Remote working: I’m not sure whether to smile or be insulted…

remote working

Here at Chiumento we’ve been championing remote working for years. That’s based on a belief that for knowledge-based businesses, offices are increasingly a burden rather than an asset.

For starters our clients, candidates and delegates constantly tell us they don’t want the cost, hassle and inconvenience of travelling to meet us at fixed city centre locations. They want services and meetings brought closer to them. Many still prefer face-to-face but usually that means us travelling, not them. For an increasing minority close now means on their desktop – eg video conferencing.

For a business like ours, people are the major asset. Offices, no matter where you put them, place a limit on hiring. Take commuting out of the equation and your talent pool extends exponentially. And if staff need to relocate, they can take their job with them.

Recently I received an email entitled “Ian, working from home needn’t be unprofessional”. Pardon me? As a remote worker I was really insulted. The implication, intended or not, being that working from home is inherently unprofessional.

Then I looked for the email address of the sender. To my complete surprise it came from a well-known serviced office provider. And I laughed. Out loud.

Basically, the email amounted to a pitch that I should hide the fact I work from home by having some artificial façade. A business address in a city that I can pretend to work from when I’m really operating from my (very professional) home office in rural Lincolnshire. What a load of tosh.

What I also think the message said, again intended or not, was “we’re waiving the white flag and accepting some people don’t need offices anymore”. If ever there were a sign that remote working is gaining momentum this is it.

Is this “pretend office” phenomenon new though? When I joined Chiumento 10 years ago one of the first jobs I was given was a competitor analysis. A useful induction exercise for someone new to the industry. What I quickly discovered was not every “office” was quite what it seemed…

So, let me be completely transparent. Chiumento has no offices. Nor do we plan to have any. Instead we are completely honest: we use literally hundreds of local delivery points around the UK. We don’t own or lease any of them, we simply use them only when we need them.

However, we appreciate that clients need confidence that we can deliver close to their people. So, we’ve decided to “make the invisible, visible”. From today you can go on our website and search for the nearest Chiumento delivery point to any UK location.

Can you pop by any time and say hi? No. We don’t have people there every day, every week or even every month. What do have is a team of Consultants who can cover every single location we list. Which is something we are pretty proud of.

For us, remote working means the opposite of what it implies. It moves services closer, not further away.

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