Remote Work Initiative:
What is the first image of my workplace that comes to mind when I tell you that I am the Director of Operations and Finance for an IT company? Would I be right in saying it’s the image of me sitting in my own office at a plugged-in computer with several excel sheets open up on my desktop? Well you’re partially right. I probably do have several excel sheets open but I’m not in an office nor am I working off a plugged-in computer. I’m at my kitchen table, or at my local coffee shop and the device is my phone or my laptop of a remote secure desktop. This is the future workplace that we have created at Typetec.
To give a very short intro … as I said, I am the Director of Operations & Finance with Typetec, a Microsoft cloud IT provider. We’ve a 35-year IT history and just over 30 staff primarily in engineering & consultancy. Also, our office is ‘based’ in Dublin.
You may be asking what exactly have we done to create this future workplace? Nothing ground breaking, we simply embraced a new concept. In our 2018 business plan outside of strategy and financials we included a corporate objective on introducing remote work opportunities for staff. Our reason was purely that we believed that it had huge potential to aid us with staff retention in today’s world and it was not cost driven as we own our own bricks n’ mortar and have plenty of space.
Personally, in my seven years here, as an IT provider, we’re incredibly progressive in our customers’ digital journeys yet looking inward we were quite traditional in our own office environment so I was very interested from the get-go to push this initiative out.
We went about this through a number steps but to list off a few of the major stages:
- We politely requested the sales team to spend more time with customers…. and swiftly removed their desks!
- Our Business Development Director and myself vacated our offices to convert them into collaboration spaces where staff could brainstorm and communicate.
- We fully embraced the Microsoft suite in our everyday workings – Office 365 for email, Skype for meetings & instant messaging, Teams for collaboration & Azure to access our SAP application.
- We allowed staff to decide when working from home works best for them based on their roles and responsibilities.
The physical changes were quick and noticeable to everyone in the office. They saw that we wanted to introduce this change and it really acted as an accelerator. No surprise that staff appreciated a new opportunity to avoid the painful commute of the M50 at rush hour and everyone took to our new communication and collaboration methods seamlessly. Some of the most notable milestones so far this year for me are:
- We closed our offices for 3 days in Storm Emma with minimal disruption to our business and customers as all staff worked as normal from home via our Microsoft platform and SaaS based applications.
- We hired two new permanent staff to work from home in our Mayo and Athlone ‘offices’ – opening up a whole new talent pool for the future.
- And I no longer have to keep my (former) office tidy and respectable.
To wrap up the journey to a modern workplace is never complete with technology constantly evolving but having remote working has definitely accelerated it and I’m even more interested now to see where it will go for us. Having the right people and the right platform definitely opens the door to change and I’m only grateful to work in a place where change and transformation is always embraced.