Construction-related flooding earlier this year flooded the offices of Audio Network causing damage and making them uninhabitable. Rather than moving to temporary premises, the simplest and most cost effective way of keeping the business going until building repairs could be completed was to ask employees to work from home. The technical solution was devised and implemented by Creative Folks, in collaboration with Audio Networks, as part of an ongoing managed service arrangement.
This solution involved installing Audio Networks’ servers in Creative Folks’ office, setting up the employees’ computers in their homes, or other offices, and connecting them remotely to the company server though the Internet by VPN so they could access all company files and applications just as if they were at work connected directly to the network server.
An essential part of the solution was ensuring the security of the company’s data, by completely isolating the company activities from Creative Folks operations. This was achieved by using advanced firewall routing, VPN security and intrusion prevention.
Employees have now gone ‘back to work’ to their post-flood refurbished office premises after working in remote location for 10 weeks.
“Maintaining productivity was our highest priority after the flood. Within a day, Creative Folks had implemented a solution that enabled us to work remotely. The Creative Folks team were so calm, efficient and supportive throughout the entire process. They removed a lot of the stress from what was a difficult situation.”
Jess Ossington, Operations Director, Audio Network
About Working from Home
Much has been written about the benefits to employees from being able to work flexibility from home but not all employers are happy with such arrangements. In 2013 Marissa Mayer CEO of Yahoo created a great storm of protest when she deemed Yahoo employees would have to stop working from home and come into the office every day to make the cultural changes needed to improve Yahoo’s productivity and business performance. Mayer argued that some of the best business insights and decisions come from hallway and cafeteria discussions.
She was strongly supported by Jack Welch, the iconic CEO and Chairman of General Electric, who believes the culture developed by people working together in the same space is very powerful and that ‘culture drives great results’. Other critics of working at home have focused attention on poor response times and productivity due to inadequate management systems.
Creative Folks has staff who work at home due to late night work hours or family duties and we have implemented a full complement of IT technologies to support them. These at-home arrangements have worked very well.
We completely understand the cultural needs of staff to meet face to face on a regular basis. We have experienced much stronger team collaboration when team members work together in the same space.
On the basis of our experiences we believe a balanced approach involving a mix of regular face-to-face meetings with well-programmed work at home provides the best outcomes for both employees and their employer.