Moving into virtual work space
If you haven’t considered a virtual working environment as yet, maybe now is the time to investigate the benefits to your organisation and employees.
The virtual working culture has grown in popularity over the past decade due to significant technological advancements, Bizmod consulting partner Seugnet van den Berg says.
Companies are increasingly finding it valuable to make technology work for them in a different way.
Van den Berg says that when a delivery focus and output-based mindset is at the heart of how a company chooses to work, virtual working is a natural choice.
We are used to instant gratification and at the same time are constantly on the lookout for ways to get more out of lifeSeugnet van den Berg
When considering this environment, the following elements should be considered and solutions put in place to manage:
Technology and support to enable this culture needs to be firmly in place, with any glitches resolved before operation commences.
- Trust is vital! Trust in your employees, team members and suppliers.
- A mix of formal and informal communication will be required. Setting these standards from the beginning will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page with regards to expectations.
- Team roles and responsibilities will need to be clearly defined at all times.
- Cultural sensitivity is required when working across nationalities, a virtual environment requires socialisation around sensitivities and how individuals work.
- There is a vast variety of communication technology that can be used, including video conferencing, social media, Skype, WhatsApp, etc.
The ability for a group of people located in different parts of a city, provinces or countries to work towards a common goal has been made possible by the constant advances in information and communication technologies and a totally different approach to the work environment, expectations and what employees want to achieve.
“We are used to instant gratification and at the same time are constantly on the lookout for ways to get more out of life,” Van den Berg says.
A virtual working environment provides individuals with:
- The ability to control their time and input, allowing them to work when they will give their very best, rather than conforming to expected office hours.
- Flexibility that allows individuals to work and live their life which helps to create happier, more committed and productive employees.
- Cost savings as a result of transport reductions.
- A feeling of empowerment as a result of management trusting them to deliver their best no matter where they are physically based.
From large to small organisations, the ample advantages of introducing a virtual working culture and virtual teams stretch far beyond the cost factor.
Bizmod has found that across various sectors, benefits include:
- Collaborative team practices are developed and become the operational dynamic of the organisation.
- Global participation and team structures are easily navigated, allowing for individuals with different expertise, backgrounds and market-related experience to easily collaborate and work together.
- Companies found a significant increase in employee productivity.
- Virtual working and collaborative practices generally drive innovative thinking and quicker speed to market.
- Finally there was significant cost savings as a result of better utilisation of office space, equipment and structures.