How Remote Tools Bring Inclusion and Transparency into Large Companies
Some of you might know the concept of The World Café, a meeting where people from diverse backgrounds meet in a physical room and talk about specific topics several times to create shared wisdom. A concept where you can get many inputs, though there is one hardship: how to bring so many people from different backgrounds and nationalities together in one physical room?
A few weeks ago, we created a virtual World Café in VISPA, gathering over 70 people from five different nations and diverse backgrounds to discuss various topics. In the end, we had a commitment circle, where we reflected on the input we gained from this session.
For this purpose, we built a dedicated stage where willing participants could speak about what they had learned that day. Then something magical happened: people who were never expected by the management to speak on stage took this opportunity and shared very valuable feedback. This was when we experienced that, in a virtual room, people who usually do not have much voice actually can have it and be on the same "audiovisual" level as the management.
The magic of inclusion in remote work: equality for everyone?
This story is a prime example of how remote work can improve inclusion in many companies. With the spread of digitalisation and the emergence of more and more tools on the market, employees who previously had no voice inside the company because they were shy or afraid of their bosses now gain a voice when it comes to sharing opinions and knowledge in an inclusive environment.
In the new episode of my podcast “The Collaborator”, my guest Sandy describes the “Silberrücken Prinzip” or the “Gorilla-Theory” - a principle taken from the biology of the silverback gorilla. Whenever the Silverback (manager) enters the room, the lower-ranked gorillas (employees) conform to the leader. This comparison can also be seen in many physical work environments, where lower-ranked employees refrain from expressing their opinions on certain topics.
Working remotely using tools such as VISPA makes it easier for these lower-ranking employees to articulate their opinions to other team members and leaders by creating an inclusive environment where they can share their feedback. However, remote setup is easier not only for shy people but also for people with disabilities. If they are part of a remote team in a remote environment, where they can easily collaborate with on-site staff and still be in the same room, it helps them to feel part of the team.
Remote tools bring transparency to a work environment
Sandy describes that as a leader, you have to be transparent in how you act. This is called "operational transparency." She makes an excellent comparison to an ATM. The ATM helps you get money transparently: you have to enter your pin, you get your money, you get a receipt, and it will be displayed on your bank account.
This transparency is a must in a remote work environment: If you work with tools like Trello, Miro, or VISPA, you must design the process in a way that is transparent for everyone on your team.
This culture of transparency is important for the entire workforce, as transparency will lead to an increase in productivity and efficiency since the purpose of the created chart is clear to everyone. In comparison to physical settings, tools like Trello, Miro, and VISPA make it easier for leaders and employees to be transparent in their way of work.
Want to learn how to choose the right tool? Check this article here!
The organizational aspect of the remote workforce - do not use methods in a servile manner!
An important aspect of remote work is that you should not use methods in a servile manner but rather use them as a Method-Kit. This means that you should not use, for example, Agile Methodologies in the sense that you copy the methods one by one but rather create your own version that is adapted to the needs of your team and the work culture.
Working together towards a common goal and adapting SCRUM to the company's (remote) work culture while remaining flexible and adaptable to changes is important. Post-pandemic, many companies embrace a hybrid work model - creating a new version of these individual company cultures. With efficient tools like VISPA, many companies gain an edge in creating a new future of work.
Here is how you can create a good remote work culture:
Establish clear communication: Remote work requires clear communication to ensure everyone is on the same page. Transformational leaders should establish regular communication channels and encourage employees to communicate openly. This could include regular video conferencing, messaging platforms, or even virtual coffee breaks.
Foster a sense of belonging: Working remotely can be isolating, so it is essential to foster a sense of community among team members through team-building activities, virtual social events, and recognizing employee achievements.
Encourage autonomy: Remote work provides employees with more autonomy over their work. It is important to encourage employees to take ownership of their work and provide them with the resources they need to succeed.
Prioritize work-life balance: Remote work can blur the boundaries between work and personal life. Transformational leaders should prioritize work-life balance and encourage employees to take breaks, set boundaries, and disconnect when necessary.
Provide support and resources: Remote work can be challenging, and remote employees may need additional support and resources. Innovative leaders should ensure that employees have the tools they need to do their jobs and provide support for mental health and well-being.
Do you want to find out how virtual tools can support remote work and employees? Listen to the episode now!