Is it time to get away from the desk?

This month we catch up with James Pinchbeck, Marketing Partner at Streets Chartered Accountants, who asks: Is it time to get away from the desk? 

Sorry to disappoint you but this is not about taking a long weekend break or a long haul flight to somewhere tropical. It is more a reflection on what seems, over recent years, has become the growing trend for those in business to be less and less engaged or external facing with their customers and potential customers. In part, the digital world, pressures on productivity and seemingly relentless workloads have given rise to a culture or belief that one is too busy to spend time outside the business.

It also seems that there is greater and greater reliance on others being the face of the organisation, whether it is through taking on a marketing person or employing a business development person.  Why then should others, both junior and senior in our organisations, need to get away from our desks and go out into the marketplace? Surely with all the digital means of communication available to us today the ability to embrace it makes face to face contact a thing of the past. One might be forgiven for thinking so.

We do however, as human beings, have an inherent need to interact with people either in large groups, small gatherings and even one on one. How many of you have taken longer to travel to a meeting than conduct the meeting itself? And for a meeting which could have taken place using video conferencing or similar.

By taking the time out though to visit a customer or attend a related business event we can often come away with much more than perhaps we thought we might. On a positive note it can be the case that a working relationship is enhanced or renewed, or a new introduction is gained. It may also be the case that greater insight is gleaned or gathered around the markets you operate within and you come away with ideas to adapt or develop your product or service to meet future needs. Showing a genuine interest in your customers business can help to safeguard the potential threat of loss to a competitor. It may also be the case that your customer refers you to another business and a new prospect.

Interestingly spending time out of the office or away from your desk can benefit the positioning of your business. Most of us would no doubt like to trade and do business with those that have a passion for what they do and want to spend time working with them to service their needs. Few of us really are likely to promote businesses that don’t seem to be or are not actively engaged in their sector, being seemingly too busy or uninterested in their customers or sector in which they work.

Whilst not advocating that all of someone’s time is best spent away from the desk or away from the office,  many a business today could  benefit from the potential increase in sales, customer retention and ability to gain or sustain a competitive advantage by spending a bit more time away from the desk!