The debate over what the future world of work could or should look like continues to rage on. Recently, some of the nation’s most well-known and successful entrepreneurs and business owners have shared their concerns about the major shift towards working from home, and the general societal impact on productivity.
I can’t agree that working from home is the disaster that some believe – actually, I don’t believe that ‘working from home’ is really the issue at all. Leanne and I haven’t worked in offices for the best part of two decades, and we’ve built a successful international group of businesses, all while working remotely from our senior leaders. We also moved our family to Dubai last year in order to put ourselves in a more international location, and our productivity has grown hugely because we’re now in an environment that promotes hard work and hustle. With that in mind, here’s my take on the ongoing debate.
Find a place that motivates you
I’m not interested in whether you sit in head office or your home office, or in a café, or in your kitchen, as long as it’s an environment which is conducive to hard work. The environment we place ourselves in plays a huge role in how potent we are at work, and I’d rather that someone is self-aware enough to site themselves in a space that motivates them, than spends 40 hours a week sitting in an office that drains their energy, just because that’s the way it’s always been done.
Be a visionary, not a micro manager
Business leaders need to be thinking at the highest possible level at all times. Leanne and I have hugely ambitious global plans for The Carling Group, and a lot of our work involves bringing our people along with us on that journey. That’s what prompted us to hold our group conference, UC22, in Dubai recently; we wanted to help our people think bigger and see what can happen in a positive pro-business environment.
That’s where the real value of leadership lies, and I just can’t get excited about micro managing where my extremely effective team are sitting at any given moment – who’s got the time for that?
Find the best people, no matter where they are
As we grow The Carling Group on a global scale, Leanne and I need to be able to tap into the very best thinking and expertise. By definition, that means recruiting internationally and not being bound by geography. Why would we limit the expansion of our business, when we have the whole world’s best talent out there waiting to be hired?
I want people at all levels of our business who are focused on, and effective at, getting things done – beyond that I don’t spend time worrying about where people are, which office they’re sitting in, or what they’re doing. I trust them to know what needs to be done, and that they’re experienced enough to handle their own workload. Anyone who doesn’t have that level of trust in their senior leaders hasn’t hired the right people. If you’ve got the right people around you, ‘working from home’ fades into insignificance in the face of what you’re achieving together.