We will remember 2020 as the year that changed radically the way we work. Work from home was the first step… and it came suddenly, without any adaptation periods or reasons to worry about its level of acceptance, without any time to calculate the productivity and so on, we all just went over to working from home.
But let us see the glass as half full. This time has helped us learn new behaviours, some of which… we would like to keep and turn into habits. Through experimenting, we get to know ourselves better, to define what suits us better, what accommodates our needs. Now we have a much clearer idea of what online-school means, of what it means to perform several roles simultaneously, of how inefficient multitasking is, especially when you have to switch from children`s homeworks to writing a client report… If we have drawn a few clearer conclusions about ourselves and about what we actually want to do, then we have certainly made progress.
As Yuval Harari recommended, “invest time and resources in order to get to know yourself better!”. We have just done that. And in this new context we realised that the workplace is being redefined and the location is no longer one of its defining variables. We are starting to define our digital workspace. We no longer speak about offices and common spaces, about office buildings and car parks. We have a digital workspace, where we have teams and roles, defined processes and ad-hoc processes, colleagues with whom we go out in the evening for a beer, but also robots that take over our routine tasks. What it is that we absolutely have to have? Common values, a shared organisational culture – we believe in the value created by our business and … this is mandatory…. a greater goal to which we contribute through our work.
Digital workspaces connect between each other using platforms, integrating new digital products and tools. Our Cloud is our new colleague, digital security – the colleague we all need in order to connect from our location in order to deliver value in the field where we are best. Thus, the organisation to which we belong can afford to be as agile as is required by a market becoming ever more volatile, with clients whose requirements change extremely fast. We have millenial-employees, who appreciate flexibility at work, but we also have millenial-clients, for whom gaining new experience is more valuable than buying a new flat. We thus come to two important components of a business: the experience gained by its clients and the experience of its employees.
We should offer our clients alternatives to access our services/products exactly in the way that is most comfortable for them. The phone, the online order or the human interaction will allow us to reach out to both the tech oriented people, but also the non-technology focused customer – the one who is willing to pay more in order to get what we call customized services. This is also a way of increasing the accessibility of the services offered by companies – having an array of packages and prices for a wide range of customers. We shouldn`t forget: buying a product includes also the services associated with it.
Digitalisation gives us the possibility to base the managerial decision-making process on data analysis – data driven decision making. The traceability of the entire process, the data mapping the customer touchpoint, the type of intervention (automatized or human), the end performance – they all constitute the best base for making quick decisions. Decisions that impact all indicators: the client experience, the product/service quality, financial indicators, performance indicators in logistics and production. Ultimately, an increase of the value that we offer through our business, regardless of the industry in which we perform.
But what does the profile of the employee at the digital workspace look like?
We have to challenge the classical stereotypes and it is imperative that the legal ones are updated, too… this is mandatory!
The staff working in a digital workspace could either be an employee with an employment contract, or a freelancer working 9 or even 2 hours. It can be someone participating in a certain project, having a definite time frame and clearly set performance to deliver, having also the option to become a permanent collaborator/partner of the host organisation. Such a staff member has got the possibility to work for several organisations simultaneously, respecting of course strict ethical rules and adhering to a non-compete agreement, contributing through their skills and wide-ranging commitment to the growth of the companies to which they provide services. Having the responsibility of their own personal development, the employees will access the company`s Digital Academy, which enables them to improve their skills in the direction of development of the company who employs them. Having thus access to diverse content like videos, games, learning apps, podcasts and also to facilitator guidance, the employees working in a digital workspace can choose to develop their own career by using to the maximum the concepts of upskill or reskill, if the situation requires.
Having a collaboration-oriented behaviour in order to achieve the agreed targets, the performance of each worker will now become transparent. Those who have developed the habit to make up stories to cover up their lacking performance, will now have to rethink their attitude. Digitalisation and transparency are becoming a MUST in business. Major attention will be allocated to managers` profiles. Now, more then ever before, managers will represent constancy in companies. And the recruiting process will begin with defining the manager`s role in the organisation, not with the criteria related to work experience. The values in which the person believes, their openness to adopting new tools/new technologies, their orientation towards learning and adopting diversity within teams – these are the aspects that we will be looking for. The sector or line of business, from which they come? That will be less relevant. Because in such moments of redefinition/reinvention, diversity is what favours innovation. It is the manager who sees different solutions and approaches where those from the respective industrial sector don`t see anything.
I believe that any obstacle helps us overcome our own limits. Let us see this pandemic as a good opportunity to make big steps in the direction of our own transformation.
This article appeared in the May-June edition, nr. 266, of the journal CARIERE.