No, there is no need to call for donations to support the air cargo online booking platform, cargo.one, in affording an office.
That already existed in the eastern part of Berlin. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic demanded that people avoid contact and maintain social distancing, the office was given up and replaced by a decentralized model favoring working from home. This has proven to be more efficient and beneficial for the company, says Moritz Claussen, Co-Founder and Managing Director of the company.
And that is how it is going to stay, the manager emphasizes. “Office was yesterday; autonomous and remote working models are the future,” he exclaims. Yet, what exactly are the advantages of this decentralized approach compared to traditional office-based work? It can be assumed that saving on office rent alone is not the most important aspect.
Instead, two reasons in particular stand out, Moritz says. “Our business model is based on internationality, which demands customer closeness achievable by personal presence in important markets. This requires staff based in different regions and time zones, acting from there and capable of conversing in the customer’s own language.”
This is tightly coupled with a second aspect speaking in favor of the decentralized model: recruiting specialists and high potentials. These experts can be found in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, or at a few other hot spots where there is fertile ground for tech talent to grow. “We have a very capable employee in Amsterdam, where she really wants to stay for personal reasons. Moving to Berlin, where we are legally registered, and working in an office there would not have been her life dream. So, we jointly decided that she remains in Amsterdam, working for us from there.” Had cargo.one not offered her this solution, she would not be part of the team now, he says. The same goes for specialists living in Cape Town, London, or Madrid, who also decided to stay there for various reasons.
Know-how coupled with cultural fit
In the case of new hires, it is not only technical competence that is important, but also cultural fit, otherwise friction with the other team members is inevitable, Mr Claussen emphasizes. The individual teams define their own focal points and set themselves quarterly targets. These must be transparent and measurable, and in line with the company's overarching operational and business guidelines.
Key challenge: creating team spirit
There is no intention of changing the decentralized working model, even after the end of the corona pandemic. “We are growing very quickly, so we need capable employees who are self-organized, located close to the customers, and who act pro-actively,” he states.
Yet, how much team spirit can arise from this kind of disparate organization of labor? The collective office model allows staff to exchange information right on the spot, go to a restaurant or bar in the evening, or have a chat with colleagues in a pleasant atmosphere. This results in a sense of unity that can be very productive, hence beneficial for all actors involved.
So, the question is how to create this kind of team spirit when the work process is decentralized, as favored by cargo.one? “We hire 5 to 6 new colleagues per month. Each newcomer is assigned a teamer who accompanies him or her, and is responsible for the integration into the overall team. There are live onboarding sessions, videos are made and shared. Communicating with each other across national borders is a high priority. This is supplemented by one-week meetings of all employees per quarter at a common location as soon as it is safe to do so, where getting to know each other personally is a criterion of utmost importance,” Moritz Claussen explains.
In the medium term, the manager envisions a combination of home office and coworking space, where cargo.one employees meet to initiate new projects or speak to customers to evaluate and optimize business processes.
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