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Member since 08/22/2011
You gradually develop of sixth sense....
09/19/2011 / 10:10 am #1
Unwired talks to Mark Thomas (Chief Executive, Word Association)
What are the biggest challenges you've faced in implementing home working strategies?
I've been managing a home-based business for over 10 years now. Initially the challenges were to do with technology but things have moved on so much that it's just not an issue anymore. In recent years it's been more about recruitment and management. Not everyone is suited to home working and you gradually develop a sixth sense as to the people who will work best from home. In terms of management you need to make more of an effort to communicate and get people together. It also forces you to develop performance indicators around output rather than time served in the office.
What are your top tips for anyone just beginning to plan/implement a homeworking strategy?
Trust people. You will be pleasantly surprised that most people will embrace the opportunity, work harder and be more productive.
In your experience, what was the most effective convincer to get management staff to embrace workplace change and homeworking?
Cost savings achieved by not needing office space. This will be an even bigger 'convincer' in these times of cut-backs.
What lessons have you learned? What do you know now that you wish you'd known then?
I'm certainly glad we did it and feel that it works for us as a business. We've recently been listed in a league table of top 10 PR consultancies and are one of the country's fastest growing. I think you tend to focus too much on technology and not so much on people and management when you start out. You need to formalise team meetings and other get-togethers which sometimes just happen when you're all working together in an office.
What is your favourite thing(s) about your own way of working?
I guess losing the daily commute is a good thing. Also you are able to spend more time with your family, albeit you are probably working when you're with them!
What one tool or technology are you never without?
MSN Messenger, it's quite old hat now but it made a big difference to us and is still an important part of how we work. It's our equivalent of the water cooler moment enabling less formal conversation to take place helping to make us all feel more part of a team.
What tool or technology do you dream of getting your hands on? What's on your wish-list for 2012?
I'd just like to see things working as well they are supposed to. Better mobile phone reception and a longer battery life for my smart phone would be a good start.
What do you predict will be the next big thing in the world of work: in 2012 / 2015 / 2025?
With the internet making it so easy for so many people across the world to get products and services to market the number of very small businesses will grow intensifying competition. This will make marketing skills even more important. Companies, like my own, who can provide cost effective marketing support to businesses helping them harness technology and develop distinct USPs will prosper.
Mark will be speaking at homeworking 2011 (26 September at eOffice, Central London). For more information on this event, visit http://www.unwired.eu.com/homeworking.html