The efficient geography of employment

The geography of employment – whether it be a different country, office or even the back-bedroom of your house – is shifting dramatically. Hastened by uncertainty around Brexit, increasing uptake of technology and automation, as well as shrinking labour supplies. 

And of course, Covid19 has made many businesses rethink where their employees are based. 

Management

A big change for many businesses is the mindset of how they provide a working space for clients. A popular approach is to allow staff as much flexibility as they need to be an asset to your business. That means no more telling me when to arrive at work or how long a lunch break should be, providing that I’ve done everything I needed to do.

Hopefully you trust your employees to be as productive as ever when there is no manager present. The challenge is training managers and staff to give them the responsibility for their own workload and do what is necessary to help the business grow.

Technology

While it’s true that face-to-face meetings have a great many benefits, they can also take their toll on your expenses and also the environment.

The big up take in video conference technology, such as zoom, has played an important role in reducing travel-time as well as allowing staff to remain productive by being able to invest time in their day job as opposed to travelling to meetings.

Project management tools such as Trello and Slack allow managers and owners to monitor the progress of their business from anywhere in the world, empowering staff to to update the project management tool themselves.

Case Study

E&G Solicitors in Spain,

Our firm started practising from Tarragona in 2004. In early 2011 we opened a practice in London and continued to practise as E&G Solicitors in Spain across both offices.  

Hence, we have been managing employees across two countries for over a decade. 

While the pandemic has altered some of the ways in which we work operationally, it has not affected us as a team. 

Before the pandemic we worked closely with one another through communication platforms such as Slack and Clio, whether by video call or instant messaging, and we have continued to work closely with each other across the two offices in the same way throughout the pandemic. 

These are the challenges that we faced early on in our firm’s history, which stood us in good stead for navigating the obstacles presented by the pandemic.

Shieldgeo

An example of managing a fully distributed team from Sydney. 

Employee orientation matters to remote workers, setting expectations and providing clear boundaries to their role.

Video communication helps to solve problems replicating the face-to-face meeting as verbal cues are very important.

There is a social immediacy of video calls compared to email.

Don’t forget the importance of one-to-one meetings as they help foster relationships. It’s good to talk about things outside of work and understand each other’s goals.

One-on-one meetings are also great because they avoid allowing individuals to dominate groups, encouraging others to take a lead in discussions.

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