Corporate culture refers to a shared set of norms, values, assumptions, and beliefs that govern the organizational behavior of employees in a workplace. This culture defines how employees behave in the organization with one another and it influences each one in some way or the other. As for organizations that operate in virtual workplaces, employees are connected remotely, hence, a shared set of values is often missing. Therefore, there is an increasing need to inculcate a healthy virtual culture in order to ensure that each remote worker feels a part of the team (sense of belonging).
Why do Virtual Workplaces Require a Corporate Culture?
It is essential to identify why a virtual workplace requires a corporate culture. First, there needs to be sufficient trust among remote employees. Lack of trust among employees connected virtually can lead to work disruptions, such that employees may not be willing to work as a team.
Second, to introduce the leadership model in a virtual workplace, a set of shared beliefs and values becomes inevitable. People who are connected to one another remotely will find it very difficult to accept the leadership of another remote employee. Leadership is not only a requirement for physical workplaces but becomes even more important if employees are separated by geographical locations.
Employees in a virtual workplace may also feel isolated as their interaction is limited which obstructs open, informal and social communication between members of the same team. This hampers the growth aspect of employees in terms of social skills, effective communication skills and interaction outside of the work environment. Digital interaction does not allow for gestures, use of body language and a pat on the back for a job well-done. All of these elements tend to be missing in a virtual workplace but a common corporate culture could fill in this void to some extent.
How to Build a Corporate Culture in a Virtual Workplace
The following are a few methods that may be used to stimulate a corporate culture in a virtual work setting:
- There must be computer-based chat rooms set up for remote employees for them to discuss and perform work projects. This will enable open communication channels in a virtual workplace.
- Moreover, virtual collaborative tools may be used to exchange ideas, share viewpoints and opinions on the various tasks assigned to remote employees, be it for basic bookkeeping.
- To cultivate a culture whereby social skills may be enhanced, virtual socialization tools must be set to ensure that remote employees can engage in informal and personal conversations. This is likely to induce social interaction among employees and will result in the creation of trust among remote employees, something they had been missing upon due to physical limitations.
- Virtual employees lack a sense of engagement, this may be countered using video calls and video conferences so that face-to-face interactions become a possibility. This way gesturing and the use of body language can be exercised to convey messages to remote employees.
- Once in a while, employees may be arranged to physically meet one another at a conference or annual dinner of the organization. This is yet another way of ensuring that a corporate culture seeps into the virtual workplace. These meetings will develop a set of shared values, beliefs, and norms that all remote employees can then become accustomed to.
- Another method to instill a corporate culture in the virtual workplace is through constant feedback from remote employees. Employees may be asked for their personal views regarding what’s missing in the virtual culture and what needs to be amended. Their valuable insights can be used to make the required alterations because it is the employees that make up a corporate culture, after all.
- Virtual employees may be granted full ownership of their individual projects to allow delegation. This is yet another method for ensuring trust among employees and will inseminate a sense of belonging in them.
Virtual workplaces can make remote employees feel less motivated and alienated, provided the lack of physical interaction. However, a corporate culture is as much a necessity for a virtual work setting as they are for a physical workplace. Using the aforementioned methods, efforts may be dedicated toward establishing a virtual culture for remote employees.
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