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Currently viewing the tag: "Virtual Work"

virtual work corp culture 2Just as in a co-located setting, a remote work environment warrants a defined culture.  Culture in a co-located setting is distinctly evident.  It is imparted and communicated through collaboration between colleagues, their behaviors, and the actions that are incentivized—or those that are considered inappropriate—at the organization.

However, defining, creating, and sustaining an Organizational Culture in a virtual environment is a bit complicated.  It needs careful deliberation.  Leadership can make good use of the 12 guiding principles to inspire a robust Virtual Workplace Culture.  These guiding principles can be segregated into 2 categories:

General Culture Principles

There are 7 principles under this category:

  1. There are no unwritten rules
  2. Reinforce values
  3. Don’t take Culture for granted
  4. Embrace gratitude and transparency
  5. Institute structure around Culture
  6. Welcome changes to Culture
  7. Leverage disruption to improve Culture

Mental Health Related Principles

Virtual Work can lead to various ailments, including burnout, if it is accomplished without abiding by healthy lifestyle, best practices, and guidelines.  The mental health category entails 5 guiding principles:

  1. Don’t encourage long work hours
  2. Document processes around mental health
  3. Recognize mental health struggles
  4. Prevent burnout, isolation, and anxiety
  5. Encourage a healthy virtual lifestyle

Let’s dive deeper into 4 of these guiding principles.

1. There are no unwritten rules

The first principle to foster a Remote Culture necessitates documented policies and systems.  Careful documentation assists in prohibiting decline of a remote enterprise and culture.  The first instance to document should be the company values including teamwork, productivity, clarity, diverseness, and inclusivity.

2. Reinforce values

The actions that are encouraged and rewarded by the company become organizational values.  For instance, in virtual settings, hiring, promoting, and developing people play a huge role in encouraging and underlining the importance of values.  The values dear to an organization are displayed through role modeling of required behaviors by the leadership.  They are manifested by the people the organization hires and let go off.  Organizational values are also evident by the yardsticks used to gauge qualification for increments, rewards, promotions, and performance management.

3. Embrace gratitude and transparency

Without clear-cut information sharing and appreciation, employees may begin to feel cynical and unenthusiastic.  This can eat away at the organization culture.  Leaders should be careful with 360 performance evaluation and feedback.  Negative feedback should be delivered in a positive manner to instill hope and determination to do better.  There is also a need to take drastic measures if there is a general sense of lack of appreciation and transparency prevalent among employees.

4. Don’t take Culture for granted

Culture is easily emphasized in a co-located setting, collaborating with colleagues day after day.  However, underscoring the significance of culture in a virtual environment demands cautious deliberation.  Various core elements of culture are often present, but are masked in our daily activities and habits.  These elements are manifested by “how we do things in our organization.”  These common habits are the hallmark of belonging to a culture.

In remote settings, leaders need to highlight the elements of culture that are evident in such settings and their importance, since these practices are a bit hard to observe in virtual teams.  Leadership should mark boundaries of culture clearly and define what is disrespectful or unacceptable in their organizational culture.

Interested in learning more about the other guiding principles of Virtual Work Culture?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Virtual Work: Corporate Culture here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)

Virtual Work Comms 4Virtual Work has become a norm nowadays.  To enable Virtual Work, organizations should strive to develop an Organizational Culture of writing things down.  Documenting everything—from meeting notes to quarterly objectives—facilitates in developing stronger, informed, and more credible teams.

Organizations need to pay attention to and make good use of these 9 communication tactics to establish effective communication mechanisms among their remote teams:

  1. Daily Documentation
  2. Text-based Communication
  3. Low-context Communication
  4. Value-guided Communication
  5. Asynchronous Communication
  6. Good Habits
  7. Meetings
  8. Informal Communication
  9. Foster Relationships

Virtual communication tactics are essential for inspiring collaboration required for developing a more connected team.

Now, let’s talk about some of these tactics in Corporate Communications in further detail.

Daily Documentation

To have more collaborative work place and to have fruitful online meetings, virtual organizations need to follow these guidelines:

  • Share formal agenda and discussion items well in advance of the actual meetings.
  • Diligently document key ideas, points, and decisions for geographically dispersed team members to know their responsibilities, action items, and rationale for decisions.
  • Virtual teams should be encouraged and rewarded by the leadership on their thorough documentation, just as achievement of sales targets are rewarded.  This is particularly necessary since people tend to leave documentation when they have other urgent tasks at hand.
  • Encourage teams to document a solution as soon as it is discovered, since our ability to remember and recall is limited. Prompt documentation of solutions also ensures readiness of answers to other team members’ queries in future.

Text-based Communication

For most people from an in-office environment, text-based messages are pretty awkward and cumbersome.  They are used to one-to-one or in-person meetings and communication, instead of text-based communication.  Making these people adopt text-based communique and use it to their advantage demands quite an effort and behavioral change.  However, mastering the art of textual communication affords a number of benefits for teams, projects, and organizations alike, including:

  • Text-based communication is vital for Virtual Work where team members are dispersed in different geographies. It is a medium which is inclusive, respectful, and emphasizes a documentation Culture.
  • Documentation is a real competitive edge. A Culture without mandatory documentation gives rise to inefficiencies, knowledge leaks and repetition.
  • Text-based communication seems a liability but helps avoid unnecessary meetings with the sole purpose of “filling someone in.”
  • Cultivating a habit of communicating answers to problems through text makes documentation simpler, assists in asynchronous work, and provides information to all at the same time.
  • It frees up individual’s time for contemplation and idea generation.

When communication stakes are high in the game, there are some key considerations to follow in text-based communication:

  • Consider evaluating your conservation through an external party’s perspective before sharing.
  • Be mindful of the differences in various Cultures and communication styles.
  • There can be lags in obtaining input from the other team members due to difference in geographies and time zones.
  • Keep in mind that there can be minimum to none non-verbal communication.
  • There is emotional lag in communication.
  • Analyzing the mindset and frame of mind of the audience is a bit tough.
  • Management should assist team members in communicating effectively and getting the best out of Virtual Work.

Interested in learning more about the other communication tactics and guidelines for virtual work setting?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Virtual Work: Communication Tactics here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over! The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

“Several times a month, I browse FlevyPro for presentations relevant to the job challenge I have (I am a consultant). When the subject requires it, I explore further and buy from the Flevy Marketplace. On all occasions, I read them, analyze them. I take the most relevant and applicable ideas for my work; and, of course, all this translates to my and my clients’ benefits.”

– Omar Hernán Montes Parra, CEO at Quantum SF

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.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over! The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

“Several times a month, I browse FlevyPro for presentations relevant to the job challenge I have (I am a consultant). When the subject requires it, I explore further and buy from the Flevy Marketplace. On all occasions, I read them, analyze them. I take the most relevant and applicable ideas for my work; and, of course, all this translates to my and my clients’ benefits.”

– Omar Hernán Montes Parra, CEO at Quantum SFE