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Companies are completely relying on their remote workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, those companies that lagged in transforming themselves into a virtual organization, are going through tough times. And with uncertainty staring at our face, the future seems grim. This article throws light on how you can strengthen your geographically dispersed teams and build a successful remote organization.
The essential characteristic of a remote workforce is that the teams are geographically separated. In an office setting, visual cues and physical touch play an important role. It’s easier for managers to keep an eye on their teams and check their performance. The same doesn’t hold for remote teams. As experts say, the main point of contention for companies that haven’t embraced remote working yet is not technology or connectivity, but culture shocks. This is because traditional companies have little/no prior experience of working remotely. They have to restructure their workforce right from the leadership team to the executives at the bottom. Initially, companies may face some resistance and it may appear to be a tiresome and expensive task, but once the transformation is complete, it pays off in more than one way.
In the current times of uncertainty, we must observe situations with a sound mind and an emotional heart. This not only helps to know of the advancements in the outside world but also helps create a decentralized virtual organization. Managers shy away from distributing autonomy. They often delegate powers in the hands of a few individuals — those they think have enough experience and skills to understand the context of the situation. A better way to manage this is by creating a situation room.
A situation room is a place where the leadership team meets and monitors how conditions are unfolding — both inside and outside the organization. Once the outcomes of the meeting are shared with the employees through the company’s private communication channel, managers feel comfortable distributing authority. This is because they rest assured that the teams are in a better position to contextualize their decisions. A positive outcome of this exercise is that it allows teams to make informed decisions expeditiously without waiting for approvals from top-level managers.
Since the remote workforce is made up of geographically dispersed teams, it’s difficult to maintain a close watch on each of your team members. This can often lead to massive delays and sporadic frictions. The DACI model — which stands for Driver, Approver, Consulted, and Informed — provides virtual organizations with a successful counter to the problems mentioned above.
This model divides responsibilities among the team members and makes decision-making effective and efficient. The following points make this clearer:
Once the boundaries are set and duties are allocated it’s easy to speed up team interaction and avoid ambiguities.
Communication portals — such as WhatsApp, Facebook — are the Amazons of the digital world. A message that is lost is lost forever. Thus, it’s imperative to store all forms of communications — news, key conclusions of meetings, discussions, updates — in a repository so that they are easily retrievable. This calls for businesses to reduce their dependence on public chat apps that are susceptible to hack attacks and allow minimum traceability. Rather they should build their communication applications that provide a safe way to send data and a fast method to retrieve messages. An organizational decision-making muscle such as this enables companies to make better decisions over time.
Have you heard the cliche “Data is the new oil”? Well, cliches exist for a reason. We live in a world that is gradually being overtaken by data. Also, in times when virtual organizations are sprouting like never before and the concept of a remote workforce is gaining momentum, it’s imperative to make your employees data-literate. You should organize data-literacy camps (at least once a month) where they are taught about the basics of Machine learning, AI, and statistical models — the founding pillars of the information age — that will help them respond to new questions and challenges promptly.
The five points mentioned above will help you build a fast and agile remote organization and enable your employees to lead a meaningful work-life. This is where we can help. At Sage, we are home to world-class ERP & CRM software that will enable you to transform into a successful remote organization. You will be well equipped to deal with the challenges of the new age and work your way up the ladder.
Disclaimer: All the information, views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and their respective web sources and in no way reflect the principles, views or objectives of Sage Software Solutions (P) Ltd.