Embracing the new normal
, Antoine Perdaens
The idea for Elium germinated in a very different world to the one we are in today. In 2007, during the final year of my studies, I founded the company with fellow student Raphaël Slinckx and colleague Olivier Verbeke. We were studying and working in a world of emerging technologies. The democratisation of knowledge was just beginning the idea of sharing music playlists and compiling del.icio.us lists was new and held exciting potential. People had started using Blackberries and iPhones.
At university, collaboration tools like Google Docs were just emerging as helpful technologies for knowledge sharing. But I realised that people were exchanging information over coffee breaks, or by email, and there was no record – the exchange was lost . This didn’t seem efficient to me when technologies could offer so much more. I believed people could work and study more productively if technology could make knowledge and resources more visible. It was really that simple – it was about creating nicer user interfaces and improving the user experience for knowledge sharing and knowledge searches. A lot has changed since then.
Over the past thirteen years, our software service has grown with our clients and expanded with the surrounding technologies. Working with rapidly evolving digitalisation, we have helped businesses to weather a major recession, boost the efficiency of their communication processes and dramatically enhance their collaborative capacities. What hasn’t changed, is the need to connect employees, the need to align teams, and the need to communicate. Ironically, despite a plethora of communication apps and social media platforms, the need to organise knowledge and communicate is now stronger than ever for organisations and businesses.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not only altered market conditions – it has changed the shape of the workplace.
The peculiarities of this crisis have played to the business strengths of internet-based organisations and those already optimised for a work-from-home economy. Conversely, the fallout has included the extinction of countless small and medium-sized businesses – mostly those without a digital infrastructure – and has presented a tangible threat to many more. For the survivors, the future is uncertain.
The market may recover, but ways of working have changed. At the very least, workplaces must dramatically lower the number of people sharing a space. This is a concept that runs counter to the workplace zeitgeist of the past two decades. Business travel will be less frequent, interactions less organic, and remote working – something that was already on the rise – will become even more common. These are simple changes, but or any organisation that values their company culture, team alignment, collaboration and creativity, they are daunting. They are also an opportunity. Digital tools can enable a totally distributed company to work in an agile way and focus on results.
At Elium, the experience of lockdown has revealed the profound capabilities of our software to enable meaningful, efficient work processes without having to share an office. The crisis provoked an organisation sprint in our team. We were able to easily switch to agile mode, allowing us to create a virtual club with our customers, onboard new staff, and even conduct maternity-leave handovers while each working from home. The process proved such a success, that Elium has now decided to become a remote-first company.
We invite you to download our recent white paper that outlines how digital technologies can enable organisations to adapt to market changes, recover from the crisis, and thrive in the “new normal”.