Scotland's Economy

Scottish Business Buzz (12.10.16)

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-10-34Four day working week sees production levels soar.

Glasgow based Pursuit Marketing have cut their staff’s working week by a day without cutting wages to improve staff wellbeing and boost recruitment and have seen productivity soar.

Its sales and telemarketing staff now work Monday to Thursday with no reduction in pay or other benefits.

Operations director Lorraine Gray said: “We can’t believe how well our four-day week has been received by staff. They are returning to work on Mondays with a spring in their step following their three day weekend.

“It’s not just about pleasing parents in the office. Yes, our working mums and dads get to spend more time with their families but other staff are enjoying the benefits too as they have more time to spend on sports and leisure activities.

“Our clients are watching our four day week with great interest. They are delighted with our increased productivity levels and some are now considering adopting a similar model for some staff themselves.”

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-25-44Taste Tour of Scotland for France’s top chefs as part of export drive

Visiting the Scottish Salmon Company farm at Loch Fyne, and Shantron Farm, Luss, hosted by Quality Meat Scotland, along with sampling whisky, cheese and oatcakes – twenty three of France’s top chefs are doing a taste tour of Scotland to sample the best food and drink the country has to offer.

Latest figures show that the total value of Scottish food and drink exports to France was £722 million, a 56 per cent increase since 2007. France is now Scotland’s second-largest food and drink export market in the world, behind only the United States.

Minister for culture, tourism and external affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “We’ve seen the value of Scottish food and drinks exports to France increase significantly, underlining the growing importance our friends across The Channel place on sourcing authentic produce from Scotland’s rich and natural larder. The EU provides significant support to Scottish rural communities and is a key market for the food and drink we produce.”

Read More.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-37-53Sterling sinks to lowest level since global financial crisis

A senior Scottish economist has warned the UK outlook appeared “bleak” as Sterling plummets.

Jeremy Peat, visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde’s International Public Policy Institute, warned that, while there might be a short-term boost to exports from a weak pound, a “severe devaluation” of sterling was not a solution to the UK’s problems on the Brexit front.

Mr Peat said: “It is little wonder that sterling continues to fall when UK politicians are making it ever clearer that they are prepared to forego access to the single market in favour of a severe reduction in immigration. Lower sterling may provide some succour to exporters in the short term, but at the same time inflation will rise and disposable incomes will be adversely affected.”

The “flash crash” on Friday morning sent the pound plummeting briefly below $1.15 during Asian trading hours.

The pound dropped from around $1.26 to $1.1378 in a matter of minutes. The fresh 31-year low was later revised to $1.1491 by Thomson Reuters, which owns the Reuters foreign exchange brokerage platform RTSL. It said an outlying trade had been cancelled. Bloomberg data put the low at $1.1841.

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25% surge in Scottish games industry last year

Video game trade association Tiga has said the industry’s “development headcount” has grown by 25% in Scotland between December 2014 and March 2016, more than twice the national average, Scotland’s 85 games companies now employ 1,290 creative staff.

Tiga chief executive Dr Richard Wilson said that the Scottish video games industry now trailed in size between only London and the south east of England.

He also said that if it was to continue to grow, more games companies need to benefit from Games Tax Relief and Research and Development Tax Credits.

“We also need to provide start-ups and small studios with better access to finance and business advice.” said Wilson, “To achieve this, TIGA has proposed the introduction of a Games Investment Fund. The Games Investment Fund could make grants or loans available to games businesses on a matched funding basis. The Games Investment Fund would also provide a commercial mentoring business advisory service, staffed by industry veterans, for games companies that access its grants or loans.”

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Get Enough Sleep – Part 1

Mark Tiffney, of Dynamic Core Studios Clydebank highlights the importance of getting enough sleep.

I get it, there’s plenty of time to sleep when you are dead. There’s work that needs done. A product to launch. A deadline to meet. Time doesn’t stop just because you’re tired, a few coffees and you’ll get through it.

Thing is, as simple as it sounds, your body just doesn’t work properly when you’ve not had enough sleep. It’s like letting the battery drain on your phone and expecting it to still work. All the components are still there, but they can’t operate and it just shuts down.

Your body requires oxygen to perform optimally and guess when it takes in the most oxygen? When you are sleeping.

Your body needs to grow and repair and guess when it does that? When you are sleeping.

Sleep deprivation will cause your brain function to slow, your hormone functions to shut down and for anyone looking to burn fat or build muscle, when you sleep your body releases growth hormone, the biggest fat burning hormone in your body (and as the name suggests, also allows for growth, especially if you have torn muscle fibers through resistance training).

Lack of sleep is a stress on your system and any stress on your system is effectively toxic to its development. You may feel it is just a small thing, but to your system it’s huge.

As with most things, your body will cope with lack of sleep for a while, but coping means shutting down non-essential systems. And non-essential to your body means things that aren’t going to kill you. Just because you need to be able to focus on a project or a task, does not mean your body will agree.

So start considering your 40 winks as essential as a priority.

Next time I’ll look at a few more specifics on this and some things you can do to overcome insomnia or deal with the consequences when lack of sleep is unavoidable. But for now, just remember, going without sleep does not mean you are more committed to the task, it just means you are less likely to do it well. So go get some shut eye.

And if anyone complains, tell them I said it was ok.

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About the author

Rhona Middler

Rhona was Business for Scotland's Engagement Executive and Events Manager.

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