The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing companies worldwide to adapt their usual approaches to new challenges.

While before the spread of COVID-19, most employees only occasionally worked remotely, times have changed: Classic office life has largely disappeared, and remote work has temporarily become the new norm.

The current situation shows that companies that had already discovered digital working as advantageous for themselves before were able to quickly resume operations, while other companies still face big challenges. A key factor is the importance of digital work and communication processes in the application of remote work.

To enable successful digital work and especially collaboration, however, much more is required than just the provision of the appropriate IT infrastructure. Employees, teams and managers must be empowered to work together efficiently and productively, even in times of physical absence and distance, to be able to achieve the same exceptional results as before.

The EFS method-based toolbox for “Digital Workplace” focuses on 5 different dimensions for successful remote working and offers concrete methods and tools, ready for implementation.

The EFS method-based toolkit allows the creation of an individually designed digital office and optimal virtual connection for teams and beyond:

Digital Workplace

Digital work makes communication more difficult due to spatial distance and lack of interpersonal interaction.

Structured virtual rituals stimulate interdisciplinary exchange, create transparency, point out misunderstandings and therefore help in preventing conflicts.

Example methods:

  • Daily Opening/Daily Closing: Regular meetings allow a common start and end to the day for all team members
  • Virtual Seat Neighbors: The virtual seat neighbor method simulates “sitting next to each other” in the office and offers the opportunity for short and quick coordination throughout the day
  • Blocked Focus Time: Undisturbed, individual use of working hours to focus on project-specific tasks without interruption
Digital Workplace

The absence of communication outside the “daily business” also means that the opportunity for valuable informal exchange of ideas is lost.

Virtual cafés and other online encounters enable casual, constructive exchange, promote personal interaction and strengthen team structures.

Example methods:

  • Virtual Onboarding: Digital communication and information concepts are created together with clients for an optimal integration of new employees into the company/team.
  • Virtual Roundtable: The virtual roundtable functions through specifically themed, regular held meetings to ensure an equal knowledge base across team members
  • Virtual Café: Personal interaction in the Digital Workplace can be ensured with the help of relaxed, informal meetings for general discussion an exchange of thoughts.
Digital Workplace

Successful project management is based, among other things, on clear, transparent communication. Remote project management requires even better preparation and structure to counteract communication impediments.

Digital planning meetings are adapted dynamically and iteratively to the digital working life on a daily basis.

Example methods:

  • Leading Digital Meetings: Remote meetings contribute to efficient communication within the project, eliminate ambiguities and define further steps
  • Planning: Tools such as JIRA and Klaxoon are specifically useful for remote planning sessions as well as for coordinating priorities within the project
  • Steering: Steering in a remote context requires targeted and structured coordination with the team to prevent misunderstandings and ensure that tasks are processed effectively
Digital Workplace

Remote leadership requires managers to transfer the company’s values and culture into the virtual working environment.

Walking through the office in the morning, exchanging ideas with employees in the hallway, getting a feeling for the mood and tasks – all this is not possible when there is a physical distance between the members of a team.

Selected tools, rituals and focal points in communication bring practical added value to the remote working environment.

Example methods:

  • Virtual Feedback: A virtually structured process and a variety of formats (e.g. feedback buddies, system advice, etc.) enable a trustful sharing of experiences and challenges as well as empathic listening to the needs of the employees and other team members
  • Sharing & Thank You Rounds: Sharing of knowledge and experiences through the setting of dedicated stages to celebrate success and express appreciation for commitment enable joint learning and strengthen team bonds
  • Interactive information events: Interactive Q&A formats with time-boxing create a transparent flow of information and an open space for questions. This helps to convey security in times of Change
Digital Workplace

Creative exchange in workshops is more difficult when using only digital communication tools.

Successful online workshops become possible with interactive and adapted approaches such as remote brainstorming methods, virtual whiteboards and dot voting.

Example methods:

  • Remote brainstorming: Remote brainstorming helps to overcome creative blockades, bridge bottlenecks and find suitable solutions for problems, together as a team
  • Workshop Moderation: To ensure effective collaboration even when working remotely, clear, transparent processes, suitable virtual rooms and reliable, structured moderation is required
  • Lessons Learned / Retrospectives: Well planned and implemented digital Lessons Learned/Retrospectives provide teams with valuable insights for improvement and have a positive effect on teamwork
Jürgen Leitner

Jürgen Leitner

Partner

  • Digital Process and Service
  • Agile Methods
  • Organizational Development

M. +43 6764392038
jleitner@efs.at / www.efs.consulting

Liliana Simon

Liliana Simon

Project Manager

  • Selbstorganisation, New Work
  • DevOps

M. +43 676 439 20 72
lsimon@efs.at / www.efs.consulting

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