Modern Workplace Is Not Just About The Technology

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, everyone. And welcome to another episode of the Modern Workplace Hacks podcast. My name is Tom Feer. And today I have guest RK from Resonate on The Call. And we are discussing all things modern workplaces. And as we sort of run through, modern workplaces aren’t just all about technology, a whole range of aspects that need to be considered to develop that truly modern workplace. So great to have RK on the show today and look forward to hearing your feedback.

Hello. And welcome to another episode of the Modern Workplace Hacks podcast. My name is Tom Frier, and today I have guest on the show, RK from Resonate. That’s him. How’s it going? Good. How are you? Not too badly. It’s all made waiting for the Sydney lockdowns to be over. Hopefully very soon, hopefully soon. Yeah. I think we’re just talking about that. We’re free at the moment. So we’ll see how long that lasts for almost every time you and I speak. You do remind me that you’re not in lockdown. Well, you’ll get me back soon. I’m sure, mate.

Today we’ve been talking about. So RK works to Resonate, and they’re our marketing partner who have been working with the last couple of months. So RK give us a bit of a rundown of who you are and what you guys do. Look, I’m the founder and CEO, co founder and CEO of a company called Resonate here in Sydney. We work Australia wide. We primarily focus on three things. We focus on any B to B organization that needs its strategy relooked at. We work with them on their strategy. We work marketing end to end all aspects of their marketing, be building a website, maintaining that site, doing social marketing for them, content marketing, writing their blogs, search, marketing, working with vendors and partners like Microsoft and the likes of Lenovo or Google or AWS. So that’s another part of our business. And then sales, strategic advisory and consulting on any opportunities that are sort of $100,000 plus in an engagement or multi million dollar contract for several years for managed services providers, we have an advisory and consulting to advise on those opportunities.

Three things we do strategy advisory and consulting, marketing, end to end and sales advisory and consulting. So you’ve been kind enough to start working with us over the last three months, and we’re enjoying the journey so far. Yeah, it’s been really good. So looking forward to what comes up, what comes from it, which is exciting, but it’s sort of raised that in our discussions as well. We’ve been talking about what we deem as a modern workplace, which aligns with that whole technology spiel from the way Microsoft are positioning their tech foundation and all the bits around it. But what’s interesting is that modern workplace isn’t just technology. By far, it’s much more than just a technology stack these days. And that’s what I wanted to delve into with you today was your perspective on what makes a truly modern workplace, how people need to start adapting to that and changing and looking at how that’s going to fit into their business because the reality is it’s a fair change to a business to adopt that modern standard. Absolutely. Thomas pointed out. It’s not just about technology.

The truth is, there are various trends that have driven where we’ve arrived at. And even before Kobe, the modernization of workplace was in full swing. I used to be the CEO of another firm. It was an American firm, and my counterparts in America were hiring colleagues from all over the country, in the United States, in Australia, the modernisation was a bit slow to take off, and Kobett made it rampant. Kobet really drove the need to modernize the actual workplace. I remember in the previous firm and the organization globally had about 3000 staff members. The corporate headquarters in America, around 30% to 40% of them were working from different States, and they were working from home because I’d have these calls with them where I was almost always in the head office here in Australia, and they were almost always at home, and they were in their PJs in some cases, et cetera. This was 20, 15, 20, 16. Right. So when you called someone on a video call, you didn’t expect them to be running around a park or whatever it might be. But that’s become the norm now.

So that modernisation of the workplace. That trend began in other parts of the world a long time before COVID happened. Kobed just put this whole thing on steroids for us here in Australia, and when we arrived at now is organizations can’t afford not to modernize the workplace. And this doesn’t mean a Bolton of technology whereby you just allow someone some remote access. Right. And workplace has been modernized as a result, this is a new way of thinking. It’s a new way of leading. It’s a new way of managing. It’s a new way of compensating. It’s a new way of how you hire your talent, because there are various trends that are beginning to drive what’s shaping work. Employers like you and I, small business owners or midsized organizations or even very large companies. Employers are shifting from managing the employee experience to managing the life experience at the same time. Yeah, that’s interesting. I think there’s an element we do read that Covet fast tracked a lot of this, and there’s obviously a lot of challenge in adapting to that for organizations.

