How To Keep Team Dynamic When Employees Go Home To Work

David Aplin Group President, Jeff Aplin, wants to change the company model so that all employees work part-time in the office and part-time at home. The concern: how to keep the team-oriented culture going.
With offices in 10 cities from Vancouver to Halifax, Calgary-based David Aplin Group has grown into a sizable business. But Jeff Aplin, appointed president last year, wants to make the national recruiting firm that his father launched from their Edmonton home in 1975 even bigger. Within three years, he aims to double the number of staff at the 150-employee firm, and more than double annual revenues to $100-million from just over $40-million last year. He wants to pull off this expansion without adding any office space. “As we grow, it becomes a challenge to allocate square footage and an office to everybody,” Mr. Aplin says. His solution: Create a new structure for the company that will see all employees working part-time from the office and part-time from home.
That could be tricky. “There are a lot of implications,” says Mr. Aplin, whose father, David, is the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “It’s a bit of a can of worms from a people-management point of view.” After buying a search firm in Saskatoon this spring, Aplin now has a few staff working from home full-time there. Mr. Aplin says some complain about feeling disconnected, and he’s concerned about what that might mean for a larger number of employees partly telecommuting. “If we go to the work-from-home model, if someone is struggling or having a negative period of time, maybe they’re not as connected to the team and maybe we don’t know,” he says. “And maybe it’s not addressed as effectively, and then it starts kind of a spiral.”
While Mr. Aplin is still sorting out the logistics, he envisions employees working offsite for two or three days a week, whether full days, or mornings or afternoons…
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Written by Nick Rockel