Over the years, business environments have faced many fine-tuning processes in view of buttressing a company’s cultural values while also promoting efficient productivity. From the first modern offices built in the 1900s where many employees were meant to work in an open floor plan to the mid-1950s arrangement of office cubicles, there has been no peculiar working environment with maximum productivity aside from that which promotes the employee’s lifestyle and the company’s cultural practices.
The introduction of virtual workplaces as a measure to maintain qualitative productivity allows the recruitment and retention of top talents irrespective of their geographic locations, balance work-life among employees, and promote cost-efficient means to expand or increase office workforce.
Some studies suggest that virtual workplace promotes laziness and delayed productivity, while more has argued that virtual workplace offers the most promising workforce with rich economic values. A premium marketing group outlined some challenges of operating a virtual workplace to include a sense of isolation among the employees, poor communication about projects, high susceptibility to distraction, and among other efficiency-defusing factors.
A lot of business operation techniques have face developments in recent times, with more proposals on tons of business relieves offered by more growing technologies. For instance, emails and audio-conferencing alone have become obsolete and inefficient in promoting the level of productivity needed in a virtual workplace. Hence, new virtually-operated structures such as digital whiteboards where team members can see where their colleagues are pointing at or gestures while performing presentation have proved to be productive and among other facilities.
A typical virtual workplace has a full range of functionalities to support real-time brainstorming and synchronous applications for sharing of collaboratively editable documents. And there are top technologies to consider while creating a virtual workplace in 2018. However, all technologies to be adopted must agree with a set of cultural practices to ensure success in their efficacy and the desired productivity.
Necessary tools in a virtual workplace
Aside from the structural and application technologies to adopt while creating a virtual workplace which will also be mentioned, some cultural practices are essential tools for any office vying for success discharging their duties virtually. Project feedback channels, management, file sharing, and communication are the necessary areas to deploy recent technology for efficient productivity as you create a virtual workplace.
Use of Top-notch Communication Technology
While considering creating a virtual working environment, there is need to stick with the top-notch communication tools such as Dropbox, Trello, Zoom to Slack, etc. Your technology should promote the organizational culture and keep every member in touch with one another. It’s also important for the accessibility of official documents and efficient collaboration among all workers.
The details on how the employees get their job done will be unimportant if expectations are set for every employee and a developed means to measure performance in place. Remote workers are supposed to represent individuals who are fully trusted by the managers to discharge their duties accordingly without monitoring their locations or micromanaging within the working hours. A well-established schedule for official duties and meetings are necessary to help in developing common and reasonable working details.
Some employees would find it difficult to manage the office time while working remotely. Most times they allow their personal activities to interfere with official duties when time management rules are not observed. Managers are encouraged to help their employees in establishing boundaries for themselves to allow them to focus more during work time.
Official duties should not be allowed to interfere with employee’s personal time without proper arrangements and incentives. Notifications such as “busy” or “out of office” are necessary when an employee is completing a personal work like designing or analysis, and notifications of being available should be activated during breaks or time for brainstorm with team members.
Changing duties among employees whose technical skills are similar will be an efficient technology to adopt as you are creating a virtual workplace in 2018. This will help them to develop more while also creating the excitement of varied roles.
The use of Google Suite for the workplace which includes services such as Drive, Doc, Spreadsheet, Calendar, Classroom, etc. is nonnegotiable while considering creating a virtual workplace. Google Suite technology alone which was launched on August 28, 2006, has been adopted by over 3 million businesses worldwide. It supports a secured and trusted file sharing medium over the internet without training requirements or the use of extra software.
Dropbox released in 2007 is also a cloud computing technology to consider while setting up your virtual workplace. Currently, the application is available in 17 languages and rated as one of the best channels of the virtual collaboration among employees.
The use of Trello related apps for Project Management
Virtual workplaces in 2018 will require project management applications such as Trello, Asana, and Basecamp are essential to help with sorting and tracking of assignments, managing to-do-list, and to manage high-tech bulletin boards. Asana has made lots of impacts since its release in 2008 and offers great shortcuts that make note-taking and editing faster and easier. Trello is one of the newest collaboration tools launched in 2011 which is set to excel in every workplace in 2018. The app has already recorded over 10 million users and represents the only tool that allows seamless project retrieval among mobile apps, tablets, and desktops.
Considering the workload managers, it would be essential to relieve them off some duties while performing them by automation. Tasks like to hire, fire, and performance reviews can be managed using Robots who act like the bosses. The use of Robot-bosses is not aimed at replacing the managers but cutting down their job roles to increase productivity by complementing them.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is the technology that has been deemed by many as a means to create jobs while others argued it would destroy jobs while redesigning a virtual workplace. AI simply delivers automated routine jobs. It’s a vital technology to adopt because automation can perform about 30 percent of all office duties.
Virtual Personal Assistants (VPA)
The use of VPA is increasingly becoming a medium to achieve so much productivity even when you are not working. Aside from performing varieties of tasks on requests, VPAs eventually learn from the individuals to carry out tasks on their behalf. It’s the technology to embrace while creating any virtual workplace in 2018.
Project feedback technology
Mobile-app and web-based applications which enable employees to share a link to finished projects and also receive feedbacks is important for every virtual workplace. Programs such as In.Vision or GoVisually include many design tools available in most designing programs like Illustrator and Photoshop, allowing employees also to edit their designs while existing on the shared page as a means to respond quickly to feedbacks.
Personal Cloud for Employees
Employees should be allowed to use their personal internet applications and services for the purpose of completing official duties. Their separate online collections should be encouraged to allow them properly organize their official pages and collections. It should allow employees to develop and integrate their own personal apps for lightweight support.
Yammer is a private social media which can be created for a corporate body. It supports real-time communication, and file sharing ability which is only available to employees in the Yammer network created or approved IPs. It’s a communication network used by about 80 percent of top 500 companies.