I mean, after the technology organization, the actual having people work from home and having people work remotely wasn’t a big impact to us. We already use talent across the world anyway. So we’re used to that. But I can see how and working with customers and clients, how that has impacted them, not just from certainly the technology was one element, but that’s fixable in a lot of cases that can be done. But it’s now this how do we maintain that? And how do we manage that experience for our employees? And I think business owners and leaders are struggling with that at all levels. I think because even when we look at the likes of Google and things like that, they were happy to send everyone home. I’m reading reports now that they’re like, oh, hang on. Well, if we’re going to send them work from home, we’ve got to change the way we’ve been remunerating them.

Do they actually need to come into the office at some point these type of things? So there’s this whole shift again, there’s definitely downsides of this whole modernization thing. I think it’s very important to distinguish remote work from modern work and working remotely. We have resonate. We have ten full time staff members, and we have a hybrid work approach. We have a modern work approach. We allow our team members if there is no lockdown to come to the corporate office if they so choose. But they can also work from home if they so choose. And I’ve been speaking with our team members who are aged from anywhere in their 20s to anywhere in their 50s. There are downsides to purely remote work. So modern work is sort of different to remote work. In my opinion, modern work allows for modernisation of the workplace because workplace is no longer a thing you go to. It’s a thing you do.

And since it’s a thing you do, modernization can only be powered by technology. And, yeah, your leadership style will need to change. You need to trust your team members more. Your management style will change. Compensation plans might change. But the truth is, real. Modernization allows through leveraging technology, including organizations that are technology organizations like Wintech. They hold the key not just because you’re a client, because we have other clients in different parts of the country. But you hold the key to helping organizations modernize because you hold the key to be able to introduce them to the technology stack, the modern devices, the modern desktops, the modern laptops, the modern communication and collaboration software, which you correctly pointed out, some customers have not earned these things. What comes naturally to you and I because we are in the technology business, right. So what comes absolutely naturally. And I’m sure Wintech went remote with no trouble at all.

Resonate went remote with no trouble at all. It was literally the flick of us saying, hey, guys, from tomorrow, you’re not coming back. Just work from the office doesn’t actually matter. Having said that, we have so many customers of customers who said, what do you mean, work from home? We couldn’t do anything of what we do from home. So true. Modernization will allow for people to work and part of the exaggeration here. But from a bus stand or a railway station. You’re right. And you mentioned it before. The word that stood out was hybrid because this is about giving people choice. And the only way you can give people choice is if you’ve got your not only your systems and your technology to be able to support that.

But it comes down to your processes within the business as well, because there are so many processes in businesses that have in the past relied on someone looking over their desk to the bloke next to them to ask a question, to get to the next stage that doesn’t necessarily exist. You don’t have that function in this new world order, this modern workplace that needs to happen. I think you’re dead, right. Also, what’s really important to note is that what happened through Kovid in terms of remote work is not the modernized work that you and I speak about. The modernized that you and I speak about is not just a response to the pandemic or response to the chaos that you’re residing in. As companies are coming out of their chaos, they’re realizing there’s a new way of being and that requires net new thinking.

That’s much more positive. It’s much more visionary than being. We are in a dark situation. We can’t go into work. The virus is floating around. None of our people can come into work. Supply chains are locked up. It’s not the case anymore. We’re coming out of it, and companies need to realize we need to modernize, not for the sake of dealing with a catastrophe. We need to modernize to be competitive, to access talent I can share with you. My small organization has grown threefold through code because we found staff outside Sydney. We were headquartered in Sydney. I live in Sydney.

My business partner lives in Sydney, and we found staff outside Sydney. We’ve got people now in Brisbane, we got people in Bullongham and Southern parts of New South Wales, and we have people now working overseas with us like you have been working in different parts of the world as well. Our core contingency is here in Australia, but whether a person is working from Bull Gong or they’re working from Hay or Milder, or they’re up in North Queensland or Western Australia. She doesn’t make a difference if they can do their job well, but the process of modernisation of the workplace is different to the process of thinking. We will just enable remote work.

And I think CXOs need to think differently. Is my organization ready for as you very correctly pointed a new world order? And is it ready for a modern workplace, or are we just doing what we did through COVID? And I’ll be calling that modern workplace. Yeah. And I think that’s definitely the challenge a lot of organizations faced is, yes, we were able to work remotely, so we must be modern and we must be able to continue to do this. But what we’re saying is they’re not because they haven’t been able to effectively manage that from a personnel perspective, manage it from a process perspective. They were able to get people working? Was it effective and efficient?

