'Tech saved our business from spiralling property cost'
The cost of unpredictable business property requirements can be sidestepped with the introduction of remote working tech.
That’s the view of Jason Downes, managing director of communications software company PowWowNow, which has 90,000 users on its platform.
Founded in 2004, the London-based company’s success is testament to the changing demands of the workforce, having doubled in size every four years.
“There are big businesses out there with very little office space,” Downes told BusinessCloud.
“Conversely, if you look around London you see an expensive property and there are not enough people in it. That's what is helping to grow the likes of WeWork, because people want a more flexible model.”
Downes said that businesses which allow remote working are typically “young in mind, not young in age” and are best-prepared for a new generation entering the workforce.
“The generation that is coming through is used to having information at their fingertips, from the comfort of their sofa,” he said.
“They don’t expect to have anything less than immediate access, wherever they are.”
PowWowNow focuses on mid-market customers but also serves large UK financial services, retailers and government bodies.
Its communication tech ensured that as it grew its remote workforce, its own culture and security remained unharmed. Whilst there is also the ability to track productivity of remote workers, Downes believes that is missing the point.
“It's about having trust in people to know that they can work very productively, and even more productively – from the data we've seen – away from the office,” he said.
The approach has allowed the company to retain its existing headquarters despite growing to £20m projected revenue for 2018.
“We won't worry about not having enough space, we'll let technology enable it,” he said. “The revenue we’ve saved is now being invested back into marketing and sales – the things that actually grow your business.
“People want more flexibility to do what they are most passionate about. That might be dropping the kids off, going to the gym, hobbies.
“With the thought of working for 60 years, you need to have a bit more balance.”