Like many businesses across the world, Dutch car auto-leasing company ProMobility has found itself having to adapt in uncertain times: the company’s employees have been working remotely from their homes since the middle of March 2020.
But according to Dick Dekker, co-founder and director of ProMobility’s Zaanstad office, north of Amsterdam, Netherlands, there have been some unexpectedly positive outcomes of the extraordinary circumstances the company has recently found itself in.
“We are working hard to keep our business alive,” Dekker says, speaking from his home in Amsterdam. “But something that I would never have imagined, is how the technology we are now using has brought us closer together as a team.
“It may sound crazy,” he adds, “but I feel we are more connected now than we were before this situation started; to our customers, to our suppliers – and amongst the team here too.”
Keeping team spirits high with technology
Operational since 2006, ProMobility has a portfolio of about 350 clients, leasing some 1160 cars to Dutch businesses that range from construction companies to marketing and communications specialists.
With two offices located in different parts of the Netherlands – the company’s other office is close to the south-western city of Rotterdam – ProMobility’s business model has always required communication across large domestic distances.
But it wasn’t until government-mandated restrictions on the movement of people due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to the company’s employees having to work remotely that ProMobility realised just how beneficial the solutions they had at their disposal could be for the business.
“We used to use Microsoft Teams occasionally,” Dekker says. “But now it has become such an important part of our business.”
The working day now begins with a full team call on Microsoft Teams at 9AM, and closes with another at 4.30PM.
“Microsoft Teams allows us to see each other and talk to each other as a group twice a day, so we keep up the team spirit like that,” explains Dekker. “In some ways, the contact is more meaningful than before, because you really have to listen to each other on Teams. Plus, you see everyone in their homes, feeling relaxed.
“It is more human,” he adds. “I didn’t expect that at all.”
Technology designed for sharing and caring
The company has had Microsoft technology at its core since its establishment 14 years ago. And having recently upgraded to Microsoft 365 across the business, it is now reaping the benefits of the platform’s many tools.
While Microsoft Teams has been a vital way of staying connected and communicating over the past month, the company has also been using Microsoft OneNote to share files and communicate between team members.
“We are using Microsoft Teams and OneNote together, rather than email,” explains Dekker. “And it’s so much easier and more efficient. It gives us more space to do our work, so we are actually performing a little bit better and more efficiently as a team, even if the business is under pressure from the current situation.”
That added efficiency is allowing the company to reach out to its clients, many of whom are fighting to keep themselves afloat too.
“Most of our clients we know personally, we know the history of their companies,” says Dekker. “The tech helps us stay in contact with them, so I can video call them or arrange a virtual meeting and speak to them face-to-face on Teams to see how ProMobility can help them, because we are all going to have to be flexible to come through this period.”
Dekker has found that keeping in touch using Teams has come as a relief for both his company’s long-standing clients and ProMobility’s suppliers.
“It keeps them calm,” he says. “And we’ve embraced technology to help make that happen.”
Setting a standard for the future
The pace of the changes businesses have found themselves having to adapt to in recent weeks is extraordinary.
It’s a reality that the team at ProMobility is learning from. “The possibilities to improve your company by using Microsoft 365 are enormous,” Dekker says. “It has really streamlined the procedures and processes of our company, so I am very glad to have discovered this technology in the last few weeks, and we are definitely going to continue to use these technologies when the current health crisis has passed.”
Dekker is so satisfied with the success of the technology his company is newly using, that he also has a message for other small businesses that find themselves in a similar position: “You have to leverage the learnings from these past few months and embrace collaborative technologies. Because it will help your company to have everything in one place,” he says effusively.
“I would advise all managers and owners of companies to try these technologies,” he adds.
Watch the video
To discover more about ProMobility’s adaptation to remote working, watch the video.