Strengthen Your Virtual Skills
The world now is more dependent on Internet technologies than ever. This means the importance of our virtual skills is also increasing. If we want to stay competitive and make our business really successful online, these are the skills that need to be trained first in 2021 - for both business owners and their employees.
Ability to proactively manage media-based interactions
Ability to establish communication norms
Ability to build social rapport with colleagues
Ability to demonstrate cooperation
Due to the fact that not everyone is inherently great at working virtually, business owners should build something called “virtual intelligence”, which is a set of strategies and behaviors established at a workplace.
Depending on a particular situation, virtual intelligence may include different things but, for most businesses, it will be these two:
Let’s go over each of the aforementioned components and study them in detail.
Rules of engagement
When people find themselves working remotely (especially, for the first time), this fact often mistakenly leads certain individuals to believe that it is some kind of a mode where strict rules do not apply. Of course, this could not be further from the truth.
This misconception arises from the fact that working in a physical office creates an atmosphere with pre-established, common rules that do not have to be taught since most people are aware of them already. That’s why it is vital to establish a similar set of rules for remote work as well and have them written down so that every employee could familiarize themselves with these rules. Now, the rules themselves are not that complicated and mostly revolve around communication and the tools that you use, for example:
What communication tools to use for which situations (email for official documents, chat for smaller issues, video call for urgent matters, videoconference for meetings, etc.)
What the best time to connect is (e.g., a planning meeting every Monday, a daily checkup meeting at 5 pm, etc.)
How to store, edit and share information (the rule of thumb here is “the fewer tools you use, the better”)
Ideally, all your communications, files, and interactions should be done via a single tool or ecosystem. This is the only way to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity.
Building and maintaining trust
One of the greatest dangers of remote work is the lack of socializing, which ultimately leads to a lack of trust. To compensate for the inability to have face-to-face communications, try establishing a more informal atmosphere during your online meetings. Asking simple questions like “how was everyone’s weekend” or encouraging your employee to share some of their personal news and updates is a great way to bring a social element into your day-to-day communications.
Another way to handle this problem would be establishing the so-called “informal meetings” where no work-related issues will be discussed and your employees can chitchat about whatever they like, exchange funny pictures, share news, etc. One-two meetings like that per week should be more than enough to feed the need for small talk.
Take your business online
When it comes to remote work and establishing a solid foundation for the success of your business in 2021, another important factor is making sure that you have all the right tools for efficient online sales. In 2020, we saw a great increase in online shopping and sales (according to an IBIS report, online grocery sales was the top-growing industry in the US, with a 74.5% increase in revenue). Even if your current business was not originally meant for online, you should definitely give it a shot in 2021 - there is a lot of untapped potential in many areas.
Small businesses now have so many possibilities to create an online store in just a few clicks and start accepting orders the same day. They can even accept payments and deliver products using nothing more than a smartphone. A customer-centered shopping experience is already the present and the nearest future of e-commerce.