Calgary Tech Talk Podcast: The Modern Workplace Means Working From Anywhere – Even a Forest!

CTECH CEO Carl Fransen is back with his longtime friend and colleague, Ulistic CEO, Stuart Crawford for another edition of their Calgary Tech Talk podcast. In this latest edition, Fransen and Crawford dig deeper to explore the modern workplace and all the business possibilities it fosters.

The Business Game is Changing, and Successful Companies Are Adapting with Strategic Technology

Carl Fransen is back again, and he’s more excited than ever about the modern workplace. In this week’s edition of the Calgary Tech Talk podcast, Fransen and his colleague Stuart Crawford go further to explore the possibilities our ‘new normal’ has opened up for business teams. Above all, both professionals are eager to demonstrate how professional teams in all industries can reap tangible benefits by leaving the traditional work environment behind in a big way.

Going Mobile in the Forest: Change of Scenery = Change of Mindset

A few weeks ago, Fransen found himself in a bit of a rut. Having transitioned to working exclusively from home, he was staying productive and getting work done, but he was spending most days stuck on his couch with his laptop, and it was beginning to wear on his state of mind. He had set up a home office, but he found himself getting tired of lying on the couch for his 8-hour workday.

“Don’t get me wrong, it was comfortable,” Fransen said. “I had pillows in all the right places, snacks, and drinks within reach. It was nice. But something started happening – my mental health started deteriorating a little bit. My mindset just wasn’t the same.”

It wasn’t until Fransen’s son checked in with him that he realized it was time for a change of scenery, and more importantly, a change in mindset.

“My son would leave for school in the morning, and I’d say goodbye from my spot on the couch and tell him to have a great day,” Fransen continued. “But then, he’d come home from school, and I’d be in the same place, doing the same thing, and he’d ask me ‘Dad, have you been on the couch all day?’”

Fransen knew he couldn’t lie to his son. It wasn’t as if he’d been sitting on the couch watching Netflix all day. He was working and working at quite a productive pace. But he couldn’t avoid the fact that his son was right – he was stuck in the same place all day, and that couldn’t be the best environment for his mindset. That’s when Fransen knew it was time to make a change.

“I decided then and there that it was time to break the mold for a bit and plant myself somewhere entirely different,” Fransen said. “I needed to change up my scenery, and I really wanted to push the envelope; I wanted to see what technology can really do in terms of taking business operations entirely remotely.”

So what did Fransen do? He relocated to the middle of an old-growth forest, right in the center of Nanaimo, BC. That’s right – he took his laptop and a chair and reinvented his virtual office in the middle of a forest. He got himself completely connected to the internet by tethering his phone to LTE and started getting work done in the peacefulness of nature – among the trees and steps away from the water’s edge.

“The only real cons are that my chair could be a bit more comfortable, and my laptop battery-life only lasts about 4-5 hours,” Fransen noted. “But when you think about it, that’s still the possibility of working full-tilt for 4-5 hours. I have full access to video and audio conferencing, collaboration applications, sharing files, podcasting – whatever I need. I can do it all from right in the middle of this old-growth forest.”

“Yeah, and on top of that, you and I are having a conversation from opposite ends of the continent,” Crawford added. “You’re in a forest in BC, and I’m at home in Central Florida, and here we are, able to have our bi-weekly podcast conversation with no issues. It makes you think, isn’t this just the way it should be?”

“Exactly, Stuart, and you know what – changing up our scenery has mental health benefits too, not just business benefits,” Fransen said. “Think about it, where do we go on vacation to relax and recharge? We go to nature, to the beach, or the park. Why do we settle for looking at old vacation pictures when we could be living and working in these spaces, doing everything we’d regularly do in the office. I mean, how peaceful it is to be working in a forest. I can feel the rejuvenation in real-time.”

“Yeah, I hear you,” Crawford responded. “The only thing for me is that I’d probably choose to be working on a beach in the Caribbean, with a cocktail and a cigar in hand instead of plunking myself down in a forest. But that’s the beauty of the modern workplace. To each their own.”

“Exactly, we can create our offices anywhere, Stuart,” Fransen agreed. “If I could give advice to all business professionals, it’s this: find your forest. Find the space that you feel most comfortable, relaxed, and productive in. The thing is, you’ll still have all the disruptions of your regular workday – you’ll have emails and calls and messages to deal with. But at least you’ll be working in the open air, or on the beach, or wherever you feel most comfortable.”

“You can still be productive while taking care of your mental space,” Fransen continued. “Today’s professional leaders need to understand that going remote doesn’t need to mean a loss of productive potential, and they have to embrace the tangible business benefits of a more relaxed and rejuvenated team.”

Busting Modern Workplace Myths: Productivity & Workflow Won’t Suffer

One of the biggest myths about the modern workplace that Fransen wants to bust is that companies will see a hit to productivity and streamlined workflow by leaving the traditional work environment behind. From Fransen’s experience, this isn’t true.

