EduFocal says bye, bye to physical officeMonday, July 06, 2020
KINGSTON, Jamaica — E-learning service EduFocal announced today that it will be closing its physical office for good, and will instead operate remotely.
In a LinkedIn post titled The EduFocal Team is going Remote! Bye, Bye Office, company CEO Gordon Swaby said “Come August 31st, we will be closing our physical offices and have no plans for a physical office again in the foreseeable future”.
“We plan to be a remote, agile, and still high-performing team. We believe we don't need a physical office to innovate and to be a world-class team,” the young entrepreneur said.
Like companies the world over, EduFocal was forced to turn to remote work arrangements in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. And like many, the small Jamaican company has weighed the benefits of continuity with what is being described as the new normal for the workplace.
“Do you really need an office for your company?” Swaby asked in his LinkedIn post. “I thought we did, but COVID-19 showed me that we don't.”
He explained that prior to the pandemic, the company was “actively exploring a work-from-home policy as a team” but did not consider that it would become a permanent arrangement.
Said Swaby: “In our almost nine years of operation we've always had an office; even if I was the only one working from same, which was the case for our first few years of operation. As the team continued to grow, we continued to upgrade the size of our office, which was, up until 2019, based at the Technology Innovation Centre on the UTech (University of Technology, Jamaica) campus. In late 2019 we decided to move to another office. The team was growing and we just needed a bigger space.”
Swaby argues that a remote team opens up a world of possibilities, but also poses some challenges.
“One big benefit to the team is the fact that they don't have to be physically based in Kingston and can effectively operate from anywhere there's an internet connection. In fact, our CTO and developers have always worked in this way. The obvious challenge is maintaining and growing the camaraderie amongst team members,” he said, adding that the team is committed to making the new arrangement work.
Swaby said he will share his company's remote work policy once it's complete, and will chronicle EduFocal's journey in remote work so that the experiences can serve as encouragement for other companies in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
“When you look at companies like WordPress, a multibillion-dollar US company, it shows you that it's possible to scale a company while remaining remote. This is an exciting challenge for me and the team, and we're looking forward to the outcome,” Swaby said.
Swaby founded EduFocal in 2012, when he was 22.
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