In the wake of the pandemic, the traditional workplace has been displaced by remote work setups to varying degrees. As it happens, GTC is a remote team by default but, nonetheless, we keep an eye on how we can complement company culture by embracing ideas and experimenting to incrementally improve our culture as we grow.
Mastering Remote Work Culture
Think about it, a boardroom without walls, a workforce without geographical limitations, and a culture crafted in digital ether rather than confined by four corners of an office space. Intriguing? Definitely. But the question that looms large is this: How do you enrich a virtual working remotely environment to reflect the same dynamism and inclusivity that makes in-person engagements irreplaceable?
Here is a quick guide to our findings broken down by the successes, challenges, and unexplored practical ideas in the remote work setup.
Initiatives to democratize meeting participation is laudable. The shift from monologues to dialogues signifies a culture that values inclusion. According to a Harvard Business Review study, organizations with inclusive cultures are two times as likely to meet or exceed financial targets.
A few years ago our weekly Friday team meetings were primarily focused on project updates which resulted in the same managers doing most of the talking.
For most of the team, this was the only chance to see and hear most of the wider team yet our agenda didn’t make room for wider participation. We decided that we’d take it in turns for everyone to chair the call, create a weekly icebreaker question to start the call and also provide the inspiration for each of virtual backgrounds that week.
Now our call is designed to not just recap what’s important with the business that week but also ensure we all continue to connect in new ways – albeit over sometimes unlikely topics.
Over the past year we’ve continued experimenting with different platforms with digital environments that enhance our customer/colleague experiences. We choose different platforms based on the audience attending but also the tone and to-do list for each session.
We use Google Meets as standard but leaning on Zoom if clients prefer or for meetings and workshops with larger, double-digit groups. When we organize internal training or brainstorming sessions, we branch out to tools like Miro and Butter that place extra attention on tools to engage everyone on the call.
Tailoring tools to fit the agenda ensures that tech serves the human element, not the other way around. Research from Deloitte shows that companies that invest in customer experience technologies yield 20% higher customer satisfaction rates and 10-15% higher employee satisfaction rates.
Another pitfall of joining, or building, a remote team is a lack of low-risk opportunities to interact with your teammates. One tends to only reach out when you need something and urgently. For new joiners, it’s easy to feel like every interaction counts when getting settled and might cause them to shy away from flagging doubts or asking for help.
We’ve found that virtual coworking, or body doubling, with platforms like Flow Club have enabled us to check-in with each other informally throughout the day whilst also getting things done…and build rapport on daily basis that breaks down these barriers to effective collaboration.
Remote work should not translate to remote relationships. The use of virtual coworking platforms like Flow Club not only facilitates daily check-ins but dissolves the hesitancy in communications. The key metric here isn’t just the frequency of interaction but the quality thereof.
A common challenge in research work, or any meeting, is the fear of forgetting crucial information after the call and thus taking notes during remote meetings. We’ve observed two problems that crop up when squirrelling notes onto paper.
Firstly, what should be engaging conversations become monologues while one side takes notes. Secondly, you sacrifice eye contact with the camera and your client/colleague – either by looking down at your desk or elsewhere on the screen.
With effective AI transcription tools (we’ve tried Otter.ai and Google Meets’ own transcriptions), you can focus on listening, processing and navigating conversations while remaining present and engaged with your audience.
Taking notes has always been the Achilles’ heel of interactive communication. Automating this function allows team members to focus on what’s truly important: the dialogue. A study from Cisco found that 43% of teams find AI valuable in enhancing workflows.
5. Calls to collaborate rather than review
Remote work often involves reviewing and editing work verbally during calls, thereby creating a list of tasks to be done later individually. This approach can inadvertently lead to a sense of isolation.
Working together on a task during a call, rather than just discussing it, not only speeds up the process but also fosters a sense of teamwork. For anything that can’t be added there and then, we add post-its to the slide so that it’s clear what’s missing whenever anyone edits the slides at a later point.
The practice of real-time collaboration during calls is an enabler for collective intelligence. It not only expedites work but also establishes a shared ownership.
Concluding Thoughts: Remote Work-In Progress
Remote work is rewarding in many ways but cultivating rituals to carve up the day between meetings, admin, deep work – while remembering to eat, exercise and/or feed the cat – can be a challenge. As with everything above, there’s an app for that. Some of our team like Sunsama to timebox their attention throughout the day. Others prefer post-its.
While the world of work continues to shift with the surprises thrown our way by Mother Nature and the influence of non-stop digital transformation, the only sensible way forward is to embrace ongoing experimentation and incremental adjustments that add value.
Remote work isn’t just a temporary adaptation; it’s an evolving art form. As we sail through the waves of digital transformation, embracing change is not just a survival tactic but a thriving strategy.
In a world where digital nomadism is fast becoming the norm, no doubt, we’ll have new tools and tricks to talk about before long.
Global Telco Consult (GTC) is a trusted independent business messaging consultancy with deep domain knowledge in application-to-person (A2P) services. GTC provides tailor-made messaging strategies to enterprises, messaging service providers, operators and voice carriers. We have expertise in multiple messaging channels such as RCS, Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram and SMS for the wholesale and retail industry.
GTC supports its customers from market strategy through service launch, running the operations and supporting sales and procurement. The company started in 2016 with a mission to guide operators and telcos to embrace new and exciting opportunities and make the most out of business messaging. For more information or industry insights, browse through our blog page or follow us on LinkedIn.