Select excepts from the interaction, Romeet Kaul, Co-Founder – Executive Editor, RealtyBusinessReview.com, recently had with Tony Zorc, a successful technology entrepreneur, CEO & Founder of Accounting Seed, and author of the new book, Iconoclasm: A Survival Guide in the Post-Pandemic Economy
1. What has shifted most for businesses and employees due to the pandemic?
The way many businesses are thinking about hiring employees. The new dynamic wherein masses of employees work from home has led to a paradigm shift in which hiring based on experience rather than geography is quickly becoming the norm.
For every employee we hire, I’m going to imagine them working remotely 100 percent of the time, even when they will be working in the office. If I can set up an effective routine to manage them remotely, then I will always be able to manage them well in the office.
Many companies will adopt a policy of hiring remote workers for the right experience over hiring locals. And, employers in the knowledge worker space will be forced to accommodate employees working from home to retain their talent.
2. Do you see any challenges in the virtual management of a remote workforce?
We must think more deeply about management with a remote workforce. How we get along with others becomes less of an issue in a virtual environment, as there’s less watercooler and cross talk between employees—but what becomes even more important is the relationship between an employee and their manager.
When you’re working virtually, management becomes a crucial skill set, as the manager needs to read between the lines and understand what’s going on without the privilege of being able to drop by a subordinate’s office.
The virtual manager will need to have a firm understanding of the level of effort necessary to perform the tasks assigned to the employee. An ongoing review and audit of work will be critical.
3. How are employees expected to evolve socially?
As we consider the shifts in professional and personal relationships, it’s important to realize that those spending all day working remotely will have little to no tolerance for attending social events virtually. Humans crave connection, and remote employees will want to have in-person interactions to counter their virtual professional existence. In fact, having those experiences will be key to their success and happiness in life.
4. What investments would companies need to make for the virtual workforce?
With remote workers that are 100 percent out of the office due to geography, the company would be well served to invest in their travel quarterly so they get out to the office and build some in-person relationships.
While scaling back on office space is a new legitimate strategy, it also requires an investment in some physical presence in the form of a part-time office arrangement or travel for events to keep employees sane and satisfied. Overall, though, virtual communication will provide an effective structure for most businesses.