In 2009, I had an office. My employees checked in there and we all started and ended the day there. However, it wasn’t 100% necessary for the bulk of our work. So, in 2010 when I switched up BestMacs’ business direction, I closed the office. My employees now either work at home or they go to our clients’ offices to get projects done.
It was partly me being frugal, but I believe business expenses are assets if they help bring in revenue, or liabilities if they don’t. The office was a huge liability.
A few of my clients took notice of this, and we helped a couple of them do the exact same thing: shut down their office and go completely remote in the early 2010s. Bear in mind that this was before Zoom or Microsoft Teams or most cloud technologies we have today. It’s much easier now.
Fast forward a decade to March 2020. You know what happened.
For our clients that are proactive and invest in their tech, their employees just threw their laptops in their bags like any other day and went home and stayed there. Their tools and processes were already set to handle work-from-anywhere (WFA). Other more reactive clients called us and said something like “we bought 20 laptops today, can you get them set up this week?” They kept us crazy for a couple months.
Now, offices may be opening back up, Delta notwithstanding (I think this ain’t over by a long shot, but I don’t want to get political about it here.) But let’s not be so quick to lose the gains we’ve made. Sure, employees would like to see each other – my team and I would meet at certain clients’ offices or at coffee shops or restaurants to have some face-to-face time over the decade. While working from anywhere without in-person interaction can sometimes be less than desirable, let’s not forget the power we now all hold.
WFA forced us to engage tools like Zoom or OneDrive or VPNs way sooner than we would have otherwise. When everyone truly needed them in 2020, we were ready to go, and so were our clients.
Take this opportunity to recognize that your productivity levels didn’t tank over the past 18 months. If you’re not already engaged with remote work tools like cloud collaboration, unified messaging, etc. we can help with that. Are your people happier not having to commute daily? Is their work/life balance a little more in-check, making them content and fulfilled in their lives including their job? How much money could your business save if the office truly is a liability – maybe even just downsizing to a smaller space for quasi-weekly meetings of different teams of your people?
One small silver lining of this awful pandemic is it’s given us a chance to assess what’s really important, and force us to try some new things we might never have considered otherwise.
If you’d like to catch up on previous installments of this series, check out Coming Out of the Fog and What to Expect When You’re Expecting (to Return to the Office).