Creating a Virtual Operating Model Amid COVID-19

Creating a Virtual Operating Model Amid COVID-19

April 1, 2020
The importance of clear and effective leadership communication is heightened in a remote working environment.

Moving to a virtual workforce in response to COVID-19 is raising a lot of operational issues for companies.

This news ways “will leave many organizations and attitudes forever changed, even once the threat has receded,” according to a new report from Capgemini.

To help managers cope,  Capgemini's report, Virtual organizations need real leadership: COVID-19 and the virtual operating model offers advice on effective leadership. The report lays out specific steps:

 Place trust in employees, provide autonomy and accountability

 In a virtual environment, employees expect to be trusted and provided with greater autonomy to complete their work and fulfill their goals. And that means enabling managers not to constantly keep checking on the productivity of their team members. Leaders should limit micromanaging a remote workforce, to the extent possible.

 Empathize, be authentic, care

The importance of clear and effective leadership communication is heightened in a remote working environment, especially for those who are moving from physical working spaces to virtual ones. Emotional intelligence (EI) for leaders and line managers has assumed a new criticality. In a pandemic situation, where there is a huge amount of uncertainty and fear, employees are not in fact just looking for clarity from leadership. They are seeking reassurance and encouragement. And if this personal and emotional connection doesn’t happen, communication may feel inappropriate or insufficient. This is why EI is so important – leadership needs to be able to empathize with employees and their concerns and strike the right tone. Yet, our recent study on emotional intelligence found that only 32% of organizations conducted training for middle management on EI.10

Foster collaboration and creativity in a remote workforce

 In our digital culture study, we found that lack of collaboration was still a significant issue, with a huge divergence between senior executives and employees. We found that 85% of senior executives believed that their organization collaborates effectively across functions and business units, while only 41% of lower-level employees felt the same. 

The report concludes that " a pandemic like this creates significant uncertainty and nervousness. It creates an extraordinary situation that requires leaders to be extra vigilant in paying close attention to their teams and in steering the business. The move to virtual working becomes more than a change of modus operandi – it requires a deep change in behaviors and mindset for both leaders and employees." 

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