“WFH can also develop international careers”: All the opportunities to gain a sense of presence, please don’t let go of remote workers

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Brush the need for a sense of presence


There are two kinds of time that pass the fastest in the world. One is the moment when a child grows up, and the other is the entry time after becoming a remote worker. In a blink of an eye, I have been a remote worker for more than a year, and I spend 99% of my time at home. It is completely different from the traditional office workers who live a life of counting buns and waiting for paydays and holidays. The job is similar to becoming a freelancer with a fixed salary, running a marketing company with only one employee, and only one main client, which is my boss.


I don’t know if other colleagues feel the same way as me, but over the past year or so, I have observed an interesting phenomenon—not only the degree of connection between colleagues has decreased, and they are not familiar with each other, but the image of most people is also very Blurred, especially colleagues who never turn on the camera during meetings, they are just a name in the eyes of others, and their sense of existence is so low that it is lower than the horizon of the Netherlands.


According to my simple statistics, if there is no request from the supervisor, less than one-third of the employees in the video conference will actively turn on the camera, and these people who do not turn on the camera usually do not have the habit of turning on the camera. Chatting with him or discussing work in private is often like stand-up comedy, speaking to a pitch-black screen. You can’t see the other person’s expression, can’t detect his emotions, and don’t even know if he is listening to you carefully. The only clue is Only when the other party answers your question, or asks a question, will they realize that there is a real person on the other end of the screen, but the image of this person is not clear at all, similar to passer-by A, even if there is another person on the other end of the screen tomorrow, we may not easy to spot.


There are many reasons why I don’t like to turn on the camera. It may be that I don’t want to make up, I don’t want to change my pajamas, I don’t want to wear clothes at all (surprise), or I’m just too lazy to deal with my colleagues. If you are willing to answer calls, you are already worthy of a video call. Are you surprised? Many remote workers have a fear of the camera, and try not to turn on the camera if they can. Sometimes they use technology as an excuse, saying that the network at home is unstable, and the speed of the video network will be slower, or It means that the network camera is broken, and the biggest natural enemy of remote work is insufficient technology. If you encounter problems, just push it to the technology, and basically no one will question you.


I have always adhered to the principle of “three-point love” that Taiwanese often say. From the first day I joined the new company, I asked myself to shoot the camera. In addition to urging the upper body to take care of the work, I established the ritual of going to work. I also believe that seeing your face is the first step to building a good interpersonal relationship. Gradually, I discovered that such a simple thing as turning on the camera has become a way to increase the sense of presence in the era of remote work.


The sense of presence referred to here is not the gossip that is often said on the Internet, and has no negative meaning, but a necessary means when working remotely-let colleagues and supervisors know you, and then remember your method. no way! More than half of our company’s more than 80 employees joined after transitioning to a fully remote work model, and most colleagues have barely seen each other in real life. Under such circumstances, if you do not turn on the camera and try to use every video conference to “exposure” as much as possible, it is easy for everyone to ignore your existence, especially for colleagues who have never had business intersections, it is not easy to associate your name with your long-term Get up, your existence is like air to them, but it is not an important element like “sunshine, air, water”, but a blind substance that “treats you as air”.

There is also a better way to brush up and fill up the sense of presence, that is, when the company holds a large-scale offline party, take advantage of the opportunity to interact with colleagues. Take our company as an example. Although there are inter-departmental group offline gatherings from time to time, there are only about two general group gatherings. One of them is a Christmas party where European and American companies compete to spend money, and their status is comparable to that of Taiwan. The first Christmas party I entered into a new company was canceled due to the increase in the epidemic in the UK at the end of 2021; the other was an outdoor carnival in midsummer, which is becoming more and more popular in the remote working world, especially the carnival has an inexplicable fanaticism In the UK, the days are long and the nights are short in summer, with an average temperature of 18 degrees. It is neither hot nor cold, which is the most suitable for holding large-scale outdoor activities, so our company’s “O Festival” was born!


When I heard that O Festival was going to be held, I was so excited that I was like a primary school student who was going to teach outside the school the next day. I had joined the new company for half a year, but I had only met two colleagues outside the virtual world, so I couldn’t wait to go The sense of presence was crazy, and I even announced to the team members that I would arrange a schedule, like speed dating (speed dating), and talk to more than 80 colleagues separately.

