The Future of Work: How Entrepreneurs are Redefining the Workplace in the Digital Age

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It is easier now than ever before to leverage technology to make your business better, bigger and more efficient.

Thanks to the digital age in which we find ourselves, the way we work has changed, and entrepreneurs are now at the forefront of creating a redefined workplace.

While we were always heading towards this new model, the onset of the global pandemic and the need for businesses to have staff work remotely has accelerated many of the tools we now have at our fingertips.

Santiago Vicaria Angel is a business strategist and advisor who has seen how efficient the remote model can be for companies.

As Senior Vice President of Ontop, a digital platform that helps employers hire and pay international workers legally and efficiently, he manages a remote team of over 200 people globally.

He says: “Advances in technology have made it possible for employees to work from anywhere, and entrepreneurs have understandably taken advantage of this. We have seen the benefits of remote working within Ontop because it enables us to work with talent that we may not have been able to previously.

“We handle more than 500 people working for Ontop  are currently embarking on worldwide expansion, we have presence in more than 50 countries. We are heading towards having a truly global team with a global strategy.”

Santiago has witnessed the redefined workplace model in a number of companies he has worked with as an entrepreneur.

He is highly regarded for his expertise, having won 1st place at the Colombia National Contest of Entrepreneurship as well as the Creacion de Empresa, a nationally recognized award from The National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI).

Santiago was given the award for his work with Bio, a startup that created a natural and biodegradable substitute for styrofoam.

A peer in the field of entrepreneurship, he is also a member of the Forbes Business Council, writing articles on sales and marketing and B2B marketing.

Santiago says that while some companies have urged their staff to return to the office environment, many have adopted remote work as the new normal. Others have opted for a hybrid where employees can come in a couple of days a week, which has proved popular and beneficial to profit margins and profitability: “Many companies have seen that giving their employees an opportunity to connect in person helps encourage connection and a sense of community,” he says.

Santiago adds other benefits, which include reducing the overhead of a physical office, can often be a game-changer when startups are in the build phase. The change to remote working can release more capital to invest elsewhere.

Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Santiago attended the prestigious CESA Business School, one of the best in the country, and has an MS in entrepreneurship from the University of del Rosario.

He also has a qualification in International leadership from the EADA Business School and a certificate in entrepreneurship from Babson College.

Santiago says the redefined workplace provides flexibility to employees and owners alike: “The traditional 9-to-5 workday is becoming less common, something which is music to the ears of most entrepreneurs.”

“When you are working across multiple time zones, it can be very helpful to have a less rigid structure.”

Having worked for Colliers International, one of the world’s biggest CRE companies, as well as Microsoft and the Walt Disney Company, Santiago has seen both aspects in play: “Flexibility also enables you to work with individuals who may not have been able to consider the position on a rigid 9-to-5. They may have family constraints or other personal situations which would have made it untenable.”

He adds: “Entrepreneurs are embracing flexible work arrangements as they recognize that different employees have different work styles and preferences. Isn’t it better to have an employee working when and where they are most productive? When someone has a better work-life balance their productivity increases.”

Santiago says that the new flexible business model means collaboration is at the forefront of the way work is done: “As the workplace becomes more decentralized, entrepreneurs can utilize all sorts of ways to bring their teams together.”

He adds: “Video conferencing, chat applications, and project management tools are all now just part of the way we do work. These kinds of tools make it possible for teams to work together effortlessly, regardless of their physical location. They can communicate ideas and get them actioned almost immediately even though they may be on different continents.”

But it is not just communication and collaboration tools which are giving the workplace an overhaul. The technology used for automation and streamlining processes can free up time and resources so there can be input into more strategic activities.

Santiago believes the implementation of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning in the workplace can help entrepreneurs and their teams work smarter, not harder, so they can achieve more with less: “We have seen the amazing effects this can have with On top, a business which could not have existed previously without cloud computing.”

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