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Virtual Enhances the Real

Virtual Enhances the Real

It is something I always wanted, and I guess maybe you too! I wanted to live in a small village at Switzerland and to work in consulting organization at New York. I wished that in the morning, I could get up and say, “Beam me to NY, Scotty”.

Let me take you to a post pandemic workplace, a place which we have not seen so far. Well, it does not harm to think about the positive changes that the Pandemic brought to the world. Let me tell you the story of Joy Parker, Chief Marketing Officer of a consulting firm in New York. But let me tell you, the story as Joy might tell himself.

Joy’s Story

Earlier, I had a whole floor for my team, sixty of us working in our own workspace. It was like a second home for all of us. Now, when I resume back to office, which is just once or twice a week, I have to reserve a space in an app to find a seat for the day. My team gets notified of my availability and those who choose to join me in the office are allocated seats next to me.

Do not get me wrong, I meet the whole team every week, the only difference is that majority of them just “Video-In”. We have recently added the Microsoft-Mesh* facility for the directors to virtually connect. It costed us a lot to acquire the technology, but I am telling you it is worth to implement it. It increases the level of interaction and much better than just calls. As this technology becomes more common place and common people started to utilize these technologies, I guess everyone can enjoy better communication.

Three out of my six direct reports have relocated to outside of New York. Nearly 20% of my team is now permanently working in remote and from different states? In fact, the ability to mix virtual and real has allowed us to hire people from a much bigger pool.

Before pandemic, less than 5% of our team was permanently working in remote, and we had challenges in the “engagement level” of remote workers, and often we faced higher turnover of such staff. During pandemic when everyone was remote, we realised that the system was biased against the remote workers and they were feeling excluded. We have provided right tools for remote people to stay engaged in hybrid meetings and made sure that all the leaders follow an inclusive approach. We also insist to make a pre-defined agenda with an opportunity to submit written comments or questions prior to the meeting.

Now, we prefer all the data has to be stored in the cloud, accessible to all, off course on a need-to-know-basis. The fact is, as everything got digitised and we could track all the actions and insights on how things get done and what roadblocks hold are there for not implementing it.

Things have become more transparent. We deploy a lot of automation. People get notified when they are due to take an action, they even get to know the potential slots to connect with the colleagues they may need to work with, and the software allows them to plan the meetings in one click. In today’s technological advancements most of the systems “talk” to the users and some can even understand gestures.

The ability to collaborate remotely was the biggest hurdle during the pandemic. Fortunately, now we have virtually shared whiteboards with the possibility to include customers into the discussion. We have more immersive conversations, irrespective of where we are working from.

Pandemic has clearly helped us to identify good management practices from bad ones. Well, there were some managers who were very directive, and their teams could not perform to the previous levels in the remote-work period. They have developed stronger bonds, build trust with the team, and they have also learned to delegate more.

On the whole, new way of working is more fun, more flexible, more diverse, more creative, and more productive!

This could be your story too!

About the Author

Ms. Manbir Kaur is an Executive and Leadership Coach (Professional Certificated Coach, PCC - ICF). She is also a Conversational Intelligence(C-IQ) Enhanced Skills Practitioner and a key-note speaker.