Virtual Office Environments Foster Chemical that Makes Workers Happier, More Motivated

By Amanda Ciccatelli June 28, 2012

The typical office worker usually wakes up early in the morning, exhausted and frustrated at the idea of having to navigate their way to the office. Distraught, they get trampled by an incoming flow of traffic and eventually find their way to an office desk. There, they discover chaos with lack of communication with superiors and confusion with what jobs need to actually get done for the day.

The virtual office has become a solution to creating more opportunities and convenience for the tired worker in exchange for providing a strategy for small businesses to grow. In a virtual office, all of these problems seem to dissolve while there is a sense of freedom and opportunity for both the worker and the employer.

But the question remains, as technology causes companies to separate into mobile and virtual workers, how can employees still truly work efficiently as a team within the company?  According to one researcher studying the brain and the workplace, there is scientific proof that a virtual office creates a successful workforce.

“Whether it’s online or in an office, the leader’s role is to empower individuals to be more successful,” said Paul Zak, a professor of economics and director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University. “If you keep making me successful, I’ll want to keep working for you. There are reasons to think the sense of achievement can be built into a virtual team.”

According to a recent New York Times blog, Zak has studied the social role of oxytocin, a neurochemical once associated with sex is also critical to trust, empathy and family-like bonds. Oxytocin fosters and feeds on those behaviors, and can be created by challenges, dancing, singing, and meditation. The economist’s studies also show that oxytocin is produced in high-performing workplaces.

“The classic way to get people to do what you want is fear, but people acclimate to that. If you want to keep people on task all the time, you want oxytocin-producing situations,” Zak explained.

The leadership traits he has identified to produce this include praise, given unexpectedly and in public; transparency in identifying tasks and setting goals; authenticity; effective delegation of work; empathy; anticipation of challenges; and autonomy. These are achievable in an office where people encounter each daily and can bond incidentally.

Due to bandwidth, cloud computing and mobile devices, the workplace is becoming virtual. There are now teams where some people work at home and some in offices. Chances are, the workplace will soon be even more virtual.

“Managers will have to get better at communicating the purpose of things – why they are doing something,” Zak explained. “It will be important to create a narrative for the virtual team.”

 The virtual office community is a quickly growing small business sector with some of the best opportunities found on the internet. Virtual offices provide the convenience that is necessary for businesses to flourish.

Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Web Editor

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