Gordon Flesch Company Welcomes Employees Back In-Person
Office technology provider The Gordon Flesch Company was founded in Madison, Wisconsin in 1965 by Gordon Flesch, whose grandchildren are now at the helm.
Mark Flesch’s father and two uncles were the second generation to run the company and are still involved. Today, he and his brother Patrick help oversee the business as COO and president, respectively.
The company started with technologies such as copiers, printers and scanners, but as technology has evolved, GFC has gone with it. Today, the company has expanded its portfolio to include IT, electronic content management services and other services.
GFC has also expanded geographically, reaching across the Midwest to Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. In fact, Mark was actually born and raised in Central Ohio.
In the last month, The Gordon Flesch Company has brought back all employees for the first time since the pandemic hit. Mark said the company was fortunate that it had made investments in technology that allowed employees to work remotely,
“When this pandemic hit, we were fortunate that we had made some investments…in technology to be able to send all of our employees that could work remotely,” said Mark.
He said it was a logistical challenge to ensure employees had the proper technology, internet connection and security they need from home.
“I think that was a whirlwind for everybody because you know most people had never really worked from home,” he said. “A lot of our employees have never done that. And I think we did a really nice job with that.”
However, working from home didn’t allow the company to support its customers to the best of its ability, he said. Training new employees remotely to poor connections when speaking to customers over the phone were among the challenges.
There also became a disconnect between those who never had the luxury of working from home and those who did.
Mark added that 80% of GFC’s workforce is typically in the field and had no real way to work from home.
“Our salespeople did do a lot of stuff more remote than they did pre-pandemic, but by and large, our salespeople have been in their territories, trying to get in front of customers if they were willing to meet. And they were creative,” he said. “But our salespeople weren’t going to be successful, sit at home all day make phone calls.”
Mark said the challenge now is that many employees enjoyed working from home. It was convenient to not have to commute to work, and the flexibility allowed employees to do things like get a quick workout in the middle of the day.
Some employees were also fearful to come back, but GFC was sure to follow local health guidelines from the beginning of the pandemic in terms of masks and social distancing.
“Some people [felt] fearful if they had been living in more isolated life, it was kind of a big change for them to come back to the work environment, and other people just like the convenience,” he said.
The company has always been flexible in letting employees work from home when there was a need to, but the possibility of instituting a hybrid model of sorts, where employees work from home a couple of days a week, could happen down the road. But for now, the priority is getting everyone back in the office.
Now that employees are back, they’re happy to be there, said Mark.
“I’ll say, by and large, I’ve gotten a lot of comments from people that they didn’t necessarily want to come back but now that they’re back they like being with their colleagues, they like the social element of it, [it’s] easier to do their jobs,” he said. “So I think it’s gone over, for the most part, gone over pretty well.”
Another part of what is missed when employees are working from home en masse is work culture.
GFC is a large organization, but it is still a family business that thrives on relationships within the company, said Mark.
“Some days I would be the only person up on this floor working during the pandemic,” he said, admitting he worked from home for a short time, but with three young kids at home, the office was more productive.
“It was like a ghost town,” he said. “And now that people are back here, you see people talking, you see people hanging out in the break room, you hear people laughing.”
Mark said some potential employees may be disappointed there is not a work-from-home option at the moment, but he says the company wants to hire and maintain employees who see the value in work culture.
For The GFC, the culture is to work hard, play hard.
“We want the kind of people that want to work in a place like ours, where people are in the office, people are collaborating, people are having fun. And also working hard and doing good work,” he said.
For more information on The Gordon Flesch Company, visit gflesch.com.
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