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On your team, how do your colleagues show initiative in the virtual workplace?

#technology #business-management #virtual

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Kari Y. Thanks so much for your question.

As indicated in some of the other answers provided, a virtual workplace requires some level of engagement, just as if your space wasn't virtual. Effective virtual workplace engagement, takes it up a notch meaning working in a virtual space where attendees are talking, sharing, asking for feedback, giving feedback, sharing their thoughts, maybe even respectfully disagreeing...these, in my view are all good tenets for showing initiative.

In my world, I spend a lot of time going over results with various partners. I also appreciate that most people need visuals to understand how and why things are happening. My contribution to showing initiative includes bringing those visuals, providing my perspective and allowing other viewers to provide theirs. In other words, virtual workplace can and should provide a space where attendees get to have input and exercise that input as to what they are seeing.

My experience has been that once a pattern has been developed around sharing and creating spaces for open, respectful dialogue, showing initiative becomes an easier exercise. I hope you find this to be the case.

Best of luck to you!
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Fabiola’s Answer

Showing initiative in a virtual workplace isn't very different from in-person engagements. In both environments, you have to seek opportunities to frequently present yourself, your ideas, & foster team engagement. Some examples that my team members have taken to show initiative is by offering to coordinate virtual volunteering events for the team, leading brainstorming sessions on a project, and identifying & implementing process improvements. They also proactively reach out and offer their help or expertise without being asked.

Although nothing beats in-person interactions, you want to let your team members know that they can rely on you. Taking initiative is the best way to stay connected to your team members in a virtual workplace.
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Judi’s Answer

In a virtual work space people, including myself, can have the bad habit of hiding behind email as their main source of communication. My team shows initiative in keeping us producing at a high level of success as a team by messaging each other asking to speak, picking up the phone and calling each other, and sometimes just checking in to make sure each other are ok. It is really easy to get disconnected if people are not actively engaging. We also hosted a virtual Friday after-hours meetup and everybody told a story about how they got into the business. One person even sang a song and played a mandolin over the phone! Keeping it human is so important!
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Judi’s Answer

In a virtual work space people, including myself, can have the bad habit of hiding behind email as their main source of communication. My team shows initiative in keeping us producing at a high level of success as a team by messaging each other asking to speak, picking up the phone and calling each other, and sometimes just checking in to make sure each other are ok. It is really easy to get disconnected if people are not actively engaging. We also hosted a virtual Friday after-hours meetup and everybody told a story about how they got into the business. One person even sang a song and played a mandolin over the phone! Keeping it human is so important!
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Melisa’s Answer

Great answer Nicole! Since we are spending so much time on virtual calls these days, I truly agree that visuals are helpful, especially info-graphics.

Kari,

Another thing to consider is when participating virtually and if you hear of opportunities to help on an initiative or perhaps a new committee or project team, don't be afraid to raise your hand and volunteer to help with something. This definitely shows initiative and the willingness to not only be a great team member but contribute added value to any organization you are working with. Best wishes for success in your career and educational goals!
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Sirisha’s Answer

Hi,

We are all still learning this skill as we try to navigate the virtual work set up. What works well for me is to show up in meetings and engage. Meetings are my opportunity to meet my colleagues and team and I ask a lot of questions , listen and sign up for initiatives. I also follow through and have discussions with my leader to learn about work that requires help and throw my name in the hat. Another great way for taking initiative is to find employee groups outside of your core team, to build your broader network and do something beyond the day job. I have become very active in employee resources groups for this reason and helps me a lot in taking initiative and staying virtually engaged. These are ideas some have worked for me. Hope it helps.

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Manisha’s Answer

Personally, I have had to intentionally challenge myself to stay engaged and show initiative while working virtually. I've gone back to the basics by having my camera on during virtual meetings. I continue to ask questions when something is not clear. Lastly, if there's a complicated problem to solve, I try to show a visual to highlight the complexity. Most of the time, the visual encourages engagement and sparks good conversations. I hope this helps.
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Andy’s Answer

Come to every meeting with a list of at least 2-3 topics, goals or outcomes that you wish to accomplish before the end of the meeting.
If you are the meeting owner / leader, make sure to state these goals at the beginning of the meeting, and then check in at least 1-2 times throughout the meeting to ensure you have enough time left to discuss all topics, and then summarize each goal and next steps before the meeting ends.
Even if you don't own / lead the meeting, keep a list handy for yourself, and be sure to have any questions (or information) prepared that you need to ask (or share) during the meeting to address these key topics and goals for what you need to get out of (or contribute to) the meeting.
This will ensure you always present yourself as prepared, engaged, and productive!
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Patrick’s Answer

Virtual meetings have evolved dramatically. Our colleagues have shown initiatives to interact internally and with clients virtually in a number of ways:
1) Use your camera, it is too easy to multi-task when not on video
2) We have a monthly meeting that includes trivia games to encourage interaction
3) We do virtual coffee meetings with clients and provide local coffee shop gift cards to our clients

Little things to encourage engagement...
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Rohit’s Answer

One could always take the lead and host a weekly coffee sessions with your team with the agenda being everything under the sun except work. Interactive games can be hosted during this team meeting.

