As many companies are discovering, Smart Working has many advantages. Flexible working is not only strategic leverage for companies, it can also be seen as an ally for employees, as it promotes concentration and helps maintain high levels of productivity. We discuss this topic with Guido Spagnoli, Chief Financial Officer and Head of Human Resources at Doxee, who has been at the forefront of the recent COVID-19 emergency in Doxee. Let’s see what advice he can give us to navigate the challenges ahead!
1.You have a dual role in Doxee. In addition to being CFO, you are also responsible for the company’s Human Resources. There have been some very exciting times during this period of emergency. How did you deal with the situation and what measures did you request to be taken at Doxee?
I wouldn’t exactly call them exciting moments. No doubt there were some surprises at first because of how some drastic measures were communicated by the government. However, we adapted quickly, as it is in our DNA as a technology company to always be ready for change. We immediately set up a Crisis Committee and this allowed us to issue, within a few hours, the guidelines to deal with this moment of emergency.
The intent was to give clear, precise and thorough direction to our people, without generating unnecessary panic; basically transmitting a sense of closeness and support that would inspire calm as we communicated the new plan. I am proud to say that it looks like we succeeded, as we’ve had zero requests for clarification.
2. How did people react to the request to work remotely?
Smart Working is an initiative that Doxee has been carrying out for some months now, and we’ve received very positive feedback from employees. It was therefore only a question of extending the policy to a degree that had not been initially planned for.
The fact that we already understood the advantages of Smart Working and had already decided to adopt it, helped ensure that all of our business units had no problems from the very beginning. We rolled it out within one day, and it was implemented smoothly and without any issues on the part of the employees. All of our units hold a “stand-up meeting” in the morning to organize activities remotely and to resolve any problems.
During this period, we haven’t had any operational interruptions. It’s a tremendous show of responsibility on both sides, and the opportunity was welcomed by employees. This strikes the right balance between trust in our people, proactivity, and the great sense of responsibility that our teams share.
3. How did technology support you in this moment?
While I am not a technical expert, I believe that the investments that Doxee makes every year in our tools and in efficiency, as well as in process innovation, have made it possible to respond almost immediately to an emergency situation such as the one we find ourselves in today. These investments in the area of personnel development had already been implemented, since the company had already started this new approach of agile and remote work. We can say that the COVID-19 emergency has acted as a de facto accelerator.
In addition to this, thanks to the widespread use of laptops and the knowledge of our workforce who are familiar with how to log into the network from any location, our teams were able to be fully operational from 9 a.m. the next day. For this, we are grateful to the entire Doxee team.
4. Are there any advantages to Smart Working? Do you believe that there are positive aspects in the long term as well?
Certainly, this has been a test, or rather a stress test, of procedures, coordination, and governance. The fact that the activities have not been affected by this unforeseen situation suggests that in the future, the use of Smart Working will be extended over long periods of time and that it will be an agile way of working, also thanks to the sense of responsibility shown by our people.
We notice how conference calls that allow us to carry out routine meetings are almost an educational tool: they accustom us to keep to schedules, to be more focused and to make decisions much faster. In short, we become smarter.
I think one thing will not change completely at the end of this experience. Whether it’s the young average age of our employees or the welcoming working environment at Doxee, we know that each of us feels part of a cohesive and highly motivated team. Our office is a pleasant working environment, and I’m sure that our people will look forward to returning to the office after this stress test.