Thirteen apps that will change your life

In 2019, the struggle can be real. Politics are volatile, the weather is extreme, avocado prices are skyrocketing and we’re constantly barraged by popular internet memes. As a result, we’ve become a country obsessed with finding ways to make life as convenient as possible. From travel, to food, to getting up in the morning, anything to take the edge off is welcomed with open arms.

In light of that, and because we’re all about making your life as easy as possible, we’ve put together an ultimate list of apps that’ll make your life that little bit easier, because let’s face it, you deserve it.

App: Move GB

Category: Fitness and lifestyle

What it does:

Describing themselves as ‘every activity membership’. Move Gb provides one fitness membership to thousands of activities and classes, at different venues across the country. Forget signing up to a gym, download move GB and simply book at the tap of a button, at a time and place that works for you. Move GB centres around convenience, flexibility, variety and ease, providing a membership that allows you to work out wherever you are, at a time that suits you.

App: Petrol Prices

Category: Travel

What it does:

This app is another cracker if you’re looking to save some time and money, petrol prices helps you find the cheapest or nearest petrol stations within any UK postcode, covering over 98% of uk forecourts. The app lets you earn points by updating missing or incorrect prices, or through editing the app to include missing station facilities like water, toilets or baby-changing. If you add your vehicle, you’ll also receive useful reminders of when your MOT or tax is due, which can earn you additional points.

App: Yummly

Category: Food

What it does:

Yummly is a recipe search engine app that will solve your meal time woes in seconds. Yummly filters recipes by ingredients, cuisine, diet, nutrition and allergies, to help you plan the perfect personalised meal for you and your friends. Helping to put together shopping lists, Yummly also provides a ‘what’s in my fridge feature’, which allows you to search specific ingredients or barcodes of products to show you relevant, tailored recipes.

App: 1password

Category: Organisation

What it does:

This app essentially does what it says on the tin, remembering all of your passwords so you don’t have to. 1password is a secure way for you to store all of your sensitive information using one master password. It stores your debit and credit card information, backs up your software licenses, and locks down those all important notes you’d otherwise forget. The app also provides the option to have multiple vaults, and share selected information with friends, family and co workers.

App: City mapper

Category: Travel

What it does:

Citymapper makes planning and navigating through new cities far less daunting and time consuming. Working in real time, the app lets you plan your journey with different travel options compared to estimated times of arrival. The app also offers disruption alerts and can keep your friends or coworkers updated of your whereabouts. City mapper offers the added bonus of Uber integration and live cycle info, and in the unlikely occurrence that you go offline, citymapper also provides an in app map to find your way around.

App: Mint

Category: Finance

What it does:

Mint is about as simple as it gets when it comes to budgeting apps. Mint automatically categorizes transactions from linked credit and debit cards and tracks them against your budgets. The app will send you alerts when you spend a little more than planned, and also keeps note of your overall cash flow to provide an insight into where you’re spending your money each month.

App: Alarmy

Category: Productivity

What it does:

If the temptation to press the snooze button is getting in the way of having a productive day, then Alarmy is the app for you. The alarmy app won’t stop ringing until you’ve carried out a set task, this could be anything from completing a maths puzzle, to taking a picture of your cup of tea. Regardless, alarmy makes sure you’re up and about, and ready to seize the day. Simple, but genius.

App: Headspace

Category: Health and Wellness

What it does:

Headspace is a great app for life gets busy and your mind is feeling just as hectic. Describing themselves as the guide to health and happiness, headspace helps you to let go off stress and anxiety, and focuses on ensuring that you get a better night sleep. The app offers guided meditations and mindfulness techniques to help you find balance and calm, regardless of what life throws at you.

App: Petrol Prices

Category: Travel

What it does:

This app is another cracker if you’re looking to save some time and money, petrol prices helps you find the cheapest or nearest petrol stations within any UK postcode, covering over 98% of UK forecourts. The app lets you earn points by updating missing or incorrect prices, or through editing the app to include missing station facilities like water, toilets or baby-changing. If you add your vehicle, you’ll also receive useful reminders of when your MOT or tax is due, which can earn you additional points.

App: Wunderlist

Category: Scheduling/Organisation

What it does:

With hundreds of productivity apps out there, it can be hard to figure out which one will work the best for you. Wunderlist is a simple to-do list and task manager app that helps you get the job done. From shopping lists, to holiday planning, to important reminders, this app has easy to use features to combat organisation stress. You can share lists or collaborate with friends, family and colleagues, and wunderlist instantly syncs between your phone, tablet and computer, so you can access your to-dos from anywhere. Organisation has never been so easy.

