Category Archives: Distributed/Virtual Teams

home office

As we’ve discussed on our blog, RII is a small business with an entirely virtual team.  Each team member works from a home office and most of our interactions happen from a distance, utilizing some type of technology to communicate (phone, e-mail, instant messages, video conferencing, etc.)   We have asked the question (like so many others) — Can a company and its employees be successful working from home? Recently a co-worker shared with me this article  by Dr. Kerry Schofield, co-founder and Chief Psychometrics Officer at Good Co., regarding how to create meaningful working relationships while working from home. The article uses the research of Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford, as a springboard for exploring meaningful work relationships in a virtual environment. Based on Robin Dunbar’s research, there is a theoretical limit to the size of the social network that we can maintain and an … Continue reading

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home office

The recent wave of pulling telecommuters back into an office to help save struggling companies has made me question – Is the location of a company’s employees a key component of success? As the HR manager of Research Integrations–a small business that began allowing employees to work from home offices  in order to provide flexibility and retain key employees and then eventually moved all employees to home offices–this seems like an important question to answer. At first the answer to this question seems complicated, but in the end, it may be simple. While the modalities of communication have changed with technology and telecommuting, the core messages and objectives of effective communication have not changed. Successful companies use communication effectively to accomplish these key objectives: Provide a shared vision Establish accountability Establish and maintain working relationships Maintain awareness of current challenges and successes Evaluate employee engagement Reward accomplishments For telecommuting these … Continue reading

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Virtual Meeting

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about weekend plans or the lunch menu while attending a business meeting? While this can happen during any meeting, virtual meetings are particularly susceptible to distracted and unfocused participants. When attending a meeting outside a physical office, participants can easily find themselves distracted in their casual environment. It’s easy to check out when you’re “watching’’ a meeting. When you’re leading a virtual meeting, beware of participants slipping into observer mode. You want to minimize this. It’s also important to realize that the sense of accountability changes when participants are not face-to-face. Even well intended, well-disciplined meeting members can find it difficult to maintain focus when attending a virtual meeting. While this post is about minimizing distraction, it’s very important that you, the meeting organizer, have a high level of employee/participant trust. This sets the stage. Trust that the participants are paying attention. There will be small … Continue reading

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Virtual Meeting

Creating effective meetings that produce actionable results relies on participants who are engaged in the meeting, the process, and the outcome. Our team at Research Integrations has been operating in a virtual environment for quite some time now. We found that in virtual meetings, using effective engagement techniques is crucial because meeting members may be more easily distracted or disinterested. A virtual environment is tricky because it doesn’t hold us accountable to another person in the same way a person-to-person meeting does. Utilizing the techniques I’ve outlined below will hopefully assist in leading your meeting members to have ownership of the action plan you’re developing together. Once this occurs, group members are more likely to take on responsibilities and even work on them outside of meeting time. Don’t forget the importance of choosing a virtual meeting tool that accommodates your needs. My previous post may be of assistance to you … Continue reading

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Virtual Meeting

Meetings in a virtual environment can be challenging and even intimidating. Achieving a successful action plan during a meeting depends on participant interaction.  For the past several years, as Research Integrations has become a completely distributed team with home offices across the nation, all of our meetings have moved from a physical environment to a virtual environment. This has posed some challenges and opportunities for us. Effective meetings in a virtual environment are tricky because many of us are not used to interacting with people through this medium, and we have a distrust of using and relying on technology for communication.   However, we have found that the right tools and a few good techniques have helped us create effective meetings, which allow us to continue to work as a team. 6 things to consider when choosing a virtual meeting tool: The tool should be trustworthy and reliable When the tool is trustworthy and reliable, participants feel … Continue reading

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