A large number of successful companies have already found that non-traditional ways of working have brought immense benefits, including reduced staff turnover, and increased productivity and profits, and the Virgin Group is one of them.
Thinking outside the box has been perfected by Sir Richard Branson. He left school at 15 and started a magazine called ‘Student’, and then went on to start Virgin Records and the rest, as they say, is history. Now Virgin Group has over 400 companies in more than 20 countries, and the boss has an estimated fortune of £5 billion.
With regard to employment, he says that “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business”, and the emphasis has always been on finding excellent employees, and creating an environment where they can flourish.
Virgin Group’s working policy has raised many eyebrows in the corporate world over the years. They recently announced that the Virgin leader’s personal staff of 170 are entitled to take annual leave when and for however long they want. The emphasis, according to Richard Branson should be placed on what needs to be done rather than when it gets done.
Whilst a controversial idea, in today’s world where social media, smartphones and laptops do not allow work to end when the employee leaves the office, it has become necessary to update holiday policies in line with a changing working society, and flexible working is a large part of that.
“To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other. A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision. It is the art of delegation, which has served Virgin and many other companies well over the years.
We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they work at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked in an office and never will.
If you provide the right technology to keep in touch, and maintain regular communication to get the right balance between remote and office working, people will be motivated to work responsibly, quickly and with high quality.
Working isn’t 9 to 5 anymore. The world is connected. Companies that do not embrace this are missing a trick.”