I’ve only gone and won it! I won my category (Remote Worker Award) at the remote worker awards yesterday (the prizes are listed on the Web site). Needless to say I’m really pleased and very grateful to everyone who has supported me along the way (especially UKOLN). Not only did I win my category but I was also presented with a special award (the Cliveden House award) for my work. The prize for this one is a spa weekend at the amazing Cliveden house. How fantastic is that!! Apparently you can’t take children!! Yay!
I didn’t win the garden office (The vivid green award) but that would have just been greedy!
Anyway I had a great day. I meet a lot of interesting and motivated people and really enjoyed hearing about their remote working experiences – lots of fodder for the blog! The ceremony took place at the beautiful Cliveden house and we started off with a champagne reception. There followed a welcome address and some stats (11% of the UK workforce are now remote workers, 3.5 million work remotely and 60% of all new businesses last year were launched from home) from hosts Paula Wynne and Ken Sheridan, co-founders of Remote Employment and organisers of the awards. Stephen Dodman from von Essen Hotels also welcomed us to the venue, Cliveden house, in the 1960′s it was setting for some of the Profumo affair naughtiness.
The Remote Working Revolution
Bob Bissell, Partnership Manager for BT Business gave a brief key note on the business case for remote Working. After Bob had joked that he should really be giving his talk from his own home, logged on to broadband – but the luxurious venue had too strong a pull, he picked on a few key positives for remote working. He explained that good remote working practices are now allowing companies to win business from competitors. They are also allowing companies to attract talented people from all over the country. This year three key elements had demonstrated the need for remote working set ups: the snow early in the year, the GM summit which had prevented 40% of London staff getting to work, and swine flu. Remote working has cost benefits for employers and employees alike, for example people working from home saved on average £250 that they would have needed to spend on business clothes! We were left with a picture of home workers in their pyjamas!
Unlocking People Potential
The next keynote was given by Karen Darby, a highly successful entrepeneur responsible for the SimplySwitch site which she sold to the Daily Mail for £22 million in 2006. Karen was a really inspirational and fun speaker. She called on us to do something that makes us uncomfortable every now and then. Being successful requires positive thinking, channelling our energies and anger and sometimes hypnotism! Karen is now working on Call Britannia, an attempt to positively discriminate towards people who are the most disadvantaged in the labour market and create 10,000 jobs.
After the keynotes the first awards were presented:
- The Remote Worker Award
- The Home Worker Award
- The Netmums Work From Home Award
- The BT Home Business Award
After a quick break, though no coffee, (someone I was with bought a glass of wine from the bar at a cost of £10!!) we launched back into it.
The ‘Spirit of Winning’
The last keynote speaker was Jackie Brennan, founder of FreshIdeas Events. She urged us to feel positive about winning. Forget that British tendency to play down our accomplishments and be vocal about what you’ve achieved! Jackie also talked about the art of mentoring, an activity that seems to work really well in business.
The final awards were:
- The Freelance Consultant Award
- The Open University Skills Award
- The Helen O’ Grady Special Award
- The Remote Employer Award
- The Vivid Green Award – this was the garden shed/home office, everyone held their breath for this one!
After thanks and a few final messages from Paula Wynne and Ken Sheridan we had our photos taken then tucked into a finger buffet and admired the fantastic view.
I can’t complain!
More information on the winners is available on the Remote Employment site.