- Many companies are allowing their pandemic-era teleworking policies to continue into the foreseeable future.
- It’s more important than ever to invest in your work-from-home environment, as in some ways, it is a reflection of you.
- AVIXA and Jenny Hicks explore the importance of matching your corporate role to your work from home space through three personas.
This article was originally published on Work Design Magazine.
As the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations increases worldwide, restrictions are easing, and we’re becoming more accustomed to a new 21st century ‘normal’. Part of that new normal is a continuation of many companies allowing their pandemic-era teleworking policies to continue into the foreseeable future.
The tethering of staff five days a week, eight hours a day, to a corporate office desk is now an antiquated idea. Workers demonstrated their ability to perform their jobs successfully and efficiently from their home offices and highly favor the continuance of working-from-home.
Organizations realizing this trend’s staying power have been decreasing their corporate footprint, increasing touchdown spaces, and continuously upgrading their remote technology capabilities.
At the beginning of this new teleworking paradigm, a few things remained constant: the feeling of insecurity about toilet paper reserves, the routine reminders of informing colleagues they were “on mute,” and secretly scrutinizing everyone’s home décor in their backgrounds.
As time progressed in this ‘Groundhog Day’ repetitive cycle, it became growingly apparent that more than just a laptop and headset were sufficient for every worker in their varying roles and different levels within the corporate ladder. Adaptations were imperative to make for a more productive and suitable work-from-home environment.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
They emphasize the importance of having a customized work environment tailored to one’s role within their organization and explain that for the leaders in a company, it is our corporate responsibility to supply your working setup, and it is vital to have a suitable space for employees to perform their work.
One size doesn’t fit all. AVIXA, Jenny and her team have keenly identified three differing work from home personas that address the needs of many employees.
Persona #1 – The Cross-Functional Internal Team Member
Persona #1 as those individuals whose primary day-to-day work communications mainly occurs internally between colleagues within the same organization. The notable feature of this work environment is to create a space of trust, transparency, and self-assurance.
Maintaining a level of connectivity is vital for this persona and is most importantly achieved by employees simply turning on their cameras and engaging with one another. The basic premise of seeing your remote colleagues on your computer screen fully engaged and alert helps remove perceptions of mistrust, reinforces the corporate culture, and solidifies the internal comradery no matter the distance from one another.
Another critical component within the Persona #1 construct deals with self-awareness. This persona needs an environment that concentrates on ease of use, but also confidence building. We live in a world where if we are virtual, we want some masking to feel 100% confident because we can see ourselves too. You cannot get away from your own thumbnail.
It’s imperative for those working within this persona to feel their very best when on camera and present the most professional representation of themselves and their visible surroundings.
Enhancing your online appeal can easily be accomplished by incorporating good lighting, using a more advanced camera, and adding a charming background (physical or virtual) to ensure you’re putting your best face forward.
Persona #2 – The C-Suite Executive
Persona #2 as Senior Executive staff who would have had their own offices in their respective workplaces before the COVID-19 pandemic and most likely have a sizable office-like space in their homes to conduct business. Regarding Persona #2’s remote environment, for the CEO/CFO, we need to make sure their experience is the same, whether in their home office or their headquarters.
The senior executive who has their main office in their corporate office, they and their laptops should be the only things that move back and forth. As they move between offices, their setup should remain identical. Having similar conferencing equipment at home compared to the available systems in the boardroom is extremely important for performing executive-level meetings remotely.
This persona also must remain mindful of their multi-tasking and attention spans. Unfortunately, the pandemic eliminated concrete ‘out of office’ or ‘in a meeting’ calendar blocks, enabling staff to be left alone to provide their full, undivided attention in a meeting or attend events.
Now, there is an underlying expectation that though you might be attending a virtual meeting, you’re still able to answer emails without delay and take calls when needed; ultimately, removing your focus from the primary meeting you’re currently in. While these executives still have the increased level of responsibilities, the importance of limiting these distractions and focusing on the discussion at hand is important, similarly as one would sitting in the conference room among their colleagues.
We need to go back to giving full attention to meetings providing full attention and focus. Etiquette and concentration need to be given back to meetings.
Persona #3 – The B2B/B2C Sales Influencer
The third and final work persona belongs to those whose primary role is to serve as an influencer by promoting their products within their specific market. This group has the unique opportunity to use their remote workspaces to present themselves in the most compelling light and sell their products during their virtual meetings subliminally. They can increase awareness and demand through strategically reinforced product placement in every virtual encounter.
It is equally as valuable to create a professional-looking workspace for this persona as well. Today, first impressions are made via informal virtual calls, in contrast to the ways of the old world where wining and dining created relationships and closing deals. Incorporating the proper lighting, showcasing elements of your personality through appropriate design, and consistently presenting your product is key to creating a winning strategy in the design for this persona.
As fewer people return to the day-to-day corporate office setting, it’s more important than ever to invest in your work-from-home environment as it shows as a reflection of you. It’s not just how you live; it’s how you work, how professional you are, how professional your setup is. It’s a reflection of you and your business.