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The case for remote working

As part of his series of blogs based on business management themes and how they relate to Time Technology, Peter Skeffington talks about remote working.

This recent Washington Post article talks about the trends driving the new age of collaboration and the implications on our workplaces. With one of the major trends being the rise of remote working I decided to write this blog about how, and why, Time Technology have embraced remote working as part of our culture. 

In this modern era, there is no doubt in my mind that providing flexibility to your workforce in their work patterns and location is critical to keeping a happy and productive team. Consequently, a few years ago I abandoned the idea of tying our employees to an office location five days a week. All of our team now works primarily from home, using technology to communicate and collaborate on a daily basis, physically getting together as and when it makes sense. I personally live in the USA where I am focused on growing the business stateside while working with the UK team on-line each day. This flexible approach enables us all to balance our personal obligations with our business commitments, whether it be picking the kids up from school, attending a doctor’s appointment or simply getting in some regular exercise. With the right communication, we can fulfil these personal requirements, albeit maybe starting early or finishing a little later in the day.

Of course, in order to support this kind of flexibility, we needed to ensure that solid business processes are in place and the use of the right sort of technology is maximised to ensure that the team can collaborate and deliver, effectively and efficiently. As a Salesforce partner, Time Technology has already implemented a customised version of Sales Cloud to support our sales and delivery processes and we will be implementing Service Cloud in a few months’ time to support our managed service processes. How we have applied this technology will be the subject of a future blog, but suffice to say that our ability to leverage workflow and collaboration capabilities, along with the customer centric view of information, Salesforce is supporting the transformation of our business and how we work together.

I am not saying that physically getting together is wrong, far from it. At Time Technology we often need to get face to face with our customers in order to execute on certain activities, and our project teams may want to get together from time to time to be fully effective. We also hold regular company ‘collaboration’ days where the whole team assembles to work together in tackling the business challenges that we are facing.

However, I still come across work environments where measurement of employee productivity and commitment appears to be driven by how many hours people spend in the office. Apart from being flawed as a measure, this approach very probably results in employee dissatisfaction and, consequently, high turnover. This strikes me as pretty backward thinking in this day and age, and you have to believe that these businesses will simply not remain competitive in the years to come.

Consequently, some business leaders are starting to question the amount of time that their employees are spending in an office environment. At the very least we are hearing about more of the ’working from home Friday’ models. The sooner we start seeing the time we ask our employees to spend in the office as an investment for a specific purpose, and not as a basic measure of work, the sooner we will start to really understand how to drive employee productivity and satisfaction.

I am proud that Time Technology operates a largely remote working model. This works really well for us and I believe I have a more productive, happier and more committed team as a result.

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