We recently wrote about the way offices are changing. The office is far from dead, but sometimes making it into the office every single day can be a challenge.

Especially in a world where the need to attract serious talent is competitive and doesn’t always appear on your doorstep, many roles call for the need to work remotely.

What exactly does remote working mean? It means being part of a company permanently, yet working from somewhere other than their office for most of the time.

“The flexibility and freedom that comes with being a freelancer/contractor is extremely attractive for talented people”


What if you find the talent to help take your business forward outside realistic commuting distance? If you really want to make it happen, there may be ways of making it work.

We often talk about the feasibility of doing this with our clients who have embraced remote working, so we caught up with Rob Lowe, Digital Director at Mr B and Friends and Jon Hadley at Lobster Pictures to find out what it takes to make remote working a success from the outset.

ADLIB: Where to start? How did you introduce remote working?

Robert-lowe-mr-b Rob Lowe (pictured left): We introduced remote working as part of a wider ‘Flexible Benefits’ package available to all of our staff. Along with remote working, this also includes flexible working hours and other great benefits such as Free ‘Get Fit at Work’ fitness training programme, subsidised gym memberships, Bike to Work loan scheme, car park loan scheme, discounted shopping and childcare vouchers.

We identified that the flexibility and freedom that comes with being a freelancer/contractor is extremely attractive for talented people. To ensure that we are able to attract and retain the best people in the area we want to offer them the best working environment possible.

Jon Hadley lobster PicturesJon Hadley (pictured right): We’re an R&D driven business, so it’s vitally important that we consider any suggestion that might bring about an improvement in our hardware, software, or business processes. In this case, we trialled the arrangement for six months, without issue, and introduced it fully afterwards. We allow both permanent remote working arrangements for up to two days a week and irregular ‘working from home’ days upon request.

ADLIB: Is there one piece of advice you could share with those wanting to introduce this option within their company?

RL: Have a process. It is crucial that employer benefits such as flexible working are not abused and don’t jeopardise the efficiency and quality of output from a business. Have a clear approval process (typically from line managers) and make the team’s whereabouts completely transparent to both team members and indeed clients.

“Along with process, a company needs to have the technology in place to support remote working”


Along with process, a company needs to have the technology in place to support remote working. This is often a challenge. Although access to email and remote access to servers can be setup easily via VPN and so on, the creative industry also throws up software challenges such as which version of Adobe Creative Studio a company or individual is using.

JH: Remote working is not suitable for all roles. Don’t be afraid to limit its use accordingly.

In my opinion you can’t manage effectively if you’re not in the office with your team for the majority of the week, so we don’t allow line managers to remote work and those staff who do still have to be in the office for a proportion of the week.

But with that said, sometimes I need a change of scenery and reduction of distractions to work though a big document or task. That’s why we also allow irregular ‘working from home’ days.

unsplash---coffee-and-pens-remote-workingProgramming (and I’m sure, lots of other intensive non-computing tasks) are well suited to remote working. Comfortable, quiet surroundings allow deep concentration on complicated tasks, without being distracted or asked to ‘context switch’ repeatedly.

ADLIB: Is there a specific characteristic you are looking for in candidates to consider them for working from remote?

JH: Yup – you’ll know it when you see it! Follow your managerial instinct. Not all candidates work well in ‘isolation’. They may need others to motivate them, or they may just miss the social energy they gain from being in the office.

RL: We make remote working available to all of our staff, new and old. We instil a level of trust in our team and allow them to take responsibility for their own working environment and indeed their own workload. It is expected that all ‘Friends’ are self starters that can manage their own time and ensure that they have everything they need to do their job to the best of their ability… wherever they are located.

Thank you Rob and Jon for sharing your thoughts.