Our office is just a meeting point
‘E-office’ began with the founders Roland McVey and Roger Stewart and now we have hundred employees. We do have an Office, but that mainly serves as a meeting place. All our employees choose where they want to work: at home, on the road, at a customer site or in the Office. The latter occurs when someone needs to staff the help desk for a customer, because that is here in the Office. Forcing people for time and location is ‘not done’ in Roland’s view. “Our staff all fit at our way of working. Those who like an every day from 9 to 5 behind the same desk in the Office, does not fit with the e-office way of agile working.”
A lot of freedom and responsibility
E-office provides a transparent Intranet and sufficient opportunities to share knowledge and diaries with each other. “To get people to decide themselves about their work it is important that they always have access to the necessary information and that they can share their knowledge and experiences directly with colleagues.”E-office does not have any rule on fixed days or hours in the Office. “The only rule we have is that ther is a desk available in the office when you’re working on the help desk. To accomodate this way of working we hace recently introduces the agile working app ‘iOtSpace’. This app enables people to reserve a workspace in the office and to check who is in and sits where. In addition to this, it helps staff to communicate well. It help to communicate what you are doing, and wher you are working and with who.
“The great dilemma at organizations where agile workong has not yet been introduced, is very often how to manage all this and how results can be monitored. Roger: “That ‘problem’ is unknown to us. We also have very few managers here, because every employee is itself a micro manager. Our compamy really belongs to our employees. “We als don’t use job prescroptions either. Our employees have a role and that can vary per project. The big advantage of it is that no one is pinned down and that there is every opportunity to use his or her talents. Another advantage is that the ‘blame culture ‘ has no chance.”
Our way of working is a strong USP
“If you give trust, you get there a lot in return. Our staff are all involved with the company and with their work. They are happy with the trus given. There is a reason why E-office is in the top ten of ‘Great place to work’ for years now. Roger is convinced that their way of working gives the company a strong position in relation to the competition. “We are more flexible and we form a project team nfor each different customer demand. That team always consists of employees who feel involved in E-office, with the project and that is also appreciated by the customer.”
With the iOtSpace Agile working App we als hav a great insight in our office occupancy rating. When we prepare for future expansion of our offices we know exactly what which work spaces are used and what the occupancy of those spaces are.
Although our employees have so all the freedom, we have agreed on a few codes of cinduct in 2010. “Until that time, it was freedom – happiness, but the crisis also forced E-office to get a bit more structured. There were clear agreements on the results that had to be achieved and what the objectives of the company are. That meant some more control where that was really needed.
Roland advises companies that are trying to start with agile workong to start small. Involve employees directly as soon as possible. Don’t start agile working with the aim to save costs, but from a clear choice for freedom and own responsibility’. Costs you might save on office space are lost anyway to investment in a new office design, training and ICT systems. The final profit is in the increasing flexibility of your organization, responsiveness to questions from customers and attract a new generation of employees. Anyway, I am convinced that each organization is ultimately better of with Agile working.”