App: Calm

Category: Health and Wellness

What it does:

Calm is the number 1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation, and they certainly earned their status. Calm provides guided meditation, breathing programs and stretching exercises for beginners, all the way to intermediate and advanced, meaning wherever you are in journey, there’s something to help you. The aop promises to ensure better sleep, lower stress and less anxiety and is recommended by mental heath experts.

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App: Wriggle

Category: Food

What it does:

Wriggle saves you time and money, by finding you great food deals in your area. Wriggle hand picks favourite restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs to create exclusive deals. You simply choose where you’d like to go, purchase the deal in app, then show your wriggle code when you arrive to receive offers and discounts . The app allows you to search by location, postcode, cuisine, time and date, meaning you can find the best food, near to you, at a time that works for your schedule. The app also includes wriggle rewards, that sees that every purchase you make on wriggle earns you points that can redeemed for credit, meaning the next time you purchase will be cheaper.

App: Money Box

Category: Finance

What it does:

Money box is the perfect introduction to investment, with very little effort required. The app rounds up small everyday purchases to an amount set by you and puts the excess into stocks and shares of your choice, to help you start investing from as little as £1. You simply link it to your debit card, and set how much you want it to round up by each month. When you sign up Money box allows you to choose between, ‘cautious’, ‘balanced’ and ‘adventurous’, meaning whether you prefer to play it safe, or dive in at the investment deep end, money box can guide you through it. Investment made simple.

How to Hustle

Ten simple tips to turn your ideas into income

What do you think of when you hear the phrase ‘side hustle’? Perhaps you think about selling lemonade to your friends as a child. Perhaps you think about the app idea you’ve always wanted to pursue. Perhaps you think about that super successful business you swear you came up with first. 

Well, according to recent reports, 40% of British workers now have a ‘side hustle’, and with that figure expected to rise to over half of the adult population by 2030, ‘hustling’ is now more popular than ever. The study also found that almost half of ‘side hustlers’ were motivated by their desire to follow a passion or explore a new challenge, confirming the notion that a side hustle is not just a money making scheme, but an opportunity to spend time working on something you enjoy, something you’re passionate about, and something you can be proud of.

Whether it’s selling clothes on eBay, gardening, dog walking, blogging, car washing, tutoring, teaching, cleaning, YouTube, ecommerce, catering, party planning, crafting or baking, turning your talents into money has never been so varied and accessible. But how can you actually turn a great idea into a lucrative side hustle? Well, just like that, we’ve written you a handy guide to get you started.

Here are limber’s top ten tips for making a side hustle work for you:

1. Choose something you enjoy

Anyone can have a side hustle, but it’s important to find a balance between skill set and passions. Turning your talents into money should be fun, so find what works for you. Your side hustle is the perfect time to embrace your hidden talents, and enjoy making money.

2. Start simple

You might be surprised to hear that the secret to a successful side hustle, isn’t the ability to solve problems for the millions. Instead, focus on a single person’s’ needs. If your side hustle is building gazebos, don’t start with a website and an overly complex social media strategy, just find one person who wants a gazebo and build it for them at the most competitive price. While building it, do a time lapse, take photos and ask your friends to share your handy work. You’ll learn more in this process about how to drum up business than you will by starting with a website.  

3. Be resourceful

Starting a side hustle can be daunting, but there’s a wealth of information out there to help you get going. From podcasts, to self help books, blogs – the internet is full of information and advice around how to turn your side hustle into a lucrative business, so get savvy (after reading this article), by doing some research. Some of our favourites include, the book ‘How to have a happy hustle’ by Bec Evans and the ‘Side hustle school’ podcast. 

4. Be patient

You probably won’t make your first million in a week, and that’s okay. Have patience and stick with it. A positive mind set will go far, so stay motivated and don’t feel discouraged if it takes a while to turn a profit. The desire to make a profit can sometimes dull creativity, so try not to focus on it, and don’t be concerned if you initially have to give away your skills for free, we promise the long game will be worth it.

5. Create a schedule

Running a small business alongside everything else takes time and energy, so it’s important to plan your side hustle around you. Starting a side hustle means you can be your own boss, so make the most of it, and avoid setting yourself an unrealistic time scale. Online management tools like trello or Monday can help when planning out next steps and deadlines.

6. Invest small at first

This one probably goes without saying, but remember to only invest what you can afford. It’s great if you’re expecting the business to take off, but be cautious not to overspend while it’s still early days. Try to seperate your private money and your company’s money into different bank accounts, and don’t be afraid to consult a pro when figuring out finances. Proper accounting might not seem necessary at first, but it’s important to start as you mean to go on.

