How flexible are home-based jobs?
It’s the dream of many office-based employees – wake up late and have a leisurely breakfast, before logging on to do some work in your pyjamas. But is this a true picture of working from home? We asked some of our home-based candidates, and one of our expert consultants: just how flexible are home-based life science jobs?
“Candidates increasingly expect flexibility, with the most common request being one or two days working from home,” says Nick Boyle, PVG Staffing Specialist at Hobson Prior. “But although home-based roles let you decide where you work, the flexibility of when you work can vary.”
Some companies may expect you to work the normal nine to five when not in the office; others may have less conventional arrangements, such as:
- Flexitime – employees to choose their start and finish times, usually based around ‘core’ hours (e.g. 10am to 3pm)
- Compressed hours – employees work a full week’s worth of hours, but over fewer days (e.g. 37.5 hours over 3 days)
- Annual hours – employees agree to work a set number of hours in a year, but have varying hours from week to week
- Overseas hours – some employees may work to another country’s hours in order to communicate with colleagues and clients abroad
“The hours you work at home really depend on the company and its culture,” says Nick. “In my experience, small agile businesses tend to be the most flexible with time. Home-working is also common at CROs, but you may have to work longer hours at these companies.”
What our home-based candidates said
We asked a number of our candidates to tell us about their experience of working from home (all names have been changed to protect their privacy).
Sarah, Medical Information Officer at a biopharmaceutical company in Essex
Works from home two days per week
“I get to start my day whenever I want really! I choose which days I’ll work a few months in advance – other than that, as long as I log 7-8 hours, it doesn’t matter what time I start or finish. I get more done at home, because there are no distractions. That said, I think being in the office offers better progression opportunities.”
Philip, Medical Information Officer at a pharmaceutical company in Scotland
Works from home five days a week
“My hours aren’t flexible at all – I work from 8am to 4.30pm every day, with an hour for lunch. I don’t mind the lack of flexibility though; it allows me to be an active communicator with my colleagues. It’s hard to say whether I prefer home-based or office-based roles; I think it greatly depends on the company.”
Amy, Quality Manager at a CRO in Leicestershire
Works from home two days per week
“I’m a people person, so I miss the office atmosphere when I’m working from home. Unfortunately, it’s just not realistic for me to commute every day. I work from home around two days a week, although it varies depending on meetings. My hours at home are typically longer – I work in the time I would have spent commuting.”
It’s clear that home-based roles vary greatly in the flexibility they allow – ranging from strict nine-to-five structures, to full freedom of choice. Nick advises candidates to always agree the terms of flexible working before taking a job offer, as it’s much harder to negotiate these after starting in the role.
If you’ve got questions about flexible working or working from home, get in touch with one of our consultants for an informal chat. Alternatively, you can browse our home-based life science jobs here.