The remotest of challenges!!

Businesses are frequently reluctant to allow their employees to work remotely, certainly for much more than a day a week.  However, sometimes it is worth stretching a point.  That’s what Trewin Design Architects did when faced with an unusual challenge.  They recognise the importance of having committed people, so were prepared to think creatively about ways to support a valued employee continuing to work as part of the team from a remote base.

The base in this case was half the world away!!  Steve Truter (aka Bru) joined Trewin back in 2008 when he decided to make a move out of London.  Originally from South Africa, for Bru, his wife Simone and their two children, this was a conscious lifestyle change so that they could be close to the beautiful north Devon coastline, enabling him to indulge his passion for surfing.  Steve quickly settled into the Trewin team, working on large residential schemes and earned himself the nickname of ‘The Machine’ for the sheer number of Building Regulation plans he was capable of producing.

However, in January 2016 an opportunity arose for Simone to relocate her travel business, so the family decided to up sticks and answer the call of new adventures.  This time the move would take them ‘down under’ to Perth in Western Australia.

Understandably, Steve thought he would have to leave Trewin Design, but when he spoke with the Directors, they were determined to find a way to keep his valuable expertise within the team.  Luckily, technology provided the key for success.  With some conscious adjustment in communication channels and a willingness to embrace change, it is now a normal way of working and with the huge bonus that Trewin have the ability to provide continuous cover on specific projects.  Bru effectively works a ‘split shift’ with a few hours in the morning whilst his colleagues are asleep and a few hours late in the day, so that he can liaise and collaborate with the team.

Matt Payne, Director at Trewin said ‘It is all about recognising that the world is changing and the wonderful thing is that this actually means it can be easier to facilitate a team working together and playing to their strengths, even if it means challenging our thinking about the process. Global corporates work this way, but it is probably quite rare for small organisations to have the opportunity to provide a structure which can work for both employees and the business.  We are lucky enough to have found a way, which means we were recently in a position to celebrate Steve’s tenth anniversary with the company.’


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