The digital revolution is automating significant sectors of the workforce, creating as much disruption as opportunity. “Work” now is a collaboration between people, data, and technology.
In this episode of The Rebound, Australian futurist, author, and entrepreneur Steve Sammartino; Creative Director Tommy McCubbin; award-winning television presenter Rad Yeo; and APAC Marketing Lead at Shopify Bertie Ocampo discuss the challenges and opportunities the future of work presents, and what the “humble office space” will look like in the future.
Post-pandemic transition to hybrid working life
The pandemic has created hybrid workforces, with more organisations allowing their employees to work from home than ever before. Recent research reveals 64% of leaders say managing flexible work arrangements is one of their top priorities right now.
But some are struggling to implement and understand what this means when it comes to supporting and strengthening a growing business. Marketing Lead APAC at Shopify Bertie Ocampo offers some quick tips on managing a remote workforce and how to transition to new ways of working as smoothly as possible.
It all starts with building trust. Bertie says, “Above anything else, pivoting to a remote workforce requires a different mindset. You have to focus on trusting your people and offering more autonomy.”
Next, it’s about providing the right tools to your team. For example, Shopify as a global business has now transitioned to a 100% remote workforce.
“We rely heavily on technology to keep in touch and suggest new remote teams add easy-to-use video conferencing software, a real-time messaging app, a shared document platform, and a collaborative project management tool,” Bertie says.
Third, ask the right questions. Bertie suggests consistent communication is a crucial component for any high-functioning remote team.
“Asking questions at a regular cadence allows managers to create a culture where employees feel comfortable,” she says. “Whether in the office or at home, truly effective managers provide meaningful feedback to each person on their team. Don’t forget the feedback—it is critical for remote team success.”
Starting your own business in remote conditions
Starting your own business is exciting but also overwhelming. When an entrepreneur starts a business, they may have no idea how far their ripple effect will spread. They might have no clue the impact they will have on their family, employees, communities, suppliers, customers, and the world.
Bertie says Shopify has created a Founder’s Zodiac quiz, so budding entrepreneurs can find out what kind of entrepreneur they are:
- The always-be-prepared Cartographer
- The brave Trailblazer
- The steady Outsider
- The growth-minded Mountaineer
- The risk-taking Firestarter
“Understanding who you are as an entrepreneur can help you plan for the future and take you one step closer to your dreams,” says Bertie.
Who is getting it right?
After a Summer in India, husband and wife team Chris and Phoebe Bell were inspired to found Sage x Clare.
Taken in by the energetic streets, righteous colors, and artisanal products, they saw an opportunity to leverage a global team of artisans combined with modern ecommerce technology, branding, and marketing.
Phoebe says for those who want to start a business similar to Sage x Clare, it’s critical they engage with local artisans and travel to where they are located.
“Getting to understand their business and also ensuring the local artisans understand what you want to do is important,” Phoebe says. “Have people you trust on the ground there, too. We have a team, predominantly in India, who manage everything right through from sampling to the export of our goods, and without them it would be almost impossible to do what we do.”
Like every business, the team at Sage x Clare were impacted by the 2020 pandemic and had to make some changes to their business, which they hope will stick around post-pandemic.
“Our supply chain was impacted, and that made things difficult last year, particularly,” Phoebe says. “This has meant turning many things on their head, like range launches and specific marketing calendars that we would have ordinarily subscribed to. It meant thinking creatively.”
Phoebe notes that in order for the business to thrive in today’s competitive landscape, she and her husband have viewed their business community differently.
“For us to survive, we need all the people in our community to survive. For instance, our stockists,” Phoebe says.
We started opening up the knowledge that we have, offering one-on-one sessions to help with elements of their business perhaps they were struggling with. So hopefully we can all come out of this together, and we can be thriving together.”
The pandemic has also meant the Sage x Clare staff have adapted to working remotely, shifting their communication methods, workflow systems, and processes in order to swiftly adapt to the changing conditions.
“We’ve worked out ways of communicating so we still get that camaraderie that we need and we still have that workflow,” Phoebe says. “This will probably be here to stay forever.”
Phoebe says Shopify has been amazing for Sage x Clare in supporting this new way of work, and that there’s been virtually nothing the business has gone to do that Shopify hasn’t been able to facilitate.
“For instance, 18 months ago, we brought our wholesale in house, and that meant setting up a whole new website and a wholesale portal for our stockists to shop,” Phoebe explains. “Even with so many variations to how an ordinary site might run, it’s been amazing to have Shopify, because, thinking creatively, we’ve been able to achieve what we want.”
Quick takeaway tips
- When transitioning to a remote workforce, build trust. Provide the right tools for your team and ask the right questions.
- Find out what technology, systems and communication tools can help your brand grow, such as cloud storage or real-time engagement platforms.
- When you're starting a new business venture take the time to discover what type of “entrepreneur personality” you want to be.
- Ensure supply chain collaboration. Leverage the right systems and processes to ensure everyone in your supply chain is impacted positively by your actions.
About The Rebound Season 2
- Episode 7 of The Rebound Season 2 aired in Australia on Saturday, August 14, at 12:30 p.m., on Channel Nine. New episodes are released every week.
- Each new episode of The Rebound will cover a different theme to address the most pressing opportunities and challenges facing entrepreneurs today.
- The themes, in chronological order, are: Skills, Design, Storytelling, Pricing, Culture, Growth, Future of Work, and Crypto.
- For more information about The Rebound, and to watch episodes of season 1 on demand, visit the website.