About Simon Perks

Writer, trail runner, hill walker, astronomer, kayaker, paddleboarder, photographer, nerd, tea drinker, lover of the sea, labrador wrangler

Hang on in there

I was going to write about how to work remotely or from home. After all, I’ve been doing it for more than a decade. But hundreds of people have beaten me to it. So you don’t need my advice about creating a work ‘zone’, managing your routine or making sure you stay in touch. Which is probably for the best, because it all somewhat misses the point. Continue reading

Taking a tick-box approach

Space shuttle commanders use them. Airline pilots use them. Lifeboat crew members use them. And I use them. They are the backbone of a well-organised operation. And if you’re not already making use of them, you should start to do so right now. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the checklist. Continue reading

A tough year ahead for local government finance

It’s going to be another tough year for local government finances, with virtually all local authorities planning to increase council tax, one in ten councils warning that they may not be able to meet their statutory obligations and confidence in the sustainability of local government finance remaining low. Continue reading

Don’t set goals, create habits

The new year is traditionally the time when we set goals for ourselves. Things we want to achieve. Skills we want to develop. Aspects of ourselves that we want to improve. And a couple of weeks into the new year is traditionally the time when we realise the wheels have already come off and we’re stuck with being who we are. So why not try something different? Instead of setting goals, create habits. Continue reading

Making family leave more family friendly

It’s no secret that juggling a family and a career is far from easy. But early-career academic researchers hoping to start a family have it harder than most. Fixed-term contracts, less-than-sympathetic funders and the need to stay ‘in the game’ make family leave a nervous time. But there are ways to make it work.

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The UK Research Staff Association recently undertook a survey of researchers on fixed-term contracts, to explore their experiences of taking family leave.

I then worked with the UKRSA – on a pro bono basis – to analyse the results of the survey.

This allowed us to identify how researchers can get the most from their family leave, without feeling that they’re sacrificing their career.

We were also able to determine some simple steps that employers can take to manage researchers’ family leave in a supportive way.

We’ve summarised the findings from our work in a short ‘top tips’ guide for researchers and their employers. You can download your free copy here or find the guide on the UKRSA website.

I’m always keen to use my skills to help with projects like this, which make a real difference to people in the sectors in which I work. If you have a project that you think I might be able to help with, please do feel free to drop me a line.