Managers need to be resilient, communicative and motivating in order to run a team effectively. Workplace circumstances are constantly changing and evolving, so managers have to be able to adapt with them and pivot how they measure success. In the last 3 years, companies have seen a shift to a digital workplace. A digital (or virtual) workplace is one that is not bound to any physical location. So while companies may still occupy an office space, It is more common that employees are able to work remotely.
Businesses have undoubtedly become more accepting of the digital workplace, especially those that didn’t offer a remote work option prior to the shift. Although the digital workplace comes with its own unique challenges for managers, there have been many known benefits to not being tied to one physical space.
This change has forced managers to navigate a new norm of engaging with employees from behind a screen. To unearth more of what the new digital workplace means for managers and their teams, we surveyed 3,000 American managers to see how it has affected their roles. We’re breaking down the data to make sense of it all and explain what’s next for managers and businesses moving forward.
Building trust with employees to boost morale
The majority of managers are excited about transitioning to remote or hybrid work, and rightfully so, but making the shift from in-office to a digital workplace can be an adjustment for teams of all sizes. Of those managers surveyed, 30% believe that the digital workplace has been positively impactful for the business because of improvement to employee satisfaction and company culture. However when you’re not face-to-face with your employees on a daily basis, there can be a disconnect. That can present itself in a variety of ways ranging from quiet quitting to burnout. Over 60% of managers agree that there is still a strong sense of connection in the workplace, even from afar. But that doesn’t mean it’s without its challenges.
Building a mutual trust between remote managers and employees is crucial for keeping teams excited, engaged, and aligned on expectations. When you can trust that your employees are doing their work without the need to micromanage, you’re empowering them and boosting the overall morale of the team. You’re ultimately giving your team the confidence they need to stay motivated and go above and beyond. By establishing that trust you can avoid common pitfalls of the digital workplace like quiet quitting and burnout.
Managing a remote team more effectively
Most managers find that overseeing a team remotely is significantly more difficult; the biggest challenges being engagement and productivity, lack of collaboration among employees, and budget constraints. When you’re in a physical office, it’s easy to pop over to your team with questions, concerns, or impromptu brainstorming. How can managers maintain that same level of collaboration and engagement in a digital workplace? Communication is essential for remote teams to preserve that same collaborative work they would have in an office setting.
Things like team huddles, weekly 1:1s, and biweekly company-wide all hands help keep the communication flowing so that nothing falls through the cracks. Similarly, engaging with your team on a daily basis can help fill the void of in-person meetings that an office setting would provide. In our recent survey, 57% of managers thought that it will be difficult to support meetings and collaboration in a digital environment. Using tools such as Zoom, Slack, and Beautiful.ai can make remote communication more seamless so that everyone feels connected and involved.
Beautiful.ai allows teams to collaborate together when they can’t be in the same room. It gives teams everything they need to sync on projects, pitch new ideas, manage deadlines, and share wins in real-time. Presentations not only help remote teams stay organized, but it keeps everyone informed on what’s happening in different parts of the company.
Setting employees up for success
The majority of managers are happy with employee productivity in a remote work environment. In order to maintain that productivity, your remote team requires the same support that they would get if they were down the hall. As a manager, it’s important that you give your team the resources— financial and otherwise— they need to be successful in their role. It’s not surprising that 80% of managers believe that their company is committed to investing financial resources into technology and tools to help managers successfully lead and meet goals in a digital workplace. On the same coin, 78% say their companies are committed to investing those same financial resources towards making sure employees succeed in a digital workplace. Most companies can recognize that without technology and tools to keep teams connected and aligned on projects, the digital workplace would be hindered.
For managers this might mean investing in extra tools for communication, design, or technologies that can help automate more mundane tasks. The last thing you want to do as a manager is leave your team feeling confined and unable to perform certain tasks outside of a physical office space.
Eliminating costs without compromising work
Most managers worry about the recession’s impact on their business. It’s natural that in the face of the recession companies are looking to trim down budgets to overcome the economic downturn. Sure, working from home reduces the need for an office space which eliminates overhead costs like rent, electricity, catered lunches, and the need for commuter benefits. But even in a digital workplace, managers can be mindful of a more recession-friendly budget without compromising work. Providing teams with the right productivity tools can help reduce the need to add to the headcount of the team. Presentation softwares— like Beautiful.ai— gives teams access to best-in-class design without having to hire an actual presentation designer. The right tools can improve efficiencies and free up bandwidth so teams can do more, with less.
The digital workplace has proven to be more cost efficient, and 70% of managers agree that a successful digital workplace that limits the need for physical office space is more recession-proof than a business with all of its employees in the office. Still, it’s a manager’s responsibility to be mindful of their teams’ budget allocations for the overall good of the business.