When people worked / collaborated with others it was colloquially known as virtual and remote working. The word remote seems all wrong in today’s context. As more and more people operate at a distance from others, they are operating virtually. But we do not want to create the sense that team member’s are remote to one another. This does not facilitate teamwork and getting results. Virtual working is becoming more mainstream, but simply giving someone a laptop and internet access is not enough. We need the right “virtual”mindset.
Co-located working provides a rich context where we have form relationships with colleagues, communicate effectively and quickly and work in close proximity on a task. This is a rich and dynamic form of working, but when compared to virtual and remote working, it becomes apparent that more proactive effort is required to build and maintain relationships, and that effective communications in virtual and remote operations.
In a virtual and remote working, we working with colleagues where the focus is primarily on the task, and the separation from other colleagues does not allow us to proactively build the spirit of the team. Sometimes we do not even know what colleagues look like as they have never seen them, and communication has been limited to email alone. We rely of IT tools that are made available to us. What has not been considered is the message being delivered, and what is the most effective tool to deliver it. Why rely on email (a poor tool, for all tasks, in the virtual world) when other tools exist, such as Blogs, Wikis and team SharePoint sites?
When we work together, we have ground rules. A key failure factors in a virtual team is the lack of explicit ground rules: how to communicate, escalate issues and share ideas. Simply detailing these ground rules and making them available to all, creates success.