Virtual Culture: Building Belonging

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Corporate culture refers to a shared set of norms, values, assumptions, and beliefs that govern the organizational behavior of employees in a workplace. This culture defines how employees behave in the organization with one another, and it influences everyone in some way or another. As for organizations that operate in virtual workplaces, employees are connected remotely. Hence, a shared set of values is often missing. Therefore, there is an increasing need to instill a healthy virtual culture to ensure that each remote worker feels a part of the team and has a true sense of belonging.

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Why do Virtual Workplaces Require a Corporate Culture?

It is essential to identify why a virtual workplace requires a corporate culture. First, there needs to be sufficient trust among remote employees. Lack of trust among employees connected virtually can lead to work disruptions where employees may not be willing to work as a team.

Second, introducing the leadership model and a set of shared beliefs and values in a virtual workplace becomes inevitable. People who are connected remotely will find it difficult to accept the leadership of another remote employee. Leadership is a requirement for physical workplaces and becomes even more critical if geographical locations separate employees.

Employees in a virtual workplace may also feel isolated as their interaction is limited, which obstructs open, informal, and social communication between members of the same team. This hampers employee growth in social skills, practical communication skills, and interaction outside the work environment. Digital interaction does not allow for gestures, use of body language, or a pat on the back for a job well done. All these elements tend to be missing in a virtual workplace, but a common corporate culture could somewhat fill this void.

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How to Build a Corporate Culture in a Virtual Workplace

The following are a few methods that may be useful to stimulate a corporate culture in a virtual work setting:

  • There must be computer-based chat rooms for remote employees to discuss and perform work projects. This enables open communication channels in a virtual workplace.
  • Moreover, virtual collaborative tools may be used to exchange ideas and share viewpoints and opinions on the various tasks assigned to remote employees.
  • Virtual socialization tools must be set to ensure that remote employees can engage in informal and personal conversations To cultivate a culture where social skills may be enhanced.
  • This is likely to induce social interaction among employees and will create trust, something they are missing due to geographical limitations.
  • Virtual employees lack a sense of engagement, which video calls and video conferences may counter so that face-to-face interactions can occur. As such, gestures and body language can convey messages to remote employees.
  • Occasionally, employees may be arranged to physically meet one another at a conference or annual dinner for the organization. This is another way to ensure a corporate culture seeps into the virtual workplace. These meetings will develop a set of shared values, beliefs, and norms to which all remote employees can become accustomed.
  • Another method to instill a corporate culture in the virtual workplace is through constant feedback from remote employees. Employees may be asked their views regarding what is missing in the virtual culture and what needs to be amended. Their valuable insights can be used to make the required alterations because the employees make up a corporate culture.
  • Virtual employees may be granted full ownership of their projects to allow delegation. It is another method for ensuring employee trust and will inseminate a sense of belonging.

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Virtual workplaces can make remote employees feel less motivated and alienated because of the lack of physical interaction. However, corporate culture is as necessary for a virtual work setting as a shared workplace. Efforts may be dedicated toward establishing a virtual culture for remote employees using these methods.

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