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Talking with Vahagn Sarksyan, Head of Marketing at Krisp, On the Modern Workplace

Krisp is fitting seamlessly into the remote workplace during this time and is changing the way teams interact. In this episode, Vahagn Sarksyan, Head of Marketing at Krisp, talks through the characteristics of the modern workplace, how asynchronous tools can help distributed workforces, and why an ounce of kindness can change an employee’s day.

A Little Background

At the time of this episode, Vahagn had been Director of Marketing at Krisp for about a year and had been in some capacity of marketing for about twelve years.

Before Krisp he was working in various marketing roles at Snapp, the first unicorn startup in Iran.

His educational background included receiving a Master’s degree in e-business before attending UC Berkeley to study marketing.

Embracing the Modern Workplace

For Vahagn, two main factors have been front of mind when it comes to large scale adaptation of the remote workplace:

  1. Connectivity

  1. Flexibility

The overall machine connectivity ability of the world is increasing virtually every hour. Every week we’re seeing new tools and startups that’s sole purpose is to improve our ability to connect with other people and computers, no matter the location.

Flexibility involves employees more having the choice in how and when they want to be connected.

When we combine these two factors, the modern workplace is a place where people can live and work efficiently and productively, while also asynchronously.

Even before the pandemic, some studies reported that about 50% of millennial and gen-z workers were already primarily working from home. Any companies that weren’t already doing this in some capacity are just now realizing that they are capable of doing so.

Vahagn mentions how many remote working evangelists and influencer-types are currently concerned and disappointed by the reputation that remote work has received, due to how most companies have been forced to adopt. He doesn’t want all workers to confuse what they’re currently experiencing as true remote work. In reality, it can be so much better than this, as many who were already working remotely can attest.

How Remote Tools Stack Up

Video conferencing companies are presenting a convenient and attractive solution to non-face-to-face interaction. Vahagn finds Zoom and CloudApp to be particularly attractive options for distributive workers.

“CloudApp is a package of solutions for products we all face every day,”

His company Krisp, a cross-platform noise-canceling app, is all about enhancing the quality of communications in often unpredictable environments. With people now not being able to hop into a soundproof phone booth or reserve a conference room, this has been a wildly helpful tool.

We know meetings aren’t entirely going away, but a fair amount of them can probably be eliminated. Moving to remote has freed up many employees’ time due to having more opportunities to utilize asynchronous apps to get the point across without having to schedule a formal conversation. This is an overall win for most workers’ productivity.

Managing in Crisis

Like many people, this is the first time Vahagn has had to manage a team during a global crisis.

During these situations, as a manager, it should be a goal to maintain or improve team morale. “Offering kindness is a great solution to any problem you face during a situation like this.” At this time, Vahagn tries to be as empathetic as possible and encourages his team to do the same, while still of course keeping focus on hitting crucial KPIs.

Recognizing the human element of all of this is important.

Defining the New Normal

The new normal might not be solely remote work, but will be built around being remote-first.

Vahagn predicts much more resources and effort being dedicated to employee packages involving funds for a healthy work-from-home setup, which could mean everything from ergonomic desks to food delivery stipends for lunch. To attract the best remote talent, companies will be competing to offer these benefits.

Currently recording this podcast from Armenia, Vahagn is no stranger to the impact time zones can have on a distributed workforce. He’s a big fan of Slack for day-to-day communication that’s sometimes asynchronous, and Zoom and email for scheduling and longer-term projects.

Krisp is not a perfect remote-first company, but large strides are being made and most companies are doing their best to build out the best version possible of what will be our new normal.

Listen to the episode here.

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