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Virtual meetings have no barriers, but the challenge becomes how to create professional networks and relationships

Covid-19 has changed everything

‘The pandemic accelerated existing trends in remote work, e-commerce, and automation’1 says McKinsey, while the Economist noted that, ‘‘Covid-19 has forced a radical shift in working habits… for the better.’2

 The UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) survey in May 2022 found that almost half of working adults in the UK were working from home at times during the pandemic. Prior to this, only 12% of adults reported working from home, but the ONS survey taken after covid restrictions had been fully lifted, 46% of workers earning £40,000 or more, were now hybrid working; working in the office and at home.

Virtual working is the new norm, but has its challenges

 Virtual working was a necessity for many professional service companies to maintain services. One architectural and engineering consultancy, ‘Sweco AB’, went from 1,000 to 15,000 home workers within two weeks.  Virtual working is the new norm for many white collar workers. However, those who started working virtually during the pandemic know that virtual working has its challenges.

The new employee

 Consider a scenario where a new employee joins a business during the pandemic. Their laptop and mobile phone arrive by courier at his home and… they are ready to go… are they?  Who should they call for IT support? Their laptop won’t load and they never met anyone from IT. How will they know what they need to do and when? They only had a 30 minute meeting with their new boss.. they don’t know anyone else. How can they put forward a fresh new idea? Everyone else in the countless video conferences in the first week all know each other so well, they feel afraid to speak out. Who should I talk to about this project problem? They don’t know anyone with the right technical skills or experience. They are asked to work in a project team, but what is the team dynamic? Who can they talk to and trust? 

 In this case, the systems, processes and tools must be intuitive and easy to access. Put simply, they need to share knowledge about the other people across the business. The IT Consultant, the Innovation Champion, the Technical Expert and their new Team-members. 

The existing employee  

Another scenario could be an existing employee who is asked to led a new project/case but needs to assemble a team, working from home. The people in their local office are busy and in any event, they don’t have the detailed knowledge and experience anyway. How do they find the people they need with the right skills and knowledge? Where might he go to find niche experience in other regional offices, different departments or maybe other Country’s? Where could they find completed projects or cases which can provide a template of how to deliver the project or case most efficiently?

 The old way to manage people knowledge

The old way is that CVs and resumes, case studies and references are stored here, there and everywhere. On managers hard drives, department servers in unknown folders, in 1001 different formats and multiple different languages. In short, often they aren’t managed at all. This amplifies the barriers for virtual working. For new employees they are completely inaccessible. For existing employees, who might at least know where to look, they will only get partial access (from within their own team or department) and have no efficient way to search these CVs and resumes, case studies and references to find what they need… quickly and simply. The old way doesn’t work well for people working in offices, and even less so for working from home. 

Recent research undertaken by Morrison-Smith & Ruiz4 identified that virtual teams are affected by physical factors (geographic distance, temporal and perceived distance, explicit management, and group composition). These factors are tightly coupled with social and emotional factors (trust, motivation, and conflicts). Breaking down these barriers is important to ensure any business can optimise the performance of its people when working virtually. We need to rethink how we work together to reduce the physical, social and emotional barriers. We need systems, processes and tools which are fit for the new way of working, as well as continuing to support the old ways.    

The new way to manage CVs and resumes, case studies and references for all teams

 CV Partner is a best-in-breed, cloud-based system, which helps optimise team-working within professional service companies by managing their most important asset… their people’s knowledge and experience. It's the new way to manage CVs, resumes and case studies and references to save time in finding the right people, to help improve the quality, consistency and efficiency of projects/cases. By sharing people’s knowledge it optimises virtual working. It provides one location for all CVs and resumes case studies and references ,so they can be instantaneously shared when virtual working. The dynamic search function helps people find the right colleagues  to talk to and identify the useful projects which could provide valuable information to reduce project time and costs. CV Partner can be the key to breaking down the physical barriers. It ignores geographic boundaries because all information is in one place (unless you want to retain these), they are available 24/7 which helps eliminate the temporal and perceived distance. It supports the identification of the right kind of people to develop technical networks and virtual teams. If one knows the background and experience of a team member, it's likely to reduce social and emotional barriers such as trust and motivation.

If you're keen to get the most out of virtual working, why not speak to CV Partner about how we can help your business? Please click here to book a quick ‘no obligation’ demo or get in contact with our team to get more information.

Key References

1 https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/the-future-of-work-after-covid-19

2 https://www.economist.com/briefing/2020/09/12/covid-19-has-forced-a-radical-shift-in-working-habits

3 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/ishybridworkingheretostay/2022-05-23b 

4 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42452-020-2801-5#Sec9 

Learn more by contacting CV Partner