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Productivity: How Locate2u remains productive from home

Productivity: How Locate2u remains productive from home
Productivity: How Locate2u remains productive from home

Creating a company with employees working from home (WFH) all over the world can be challenging, juggling productivity and work satisfaction. 

It’s the first time in two years that Locate2u CEO Steve Orenstein has met up with the South African team since the start of the company in 2019. The Australian-based international company’s WFH policy is a no-brainer. But finding the right balance requires a lot of work, technology, and sometimes just good coffee.

The work-from-home debate is still simmering worldwide in boardroom conversations and the corridors four years after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. While many companies demand employees back to the office, some transformed their work policies to boost productivity and employee satisfaction. 

Smart Company reports that PwC UK has recently warned young staff to go into the office for at least four days a week or face being replaced by artificial intelligence. 

Recently, the Albanese government’s productivity commissioner, Danielle Wood, told a workforce summit in Sydney that WFH is beneficial for senior staff not being bothered by pesky junior colleagues. However, she raised concerns about the long-term negative impact. 

Striking a balance with WFH

The eight-member team – scattered all over South Africa – works in different departments, from creative marketing content to customer support.

“WFH increases productivity. It works well, but there is nothing like spending time together and sharing the vision of our product,” says Orenstein. 

He says WFH enables a business to cast the nets out wider, which means you can find the ‘cream of the crop’ from the broader pool. Building up a successful company means you must close the laptop and stop work when extra hard work is required. 

“The benefit of building an international company with staff scattered across the world means the company’s engine never stops.” Work structures are synchronized so uniquely that the peak productivity levels never drop.

Using technology for WFH productivity 

Asynchronous meetings are Locate2u’s best tool to optimize workload and ensure a better task success rate while beating the nine-hour time difference. 

Orenstein uses Loom software daily to explain tasks to team members to “get so much more done.” It records a desktop screen while also recording your voice. 

“Doing remote meetings helps to cover so much more content than in person. It takes longer in person,” says Orenstein. He admits, however, that nothing beats an in-person meeting to ensure someone understands the subject better. 

But there are downsides: “In that meeting, you need to have a personal touch. Introductions and interruptions take time. But in asynchronous meetings, you can cut that short,” says Orenstein. 

Building relationships face-to-face

Pushing people to work beyond their capacity is not a smart move. It’s all about a good balance, which Orenstein says starts with building that personal connection with colleagues. 

He says meeting in person once a quarter or twice yearly for a few days is good. “I visit our team in the Philippines every quarter. Productivity levels increased by going there and spending time. I know where we are going, but they must be on board, too. The next remote meeting is much better.”

“We are building personal connections while meeting in person now and again. This helps to ensure we all believe and understand the common vision,” says Orenstein. He says connecting personally also positively impacts colleagues’ work output. 

“It’s good to understand what happens outside of their work life. When you understand the person better, what’s happening in their personal life, and how it impacts their work life, it can help improve their work life. Ultimately, it benefits the business.”

Improving the Locate2u product 

Meeting for a few days back-to-back with the Locate2u team abroad helps the team focus on “improvements of the product and communication to our customer,” says Orenstein.

For the first time since joining the company, some employees have access to conversations outside of their expertise, ultimately helping to improve customer service. “It also allows the team to weigh in and contribute meaningfully to the entire team structure.”

Improving customer experience with regular product updates is one of the focus points for the team. 

“One of the things that has come from this session in South Africa is that we are working on improving our customer service and what we are building, including when we are releasing our software updates,” says Orenstein. 

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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