As Managing Director of a company that trades in the expertise of our people with a high level of site work, I am finding the experience of developing a culture of remote working to be exhilarating and, as with all journeys in to the unknown, challenging.
My experience is that there are real tangible benefits to remote and home working which include more focused work, consultants can be closer to clients and the ability to recruit the best people from all over the country.
Challenges arise mainly from loss of cohesion; remote communication requires much greater sensitivity and providing effective leadership to a remotely based team is, in my experience, much more complex than when everyone is located in one place. Most staff also express both positive and negative experiences of remote working.
Although this is not necessarily visible to our clients they receive extensive benefits resulting from our remote working structure. These include reduced costs and the ability to develop good working relationships with key consultants that are located close to them and their sites.
The systems that we have developed to ensure that we can efficiently deliver our high quality services include the use of tablet PCs (all of our consultants and surveyors receive our Work Anywhere Kit from day one of their employment – see photo below), development of our own tree management software MyTrees from which we can export maps and tree information immediately in a clear format and our staff’s ability to respond quickly and deliver from anywhere, be that on site, within meetings or whilst travelling.
Image of company Work Anywhere Kit
The cost savings that drove our initial decision to “drop the office” in the recession, start to be eroded as we develop systems and activities intended to bridge the gaps created by the loss of regular contact. When remote working is not driven by the need to reduce costs, there are great opportunities to develop really innovative ways of working together. The technology to support this way of working is constantly improving.
We are on the journey and I find it really exciting.
Luke Fay, MD