As a business founded and operated from the North of England since its inception, we’ve long been conscious of the disadvantages both perceived and real of not being located in or near the city of London.
We’ve been disadvantaged that we haven’t been able to take our clients out to lunch when our competitors can. We’ve missed relationship building and networking opportunities from breakfast lunches to conferences. We’ve spent full days and a expensive train journeys to see a single client when our London based competitors have seen 4 or 5 in the same time.
When it comes to hiring, we’re regularly reminded of the challenges of accessing talent. We’ve worked hard to establish a great culture, provide a great environment and a bunch of employee benefits. All this has helped and we have a great team, but it’s hard, really hard and our Doncaster location has been a significant contributing factor.
Despite cloud computing, 4g networks, smartphones and always-on internet our physical geographic location has limited both our customer reach and our access to talent for 10 years; until now. Because it turns out that this wasn’t a technological problem but a cultural one.
Back in March the COVID crisis forced the world to let go of our in-person office culture and adopt a new reality of remote working, and the benefits to all parties cannot be unseen. We have seen a culture shift that has made meeting remotely the new normal, whether it be colleagues, prospects or customers a meeting is now something that takes place online and geography is irrelevant.
Organisations that have the right tools and adopt and embrace the right culture now have a limitless global reach when it comes to customers. Prospects and leads can be located anywhere in the world and can be serviced just as well as those in the same town. Sales teams and account managers can now meet with 5 times the amount of customers they could before.
For companies that adopt flexible remote working practices the available talent pool is now the entire world. Those organisations that maximise these remote working benefits now have access literally to the world’s best talent. They can now focus on the quality of talent as opposed to the location and benefit from the increased quality of ideas a more diverse workforce brings.
When the lockdown ends and we return to ‘normal’, it could be that the impact the geographical location of an organisation has on its success is far less than how effectively it embraces this new remote culture. Meeting and working remotely is the next big equaliser and is of particular benefit for those of us located outside of the traditional business centres.