“Listen, there’s nothing I can’t do, sitting right here in the middle of the forest that I would regularly do in the office,” Fransen insists. “This morning, for instance, from my ‘forest office’, I’ve been working on different cut sheets for my sales staff to present online for prospective clients. More than that, I’ve had two conference meetings already today with my sales team, where I presented the latest iteration of these cut sheets. I’ve also had three other business calls right from my seat in the forest. It’s just like a regular workday – I’m fully operational and just as productive, but I’m in the serenity of the forest!”

“It sounds to me like that’s the way it’s supposed to be Carl, you’re really living the mobility dream of business professionals everywhere,” Crawford added.

“Exactly, and every professional can and should be doing this right now,” Fransen agreed. “And like I said, it doesn’t have to be a forest – every professional can and should find their own ‘forest’ – that special place where they can work at peace.”

For Fransen, it really is a no-brainer. Big office buildings and long commutes to work will eventually become obsolete. There’s no need for these traditional elements of the business environment when you can be just as productive and even more cost-efficient without them.

“Think about it, Stuart,” Fransen continued. “Wouldn’t it be cool to host a virtual business meeting right now with a bunch of professionals in a high-rise office, wearing their stuffy suits? We could easily be telling them, ‘this could be you; find the peaceful place outside of the traditional office where you’d prefer to work and make it happen!’ This is an option that is well within the realm of possibilities offered by technology now.”

The key, Fransen argues, is that business leaders have to ask themselves a question: will be transitioning to a modern workplace result in hits to productivity? Will their work suffer by moving to a more peaceful and unconventional workspace? As long as professionals can assure that such a transition will not result in any detriment to their productivity and profitability, Fransen said there is no reason not to make the switch.

“Once I realized there were no negative impacts on my productivity or workflow, it really became crystal clear for me – this is the way of the future,” Fransen said. “And why is it that I can continue to be just as productive outside the traditional work environment? It’s because the technology available today makes it possible. I  have access to everything that an old-fashioned, on-premise office would have – I have access to every single service and tool that I need, but I can be in nature.”

“IT for business is really trending toward remote and virtual work environments,” Fransen continued. “Things are going agnostic, meaning professional teams can minimize their bulky hardware requirements significantly. Teams can get work done now with much more portable equipment.”

“Smartphones, tablets, and laptops carry huge processing power now, especially in conjunction with innovative software solutions,” Fransen said. “Even traditional phone systems are becoming obsolete. I’m streamlining all my business communications with a smartphone and a Bluetooth headset, and it functions like a fully operational, on-premise phone system.”

The best part? Fransen went on to tell Stuart that the CTECH team is really taking these ideas by the horns. CTECH is developing even more innovative and dynamic solutions to allow business teams in all industries to leave the expensive, mentally taxing, and the inconvenient traditional business environment behind.

Embodying the ‘New Normal’ – Remote Work Innovation from CTECH

“You know I hate to say it because we hear it so much these days, Carl, but you really are embracing and living out the ‘new normal,’ aren’t you?” Crawford asked.

“You nailed it, Stuart, and at CTECH, we’re not just living it, we’re trying to embody it in a full-on way,” Fransen said. “In fact, CTECH is working on a new product right now that we hope to be releasing soon. It allows professionals to take any smartphone and use it to project high-power applications like AutoCad, AutoTask, and digital imaging, rendering apps to computer screens and run them seamlessly.”

“That’s a pretty huge innovation,” Crawford noted.

“It is, and let’s take a step back to consider what that kind of technology would mean for an organization,” Fransen continued. “This means there is simply no need to continue using high-end, bulky desktops, or workstations. It allows professional teams to take everything fully compact and remote with absolutely no loss of processing power.

“Imagine if all you needed to work from anywhere was your cell phone,” Fransen said. “Hook it up to a charger, dock it to a monitor, and you can run your entire desktop, whatever that looks like, including specialized apps and customized software. You can run it all successfully from your cell phone. No more being chained to a desktop workstation.”

CTECH is committed to fully engaging this new technology so they can help clients not only get modern and thrive but survive in these stressful pandemic times. Many industries are taking huge hits because the traditional ways of doing things are becoming untenable. As a result, many of these businesses are being forced to look at themselves. They’re looking for the technology to help them get more competitive, more efficient, and more cost-effective.

“This is exactly what we’re trying to do at CTECH,” Fransen continues. “We’re working on adding another feather in our arsenal of being different than anyone else. We’re taking the problems our clients are up against in real-time, and we’re putting our innovative approach to work to face those challenges head-on.”

Can Any Organization Make This Change & Reap the Benefits? Quick Answer: YES!

“Ok, Carl, I have a question for you that I think our listeners will want an answer to,” Crawford said. “Let’s think of the traditional oil and gas company from downtown Calgary. Will the modern workplace work for them? Can they take advantage of these new arrangements?”

“Yes, absolutely, and this is where the cost-efficiency question becomes central,” Fransen said. “Look at it this way, the capital costs for any business in any industry – oil and gas or whatever else – these capital costs are killing businesses right now. Think of all the costs associated with maintaining office space. There’s parking, hardware, server rooms, janitorial, and more. These capital costs are constantly eating away at a business’ bottom line.”

