We are one company – The integration of our Auckland and Christchurch offices
Over the years, Woods has grown from a small team with just a few members to an organisation with 167 staff members across two locations. As Woods began to grow as a company, we realised we had people travelling across the country for projects all the time. It didn’t make sense to continue to have all of our people in one location, Auckland, when we had projects across the length and width of the country. We also had a large development we were working on for a few years, Pegasus, which is located in the Canterbury region. So, twelve years ago, we opened Woods’ Christchurch office to help service our existing clients and continue expanding our potential client base.
Of course, opening a new office and integrating it with an existing office isn’t without its challenges. There was the physical separation of being over 1000km away from the head office, but also ensuring our clients knew that we were part of, and fully supported by, Woods’ larger team.
We are proud to say that today, Woods is viewed as one large company – both from an internal and external perspective. Our clients know that even though we only have a small team located in Christchurch, we’ve got the full force of the Auckland head office behind us. At the same time, our people at Woods know and feel they are part of one company regardless of their geographical location.
Good communication was key to this, and ensuring everyone at Woods was fully involved and felt valued in what they do. For company-wide training, we would bring everyone together where possible, which helped us to create and maintain the feeling of being one company.
The integration of the Auckland and Christchurch offices created a competitive advantage for Woods. It allowed us to increase the capabilities we have in both locations – rather than having to hire generalists or only offer a few specialisations, we have a large team of specialists across the offices that can work on projects in either location. Today, we regularly ‘cross-pollinate’ our specialists between the two offices, whether it is bringing in the Auckland office’s Stormwater experts for a project in Christchurch, or sending our specialists surveyors up for a project in Auckland.
The advancement in technology within the workplace has allowed us to do more work remotely and communicate more easily. It is a lot easier to work from a remote location and feel connected than it was 10 years ago.
For organisations looking to integrate satellite or remote offices, here are a few important principles to keep in mind at all times to ensure success:
- Communication is the key to everything.
- Make sure that everyone is singing from the same ‘song sheet’ and working with the same standards so that no one is going off on a tangent.
- Focus on ensuring people feel valued in what they’re doing across the organisation.
Director and South Island Manager