OmniSpotlight: Erik Olsson
Tell us a little bit about you and your background.
Four small words give you a quick idea of who I am: adventure, learning, challenge, excellence. To put it in more normal terms, I'm Erik and I live in Stockholm, Sweden (for now...). Through school and at work I've always enjoyed exploring new things, improving my understanding and experimenting. That mindset allowed me to first to serve as a naval officer and subsequently to venture out and explore more of the world. Work has always provided me with interesting world-wide opportunities and I've been given the chance to work as a consultant, in the airline industry, with beverages and fast moving consumer goods, as well as with data and analytics. While this may all seem haphazard the common denominator has always been about interesting business situations, real world problems and a need to fix things. This is where I excel.
What do you do at Omnipresent?
I lead the Operations team which is at the very core of the value we, Omnipresent, deliver to our clients. There are several aspects to this, an all-inclusive role perhaps:
- Making sure the day-to-day machinery works and that we respond to and serve our clients in the best way possible on a daily basis. Today this means interacting with clients, employees, and local partners to make sure employment needs are served and set up correctly.
- Developing the strategic view on what operations should be and provide in the future. Customer service and customer value is at the heart of what we do and will continue to be extremely important going forward. By thinking strategically about the operational setup and its architecture we will be able to couple winning performance with customer satisfaction.
- Expanding and building the team to ensure that the operational production and delivery capacity meets client demand. But we also extend the team to increase functionalities and overall capabilities - this will be required in the future. Finally, we are increasing our global coverage. It is truly exciting that we in the near future will have 24/7 operations capacity.
- Improving operations one small step at a time. This happens every day and while it may seem small the compounding effect is actually very significant. A little part of every day is dedicated to make sure processes are a little better, systems better adjusted to our needs, sources of error built away and avoided, and customer facing work is improved in terms of quality and speed.
- Support the overall development of the company. Operations is a key service provider externally but it is also an important function internally, within the business. We aim to support and provide also for other departments and though projects and initiatives make sure that we, all of Omnipresent, continue to have a fantastic work environment while we continue to serve our clients in the best way possible.
What do you like most about your role?
It is always exciting to be able to start early and build something that must stand the test of time. I find it intriguing to figure out the day-to-day while simultaneously set out working processes for the future. Essentially, the role meets my expectations and more. Every day is different and I am challenged to know more and learn more in order to build a great business. It is also an environment that permits me to leverage previous experiences and play with perspectives. The absolute best part is interacting with the team and learn that there are ways to improve work that I hadn't even thought about - I'm learning every day and each day is an adventure!
How did you come to work at Omnipresent and what about Omnipresent's mission resonated with you?
After having worked mostly in larger-scale organisations I realised I wanted a more dynamic and direct environment where decisions can be made faster and the impact is greater. I wanted a quicker process from idea to result. I was also looking for an opportunity to create and build something that means something, that has real purpose. The prospect of democratising recruitment, employment and the search for talent is something that gives me energy. I believe that companies as well as people will be better off when we don't look at country borders as a limitation. Additionally, remote working is something to embrace. People will do great things when given the opportunity and I think this is being evidenced with all desired clarity these times. Even after confinement, remote working and dispersed teams are here to stay. The fact that Omnipresent exists to help make that transition easier is truly exciting!
What are the biggest benefits to working remotely for you?
Working remotely is new to me. At least at the 100% level. I have, however, always experimented with different settings for different types of work; a pursuit of sorts in trying to find the best (and easiest?) way to get high-quality work done quickly. Now, working fully remotely I have all of that flexibility fully at my disposal. I'm naturally inclined to use checklists and am both responsible and disciplined which helps me to get organised and get stuff done on time. It will be interesting to see how the remote work environment will change once we have more opportunity to explore and find new settings outside the immediate vicinity of my home.
How are you managing the challenges of working remotely?
While I enjoy remote work there are still items I find hard to get to in the current setup. For example, I find that it is harder to have a remote team sessions to brainstorm and bounce ideas around, to get everyone to pitch in and be fully engaged with finding a solution. As a manager there are interesting challenges as well. Normally a walk-around would provide a view on who needs additional support, who is overloaded and who has capacity to spare. This is not immediately evident in a geographically dispersed team. Communication and transparency will be important going forward as we continue to build out the team also in other parts of the world.
Lastly, what’s the most interesting place you have visited and why?
Oh, such difficult and almost an impossible question! I have travelled a lot and also had the wonderful opportunity to live in many places. A little restlessness combined with an adventurous spirit. I sometimes get the question of which was the best place or what is the best country. In this I find it hard to compare. All places have fantastic things and our mission is to explore these and make the most of such experiences. Most places have downsides too. My overall recommendation would be to compare less (not getting stuck with old perspectives) and immerse yourself more (embrace the new and dare to venture out). Returning to the initial question, I'd like to say anywhere I haven't been yet seem interesting and worth a trip. But if it has to be something I have already experienced then my answer would have to depend on my current mood. At this very moment, I would like to revisit Bogota, Colombia where my family and I lived for 4 years and again meet up with our close friends. It's been too long. For those who haven't been to Colombia, this is worth a trip, or many - a wonderful people and a truly diverse country.