Recruiters on Cloud 9 for National Work From Home Day
May 16, 2014
This year’s National Work from Home Day shares an important anniversary with an early adopter of flexible working practices – Catalyst – a recruitment & HR consultancy based in the North East of England that can rightfully celebrate nine years of realising the benefits to be gained by smarter working.
This Blog, by Paul Wilson, owner of Catalyst, is also published today on the Work Wise Week 2014 website: http://www.workwiseuk.org/blog/?article=guest-blog-recruiters-on-cloud-9-thanks-to-catalysts-home-working-business-model
While many organisations can these days lay claim to at least having a flexible working policy for employees, Catalyst has gone the whole nine yards from the very start.
Having successfully grown a finance recruiting division from scratch while working with an independent regional recruitment company, I decided to start Catalyst in 2005 with a home-working business model at its heart – at first for practical reasons, then by design. That was nine years ago and we look forward with continuing belief having maintained profitability even through the credit crunch – leaner times where companies hiring staff in numbers were rarer. To date, we’ve grown organically and maintained our reputation for quality, integrity and a very personal approach in the way we do business.
For Catalyst, smarter working means maximum efficiency and productivity with our people working from home, using best-available technology and allowing flexible working hours.
Successful home-working is of course dependent upon technology and the company was again an early adopter. We invested in a Cloud based IT and communications system to underpin the recruitment management process and support accounting, administrative and marketing activities. All of our data is stored offsite in a secure data centre allowing staff to access it remotely via the internet.
Our IT investment massively increases the capacity of the business. Our operations are now faster and run more smoothly and this move allows us to roll out even further our home working model which is very green, very staff friendly and very cost effective for the client.
People and productivity come first of course - technology is an enabler.
I truly believe that home-working makes us a more productive business and increases the quality of the service we offer to clients and candidates – our customers. Our consultants spend a high proportion of their time in contact with our customers to understand their recruitment needs. Whether that’s face to face at their premises, or by telephone, or at a mutually convenient meeting place. We believe we obtain better client understanding and do a better job.
Home working means we can be very competitive too, investing in traditional office space much more modestly - when we need it – with a multitude of options available. Nowadays, a successful business can run almost anywhere.
At 8-9am and 5-6pm it's great to think we are making far better use of time and resources than being in a car.
Adapting to home working is really easy. I enjoy being able to think more clearly and home, by my definition, is somewhere to feel much more comfortable. I believe we reach a happier balance working this way - it's really productive.
As people naturally need to interact with others, when work life changes in this way, we change what we are doing. As colleagues, we meet regularly and communicate in new ways. Time with family and friends becomes more precious.
Today, more than ever, a good work/life balance is recognised as being crucial to personal happiness and wellbeing. This is something our team at Catalyst gladly testified to when asked today what they liked best about home-working. Here’s what some of them said:
- “You feel more in control of your time. I much prefer working from home to being in an office. You can get more done and don’t get exposed to office politics or distracted.”
- “Avoiding the rush hour everyday is the number one benefit as well as the flexibility of how you best use your time.”
- “I like being able to fit my work around studying for a part time degree. I don’t miss de-icing my car in the winter months! It’s more comfortable working from home.”
- “It's nice to work with like minded people who can appreciate that sometimes it is hard to juggle work/home time effectively.”
- “It gives a better work/life balance and better use of time as it's not wasted in travelling to an office. Being able to drop off and pick up the kids from school and be with them in the holidays, and avoiding a daily commute is what I like most.”
No commuting, more control and flexibility, greater comfort, more family time, peace and quiet when you need it. Sounds great? It is.
So for Catalyst, during Work Wise Week and National Work from Home day on Friday 16th May, we will simply be enjoying business as usual - for the ninth year!