There’s been a lot of chatter in recent weeks on the heels of several organizations revising their “work-at-home” policies. As the debate about the virtues of telecommuting continues on, MarketLauncher has been sitting on the sidelines with fervent interest. Through various editorials and articles, one can view the pros and cons of telecommuting being played out in cyberspace – you see discussions regarding
- What happens to a company’s innovation?
- What happens to the company culture?
- Are company policies being abused?
- Can a company’s growth plan be understood and acted on if everyone is not in the “office”?
As you read through the conversations, it starts to become apparent that no one is asking a fundamental question – what do the people want? Consider this statistic: 79% of U.S. workers say they would like to work from home at least part of the time (WorldatWork Telework Trendlines 2009).
Is there a way to make telecommuting a win-win? We at MarketLauncher believe there is. In fact, we’ve built our business on the very idea.
How to Set Up a Successful Telecommuting Environment
The fact of the matter is telecommuting will only work if you mindfully build a specific infrastructure to support it. When companies set up shop in a physical location, there’s a lot of thought that goes into that process. And the same holds true for a virtual environment. There needs to be a living breathing plan that is evolving on a continual basis to support the company’s objectives. That plan needs to encompass the necessary tools, process, people, communication, support and systems needed to drive the desired behaviors and outcomes.
At MarketLauncher, we pride ourselves on working to stay ahead of the curve and evaluating what is needed in a virtual organization to support our ever-changing needs and propel the company forward.
What makes it work? The following list is really just a start and is by no means designed to be complete. And in fact, this list is really no different for virtual or physical companies.
- A dedication to ensuring the right tools are in place – technology is key; we need to be able to seamlessly integrate and be able to work as a unit while also having the capability to work autonomously.
- Communication, communication, communication – we live and die by the phone, by email, by instant messenger, by video conferencing. Although we may be across the globe, we need to be able to communicate instantaneously.
- Forced collaboration – no, we can’t walk down the hall and pop into someone’s office, but it sure feels like we can. We’ve put various systems in place that enable cross team, cross position, cross function collaboration. If there’s something effective happening somewhere in the company, you can bet it’s going to be shared with all.
- Face-to-face time – we come together in person multiple times throughout the year. Those meetings tend to be chocked full of valuable information – both presentation of key information out to the group and then engaging the group to come up with solutions for ways to move forward
- People – people who are of like-mind and value the virtual environment and the work-from-home opportunity are a critical part of the equation. People who cherish the ability to apply their time and talent regardless of where they are in location. People who recognize that their needs are being met both professionally and personally and therefore feel valued and rewarded.
- Fun – you can have virtual happy hours. We know, we’ve done it. You can have virtual holiday parties. We know, we’ve done it. You can celebrate birthdays, you can be in-the-know on weekend plans, you can know each other’s favorite TV shows and the best movies playing and the latest celebrity gossip and why someone didn’t make it to the gym that day despite their best intentions. We know each other quite well. And we have a lot of fun in the process.
Our Thoughts on the Benefits of Virtual Work
How do we know we’re onto something? Well, as a results-driven organization, we tend to rely on the metrics to tell us that. As a virtual organization with a 100% telecommuting workforce, we enjoy the following:
- Consistent, profitable annual growth
- Above average team member retention rates
- Industry breaking recruiting rates
- High team member satisfaction rates
- High client satisfaction rates
- Performance and productivity measures that increase every year
Don’t take my word for it. Take a look at what these long term ML’rs with an average of 8 years with the firm have to say:
“I thought I’d have to give up my rewarding but demanding career if I wanted to be an involved parent. That was wrong. MarketLauncher lets me apply my talents while giving me the flexibility I never had when I was working on the road.”
Sales Development Specialist
“We have people all over the globe, allowing us to be responsive at all hours of the day. I know as some of my colleagues in the US are going to bed, others are waking up. We are able to respond to our clients’ needs nearly 24 hours a day. Knowing we can provide that level of service makes me love the virtual aspect even that much more.”
Sr. Business Development / Global Accounts
“In this job, knowing the kind of impact I have working with our clients, that is its own reward. But when you throw in the flexibility I have working at MarketLauncher, not to be cliché, but it’s absolutely priceless.”
Vice President of Operations
“Working at MarketLauncher, I can do work that I love with a group of people who make it fun every day. And I get to actively participate in my children’s lives. I don’t have to miss a beat at home or at work. That to me is freedom.”
Market Research & Sales Development Specialist
And at the end of the day, take the above sentiments, multiply that times fifty, add in a company that is on an upward growth trajectory, and that’s the biggest measure of success. Now that’s the art and science of it.