By Anson Thompson
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." ~Arthur C. Clarke
5:38 am, coconut oil infused coffee in hand, and it’s time to start another day. I own a company that has 20 employees spread between two countries. We have employees that I have yet to meet although they have worked for our firm more for than a year.
Although my company has four physical locations across the United States, I don’t have an office. I don’t have that secret place that I can hide a television and watch the NCAA tournament. I don’t have a desk phone, I don’t have a desk, and I don’t have a wall with photos of my family.
If you do have an office, I’d like to ask you why. What do you do in your office? Are their clients hiding in your office? Are you sitting their playing solitaire and a client magically appears? Why do you have an office?
We live in a world where technology has allowed us to live office free. Technology has allowed us to find the best talent in the world and match it with our specific needs. We live in a magical time; we live in the future.
We no longer employ a receptionist at our company. Instead, we contracted with Ruby. Ruby is our receptionist. Ruby is a firm based in Portland, OR. They answer our phones as if they were sitting in our magical office. They ask a few questions and route the caller to the correct individual.
Ruby is awesome. I don’t have to offer benefits to Ruby. There is no FICA; Ruby does her job and allows us to do ours. Consider letting your receptionist go and hiring my friends at Ruby.
Our phone system was giving us some fits. I’m embarrassed to tell you that we still have anchors at our desks. We force our employees that do work from an office to sit and answer the block of plastic known as a traditional phone. But those days are numbered.
As my staff was investigating new phones systems, I thought “why don’t we buy all our staff new iPhones and let that be their office phone?” Cell phone technology has advanced and in some ways it's superior to the old Plain Old Telephone System. The time is now to cut the cord.
So, we have contracted with cell phone carrier and we are removing our old anchors from our desks. No longer will our people be tied to their desks. They will each have a nice new glistening iPhone 8 Plus to use as their office phone and if they want to make a personal call, well, go ahead. We negotiated a pretty swank deal that allows for our employees to use their phones as needed.
Today, think about throwing away your anchors and giving your team a new iPhone. They deserve it, and you are making a mistake tying them to their desk. Trust me on this.
Stop having your people come to a physical location for a meeting. Instead, use Zoom. Think about all the time that is wasted when Rob, Mary and Steve get into their cars and drive to your physical location. That’s valuable time they could be used to work with your clients. Drive time is wasted time. Instead, the next time you need to pull your team together, do so virtually.
Zoom allows for you to see and hear the person with whom you are meeting online. Why do you think it a good idea to have your team physically in the same room? Click here to learn more about Zoom.
We live in the future; it’s time you start taking advantage of some of the fantastic tools that are right in front of your nose. So, close your office, give every employee a cell phone, hire Ruby and start using Zoom.
Welcome to the future, my friends.
Anson Thompson is a TAB Member and the Owner of The Thompson Group, a progressive insurance agency that designs insurance programs to suit clients’ home, auto, life/health and business needs. While The Thompson Group is a technology leader in their industry, they still know their clients by name, a real person answers their phone and they love to visit clients at their home or business face-to-face.