In the world of small businesses, times are changing – and companies need to find new, innovative ways to be competitive. No longer is bigger always better; we’ve reached a point where efficiency, productivity, and agility are what’s most sought after.
In the integration business, we operate on the basis of rapid change. In the past 10 years, we have seen technology proliferate at breakneck speed (which has made all of us rethink how we do business). Do you remember the days when you could make 30% margin on a $5,000 projector?
In order to be faster, more efficient, and more productive, a small business – especially an integration company – needs to think fast, be nimble, and make every hire the best hire possible as we aspire to see employees exceed expectations.
With this in mind, new work arrangements are taking off. Companies big and small are starting to consider ways to hire better talent, save money, and keep employees more connected – all without needing everyone to be in the office all the time. While some employers believe that remote work and flexible work arrangements offer too much freedom, others find that it has a big payoff. I tend to believe that the latter is true, and here is why
- Best Talent Pool. Not all integrators are located in big cities with great (and available) AV or IT talent around every corner. With project management tools and software that provides easy online collaboration, sometimes the best talent may be located elsewhere; companies need to consider the possibility of finding and employing talent from outside the radius of headquarters.
- Improved Employee Morale. Although certain work may need to be done from 9-5, we no longer live in a world where everything needs to be done during those hours. Now that everyone is connected all the time, flexible or remote work arrangements allow an employee to leave at 4pm to attend a child’s sporting event (or to work a day from home without missing a beat when kids are sick). What’s better is that this type of arrangement tends to create satisfaction that translates into greater employee morale.
- Lower Real Estate Expense. Big fancy offices are great, but they are necessary. With leading companies like IBM drastically reducing their real estate footprint, how big of an office (and how many) does an integrator need? The space should match the need, but excessive real estate costs rarely pay dividends.
- Increased Productivity. Water cooler talk can be good for employees, but not necessarily for employers. It does take discipline to work remotely, but the same holds true for working in an office. Distractions at home tend to be easier to block out than a chatty cube mate or employees screaming in your office every 15 minutes. Even one or two days of remote work can allow employees to work more on deliverables with fewer distractions.
- We Should Practice What We Preach. We are in the business of collaboration. From the boardroom to the mobile device, we sell unified communication and video solutions that allow people to untether. Yet many of our businesses are run with every employee in his or her office (and forgive me for saying this) punching a clock. I understand the need to manage time and productivity, but we’re in a highly connected, mobile world that is run by software and collaboration tools. If we don’t use it, how the heck are we supposed to sell it?
In the future, the most dynamic and innovative companies will be built around the ideas of their employees. Given the fact that we’re rapidly moving from organizations that used to be largely dependent on the sale of hard goods to organizations with rapidly growing service ambitions, our focus needs to be on supporting work arrangements that yield the greatest productivity while also keeping employees happy. -Daniel Newman, BroadSuite Consulting
Has your company considered remote work and flexible work arrangements? Maybe it’s time!