Taking your Workplace mobile

The traditional model for many businesses is still built around bricks & mortar, however if you look at the number of empty offices around various business parks, the increasing numbers of serviced offices that are used as and when required, plus consider that as younger generations take over businesses and the Gen X’s and older get more comfortable with the Smart technology available, it would appear that many businesses are already remote, using offsite employees or outsourced expertise for certain functions.

Depending on your opinion and your product or service, this trend is either providing an opportunity to expand your workforce or capability with (often) reduced costs, or causing you a headache. Depending also on your work history, you may prefer to have your employees where you can see them and manage them closely.

In any case, a key cause and effect of businesses being willing for staff to work offsite trend is leading more employees to look for roles that offer flexibility in the hours they work, as well as a having a choice of where they work. Flexible working conditions are already becoming a key factor in attracting and retaining top quality and key employees, therefore, you may need to consider allowing more employees in both traditional and non-traditional offsite roles to work offsite, at least part of the time.

If you are at the stage of growing your team, it may be somewhat easier to build your business and employ with the offsite/mobile team model in mind. If you are thinking of moving some or all of your bricks & mortar team to an offsite model, this will have a different set of challenges.

Before you make the leap, there are a significant number of process and people related questions that you may need to consider. Some key ones are as follows; 

  1. Does your business REALLY need to have everyone on site all the time? What types of roles can be mobile or remote, and what ones will not work being offsite?
  2. Do YOU have to employ these types of workers or can you outsource more of your work ?
  3. Do you have the right tools and technology fit for purpose?
  4. Do you have sufficient process documentation that will direct remote workers, what needs to be developed or upgraded?
  5. Will your current business culture (mindset & behaviours) support this workforce style?
  6. Have you got already, or recruited employees who would be happy to and be capable of working offsite? (Some come to work for their social connections)
  7. How will you measure offsite staff success and assess their performance?
  8. What challenges will you have to address communicating with, influencing and managing a mobile workforce.
  9. Have you given thought to your profile and branding, how can you maintain a consistent approach across a remote workforce? And of course;
  10. What are the related costs likely to be?

Sales people, Business Development Managers, IT, Customer Service agents (increasingly) and Tradespeople are good examples of roles that traditionally operate offsite, however many other roles will take a lot more thought and planning to set everyone up for success in working offsite.

A couple of common hurdles I find are; getting Managers and Business owners to trust their staff to work effectively and diligently offsite; and having effective frameworks already in place to keep the business focus, culture and team working cohesively.

Consider the real or perceived hurdles you face?


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