There’s big questions around whether it was and that’s the trick now is. Okay. Well, great. You’ve got a component of that modernization in place. What’s that next layer? Can you start? Because we are seeing talent shortages, labor shortages, those type of things in lots of different areas, because people can’t travel around the country because of lockdowns and border restrictions. We can’t get people into the country. So how do we now tap that talent wherever it currently, wherever they currently reside to deliver the outcomes that your business wants and that your clients want as well. And that’s the modernisation process, as you say, it’s more than just that remote work. I see it as yes, that’s a clear foundation.

If you can’t work remotely, you can’t build a modern workplace. So you’ve got to have that element. But it’s those other things. How do you maintain that engagement with your staff, that engagement with your clients? How do you make sure the process and the movement of information within your business remains efficient and effective and accurate without that physical interaction that people used to have? Yeah. Look, spot on. There’s going to be cultural changes taking place, Tom, because there will be intake of fresh graduates who have seen this happen and they are comfortable with the notion of it. And I noticed when Kovit kick started, the graduates we hired then were very uncomfortable with the whole notion of I’ll be working from home.

Will I still have a job and the people we put on this year, since they know that remote working is a thing. Hybrid working is a thing they’ve been really comfortable with the whole concept of remote work. They came in armed with their technology, their laptop was ready to go. They spoke about the Internet connection. They spoke about the fact that they’ve got a workspace ready to go, so there will be a cultural evolution. We are never going to go back to exactly how it used to be precluded for all the right reasons as well. But there are downsides of it. There’s no doubt the psychological aspect you need to think about. So I think for the organizations, if they’re seeing this as a way of reducing their real estate footprint by 90% and never have anyone come back, then watch out for the cultural element because depression kicks in for younger people if they’re not going out and about so I think as leaders, as business owners, as senior execs managers, you need to think about how am I going to build a culture in a modern workplace environment because there is a lack of control, which means you need to introduce a completion of trust in them. You need to trust the people who are working for you, and you need to make sure you’re not over calling them.

You need to make sure that there isn’t this work life blur that they’re working till 09:00 at night. So all of those aspects need to be thought through as well as we build it. What I am realizing, though, is the security aspect, and you and I had a really healthy conversation about security for our own organization, because we’ve deployed all these laptops and devices all over the country and in some cases in other parts of the world. Security has become a real concern for me as an executive owner of this business on how do we keep our data secure? How do we keep our organization secure? So flipping around back to you, if you don’t mind me asking, what kind of security things do owners and business leaders need to watch out for in the modern workplace environment?

Yeah, well, no. And that’s a key element, because as you say, we now have people accessing information from multiple locations from multiple devices. And the key element from a security perspective is understanding where that data is residing, because, yes, there’s elements that we’re still going to see fishing attacks that’s going to happen whether we’re working from home or working in the office. But what we are seeing is more people responding to those phishing attacks because they’re getting that email, and they’re just not sure if it is their boss sending them an email or not because they can’t see them. They can’t have that instant visual. So they’re clicking on those links and getting compromised in that element. So there’s an element of awareness needs to be increased and continually advised throughout the organization.

Then there’s, as I mentioned briefly before, the data aspect of where that data is actually sitting, because no longer. And we’ve been transitioning this way for a number of years, but no longer does that piece of data sit on a server that you actually can see touch and feel in your office? It doesn’t happen anymore where we’re lying on the cloud where potentially relying on people’s personal computers. Well, how secure they are. They running any virus? Are they letting the kids play all sorts of games on there that they got spyware. So we’re now introducing these unknown elements, and that’s really critical for people to understand, particularly in organizations such as finance and accounting and things like that where they’re dealing with sensitive client information. You don’t want that sitting on someone’s home computer. So you need to be thinking about the controls that need to go in place to support that working arrangement. And this is where we’re seeing a significant shift to mobile computing company owned mobile devices, as in laptops and tablets, because we can enforce security very easily on those devices. We know where they are.

