The power of being present

One reason we outperform other research organisations is that everyone turns up for work, which makes us more creative, agile and aligned.

Unlike many research centres, we expect our scientists and staff to be present during business hours. We even spell it out: show up from 8am to 5pm, or 9am to 6pm, or 10am to 7pm. Here’s why this is important.

First, we’re in the business of making discoveries. New ideas are fragile, and they often come from unexpected interactions with others.

Second, showing up makes organisations more intelligent, because it lets workers switch between focus and interaction in an unplanned way. This helps us adapt quickly to new ideas or a changing environment.

Third is the propinquity effect, which is the innate tendency to be more committed to those you are physically close to. Being present automatically binds together and aligns members of a team.

Fourth, research has no hard deadlines, unlike the commercial world, where you may have to work late or on weekends. In lieu of these bursts, we ask for consistent commitment.

Some people will have different ideas about balancing work and life. Other organisations might better suit their needs. But we aim to be the Ferrari of research centres, so we seek extraordinary motivation.