While the go-to-office vs. work-from-home debate rages on, we at HCI chatted about how our virtual office approach helps our client and helps us.
Truly, we come at this potpourri of thoughts with a distinctly biased perspective. After all, we long-since mastered the art of collaborative apps for file sharing, chat, and meetings. We take calls with Zoom-bombing pets curled at our feet. We know to grab the nice blazer or scarf when a call demands. With 20+ years of doing work remotely, we figure we are experts!
But what we really asked ourselves in this poll is whether this is really a win for the client? Or are we just locked into the quality of life of working at home? After all, home offices let us easily grab a daytime appointment and make up the time in our evenings. We can open our windows. We skip the commute. We can go to our kids’ games during the day and then write the press release or check Google Analytics in the evening. Is it the benefits to our clients or our far better work-life balance that has us stacked on the side of the work-from-home, virtual office?
Here are the client benefits we latched on to:
- Employee satisfaction is a clear benefit of the remote office. Most of our business attire now gathers dust in the closet while we all enjoy stretchy pants and slippers during video calls. But the benefits of employee satisfaction extend far beyond personal comfort. Happier workers with a healthier work-life balance equals better performance. That means better value for clients.
- Genuine relationships develop naturally when staff are relaxed and comfortable in their own homes (and our pets often make guest appearances). At HCI, quality relationships are the foundation of our success.
- Virtual offices lower costs and allow us to deliver higher quality services at competitive rates. This flexibility has enabled us to support startups we believed in when cashflow was tight and to bring on additional experts for clients with unique needs. The past year has proven that many employees are happy to trade the expensive corner office with a mahogany desk for a computer situated in a home office. This value passes directly to customers, funneling more resources toward productive outputs.
- A larger and deeper talent pool is immediately available to remote teams. Work-from-home allows us to hire the best people because location doesn’t matter. The opportunity to hire the best people elevates a team beyond the capacity of any one region. It also allows existing team members the flexibility to move or travel without downtime. Our team has staff across multiple time zones and countries—someone is always available or relatively close-by no matter where our clients are.
- Creativity and productivity increase exponentially. Working from home, we create a space we enjoy. We are better able to minimize our distractions once we turn off our ‘pings.’ We have quality time to focus on important tasks. When employees can control most interruptions during their day, it provides more opportunity to work in the zone referred to by artists and elite athletes as the “flow state.” A 10-year longitudinal study by McKinsey showed that people in a flow state are 500% more productive, and this state allows for incredible creative thought.
- Communication skills are nurtured and practiced daily. Working remotely requires strong, clear, and frequent communication between team members, setting the pattern for better communication with our clients. In a team like HCI that has been remote since inception, strong communication is built right into our business DNA.
- The remote office nurtures a flexible, entrepreneurial culture. Thinking outside the box (or cubicle) promotes an entrepreneurial spirit and flexibility that becomes engrained in an organization’s culture. Remote work often comes with flexible hours and schedules. Teams can upscale or downsize depending on the project. Culture focuses on achieving goals, and this permeates through all aspects of work and clearly impacts how we think. Our home offices help us think like our clients. We focus on problem-solving, adapting quickly, and meeting their business goals.
How does this affect the bottom line?
All this adds up to 20+ years of client success and a remarkable staff retention rate. Operating a virtual integrated marketing and communications agency with people working from home in Canada, the United States, and Europe is a huge part of our how we deliver our brand promise: HCI helps grow clients’ businesses by (com)passionately and powerfully connecting them with influencers and buyers to deliver results.
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