Remote teamwork is different! Should we care?

Remote teamwork is different! Should we care?

How is working remotely with others different from the co-located face-to-face settings we are used to?

The main difference lies in the fact that projects have become very complex. As companies and organizations become international, project teams become more and more distributed.

While in the past there might have been 1 or 2 remote team members, today, we find a lot of teams distributed across many time zones, where physical distance and cultural differences create a very diverse setting.

It is not just the complexity within the team that has increased. Also, the organizational and team contexts have become more diverse. Continue reading “Remote teamwork is different! Should we care?”

3 ways to use slides and captivate a virtual audience

3 ways to use slides and captivate a virtual audience

Ever heard of Death by Powerpoint? Even if you have not, you probably have sat in on presentations where the presenter uses presentation slides more to remind himself of the things he wanted to say than to help you understand his message. To me, the worst version of this is when each slide is packed with words in small font, and they are read off the slides by the presenter.

But slides can be quite useful and help your audience stay engaged. In a virtual meeting, slides can serve a number of purposes: Continue reading “3 ways to use slides and captivate a virtual audience”

How to deal with intercultural issues in remote teams

How to deal with intercultural issues in remote teams

Intercultural communication has been a topic in teams and organisations for quite some time. Still, in recent years the situation has changed and now requires a different approach to dealing with cultural differences.

Until only a few years ago, most members of a team were sitting in one location. They had rarely more than one dominating culture. The responsibility to bridge the distance (and the cultural difference) was mainly with the team leader and other high level managers, who would travel around to world to keep in touch with their people and ensure that the work done in the different locations was coordinated and coherent. In some cases the managers were sent to a different country, where they had to learn how the culture differed from their own and adapt to the local practices.

This situation has changed quite considerably in most organisations. Today, most teams spread across many countries, if not continents. There might still be a large group of people in one location (typically in headquarters) but the team is predominantly distributed, and includes people from a number of different cultures. Furthermore, most if not all communication is virtual, and virtual distance (physical, but also operational and most importantly affinity distance) heavily influences the effectiveness of a team.
Continue reading “How to deal with intercultural issues in remote teams”

Learn how to effectively work in a remote team

Learn how to effectively work in a remote team

It’s a kind of magic: Working effectively in remote teams

Our work situation has shifted in recent years. More and more of us are working in teams that are distributed across different locations, countries and sometimes even continents. It is not enough to learn to use online tools to communicate and collaborate with our team mates. Our teams now work across geographies, time zones, organizational boundaries, and disciplinary and cultural gaps.

Finding agreements, giving feedback, or simply discussing some work challenge, which used to be about the contents, can now become really complicated discussions ending in misunderstandings or even conflict. This new situation requires us to unlearn habits that had once served us well and adopt new cooperation processes.

Our interactive webinar series will look at different challenges of remote teams and each webinar gives concrete tips how to improve collaboration, engagement and performance within your team. The webinars are free and each will have space for only 30 participants.

Topics include intercultural communication, virtual presentations, trust, conflicts, and many more.

Check out out webinar page to find out about the next webinar: http://webinars.radical-inclusion.com.

How technology changes work and employment

How technology changes work and employment

Two high tech companies have been in the news these last weeks: Amazon for leadership practices that some of us thought long gone, and, on the other side of the spectrum, Netflix, which just announced unlimited parental leave for its employees.

The discussion about the impact of technology on our professional and private lives include a vast array of topics: whistleblowers and NSA scandals, work-life balance, company HR policies, social norms and practices, and many other topics.

Also, the discussion is typically divided into black – white, good – evil: Those seeing and talking mainly about the risks, and those emphasising the potential. That is not surprising, because, after all, it is about technology and that – as every tool or means – can be used for good or bad.

In the end it is about the trade-offs we are willing to make. Are we informed enough to be able to weigh pros and cons, to make informed choices? Do we even know what we are trading in when we use online tools and data services?

This digest presents a few articles that show some of the trade-offs and look at a few of the issues connected to technological change and the transformation it has brought about in our societies. Continue reading “How technology changes work and employment”

Remote Team Success: The 3 Areas To Invest In

Remote Team Success: The 3 Areas To Invest In

The last 10 years have seen the rise of social online tools. It has become very easy to connect and stay connected over large distances and across time. We have found our high school buddies again and are given the means to stay in touch with them and everyone we meet. Criticism about the depth of these social connections aside, social online tools have radically reduced the cost and effort to connect and communicate with others.

In the same period the structure of most companies has changed quite dramatically, too. From relatively simple but slow and often bureaucratic hierarchical organizations many have evolved to become highly complex matrix organizations who organize around international project teams. Distributed work has become the norm rather than the exception.

Yet, only marketing departments and agencies have fully embraced social online tools and much of the rest of the enterprise world has, somewhat jealously, watched from the sidelines. Continue reading “Remote Team Success: The 3 Areas To Invest In”

Is your team chatting already?

Is your team chatting already?

Group chat is the future for virtual teams

What do you think when you hear the word chat? Do you see yourself chatting with your colleagues?

Whether your initial reaction is positive or negative, fact is, that chats are becoming the single most important means of communication for many virtual teams.

A distributed team certainly needs different functionalities for their collaboration – depending on the goals and the nature of their work – document sharing, a web conferencing tool etc. But team building happens only through the constant and seamless flow of conversation, something that only chat can provide.

A chat has mainly two functions in the team development process. There is the informal information flow and dialogue that creates a sense of nearness and belonging. This includes sharing of private information which is a basic need also in a business context. The second function of the chat is providing context information. It helps the other team members understand why a person is thinking in a specific way or why she is acting the way she does.

This digest is presenting a collection of posts that argue why chat is important, how it is becoming the key element of the virtual infrastructure of remote teams and what tools could be used to fill this function.

Start off, by reading our post (Chatting in virtual teams is more than talking about football) to learn more about why you should consider introducing a chat in your team in the first place. Continue reading “Is your team chatting already?”