Telling the truth about SME life today

The UK’s top 25 businesses run from home

UK’s top 25 businesses run from home: 21-25

21. Executive search firm Warren Partners

22. Telecommunications provider Corporate Communications

23. Supply chain management company TDG

24. PR agency Department 83

25. PR and marketing agency Chazbrooks Communications

Communication is key

Surrey based PR and Marketing agency Chazbrook Communications (CBC) wanted to get and keep good people. MD and co-founder Mandy Brooks found that as people grow older, acquire commitments, and reassess the priorities in their lives, most prefer the continuity of working with long-term colleagues in a familiar industry – provided that there is job satisfaction, new challenges to conquer, and mutual benefits.

CBC has experienced this phenomenon first-hand, with a number of full and part-time team members having worked in the UK, France, and Italy, as both salaried and freelance workers. “Offering flexibility and acknowledging that people need their role to develop with their life means you get and keep the best people,” Brooks told Real Business. By allowing staff control over how and where they work, to fit in with their personal commitments and preferences, CBC has improved communication overall, and seen better team working and more skills sharing. This has resulted in more enhanced communication and has had a positive effect on levels of customer satisfaction, Brooks explained.

“It’s about clarity, good organisation and responsibility. People often think it’s a chaotic environment if you allow flexibility but for it to work properly and for us to offer flexibility to the team and a great service to the clients, everyone has to be organised with their time and communication, feel responsible for the balance, ensuring an excellent delivery to clients whilst maintaining their own and their colleagues flexibility.”

Staff get the opportunity to travel and work in different countries, to alternate between freelance and salaried positions, or to try different career paths within the same company. High-speed internet access and low-cost telephony through VoIP and Video have enabled CBC’s team to stay on with the company and work remotely, instead of being forced to resign from their job to accommodate changes in their lives.

“Never presume everyone has the same understanding,” Brooks advised.”As humans, our underlying belief is that the closer we are physically to someone, the better we are at communicating with them. In many ways this thinking is a good thing. But as soon as remote working developed, we started looking at communication between team members in greater detail because we expected it to be more of an issue. Turns out communication can be just as easy or just as difficult whether you are in the same room or thousands of miles apart.”


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