Why I'm a passionate believer in digital transformation

By Paul Stevenson, O2 Head of Enterprise Marketing Services

“Work is a thing you do. Not a place you go.”

When you’re based at home in West Scotland and your company’s HQ is in South East England, your perspective on work has a way of changing. Pretty fast.

So it’s safe to say my team has heard me say this, oh, once or twice. And I’d like to think they agree with me. After all, the twelve of them – from all over the UK – signed up for this ongoing experiment in remote working (and, presumably, to do more than just keep a faraway Scotsman company).

Most days, I’m 250 miles from my nearest colleague – which could make water cooler catch-ups mission impossible. But remote working isn’t some far-off flying-car fantasy. O2 has been driving its own three-year digital transformation, testing the boundaries and shaping this new reality every day.

A range of innovative, evolving mobile and cloud-based solutions have helped us make it happen, but a few truly terrific tools stand out as the stars of the show.

We rely on Microsoft Skype for Business video conferencing to bring everyone together for team meetings, share desktop presentations, have one-to-ones and performance reviews, manage editorial scheduling and the best practice sign-off process, and monitor progress on our delivery schedule. (And, in my case, gamely suffer through jokes about Irn-Bru.)

Alongside Skype, we’ve been using Sharepoint, Google Docs and OneDrive to organise our editorial calendars and schedules, track documents, archive, and keep our reporting up to date.

But as brilliant as these tools have been at driving efficiencies and facilitating better collaboration, one particular step forward stands out above all the others. I look around this collection of individuals – all living in different places, meeting in person every other month – and see an empowered team that truly thrives on transparency and autonomy. A team as collaborative and efficient as any office-based team, but with far lower travel costs than many. A team that remains connected to the wider business. And a team that wins awards.

Sure, working like this can take some getting used to. Yes, we still run into our share of challenges. But it’s been a genuine privilege to make the journey with my team. We’re discovering new ways to not just work, but get things done faster, smarter, better. Basically, we’re getting a sneak peek into the world’s working future. One we get to help make given the tech we sell and the experience we have. Pretty special, in my opinion.

I have another favourite saying (one which my team probably now hear in their sleep: “It’s not about how we develop the tech. It’s about how we develop our people.”

So while work may be a thing you do and not a place you go, it will always be all about the people you do it with. Technology just lets us be the best, most agile versions of ourselves, doing more together. Simple as that.

Read more about O2’s remote working solutions.