"My clients are global so I operate across different time zones.
The flexibility of homeworking allows me to deliver the best possible service to my clients. I could work from anywhere, but the Black Isle is a fantastic place to live and I love the lifestyle."
A common misconception about homeworking is that it is not suitable for people working in managerial roles or for international businesses. Stewart Lackie, a Senior Facilities Manager with international account management responsibilities, not only defies stereotypes, he offers unique insights into how to maintain a high-flying global career while enjoying the benefits of living and working in a picturesque village in the Highlands of Scotland.
He is Senior Facilities Manager for Key Facilities Management International which provides consulting, outsourced management services, project management and interim management services to multinational clients across 19 countries within Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. Stewart has operational management responsibilities across all these locations and does so from his home office base.
"My clients are global so I operate across different time zones and different working weeks. The flexibility of homeworking allows me to deliver the best possible service to my clients. I could work from anywhere in the world but the Black Isle is a fantastic place to live, I love the lifestyle,” he says.
Working from home is a complete contrast to Stewart’s previous working life in London which included a high profile role as facilities manager responsible for the smooth operations of number 10 Downing Street as well as numbers 11 and 12. “Running number 10 was an amazing job, but my then partner, now wife, and I were looking for a better quality of life and that drew us to the Highlands and Islands,” he says.
He predominantly works from home, spending up to 70% of his time there but his job also involves regular international travel for meetings with clients and colleagues and site visits in destinations including Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates. “It’s easy to get to Inverness Airport where I can fly to London and Schiphol and catch onward connections,” he says.
“Skype, video-conferencing and cloud-based technology for sharing files and storing data make homeworking efficient, professional and reliable”, says Stewart, “as long as you have high-speed broadband and fast internet connections. Skype is fantastic and it’s free. We regularly do virtual meetings with up to 20 people in different countries and we’ve even done staff recruitment interviews on Skype. The majority of our regional staff work this way – our work is task-based, so we can easily work independently and remotely at times that are convenient to us and our clients.”
He doesn’t find working alone a problem either. “I’m a sociable person and I was aware of the potential to feel isolated but that really hasn’t been the case. I talk to so many people on a daily basis and I don’t feel trapped in one place when I work from home. If I want a change of scene, I just take my laptop and work from my local hotel or coffee shop using wifi. I consider myself a flexible worker rather than a homeworker. "
“It’s the way of the future – a business model which we’ve already adapted to provide services for our clients. There are so many benefits to working his way. Choosing the kind of lifestyle you want and flexibility are the top attractions. Reducing carbon footprint is another – for you and your employer. I can be at my desk immediately and get on with work in my chosen time without any commuting costs or hassle – it’s about getting results, not clocking in. A lot of our clients have people working in a similar fashion.”
STEWART’S TOP TIPS ON HOMEWORKING: