COVID-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.
- Document everything
- Have more structured meetings
- Align values with expectations
- Create ergonomic home offices
- Adopt a self-learning mentality
Let’s delve deeper into these best practices.
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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Richard Branson, British business and philanthropist once said: “One day, offices will be a thing of the past.”
While organizations still need to travel to reach their physical offices, the rapid changes in the world are requiring business
Virtual Teams work well for an organization and is effective even from a communication perspective. In fact, it is known to complement well the Lean Management approach used by organizations. Studies from previous years have shown that well-managed, widely spread, Virtual Teams have been outperforming those that share office space. In fact, it has shown that using Virtual Teams can improve employee productivity by 45%.es to form Virtual Teams. A Virtual Team refers to a group of individuals who work together from different geographic locations and rely on communication technology such as email, voice conferencing services, fax, etc.
In today’s highly competitive global economy, to be able to work smarter, organizations must be able to leverage the manifold benefits of a remote workforce. Likewise, organizations must also be able to manage challenges that come with working with Virtual Teams.
More organizations are opting to work with virtual teams. Virtual teams may have their benefits but it also has its challenges. Being able to manage these challenges will enable organizations to seize the benefits of remote workers.
- Virtual Communication. Having different time zones can be a challenge. This can lead to layers of complexity to the logistics of everyday communication. When time zones do not match, it can lead to less and less information being transmitted and can cause miscommunication. When working in a different time zone, there is a tendency to exchange information using email or instant messaging. But these may not be enough as it cannot convey as much meaning compared to vocal tone, facial expression, and physical gestures.
- Virtual Project Management. When working with virtual teams, the business must have a proper system and people in place. Virtual Project Management may cause some confusion and even delays. While digital tools are in place to facilitate remote project management and collaboration, it can be difficult at times to tell what each person is contributing. In fact, organizations need to put up a system to track whether the members of the virtual team are doing their required tasks.
In this digital era, Virtual Teams are becoming the new face of business operation and aligning itself with Digital Transformation. This is a global reality that businesses must accept. However, working with Virtual Teams brings a lot of challenges not only in Project Management and Virtual Communication but also in Talent Development and Technology Support. Talent Development and Technology Support are two other core challenges that can make an impact on the Virtual Team. How it is managed will define the success of your Virtual Team.
In hindsight, Virtual Teams can also bring so many benefits. Hence, it is not surprising that despite the challenges, a lot of businesses still prefer to work with Virtual Teams.
One core benefit is increased access to top talent. The world has become a global market for expertise and talents. Businesses can extend their reach to other countries in their search for needed expertise. In fact, working with virtual teams will open opportunities for businesses to work with experts in various fields with various experiences. Being able to employ the best and the brightest is more than enough for businesses to continue working with Virtual Teams and conquering challenges. Businesses just need to have appropriate support programs to give Virtual Teams a home-field advantage.
Interested in gaining more understanding of the challenges & benefits of Virtual Teams? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Virtual Teams: Challenges & Benefits here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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