Ft. Rachel Segal, Managing Director at Briteweb
Is it possible to humanize a digitized workforce, without ever meeting face-to-face in an office?
Virtual teams face different challenges compared to in-office teams. For example challenges crop up daily that cause fragmentation within the agency, struggles with team bonding, and a need to overcome asynchronous communication gaps.
Rachel Segal will share how she overcomes those challenges and humanized the digitized workforce at Briteweb.
In this episode of RecalibrAgency, Rachel and I discuss:
- Her lessons learned in managing teams in a digitized workforce
- How and why she is restructuring the agency’s team structure
- The benefits and challenges of remote, asynchronous communication
In This Episode
[00:28] Rachel’s background and experience at different agencies.
[01:27] What are some of the best ways to foster team bonding and improve company culture, while still getting all of the work done?
[03:03] Cues to pick up on as a manager in a digitized environment.
[04:37] The value of having trust and being a safe space for other people.
[05:08] Mechanisms to identify top-level contributions by individuals and celebrate those.
[06:14] Shifts in the way that teams at Briteweb are structured, this is expected to become a game changer in the level of collaboration that can happen.
[07:48] What to do when you see someone who’s not really engaging with the rest of the team, or when you see departments that seem to have withdrawn and started to do their own thing?
[09:42] When you’re in a solely virtual work environment, overcommunication is the only form of communication that’s possible. This is what you need to take into account.
[11:22] The solution to timezone issues.
[13:55] Can agency office life be replicated in virtual form?
[15:23] The hardest thing about remote work, that Rachel hasn’t figured out yet.
[16:22] Will Briteweb ever fully go back to in-office work?
A few takeaways from today. First off, it’s impossible to completely replicate an in-office agency environment with a virtual office environment. And when you are accounting for those differences, be strategic in how you’re approaching it and identify what’s going to be the most impactful to actually make sure that work and socializing can both happen, even if they’re happening in different ways.
As it comes to keeping a handle on how various team members are doing individually, it’s really important that you take the time to observe how they are responding to peers. What is their communication looking like? What does their workload look like? Is there anything interesting going on with where they’re spending their time, and have you noticed any changes in their behavior? And then once you’ve noticed those things, be sure to question any assumptions and make sure that you’re proactively asking what’s going on. Have those conversations and just make sure everyone’s on the same page.
And then of course, when it comes to team-wide collaboration and announcements, make sure that you are overcommunicating. Overcommunicating really is the only way to communicate when you’re dealing with virtual teams and hybrid teams, so that everyone’s on the same page.
If everyone feels like they know what’s going on, you can mitigate some of the agency chaos that can happen so quickly.
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