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#WFH: What’s the Biggest Challenge to 21st Century Workplace?

The biggest challenge to the 21st-century workplace is the transition from face-to-face supervisor to remote leader. It is not people working in their pajamas. It is not getting a culturally diverse virtual team to collaborate. It is not the lack of face-to-face spontaneity or efficacy. It is learning how to lead people in this new workplace by giving people the support, resources and backing they need to succeed.

Remote leadership occurs when the supervisor cannot see and observe the employees and their work processes. The challenges of working in the virtual world do not just affect the virtual worker; they also affect the leadership of the organization. Clear expectations, directions, time constraints, cultural and language issues, and disconnects between how work gets done and how it gets rewarded, should be documented and made clear to all concerned.

A common business vision begins with trust. If there is no trust in where you are going, how can you believe you are going to get there together? Trust is multidimensional and all-important in the virtual environment. Employers must trust their employees and workers must trust their bosses. This was difficult in the office environment and the discord between labor and management in the capitalist system is legendary. Each side is supposed to have conflicting interests, one side against the other. But this divided consciousness, this difference in interests, cannot be sustained in the virtual world. There needs to be a buy-in and common vision that is mutually beneficial to everyone.

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