Dr. Geoff Smart is the chairman and founder of ghSMART, a leadership consulting firm that exists to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world. Dr. Smart and his firm have published multiple New York Times best sellers. He stays active in his community and has advised many government officials.
I recently read an article in the New York Times titled We’re Kidding Ourselves That Workers Perform Well From Home, which I felt urgently needed a counterpoint. The article discussed the Houston-based law firm Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing as they navigated the pandemic, avoided layoffs and achieved their best year on record. It’s an inspiring story, and I don’t mean to take any credit away from it.
That being said, the heart of the story is that Mr. Zavitsanos attributed the success of his business to his colleagues returning to the office during the pandemic. Mr. Zavitsanos stated, “Ambitious lawyers at firms like ours simply couldn’t thrive in a virtual setting.” That may be true for his firm, but I fear his case might scare off leaders considering a more flexible work arrangement for their workforces.
I want you to consider the alternative experience my company ghSMART saw, as we offered flexible and remote work before and during Covid-19 and produced similar results. At ghSMART, every employee has worked from home since day one, and we have never doubted ambitious professionals can function with remote and flexible work.
At ghSMART, we achieved record revenue and profits throughout the pandemic, completing a 10-year average annual revenue growth of 21% and profit growth of 24%. Client satisfaction metrics reached all-time highs. Our clients are board members and CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world as well as private equity investors of the largest funds and government leaders.
If you think a remote firm can’t build a successful culture, you’d be wrong. ghSMART recently won an award for being the best management consulting firm to work for. This was out of 100,000 firms and based on overall employee satisfaction. We also hold a Glassdoor culture rating of 4.9 out of 5, which is #1 in our industry.
You’d also be mistaken if you thought a remote firm would struggle to attract top-tier talent. We have four New York Times bestselling authors and two Rhodes Scholars, and many of our colleagues have performed at the top of their peer groups. It’s clear you can attract and retain top talent at a remote firm.
For the leaders of those organizations considering flexible and remote work, I say give it a chance. It offers a level of freedom and flexibility your employees will be incredibly grateful for, and you may even see an uptick in productivity.