In working life, 2020 will be remembered for the revolution of virtual work. As a pioneer of digital expertise, Finland succeeded in making the transition to remote work better than others, but how can we ensure that we remain a leader in digital expertise?
In Humap, we are pioneers in building a digital cooperation culture with more than 20 years of experience. We have identified the priorities in managing virtual work, and each organisation can select tools from the list to help in their own remote work. Whether you are an experienced native in the digital world, or just beginning your virtual journey, take at least the following three tips into account in management.
1. FOCUS ON HOW DIGITAL COOPERATION FUNCTIONS.
Building a digital cooperation culture is about how we cooperate in different digital environments, rather than which digital work environments are used. The core question in building a digital cooperation culture is what kind of practices are consciously created to carry out the work. Practices related to working hours, reachability, interaction, cooperation, and management must be rebuilt together so that they are best suited to a virtual or hybrid world. For example, a common meeting time should not be used to share information. Instead, it is recommended to use the time for creating mutual understanding of pre-distributed information as uniformly as possible.
We have been witnessing numerous magnificent examples of successful journeys to the construction of a digital service and cooperation culture. The Finnish Tax Administration, among others, has transferred to working remotely 98% of the time. Director General Markku Heikura says that the cornerstones of their success and change management include cooperation, building trust and creating new ways of working.
In digital environments, a smart operating method does not come about on its own, and even top experts need support in engaging in productive cooperation. We were also reminded of this at the Fast Expert Team of top experts that was put together in Finland in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic. The team was tasked with developing solutions to ensure the vitality of working life by using digital solutions, and we were invited to enable the team’s digital cooperation. The results were very promising, and the digital cooperation culture as a phenomenon is on the agenda of several organisations.
2. HARNESS THE ENTIRE ORGANISATION’S WISDOM TO CREATE A CONSTANTLY UPDATING OVERVIEW.
Remote work and rapid changes make it difficult to grasp the bigger picture. From the perspective of the significance of work, especially in remote work, grasping the bigger picture is an important motivation factor for everyone. From the management’s viewpoint, grasping the overview is directly linked to the ability of organisations to react to changes, to learn quickly and to develop in the desired direction.
The best possible overview is obtained by including a wide range of people in discussions. By involving the entire organisation, customers, stakeholders, and networks, the discussion will provide an overview of the actual operating environment. When there are several viewpoints, the changes in the operating environment come across in more detail, and the collective wisdom can be harnessed to react quickly enough to them.
It is possible to build a digital control room where people’s know-how can be used in real time. With the help of digital solutions and AI, for example, it is possible to review even quite extensive qualitative material, and find meanings that will help management in drawing conclusions and making strategic choices. Discussions with multifaceted input and artificial intelligence help management to find new critical phenomena and factors that can be quickly addressed from the perspective of the business and industry. As the networks of the organisation are able to discuss, innovative ideas have opened gates for new paths as well.
3. MAKE STRATEGIC THINKING AND ACTIVITIES PART OF EVERYONE’S DAILY LIVES.
Strategy work is cooperation. Strategic thinking and activities mean that all everyday choices and actions lead closer to mutual goals and strategic objectives. Strategy means and requires constant dialogue and process in which the entire organisation is involved. Therefore, through increasing remote work, managers will face new challenges. How can people who work remotely scattered across the world bring a strategy to live?
A functional strategy must be reflected in every employee’s daily life, which means that every employee must understand the organisation’s strategy through their work and its significance. It is thus logical that everyone should be involved in developing the strategy. The preparation of the strategy requires cooperation, utilising the collective wisdom of the entire organisation.
In a stable environment, strategy work and strategic development differ from those in a constantly changing, uncertain environment. In a rapidly changing environment, even strategy work in itself requires a new rhythm. There is not only one correct way to create a strategy, but the nature of operations and the dynamics of the operating environment define the appropriate rhythm.
According to our experience, many organisations today require a rolling strategy process in which everyone is allowed to participate. An agile and effective strategy process can be carried out in a rolling manner even in a cycle of five weeks. In this case, the organisation’s operations maintain strategic thinking, and the working community will gain strength from a shared, engaging, and inspiring way to use the digital process to build a cooperation culture and for committing everyone to the strategy.
DIGITAL COOPERATION CULTURE AND STRATEGY AS VIEWED BY OUR CUSTOMERS
The revolution of virtual work can be implemented in an agile manner in every organisation. For this change, grasping the bigger picture by using digital data helps. Our passion is to help in a strategic development process that supports network-based remote or hybrid work performed from multiple locations.
- In cooperation with Elisa, we carried out engaging and interactive strategy work for more than 3,000 employees in different countries in a virtual and mobile manner.
- With Turku Energia, we helped the entire personnel to understand the significance of strategy for their own work.
- With the Finnish Tax Administration, we involved the entire personnel in an organisational change where the digital cooperation culture is the focus of all operations.
- In cooperation with Efima, we carried out strategy work virtually by including the entire personnel.
- For OAJ, we introduced new perspectives and effectiveness in developing the strategy process.
- The region of Central Finland took a digital leap with us in developing digital structures for an organisation with thousands of people.