The virtual world is changing our business practices. Click here to read part 1 about working from home. Just think about it, this time last year office space was being sought out and even shared executive office space was in high demand. Lakeland Florida has been building executive office suites that are all-inclusive with internet access and even access to secretaries that keep you on a schedule. It is like having a second CRM (custom relationship management) in place. However, the keyword would be “shared” space and with the COVID-19 running around for the next year or so, we might not be so eager to share a space.
What risks will be necessary to overcome today’s obstacles and get over the COVID-19 hurdles that plague us today? Not just in Central Florida but everywhere we go, the way we work is rapidly evolving. The generations that were being left behind because they just were not tech-savvy is coming to a halt. We are being pushed harder than ever to function through space and satellite intervention. To keep up with today’s changing environment and the way we work, play, and engage with others is all being focused through the computer or your phone. An isolated environment can lead to depression and further complicate mandatory deadlines and collaborative efforts with other team members. The 7 biggest remote work challenges (and how to overcome them) talks about some of these issues.
To move or not to move?
So, do we move our offices into our homes and give up the desks, company computers, big fax, and copier machines? How much is it costing us to keep paying the overhead of the office space? Would you be willing to invite customers into your home/personal space when you have never met them? Is your job relevant to face to face conversations and personal connections? Do you have pets at home? What if a customer was allergic? What if there is another health crisis? Are there healthcare issues at home or young children that will encompass your time away from the home office? We must ponder numerous obstacles before we close up shop and move back home.
The savings from overhead costs could help grow your business online. Technology costs are not cheap, especially if you are not tech-savvy. You would need to spend your dollars saved to hire a professional that can build up your name brand online. Finding the value in that transition needs to be seen on paper. Making a list of all current expenses and then comparing them to your research of costs to building a brand virtually will need to be calculated. Money is not the only reason to make a change but it certainly helps to know if you will need additional funds to get set up online.
Can we still be agile in our thoughts and purpose when working from home? Measuring success is also sure to change in this scope of virtual work from home. We will surely be more tied into networks and cameras to watch our comings and goings on the web. Trust, now becomes more prominent when having employees that are not right under your nose every day. But as employers, how deep do we go to monitor employees’ actions? Different personalities require us to adapt quickly to each employee’s work ethics. How can we move about freely but still show we are working successfully?
Working from home and resolving to make a change depends on your ability to adapt to new concepts. If you are not easily able to make adjustments then change can be difficult for you. Because you are too comfortable in your old ways; change will need encouragement from others and help along the way. How do we adjust our own ways of staying organized to reorganizing our habits to better suit the virtual world and its return on our investments? Sometimes we need to find our answers from within and draw on our own strengths and weaknesses to rapidly deploy new structures within our organizations.
What matters to your employees?
The saying “seeing is believing” has been around for a while. People need to see people. The power of touch and visuality are extremely important to the human connection. So people will require virtual team meetings and personal visual connections to be effectively working from home. Video equipment, as simple as your cell phone or a camera on your laptop, can improve productivity. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to connect with others. Maximizing communication techniques to drive purposeful goals and standards for the company has to take humanity into consideration in order to be successful.
Trust in the workplace
Trust is highly important when moving your commercial office to the homefront. The connection to human contact can increase through video, but more importantly, through a feeling of trust. But not so much as to lose the human connection. Whether you crawl out of bed to exercise first, eat first or you work with a cup of coffee in your hand is relevant to keeping us from feeling uncomfortable or inhuman. Trust should not be an issue when relying on the employee’s ability to perform. Knowing your employee’s habits or preferred routines helps to determine when you can expect to see the overall results of their work efforts. Different time zones and time schedules can increase efficiency when working with multiple teams of people.
Recognize that everyone you work with or hire will not automatically put their trust in you. Trust is earned and not so freely given. Drawing on ideas and solutions for real-time problems of each employee can help increase the human element needed to build a bond. Video presence and getting that eye to eye contact can also help build an engaging atmosphere that develops a trusting environment. Morale boosters like celebrating accomplishments and giving virtual pats on the back can build an epicenter of trust. Building a culture that provides empathy and equality in company visions can ensure employees complete tasks in a timely and efficient manner. This ensures unity and allows for bonds of collaborative trust that encircle working environments to increase productivity.
I will discuss building a home team in Part 3 of this segment.