The Online Colleague
It started with a dream.
Not my dream, but my boss’s. She had a vision of creating a training company that would help businesses improve their leadership style, communication skills, and productivity levels. She hired me to do the back-end work, such as setting up the website, research, sourcing photos, etc.
Fast-forward five years to today where that vision has turned into an award-winning company that works with multinational corporations around the world. I now work with a team of amazing people from different backgrounds. The unique twist to all of this is that I have never met any of them in person. Now, you’re probably wondering how that could possibly work.
The secret to a successful remote team of multicultural members can be covered by three Cs: Commitment, Communication and Care.
There are a lot of tracking systems out there that monitor remote workers’ progress and productivity; schedules and co-working platforms that track activity levels. At this point, you’re probably wondering which one we used. The answer: none of them.
The flexibility and freedom to decide the time I get to work is one of the reasons why I love this job. Blame it on me being a millennial, but I simply can’t stand micro-managers.
There is something empowering in a leadership structure where your boss simply tells you what needs to get done and the deadline, then it’s up to me to plot out how and when I’d work on it. There’s a sense of ownership over the task. It’s no longer ‘work assigned to me’, but rather ‘my project’. On top of this, the purpose of my project is clearly defined, which shows how my contribution impacts the business as a whole. Not only am I given flexibility but I also have a sense of worth. The combination of these two factors is why I’m committed to my job.
Instructions have to be delivered in a clear manner. To me, they are communicated through email. Simple and basic. It works with any device and doesn’t cost money.
There are a lot of fancy features out there that tell you how to increase productivity by providing several methods of relaying tasks. Granted, some of them might be useful but nothing beats giving clear and concise instructions.
It’s basic business ethics to give clear instructions and set deadlines in order to monitor productivity. It worked in the past and it still works now. Don’t get bogged down by learning new platforms, especially if it really isn’t needed by the business. Instead, be open to questions from your peers or employees. Let them know that they can always ask for clarification if there’s something that isn’t clear to them.
That leads to the third C: Care.
I care about the work I do, not so much because of the mission or vision of the company. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a strong layer added to my commitment that I agree with the company values and what it hopes to achieve. The biggest reason why I care about my work is the people I work with and work for.
In business, it’s easy to forget that the people you work with are, well, people. If there’s one thing that you’ll take from reading this article, I hope that it’s this: if it’s a choice between earning more for your company or caring more for your people, please choose the latter. I could drown you in statistics about how it is beneficial for the company in the long run if you put people first. Instead, I’m just going to rely on your basic humanity.
My dream is that we’ll rise from this COVID-19 experience with the awareness that things can be done in a simpler way. We don’t need fancy applications or rigid structures to excel, we just need to care. In these dark times of bush fires, sinking cities, and worldwide plagues, the first thing that goes out-of-stock isn’t toilet paper or alcohol. It’s Compassion.
Author: Vita Francesca Dizon | Editor: Nedda Chaplin
Vita heads up Online Learning at MetaMind and is also a researcher and web-designer.
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