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article imageQ&A: Strategies for managing a global workforce in 2020 Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 27, 2020 in Business
As workforces become increasingly remote and tech continues to transform the role of management, priorities are shifting when it comes to preparing for the future of work, explains Doodle's CEO Renato Profico.
To understand more Digital Journal caught up with Renato Profico, CEO of Doodle. The interview is based on the topic that many business leaders are asking themselves: 'How can I effectively manage workers and measure engagement if they’re sprinkled across the globe?'
Digital Journal: How is the world of work changing from your point of view?
Renato Profico: Everything is faster today. The pace of communication, disruption and overall adaption has dramatically increased. Beyond this, the fact that we’re so immensely connected means businesses are susceptible to the socio-economic impacts of different markets. Even if there is event, movement or disruption in one part of the world, it quickly spreads and influences other parts of the globe.
Beyond modern events and the breakneck pace of tech adoption necessary to keep up with competitors, the nature of work is changing as new generations of workers join the workforce. For example, digital first millenials are primed to comprise the majority of our talent market. They’ve grown up on mobile and have new workplace and work experience expectations specific to their generation. We’ve seen the nature of work adapt to these expectations with the rise in mobile enterprise tools and remote/flexible working trends. As GenZ enters our workforce, it’s inevitable we’ll face another disruption around workplace culture.
DJ: Who benefits most from these changes and how?
Profico: According to the above mentioned points I strongly believe that both sides - employer and employees - are the beneficiaries of this change movement in workplace technology. For example, with the rise of communication tools, employees are able to take advantage of flexible working policies, achieving business goals when and where it best suits them. These tools also allow employers to be much more flexible with recruiting a global network of top tier talent without the limitations of location.
DJ: What are the managerial challenges around remote working that organizations are experiencing today?
Profico: Although communication technology and our working tools have made incredible progress in global communication and collaboration, of course there are challenges around workflow and navigating schedules. Managing working hours can be challenging when dispersed teams need to work together.
DJ: How well do remote workers and in-office workers communicate and interact?
Profico: In my experience the communication between remote and in-office workers usually runs pretty well. I’ve also noticed in recent years, with the rise of remote and flexible working, that interactions between employees has shifted towards written communication significantly more. However, this is not just a result of remote workers, it’s also mainly due to professional-chat tools like Slack or Teams that offer a less formal way for employees to interact with one another than email.
This sometimes leads to - in my opinion, some somewhat strange situations - where two people sitting in the same office a few meters apart from each other, have a conversation via “chat” and do not speak in person. I’ve seen this situation also occur when employees are sitting in the same office space participating in the same meeting with remote workers over video conferencing and are not sitting jointly in the same meeting room. It’s interesting to see the shift to textual collaboration versus oral discussions, but perhaps this enables an outlet to better think out contributions to the conversation and may be more preferable to those who might not feel as comfortable speaking up (like junior staffers).
DJ: Which types of technologies can help with these challenges?
Profico: Today, there is an amazing amount of beneficial tools and technologies to sustain the new ways of working. The SaaS tools that address specific needs and can be integrated easily with other platforms are leading the charge. One example is how Doodle’s scheduling services can facilitate finding common meeting times by integrating with email, calendars and even other messaging platforms like Teams or Slack. This enables seamless decision making around when to meet with attendees and can be handled without toggling between different applications.
DJ: What else do managers need to do to make the process easier for workers?
Profico: I strongly believe a manager should generally empower direct reports and remove potential roadblocks or obstacles to give them the headspace necessary to put forward their best work. Simply, support the search and use of better tools to improve the way your employees work.
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