By Andrew Hopkins
As we have already seen, the future of employment is changing inline with technological advances and automation. This means that the skills employers are hunting for are also evolving in line with need.
Virtual collaboration is something that many of us have already experienced due to the necessary adaptations of working from home as a result of the Coronavirus. But – virtual collaboration isn’t a trend, or a temporary fix for a worldwide pandemic – it’s here to stay.
Even before the epidemic, remote working saw a growth of 44% within a 5-year period, as an increasing number of organisations are realising that employees don’t need to have a physical presence in the office to make an impact.
What is virtual collaboration?
Virtual collaboration is the act of using digital communication tools for the conception, development, and completion of projects between colleagues. This can sometimes involve personnel being in different locations, continents, and time zones.
The ongoing improvements in technology are enabling people across the globe to come together to work; opening the workplace to more diversity, unifying cultures, and facilitating the mash-up of the best employees for a project despite geographical boundaries.
Why is virtual collaboration important for the future of employment?
It can be argued that face-to-face interaction will remain the favoured method for workplace communication, but there are countless benefits to all organisations implementing the methods of virtual collaboration where possible.
Some of the key values of this method of working can include:
- Collaborating remotely costs less due to the reduction in company overheads and these resources can be funnelled back into the business.
- By rolling out effective collaboration tools, it can minimise unnecessary manual tasks and help streamline operations. This can allow employees the bandwidth to focus on more critical work which drives greater revenue.
- A virtual work environment is a key way to attract top personnel. Ordinarily employers were restricted to hiring from their own local pool of talent, but remote working means that the employment net can be cast further and wider.
- Remote working offers employees a better work-life balance with the removal of unnecessary commuting and travel costs.
Potential employers are already looking out for those prospective applicants who offer the relevant skills to adapt to the future of remote collaboration and a more flexible way of working, and this means making those adjustments and up-skilling now.
If you are starting out on a new career path or looking to make a change, then highlight those soft skills your prospective employer may be looking for within your application. Important aptitudes needed for virtual or remote collaboration can include:
- Cross-cultural sensitivity / understanding of multi-cultural environments
- Enhanced, effective and transparent communication skills, in particular strong written communication abilities.
- Patience – this includes working within different time zones, a lack of face-to-face communication, language barriers and technological glitches.
- Strong technological proficiencies and the ability to trouble-shoot where necessary.
- The capacity for self-motivation and time management.