The New Normal: Professionalism in Virtual Workspaces

CoachHub · 12 May 2023 · 7 min read

In this technological age, there are many different ways of communicating through technology and this has extended to the workplace. People no longer need to be in the same location to carry out their work duties. Virtual workspaces have helped organisations to expand their workforce across different locations and zones. Now, more workers can be a part of the workforce without coming to s physical location.

A virtual workspace is a place separate from an official physical company address where a remote worker can easily communicate with team members while performing their duties.

Remote work is more popular now than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic only served to create a need for more remote workers and virtual workspaces. This means that more workers have begun gravitating towards the idea of working from their own selected locations.

Despite remote work being more popular in the workforce, members need to remain professional when conversing with other workers. This is important to ensure that workers can focus on their responsibilities without getting distracted.

It is no easy task to promote professionalism among virtual workers but it can always be done. As virtual work becomes the new norm

The Challenges of Virtual Workspaces

The virtual workspace helps companies in expanding their workforce across different locations, but it is not without its setbacks. There are many virtual work challenges that need to be addressed.

Lack of physical presence and non-verbal communication cues

The absence of physical presence may make it more difficult for team members to communicate clearly without misconstruing themselves. Communication goes beyond verbal communication and extends into nonverbal communication cues as well as you. Some of these things can be read in body language and nonverbal communication cues. Virtual workspaces make it difficult to pick up on these cues.

Difficulty in maintaining professionalism in remote interactions

Some workers may find it difficult to maintain the same air of professionalism that is common with a physical workspace. This brings an air of unseriousness to the virtual workspace. It is a major factor that discourages team leaders and employees from promoting remote work amongst their team members.

Increased reliance on digital communication tools

As the virtual workspace becomes more popular, a large number of workers become increasingly reliant on the presence of digital communication tools. These people are rendered helpless when such tools cannot be made available.

Professionalism in virtual spaces

The Role of Professionalism in Virtual Workspaces

Some may argue that remote work professionalism in virtual workspaces is not very important as long as the workers are able to do their jobs. That is untrue as professionalism has a big role to play in the overall ability of a team to work together.

Building trust among team members

Professionalism is broad and it extends to the kind of language used to communicate between team members. An absence of professionalism in communication makes it impossible for team members to trust that others are capable of doing their jobs. Conversely, a lack of trust makes it harder to build team cohesion.

Effect on productivity and performance

Once trust is absent due to a lack of professionalism in virtual spaces, it affects the overall productivity and performance on a team. Asides from dampening the team morale, jobs may not be assigned to the right people for fear of unprofessionalism, leading to more time wasting and poorer team performance. Other team members are not encouraged to carry out their responsibilities when the people around them are unprofessional or display a lackadaisical attitude towards the job.

Impact on organisations and employees

Overall, unprofessionalism in virtual workspaces becomes detrimental to the organisation as goals are less likely to be achieved on time. The employees may also not be exposed to career advancement opportunities that could help them grow. Some remote employees suffer from loneliness and isolation and are unable to speak out about the challenges they face. When this affects the quality of their work, more resources are utilised in fixing the problem and creating a viable solution.

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Understanding Digital Coaching

There’s no concept more suited to help teams learn the art of workplace professionalism in virtual workspaces than digital coaching. Workers that prefer to work from outside the official physical offices of a company will benefit greatly from digital coaching.

Digital coaching is the process of using technological tools to help people, teams and companies in learning and acquiring qualities that will help in the advancement of their goals.

Since digital coaches can work virtually and are able to deliver results over vast distances, they are the perfect solution to help remote workers practise professionalism in remote interactions.

At CoachHub, there are several digital coaching programs tailored towards different aspects of professional life. Some of these programs include leadership training programs, coaching to help workers get through the employee lifecycle and even programs to help employees understand the organisational structure.

 

Utilising Digital Coaching for Professional Development

Professional development is something that needs to be constantly improved. There’s no limit to the way an employee can expand their professional skills in the office. Any company or team that hopes to advance in the larger world needs to be willing to devote time and resources towards overall improvement and professional growth.

Thankfully, such improvement and growth can be accessed through digital coaching. Digital coaches offer different kinds of programs that are personalised and tailored to help employees overcome any specific challenges.

Most people become more professional when they are confident in their ability and skill set. Organisations can encourage workers to take advantage of digital coaching opportunities.

Practical tips for organisations to implement digital coaching programs

  • Communicate clearly with employees on the importance of digital coaching programs
  • Provide incentives such as career advancement opportunities and professional development in virtual work
  • Ask for and listen to feedback about the programs
  • Lead by example. Employees are encouraged to participate in these programs when their leaders go through digital coaching programs as well

 

Best Practices for Professionalism in Virtual Workspaces

As hard it sounds, it’s not very difficult to preserve professionalism in virtual workspaces. One of the first things to do is to maintain communication etiquette in virtual settings, including email, video calls, and chat platforms. The use of technology and non-conventional means of communication should not erode the presence of normal communication etiquette. This gives the impression that a worker takes the other team members seriously and is ready to listen and work with them.

It also helps to maintain a professional online presence, including social media and virtual work etiquette. Some companies now use social media to communicate. They also hold meetings virtually. These are avenues for workers to maintain a professional presence. Being outside the regular work environment should not be an excuse to be unprofessional when conversing with coworkers.

Admittedly, it may be a bit more difficult to navigate virtual team dynamics and build virtual relationships with colleagues, however, it is not impossible. All it takes is a willingness to try and by actively putting in efforts to ensure that clear, succinct communication takes place.

Overcoming Challenges and Pitfalls

The major problem to be overcome when trying to achieve professionalism and improve remote work skills development is that of communication. It is a lot harder to pass nonverbal messages across to other workers virtually. There is the increased risk of miscommunication that leads to minor disputes. In the long run, this absence of trust is not very good for the smooth running of a team or organisation.

There is also the risk of burnout and isolation. These are very common among remote workers who have limited physical interactions with team members. Isolation and loneliness increases burnout and makes it harder for employees to give their best to their assigned jobs and tasks.

Digital coaching for remote employees is an excellent way of helping employees overcome these challenges. Digital coaches equip remote workers with the skills they require to conquer the problem of loneliness. They also help workers learn how to communicate better with other coworkers virtually. In order to achieve these goals, digital coaching offers a personalised experience for workers who require such services.

 

Benefits of Digital Coaching in Fostering Professionalism

 

Conclusion

All organisations want to ensure that employees stay professional even outside the traditional working environment. A lot of companies are unable to keep their employees professional and productive in virtual workspaces, however, digital coaching can help them overcome this challenge.

Professionalism improves the overall communication between workers, and it makes for better team building and cooperation towards tasks and goals.

Organisations have to incorporate digital coaching into their working system to ensure that team members have the skill to stay professional outside the traditional workplace. Virtual workspaces need to have professional members as it benefits both employees and companies at the end of the day.

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Samuel Olawole
Samuel Olawole is a freelance copywriter and content writer who specialises in creating exciting content across a wide range of topics and industries. When he’s not writing, you can find him travelling or listening to good music.

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