Managing in the digital workplace

Four key innovation have dramatically changed the workplace in the last 10 years.
1-Information at your fingertips, 2-Mobile, 3-Social, 4-Flex

Four key innovation have dramatically changed the workplace in the last 10 years.

1-Information at your fingertips. You can now acces everything you need to do your job through a quick search in google. If you need to do a team building exercise, you goggle it and you get 1 Billon responses, this can be overwhelming, however with advanced algorithms and now with the rapid introduction of Artificial Intelligence, the most relevant results appear first. These results will not only include what exercises to do, but even the PowerPoint templates and collateral material you need to do it.

2-Mobile. Smartphones freed employees from their desktops and allowed them to work on the go, first answering e-mails and now accessing learning, information, applications and tools that give them all they need to do their jobs. Now it seams common, but the iPhone is only 11 years old and Blackberries were introduced just couple of years before. Smartphone average prices have decreased from 340 USD to 214 USD in just 10 years making the ready accessible.

3-Social. Information “with other and about others “at your fingertip is the social media revolution. In the workplace it means working with others collaboratively no matter where they sit or in what time zone they are. Facebook was launched in 2004 and got its first 100 million users just ten years ago (2008).

4-Flex time, flex place, flex way have been embraced by companies in the past years, now no longer your boss needs to see your face to know you are working. Today more than fifty percent of employees in the UK are offered flex working, according to a 2017 research by pow wow now (a company that provides instant web meetings)


​New skills required

To manage in the current workspace managers need three new skills to be successful:
Virtual Working
Technology Savviness and
Redefined Empowerment

1-Virtual Working.
Managing a team is now much more challenging, with people working remotely, you need new skills to be effective, efficient and keep your team committed. 

Provide continuous direction. In an ever changing environment it could be easy to work on the wrong projects as priorities change. It’s critical to provide direction and steer the team in the right direction on a continuous basis.

Define Expectations. Crystal clear expectations make everyone more productive and reduce the bad assumptions that can multiply when there is less regular conversation.

Focus on Key milestones.  If you don't see your team all of the time, you have fewer things to give them feedback on, but you can check in regularly on key milestones of projects. Don't worry about how they are spending their time or when they do their work. Focus on key deliverables.

Invest in Relationships. Relationships are harder at a distance. When your team is virtual, make time to build relationships. Use most of your face to face time to build relationships and encourage team members to do this with each other as well.

Spend face to face time on-Boarding new team members. On boarding remotely is extremely difficult, the nuances and unwritten rules of the organization are difficult to explain, they must be experienced. Try to onboard new members in hubs where a significant part of the work is done, and decisions are made. The risk of isolation is very high with a poor on boarding.
 
2-Technology Savviness

You need to know the technology. Seems pretty basic, but to leverage the technology you must know it well. As fax was to the 80’s and e-mail to the 90’s, unfortunately there is no one single tool for today, instead there is plethora of tools you need to know and manage. Not all are good or will fit your need, so knowing what tools to use and how to use them is critical.

Technology etiquette. How long before I replay a mail? Should you always be available through Instant Messaging? What’s the expectation on being available after work hours? This nuances need to be addressed with the team to avoid confusion, it’s part of setting clear expectations. These norms need to be defined and understood by all team members to avoid confusion or misinterpretation.
 
3-Redifined Empowerment  

Turn up the Trust. As a leader, you must trust your team members more. Grant trust and expect the best. Expectations must be clear, and communication frequent, but trust is critical to the success of your virtual team.

 

©2019 by Miguel Premoli.

The content in this site expresses my personal opinion and not that of my current or former employers