7. Team up

Starting a side hustle doesn’t have to be a solo project. Teaming up with friends or family allows you to share ideas and manage your workload. You could also use apps like meetup or bumblebizz, to meet like-minded freelancers and entrepreneurs in your area.

8. Seek advice and feedback

Advice and feedback are key to launching a successful business. Depending on what your side hustle is, initially you may want to trial it amongst your family and friends. This way, you can iron out any bumps in your product or service before launching it to the public.

9. Be creative

You’re in charge, so be creative with your side hustle. This is an opportunity to really put your stamp on something so don’t hold back. Often with a new business idea, the more unique, the better.

10. Be proactive

Stop thinking. Stop talking. Do it. There is no substitute for real experience and even if your first attempts fail, you will always be closer to your dream than if you never started. If you wait for everything to be perfect, you will never begin (we think we saw that on a bumper sticker once).

So, what are you waiting for? Get hustling.

I’m a Slashie, and you should be too

Take it from a writer/student/waitress

In the not very distant past, I’d never even heard of a Slashie. If I’m honest, I thought it was something far more aggressive than it actually is. Being a Slashie, is not something I actively sought out and I’ll admit that growing up, just like many of us, I often felt like a singular, full time job was the mark of success. Suddenly, I’ve found myself launched into the world of the Slashie, yet within a relatively short period of time, the benefits have already prevailed.

I’m a waitress/English literature undergraduate/limber content creator, and somehow these all gel together in one big ball that I’m calling my career. Granted, I don’t get paid to be a student, but I think we can all agree that my degree is an active contribution towards my future employment prospects (hopefully). That’s right. I have three somewhat conflicting ‘hustles’ on the go, and yet there’s a large part of me that feels as if I’m really owning it. Where some may feel that multiple ventures could lead to a sense of unfulfillment, or incompleteness, this could not be further from the truth. Throughout school, and my degree, I never felt as if I had the opportunity to exercise all of my skills; I’d do well in English, Art and history and sort of bumble my way through the rest of it. Now I feel like I’m doing well, and doing well at lots of things.

Part of this is of course, is down to working for limber. It’s very clear from day one that there’s zero expectation to sacrifice. Sure, work hard, but don’t overwork. Don’t say no to friends and family, and don’t give up ‘life’ in place of a job.

It’s a refreshing outlook, and a welcome change from the ‘relentless grind pays off ‘ attitude that seemed to be pushed throughout my A levels and degree. Nothings excessive, it’s all about balance. Being a Slashie and working for Limber feels as if everything’s in moderation, I can actually meet targets and still find time for a social life.

Being a Slashie also means that the repetitive bullsh*t on my cv about ‘enjoying a challenge’ and ‘rising to any occasion’ has actually gained some truth behind it. It’s no longer just a lacklustre, empty, page filler that i presume employers want to hear. Sure, i like to think i have those qualities, but being a Slashie actually proves it. Holding down more than one occupation, is living, working proof that I actually do have strong time management, and organisation skills, and its proof that I can apply myself in a number of different environments. Some days I’m writing about the gender pay gap, others I’m serving cappuccinos and making cream teas. Being a Slashie is about commiting to lots of things, rather than committing to nothing.

I’m not afraid to admit that I get bored. I’m fascinated by (parts) of my degree and enjoy my waitressing job, I love writing. But, I need new challenges, fresh faces, and different tasks to wrap my brain around. I’m convinced that even the chief biscuit taster at McVities just doesn’t fancy a biscuit some days, and that’s okay. Lots of us already enjoy our jobs, but if the repetition of having to apply yourself to the same tasks’ day in, day out can sometimes numb your brain, then the Slashie lifestyle is definitely for you. Of course, I realise I’m at a slight advantage, considering that both my waitressing and writing jobs are designed to be part time. Not everyone can storm into their bosses office and demand four day week, just because they fancy it, but we can start to reintroduce more autonomy, freedom and choices into our working world.

I suppose more than anything, being a Slashie has built my confidence. I’ve never felt more capable or willing to ‘give things a go’. I feel motivated and inspired, knowing that I haven’t committed to doing the same thing every single day. At the start of the week, I enjoy a change of scenery, I can grab lunch from St Nics market, and find I’m productive in an office environment, but by the time it comes around to my Saturday job, I’m glad not to have to commute in order to get to work, and a day waitressing is a welcome break.

People are sometimes quick to judge the Slashie lifestyle, afterall, nothing says ‘I’m annoying’ like someone banging on about their dream job. But being a Slashie genuinely makes working your dream job, accessible, and financially feasible, it’s not something you’re forced to do, it’s something you aspire to.

To put it simply, I’m living and working the best of both worlds and I wouldn’t change a thing. Give the Slashie life a go, what’s the worst that could happen?

