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How Spenmo is Gearing Up For the Future of Work with Deskimo

In recent months, many businesses across the globe have chosen to cut down on office space and decisively move employees onto remote work systems. Spenmo is an example of a company which has successfully adopted a flexible work policy over the past year and a half.

We reached out to Spenmo’s founder, Mohandass Kalaichelvan, to find out how Spenmo is gearing up for the future of work with Deskimo. 

CEO and Founder of Spenmo, Mohandass Kalaichelvan

About Spenmo

Q: Joining us today is one of our enterprise clients, the co-founder of a leading payment company. Mohandass Kalaichelvan, could you give a quick introduction about your company for our readers?

Thanks for the invitation to chat, I’m glad to share our story with the Deskimo community. 

Spenmo is a unified spend payments platform that aims to capture the small and midsize business (SMBs) market through B2B payment automation and management. Spenmo helps companies have control and visibility over their expenditures. It offers clients corporate card offerings, automated local and overseas invoice payments, and accounting automation. 

Founded in 2019, Spenmo has made significant progress in Southeast Asia. A few of our notable SMB clients include: Glints, Guzman Y Gomez and Stashaway. We currently employ around 50 people, most of them working remotely using Deskimo.

Is flexible work here to stay?

Q: Last year’s circuit breaker gave businesses a taste of what prolonged remote work arrangements would look like. Now that the Covid-19 situation in Singapore has relatively stabilised, do employees really want flexible work to stay? Or is it just a passing phenomenon of Covid-19?

After more than a year of remote work, I think many professionals in Singapore want remote work to stay. Our own employees have voiced their preference for flexible working arrangements. Most favour a mix work work-from-home days and coworking meetups with colleagues at cafes and professional coworking spaces. 

Spenmo made the choice to give up our office space last year when the circuit breaker started and we haven’t looked back since. By providing our employees with the option to choose where and how they wanted to work, they were able to optimise the work day according to their individual needs and schedules. We found that by listening to our employees and taking a ground-up approach to our flexible work policy, we’ve managed to boost productivity and team morale.

I guess we aren’t alone in this decision to move towards flexible working. Just this month, JP Morgan’s decision to shift out of Capital Tower captured the attention of many. Similarly, Cargill has also slashed its office space drastically. It’s evident that this isn’t a trend we can ignore.

While there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel, we’re also faced with no foreseeable end to the current Covid-19 crisis.  So while flexible work arrangements have become an increasingly common preference for our employees, it’s also a necessity for some. I think flexible work is here to stay.

Coping with Covid-19 business disruptions

Q: Covid-19 has undoubtedly disrupted business operations across the world. How has Spenmo adapted its operations to some of the challenges brought about by Covid-19?

For the past year and a half, many businesses, including ours, have grappled with tightened Covid-19 workplace restrictions and stringent safe-distancing regulations. With work-from-home remaining the default despite the recent easing of Covid-19 measures in mid-June, a growing proportion of employees are being moved onto remote work systems for the long term. 

Spenmo is a company that has committed to flexible working – the majority of our employees are now working remotely using Deskimo. Despite the obvious cost benefits and convenience afforded to employees, a remote-first work culture comes with its own set of difficulties. We understand that home environments are often disruptive or unconducive for professional work, and prolonged work-from-home arrangements can be immensely isolating for employees as well. 

We’ve sought to mitigate this by providing each of our remote employees with a monthly stipend of $300-$500 to spend on professional workspaces with Deskimo. Instead of confining them to a fixed office, we allow our employees to choose their ideal workspace. Whether it’s finding a workspace closer to home or with better views, our employees can select workspaces best suited to their needs.

Managing company culture

Q: The isolating effect of remote work is also of concern to many business leaders. How does Spenmo cope with the erosion of company culture caused by remote work?

Our hybrid approach to remote work has helped to offset the drawbacks of working from home. For example, employees are free to conduct small-scale meetings periodically and collaborate over projects at remote workspaces. This has allowed us to better align remote employees with Spenmo’s vision and company culture by creating important face-to-face interaction opportunities from time to time. 

I’ve read that 60% of executives rank ‘managing culture’ as a primary concern when it comes to remote work. This makes sense, with fewer on-site interactions and office networking opportunities, maintaining company culture is a valid focus for managers today.

We mitigate this risk by using Deskimo, to avoid an either-or situation when it comes to choosing between remote work and going back to the office. So far, we’ve demonstrated our ability to retain the flexibility and efficiency of remote work systems, while keeping our network of employees connected.

Spenmo’s experience with Deskimo

Q: What has Spenmo’s employees’ experience with Deskimo so far?

Spenmo has been working closely with Deskimo to connect its employees to optimised, professional workspaces all across Singapore. 

Like many other professionals working remotely, our employees faced difficulties with working from home. Common disruptions such as neighbouring home renovation works have adversely affected their productivity. Deskimo has provided us with a tailored solution to this issue.

Our employees are able to access over 30 coworking spaces on a pay-by-the-minute basis on Deskimo. This has allowed Spenmo to reduce its reliance on long-term corporate real estate leases and rental burdens. With Deskimo, our remote employees have been able to check in from a host of locations based on their schedules. 

Notably, Deskimo’s wide array of locations makes their platform stand-out relative to other flexible workspace platforms which mainly focus on workspaces within central Singapore. 

Of course, it isn’t just about convenience, we also want our employees to access professional and safe environments. Deskimo’s curated list of quality workspaces ensures that our employees are working from the top-notch locations that strictly abide by Covid-19 safe-distancing regulations.

Deskimo’s focus on seamless transactions and check-in processes has also provided our employees with a hassle-free experience. Through a simple three-step process, our employees can get to work at any workspace of their choosing.

Spenmo and the future of work

Q: What advantages do businesses like Spenmo have, when looking at the future of work?

Transforming SMBs into ‘lean enterprises’ has been a core message the Singapore Ministry of Manpower has been pushing for since 2016 amidst the labour crunch faced by the city-state. With that in mind, I think that digitally-orientated SMBs like Spenmo are best positioned to attenuate the effects of manpower bottlenecks and make the switch towards remote work systems.

The recent state of affairs has shown us that the future of work is centred on agility and employee well-being – this makes workplace flexibility a business solution here to stay. As we expand our operations and grow our staffing, I believe our early decision to build a more nimble and flexible workforce will pay off in the long term.

About Deskimo

Deskimo is the flexible work platform of choice that helps businesses navigate the new future of work. With us, you and your business can adapt to flexible work, and pay-as-you-go across dozens of spaces in Singapore and Hong Kong. 

Download the app now.

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