Managing Virtual Teams: #TChat Recap

You’d think that those of us who collaborate online have already mastered the virtual workplace. And for the most part, we have.  We communicate via a variety of tools and services:

  • E-mail
  • Phone
  • Instant Message
  • Video Chat
  • The Big Social 3 (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Other Online Networks
  • Webinar
  • Podcast
  • Blog
  • Wiki
  • Intranet

All being done via:

  • Landlines
  • Cell phones
  • Smart phones
  • The Internet
  • Tablet computers
  • Laptop computers
  • Desktop computers
  • Carrier pigeons
  • Two cups connected with string
  • Telepathic messages

Maybe not the last three, but if you do use any of those, do please let me know.

Beyond the tools and services, the true measure of working virtually is the fact you are autonomous, accountable, personally responsible, self-managed and productive — but not in the “time put in” sense, more the productivity in aligned business output over the course of the day and week.

Those of us who have worked virtually for years within organizations and/or with clients not in the backyard don’t think twice about what it means to work alone in a home office.

Maybe, although I think we need more live interaction throughout the year.  So whether than means formal company gatherings a few times a year, meeting at events a few times a year, leasing space in a coworking facility like I do, we all still need a little face time.

And that’s what helps to keep your company culture solidified — the face time — look me in the eyes, baby.

Last night during #TChat, where the topic was — Managing virtual teams and dispersed global organizations while maintaining workplace culture.  Is it possible? — Amy Ruberg mentioned: Trust is earned, fragile, and travels in both directions.

That really sums up the daily workplace transactions, together in a shared office or at home in a virtual one, and for me solidifies culture as well.

Unfortunately many companies don’t trust well and still have archaic policies that don’t jive with the realities of the mobile/virtual workforce.

Can you imagine conducting a virtual meeting across a variety of devices while still having a no-electronic-device policy during meetings?

Wouldn’t that make everyone vanish in thin air?

Another defining point from last night — if you can’t manage virtual teams should you be in a managerial position at all?

Probably not.

The good news is that according to a recent post by Sharlyn Lauby titled What the Best Places to Work Have in Common:

82 of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work listed the fact that they offered telecommuting.  So, the key concept behind workshifting – being able to work productively from anywhere – are embraced by the companies considered to be the crème de la crème in Corporate America. This comes right after the Federal Government implemented the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, mandating Federal Agencies to implement telework policies.

Here is the transcript from last night’s #TChat and these were our questions:

  • Q1: How are virtual teams presenting challenges for leaders in a workplace culture?
  • Q2: Reality Check: Can leaders engage and handle workplace conflicts virtually?
  • Q3: What are ways we can improve communication for teams that are primarily virtual?
  • Q4: In person meetings will always be necessary for employee engagement – how much is enough for true team collaboration?
  • Q5: Is recruiting, hiring for “self-management” “innovation” skills a must for telecommuting roles? Globally?
  • Q6: What does employer trust have to do with virtual – both from the inside and outside of an employer’s brand?
  • Q7: Why are some innovative companies considering VTs to be their most important asset?

A special thank you to Meghan M. BiroMatt Charney and Eric Winegardner from Monster land, Ian Mondrow the team at Sodexoand all the other fantastic usual suspects and new folks who stopped by last night to share their wisdom.

Next week’s topic:  Workplace Culture Clash or Party? Multi-generational diversity and the innovation factor.

Join us every Tuesday night from 8-9 p.m. ET (5-6 p.m. PT) on Twitter via hashtag #TChat. Remember we welcome global input! Join in from wherever you might be. Our live chat is hosted by @KevinWGrossman @MeghanMBiro@TalentCulture, and @Monster_WORKS. Please Tweet or DM us for more scoop!

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