Future of work is one of the most trending topics of discussion in today’s day and age.Leaders and the top management of various successful organisations agree to the fact that future of work is here. One of the aspects of future of work is transitioning from traditional office working environment to a virtual working environment. Many organisations whether big or small have started incorporating the work from home (WFH) option for its employees. However, is it enough to just have a WFH option without a proper infrastructure? What are the challenges and how can they be overcome? There are many such questions with no definite answer to them. Let us look at all the necessities required for a virtual shift and where do our workplaces stand in this regard.
The very first question the companies need to ask themselves is ‘Are their employees ready for a virtual shift?’
The employees of a company are the most valued asset. It is their productivity at work that help these companies grow. What if this productivity gets hampered in a virtual working environment? What if their performance goes down compared to a traditional office space? Several such questions need to be answered before we actually start making the virtual shift.
The companies can initiate the shift by taking small steps. They can give their employees WFH option once a week or twice a month and compare their performance in both the scenarios. If the results are positive, companies can take a leap and implement it on a larger scale.
Another challenge is the workforce generation gap. While the companies would get an overwhelming support from the millennials, this shift may not go down well with the older generations. These people have spent their entire lives working in designated office spaces and such a shift is not in line with their definition of workspaces.
Special learning and development sessions should be conducted for such employees so that they are aware of the advantages of virtual workspaces. Additionally, sessions should be conducted for the entire workforce to make this transition smooth.
Once the organisations are sure that their employees are ready to embrace the change; they should focus on the technology to incorporate. Many things have to be kept in mind while selecting an appropriate software or platform for the virtual environment.
Firstly, the platform’s interface should be easy to understand, Employees should not lose their time in trying to understand the platform during their working hours. The productivity maybe adversely affected in such kind of situation.
Secondly, various tools like project management applications, virtual assistants etc. should be in place to make this virtual workplace a success.
Although, companies have started making investments in technology for virtual workspaces, there is still a lot to be done to make this infrastructure effective.
3. Employee Engagement
Efficient employee engagement is the key to keeping the employees motivated and aligned with the vision of the company. Many companies do not take this seriously and lose out on brilliant talent. In traditional workspaces, we can see visible signs of employees being disengaged at work but the task becomes harder in a virtual environment.
Virtual workplace may lead to demotivation and feeling of isolation amongst the employees. This may happen due to lack of a personal interaction and group cohesion. Companies should come up with effective employee engagement strategies to keep their employees motivated and happy in the virtual environment too.
One way of doing this is ensuring social interaction among its employees occasionally so that they feel connected to the team and the company. Effective employee engagement would lead to better productivity for the company.
Our workplaces may not be fully ready to brace the change but they are taking steps towards the change. Many big organisations are far ahead in this regard but majorly focus on physical working spaces. It will take continuous efforts and constant improvements to transition to a complete virtual working environment.