Maybe you will be curious, why am I so actively trying to gain a sense of presence and let everyone know me? It’s not that I want to run for governor (there is no such thing in the UK), let alone that I have a narcissistic personality, but it’s based on very pragmatic considerations. The more people know me, the easier it is to communicate when working with them. They are willing to The possibility of doing my best (go extra mile) for my project is also higher. After all, my position is a project manager, and a lot of the job role involves cross-department coordination. , How to lead the cross-departmental team to fight together and win the best business results? It is not so much a sense of presence, but a survival strategy in the remote workplace. When you cannot interact with your colleagues in the daily office like the traditional work mode, you can establish a revolutionary emotion that is willing to work hard for each other, and deliberately create and teamwork. The opportunity for bonding becomes extremely important.


Since the O Festival is held in the summer, it is approaching the big day for annual sales presentations. In order to make everyone feel more involved, the boss decided in 2018 to present the serious theme of the performance briefing in the form of a carnival, so the business briefing and award ceremony were included in the O Festival, making this event full of music Food and food, as well as a grand party with a continuous supply of various alcoholic beverages, have become a veritable corporate event. While exchanging emotions, they also unite team spirit.


The company rented a manor specially for weddings, and used it as the venue for the O Festival. Various group entertainment games were prepared on site, a live band was hired to perform live, and there was also a bar that did not close until midnight. , Music and wine are the two main elements of a party in the UK. As long as these two things are done, the guests and hosts will have a good time.


The company also encourages employees to stay and camp, so that the spirit of the carnival can be implemented more thoroughly, and everyone can enjoy drinking more. The manor has a large land area, which is just right for camping. It’s just that I’m not interested in sleeping in the wild by nature. Camping is really unattractive to me, and Mr. Reader is the same, so it’s impossible for our family to have a tent. After thinking about it for a long time, I decided to borrow it. I lived in my colleague S’s tent and camped for one night, so that I had the opportunity to see the interesting scenes of my colleagues staggering and reporting gossip after drinking. Colleagues can remember my name and appearance.


Although I am the only fifth Asian and the only foreigner in the company, I still have a lot of memories. In order to ensure that I can meet with every colleague in person, talk to each other, and get emotional, I would rather risk it. There is a risk that the old bones of the whole body may fall apart, so I insisted on staying to participate in camping. After all, I can see colleagues who usually only interact on the screen like netizens, and interact with them well. I really can only rely on this kind of large-scale event. The opportunity is so rare, don’t let it go easily.


We are worthy of being a marketing company, and we are really good at organizing events. Whether it is from the theme design, bridge arrangement, catering arrangement, and wine configuration, everything is perfect. I am willing to give 100 points to the colleagues in the exhibition team! Of course, the most exciting thing is definitely the after party that is not in the plan. For example, some people use this opportunity to confess to their favorite colleagues, and some people make public courtships. It can only be said that after drinking, the British people really change completely. I forgot how to write the word “reserved”.

Drinking together, playing games together, and seeing each other’s embarrassing appearances, let everyone always do business when working remotely, and find some soft common topics for each other in a workplace where there is not much nonsense, laughing Colleague friendship was gradually cultivated during the troubles. If you ask a colleague for help with something, you won’t feel too embarrassed, because with one more face-to-face communication, the image of a colleague will immediately become clear, not just a name on Microsoft Teams.

Remote workers please cherish these hard-won workplace gossips, and please grasp all opportunities to gain a sense of presence!


Finally, you may ask: I am a multinational remote worker in Taiwan. Even if a foreign company holds an offline event, if the employer does not provide an air ticket, I am unlikely to participate. So what other methods can I use? Is there a sense of presence?


It is recommended that if you have colleagues who work remotely in Taiwan like you, please try to communicate with them as much as possible. For example, I visited Slasify, a completely remote company. Although they have offices in Taipei and Singapore, their employees are scattered. Around the world, not everyone can attend an event in Singapore or Taiwan, so employees who live in other countries, if they are not too far away from each other, will organize their own offline meet-up events, so that at least you can meet in person. Colleagues in the same region or country remember you and have a good relationship with them. If you are the employee number one who works alone and you are the only employee in Taiwan (referring to the company’s first employee in Taiwan), then please practice the highest guiding principle mentioned above-be sure to turn on the video conference At the same time, please speak as much as possible, especially in meetings with more people, you must speak more bravely, so as to increase the impression of your colleagues on you, so that the sense of presence will naturally be greatly improved.


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