As marketers, business owners or the like, we are not new to the term “digital workplace”. Gone are the days when working from the comfort of our home is just a dream. These days, as technology change the economic and social structures of various businesses; we learn to embrace the concept of digital workplaces.
Digital workplaces can be considered as the new normal for companies in different industries. However, along with the convenience, are the challenges and struggles you may face. With the lack of face-to-face interaction, it is not impossible for your management to be led astray.
Difficulty in communication, employee’s turnover and ineffective project implementation are some issues you can experience. But you can address the issues. The right approach and attitude can empower your digital workplace and turn the odds in your favor amidst the boundaries.
Disengagement Of Remote Employees
An engaged employee can be your company’s best brand ambassador. However, unlike the traditional workplace where employees engage and empower one another, the digital workplace may make your employees feel out of sync. Thus, you have to be prepared for disengagement.
According to employee engagement consultant Jill Christensen, it is the job of the leaders to fix the epidemic of employee disengagement. As a leader, you have to be aware that the lack of single work environment may pose a challenge when it comes to employee’s engagement.
Aligning your company culture with individual culture is important. Just because you provide employees with the best perks like free beer and a complementary branded planner, doesn’t mean they will stay with you. It may provide them with temporary happiness but when your culture does not support their own culture, that happiness will slowly be chipped away.
So learn to listen to them. Trust their actions and be open to suggestions. Give them importance by setting aside unnecessary phone calls when interacting with them. You have to build an emotional connection with them so they can learn to trust you. While you are building an authority to them, you also have to make sure that you are giving them flexibility. Let them understand the purpose of their roles and provide them growth.
Above all, show them that you value them as much as they value working with you.
Bringing Together A Distributed Workforce
Behind every successful marketing campaign are the people who work together to achieve one ultimate goal. However, if you are a company with a digital workplace how can you align your goals and processes if your people are working in different hours in different locations?
You need to find the focal point where your people and processes meet. To address the need for a smooth implementation of different operations, you can create a team-based workforce so it is easier for delegate tasks and implement a plan.
Technology and online tools play a crucial role on the smooth flow of operation. Online programs like Office 365 allow you to set up a virtual workplace where your remote workers can go. The programs have tools which team-based companies set up a management and share and access files whenever, wherever they want regardless of the devices used.
You don’t need to be all-encompassing to make your people work together towards one goal. Create a team, put “aces in their places” and delegate tasks. This way even if you are not inactive, there will still be people to support your operations.
Miscommunication Or Failure To Deliver A Message
Lack of context is the main reason why most digital workplaces often experience miscommunication. Unlike the traditional workplace, verbal cues are not present in a virtual communication. You can easily be misled by a single punctuation or by how you read an email or chats. Your workers can easily misinterpret even the simplest message by the way you put punctuations. An exclamation point you placed to reflect your excitement can be perceived as anger.
This is why communication in a digital workplace should always use respect, gratitude and a positive tone. Practicing the use of right words, proper tone and context in every interaction are crucial. Whether it is through online chats, email or phone call, empathy is important. Put yourselves in the shoes of your receivers and visualize how they will respond to your messages.
Likewise, make sure to use the right language. Different situations may require a different language. Some situations need formal interaction while others may need to be more conversational. It is your job to encourage your teams to share their preferences. Once or twice a month, you can conduct a friendly face-to-face meeting so you can get to know each other.
It is also your responsibility to make sure that right and complete information is shared so the whole message is understood. Eliminate that “I thought you understand” situation by practicing transparency. Encourage more than one medium like phone calls, emails, live chats, group chats in sending messages.
Failure in communication can put your business downward spiral. Communication is the core of any digital workplace. You need to ensure that everything is well-coordinated to so you can implement strategies that drive positive results.
Regardless of what kind of technology you utilize for your business, the general rule to make digital workplace effective for your business is to put people first. You have to understand that digital workplace does not work the same as the traditional workplace.
You have limited ways to connect to your people and as much as possible you have to make every interaction with them as fruitful as possible. To do that, set aside your business interest and focus on retaining your talents. When you do, it creates ripples. Empowered teams means an increase in productivity which can result to satisfied customers and in the process can lead to nurturing customer’s loyalty. Thus, it creates a win-win situation for your business, employees and customers.