Volunteering events, training sessions, getting together for team members' birthdays or work anniversaries are other ways to show initiative in a virtual workplace.
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Tania’s Answer

On my team, one individual took the initiative virtually by creating a jeopardy series where we all dedicate time to get together in order to keep the team dynamic alive. This not only showed initiative but also dedication to maintaining the relationships we had in office. We also all reach out to each other on our own, by putting time on each others calendar and lending a hand wherever we can.
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Julian’s Answer

Myself and colleagues show initiative in the virtual environment by engaging in video conference calls, screen sharing documents, presentations and reports. We also create meetings to engage with each other on a personal level to get to know each other and team build through games. If you google ice breakers there are thousands of engagement activities. This helps to make a connection with people and get to know them. It also helps to jump start everybody's mind and keep any meeting fun and engaging.
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Jorge’s Answer

In these times, I consider that we all have a little more time to hang around with family, talk with friends or start a new project.

In my team, someone came up with the idea of making monthly presentations about any theme. They can be about hobbies or activities you practice, topics you like or anything you would like to share with the team. This helps developing our presentation skills, keep us in constant communication and allows us to get to know ourselves a little better.

Initiatives can come from anywhere, but you need to have a great trust and communication culture so anyone can feel comfortable to participate or propose something. An initiative can be anything from helping your co-workers, asking for a new responsibility or supporting your boss with some activity.

So, just make sure to encourage everyone to participate and share their ideas.
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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Kari:

Thank you for your question. I'd like to answer your question in the way that "I" show initiative in a virtual workplace for your consideration.

I . . . .

• Volunteer for tasks that are often less visible nor a high priority such as taking minutes. Taking minutes is something that I excel at and, with ease of understanding what was discussed in the meeting. This helps me to stay engaged with colleagues across multiple, partner, and customer organizations (ie, including Off-Shore International colleagues)
• Send a "Thank You" note whenever someone helped out or supported an effort. Take the time to drop a colleague a line or two on your appreciation for their help
• Share Best Practices: I assist team members with whatever questions they may have in "support of their efforts"
• Whenever possible, I sit in on technical discussions to gain knowledge and continued learning
• Microsoft Teams: I send weekly chats to team members within and outside of my organization to check to see how colleagues are doing; just to say "hello" and to find out what they are working on, family, etc.
• Chat live on the phone as much as possible

These are just a few of the successful ways that I stay engaged on a virtual basis with colleagues and team members. Best of luck to you!

~ Sheila

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Kari,

You have gotten some great responses here. I would say the biggest bits of initiative for coworkers is probably just around volunteering to do work. I speak with my boss on a weekly basis and I always ask - Is there something else that I can be doing for the team? Or I bring to my boss's attention opportunities to improve the way we work. That can result in some exciting projects that allow you to interact across teams and raise your profile within the company.

In addition, on my team, we have a group chat that allows the team to be engaged. I work in a job where peer feedback is a critical step ensuring a good work product. So often times, the best way to show initiative is to ask for or offer to provide feedback. I like to offer support to my peers whenever possible as it creates great opportunities to connect. We also have what is like a Facebook site but for internal employees. Just like most social media, interaction can raise your profile. In a business setting, we post anything from what books we are reading to links to articles or webinars that might be of interest to our peers. Some peers even blog on their own profiles that others follow. By extension, being active on LinkedIn can raise your profile inside and outside of your workplace.

Gloria
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Jeffrey’s Answer

Hi Kari,

You show initiative in many of the same ways that you would in person by solving problems, taking on projects, helping colleagues. Perhaps one unique way to show initiative in the virtual environment would be to become proficient using virtual tools that help your team be productive. So if your work team has virtual meetings, learn how to use the features that are part of your video conferencing tool. For example, do you know how to share documents on your screen? Do you know how to set up a virtual meeting and invite your colleagues. Virtual tools are particularly important now. Many people know a slim set of the features on these platforms -- enough just to get by. This is a chance for you to earn the reputation as a go-to-person when your boss or your colleagues need help using them.

Also think about pain points that you can address. Are there obstacles created by having to work remotely? Perhaps you can be creative and come up with a new and even better way of doing something that you cannot do the same way now. Many people feel a sense of loneliness or being out of touch working remotely. If that is the case with your team, you might suggest that you have a short video call each morning with teammates just to say hello and talk about what might be new. Also try having a Happy Hour at the end of the day on Friday where team members can relax, maybe have a drink and talk about how they are doing for entertainment.
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Elise’s Answer

As some of the responses mentioned, one of the biggest things my team does to show initiative in the virtual workplace is have cameras on. This is very helpful to minimize multitasking, giving the topic or presenter of the meeting your full attention, and staying connected to your colleagues as you would if you were in-person. Being virtual also allows you to volunteer for projects or "shadow" others to learn more about their work in ways that might not be possible if you weren't in the same office or have the same schedule.
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Melissa’s Answer

Great question! Here are some things that I've really appreciated seeing my colleagues do:

-- Speaking up, either directly in meetings or reaching out directly afterwards
-- Actively participating on our communication platforms (messaging, collaboration tools, etc.)
-- Showing appreciation for the work that their teammates are doing
-- Scheduling more casual, non-work related virtual interactions within and outside of their direct team to build personal relationships
-- Proactively sharing updates on what they are working on
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