“Flexible, empowering and easy, limber allows me to work, when i want to work”

We chat to limber user, Catherine, about why she loves limber and how using the app to find work has changed her life.

Q: So Catherine firstly, why do you use limber?

A: I use limber because it allows me to work when I want to work.

Being able to choose shifts on the day means that if I have a plan and it falls through, I can say ‘I’m going to take on a shift today’.

It’s the flexibility of having a few things planned, but still being able to change my mind the day before.  

Q: Does that mean you check the app for shifts regularly?

A: Yeah, I actually look quite often. I check every morning. It’s part of my routine, I’ll check the news and then I’ll check limber and see what there is. It’s quite spontaneous to be honest, there will be a few shifts a week that are planned, but really, it’s quite spontaneous.

Q: Is there something you particularly enjoy, about picking up shifts on limber?

A: I quite enjoy feeling busy. I like that feeling of going home at the end of the day and feeling like I’ve got something done. I like to prioritise work, so I tend to pick work first and then plan things around that.

Q: What skills has using limber, helped you improve?

A: Definitely my communication skills, I think I’ll be moving up to a supervisory role soon.

Q: How do you find getting paid on limber?

A: It’s really easy. You just send it off, saying that you’ve done it and you get your email saying when you’re getting paid. It couldn’t be any easier. I like to have it all in one place, so I can keep track of what I’m earning. I’d prefer to get paid through the app, because you can keep track of what you’ve worked and when. To me, cash in hand feels a bit dodgy.

I prefer to use limber, over picking up shifts traditionally. I absolutely hate old fashioned rotas where it’s all written out on a piece of paper, and if someone swaps their shift you have to cross it out and write it over the top. Picking up shifts on limber is so much more effective.

Q: So, how did you find work, before limber?

A: I found it really difficult actually. I was studying at university, so I found it really hard to juggle my time, there seemed to be a lot of shifts on limber which were during the week, which suits me, whereas I couldn’t find any shifts like that before. Usually I’m busy at the weekend, so I can’t do long shifts. It’s been completely life changing in that way.

Q: How does limber help you?

A: limber helps me by allowing me to be flexible with my time, I can take on a shift that might be starting later in the day. So, I can do everything I need to do, like go to the gym or something during the day, and then work my limber shift later on. So, it all works out. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, I can just log on to the app and find out when there’s shift. It can be on the day, or a week in advanced, and that’s so helpful.

Q: So, what three words would you use to describe limber?

A: Flexible. Empowering. Easy.

Q: And finally, can you describe in one word, how using limber makes you feel?

Excited.

Overworked and underpaid: how can we improve our work/life balance?

Long hours and physical stress are widely acknowledged as being bad for our health, but in the current work climate it seems that gruelling hours and unreachable expectations are increasingly common. Everything we do outside of work, any time we allow for relaxation, hobbies, holidays or raising children is quietly judged as ‘lesser,’ than working a 9-5. You spent the day volunteering at a homeless shelter, but I sat at my desk for ten hours, so I’ve worked harder. Overworking has simply become an expectation within most sectors, and if you’re not up past midnight on a Sunday, desperately trying to finish a presentation for Monday morning, then you’re not doing it right.

 More jobs than ever are geared towards the expectation that we’ll overwork to meet our targets. With more students than ever graduating university with a 1st or a 2:1, and more people waiting to take time off to have children until later in life, the working world is becoming increasingly competitive. Most of us are terrified to say no when allocated a task, in fear that our ever obsessive, time defying, ‘always on’ co-worker will swoop in and steal the job you worked so hard to get.

Employees are attempting to maintain responsibilities that twenty years ago, would have been allocated between three, and technological advances mean that we never truly switch off.  Far too many of us think success means to stay in same job for fifty years, after all it’s the respectable, commendable thing to do and it usually allows you a couple of promotions and a decent pension. You start as an intern at 19 and stay until your depressing retirement party in which you’re forced to graciously thank everyone for the hideous present, they all chipped in for. But does it really have to be this way? It’s apparent that the world of work in broken, so why are we so insistent on maintaining it?

Compare this to Denmark for example, recent studies found that the Danish enjoyed a staggering 16.1 hours of leisure time a day, with only 2% of people feeling as if they spend too much time at work. That’s 16 whole hours devoted to spending time with family, wine-soaked dinners with friends and getting on top of that washing pile that just never seems to end. They have some of the world’s highest standards of employee safety, fair salaries and one of the shortest hourly working weeks, and yet the Danes are among the most productive and hardworking forces in Europe.

Scandinavians have a word, ‘arbejdsglæde’ which specifically means ‘happiness at work’.

