Understanding the Virtual Workplace and Company Culture:
1.) What is the most difficult aspect of conducting business in a virtual workplace? Are there strategies to counteract these difficulties?
Communication is the most important aspect of conducting business remotely. Small business owners are typically responsible for a multitude of employees, projects and tasks. Particularly within a virtual workplace, effective communication is critical to ensure employees understand roles, priorities and expectations. We set aside time for weekly meetings at Elevated Media Inc. to analyze projects, review goals and provide consistent support. Furthermore, our company embraces an open line of communication via Skype and email that in turn drastically boosts productivity. The success of Elevated Media Inc. is largely due to collective communication at all levels.
2.) How valuable is effective social media marketing in a world where online interactions are increasing at a rapid rate?
Social media marketing is increasingly important as the digital world shifts heavily towards mobile use. It's value and effectiveness have continued to grow as new and greater audiences are reached. Key benefits of social media include:
- It's free!
- Provides instant access to a large customer base.
- Allows you to be more receptive, which in turn results in more overall visitors and sales.
Social media marketing allows companies to capitalize on opportunities on a larger scale and faster rate like never before.
3.) What are advantages of utilizing digital communication techniques with employees working globally? Have you encountered any disadvantages?
Whether it's company-wide or project based, scheduling and participating in meetings at Elevated Media Inc. has evolved with ease by utilizing digital communication. Our employees based in the U.S. share similar work hours- a few hour difference at most- so scheduling time together is very streamlined. Our top priority with employees abroad like China, for instance, is ensuring high levels of productivity so it does not become a disadvantage. We find it helpful when Project Managers email task lists to the overseas employee at the end of each day with progress update requirements. Thus, a potential disadvantage could be inadequate communication with with a global employee base. The overall advantage of utilizing digital communication like Skype and Evernote is unparalleled efficiency in a global workplace.
4.) What specific outlets does your company utilize to communicate virtually? Why are they beneficial and effective?
Elevated Media Inc. greatly utilizes e-mail, Skype Instant Messenger, GoToMeeting and Evernote. These applications are the core means of daily communication, information sharing and organization. Specific benefits of these mediums include:
- Free for all users.
- Streamlines project management.
- Instant communication and file sharing.
- Offers organizational tools.
In turn, these benefits help us achieve maximum productivity of which the success of our company heavily relies.
5.) Many companies in the digital marketing field are embracing new technologies and a mobile workplace. Do you predict a ‘mobile only’ global workplace trend in the near future?
The Internet and technology are constantly progressing. As more data on the benefits of a mobile workplace is unveiled, many progressive companies will inevitable shift toward a 'mobile only' global workplace. I foresee everyone from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies slowly embracing this mobile workplace environment if it can increase employee productivity, improve employee satisfaction, decrease stress levels and grow overall ROI. Ultimately, I predict it to be more cost-effective from an employer and employee standpoint.
6.) How do you and your employees utilize social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do you make a personal and/or professional connection with your clients?
Various social media platforms are best used to connect our brands Knowzo.com and SearchAll.com to the appropriate and intended target audience. Social media sites have also proven to be a successful business development tool when researching and pursuing potential partners and clients.
7.) In your experience, do you think the global shift towards a virtual workplace has increased or decreased productivity of remote employees?
It is my opinion that the global shift to the virtual workplace has maximized productivity of remote employees. Peers who work remotely are equally or more productive than those who commute to and feel limited within the confines of an office. While there are certainly pros and cons, I experienced more distractions in an office that made it increasingly difficult to perform my job consistently at a high level. My focus and productivity while working in my home office are unparalleled.
8.) Are there advantages in building client relations through social media versus other forms of communication? Is face-to-face communication still relevant within your company?
Social media platforms allow organizations to improve communication and productivity by their ability to share information. Compared to face-to-face interaction, social media platforms allow you to target a wider audience and provide an opportunity to expand business contacts and improve overall business reputation.
Face-to-face communication remains relevant and necessary for small businesses because it builds trust and long-lasting relationships. In our business, face-to-face communication is only critical when a client feels uncomfortable discussing business virtually.