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10 October, 2018 - 13:02 By Tony Quested

RealVNC dodges jams and talent war with remote working blueprint

Remote access software specialist RealVNC is employing a home-made weapon to ensure it wins the intensifying battle for top tech talent in Cambridge.

The advent of a people-hungry cohort of AI businesses in the UK’s science & technology heartland has further intensified the fight to hire the best engineers and technicians.

RealVNC chief executive Adam Greenwood-Byrne and his management team practised what they daily preach – to think outside of the box – and decided to embrace a genuine flexible working strategy rather than pay lip service with occasional concessions to valuable staff.

Greenwood-Byrne and head of HR Laura Nemecek set out the parameters and the company says it is already reaping the benefits – bringing in good people who are allowed to work remotely from all over the UK and occasionally go into the office to physically touch base with colleagues.

With main arteries into Cambridge increasingly gridlocked through roadwork and accident inspired congestion Greenwood-Byrne reckons RealVNC has conjured the most productive solution possible to avoid a brain drain.

RealVNC has 82 staff at Cambridge HQ – and its client portfolio is rammed with international technology big-hitters; corporates and, increasingly, OEMs. 

Its products and services connect people and devices wherever they are on the planet, for control, support, administration, monitoring, training, collaboration and more. 

One of its mantras to customers – ‘Save time and money, increase efficiency, reduce risk and create new business opportunities’ could have been written for RealVNC’s approach to truly flexible working.

Greenwood-Byrne says: “We decided to adopt a new model of working; just as our technology connects people remotely so we are using technology to allow staff to work remotely.”

The strategy rolled out initially to a few select individuals in more senior positions – one key hire is based in the West Country, for example – and to OEM and senior marketing roles.

It has now been deployed within the engineering department for specific functions. Engineers will work remotely for one or two days a week and be in the office for the rest of the time.

“We use a lot of technology that helps us connect seamlessly on a day to day basis and for group meetings so we can see and hear each other. The team ethic and effective collaboration are not suffering in any way,” the CEO says.

One of the devices RealVNC deploys is Zoom video communication – inspired by the eponymous Californian company – which provides remote conferencing services using cloud computing.

The remote working strategy is supported by an expert team of line managers to ensure continued smooth operations.

Laura Nemecek adds: “Having started fairly modestly, we plan to continue rolling out the policy on the commercial side of the business to departments such as sales and marketing.”

The timing could hardly have been better as Greenwood-Byrne – who succeeded Andy Harter in the CEO role – presides over a major push into fresh services and solutions delivered across a broader range of vertical markets globally.

He told Business Weekly: “We have grown consistently and organically but it became clear in discussions with a number of world leading companies that RealVNC’s technology had relevance for even more international businesses across new sectors for us. 

“We are probably more aggressive now than we have been in the past in terms of engaging with these new markets and expanding our base of major clients. We see exciting ongoing growth opportunities for the business as a result.”

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