Making Technology Work for Today's Workforce
By now, most of the world has been working remotely in some capacity for the past several months. For those who have gotten over the learning curve and are now well adjusted to a remote workflow, congratulations! You’re surviving the biggest work-from-home experiment of our time. However, as the economy begins to bounce back and companies seek to rehire new employees, there’s an entire workforce that may not be as comfortable with remote working practices.
Though technology can solve some of the greatest workplace challenges, it can also cause headaches for those who are forced to learn new tools at an accelerated rate. Thus, candidates returning to the workforce during COVID-19 will find themselves with a new set of technological challenges to overcome.
To make the transition a bit easier, employers need to be more transparent in the skills they require of an employee in the age of remote working. Let’s look at some of the digital collaboration tools that candidates should be familiar and comfortable with using.
Video Conference Tools
Few people would doubt video conferencing has become the most important digital collaboration tool in recent years. From an HR capacity, it’s critical that we maintain face-to-face time with employees to ensure they receive proper support and interaction during this trying time. Video conferences can also help one gauge whether an employee is engaged by reading their body language, albeit virtual.
We’ve learned during the pandemic period that there is proper etiquette to video conferencing. Candidates and new-hires alike should ensure they test their hardware and internet connection beforehand to avoid any connectivity issues. They should also test their webcam, microphone and speaker settings in order to troubleshoot before the meeting officially begins.
Once the meeting starts, attendees should be in a quiet area free from distractions. If at home with kids, a partner, or a pet, be sure to set up in front of a blank wall or use a background feature to cover up or blur any potential distractions. Also be sure to have the microphone on mute at all times to avoid causing disruption when not speaking.
Lark’s video calls are deeply integrated with Messenger and Calendar, giving you the freedom to start a high-quality video conference wherever you are. For example, you can turn your individual or group chat into a video call instantly with one small click, and no need for meeting invitations or access codes. In a Lark video call you can share your screen, local documents and even Lark Docs directly from the video call window. Lark's Magic Share feature takes remote collaboration to a new level of convenience by letting you and your colleagues work together on a Lark Doc right from the video call interface.
Digital Collaboration Tools
New-hires during this time may be eager to set up virtual meetings to replace the feeling of face-to-face discussions and alignment meetings. However, chat functions are increasingly getting more intuitive and can provide the same speed of conversation. Know when to discuss something over a video call, and when to instead discuss something over email or chat. Remote onboarding and training sessions would generally be recommended over video, while quick questions on deliverables should generally be kept to chat.
Digital collaboration tools have also expanded to include collaborative documents and sheets so employees can work together in unison without the back and forth over email. Documents and sheets saved to the cloud support real-time collaboration, full history tracking, powerful rich media and easy permission tools to ensure content remains protected.
While an older generation of workers may be more apt to take these documents offline, make adjustments and email it back, education around how to use these collaboration tools is key. The HR and IT teams should ensure there’s adequate training around the benefits of using digital collaboration platforms, and explain how to use them effectively. Organizations can also appoint individual “champions” to encourage their teammates to use these tools, spurring consistent usage and making digital collaboration more habitual.
One example of these collaboration tools include Lark Docs and Sheets, which allow you to create and edit docs with smart formatting and insert images, videos, maps and more. Sheets also allow complete data representation and editing capabilities, flexible third-party data imports, and one-click conversion to Excel, allowing simultaneous and seamless collaboration.
Human Resources Solutions
Outside of video conferences and digital collaboration tools which help with onboarding new and existing employees - there are also ways to automate workflows for HR professionals. Look for tools that offer built-in approval apps to save time from repetitive tasks like leave applications and expense claims.
With this new wave of job seekers joining the workforce, HR professionals can use technology to effortlessly manage transitions. By using digital collaboration platforms to create onboarding documents and add new team members to chat groups in a click, new hires can hit the ground running. Offboarding can be just as easy by simply transferring ownership of the collaboration document, instead of physically handing over the computer to transfer all the company files.
Lark offers this complete set of tools, including a built-in Approval app, customizable help desk chatbots, and unlimited searchable chat history which preserves institutional knowledge for newcomers. You can set up public calendars in Lark to cultivate transparency while enhancing leadership visibility through regular meetings shared on the all-staff calendar. You can also customize the platform by adding extensions for managing attendance, to-dos, QR codes, major announcements, and surveys.
Thriving in the New Normal
While we consistently encourage those in and out of the workforce to use this time to pick up digital skills, the onus shouldn’t only fall on the job seeker or employee. As leaders, we should also use this time to upgrade our technological capabilities to ensure talent is able to collaborate effectively even when working remotely. It remains unclear how long we’ll be working from home and whether we’ll ever fully return to the office. By choosing the right tools and implementing these new digital solutions to streamline processes, we can build a stronger workforce than yesterday and truly thrive in this new normal.
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Lark Vice President of Commercial, Asia