#WFH: Do You Feel Confident?
Learning together and improving together is also very important. Just as with flight crews and surgical teams, virtual workers must be focused on excellence. Continuous learning, sharing and improving will also help nurture new norms and ideas. Training for the virtual environment must necessarily address the needs of both the individual and organization. Organizations are made up of individuals who play a part and make a contribution. It is the job of leaders to support the virtual worker as part of the 21st-century workforce. Organizations need to re-examine performance and make a shift toward defining expectations that will replace observation.
There are all kinds of options for collaboration and communication in the virtual environment – so many that it can be overwhelming. For everyone to function effectively, it is wise to limit the number of tools used. You need the technology to be transparent so individuals can focus on the purpose and content. It helps if the participants learn to use the technologies really well, so well that they do not have to focus or think about using them.
It is important for all virtual workers to be trained, feeling confident and comfortable using whatever tools will be used for team communications. The easier the tools are to use, the more valuable they become to creating a transparent conversation. It is important to have technical support available whenever anyone anywhere needs it. This gives a sense of security and belonging. Often teams find it valuable to have face-to-face meetings, especially when several new team members come on-board. If this is not possible, a virtual social event of some sort can help the members become familiarized with the technologies and with each other. Make it fun, make it personal and make it easy.
A general feeling of knowing where you are and what is expected of you is important for virtual workers. Leadership should strive to communicate well-defined goals and objectives as well as ways of evaluating performance and assessing success. Standardizing tools will also help set priorities that can then be acted upon.
Having common and limited technologies lessens the anxiety of communicating in the virtual workspace.
A lot of folks are not going into the office anymore. Leadership is needed to support these workers. How you manage a workforce you cannot see and observe must evolve to meet this need (Massie, 2013). It is a precarious situation because many companies don’t have the technologies, infrastructure or systems and security to support remote workforces.
Good leadership has always been about vision – the vision of what is required to be successful now and a vision of the organization’s future requirements. Many organizations already know that telecommuting cuts costs and that the productivity of most virtual workers is much greater than for employees working in the office. What is needed is more support for the individual and more support for the whole person. Support doesn’t just mean more technologies; it also includes psychological, administrative and learning support.
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