The digital HQ, key to the future of hybrid remote working

The digital HQ, key to the future of hybrid remote working

Article sponsored by Slack

With the pandemic, the organization of work has changed. What are the keys to business success in this context? According to 73% of employees*, it is the flexibility put in place, both in terms of places and working hours, that has enabled their company to emerge a winner from this crisis. They are just as numerous to think that it is also thanks to the adoption of new collaborative tools. No less than 82% of young working people praise the virtues of digital HQs!

Face-to-face, hybrid mode or complete telework, it is now a question for companies and their managers to find the most efficient way to bring teams together and improve collaboration. With its digital HQ, Slack offers a space allowing fluid and efficient collaborative work, without denying the human dimension. It makes it possible to respond to the desires of flexibility and asynchronous work of employees and to companies to retain their talents. In fact, nearly one in five employees has already changed jobs due to a lack of flexibility. And two out of five plan to do so for this reason!

Humanize communication

Working well together in a digital HQ also means creating links, establishing rituals, spaces for conviviality and informal exchanges, fostering a sense of belonging. Slack conducted research with OpinionWay* to understand how workplace behaviors and attitudes have changed. With a focus, in particular, on the use of emojis in a digital environment giving more space to written messages. 75% of employees use them in their professional exchanges. They humanize communication, strengthen the closeness between colleagues thanks to more sincere and warm exchanges.

Adapt with Digital HQ

To adapt to new behaviors and the challenges of the post-pandemic world of work, the digital HQ is fundamental according to Gabriel Frasconi. Slack’s General Manager France delivers his analysis and advice in this podcast.

What does the post-covid world of work look like?

Gabriel Frasconi: With the Future Forum, we conduct quarterly surveys to take the pulse of the labor market. Thus, at present, more than 94% of employees say they want to benefit from flexible working hours, while 79% of them want to benefit from flexibility in relation to their place of work. Post-pandemic figures show that in more than a third of employees who returned to face-to-face, the stress rate is three times higher than that of employees who benefit from flexible working conditions (freedom to work in the office or remotely). Hybrid working is the new norm to meet increasing employee expectations for work/life balance.

What are the major challenges for companies to adapt to this hybrid organization?

Gabriel Frasconi: The first challenge is the battle for talent. At Slack in France last year, we had to recruit a lot and I faced questions that I had never been asked before about the balance between personal and professional life.

For the employer, it is a real opportunity to recruit differently and to look for profiles that would have appealed less to us in a world of work that is only face-to-face. Like, for example, an introverted employee in a commercial function who would have had difficulty in a world of full face-to-face work.

Does this new organization take more account of the human dimension?

Gabriel Frasconi: In a world of face-to-face work, we tend to recruit clones. That is to say profiles similar to those already employed in the company. We are now more oriented towards the personality and the uniqueness of the profile which allows everyone to express themselves.

You have decided, with Slack, to become the digital headquarters of companies. What is a digital HQ and how does it work?

Gabriel Frasconi: In March 2020, we all switched to full teleworking and reproduced the same ways of working as face-to-face. What was done on the fly in the office became much slower in distance. So we had to reinvent it all.

A process that was manual must become fully automated. For example, at Aircall, a French unicorn that develops a business telephony tool in the cloud, a Slack bot creates an alert in the event of a failure detected on the use of their product, informs the competent people and indicates what We have to do. Moreover, when Cityscoot encounters problems on the use of their scooters, it creates alerts directly in Slack. This is what the digital HQ is all about: simplifying business processes, in order to make work simpler, more pleasant and more productive.

So, in your opinion, is it essential for the company to create a digital HQ?

Gabriel Frasconi: This is the consequence of the hybridization of work. We need to rethink the way employees work together. The way we sell, the service, the way we recruit have changed. The digital HQ is a priority for the general management of all companies. This is our vision and our strong conviction.

In this organization, does the physical office still exist and how should it be thought of?

Gabriel Frasconi: The physical office is complementary to the digital office. Before we went to the office as in a place of conviviality and it was the nerve center of the work. We now go to the office to “not work”. We go to the office to connect with colleagues, to meet people who, in one way or another, are useful to my work, to work on medium and long-term projects. In fact, we no longer go to the office to do the same things we do at home. What’s the point of going to the office to be in Zoom meetings all day? It does not make sense !

At Slack and Salesforce, we have redesigned our physical offices to focus them on customers with, for example, a floor dedicated to the retail and distribution sector, another to the finance and insurance sector. Thus, it allows all the people within the company who work for retail and distribution to come together. We find ourselves sitting with people from marketing, pre-sales, professional services… People who are not directly part of our teams but who are important to the efficiency of our work and our understanding of the issues keys to our markets.

Finally, the office is much more than a workplace?

Gabriel Frasconi: This is the place where I have to collaborate and meet people. That of the famous discussion of the coffee machine where, in five minutes, we will approach a subject that we would not have or little approached at a distance. Recreating this camaraderie, this social bond between employees and between departments that makes work more fluid is today the main challenge of the office.

In this new environment, what skills should a good manager have?

Gabriel Frasconi: We need to show more transparency, trust and benevolence. At Slack, one-to-ones are much more structured. A culture of feedback is established. Not every six months with the employee performance review, but almost weekly to provide transparency on what you do as a manager and on the work done by the employees.

Blablacar is a good illustration of these new ways of managing. The company has moved from time management to management using the OKR, Objectives & Key Results method. Employees are evaluated solely on the basis of the objectives set beforehand. This requires a more structured management that requires documenting these processes and establishing a clear and realistic roadmap that fully engages the manager and his collaborator.

Today, companies must ask themselves: are my managers suitable for tackling this major transition, are they demonstrating transparency, trust, much more humanity and open-mindedness in their way of assess and coach their teams? This is one of the fundamental questions they must ask themselves.

* OpinionWay survey for Slack, June 2022

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.