Wall Planning & Environmental Consulting functions just the same as any other boutique town planning firm but better (well we think so anyway). We have clients, meetings, deadlines and a wide range of projects across multiple disciplines. However, we think Wall Planning & Environmental Consulting is unique for a number of reasons, but one of our key differences is our lack of a centralised office. While we have an office located in Clermont to accommodate our client meetings, the majority of the workforce operates remotely, communicating over the phone and online to ensure that everything gets done with timeliness and efficiency.
While once a scattered workforce would be a cause for concern, todays working environment is changing like never before. With skilled professionals spread across cities, countries and the globe, modern communication technologies have connected likeminded professionals to facilitate the flow of information. Why can’t this be done in an office setting?
Wall Planning is using our separation to our advantage. With staff members spread between central Queensland and Brisbane, we use a number of networking software’s and virtual office spaces to keep ourselves connected, while remaining independently motivated. The system relies on self-motivated and goal-oriented workers with strong communication skills, which are qualities one would look for in employees in a standard office as well, with these team members ensuring that all the gears are in motion to keep the office moving forward. This is perfect of the modern town planning office as the work can easily be done remotely, which saves overhead for the company and therefore translates to savings for the clients without jeopardising the functionality of the company.
Programs like teamwork help us keep track of our upcoming tasks and deadlines, allowing us to add notes and comments on work helps us all stay on the right track with the project. Teamwork even lets us record time spent on each task to help with invoicing and helps us share daily goals to keep track of each other’s progress.
The future of the workplace.
While the ‘traditional’ office space is convenient and comfortable, it also opens the door to productivity killers too. Commuting to the office takes time out of the day with nothing getting done, plus its bad for the back. Wall Planning’s virtual office allows the staff members to work from home, blending comfort and efficiency to keep the office moving forward without the need for non-productive commuting time.
Plus, we’re using our rural location to our advantage! With the company located in Clermont, Central Queensland, we have a large catchment for projects that come through our doors. While site visits can be a useful tool in a town planners’ arsenal, remote jobs are often difficult to access. Wall Planning’s dispersed workforce means that we can cover more area to visit site across a wider catchment.
With the 24-hour economy in full swing, our comfort with online communication means that the Wall Planning office can operate from anywhere in the world, no office required! Anywhere and at any time, the Wall Planning team can be working towards completing projects and achieving deadlines.
The remote workplace toolbox
Aside from solid leadership, committed employees, and a passion for the work, the remote workplace can benefit from a few tools that have been helping the Wall Planning staff to stay on track and productive. Some of our favourites for the remote workplace are as follows:
- Teamwork: We love Teamwork! The Teamwork program allows the virtual office to run with efficiency like few other programs could. Allowing us to assign and track tasks and projects, record hours and notes on work, and establish deadlines; the Teamwork software has become an invaluable part of the Wall Planning team.
- Google Drive: Google drive is a simple, effective, private and secure document storage program. Storing all company documents to the cloud allows access to any files from anywhere at any time, which is vital to the functionality of the virtual workplace. After a year or two of working with the Google Drive program we have our filing systems down pat which makes finding a company document a breeze.
- Hubspot: Hubspot is fantastic for a million reasons. Not only does it help us record all the email contacts we come across in our line of work, allowing us to better build a client base, but the program allows us to send these contacts our company updates and to schedule our social media posts. Organisational tools, business development, client relations and marketing all in one place.
- Zoom: Video communication for those client meetings that are just a bit too far away. The video meeting is a fantastic tool that the virtual office place has over a traditional one as cutting out the transport time allows us to fit important meetings in without as many schedule clashes or difficult commutes.
- Shared Calendars: Sharing our virtual calendars among the staff make it easy to keep track of each other’s schedules and deadlines, that way we know the best times to call and when we’ll all be in the office.
We have other useful tools to maximise our company efficiency as well. Paperless, Good Notes 5 and automated mailboxes all help the Wall Planning machine to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, making it easier to get the important work done faster.
The remote workforce
Without spending hours upon hours in the office with the team, it can be challenging to keep the entire team moving in the same direction at the same pace. However, Wall Planning has found a number of likeminded employees that share similar professional values and goals that help to keep the workflow flowing. Some key qualities that the Wall Planning employees share are:
- Trust: Everyone needs to be doing their job, to the best of their abilities, in the timeliest manner possible.
- Proactive: Making sure the team is more goal oriented than task oriented. Wall Planning staff excel in making sure that we are working towards completing what needs to be done for each project as soon as possible.
- Discipline: Remote work can be an easy place for some to slack off, however the Wall Planning team believe that keeping on track is key to the success of our work.
- Accountability: The Wall Planning team take our responsibilities seriously, and therefore we find it vital to hold ourselves and each other accountable for the work we are tasked with.
Our business ethics are one of our most important guiding principles, with the key to our success stemming mostly from our respectful, driven yet relaxed, cooperative approach to our work and business.
Owning the remote workforce
Wall Planning is not alone in our remote workplace method. More and more businesses are ditching the traditional office in favour of a virtual one. The trend seems to be the direction that the future of office life is moving and we’re proud to be on the cutting edge of the trend. Wall Planning is hoping to expand our virtual office to even greater heights that ever before in 2020 and we hope you’ll be along for the ride.