Home working and departing friends

Paul Boag

Well, today sees the first member of staff to leave Headscape since setting the company up in January 2002. It is a strange experience having a member of staff leave when you are a virtual company.

I do not think I have mentioned in this blog before that Headscape is a virtual company. This is probably not the best term to use as it gives the impression we don’t do real work, but I cannot think of a better way of wording it.

The benefits of a virtual company

By virtual company, I mean we do not have a central office. Each member of staff works from home and we communicate and file share with tools such as Skype, CVS and Groove.

People are often curious about an entire company home working and ask how well it works in reality. My answer is usually that it is brilliant. From the employee perspective, you do not have to commute and you can see a lot more of your family. For example, if I were still working for IBM when I used to commute an hour and a half everyday, I would only see my 2-year-old son at weekends. As it is, I see him throughout the day whether I want to or not! As an employer, I love it because my staff tend to work the hours they would commute and generally home working is seen as a big bonus that keeps people at the company longer. Not to mention the savings made on premises.

Communication really is not a big problem. There are so many tools out there these days that help, and broadband means that even telephone conversations are now free.

The drawbacks of a virtual company

I guess the only thing you lack is some of the social aspects of working in an office. Rob leaving Headscape today has brought this into sharp focus. There was no office party, no embarrassing speeches, and not even any goodbyes really. No doubt, he will log on to MSN messenger again on Monday and we will see almost as much of him as we normally would anyway. I think the fact that 99% of my communication with Rob has been online or the telephone means that his departure will take a long time to sink in.

A friend moving on

What I do know is that from a work point of view he will be sorely missed. He joined us as a graduate and has grown to be a talented web developer who has been hard working and really got stuck into the business. He has left Headscape to shape young minds by teaching IT and web development in school. How can any company compete with the opportunity to influence the next generation?

I wish him all the best in his future career and advise any web design companies out there looking for a web developer to offer him obscene amounts of money to lure him away from his noble new calling!