Flexible working doesn't mean working less

Posting date:10 Jun 2019

Zeeshan Tayyeb has spent almost two decades working as a Finance Director, CFO and COO for both multi-million pound corporate and start-up organisations. Having transitioned between established and disruptive companies for some time, he discusses finding his happy medium within Private Equity and how despite working longer hours, he found greater job satisfaction working in a start-up.

At one start-up, I worked close to 100 hours a week but I had greater job satisfaction than I ever had working less hours within a corporate.

If the overall workforce are excited about the business, they are able to overcome any challenge.

Even if the business lacks resources or expertise, if the top teams or the overall workforce are excited about the business, they are able to overcome any challenge. For me, it was not just the fact that I was very much personally interested in those businesses or that I got along with the founders it was the flexible environment that allowed me to work from home, on the move or away on holiday. Because of this flexibility and trust, if I was out for dinner and needed to speak to a supplier in New York or China I was happy to do so because I was equally as excited and invested in the idea as the founders.

People do expect start-ups to be flexible, they expect the technology to be up-to-scratch, for things to move fast but you do also need to know that sometimes you are the one who has to respond at midnight or take calls at 1am because a customer somewhere in the world wants a discount. You need the passion and excitement for this to be OK as if I worked in a corporate and this happened I would question the processes put in place as a corporate should have the resources to not have to rely just on me.

I was really interested and sold on the idea of the start-up. If you’re just working there because they need a finance person it’s unlikely that you will have that level of excitement and unlikely that you would want to work that many hours. Elon Musk isn’t the greatest example but if you look at his speeches, he talks about not sleeping at all because he is so excited by his business.


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