“For example, one of my clients used to lease this office space, and it cost him $20 000 a month to maintain it,” Fransen continued. “We went in there about a month ago, and we sent everyone home. CTECH equipped them with the technology they needed to go fully remote, and save $20 000 in the process.”

Here’s the thing, for a tech veteran like Fransen, the business space has reached a critical tipping point. The businesses that survive and succeed despite these crazy times will be the ones who are willing to embrace the way of the future by eliminating capital costs, cutting out commute times, and allowing their teams to thrive in their own environments. When business leaders realize that this will help them save money and foster a mentally sharper and more productive team, it really becomes a no-brainer.

“And let’s be clear, it’s not just about the savings,” Fransen said. “It’s about making the right decisions that make an organization more competitive, more efficient, and more open to collaboration opportunities. It’s about positioning companies to do more and share more, communicate stronger, share ideas more dynamically, and become knowledge workers.”

Fransen believes that when businesses do this, they immediately are building toward a stronger and smarter corporation. A more effective corporation – a well-oiled machine that is better equipped to weather storms like COVID. That’s what CTECH is committed to right now – helping every organization become that resilient, well-oiled machine. CTECH has spent the last six months focusing on this and this alone: developing tech solutions that are reliable game-changers for organizations looking to adapt in a big way.

“So, how does a typical business go about moving in that direction,” Crawford asked. “How do they get started in terms of embracing and embodying the modern workplace?”

“I’ll tell you this, Stuart,” Fransen continued. “The biggest obstacle right now is getting over the mental block – shaking off the mindset that it can’t be done or that the modern workplace is too good to be true. I would tell professionals who still have doubts about calling me, and I’ll tell them how I did it. That really is all it takes – it starts with the CEO or the leadership team dreaming up how they want to run the corporation and manage their employees in a way that promotes productivity and bolsters the bottom line.”

“Once you have the idea of how you want your operation to run, you ask the most important question,” Fransen added. “How do I bring the right technology in so I can actually do this and make it a reality? Then you reach out to our team at CTECH, and we’ll help you bring even your wildest visions to life with innovative and strategic IT solutions.”

Key Takeaway? Find Your Forest, Build Your Oasis, Reap the Rewards

“You know, Carl, it seems like you truly are the embodiment of the new normal, and you’re even taking the modern workplace a whole step further,” Crawford said.

“You know what, Stuart, we’re really committed to doing more than talking the talk,” Fransen said. “We’re all about walking the walk and proving ourselves. That’s why I’m here in the forest doing it myself! I’m trying to prove to clients that they truly can work from anywhere, just as efficiently. We’re committed to helping clients cut out the inconveniences and overhead costs so they can build better, more sustainable companies for the long-haul.”

“I hear you, man, and I see you walking the walk every day,” Crawford said. “Listen, I’ve been working from home for weeks now, and in all fairness, I don’t think I ever want to go back into the office. I think I’m happier working from home. It’s good for the mindset, and a sharp mindset is good for business, plain and simple. But, as I said, I might choose a different coast as my new office, maybe a beach somewhere.”

“Exactly, man,” Fransen said. “Find your forest, Stuart! Look at it this way – it’s all about creating your oasis. Wherever it may be, you can create a space that suits your personality and work habits. A place where you know you’ll be the most productive. Business leaders truly need to start recognizing the value of doing this for their employees.”

“It’s not just about happier employees, either. It’s about sharper business sense and sustainability in changing times,” Fransen continues. “The modern workplace really is a game-changer for company culture and profitability. The first step is embracing our changing times and getting over the mental block that the modern workplace isn’t possible or decreasing productivity or profitability. That isn’t true. When done the right way, and with the right technology, the modern workplace will actually translate as a boost to both productivity and team morale.”

“Well, Carl, as you know, I don’t plan on renewing my lease, and I can’t wait until the term is up,” Crawford agreed.

“Exactly, that’s because traditional office space and landlords are going the way of the dinosaurs,” Fransen said. “My team doesn’t rely on hardware or servers at all anymore. They’re all working totally remotely on the Cloud. And guess what? They’re more secure, more efficient, more elastic, and more cost-effective than ever before.”

“You make a pretty rock solid-case for the modern workplace,” Crawford said. “We’ll have to keep the conversation going in our next edition of Calgary Tech Talk. Although we might need a new name for our podcast since neither of us is in Calgary anymore.”

“But isn’t that the beauty of it Stuart,” Fransen said. “This really brings everything we’ve been talking about home. It doesn’t matter where we are anymore. The modern workplace means a company, project, or collaboration can run from anywhere, anytime.”

“Too true, my friend, and let’s keep the cross-continent collaboration going,” Crawford concluded. “Until next time.”

Ready to embrace and embody the modern workplace? CTECH is ready to make it happen. Give us a call at (403) 457-1478, drop us a line at info@ctechgroup.net, or visit our website at www.ctechgroup.ca to chat with a live agent and book a modern workplace consultation.