David Willett – Severn Valley Business Group

Author: David Willett

David Willett

DAVID WILLETT – AGW Telecom, a Welcome Telecom Office: Passionate about providing the best telecommunications solutions for businesses, small, medium & large. We do this by hosting the hardware and software, in multiple locations in the UK for resilience. Only small items and phones are located locally removing responsibility for on premises equipment. “Your telecoms and more....in the cloud”

‘Flexible working…. Recruiting talent’

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Take the scenario that an organisation is looking to recruit a person with particular skills and qualifications, but can’t find a suitable candidate within a reasonable commute of their office. Let’s say 45 minutes. If you double that time as a radius from your base, many people would reasonably find a daily commute of 3 hours per day unacceptable. If you double the radius, the catchment area is multiplied by 4. If you offer “Flexible Working” meaning that the recruit visits the office once or perhaps or twice a week, at most, you will greatly increase your chances of attracting the candidate you are looking for.

The office culture will need to support this activity. Co-workers need to forget the jokes and jibes about a sunny day means that the remote worker is relaxing in the garden! Most remote flexible workers value very highly the ability to work at home/flexibly, so are likely to be very productive, and will probably need to be reminded it is OK to take a tea/coffee and lunch break, and even attend to a call of nature!

Henley Management Centre has identified that it is extremely important to measure by output not input. How many times have you seen a co-worker apparently working at their computer, only to find when you take a second look a game of Solitaire is being played or that there are pictures of sandy beaches displayed and they are booking their next holiday! So the manager overseeing an office team must trust those who they manage. Bearing in mind that the level of staff member will be quite high, and / or driven by results anyway, it should not be difficult to implement “Flexible Working”

You will need to provide office infrastructure to support “Flexible workers” ——That’s a given, however, this must include access to good quality broadband, a computer of some sort, probably a lap top, and a good telephone service. This ideally is an “extension” off a hosted (cloud based) office system. A workspace suitable for the remote worker, such as a  study / “Home Office” or access to a serviced office is essential. Please note that there are obligations to ensure a safe working environment for all workers including home workers.


Home and remote workers

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There is a lot of discussion in the media about “Home Working” as though this concept is new! Agreed the government has extended the rights of employees to work flexibly, but I have been either working from home on a casual trust basis to being officially being based from home, getting on for 25 years ago. The main objection to home based working is the lack of strength and imagination of management. Managers need to measure by “output” not “input”. Just because a manager can see an employee at a desk working at a PC doesn’t mean they are doing anything constructive! How many of us have seen games of Solitaire or a holiday web site across the office at an inattentive employee? Measure by output and it doesn’t matter where or when a team member actually performs the task in hand.

Clearly home working is not suitable for all occupations, or all employees, or all the time. There are huge benefits to be gained by employers and employees alike. Most of us know what they are, and there are too many to go into here. However I did hear on BBC Radio 4 a comment that in winter you have to heat the house, therefore cancelling out the advantage of not using road fuel! What rubbish! When I am in the house by myself in winter I don’t heat the whole house, I just heat my study! Come on everyone think positively, millions of people work from home for some or all of the working week, and have done so for years. To be honest the main problem with home-working is having the discipline NOT to go back to your desk all the time to “just check this or that” or “just finish that …….” at the end of the working day.

We have the broadband service in the vast majority of the country, ensuring that this is just not an issue. If you checked the capability previously and thought the technology made it impractical, look again, and contact a professional for advice.



Food for thought

It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s also unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money; that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it’s well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough money to pay for something better

John Ruskin February 1819 – January 1900


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