Most businesses recognise the benefits of remote working, but how comfortable is your business with the idea of employees working from literally anywhere, not just their homes?
In an interesting blog for FastCompany, the CEO of water filter company Soma, Mike Del Pointe, described just such an experiment he conducted with his company. He realised that there were times when his teams needed to work together in the same space on collaborate projects, and times when individuals needed to concentrate on specific aspects of projects.
His solution was that once a quarter, his team could work from literally anywhere, from a local coffeehouse to an exotic location. In this “Work from Anywhere Week” (WFAW), his team could set their own hours, own working pattern and concentrate on specific projects. and Del Ponte hoped the change of environment and lack of interruptions would have very real business benefits.
"Creativity and productivity thrive in uninterrupted time, and I believe both can be supercharged by inspiring environments."
Flexible and Inspirational
The WFAW enabled his team to effectively design their own working day, optimising it for their own preferences for earlier starts or late finishes. They also enjoyed the freedom to work in unusual locations and draw inspiration from their surroundings, even when not working. Del Ponte saw this as a major benefit of WFAW:
“If my team members could be 80% as productive as working from the office but come back with new perspectives that would drive innovations for the company's product, brand, or culture, it would be entirely worth it.”
Key IT requirements
Clearly, WFAW would only work if employees stayed connected both to the resources they required and in touch with other teams members as required. This inevitably required a reliable broadband and/or wifi connection. While Del Ponte saw a surprising high rise in productivity overall from WFAW, the only fly in the ointment would be lack of access to reliable internet connections, which reduced productivity. One of his personal tips for companies wishing to try WFAW was to advise employees to sort out their wifi location in advance.
Collaboration anytime anywhere
Once a business accepts the idea of true remote working during a WFAW, it follows that such a facility should be available anytime, to any employee. However, such a practice risks negating the interactions, co-operations and idea sharing that office environments provide. After all, remote working as an individual is one thing, remote working as a team member quite another.
Open up communication channels
Effective, interactive communication channels can provide the best of both worlds. While server access provides the files and documents needed for remote working, an interactive intranet such as an employee network can provide the opportunity to keep in touch with the latest developments, contribute to new projects, and generally be involved at as deep a level as the employee wishes - or has time for.
By combining communication channels for company news, resources, business challenges, innovation and project collaboration into a single virtual space, accessed by an app, businesses can ensure that employees are truly in the loop. So long as there is wifi, they can be on a beach, a barge, or a park bench, and still be an integral and responsive part of your business.
If you want some help getting your company communication WFAW-ready, call us.