by Anna Chambers, PR & Social Media Manager
When I first started working at Perceptive, and told people that I often work from home, I got all sorts of reactions. They ranged from envy (“you’re so lucky!”) to disbelief (“how do you get anything done? I’d be too tempted to just put a washing on!”) to misunderstanding (“I couldn’t work from home – I’d feel too isolated.”).
As I converted a spare room in my house into an office in preparation for starting my new job, I couldn’t help feeling a little nervous. What if I do feel lonely? What if I do find it hard to focus? However, I’ve been working at home for the past 18 months now and it turns out I had nothing to worry about. I don’t feel in the least isolated – if I need to bounce an idea off someone, my colleagues are always there at the other end of the phone or on Google Chat. At least two or three days every week I have a meeting with a client, so it’s never just me on my own in the house all week. And I am most definitely far too busy to do any housework!
The opportunity for home working was a major reason that our MD Julie McLauchlan was a finalist in this year’s Institute of Directors awards in the family friendly working category. Without a doubt, the best thing about being home-based is the extra time I can spend with my children. Although my children are never in the house while I’m actually working, my daughter is in Primary 2 and her little brother has just started school nursery, so I can drop them off in the morning and still be at my desk for 9am. Mornings in our house are now a much calmer and more relaxed affair. I didn’t realise how much stress commuting caused until I stopped doing it! Since starting at Perceptive I have also found time and energy to exercise again – which had been another casualty of the daily commute.
I’ve also rarely been ill – probably because I don’t have colleagues feeling under pressure to come into work when they’re sick and passing on their bugs to the whole office. And if I do have a cough or cold I can sneeze away to my heart’s content without feeling bad about infecting anyone else.
As you can probably tell I’m a complete convert to home working and don’t understand why more companies don’t do it. If they are worried about loss of productivity, this is another misconception – if you have an employee that you trust and who is self-motivated, the chances are they will be more productive at home.
In fact, evidence suggests that home workers are actually more likely to devote more time to their work, which makes complete sense to me. When there’s a deadline to be met, as there inevitably is from time to time in any job, a little extra work from the comfort of your own home once the kids are in bed hardly feels like work at all when compared to being the last one out of the office on a cold dark night, with a long drive home still ahead of you.
Our plan is that Perceptive will soon have an office in Glasgow. We’ll use this as a hub which will be particularly good for getting the whole team together to share ideas and build our culture a few days a week and we will still be home-based for the rest of the time – so hopefully this will be the best of both worlds.