By sticking with working from home, adland could access the talent pool of dreams

Clients want creative solutions and that requires the best talent, not a fancy office and ping pong table, proposes Kim McKay. If there's one thing agencies should take out of a forced period of working from home, it's that we can do it. And that means you can hire people from beyond the metro bubbles.

There’s a lot being written about the entire world’s sudden switch to remote work, but there’s one critical positive that I believe needs to be shouted from the rooftops: virtual workplaces give you the flexibility and freedom to hire literally anyone you like.

Remote work means you’re no longer choosing from the most qualified person in your city, but the most qualified person in the country or even the world. It’s a win for everyone: employers get a far greater choice of candidates, and employees get the chance to work for companies they might never have considered previously.

Clients want creative solutions to their marketing challenges, and that requires the best talent and expertise in the world – not a fancy office and ping pong table.

Recruitment was a massive factor in my own agency’s decision to go remote 12 months ago. I had to ask myself: Did I want the best team who lived close enough to make the journey to Surry Hills every weekday, or did I want the very best team on the planet? I’m pleased to say I chose the latter.

Of course, this dream recruitment scenario can only come true if you understand the shift in mindset that comes with remote work. In recent weeks, there’s been several news stories about companies installing time tracking and other workplace surveillance apps on their team’s computers and devices. Some of these solutions go beyond recording webpages and actually track individual mouse movements and keyboard strokes.

It goes without saying that this level of employee surveillance is never going to build a sense of trust. If you’re still in the mindset of ‘checking up’ on your staff or tracking every microsecond of their time, remote working is never going to work for you. If you treat them like naughty school children, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Processes are another key factor in making your brilliant new hires work for you. Processes are never the most exciting thing in the world, but they’re essential for a successful virtual working environment.

Leaders must invest the time and money to get their virtual workflows right, and for teams to understand how to use them to maximise their output. Every single process that worked in a physical environment now needs to work just as seamlessly in a virtual one.

While lockdown has meant we are all proficient in Slack and Zoom, the focus needs to be on using the right tools, the right way. Loom and Process.St, I’m looking at you.

‘But what about the distractions of working from home?’ I hear you cry. The truth is, people don’t need an office to concentrate. How many days have you spent in an office environment when you suddenly realise you haven’t completed half the things on your to do list, and it’s 5pm, and you’ve been stuck in a meeting for the last three hours?

The only reason you need an office is for collaboration or communication. When we first made the transition to remote working, we gave our team the choice: office or remote.

We eventually noticed that given the choice, the majority of people chose to come in one day a week so they could see each other, catch up face to face, and make the most of some creative thinking with the added brain power of the whole team.

There’s no denying it’s great to meet up with your brilliant new hires in person once in a while. But the beauty of remote work is that geographic location no longer has to be a reason to hire someone.

Instead, a virtual workplace means being able to choose someone who prefers to work from anywhere they like: a tiny house in the highlands, glamping in Gulgong, or a library in Lismore.

Trust me: those are the people you want to hire. And if you happen to be one of those people, you know where I am…

Kim McKay is the founder of Klick X


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