amid the #MeToo movement.

Businesses, particularly those operating on a global scale, have codes of conduct in place which prohibit their employees from having a sexual relationship when there is a direct or indirect reporting relationship in work. Public debate on the issue erupted last week following the news that Steve Easterbrook, the CEO of McDonald’s no less, was sacked after violating company guidelines surrounding workplace relationships.

Even daytime darling Holly Willoughby waded in on the issue to defend Mr Easterbrook, arguing that work is a normal place to meet your significant other. This was backed up by a study by TotalJobs, which found that 22% of British employees had met their partner through at work. Furthermore, your entitlement to privacy and family life is protected by the Human Rights Act 1998, subject to a few limited exceptions.

My advice to anyone considering dating a colleague would be to read up on your office policies on dating, as these can vary by organization. Even if there are no restrictions, it is still important to remain professional at work and separate the private and professional, don’t bring your relationship issue to the boardroom and certainly don’t bank on moving up the career ladder because of your relationship, as you might find yourself in a tricky situation when it fizzles out.

As with most things honesty is often the best policy, so it’s always best to come clean and just tell your boss. Far better than they find out from you than via the office rumour mill.

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Becoming a parent is a life-changing event with those first few months being absolutely vital in bonding with your baby and adjusting to life as a parent, which was definitely an eye-opener for me. Taking parental leave is not always straightforward though, with fathers historically being the ones who returned to work shortly after the big day. In 2017-18 only 9,200 new parents took shared parental leave. That’s just over 1% and the figure only marginally increased to 10,700 the following year.

This could be set to change though, as businesses wake up to the fact that parents of both genders are now more hands-on, particularly young millennial men who have become new fathers. Last week financial giant Goldman Sachs joined the likes of Standard Life Aberdeen and Vodafone in equalising its parental leave – offering full pay for 20 weeks to both men and women. Taking time off to spend with your new baby is a huge part of being a parent and it’s only right that couples themselves should be able to decide who does what. 

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News that a poo-powered pub launched south of the border in Leeds last week was a headline I had to re-read. The cheekily named Number Two Tavern is powered by electricity made from sewage at a nearby recycling centre. The process known as anaerobic digestion sees treated sewage converted into methane-rich biogas that’s turned into green electricity to power the pub. Yorkshire Water created the ‘poo-zer’ as a stunt to highlight the possibilities of sustainable power sources. It’s encouraging to see this type of creative thinking join up technologies and resources to deliver sustainable ‘everyday’ business. Let’s hope we soon see similarly cracking innovations in Scotland to help businesses’ bottom line.

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