Most agree that the key to leading such a well-balanced lifestyle is down to just two things, autonomy and empowerment, which in turn results in satisfied and conscientious workers who genuinely enjoy their job.

So, here are our top five way to improve your work life/balance:

1.Use your calendar

We’re great at planning our time at work, but not so good at scheduling down time. It doesn’t have to be anything mind blowing, but just creating time to go to the gym, or to meet a friend for coffee can massively boost productivity at work, while also looking after your wellbeing.

2. Become a Slashie

Over 320,500 people are already working more than two jobs, and that figure is set to rise. People are embracing a flexible ‘gig’ economy, choosing to pursue their passions, and earn some extra money while they’re at it. By maintaining more than one career, you can relax in the knowledge that not everything you know, and love hangs in the balance of a single job. It’s the ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ mentality.

3. Take regular breaks (and go outside)

This may sound simple, but it’s estimated that a staggering 40% of people each lunch at their desks. Lunch is the perfect time to give your brain a break, and to socialise, and it’s important to take every opportunity to recharge and relax, we promise you’ll feel happier and more productive, afterwards.

4.Try something new

If you’re the kind of person who struggles without a goal to work towards, why not pick up a new hobby? Putting your energy into learning a new (fun) skill can relieve stress and take your mind off work. The crazier, the better we say.

5. Learn to say no

That right, the dreaded word that we’re very unfamiliar with. Saying ‘no’ is something that most of us avoid, but definitely need to practice. If your employer asks you to complete a task, they’re giving you the opportunity to say no, so take it! Saying yes to everything won’t increase productivity and your work could suffer in the long term.

So, there you have it. The perfect work/life balance is not just a pipedream, after all.

Rise of the slashies

The emerging career trend to beat them all.

From a young age, it’s easy to feel as if we’re destined for a single career path. Before we’re barely out of nappies, we’re eagerly asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up’, and adults appear satisfied with a single answer of ‘a vet’ or ‘a teacher’.  Throughout school we’re encouraged to study a handful of subjects, then even fewer A levels, before applying to five different University’s for practically the same degree. Traditionally most of us pour forty hours a week into one occupation. We’re purposefully conditioned to work tirelessly towards a single career path with tunnel vision, mistakenly placing importance on singularity of focus as the key to success. But who actually enforces the rule, that in order to prosper, we’re required to stick to one occupation? and why is the pursue of a single occupation so heavily ingrained in British society?

Imagine being a scientist and a circus perfomer, a hairdresser and a builder. Imagine having the freedom to flourish in multiple job roles while still being able to relax in the stability of a steady income.

It sounds too good to be true, right? It’s not. Welcome to the world of slashing, the career trend that’s here to trump them all. Don’t be startled, its far less aggressive than it sounds, the portfolio careerist, if you like. Over the past ten years, those choosing to become a slashie has slowly, but steadily been on the rise, but 2019 is the time to fully embrace the slashie lifestyle, with studies finding that as many as a third of Brits would like to work outside their day job to pursue their passions. As a society, we’re confidently ridding ourselves of labels, boxes and pretty much any form of confinement, 2019 is the year of freedom and fluidity, and this should absolutely apply to your job, or jobs for that matter. The age of the slashie is upon us.

The term ‘Slashing’ was coined by Marci Alboher, author of  One Person/Multiple Careers, to describe the ‘slash’ in the job title of someone who has more than one occupation, and now is the time to embrace slashing, and make it our own. In recent years the lifestyle has gained momentum and technology has allowed advances in access to other money-making avenues, with sites like ebay and Air bnb providing opportunity for individuals to generate income outside of their regular day job. In 2018 author Emma Gannon, released ‘the multi hyphen method’ which essentially encourages us to work less and create more, with the advantage of the digital age providing the opportunity to work anytime, anywhere. Gannon pushes individuals to embrace our inner entrepreneurial spirit, whether you’re a pharmacist who uploads Mukbangs to You Tube, or an accountant who fixes cars, every one of us is destined for the multi-hyphen method, or to become a Slashie, to me and you.

Being a Slashie is not the same as babysitting in order to become a dancer or reluctantly waiting tables while pursuing an acting career. Being a Slashie means weaving together a patchwork career that you enjoy every element of. It’s a lifestyle that aims to enforce a better balance between maintaining a successful career, while feeling genuinely happy.

For the graduate, the idea of the slashie lifestyle is somewhat appealing. After three or four long years working, living and breathing a single degree subject, young twenty somethings are eager to spread their wings and dabble in more than just what their traditionally ‘qualified’ for. Some may fear that a such a split focus could lead to employees that are ‘average’ at many things, but brilliant at nothing, and some are reluctant to become a slashie in case they become less employable. This could not be further from reality. Being a slashie is not the redundancy of passion and dedication to your career, it’s simply the expansion of these things across many different sectors, and who doesn’t want to share the love, right?

