For Milton Keynes telecommunications specialist, Boxx Communications, the unexpected events of 2020 turned into a transformational learning experience. Here, they look at how that has helped the company advance its strategic plans faster and look to the future with real confidence:
The improvement in broadband speeds and wifi growth that we have seen in recent years have made it much more viable to work while at home or on the move. In parallel, the advances made with collaborative tools, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, have made it easier for colleagues and contacts to come together in a virtual space, hold meetings and work as a team, remotely.
Indeed, for the new generation who have grown up with mobile technology, the option of working at home would be something they’d expect from a progressive communications company like Boxx. Increasingly, all companies need to think about their working environment – and that’s especially true now that everyone has got used to working at home during the last few months.
At Boxx, we had already been moving towards operating as a distributed workforce. Ultimately, we aimed to be there by 2023. While technically we were capable, old habits die hard, and the majority of our team generally still came into the office three or four days a week. So culturally we weren’t ready.
As we entered 2020, we were operating from a very nice suite of offices at Witan Studios in central Milton Keynes and our team liked working there. It was easy to reach and a convenient place in which to host customer and partner meetings. We invited other local businesses to share space with us, and it seemed like a good balance, suitable for some time to come. Even so, we felt compelled by the concept of distributing the workforce and giving our team ultimate flexibility in their working day.
All that changed when the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns came along. Suddenly, we were all forced to work at home.
Boxx was able to switch to home working for all staff immediately and indeed, we helped our customers to do that at too – in various ways. Some needed new or expanded connectivity, others just needed a little help and advice, which we were glad to provide. Thankfully, they all seem to have come through the last year without too much difficulty.
For us and all our customers, the pandemic has accelerated change. We have all had to re-evaluate our working practices and strategic plans. We’ve had to re-think how, and where, we will work and how our businesses will grow and develop.
For Boxx, home working has been a great success and with the lease we held at Witan Studios due to expire in November last year, we decided to bring forward our plans to move to a more distributed structure.
We have now moved to a new office location in the Spaces centre, just a few minutes away from our previous location. This has similar characteristics in that it is central, easy to reach and brilliantly designed for co-operative, collaborative working. We have a small, dedicated office in Spaces for our team to use on rotation or when required and if we need additional desks at any time, or to make use of a meeting room, that can be arranged quickly and easily.
Moving to Spaces has given us the ability to take a ‘remote first’ approach, while also having a central point where our teams can meet and work, together or individually, meeting the needs of both the business and our staff. Our people can choose where they want to work on different days – and they don’t always have to plan that in advance. They can be more flexible, which allows them to juggle their responsibilities and commitments, while also being readily available and accessible when they are working.
Sense of unity
As we have discovered, there are many benefits to working in this more dynamic and distributed way. We are finding that, regardless of where they are working, our staff and partners can work collaboratively more often. It is much easier to bring together a group of individuals who are involved in a virtual, online meeting, than it would be to arrange a physical gathering. That also saves time, reduces costs, and helps the environment.
Our staff also benefit from having to travel less and being able to work more flexibly. That boosts productivity and supports health and well-being. But we also have a great central location and an excellent working environment where we can bring people together regularly to give them that sense of unity and being part of a strong team.
We’ve also benefited in an unexpected way by moving to the new office. There are other businesses operating from Spaces and we’ve already found that we’ve been able to help them, and they have been able to help us. The move has thus expanded the pool of local talent on which we can draw and opened up new potential for our business.
Our accelerated move to a more distributed business structure and a remote first approach has broken down the walls between us, our customers, and our partners.
In this sense, the whole pandemic has been transformational for Boxx. We were moving in this direction already, but the unexpected events of 2020 pushed us forward, and made us bolder and braver. As a result, we’ve been able to advance much faster and with real certainty and confidence.
It’s been an excellent learning experience for the whole Boxx team. As communications and collaboration technologies make home and remote working more comfortable and more viable, we fully expect to be helping more of our customers to adopt more flexible working practices and transform their businesses in 2021.
Boxx Communications Ltd is an independent telephony and internet connectivity supplier with an aim to simplify telecommunications for businesses large and small. For more information visit www.boxxcomms.co.uk