I appeared on the BBC website last week.

On the subject of Working From Home.

Not because the BBC are particularly interested in what I think on the subject.

But because I was part of a photoshoot.

2 years ago.

And a photo of me.

Working from home with my dog Frank on my knee.

Has ended up in the Getty photo library that the BBC use.


Take a look:

Working From Home. 

That said.

I do of course have a view on working from home.

As I’ve been doing it (on and off) for years.


I’d predict that many people.

And many businesses.

In 2021 and beyond.

Will continue to work remotely.

Maybe not entirely.

But certainly in part.

Laptop Musical Chairs. 

It’s because I have always scratched my head a little bit.

With ‘Laptop Musical Chairs’.

The game that lots of us play each day.

Getting up at 6am.

Picking up our laptops and leaving the house at 7am.

Arriving at work and opening up our laptops at 8am.

Only to pick up the very same laptop.

On the very same day.

At 6pm.

To take it back home and open it up for another quick tippy-tap at around 9pm.

Then pack it away as we go to bed at 11pm.

Before it all starts again the following day.

‘Laptop Musical Chairs’.

Strange game.

5 Things. 


5 things to remember when working from home.

(Notes to self).

  1. Get up. Get dressed. Be at my desk for 7am.
  2. Stay away from the fridge!
  3. Take the dogs out for half an hour.  Twice a day.
  4. Have a 30 minute snooze if you want.
  5. Do a 30 minute exercise thing, every day.

Good luck.

(Another note to self).

Here’s a test.

And once you do it.

You’ll know whether the work you are doing.

Is work that you actually love.

Or something that is little more than a chore.

The Work Test.

Basically, The Work Test is whether you see the Jonas Salk quote.


As a good thing.

Or a bad thing.

Jonas Salk.

Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist.

Jonas discovered and developed one of the first successful polio vaccines.

And here is the Jonas Salk quote I am referring to:

The reward for work well done.

Is the opportunity to do more.


How was the quote for you?


Or bad?

It was a Sunday.

Mid March.

And it was 2020.


I was sat quietly.

Staring out of the window.

Thinking quite calmly.

About what was about to happen.


I smiled for a moment.

When I thought about the millennium bug of 1999.

The bug that wasn’t really a bug.

But then I got a little gloomier.

Because I remembered.

That today’s bug.

Is a real bug.


I wanted to write just one story about it.

One reference point from early 2020.

For me to look back upon.

From a, hopefully, much more positive and certain 2021.

I wanted to write it for me.

And the people I know.

But then.


I really did start to think about the people I know.

And more specifically.

I started to think about how many people I know.


On average.

Any 1 person.

Knows about 600 people.

So by 2021.

That’s just 9 months away.

It is entirely possible that the 600 I know.

Will have become 588.

My 12.

It is numbing.

Thinking about My 12.

So I have started to think how I can make My 12.

A much smaller number.

And right now.

I am not quite sure what to do.

About My 12.

Or about Your 12.


It’s important to try, though I think.

So I’ll focus on the most vulnerable first.

And take it from there.

I thought about my grandma today.

Even though she’s been dead for.


It must be 25 years now.


From the age of about 8.

To the age of about 16.

My grandma looked after me quite a bit.

She made me feel safe.

And important.

Through the years that my dad disappeared completely.

So that’s from the age of 11.

Through the years that my mum.

As a single parent.


And through the years that me, my mum, my sister and my baby brother ran from the drunken stepdad that arrived to disrupt us.

Then to abuse us.

As I entered my mid-teens.

My grandma created such a safe place.

Just by being herself.


Funny thing is.

Even though I spent years and years and years in her embrace.

I don’t think I can remember anything she ever said to me.

Not one word.

I remember her smile.

Her patience.

Her little kitchen.

And her hands.

On my hands.

But I can’t remember her words.

Maya Angelou. 

It looks like Maya Angelou was right after all.

People will forget what you said.

People will forget what you did.

But people will never forget how you made them feel.

Last week.

I sat alongside the superb team behind one of the most significant historical destinations in England.

I watched their faces.

As we thought together.

Planned together.

And laughter together.

Determined to redouble visitor numbers.

On the back of their beautiful offer.

And a better-told story.

Two days after that.

Miles from home.

I sat alongside the founder of a 25 year old software business.

I watched his face, too.

I watched his eyes flicker.


Then left.

Then right again.

As we excavated.


Unearthing answers that would lead us toward category leadership.

And a more valuable brand.


Two days after that.

On Saturday.

It was Izobel’s face I watched.

I watched Izobel’s face as she concentrated on two brown paper tubes of sugar.

Sat tight in her fist.

I watched her face as she fought to tear the top from both of them.

And I watched as more sugar than I really wanted.

Tumbled into my flat white.

Two Sugars.

That Saturday.

As I sat with Izobel.

My work life paused.

I was reminded that the extraordinary journeys I go on each week.

All lead back to the ordinary moments I spend with my 3 year old Izobel.

And I was also reminded that.

Whilst I love these extraordinary businesses.

I love my ordinary days with Izobel even more.

I even loved the two sugars.

The two sugars that my 3 year old daughter worked so hard to dispense for me.

When in actual fact.

I only take one.



The right ordinary, mind.

It’s why we do it.

If you remember this.

You will stop you being derailed.

By some of the crappiness life throws at you.




Nonlinearity is real.


There is no exact formula for a great life.

Well; not really.

Being kind helps.

As does being generous.

And working hard.

But for the most part – crappiness happens.

And nonlinearity plays a big part in this.

Here’s a reminder how nonlinearity works.

Outputs are not always proportional to inputs.

Nonlinearity is where the relationship between what you do.

And what you get.

Cannot be explained.


The thing we call ‘fairness’.

Or ‘justice’.

Would dictate that any outcome should change in proportion to a change in input.

The more I do.

The more I get.

For instance.

But life takes us by surprise.

And teaches us otherwise.


My approach is changing to this nonlinearity lark.

I derail less because of unexplainable crappiness.

Because crappiness is not exceptional.

Or unfair.

Or unjust.

It’s just part of my journey.

And whilst I’ll never learn how to remove the crappiness.

I have learned where the non-crappiness is.

And, even though it’s a bit of a nuisance.

The non-crappiness is very often nestled just the other side of the crappiness.


So get your wellies on.

Wade through the crappiness.

And find the happiness.

(This lovely, rhyming ending.

Was donated by my friend. 

Jessica Thamm. 

Thank you, Jessica).

Being female.

Must be quite hard.

If this excerpt from ‘Adults’ by Emma Jane Unsworth is anything to go by.


This is a mother talking.

To her 35 year old daughter:

‘Oh, my darling,’ she says, into my hair.

‘At least I only had to try and look like Twiggy.

You’ve go to sing and dance and fuck and work and mother and sparkle and equalise and not complain and be beautiful and love your imperfections and stay strong and show your vulnerability and bake and box and pull fucking pork.

It’s much too much.’

Fair point.

(This passage was highlighted to me by North of England Guardian Editor, Helen Pidd).

Buy ADULTS here.

If you are worried about the world.

Worried about how we treat each other.

And worried about how we treat it.

This is a good song to listen to.

As you pause.

And ponder what we all could do to make things better.

Antony and the Johnsons. 

I find most music by Antony and the Johnsons very thought provoking.

Because each time she sings.

It’s like she is telling me how she feels.

I feel like this about a song called ‘Another World’.


Here’s a live version

From 2009.