Thousands of workers have been suddenly transitioned into a digital workplace thanks to the status quo, and for some businesses, it hasn’t been all plain sailing. From an inevitable lack of preparation to lack of understanding over employee needs, businesses around the world are struggling to maintain working standards and processes in entirely new circumstances. It’s likely that more companies than ever will transition to full-time virtual working and learning, one concept has become more important than most: autonomy.
Without the support of in-person management and team-based working environments, some employees have struggled to keep up – while others have found themselves thriving in these new working conditions. Providing employees with digital autonomy is one way for organisations to show they trust their staff to plough on in difficult circumstances, as well as to allow staff to complete their work in the way that works best for them – and the business. But how can employers promote digital autonomy, and make it work for every member of their team?
No two people are the same – and as such, it’s likely your workforce or team is made up of employees with a mix of different personalities, working styles, backgrounds, and more. That means there’s no quick fix to getting everyone on the same level with digital autonomy, especially when it comes to learning management systems or project management software. So what can your business do to get staff comfortable in a digital workflow? We look at some of the main personalities you may find in your staff, and some of the things you could do to help get that digital autonomy flowing:
Solo flyers may seem like a great fit for digital autonomy, but it’s often the case that digital workplaces can lead to even more fragmented teams if staff can ‘go solo’. Autonomy isn’t just about the ability to get work done alone – it’s also the ability to work as part of a team to get projects done, complete tasks, and support each other. Management may be required to ensure solo flyers stay in the loop with other employees when needed – because too much autonomy and lack of input can be just as problematic as not enough.
For employees that thrive in a team, autonomy can be a scary concept – but it doesn’t necessarily mean working completely alone. For environments where teamwork is heavily required, moving to the digital sphere doesn’t mean you lose those connections. Providing extra training and insight into collaboration through a digital platform, such as internal messaging, collaborative project works and more, can reassure team players and ensure they can achieve autonomy as part of a team, without the need for hierarchy or additional management.
For workers that rely heavily on feedback and insight from those around them, including from managers, working digitally and remotely can present an even more significant challenge. Without that face-to-face reinforcement, motivation can quickly wane, leading to longer lead times for work to be completed. Focussing on digital communication tools will help staff with this personality type complete work autonomously whilst getting the feedback they need. Having the ability to contact coworkers and connect as needed can go a long way to making digital autonomy a more comfortable concept.
While technophobes pose their own issues, especially when it comes to keeping up with teamwork, tech-savvy team members can also raise issues that require management when transitioning to digital automation. Disparities between the speed of their work, and the rate of other employees learning the tech for the first time, can be a challenge of its own. However, digital autonomy can be a benefit here by enabling employees to fill additional time with other tasks, utilising a learning management system or simply enhancing their knowledge. Over time, the tech gap will lessen, putting tech-savvy employees on the level with the rest of their team.
For employees that work best through direct instruction, and those that need specific goals to function effectively, autonomy can seem difficult. Without the watchful eye of managers, it’s easy for staff with this trait to go off-track and get behind on work. However, digital workplaces have tools to combat this issue, encouraging autonomy in their work through the use of task dashboards and trackable goals. This makes it easier for employees and managers alike to monitor progress, see achievements, and provide the goals needed to integrate digital autonomy into their current management-heavy workflows.
Whether your employees have a mixture of different personalities, or you’re experiencing resistance in certain areas, tackling issues with digital and virtual working head-on is the key to success. By implementing the right digital tools, transitioning employees of all skill levels, backgrounds, and working types can be easy. Put the work in up-front, and digital autonomy will quickly become a standard part of your workflows – for the better.