There are a plethora of blogs and articles on the internet about working from home. Whether that’s occasionally or, from a home office. Self-employed, employed or consultant. This is my personal story of employing remote workers.
Some people think having their team working from home is great, others are much more sceptical. The one thing that comes up time and time again is productivity. People hand-wringing that their employees won’t be productive as they’ll be lured away by something interesting on the TV, cooking their dinner or even dusting (whatever dusting is!).
My question would be – is the work being done? If it is, does it matter if they’ve sloped off to watch Homes Under the Hammer (you can see what my guilty pleasure is). Does it matter when it was done if it was done well and the deadline was met?
I’ve called this the Productivity Myth, as that’s exactly what it is – a myth. When the right team is working together with the same shared vision, what happens? Productivity soars. It doesn’t matter if they are warming the seat in the swanky office or bent over their desk at home.
If you have a team member that’s going to sit back and not care, they’ll do that in your expensive office too. All that’s happening is you’re adding to your business cost and your blood pressure is rising to stratospheric levels trying to manage them.
How do I know that lack of productivity is a myth?
Because I have done both. Previously, all my team were based in that (expensive) office. Buses were ‘late’, lots of ‘headaches and tummy pains’ and I was paying for that. Not just in money, but in time, stress and frustration.
A little over two years ago, I saw the light and hired my first two home workers. They are still with me today. Today, every member of the team works from their home office. I keep a small serviced office in Norwich and I’m the only person that uses it.
What have been the pitfalls?
There is one pitfall and it’s probably not what you think it will be. It’s getting the right person. Our hiring process is long and in depth. Applicants think they want to work from home, and it will be great (or easy), but soon find out it’s neither. Some find the isolation hard.
Communication is better than when we were office-based. We have regular scheduled group Skype meetings and other Skype channels, including a water-cooler one and a Whale Done group (Whale Done by Kenneth H Blanchard) which is full of positivity and client praise.
We have the pick of very experienced people as we’re not limited by geography
Some of my colleagues are carers/have a chronic illness and are not limited by having to access the traditional office. They bring incredible knowledge and experience with them and are key to growing LiveLink.
The obvious, no expensive office costs
Happy colleagues – no sitting in traffic, no polluting the environment, no commute!
Would I go back to having an office-based team. Never – it wouldn’t enter my head.