More than ever, work is viewed as something people do, rather than a place they necessarily go. As the former COO of a public relations and marketing company that transitioned from more than 20 years as brick and mortar to an entirely virtual operation, I learned many vital lessons through the proverbial school of hard knocks—lessons I hope to spare other leaders.
While flexwork has become more commonplace in a myriad of industries, the training of managers and employees for success remains rare. According to WorldatWork’s October 2013 Survey on Workplace Flexibility:
- 88 percent of organizations do not train employees to be successful with flexible work arrangements.
- 83 percent of organizations do not provide training to managers of employees using flexibility programs.
Why do we direct people to work virtually without sufficient training to ensure success? Mostly, the answer lies in the fact that no widely accepted model for such training exists. To help fill the void, I created “The 15 C’s for Success for the Flexible Workplace” to help navigate the complex waters of remote people management. But there’s no silver bullet—managing people is challenging, whether it’s in person or across the ocean. However, communication professionals are uniquely positioned to do it better than most because at least three of the 15 C’s fall squarely in their wheelhouse: communication, clarity and collaboration.
Some key takeaways related to these three C’s that are essential to success in the virtual workplace include:
- Strategic communication to align both external and internal branding and messaging: Google, Apple, Zappos and Patagonia are all great examples of exceptional companies whose brands and cultures are co-created.
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