Life at Desana

How the Desana team uses flexible working

July 6, 2023

From running a side hustle to spending a month in Lisbon, here's how the Desana team make the most of flexible working

Unsurprisingly, we're big fans of flexible working at Desana. We're a remote-first team and everyone at Desana has access to our app to book workspace whenever they need it. If you want to work from home, great. If you want to work from an office, great. The choice is completely up to you.

But there's more. Flexible working at Desana also includes a certain flexibility over hours and (for some of the team) part-time work. Say goodbye to having to waste your holiday on dentist appointments.

That's what flexible working at Desana means - but what does it actually look like to our team and how does it make a difference to their lives?

To find out, we talked to different members of the team to discover the many different things that flexible working has allowed them to do. Their answers covered more things than we had even dreamed of and showed that flexible working is as varied as the people using it.

Here's what they said.

Name: Holly
Role: Account Manager
Main types of flexible working they use: WFH, Working Remotely, Desana app
Main ways they’ve used flexible working: To dog sit and to spend a month working in Lisbon
What they said about it:

“Being able to work from home but also work from spaces that accept dogs has been really really useful to me. That’s really good for my mental health; being able to hang out with dogs makes me so happy.

“Lisbon was maybe the best month of my life. I would encourage anyone to do it if they can. I think something like that will hopefully become more common.

“If you are thinking of relocating it’s a great opportunity to give it a test to see if it’s something you could see yourself doing.

“It’s only four weeks but you get the experience of actually living and working in another country; pretending to live there is the best way of putting it. If I ever was to move to Portugal, I know that I would enjoy the lifestyle and the quality of life. So if you were thinking of relocating it would be a great opportunity to give it a test to see if it’s something you could see yourself doing.”

Name: Carla
Role: People Operations
Types of flexible working they use: Part-time, Flexible Hours, Desana app
Main ways they’ve used flexible working: To grow her own consultancy business
What they said about it:

“One of the things I found really difficult when I was working in an office and having to work 9 till 5 - which, when you factor in travel time, is kind of a 7 till 7 - is that I never got the time to work on my business. There were a lot of late nights involved whereas now I have the flexibility to have set days where I work on my business. If I have a call I'll factor it in for lunch time which is also really flexible.

“There’s not many companies where that’s OK. I’ll get asked how my business is doing and I'm not used to that. I’m used to ‘You can’t have a side hustle.’”

Name: Paul
Role: Head of Industry Partnerships (EMEA)
Types of flexible working they use: Working Remotely, Flexible Hours, Desana app
Main ways they’ve used flexible working: To be around for when his children need him and to work on the go

What they said about it:

“I’m exceptionally nomadic and have been for some time. Desana’s just been the enabler to allow me to actually do it effectively.

“Being able to work from anywhere, being able to come back from the school run and then get my hours powered in - it's empowering.

“I just work where I need to be, whether close to a client, close to a meeting or just somewhere I happen to be. Before I had to ring up and call in favours - now I can just go on the app and I’m not worried about calling in a favour or taking the mickey. It dovetails with how I've worked for the last five years perfectly.”

Name: Stefi
Role: Global Workspace Partnerships Executive
Types of flexible working they use: Working Remotely, Desana app
Main ways they’ve used flexible working: To travel to different countries and visit family abroad
What they said about it:

“I have been traveling around Europe quite a lot over the past year. No matter where I travel to, I know that I’m going to have access to a professional co-working space with a strong internet connection, thanks to Desana. I can even go to visit my mom and it won’t affect my work schedule.

“This company has had a massive impact on my number one priority which is mental health. I think back to how stressed I was prior to working at Desana. I used to panic about not being able to go and visit my parents if there was ever an emergency and I was all out of holiday. But now I have peace of mind. I know that I can fly home and be with my family if I need to while also fulfilling my work responsibilities.

“Also, say you’re not from the UK or you have a partner who isn’t British, you tend to use your holidays up either visiting them or your family. Whereas now I can actually use my holidays as actual holiday time! I can actually switch off properly or travel somewhere nice.”

Name: Stephen
Role: Head of Compliance and Cybersecurity
Types of flexible working they use: Part-time, WFH, Flexible Hours, Desana app
Main ways they’ve used flexible working: To work part time as an ICU nurse and to be around for his children
What they said about it:

“I was a part-time ICU nurse before joining Desana. I wanted to not lose that because it means a lot to me and Desana worked with me to find a good balance so that I could do both roles effectively.

"The nature of working as an ICU nurse in the hospital is that it's shift work and based on a rota - it can be flexible but it can also be pretty rigid at times too. So the great flexibility that I have at Desana is that I can adjust the days that I work.

"I feel like I've got much better balance, much more control over what I'm doing and where I am. So if there are certain days where there are a lot of things going on at home and the kids have Taekwondo, swimming and football then I can do my day in a different way while working from home. I have the ability to rush off and be a taxi for my kids.

“When I asked my eldest son about my working from home he said that he likes it because he gets to see me more when I’m working from home and that he also likes when I go and work from a Desana space because then I’m not always asking him to be quiet because I’m on a call.

"I think what’s really interesting is that he recognises the value of flexible working and his generation are going to take an expectation and desire for flexibility into the workplace. It really serves to underline the changing world of work and the options employers will need to offer going forward to attract the best talent, particularly from the generations to come.”