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Virtual Work 2COVID-19 has forced organizations to adapt to the new norm of Remote Work.  Many people consider telecommuting as the future of work.  Employers who allow Remote Work have seen enhanced employee morale, output, and efficiency.

However, Remote Work setting is far from business as usual.  Management needs to understand and manage the intricate differences between in-office and remote teams.  To make Remote Work successful and to manage remote teams, leadership needs to follow 5 guiding principles:

  • Assemble a group of people— skilled in Remote Work setting—to supervise and support other employees to work remotely, assess any challenges, and create workable solutions in real time.
  • Develop and share (across the organization) a comprehensive reference guide—e.g., a repository, manual, or a web page—documenting exhaustive information on process changes. This will keep all stakeholders informed and prevent any uncertainties.
  • Communicate with the employees transparently and frequently, foster informal communication, and provide easily accessible video conference facilities for people to adjust to and incorporate change.
  • Keep the number of tools to handle documentation and communication to a minimum.
  • Manage the Remote Workforce by establishing candid, ongoing communication channels, trust, and shared objectives. Transition from an in-office setup to a remote environment takes time.

Likewise, remote employees need to follow certain guiding principles to undertake their responsibilities effectively and deliver on their tasks efficiently.

  • Establish a dedicated workspace.
  • Make their families understand the significance of their work—that they perform from their virtual offices—and respect their work hours.
  • Set alarms to remind when to take a break or end work, so as to work in a healthy routine. Use breaks to recharge your brain or to do errands.
  • Communicate informally with your team.
  • Try out unconventional workdays and routines that work best for you.
  • Adopt this transition

Conventional on-site work settings have clearly defined processes, team structures, interactions, and Organizational Culture, which are lacking in most virtual environments.  The transition from on-site work to work-from-anywhere demands concrete steps to make it viable.  It is critical to adopt Virtual Work mindset and best practices since every organization today, in one way or another, is a virtual company—e.g., global operations, sites and offices across different locations.

This necessitates dedicated efforts to nurture and promote a virtual-work focus and Culture, rather than managing Remote Work with a traditional mindset.  Organizations need to incorporate these 5 best practices to make the transition from conventional to work-from-anywhere environment smoother.

  1. Document everything
  2. Have more structured meetings
  3. Align values with expectations
  4. Create ergonomic home offices
  5. Adopt a self-learning mentality

Let’s delve deeper into these best practices.

Document everything

In office settings, people can run into other colleagues easily to ask queries or just to communicate with them.  This is at times disturbing and counterproductive.  Work-from-anywhere environment demands documenting every critical piece of information, creating guidelines and manuals, and implementing documentation best practices.   This facilitates in:

  • Creating a reliable, primary source of information for everyone to seek answers to their queries.
  • Building successful Virtual Work environment.
  • Clearly outlining organizational objectives.
  • Visualization and clarity of teams’ collective goals and performance results.
  • Orientation of new hires by providing answers to everything that comes to their minds.
  • Offering more inclusivity, as the information is not confined only to the ones present at the physical water cooler, but is available for the entire organization.
  • Precluding a sense of exclusion in the ones who are not part of a physical office.
  • Gathering more diverse ideas.

A handbook culture is even better than “water coolers”—as it saves time by eliminating the need to bother other teammates and ask questions from them.  It enables learning, finding answers or information more readily, and curtailing rework arising out of gathering and updating information over and over again.  Documenting everything instills a sense of ownership, courtesy, and concern for others in virtual teams.

Interested in learning more about the other best practices to transition from in-office to work-from-anywhere environment?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on how to transition from In-Office to Virtual Work Setting here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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