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21st Century Work Life and leading remote teams

Brought to you by Virtual not Distant, the 21st Century Work Life podcast looks at leading remote teams, online collaboration and working in distributed organisations.

Join Pilar Orti, guests & co-hosts as they shine the spotlight on the most relevant themes and news relevant to the modern knowledge worker.

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Jun 4, 2020

With the sudden “rush to remote”, many teams and managers have sought training in working remotely - however, sometimes taking a different first step towards adapting to the new environment can be more beneficial to your team, in the current situation, and with a view to the future. 

In this episode, we give you an overview of four different types of interventions. If you need help with any of them, get in touch at

In this episode, inspired by the academic paper Team Development Interventions: Evidence-Based Approaches for Improving Teamwork  published in the journal American Psychologist 2018, Vol. 73, No. 4, 517–531, Pilar goes through four different training interventions that might be suitable for your remote team, right now. 

Think of the team competencies you might need to address. For example,rather than training in working remotely, your team might benefit undergoing training in other areas like “communicating in writing” (you’ll probably need to do A LOT of that when working remotely), or “concise communication” - which can be done in writing and audio.  “Giving and receiving feedback” (also necessary when working apart from each other as a team) or even “task management”, or spend time together learning how to master three or four functions in MSTeams that will save you time and headaches in the future.

(Pilar mentions her Remarkable tablet.)

  1. Team Training.
    What are attitudes, skills and knowledge we need to work in a team?
    (By the way, don’t assume that because someone knows how to use the tech, it doesn’t mean that they know how to use it collaboratively)

    If you are losing visibility in the organisation, and are a highly specialised team, you might benefit from training in using everyday language to communicate with others.

  2. Leadership Training 

In-house training courses are the best option, because they enable peers to talk to each other, network and learn from each other. Sometimes, if there is a very specific issue that a manager has, coaching might be a better option.

“Transfer” is key, to be able to put all new information and learning into practice, as is feedback.

Of course, attending any kind of  training also gives you the space to reflect.

Improving Team Dynamics and TeamBuilding in Remote Teams
These intervention have the aim of improving how people work together: co-ordination, nurture trust, discussion of values etc

These help with goal setting, problem-solving, role clarification… in any case, it’s important to know what a teambuilding intervention can help you solve. As we talk about all this, we talk about the work, and how we engage with the work, and collaborate.

These interventions will also surface a lot of hidden information, and a lot of information remains hidden in team members’ heads when we’re remote.
Role clarity in remote teams, can give us role flexibility, making the team more resilient.

Having a facilitator running these discussions can help, giving people the space to think without worrying about team dynamics as much.

4) Team Debrief

These are great learning and teambuilding opportunities (Agile teams do this very well through their retrospectives!) and opportunities to celebrate success. (LINK TO CELEBRATIONS)

They give us an opportunity to reconnect through the work.

These sessions don’t need to be very long, 18 minutes are an average good length, and are the most effective in improving team performance.

These sessions are influenced by the team climate, (here it helps to have a facilitator to create a psychologically safe climate), learning to provide feedback. You might want to think in your team about the kind of questions that help you really learn from the experience.

“Conclusions and agreements need to be documented”.

And of course we can help you with tailored management team-training and team facilitation.

But why not run Team Debriefs in your team, led by different team members each time, so that you can discover new talents in your team, which have emerged recently in the remote space?

Get in touch through