We know who’s using them. We can control where the data lives. And that’s probably the two biggest things we see in this new modern hybrid environment is awareness. So people not having that confidence of is that the boss emailing me or not? Because I can’t see them. I can’t ask anyone next to me? And would I feel silly if I post that into a team’s chat and things like that just in case I’ll click the link just in case we see that. So we’ve got to keep that high visibility of awareness. This is what’s happening. This is what to look out for. Don’t click it if you’re not sure and encourage people to give them confidence to be able to ask those questions and not feel silly. And then the second thing is where that data resides and how you’re going to control and manage that, because ultimately, that’s the biggest risk to every organization is their data. If it’s sitting on an employee’s personal device, well, they could go to another employer very easily. Now all that goes with them.

So you’ve got a risk of IP being Lake. You’ve got risk of client information, client data, all these type of things, and we still have the virus issues and all that sort of stuff. But I think there’s secondary now to these two key elements around security. I’ve read an article which triggered me to calling you and asking you about how exposed are we? And further the conversation with you, my business partner and I realized we were extremely exposed. We’ve kickstarted the whole project based on your recommendations to us and we hadn’t put in. We’re technically fairly savvy guys. Both of us come from it backgrounds, but we haven’t done the thinking that needed to be done. If I may touch on another point, Tom, one of the things that I’ve noticed some customers do is in the case of where people are returning back to work, they are approaching the workspace as it used to be like this. It’s going to continue being like this. But when you’re not at work from home, you can work, however you wish to, which means it’s not the true hybridization that business owners must think about.

I believe that we all have an idea of what a typical office looks like and feels like a mixture of private offices. You have cubicles, you’ve got meeting rooms and shared amenities, all of that jazz. But very few offices have been intentionally designed to support a modern workplace priority system. And although offices have changed in some ways during the last ten years or so, we need to entirely rethink and transform for a postcode in 19 world and what the physical office at work should look like your thoughts on that. Yeah. And I think there’s still a little bit of unknown as to what that can look like as well from a compliance and safety element, because when I first looked at it and see it, I actually see it as a very dynamic space where people need to be able to choose where they want to work.

Firstly, so I’m either working at home. So as an employer, I want to give them the space or the equipment to be able to do that. But ultimately, I want them to be able to turn up at the office for either their own personal wellbeing, to be able to collaborate with the group and just continue doing what they’re doing. So there’s an element of giving them their space in their office in that collaboration area. But Secondly, to that, I think it’s really key that they have defined areas and defined structure around true collaboration spaces. So smaller meeting rooms, smaller collaboration spaces where OK. I’d actually need to go and talk to my engineering team about this particular project. Let’s all meet in the office. We’ve got the whiteboard set up. We know that John still is working in Sydney and he can’t travel, but we’ve got the room set up so we can do full video conference to him while he’s still at home and share that environment. So it becomes that meshed space.

I don’t think we’re going to get to a point where everybody’s in the office at one time, and I don’t think we, from a compliance perspective, are going to be able to do that anyway. And I think hot desking needs to be thought about, but I still think hot desking is a suitable arrangement if we’re providing the measures around it. And when I talk about that, it’s. Well, if we’re hot desking, we’re hot desk for a day, we’re booking it out. But we’ve got cleaners lined up to do the day clean as we go through and things like that. So we’ve got to think about those elements around it. But it is a mix if we look at an office environment, I think it’s a mix of let’s call it hot desking spaces that are pre equipped so people could just click in and work, and it’s the same as them clicking in at work and working at home. And I say that by they’ve got common devices, we’ve got common systems, everything’s the same. But they’ve got more collaboration spaces for those defined things. Right. I need to meet with six people and we’re going to meet and this is the time. And we’re all working in this office and it’s already kitted out. That’s the way I see it.

Obviously, room booking systems and desk booking systems sort of align with that. So everyone’s got visibility as to. Okay, those six desks are taken today and those three collaboration rooms are taken. I’ll put more time around that. So a lot more scheduling and management. Absolutely. And I think by the same token, I think what needs to also happen is we need to reconstruct how work is actually approached and how work is done and allow me to share my thought process on this. So, for example, previously, if an organization may have generated ideation ideas by coming together in a meeting and they brainstormed in a physical space or in a digital whiteboard, and then they assigned someone to take the meeting notes down, and that ideation got converted into strategies on and so forth. Today we need to start looking at a completely new process that might have asynchronous ways of brainstorming on a team’s channel. Exactly. And incorporating ideas from across the organization asynchronously

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