Fawzi EL Khoury

by | Sep 10, 2020

Imagicle turns remote work into an opportunity to get smarter.

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Become adaptable to change.

Dear friends, here is Fawzi, Imagicle Channel Account Manager, Middle East. Today it is my intention to spread some positive vibes, since, for a while now, all the news we check daily are quite stressful and negative. 

 

In particular, I’d like to talk about the positive impact of Smart Working at the time of COVID-19, and how within Imagicle we have transformed it into an opportunity for growth and improvement.
 
The recent pandemic following the lockdown measures has had a profound impact on our professional lives. With companies forced to adapt their business models to keep their operations up & running, we have seen a shift in traditional working arrangements, which will probably become a long-lasting cultural change in businesses. 
 
That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
 
Well, here are some of the initiatives that Imagicle has put into place in order to embrace change constructively:
  • giving all employees worldwide the option to work from home;
  • slowly reopening its offices around the world based on local government guidelines. The reopening of the offices will be anyhow gradual, giving priority to the ones having more problems in home working;
  • expanding benefits for employees, offering 300€/300$ by the end of October as welfare/gift card to improve our personal home offices.

    We have taken a direction that we may not want to leave even after the emergency is over. 

Today I will tell you about my experience as a remote worker, explaining why, in my opinion, we have taken a direction that we may not want to leave even after the emergency is over.

Percentages in contrast. A shared future.

The UAE, where I live, was one of the top countries worldwide that responded immediately to change and applied a shift in remote working; two-thirds of employers reported that 75 percent of their workforce worked remotely during the lockdown. This contrasts with 81 percent of companies mentioning that less than 10 percent of their employees worked remotely before the lockdown (Gulfnews, 2020).
 
Cutting our daily commute and improving our work-life-balance: Imagicle and many other companies that have successfully leveraged on the new working-from-home arrangements had a digital system in place that promoted Smart Working. For others, the lockdown meant a fast-tracked digital transformation. In both cases, it’s now crucial to continue investing & improving these new technological systems, especially to guarantee business continuity in the future. Continuous improvement in Cloud systems can open up a whole new way of working so lets be prepared. 
 
It is no coincidence that lately Imagicle has been working on its Imagicle ApplicationSuite as a Service, available starting from the recent Summer Release 2020, and on additional services available only through connection to our Cloud also for On-Prem and Hosted deployment and destined to become increasingly important, such as Proactive Support, the Cloud Licensing or AI/ML services.

An Imagicle approach to the revolution of the workplace.

Having adopted Smart Working since its inception, Imagicle has looked into ways to facilitate or improve working-from-home for companies offering tools such as the Attendant Console, allowing operators to work from home to manage calls as if they were in the office; but also Call Recording, Fax Server to send and receive faxes from anywhere, Call Accounting & Analytics to have an overview on different targeted reports over the calls of employees and much more. 
 
It was our contribution to face the emergency, but also to share the positive side and insights of a personal experience: that of a company, Imagicle, which had made the option of working remotely possible for employees even before the pandemic, realizing that flexibility is one of the keys to creating an efficient, free and satisfying work environment and it was now officially declared to make it available to everybody as a new imagicle normal, after the pandemic too.
 
 
Therefore, arranging a functional personal home office, it’s now becoming a must.

Since we have been already adopting smart working strategies, we have been able to keep up with all our external & internal networks managing the business, Overachieving targets in ME in a period when survival was considered a win situation, Revenues August 2020 +14% YoY worldwide we felt more comfortable in smart-working and we managed our time even more efficiently then office specially when results is what you need to deliver at the end.

 
We have continued to work with the same collaboration tools as ever, such as Webex Teams, and we have even continued to hire
 
I am very proud to be part of this organization and the culture they are adopting

The new paradigm of Smart Working.

Smart Working allows us to rethink ways in which work is carried out and moves away from single office models, open space, and fixed positions. It provides for personalization and autonomy in the choice employees make on space, schedule, and tools. With Smart Working, the employee’s schedule is no longer micro-managed by the employer in most of the cases. Instead, the focus shifts to the employees’ responsibility for results. I believe this is how it should have been from the beginning, since this way of working offers flexibility to the working hours and working space, increasing employee satisfaction and overall performance and a better work-life balance.
 
This pandemic is a wake-up call for companies and managers to enforce this new mindset and become result-oriented, giving the employee the trust to accomplish his work instead of focusing on his daily check-in/check-out time office, breaks period, daily reminders on tasks, and so on.
 
It will take time, but the right direction must be taken immediately: we need to build a “new normal” that makes us equally productive, efficient and happy with what we do.
 
The Imagicle motto says “It’s always a matter of happy people”. 
It does not specify where these people should be in the world. winking face 

Is there a silver lining in remote work?

In a June survey of 800 U.S.-based employees, McKinsey found that remote working employees see a positive impact on their daily work with higher engagement levels and a stronger sense of well-being when compared to those in non-remote jobs. However, remote workers with dependents appear to be faring better than those who are more isolated. Of remote-working fathers, 79.4 percent reported positive work effectiveness. This contrasts with mothers, of whom only 39.4 percent reported positive work effectiveness (McKinsey, 2020). Of employees working in non-remote positions that offer less flexibility, 70.5 percent reported negative work effectiveness.

As mentioned at the beginning, Imagicle is planning to re-open offices by the end of October. We will evaluate till mid of October how to act at our best, how to limit risks allowing a reduced presence, giving priority to the ones also having problems in home working. 

In my opinion, thats the best thing to do, making it optional for the employees to choose the best suitable place. Of course, physical interaction with colleagues and office is still necessary, but it can be carried on with a new mindset for the people who haven’t realized its value yet.

Movement restrictions forced companies to think of new working arrangements. The return phase of Covid-19 presents an opportunity for businesses to rethink their responses to workplace challenges. We have reached a unique leadership-momentum to reflect on our working arrangements. As the survey mentioned above highlighted, employees need variety, and this is a call for tailored responses. 

Smart Working may still need some improvement but has proven to be an effective way to maintain productivity while keeping a healthy work-life balance.

Conclusions.

Flexibility, access to resources, and cost reduction are a solid starting point to seeing the benefits of this new working pattern, featured by higher versatility in terms both of time and place of work, since smart-workers can perform their job tasks at any place equipped with proper internet-connected computer devices and proper applications/tools. Another noticeable benefit is competitiveness: using smart working, companies are able to rapidly adapt to the market changes. 
 
The road to complete smart work implementation is long and unexplored, but we are starting to have some points of reference. Imagicle was born to evolve over time. It has been doing it from the start and will continue to do so: like any company at the forefront of UC, it constantly responds to new needs. Adaptability is inherent in his organism.
 
As an employee of this company, I saw this adaptability to the work, and I absorbed a little bit of it. My new office is well organized and allows me to do everything I did before: interact with colleagues and clients, and manage time way better.
I hope it will soon allow me to do even more. 
 
What about you, colleagues and friends?
How are you coping with this new lifestyle?

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