The Future of Enterprise: How digital interactions are replacing face-to-face

Digital interactions are replacing face-to-face.

As we established in previous weeks, the world of enterprise is currently undergoing a technological revolution that will transform the way business as we know it, is conducted. This is the fifth of an eight-part blog series examining the changes that will drastically alter the corporate landscape in the next five years.

What’s Changing?

There are rumblings, especially amongst the Generation Y workforce, of “work” being an activity, rather than a particular place at which one must log their time. Maybe you are even one of the people spreading the concept? While it used to be commonplace for managers to believe their employees needed to be in the same place at the same time in order to maximize efficiency, dispersed workforces are increasingly becoming today’s norm. Employees and/or contractors work in teams that are not only not in the same building, but also in different cities or even countries. These days, it’s not unusual for a company to not even have a formal location to work out of.

While virtual teams are similar to traditional teams in many ways, you can no longer rely on the communication and team building that occurs naturally in face-to-face office environments. Therefore, the current methods of finding and sharing information need to evolve along with these shifting parameters.

Many companies looking to bridge the communication gaps between these non-traditional teams are harnessing technologies like video conferencing, in addition to phone calls and e-mail. AT the same time, executives are also looking to acquire the skills they’ll need to meet this new management challenge.

A Day At The Office...

The key to working in a virtual team is, without a doubt, communication. Teams must arrive at decisions differently, build trust differently and sometimes they even have differences in time zones to further complicate the working situation.

As a member of a virtual team you must take deliberate actions to foster productive teamwork — with an emphasis on productivity. While co-located teams often benefit most from a leader who acts as a facilitator, virtual teams need a manager who provides clearly defined direction and removes all ambiguity from the process.

An Early Adopter

With offices in Calgary, Houston, St. John’s and Dubai, the team working behind the scenes at The Oil and Gas Magazine (OGM) have had their share of interesting experiences running an efficient global operation. “Running a global operation entails using communication tools that allow team members to have connection as if they were in the same office space allowing them to reach anyone at anytime,” says Chief Executive Officer Munaf Samji.

With a journalist in Africa and a business development executive in Australia, using applications such as Skype, Join.Me, Go To Meeting and FaceTime allow The OGM to carry out day to day operations efficiently while still maintaining global brand consistency. These tools are essential in facilitating its business processes and allow the company to replicate a consistent model no matter where in the world operations are set up.