Being a slashie means that you develop stronger time management and organisation skills than you ever could working a singular occupation. To be a jack of all trades should no longer be stigmatised and should instead be applauded and strived towards. After all, to balance multiple jobs requires someone who definitely has their sh*t together.

While for some the slashie lifestyle conjures terrifying images of job instability and financial vulnerability, this kind of lifestyle can actually offer the complete opposite. Slashing is not just suited to young graduates looking for new and exciting experiences but can also benefit those who have suffered redundancy. A single occupation means single income, and when this is suddenly taken away, it can quickly lead to all manner of financial hardship. Now imagine this situation as a Slashie, while one job closes its doors on you, you already have another on the go to fall back on.

Through being a Slashie, your job satisfaction and enjoyment can be at an all-time high, even those who adore their job sometimes wish they could go back to bed, and we all need time away from even the greatest occupations. These day most of us have a fairly low boredom threshold, but there’s nothing to say that this should be considered a weakness. The desire to be regularly stimulated and inspired is something that should be interpreted as ‘up for a challenge’ rather than ‘rapidly disinterested’.

So, is the lifestyle of the Slashie actually just pipedream, millennial bollocks or is it something that could really work? Let’s face it, a struggling single father of three isn’t likely to be able to just up and leave his nine to five to embrace the life of a gymnast. However, the key to the slashie lifestyle as the future of work seems reliant on persuasion by majority, so that one day that struggling father of three, may actually be able to slip into that leotard and master his back flips.  

The more of us embracing the slashie lifestyle, the more frequently employers will encounter applicants who choose to follow this emerging philosophy. Part time work needs to be viewed as a side hustle, rather than the only way to make ends meet. While to most of us the advantage of being a slashie blatantly outweighs the drawback, the only way to truly see the integration of slahies into our world of work, is to be one ourselves. So, what are you waiting for, Slashie?

Look ahead to the SPARKies 2019: The People’s Choice Award

Every year, the who’s who of the South West UK start-up scene descend on the SPARKies awards. With a wealth of talent and buckets of investment heading to the region each year, it’s a great chance to showcase what’s going on in one of the most tech rich corners of the country.

This year, we’re delighted to be up for the People’s Choice Award – an award introduced in 2016 and designed to give you the chance to crown one plucky start-up who revs your engine.

We take a look at previous nominees as well as eye up the competition this year. And, ahem, if you do want to vote for us (or any of the other nominated companies), you can do so here.

Previous nominees of the SPARKies People’s Choice Award include:

Gapsquare

Shining a scientific light on inequality, Gapsquare uses data analytics for good. With increasing scrutiny on transparency when it comes to pay in gender and other sources of inbalance, Gapsquare’s tech helps companies not only comply, but to improve their internal standards.

Open Bionics

There are a few companies that make you feel a bit silly sometimes. Open Bionics are one of them. Giving the gift of movement via their award winning prosthetics, they’ve undercut the market by around 30 times.

LettusGrow

LettusGrow are building the farms of the future. We’d never heard of Aeroponics, but apparently you can now grow plants from, well, the air. Their patented technology uses 95% less water than traditional agriculture.

Wriggle

We’re a bit biased, but our Bristol based food and drink buddies have made our list. Their chatty tone and user friendly app, make discovering the many many new eateries popping up in Bristol an absolute pleasure.


The 2019 Competition

Here are this year’s contenders. Here you can vote for your favourite.

limber

We haven’t found out who nominated us yet, but when we do, we owe them a drink. They said:

“I believe that limber has landed on a concept that could change employment forever, where the rights of employer and employee are considered equal and hard work is always appreciated.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

Bunk

Bunk is the rental app that empowers landlords and tenants with all the tools they need to rent, without letting agents.

From nomination: “The vast majority of students go through university without putting any thought to their credit history. This leads to a poor credit rating which can seriously restrict their quality of life without access to mainstream banking services (eg. a loan). After renting for years tenants find that their credit history is sub-optimal when they apply for a mortgage. Why don’t all those years of reliable rental payments count?

Open Bionics (again!)

Open Bionics turns disabilities into superpowers.

The Bristol-based bionics company is known globally for using 3D printing and 3D scanning, along with some clever software and design, to make advanced, affordable and accessible bionic limbs for amputees

SEIKK

‘For Adventures, By Adventures’. A shoppable magazine for active gentlemen.

