The pandemic transformed the nature of business. Suddenly, the world was thrown into a global experiment, with workers working from home. Before the pandemic, managers believed that businesses couldn’t operate remotely. Indeed, they believed that workers would not be able to be as productive working remotely as they were working in-person. The pandemic proved that belief to be wrong. Instead, workers were as productive, if not more, than they were in the past. That revolution was made possible by virtual offices. One challenge that managers had was in creating communities online that sprout easily in person. Here’s what you need to do to create a virtual office community virtually.
If possible, managers should use onboarding of new recruits as opportunities to meet recruits in-person. Managers can also try and have groups of recruits meet their respective managers, learn about the business and corporate culture, all the while enjoying a positive immersive experience.
Although this may entail some investment, it is an investment that is well worth it. Building a corporate culture is very important for the success of any business. The ability to attract and retain talent is a function of the corporate culture. Not only does this ensure that talent is more invested in the success of the business, it also means that staff are more willing to go the extra mile to help the business, because they will see their work not simply as a job, but as an important part of their lives. It’s important to try and spark opportunities for community growth by creating in-person activities.
Another physical tool is the use of company promotional material. In fact, whether you can or cannot have in-person interactions, company promotional material is important for making workers feel like they are part of something special.
Be Proactive in Understanding the Worker
The Great Resignation has seen millions of workers resign from their jobs in pursuit of a better work-life balance and the opportunity to work in companies that offer more positive work environments.
Managers should keep in mind that remote work has made it possible for workers to work as freelancers, or compete for jobs across the world. This is a worker’s market. It’s incumbent on managers to do more to make sure that their workers feel appreciated.
This is especially important when you consider that it is harder to see if workers are struggling with any mental health or other issues, when your relationship with them is through email, collaborative work platforms and video conferencing platforms.
Managers must proactively ask their workers how they are doing, and try to provide their workers with reassurance, and the tools to help them through what they are going through.
Not only should you try to understand what is going on with your workers, you should try and understand the workers as a complete person.
Work Together to Create Expectations
Managers tend to think of their work in a top-down fashion, as being about making decisions that affect their divisions or the entire business. However, managers should also realize that leadership also means knowing when and how to listen to your workers and build processes and even goals together. Buy-in is essential to getting your workers to be willing to go the extra mile to make sure that a project or business is a success.
Collaboration with your workers is vital. What you want to do is work with them to develop the norms and principles of your business. This can start by approaching your workers and asking them for their opinion on how the business’ culture and community can be crafted so that everyone benefits.
This process can take many forms and layers. For instance, you can ask them what they think is the best way to communicate, or what they believe should be the right tools used for certain tasks.
Toyota is renowned for its kaizen process, which revolutionized the automobile industry. Many Western companies tried to replicate Toyota’s success, but none ever managed to match Toyota’s success. An underappreciated aspect of Toyota’s success is that the company was radically decentralized, with floor managers empowered to make decisions to improve the system. They didn’t have to go up the chain to get approval. As a manager, you should realize that there is a lot of power in collaborating with your workers, and in allowing them to make decisions without necessarily reverting to you to approval. What this signals to your staff is that you trust them.
Never forget the power of feedback. In the beginning, you may fail but you should see your business as a laboratory of ideas and be prepared to fail as you search for success.
Peter Drucker once said that the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer. That is the ultimate goal of a business. The specific goal of your business is your business’ vision, and what you want to do for your clients every day is your mission. For example, Amazon’s vision is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Amazon’s mission is, “We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.”
Your vision should guide your strategic goals.For instance, if you are thinking of partnering with another business, you should ask how it helps you get closer to your vision. Your vision is the organizing principle of all your work. Your mission is, as we have said, all about what you want to deliver every single day. These two things are important, important enough that they should be at the heart of your community building efforts.
Yoru corporate visions and mission should shape the “design” of your corporate culture. This will serve to energize your community and fill them with purpose. Nothing makes a community more passionate and focused than a clarity of vision. Give your community the gift of vision.
If you want to learn more about virtual offices, you can find more information here.