Virtual Workplace

Virtual Workplace
Due to the recent challenges brought on by the pandemic, many offices have shifted from the traditional brick and mortar workplace to complete remote work environments. For some, this was a manageable transition, but for others it was a completely new and unfamiliar concept. Regardless of the challenge, in order to progress with the times, most are navigating and continuing to adapt to these changes. Many have had to invest in technology and methods to continue to work collaboratively, adequately supervise, as well as preserve team engagement. As always, whether in person or remote, contact is key. Due to the absence of collaboration inside the office each day, it has become pertinent that even remotely, lines of communication need to remain available.

Newly adapted technology is being implemented by businesses for their employees who are no longer able to sit side by side. These programs enable regularly scheduled virtual check-in meetings, team meetings using livestream video, and empowering people to connect to see the faces of the team members that they had been accustomed to seeing throughout their usual day. This familiarity brings back some of the camaraderie necessary to have a productive and successful work culture. In order to see which program worked most successfully for them, firms such as Cerini & Associates explored many communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, Slack, and Google Meet until they found what worked best for their business.

In addition to formal daily operations, these virtual spaces are able to provide venues for activities such as trivia nights or wine and cheese tastings. Companies have had packages delivered to their employee’s doors filled with the essentials for these events. While they can’t possibly replace in-person holiday parties or other company outings, these “innings” provide a means of gathering in an informal setting, to once again “see” each other, and to talk about non-work-related topics.

For those businesses who have had the need to hire staff, new solutions have needed to be established. The traditional personal introductions that included a formal handshake have been forcibly eliminated from interviews. All parties involved have had to adapt to the new workforce conventions that include virtual interviews conducted while both parties seek an appropriate and professional background. Even so, these meetings still provide the interviewer the opportunity to have facetime with potential candidates.

A challenging part of working remotely is onboarding new hires. A typical first day at the office includes personal introductions, a tour of the office, lunch with the team, and side by side training with various co-workers. While this is ideal, most employers are currently faced with having to conduct orientation and training virtually. Companies such as Cerini & Associates utilize Microsoft Teams’ screen sharing and document exchange features during their orientation and training process. Additionally, their new employees are shipped their computers, other necessary IT items, and promotional materials welcoming them to the firm.

Mentor programs can be extremely beneficial for all new employees. While it may not include the traditional perks, live video meetings are available on virtual platforms that ensure they receive appropriate guidance as they learn about the company, their role within, their job responsibilities, and your overall expectations of them.

Businesses should recognize the virtual workspace is still evolving and will most likely be a permanent component of the future business model. It will be crucial to embrace these changes and prepare long-term strategies to ensure success in attracting ideal candidates and retaining valuable employees.

This article was also featured in our newsletter Bottom Line Vol. 23

Kimberly R. Roffi, CPA

Kimberly R. Roffi, CPA

Partner

Kim, who has been a member of the firm since 2001, has over 19 years of public accounting experience. Today, she is a partner of the firm and previously served as Director for the firm’s tax and business advisory practice and Director of Finance and Operations for the firm internally. Kim has written Practice Insights for Lexis Nexis’ tax research platform and has been published in Building Long Island magazine.

 

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