Virtual Skills for Dispersed Teams

7 December 2021

New ways of working mean new skills requirements.

In the ever-evolving mission to support your organisation’s teams with the knowledge and skills they need to be happy, confident and effective, the most important word of the moment is virtual.

Whether it is all or some of their time, many more teams are working remotely, in a virtual environment, than ever before. Working from home or another remote location, they are sharing a virtual space with their colleagues, rather than a physical one.

Providing vital knowledge and skills support will help them with their ability to do operationally important things like communicate, manage their time, collaborate and self-motivate. This is the most effective way to unlock the personal benefits and performance improvements that, according to a weight of research evidence, results from long-term remote working policies, namely:

  • More satisfied employees
  • More productive teams
  • Less turnover of staff
  • Increased levels of workforce engagement
  • Better access to talent

It’s equally important to ensure that workers have the skills and knowledge to avoid the drawbacks of the virtual office, particularly making sure it isn’t leaving them feeling isolated or excluded.

Effective Remote Communication

Making this effective in a dispersed team is largely about mastering the art of asynchronous communication. That is, sending messages that will not be immediately replied to – meaning their content must be carefully considered.

When you can choose a response time in accordance with your schedule, you are distracted less and more fully focused. You also have time to consider your response, rather than rushing it in the moment. 

Teams familiar with this approach will get better at choosing the right communication method to suit their colleagues, helping everyone to be more effective.

Effective Remote Time Management

When working remotely, time management is a different prospect than when working in an office. Without the structures and systems of office working, some find it harder to get through their to-do list whilst, for some, it is easier.

Individuals benefit from being able to identify and tackle the various ‘time drainers’ that can sap away the working hours of the day and, by being presented with various time management tools, they are able to pick and choose the ones that will be genuinely valuable for them, considering how and where they work.

Effective Remote Team Building

Many of the usual vehicles of team building, such as face-to-face inductions, informal office chatter and even post-work socialising, are different or entirely absent in the remote/hybrid office.

So, new approaches are required to ensure that dispersed teams can collaborate from a place of trust. It can be valuable to prioritise team performance mindset over individual comparisons, and arrange opportunities for the whole team to reflect on achievements; shared or personal.

If all team members are encouraged to share their own personal pros and cons of working remotely, and these are sensitively explored together, everyone is able to adapt and adjust their behaviours to better suit their colleagues. The flexibility of remote working is broadly seen as a positive, but it does affect people differently depending on their personal lives and home situations.

To proactively offer skills support in areas of need, before they become operational issues, is a continual mission of HR/L&D/OD teams worldwide. If your teams are undertaking fully remote or hybrid work and you would like to support them with relevant learning, we would be delighted to hear from you.

In support of new and existing customer requirements, we have developed various learning workshops around effective remote and hybrid working.

You can fill out an enquiry form here and tell us about your desired learning outcomes, detail some of your skills and knowledge requirements, or simply let us know that you’d like an exploratory chat.

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