Creating a Human-centred Virtual Workplace

Creating a Human-centred Virtual Workplace

Creating a Human-centred Virtual Workplace

Creating a Human-centred Virtual Workplace

Recent unforeseen events have disrupted the global economy and thrown businesses into chaos. The global polity have been forced to think out-of-the-box to define the new normal, establish some guidelines and take it from there. This has, over a period of hasty weeks, led organizations to rethink their workplace flexibility, be it as an effect of changing workforce expectations, the overbearing need to keep the workforce and those surrounding them safe, or collaborating with cross-continental teams.

New requirements, strategies, and mindsets had led to new, albeit innovative, ways of working and management. Below we list some ways in which organizations can enable their workforce to work and collaborate effectively in a virtual environment.

1. Get your work requirements right

At the outset, organizations must get a thorough understanding of the work that needs to be accomplished, the prospective means to it and the predictable results that these steps would yield. The requirements studies – collaboration mapping and access requirements for work – can help us determine and form a solid understanding of the work intended to be accomplished through remote environments. Employees directly involved with the work must provide insights into collaboration requirements (associates involved) and accessibility needs (essential resources, facilities and information).

2. Focus on your workforce

The management must essentially reach out to all segments of the workforce and determine their role in key tasks. Workforce experience, the all-encompassing connections between individuals and their colleagues, managers, and the employer - is key to the human-centred approach and must take the first place while discussing a human-centred virtual environment. A holistic workforce experience focuses on the workforce, promotes overall well-being, with core behavioural traits like inclusivity, trust, humanity etc. being the hallmarks of such organization. 

Making progress in this field requires that the organizations prioritize the wellbeing of their workforce. A great first step towards this is approaching flexibility as a major workplace trait, with options to handle all types of needs. 

3. Implement workforce behavioural traits for virtual environments

Organizations should lead workforce experience initiatives by advocating for and reinforcing vital traits that play important roles in virtual collaboration for the workforce. 

The vital workforce behavioural traits can be listed out as below:

  • Open communication – Be open and frequent in your conversation with colleagues
  • Effective work – Have a well-established paradigm for your virtual work environment – designate a workplace at home that suits you best and choose a suitable routine.
  • Embrace technology – Utilize technological tools for workplace collaboration, meetings and conferences.
  • Be available – Make sure that you’re within reach and contactable through phone, IM and other technologies.
  • Manage expectations – Make sure that expectations held from you are well in line and timely met. Review your periodical performances frequently with your managers
  • Collaborate actively and effectively – Assist and help out your colleagues often.

4. Implement leadership traits

The role of leaders is of utmost important and final effect in optimizing virtual workplace productivity. Some of the important ways in which the leadership can be effectively utilized by the workforce is listed as follows:

  • Be a role model - promote remote work culture and effective practices.
  • Rally workforce performance - be proactive, take frequent reviews, provide feedback, and implement resilience.
  • Initiate and engage – Get involved in continuous performance management practices.
  • Promote culture – Be a flagbearer of organizational culture and engagement practices; make sure that employees maintain a work-life balance.
  • Drive technological practices – Promote technological initiatives and drive collaboration through continuously-evolving technological tools. 
  • Manage expectation – Communicate and recognize in-line expectations of the workforce.

5. Provide assistance

Leaders play a momentous role in accelerating suitable changes in an organization. With resources and technologies, important associations can be formed and developed to assist collaboration in the virtual workspace. 

A virtual workspace doesn’t mean that the various stakeholder of an organization or one of its teams are distant vis-à-vis in-person interactions; it employs rather innovative ways to bring these stakeholders together in a virtual environment, form closer and personalized associations to be ever-meaningful to the organizational growth and success, as they are in a physical workspace environment. 

Also, virtual workspace traits can be further personalized and optimized to build impactful and engaging human-centred experiences. We are all aware from experience that how engaging online video conferences are; the in-person, physical experiences are just replicated perfectly in the virtual medium.  

6. Creating successful virtual meetings

The essence of meetings, virtual or otherwise, should be powerful and lasting in order to drive productivity and performance throughout the workforce. To that end, the following pointers must be highlighted and kept in mind:

  • Audience – Be mindful of who your audience is, what time-zones are they located in, what their roles are, etc. Lead by ensuring that courtesies and proper conduct is followed throughout the meeting.
  • Preparation – Ensure that all invitees have been informed well in advance and that the meeting time is more or less convenient to all. Also avoid last minute technical troubleshooting.
  • Inclusivity – Ensure that all relevant stakeholders are invited to the meeting.
  • Interaction – Ensure a healthy overall interaction by actively involving and engaging all participants in the meeting topics and issues.
  • Collaboration – Make sure that all the topics raised in the meetings are properly debated, covered and closed with effective conclusion.

7. Using data-based insights

According to research high-performing organizations enable data-based insights in an ubiquitous manner into their work and business policies than low-performing organizations. 

The data can be made available from within the organization or from outside. Organizations should start small by experimenting with different sorts of available data to help them determine the probable results in grey, and thereafter should use different types of data for further business optimization and scale those results gradually.

8. Being holistic

Organizations should look at the big picture while they progress forward through the above areas; they should pause momentarily and look back in retrospect to see this notion of workplace from a holistic viewpoint, beyond a mere workplace or “office”. When effectively employed and implemented through practice, organizations can derive further values and engagements from virtual workplaces. The same means, when further experimented with suitable flexibility, can lead the workforce to new ways of using the non-traditional workplace environments and paradigms to derive greater productivity and benefit for the organization.


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