From nomination: “What if an aspirational lifestyle magazine provided the retail experience of a department store and was uniquely tailored to each customer?

Virti

Improving performance for healthcare and beyond. From nomination: “Virti provides revolutionary training to medical professionals and students.

Virti is aiming to make medical training cheaper for all and help improve the performance of medical professionals worldwide. Virti has participated in several business accelerators including the NHS Innovation Accelerator, Boost VC and several others.”

Yellow Dog

The only intelligent predictive scheduling and orchestration platform for Hybrid and Multi-Cloud.

From nomination: “The technology developed satisfies a business need of access to digital resource, whilst meeting the environmental need of reducing waste and avoiding having to create more resource.

Epics

Build the ultimate collection of your favourite CS:GO players and teams on Epics.

From nomination: “Ever since this app first started, it’s done nothing but blow up. The engagement is insane and the user-driven feeling is outstanding! Everything that the app and team provide is incredible. The network around it is growing and growing and is absolutely welcoming; it now has over 250,000 users in just over a year. I’ve never felt more welcomed into a community.”


Our tip (other than us) – Open Bionics. Not great PR by us, but super hero prosthetics, c’mon!

See you there and good luck to everyone nominated for an award!

The final winner will be decided by the audience on the night of the SPARKies itself on Thursday 27 June at The Assembly Rooms, Bath (get your tickets here).

Cheers

I offered our team a 4 day week without a pay cut. The result was surprising.

The heartbeat of our company is the unapologetic questioning of the status quo in the workplace. Our app enables a growing generation of people who are no longer served by what you might call a traditional job. So, it’s natural (and important) that we apply the same rigour at limber HQ with the way we do things.

So, one sunny afternoon, I put the question to the team. It’s one that had been on my mind for a while – going back to my days as a tech lawyer. “What would you say if we moved to a 4 day working week (without any reduction in pay)”.

Many of us have read the reports from various trials of the 4 day week. The leading trial comes from a corporate in New Zealand who have reported a 20% uptick in productivity and increases in employee engagement since the policy was introduced. The movement has gathered enough pace that Labour’s shadow Chancellor (at the time of writing), John McDonnell, is reportedly looking into the 4 day week as a potential Labour policy, with some Unions giving it their backing.

The arguments for the 4 day week are principally that happy, healthy people are more productive and that if you give people an extra day off each week, they’re less likely to spend work time running errands or on their life admin. Staff recruitment and retention are ancillary benefits and cynics would say that it’s not bad for your brand generally to adopt pro-staff working practices. Finally, advocates would also say that there’s more indirect value in giving people extra time to pursue other things – the theory being that better rounded individuals make for more perceptive, balanced and resourceful employees. All of the above ignore the obvious potential societal benefits – mainly mental and physical wellbeing – which have far wider consequences beyond the workplace.

The main reason I asked the question was simply that the world has moved on. We’re all able to work faster than ever and deliver more work than we could even 5 years ago. The idea of set working hours blew up a long time ago, and I regularly ask my team to think or speak about work at unusual times of the day. Yet, the 5 day working week remains.

At limber, I want to encourage side hustles, which is why both our lead designer and head of operations now work 4 day weeks (although so far they’ve taken a pay cut to do so). I want us to be as efficient so that we can be and to live healthy, interesting and varied lives.

So, I posed the question, listened to some initial feedback, and then opened a slack channel to continue the debate and provide somewhere to throw evidence or reports. And then we took the weekend to think about it. I did some further research and returned the next week to gather further opinion. And that’s the bit that surprised me.

Georgina, who had recently gone to 4 days a week by choice said she didn’t want to force everyone else to do the same. She was happy with her decision and the corresponding pay cut. Mark told me he would get much less work done in 4 days and would work the 5th day anyway. Rory and Thom said the same saying that they preferred to take their flexibility throughout the week as the natural ebbs and flows allowed. Kiwani said she really enjoyed her extra day off and felt that if she was going to concentrate on her illustration, it wasn’t fair if others were inevitably working.

So, what did I learn from this? Well, flexibility is a very personal thing. We sometimes over state it: “All people want flexibility”. “Everyone wants variety”. We believe those to be trends, but statements like that are too blunt an instrument – not everyone wants those things. And, not everyone who wants those things wants it in the same way. So, in truth, there is no one size fits all approach. We cannot legislate for this (as Unions might want), we have to sympathetically consider everyone’s position. For those who need structure to push through and be effective, but then want to be left alone, we must continue to respect the 9-5pm working week. If we force those people into a new mould, we solve one problem, but create another.

If your best moments are at strange times of the day, we must work harder to understand that, and relax the rules at other times.

