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Improving The Virtual Workplace Amidst The Coronavirus: An Israeli Perspective

Improving The Virtual Workplace Amidst The Coronavirus: An Israeli Perspective

          As international borders become blocked off and the labor force is compelled to work from home, how can we keep our businesses afloat? And how can we use the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to improve our use of virtual teams?

It’s All About Maintaining A Routine – So Create A Stable One

            Whether you’re planning on meeting with your virtual team every day, every week or even every few months, keeping a consistent routine is crucial. In a time like this when the public is overwhelmed with fear of the unknown, scheduling a periodic meeting can give your business a comforting sense of stability. This is something that the more informal Israeli culture could struggle with. It can be difficult for them to stick to clear-cut dates and schedules. Nonetheless, as the coronavirus spreads and panic rises, familiarity is key. Instead of telling your coworkers “OK, we’ll talk about that later,” try suggesting “OK, let’s have a meeting about that at this same time next week.” 

           Effective time management is a huge factor that adds to the dynamic of a fixed routine. Concrete deadlines can help give you and your business a sense of accomplishment. Create routines and expectations that keep your business on track during this time of rapid change.

The coronavirus is unpredictable. Let your work routine be a source of stability.

Virtual Water Cooler Conversations Are Key

          Water cooler chat is what happens when you’re away from your desk talking about sports, hobbies, entertainment and family. What may seem at first like a productivity killer can actually be the opposite. This lighthearted small talk gives you and your coworkers an opportunity to develop an enjoyable, social atmosphere. After all, the key to enjoying where you work is feeling like you are in a place where you can communicate freely. This idea of building rapport is quintessential in Israeli business culture, and part of the reason why Israelis are so successful.

          Virtual working can make it difficult to keep these informal water cooler conversations alive. Conference calls and formal emails leave little room for niceties. Video chats and phone calls are for business only, small talk can wait. This mindset can harm your virtual workplace. Allow for some friendly chit-chat, even during e-work. Before getting into the business content of a Zoom call, start off with an appropriate personal touch. Family and current events can be great conversation starters. 


         In general, the secret is to invest our time into working in more virtual teams. WhatsApp, Monday, Skype and Zoom are just a few of the efficient applications that can help us build a virtual workplace. This is a great opportunity to make the most out of what we have in the comfort of our own offices and homes. Fortunately, we live in an age where telecommunication is extremely powerful. With the help of applications, working remotely has never been easier. 

If you are interested in hearing more tips about how to work efficiently in a virtual team, check out this article:


OLM Consulting Founder

Osnat Lautman is a well-known intercultural expert and the author of the Amazon bestselling book ‘Israeli Business Culture’. Osnat is passionate about cultures, connecting humans and breaking through culture barriers. She created the ISRAELI™ model of Israeli business characteristics (Informal, Straightforward, Risk-Taking, Ambitious, Entrepreneurial, Loud, Improvisational) to reveal the foundations of the Israeli innovative culture. Osnat supports many organizations and individuals to effectively connect and engage with Israelis, avoid misunderstanding and maximize the value of combining the innovative Israeli spirit into a multi culture environment.

Osnat is the founder of OLM Consulting and her customer include the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel, The Jewish Agency, Verint, NYU Tel Aviv, the British Embassy, the Swedish Embassy, the Belgium Embassy, FIDF, Israel Defense Ministry delegation in New York, JCC Association, National Bank of Australia, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 888 Holdings, Corning, SkyVision, ObserveIT, MX1, Israel Export Institute, StartApp, Tel Aviv Municipality, and many others.

Osnat lived in Hoboken, New Jersey, from 2009 to 2013. During this time, she started her extensive research on the differences between Israeli and non-Israeli business cultures, including video interviews with businesspeople from numerous origins. The recorded discussions are incorporated into her lectures and workshops for demonstration purposes.

Osnat holds:
M.A in Social Science and Communications, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Certificate in Organizational Development, New York University, New York
Coach License from Co-Active Training Institute, Israel

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