“Co-working spaces as well as offices will change a lot in coming years. They will transform from pure facility management and shared spaces to community-based spaces.”
Davide Dattoli on collaboration, digitalization and the challenges of companies looking for and retaining talents.
You are president, CEO and cofounder of Talent Garden, a Milan-based company that is developing and managing the largest coworking network in Europe with over 20+ campuses. So you research new ways of working. First my question: How do you organize your work at the moment and what do you like about it and what would you change if you could?
What I really like about my work at the moment is that I can travel a lot around Europe to the different campus of Talent Gardens, meet very interesting people from different ecosystems and interact with them. But it’s challenging to organize the team, which is constantly growing and now includes 75 people.
How often do you see your colleagues face-to-face?
Normally, at least one day a week.
So what do you think will change in the future regarding collaboration and working with clients?
I think that it become more important to meet people physically, not only in the office, but also in shared spaces. And it will be more usual to work together in different teams for some days or a period in different spaces. Sometimes you will work directly together with the team of a client and sometimes with a team of the company you work for. This will increase year by year in the future.
Will the real space – an office or a co-working space – where people meet in person play a role in the future?
Absolutely. Co-working space as well as offices will change a lot in coming years. They will transform from pure facility management and shared spaces to community-based spaces.
Why? What is the advantage of meeting in person?
It necessary to meet face to face in order to understand each other on a personal level. You can create the best ideas, do your best work, understand feelings and solve problems. Sure, digital meetings will become more prevalent in the future and you can be very productive working with people online, but you cannot have a great personal relationship.
In what locations do you think we will work in the future?
Each one of us is very different. We have different preferences about how we work and in which environment. So I think much more smart working will happen. In the future, it will no longer be necessary for everyone to work in the same place at the same time. This means that if in the future the time, place and content of work can be decided independently, then people will also be more productive in what they do.
What impact will virtual reality have on work spaces?
I think that virtual reality is one of the biggest challenges that we have. People will be supported by digital technologies to test every action and see the result and the impact of that action before it happens. That will be a big challenge for all routine work because obviously it is one short step from that to the total automation of the process.
What is the impact of digitization, what will be the developments in coming years?
There will be a lot of work done by machines and this will change significantly the approach to how the people work. Digitization will mean that people have to use their minds as much as possible. In the future people will not only have to study to find a job, but to understand that their job will change many times during their lives. And companies will focus on the best creative talents and people that can really work with other people.
And will digitalization also change the way we pay employees in the future? At the moment we pay a fixed salary per month to most of our people.
In the future everything will be much more project-based. A fixed salary – as you get today for “spending time” will not exist anymore. People are required to provide services, bring results over a certain period of time and for that they will be paid.
At present a classic company has the main goal of making a profit. In the future, will the focus change?
At the moment company values are based only on financials, in the future it will be much more the values of the people that work for the company that are important. The employees, the talents will be the future capital of the companies. For many companies it will no longer be advantages in technology but rather employees that will be the deciding factor with which they distinguish themselves from the competition. The talents will bring innovations and thus competitive strength in the companies. The war for the best talents and for their workplace satisfaction will become the most important things for each company. That is the main challenge, that will happen in coming years.
What´s the consequence of this for companies?
It means that companies will have to be better places to work, not simply facilities, but also meeting points to attract people. Companies will have to work more on their corporate culture, they will have to work more on the work-life balance of their employees. If companies let employees choose their working location and timetables, they will have to help them be more productive. It will no longer make sense to be very strict about working times. Rather, the goal will be to create a working environment for employees in which they can feel comfortable and develop. The challenge will be to create a setting that meets all individual needs and still allows teamwork.
Davide Dattoli, born 1990 in Brescia (Italy), is the Founder and CEO of Talent Garden SPA , Europe’s leading platform for the digital tech business communities. Prior he has worked on digital strategies at Condé Nast and has consulted a dozen of international companies on digitalization and innovation. In between running businesses, he studied (without finishing) Economic and Finance at International School LIUC in Milan and has participated to an executive course at Stanford University and Harvard Business School about Business Management.