We’ve gone virtual. Is it right for your business?| August 12, 2021
As of August 1st, 2021 Concensus has gone 100% virtual. We no longer have a full-fledged office. Our corporate address is a virtual address with an organization called Regus. Regus is a shared meeting space that offers small offices (we have one dedicated locked office room), workrooms/areas, and conference rooms.
We have always been a hybrid company. We have employees in 5 different states that work out of their homes since day 1 (May of 2006). Why did we get rid of the office? Was it COVID? What are the challenges? I’ll try to answer a few of these!
When our founding CEO retired in late 2016 we had the option of going virtual but we chose not to do so. We had hopes of building out an office and doing hosting services in that location. Fast forward only a short 2 years (into a 6-year lease!) our hosting grew to the point where we had to either obtain SOC status to comply with customer requirements or move our systems to a professional datacenter. We chose to do the professional datacenter.
With the datacenter located elsewhere, we went to a 3-day work from home and 2 days in the office workweek. However, we realized that we could work 100% remotely. I reached out to our landlord to see if he could find someone else for our lease. This was prior to COVID. It took him over a year to find a tenant to replace us. In the span of four days, we closed down the office, spun up our new virtual location, and were “virtual”.
Why was this so easy for us? Time for a patented Don bullet list:
- Our core business systems have been 100% cloud based since we opened
- Our employees all have laptops instead of desktops. We have docking stations and dual monitor setups. All are centrally managed with our Concensus Care software and services
- Our engineers are either remote to their customers or dedicated onsite
- Since everyone has been hybrid even covid didn’t slow us down
- Our landlord was good to work with!
- We are knowledge workers and can collaborate without being in person
What hasn’t worked or is a concern?
- We still have to train and onboard new employees. We have done this remotely with Senior IaM engineers in the past but we have not done this for entry level positions. How do we train someone remotely? It’s going to take a lot of work on policies, procedures and planning to make this work.
- Productivity? To date this has not been a problem as our company culture motivates us to solve problems for our customers. Most of us have been doing this for many years but working from home certainly requires a dedicated workspace, a discipline to achieve a work life balance and requires people to adapt to a less social environment.
IS GOING VIRTUAL OK FOR MY BUSINESS?
We believe that all IT can be virtual as a first step to being flexible. COVID has taught us that many organizations are headed to a work from anywhere model. Cybercrime has taught us that every device and all users must be protected at all times regardless of location.
Knowledge workers are the easiest to move as they typically need a computer and communication device. Other workers such as those who use computer-aided design (CAD) may require remote desktops to do their work because of the high cost of workstations.
If you are interested in going virtual consider doing a cybersecurity review with Concensus so we can evaluate your systems or part of your IT and phone systems that can go virtual. Many of us saw that remote access to systems was cumbersome and required a lot of pivots to get into place when COVID hit. Getting ahead of another potential shutdown will require planning and budget.