Oakson the awesomely open IT services business

I’ve been quiet for the last month or so as I’ve been hard at work setting up Oakson, the newest IT services company in the South East of England. It’s been a busy time, and I’m planning a series of posts about how we got there, and which systems we ended up using and why, but for now I want to write about my particular passion, open business.

The IT Support industry can be a stressful place and I will be the first to admit that I’ve added to that general stress levels throughout the industry. Many IT support companies are fairly dry, hostile places in which to work, often managed in a very top-down way. This works for the owners and directors, particularly the more totalitarian ones, but it doesn’t work well for the staff and results in a high churn rate and guttural levels of stress.

The Oakson Approach

With all that in mind, this time around I wanted to make a company that worked for the staff. I honestly feel that if you can improve the conditions for the staff then you get not only happier staff, but a happier work place, a less stressful environment, better customer service and ultimately higher client retention and a better relationships with the clients themselves. Everyone’s a winner.

With inspiration from the guys at Propellernet, Matthew Matheson over at Improvising Change as well as many other like minded companies, we’ve come up with a list of basic principles.

  1. We’ll give the staff more control over the business itself.
  2. We’ll give the staff the opportunity to decide upon important decisions through good old democracy.
  3. We’ll share with them our financial information so that they can understand what the business needs in the background.
  4. We’ll have no cap on the amount of holiday they can take.
  5. Most importantly we’ll ask them what can we do for you?

All this means that the business will take less profit in the longer run, but frankly I’m fine with that if it means people enjoy the experience of being with us.

Our longer term goal is to get Oakson recognised as a Great Place to Work which I hope will be a great validation for everyone involved and show clients that we are really in it for the longer term haul and we’re worth building that relationship with.


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