The unexpected events of 2020 turned into a transformational learning experience for us here at Boxx, which helped us accelerate our strategic plans faster and look to a remote-first future with real confidence.
We had already been moving towards operating as a distributed workforce. We had the technology in place, so technically we were capable, but we weren't quite there culturally. We were happy with the team working from home on occasion and coming into the office 3-4 days a week, but ultimately, we felt compelled by the concept of distributing the workforce, and we aimed to be there by 2023.
At the beginning of last year, we were operating from a very nice suite of offices at Witan Studios in central Milton Keynes, and our team liked working there. It was easy to reach and a convenient place in which to host customer and partner meetings.
Then the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent first lockdown came along, and that forced us all into working from home.
Making the change
We found it relatively easy to make the switch and indeed, as the months passed and with working from home encouraged throughout, we found that remote working really did work for us, our team and our customers.
Our staff had more flexibility and did not have to travel to the office every day. At the same time, they were still available and accessible. Our productivity was excellent, and we maintained our high standards of customer service throughout.
As a consequence, we decided to bring forward our plans to switch to more flexible working. Conveniently, our lease at Witan Studios was due to expire in November , and we were intrigued by the new Spaces business centre, just a few minutes down the road. It has similar characteristics to our previous office, in that it is central, easy to reach and brilliantly designed for co-operative, collaborative working. But crucially, it gave us the ability to take that remote-first approach.
We have a small private office, a central point where our teams can meet and work, together or individually and if we need additional desks at any time, or to make use of a meeting room, Spaces can arrange that quickly.
Our people can choose where they want to work on different days – and they don't always have to plan that in advance. They can be more flexible, which allows them to juggle their responsibilities and commitments, while also being readily available and accessible when working—meeting the needs of both the business and our staff.
There are many benefits to working in this more dynamic and distributed way. Wherever our team are working from, our staff can collaborate in virtual spaces, using tools such as Microsoft Teams – and that's what they do most of the time. It is much easier to bring together a group of individuals for an online meeting than to arrange a physical gathering.
But we also have a great central location and an excellent working environment that gives our people to a sense of unity and belonging – of being part of a strong team.
We've also benefited unexpectedly by moving to the new office. Other businesses are operating from Spaces, and we've already found that we've been able to help them, and they have been able to help us. The move has thus expanded the pool of local talent on which we can draw.
Bolder and braver
Our accelerated move to a more distributed workforce has broken down the walls between us, our customers, and our partners. In this sense, the whole pandemic has been transformational. We were moving in this direction already, but the unexpected events of 2020 pushed us forward and made us bolder and braver. As a result, we've been able to advance much faster and with real certainty and confidence.
A good learning experience
It's been a perfect learning experience for the whole Boxx team. As communications and collaboration technologies make home and remote working more comfortable and more viable, we're ready and better-equipped than ever to help our customers to adopt more flexible working practices and transform their businesses in 2021.
Images Credit: All Things Business (2020)