The Evolving Workplace
In the past twenty years or so, there has been a major shift in the way work is done. With the rise of the knowledge-based economy, rapid advances in technology and concern over carbon footprints, the traditional workplace model has grown obsolete. Increasingly, we all work in more distributed ways. We take work with us on the road, interacting and collaborating with others using an ever-increasing variety of communication tools. As you think about the changes in your workplace, you may want to consider some questions:
- When you walk through the main office during any time of the day, how many desks are unoccupied?
- Have you considered how many location based work processes are slowing your team down?
- Have you considered how many tasks performed every day in your organization could be made portable and more efficient?
- Do managers in your organization still believe that workers need to be seen to be managed?
- What is preventing your organization from adopting new and more productive workplace models?
Ready or not, the evolving workplace is bearing down on all of us like a digital freight train. Let us show you how you can successfully make the transition.
Managing people you can’t see
The workplace has already evolved into a very different place. For managers, this can be one of the most exciting and rewarding times of their career...or it can be one of the most frustrating. When a manager asks, "How do I know they're working if they're not in the office?", we know right away that they need our course. For a successful transition to a distributed workplace model, managers must ask themselves:
- How can I prepare myself to lead a distributed team?
- How will I select and prepare team members for the distributed work experience?
- How will I effectively, actively manage activities and performance?
- What are some ways I can coach each team member to achieve excellence?
By properly developing and leading a strong distributed team, managers take an important step toward driving innovation, growth and exceptional service delivery in their workgroup. Click here for more detail on our Leading Distributed Teams e-Learning Course where we train leaders to manage people they can't see.
Establishing goals, culture and community
Building a sense of community within any team is a core management responsibility. As a workgroup becomes more geographically distributed, creating a strong sense of community within the entire team becomes even more essential. To experience a successful transition, managers and distributed team members alike must ask themselves:
- What are some ways I can practice more informal communication as face-time decreases?
- What are some ways I will develop a learning and support network to stay connected?
- How can I foster and celebrate the virtual community?
- What are some ways I could integrate a little fun and camaraderie into the workplace?
Understanding how to work and participate in a virtual community enables team members to better maintain connections with colleagues, cultivate strong team bonds and stay aligned with their organization's core values. Click here for more detail on our Working in Distributed Teams e-Learning Course, where we provide workers guidance on establishing goals, culture and community in the distributed workplace.
Collaborating with colleagues
To ensure effective communication and collaboration, a team must establish common communication protocols, processes, and practices so that information is communicated effectively across the organization. To be sure that knowledge-sharing is enhanced as the team becomes more distributed, you should ask some key questions:
- How will team members stay connected while they are apart?
- How will managers keep lines of communication open to prevent feelings of isolation?
- How effective are the listening and inquiry skills of team members?
- Has the team been given guidelines for using the appropriate communication tools and protocols?
- Is the team practicing appropriate communication etiquette when participating in virtual meetings and using tools like instant messaging?
Effective communication is a core part of any team's success, especially one that is distributed. In order to share knowledge across the team effectively, all members need to be using the same tools, protocols and etiquette. Click here for more detail on our Leading Distributed Teams e-Learning Course where we train leaders to share knowledge across the team.
Sharing knowledge across the team
Some of the biggest concerns about transitioning to a distributed workplace are isolating team members, losing team bonds and opening up a knowledge gap among team members. These concerns must be taken seriously and must be addressed directly. To capitalize on collective knowledge, the e-Work.com training courses focus on helping managers and employees establish a common approach for knowledge sharing across the team and with other parts of the organization.
Eliminating “geography” from business processes
Unfortunately many business processes today have geography hard-wired into the process, requiring employees to be at a certain "place" to do their job. One key to building successful distributed teams is to eliminate geographic requirements from as many work processes as possible. Changing these underlying processes will not only help free your team to work anytime or anywhere, it will also yield many unanticipated benefits in productivity and effectiveness of the group. The e-Work.com courses help managers facilitate this transition so the entire team can work without limitations of time and space.