Have you ever considered whether your office, the physical evidence of your “success,” could actually be killing your business?
After 10 years of having a buzzing team around me, I recently sent every single one of my employees home and closed the physical office doors forever.
Why? We went remote.
I’d heard about remote working many times before — many of my entrepreneurial friends have been doing it for years.
But I had a whole bunch of preconceptions, fears and concerns about all of the different reasons why remote working wouldn’t work for my business.
I could see how it would work for IT businesses or graphic design companies, but not a company like mine. We deliver training and education and write training programs for an array of industries that involve numerous skill sets, collaboration and resources.
- We need meetings and brainstorming spaces.
- We need a training room to run courses.
- We need all of the departments to be communicating face to face.
- I NEED to supervise it all!
My excuses and fears were endless.
After a short trial, the benefits annihilated all of my negative preconceptions. Now, like thousands of other modern businesses, we all work from wherever there’s an internet connection — and it works.
I believe that only construction or manufacturing type businesses (where something is being built in-situ) cannot be completely remote. Most other businesses could be perfectly efficient — if not more so — with an entirely remote workforce.
Sending my entire workforce home is the best thing I’ve ever done (from my point of view and from theirs). Here are seven reasons why:
1. Work Doesn’t Happen At Work
If I asked you, or any of your staff, “Where and when are you most productive work-wise?” I’d put money on the answers NOT being “At the office.”
Offices are big fat distraction machines.
Many business owners fear that productivity and work output will drop or that staff will slack-off without being supervised. If you can’t trust them to work independently, then why did you hire them? How often are you really staring over their shoulder anyway?
Working remotely required us to set up a collaborative platform where everyone’s tasks are shared in one single location. Everyone knows what their tasks are, what their deadlines are, how their colleagues are contributing and the progress status — from wherever they prefer to work.
2. Nobody Likes Being A Prisoner
When I had a physical office, days off were very rare occurrences. Yet ironically freedom was one of the reasons I’d started a business in the first place. Sound familiar?
When it feels like you can’t get away from something, you’re trapped.
More often than not, it’s easier for staff to “throw a sickie” or construct an elaborate disaster instead of request to leave work early for that doctors appointment.
Why? Because it’s tough to get a day-release card out of prison.
Did you hire your staff because they’re talented professionals or because you wanted good prisoners? For us, removing the walls has created a much more open and honest workplace, where people feel trusted and empowered — not trapped and controlled.
3. Board Rooms are Over-Rated
“But how will we all communicate?”
“How will I know what’s going on?”
I was convinced that effective collaboration and communication required face-to-face interaction. I look back and question how often we really did all get together to plan, discuss and collaborate when we had an office — it’s not as much as I thought.
Being remote seems to have put a much higher value on getting-together time, and as a result meetings are much more informative, efficient and proactive.
4. Productivity Doesn’t Work 9-to-5
Employees are people, not machines. They don’t switch on at 9 a.m. and switch off at 5 p.m. Sometimes we’re in the zone, and sometimes we’re not. Fact.
Going remote has allowed my staff with kids to fit in their work hours around school pick-ups, and my night-owls to be productive without having to pull 16-hour days.
It has allowed the ones who are only-in-the-zone-when-they’re-in-the-zone to make the most of it when they’re on fire and without me having to pay them when they’re not.
It’s now about the results they produce, not what time they get to the office.
Allowing everyone to manage their workloads and complete their roles how and WHEN they want has increased our operations and productivity.
5. Your Signature Stops Work
“It’s been on your desk awaiting your signature for a week.”
I was the bottleneck of my business — the very barrier causing a slowdown of productivity instead of the one speeding it up.
Breaking free from a physical office has required me to take everything out of my brain and write a process for it. The instructions for every task — the How-To Guide for everything our company does — has been removed from my head and made available to my team.
This has liberated me from being the bottleneck of the company and has liberated my staff from being dependent on me.
6. Expenses Reduce Profits
How much do you pay for your office and all of the additional expenses that go with it?
Whether it’s $200 or $20,000 a week, I’d say from my experience of going remote that it’s money that could be saved as profit or spent much more effectively elsewhere.
Having an office gave me pride. I liked looking around at all of my stuff and thinking how clever I was to have attained such a pile of “assets” — but the pressing need to be so busy came from having to pay for it all.
Remove the expenses, tasks and problems that come with having a physical space, and you’ll be amazed at what you have spare to grow your business.
7. Offices Block the Birds-Eye-View
Something about being in the office always put me in reactor mode.
- Fighting fires
- Talking to staff
- Answering “quick” phone calls
All of this often threw my proactivity straight down the proverbial toilet.
Going remote forced me to set up a platform where I can see everything I need to see from a birds-eye view — allowing me to delegate much more effectively, to have an at-a-glance snap-shot of each employee’s workload. Importantly, it has enabled me to lead my business instead of manage the daily operations.
I’m not saying that going remote is the best move for everyone, but its benefits have far outweighed its cons for me. Even if only a portion of your team went remote, how might it change your business?