Work life balance: thanks to the technology that supports it
With the turn of another year, we have been reflecting on how life has changed for EmployEase over the 16 years we have been in business.
When we set up EmployEase we were two single women living in London with an office in a shared workspace in King’s Cross.
We had two state of the art Macintosh computers (not the beautiful Macs you get these days) and access to a fax machine. We could divert our phone to reception when in meetings and our messages where given to us on a post it note, often lacking in details. “Your client called please call them back urgently”: no phone number). Our letters and documents were sent by post. When we had to work to tight deadlines, we used the fax or very occasionally borrowed email access from the office next door.
In 2003, we won a case on behalf of a client, a London web design company, who was being sued by an employee who had decided to relocate to Birmingham after the birth of her first child and work from home. Seven years ago, this suggestion sounded like outright lunacy.
We could not have guessed at the time that not many years later, Amanda would be living and working in Scotland, having got remarried and gained a gang of step sons in the process and I would be working between London and the Home Counties with two delightful children of my own.
Since that case in 2003, mentalities have changed and technology enables us to almost seamlessly work from wherever we are, whenever we need to. Amanda and I phone, text or Skype an awful lot every day. Our team of faithful secretaries are based in Wales and they patch our calls or send our messages to our mobiles or home phones wherever we are. Our fax number is a fax to email. I still don’t know how that works…
We meet our clients in our London or Dalgety Bay offices when required but most of them are as happy dealing with us on the telephone.
Often, our clients or opponents do not know that we are not necessarily in London and I expect they imagine us being part of a large team working from our Chancery Lane address. However, when working from home with a three and six year old about, you are sometimes going to be caught out. Having been interrupted once in a serious conversation by my daughter informing me that she had done a poo, I now make a point of warning the person I am going to talk to that there may be kids’ noise in the background and give them the option between calling them back later or getting on with the work. They always prefer the second option.
For Amanda, making very regular trips to London lets her catch up with clients face to face and see family and friends.
It is hard to imagine now how we managed to work efficiently before the advent of all the technology that we now have to hand. What is a lot more difficult is to imagine just where the growth of technology will take us all next.
Wishing all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.