As ever, the key for me remains collaboration – we still need to be able to work together effectively, which means an element of compromise from everyone.

As a final note, I was humbled and impressed with my team’s integrity. They were offered a way to work less for the same pay and they turned it down – for the good of the team and what we’re trying to achieve. I need to make sure they’re rewarded with their own way of working and space to do things the way that works for them.

Top 10 Benefits to being a limberer

You’re multi-talented. Whether you’re a bad-ass bartender with some flair in the kitchen or a pukka pastry chef who knows their way around a coffee machine, we believe that you deserve variety by right.

Don’t get us wrong, if you’re looking for a career in hospitality, maybe full time, ladder climbing, experience gaining work might be right for you.

However, if you’re looking for another path, then limber enables you to build your perfect rota in as many venues as you like; then take time off whenever you want it.  

You just agree your shifts and your hourly rates with your clients and then send them for sign off. All your payments, pension and ratings will be handled in one, easy to access place. You won’t even need to deal with tax.

Top 10 Benefits to being a limberer

  1. Set your own rate of pay
  2. Create your own awesome online CV and video profile
  3. Work across multiple venues and roles
  4. Receive all your earnings in one weekly payslip
  5. Save into a pension and manage tax easily
  6. Build your own reputation through ratings to increase your earning potential
  7. Take time off whenever you want – surf, yoga, side hustles, families – spend more time on the things you love the most
  8. Find new workmates by joining limber teams
  9. Rate your employer and contribute to the community
  10. Be your own boss

How to get started as a limberer

First, build your own profile. Add all your experience; get endorsed by your old bosses and add an awesome video to it. You can then share it at the touch of a button with whoever you like.

Once you get rota’d on, just send all your shifts to your contacts for their approval.  Once the shift is over, you each rate each other and the app deals with payroll. The venue will then be able to post shifts in the future and invite you; or you can send more shifts their way for approval.

As limber grows in your local area, more and more hirers will start using the app. Then, you’ll be able to respond to shifts they post and use your profile to make new connections.

Get started today and build your first shift towards a more empowering way of working.

5 ways we try not to work rigid and live limber

It’s important to any company that it lives and breathes its own brand. After all, if you don’t, how do you expect your customers to follow suit?

We’re a young company. And we definitely don’t to this perfectly – a few of us have worked at some pretty big organisations and learnt some pretty bad habits (and a few good) along the way. But at limber, we believe that to be truly happy, we need to be able to choose the when, where and what of work.

So here are 5 things we try and do to apply flexibility and variety to our own working lives:

1. Move GB membership

Everyone at limber HQ gets Move GB membership as a standard offering. Why Move GB over any other corporate gym membership? The brand synergies. Move GB empowers you to work out at different times and locations in your city – and what better way to compliment living limber than being able to become flexible more flexibly.

2. Using our product!

Everyone at limber has their own profile on the app. We all have our own video profiles too. And we all work shifts. It helps us understand what our users experience every time they use the app. There are no limits to this – and we obviously pay HQ staff whenever they work a shift – even if they’d otherwise be in the office.

So look out the next time you’re having a coffee – you might spot one of us mastering our latte art.

3. Varied work

Everyone at limber works on our customer service platform. Everyone at limber creates content. I like to think that anyone at limber can get involved in area of the business they like. But, let’s face it, when your team is 6 people, variety of work is not hard to come by. I’ll be interested to know how we cope with this as we scale.

4. Side hustles encouraged

I would love to think that in a year’s time, someone might come to me and say: “I’ve got to leave. My website is kicking off and I want to go full time on it” or “I’ve had an awesome idea. I want 3 months off to go see if I can get it going”. As far as I’m concerned, if we attract creative and talented people, this is inevitable.

To that end, here’s Thom’s side hustle. Born out of his love for 4 legged creatures. And here’s Kiwani’s awesome Art Project – check it out on insta.

5. Flexible working

OK. So this is an area that we haven’t yet nailed. We have core hours (10am-4pm). We can work from home or a cafe or wherever. We can go for a run or the gym whenever we want during the day.

Are we at the stage where we can support full remote working? I’m not sure, we haven’t had to try yet. Can we support those who want to work from 6pm to 2am instead of during the day? I doubt it. Collaboration remains key to us and we haven’t yet had to do that from afar. Everyone is (so far) happy to have a base for work and to be in the same room creating our products and solving our customers’ problems. And ultimately, that remains our priority.

We’ve got a long way to go. I want us to be working more shifts on limber. I want us to have greater levels of freedom.

As we continue to embrace the idea of living limber not working rigid, I hope we’ll find new balance and comfort in a less certain, more empowering way of living our work life.

For now, I’m off for a run.

Chris