Virtual teams: successes & challenges

Recent events have provided a sudden and dramatic push towards virtual working.

At a recent presentation to the Travivas Network Kate put these changes in working practices into a broader perspective. She shared some approaches, tips and challenges related to the set-up and operation of virtual organisations, based on recent Agilis experiences of promoting and implementing a shift towards virtual team working in several different settings, before opening up a group discussion.

The group shared a consensus that this shift in working practices that had been accelerated by the current situation was a direction that was unlikely to be reversed, and in general holds huge opportunities for both individuals and organisations. The risks of seeking to replicate an existing office culture online rather than taking the opportunity to change for the better were well noted. The criticality of management trust was highlighted, as part of a move towards judging staff performance by what is delivered or achieved rather than time spent in the office. Those organisations that fail to make this adaptation will be left behind. Software applications and functions are already available that can provide productivity metrics for virtual team members as part of managing performance concerns for team members working outside of an office setting, although there is a trade off with trust. Personality traits (extravert, introvert, ambivert), are a factor in how people will respond to virtual working models, and this will need building into virtual organisational set-ups. Someone shared that in their current work supporting a major rail contractor, recent changes to working practices to meet social distancing requirements have so far resulted in a 24% increase in productivity.

Agilis are members of Travivas, a network of expert specialists who have extensive experience in the oil and gas, petrochemical and process, nuclear, power generation, renewable energy, manufacturing, infrastructure and defence industries. Travivas provide clients with access to proven managerial and technical expertise in support of specific business needs.

Making virtual teams real – presentation slides