What interactions make up your typical work day?
Some days involve catching up on emails, getting the admin stuff out of the way, team standups, meetings, meetings, meetings, and more emails. But there also the good mornings, how-do-you-dos, passing smiles, lunches, and the occasional happy hour.
We are now all in a rapid change to the digital enterprise as many organizations transition to a virtual workforce for the first time. It is important to remember that the move online is now our “physical” workplace. Our business and social interactions will take place virtually, and replicating in-person interactions will become imperative to maintain and foster workplace community. So how do we accomplish this?
- Strengthen team connections
- Connect with the greater organization
- Embrace the change
A Connected Team
The simplicity and availability of video conferencing tools can help in our transition and create a new day-to-day experience. Whether it be a coffee date, lunch with the team, or a quick standup, there is something to be gained from seeing a smile. Video chat enables us to pick up on all the non-verbal cues we rely on for better communication that are inherently missed over the phone or through messaging. Have you ever experienced a long pause on a call and wonder if the line dropped? A confirming head nod can settle that doubt. Those virtual face-to-face meetings will allow teams to stay engaged. Here are some tips for connecting with your team virtually face-to-face:
- Lunches: follow the one simple rule – don’t chew with your mic on. These can be more informal and used for team building and create a sense of “we are in this together”. Use this as a chance to celebrate the small wins.
- Team Stand-Ups: keep them brief and frequent. This will allow your team to understand what everyone is working on and potential roadblocks along the way.
- “Open-door” policies: if you are a supervisor/manager try blocking off time where your team can feel free to virtually “drop by”. This will allow you to remain approachable and easier to access so you aren’t flooded with emails.
A Connected Company
Creating a digital enterprise at scale is different for all of us. The virtual water-cooler is an important aspect to maintain and encourage the values and culture your company holds. The use of Yammer, an internal networking platform, where everyone has an account and can post updates from a business, committee, or personal approach can ease our transformation to this new environment. It provides us a chance to praise the accomplishments of others, gain valuable insights on projects happening around the office, as well as the opportunity for a good laugh. I’m especially fond of two user groups I’m a part of: “Stuff Our Kids Say” and “Sendero Cowboys” (this is where the Oklahoma State Alums get to [GO] poke[s!] fun at rival schools). Here are some tips on ways to connect with the company:
- Support Groups: you aren’t in this alone. Chances are someone is feeling your same pain. Ex: working parents, invite your kids to join the call! These should be a safe place where you can engage as much or little as you want.
- Common Interest Groups: these can be both formal and informal. It will give everyone a chance to stay excited about their passions. Ex: analytics, organizational change management, wine lovers, binge watchers.
- Unified platform to share information: have one main platform that the company can connect on. Too many sources can lead to information overload and the potential of missing something important to the individual.
Embrace the Change
Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to embrace a digital enterprise to continue to foster community within our new “workplaces”. This helps build a sense of normalcy and replicates the traditional workplace routine that many of us hold dear.
Most of these tips can be enacted quickly and will greatly improve our satisfaction. We are all agents for change, let’s play our part in reaching out to fellow coworkers even while working from afar.