Over the last 12 months, as Kiwis adjusted to life in lockdown, many New Zealand businesses have also adjusted to remote working for their staff.
With four in 10 Kiwis having worked from home during lockdowns, many are now adopting a split approach working some days from home and some days in the office.
How SMEs have struggled to adapt to remote working due to on-premise operations
Remote working in the cloud
As a dedicated NetSuite Partner since the company’s beginning, Liberate I.T. has not only sold cloud-based software, but have also run their entire business on the cloud for the last 10 years. Liberate I.T. is a company that practices what it preaches, with 30+ specialist staff having worked 100 per cent remotely. According to general manager Paul Beattie, demonstrating to their customers what the future might look like through their exemplary work model has been a great success. “Everyone we talked to was really excited about the model, and saw Liberate I.T. as a company that not only put in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, but also could assist in making serious changes to their working model and processes.”
Sales manager Steve Paea says using cloud solutions since day one has saved the company time and money, as Liberate I.T. has been able to scale and expand without being constrained by limited systems. “To this day, we used the same applications when we started 10 years ago, and that is NetSuite and Microsoft,” Paea says. “We invested in cloud solutions from day one and haven’t looked back.” For every other business that is hoping to implement remote working, Paea believes that digital strategies should be part of the roadmap. “Technology is constantly evolving, and companies are seeing the benefits and lower total cost of ownership that a cloud solution brings. “Don’t be afraid of digital transformation instead do your research. Talking to companies like Liberate I.T. who have been operating in the cloud since day one and practice what they preach is a good place to start,” Paea says.
Loyal staff equals better outcome
Going remote is an investment that’s also sparked a giant benefit with staff loyalty and engagement, which has translated to good outcomes for their customers. Beattie says his most pleasing feedback from staff is their ability to mix personal and work lives, not having to sacrifice between spending time with their loved ones and being a high performing professional. “I love it when I phone up one of my staff and hear them down at the beach because the kids came home from school – and they knew rather than getting in trouble, Liberate I.T. would endorse this mixing of their two lives.” Letting people work how and where they wanted, in an environment that they have created and felt comfortable in, was always at the top of the list. “It was really quite radical allowing everyone to work from home full-time, but it fitted our belief of creating a company where everyone could have a great work-life balance,” Beattie says.
Paea agrees, “We are a family and the company’s stance is on reinforcing the importance of work-life balance.” The company also does regular monthly dinners and half-yearly family-day events, alongside monthly all-staff Zoom meetings that are part information sharing, part social catch-ups. It’s a high-trust model that has worked well for Liberate I.T., and the few people who “took the mickey” were easy to identify, Beattie says. But ultimately Beattie believes that trusting your staff will mean getting re-paid over and over. “Everyone wants to do a great job. Trust them to do it.”
Liberate I.T’s customer outcomes speak to how well they are able to service their customers and give their staff work-life balance. Many customers come on board for the scalable growth that NetSuite allows but they stay because of the incredible service the team provides. For SMEs that want to transform their operations for success in a world of the ‘new normal’ and provide a better work environment, visit www.liberateit.com/business-transformation and fill out an enquiry form.