Why Plan Left is Going Office-Free

Last Monday, Plan Left made the monumental decision to close the office doors for good and transition to a full-time work-from-home company. For some of our team members, this was “ho-hum, nothing new to see here,” because they’ve been remote from the beginning. As for the rest of the staff, we rushed headlong into the unknown, ready to combat the negatives and increase the positives.

For many, the idea of being without an office is somewhat synonymous with a dying or struggling business. In the case of Plan Left, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to explain this outrageous (actually not so outrageous at all, but we’ll get into that) decision, we thought we’d break down the pros and cons list for you.

Early to Start, Early to Finish

A few weeks ago, my schedule looked a little something like this:

6:30 am: Take the dog out.

6:45 am: Pretend to sleep a little more.

7:00 am: Get up and start the coffee.

7:30-7:45 am: Shove husband out the door.

8:00 am: Start getting ready for the day.

9:00 am: Arrive at office.

Last Monday morning, our first day without an office, my day looked like this:

6:30 am: Take the dog out.

6:45 am: Pretend to sleep a little more.

7:00 am: Get up and start coffee.

7:30 am: Shove husband out the door.

7:31 am: Start work.

With this change, I started my day an hour and a half sooner. I thought it might be a fluke, but the same thing happened Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I asked others in the office, and they replied, with a sense of wonder, that they’d started their days much sooner, too. The early start meant that we could complete work earlier in the afternoon, which—so far—has improved work/life balance and overall quality of life. And that means Plan Left is a company filled with happy employees.

No Need for an Empty Office

Plan Left is a busy, busy company, which meant most of our team members were out and about with clients several times per week. There were days when only one person sat lonely in the office while everyone else closed deals, lunched with clients, visited with vendors, or just took a break.

After a while, the office seemed like a silly expense. Sure, some days we were all there, laughing, planning, chatting. But we didn’t need a permanent gathering space for the rare full-team meetings. Not when options like Center 615 exist right down the road. Now we’re able to meet in a beautifully appointed shared office space, rent conference rooms when we need them, and focus our funds on more important things.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

After spending day in and day out with a group of people you truly like, going a week without them is pretty difficult. Sure, we’re all connected through Google Chat, Slack, Skype, email, text, and phone, but sometimes that’s just not enough.

Do you know what it’s like to work in a company where you actually miss your coworkers when you don’t see them? If you don’t know this feeling, then you’re obviously not working in an office-free environment. When we do see each other now, we laugh, talk, share, connect. A real connection that just doesn’t happen when you’re walking past someone’s desk every day. Eliminating the office environment has saved our culture.

We’re All Managers

Plan Left has never really been big on titles, so “managers” aren’t really a thing here. Sure, someone’s always there to provide quality assurance for anything and everything before it goes out the door, but a “manager” that person is not.

Something about going office-free has awakened the manager in each of us, however. Within the walls of the office, everyone always assumed there was some sort of supervisor watching over everything to make sure things got done. Even with no supervisor in place, the assumption remained. Now, we’re our own managers. Every Plan Left employee has taken complete ownership of his or her job. We do the things that must be done without waiting for assignments from others. We accept responsibility for the mistakes we make, because we know there’s no one else around to take the blame.

This sense of ownership has improved the quality of our work. That quality, coupled with our sincere desire to work with each other, means clients are getting better service and a better product. We like it a lot.

And Now for the Cons

There are a few cons, which have been sprinkled throughout this list of pros. We don’t get to see each other as much. We don’t have a central meeting place. The mailman is probably a little confused this week. The truth is that there are cons to any business decision. It’s up to us to give the pros more weight. So far, things are looking pretty bright.

And don’t worry if you have a meeting scheduled with us soon. We’ve planned ahead for new and existing clients. If you’re curious to learn more about this wild and crazy (but oh, so ingenious) decision, give us a call. It’s an exciting time to be part of Plan Left.

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