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Joe Newman

Choose the career and lifestyle you want in our region.

Working from home in the Highlands and Islands

South Uist in the Outer Hebrides is certainly a long way from the Square Mile, the financial heart of the City of London, which is where Joe Newman began his career in pensions back in 2007. All the same South Uist is where Joe now finds himself running projects for the pension industry on a daily basis.

“I was in London for about ten years,” recalls Joe. “And then I decided on a change of lifestyle and went to live in Canada and travel. By the time I came back to the UK, I decided on a summer in the Outer Hebrides. I have family here and knew what a wonderful place it would be to spend the summer months. I was considering setting up my own business at the time, and I thought why not do it from here!”

Thirty four year old Joe was born in Oban, but his family moved south when he was young. However, they continued to holiday in the West Highlands and Outer Hebrides so links with the islands remained strong. 

“I set up my own business, Eaval Pension Consulting, in September 2018.” explains Joe. “I really love living here, but understand it can seem quite far away from many of the clients I’m working with. However, the feedback I have received so far has been very positive. The business is still in its infancy but I’m pleased with how it has gone so far, and look forward to it continuing as well as it has started.”

“I met up with an old employer recently who suggested that they might ‘consider taking me back full time but still working from home on South Uist’. I think that this shows how employers are starting to consider different ways of employee flexibility in terms of the working environment. However, I’m committed to my own business now, and look forward to continuing to prove that working from the Outer Hebrides is possible if you want to make it happen.”

 

 

 

 

 

I’m committed to my own business now, and look forward to continuing to prove that working from the Outer Hebrides is possible if you want to make it happen.
Joe Newman, Director, Eaval Pension Consulting Limited

Benefits of remote working

With his first year running his own business almost complete, we asked Joe to reflect a little bit more on how his experience of working from home has been.

Can you tell us a bit more about the kind of work you do?

Whilst in London I’d worked for an independent trustee and a specialist pension insurer where my main roles were as a project manager. So now, with my own business, I’m essentially managing specific projects related to pension schemes. As companies and organisations increasingly look to reduce their pension liabilities, there are a lot of standalone exercises that need to be completed, so there is a place in the market for specialist project management – and that’s what I offer. 

Can you do all this work from your home on South Uist?

I generally find it good practice to travel at the beginning of projects so that I can fully understand the intricacies of the project and meet the stakeholders.  However, following this initial period, the need to travel can vary based on the type of work being completed. For example, on one project I was going to London twice a month for a few days and then this moved to one week a month, with three weeks working at home. Travelling for some meetings will always be a necessity, and it’s important to have some face time with clients, but I don’t feel being full-time in an office is required for the job I do. In terms of the service I offer, I think most people understand that it’s something that can be managed from wherever you are and it saves them having to create a space in the office for me.

So you’d say working from home has been good for you so far?

It’s certainly much more flexible for me and I think it’s more relaxing. A lot of the day-to-day stress is taken out of the job, particularly when you have been used to commuting in London. Being self-employed and with the work mostly being contract based then I have certain deliverables, but I can choose how they will be met. 

I also think it’s more productive. When you’re working for yourself, you are much more conscious of your output due to you caring much more about your reputation and ensuring that the client gets good value for money. You need to be professional and show to the client that they picked the right company to do the job. Ultimately, this results in you taking much more pride in what you do.

 

There’s also none of those meetings just for the sake of having meetings. When you are working from home you get left out of those, so you’re free to get on with the job. So yes, I’d say that I’m more productive and my work life balance has been improved.