I think firstly we have seen lots of growth in the mid-size and large corporate businesses. Some companies are already working with us and we saw those projects accelerate, like Vodacom and ABSA. For me, what was so interesting about that, was that they had to go through an immersion process of understanding there are different ways that work can happen and a lot of it is about letting go. The key learning we had was that we aren’t focusing enough on the loss. Give people enough time to mourn the fact that they have lost the corner office. They have lost that sense of physical power or physical environment, and they need to transform through that. Once they can get over that shift, of location and place, they are far more willing to accept the process of digitization.
The first realization is that company culture will change and I think there’s a version of loss there too. We are finding the guys that are doing it successfully, are putting a long-term plan in place They are saying, “In 5 years time, we know that this can be done a lot better than it has been done today and we have to be proactive about how this world is changing.” They are starting to look at their policies, looking at ways of working and saying, “What are things that we need to do or put in place so that our employees are taken care of and could be more effective remotely than they are today?”
There’s levels of digitalization, levels of digital working – [many leaders are] emulating what they did at the office but at home. The teams that are really getting it right are moving more into asynchronous communication. More and more stuff is being done outside email, outside the zoom calls; either through messaging which is very asynchronous or through a digitalised workflow. So the entire process of work is shifting.
The big things people are struggling with is, “How do I know if everyone is doing their job? I can’t see them, so what are they doing? What are they up to?” And that’s because they are trying to manage people who are working within an inbox, an email, which is very disorganised and unstructured. You can’t see very clearly what people are doing. When you move towards a digitalized workflow, which is a lot of the work we have been doing with corporates now, you get a very clear view of what people are working on. You can track time that covers everything from an administrative job to marketing. It gives you an advantage and opportunity to allow people to be more efficient and effective in what they are doing and very clearly giving the entire organisation transparency so everyone is aware of what’s happening in the business. It’s the significant shift in how we approach work that really needs to take place. Firstly, how you approach people and then how you approach the work that the people are doing.