By now we have all experienced some form of virtual work. Some have been doing so for years, others have had to transition to working remotely after never having to do so. Regardless of how long you have been remote or how comfortable you are working virtually, we can all agree that there are many skills involved in navigating the virtual world.
While studying individuals in a virtual setting, Wang & Haggerty (2011) found that people possess some level of virtual competence that allows them to function in a virtual workplace. They measured this level of competence in terms of self efficacy and skill, which in turn impacts one’s work outcomes and effectiveness.
Self efficacy: This deals with one’s belief in their ability to engage in certain behaviors. When we look at self efficacy through the lens of remote work it is the ability to work with others in virtual environments, even as difficulties and challenges occur. This is where it is important to remember the power of the mind and the fact that if you can believe something will get done, you are already halfway there to accomplish that task.
Virtual social skills: As we are all learning, working virtually requires a different set of social skills from in person work. For example, the ability to perceive emotion is different in virtual environments as we are not as able to read body language or catch on to subtle context clues. Video calls can alleviate some of these challenges, however, it is still a far cry from the real thing.
Virtual media skills: In addition to the above mentioned skills, you have to be able to work the technology necessary to complete work tasks as well as locate the virtual tools you require to be your best self. These skills that are so necessary but not always formally taught are often referred to as soft skills.
The ability to communicate effectively and competently through several virtual mediums is vital in a time when every aspect of life has been moved to a virtual setting. Not many people have been exposed to best practices when it comes to developing these soft skills, but that is what we are here for.
AGL has been working diligently on creating our first course for the AGL Institute that is called the virtual self. Whether you are a manager or an entry level employee, we want to help you be your best in this virtual world. To enable this, we have started our courses focusing on the most important employee, you! We want to help you function efficiently before we move into ways you can help others you work with become their best virtually.
As we all continue in this virtual world, remember that you can always improve upon your virtual competence by being open to continual learning. We as humans are never done learning and there are so many exciting things out there waiting for us to discover. We hope to be a source of new inspiration and personal growth in these unprecedented times.
Thanks for reading!
Source: Yinglei Wang & Nicole Haggerty (2011) Individual virtual competence and its
influence on work outcomes. Journal of Management Information Systems. 27:4, 299-334,