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VIRTUAL TEAMS BOOK: … EXTRACT FROM The Introduction

Progress since the last post

Since my last post, I have been working on the Introduction to the book and that has been very helpful. It’s prompted me to write an overview of how all the chapters hang together and it’s help me get a clearer sense of the overall structure.

Apart from the conclusion, I have now drafted all chapters. I have decided to incorporate what was going to be a chapter on addressing inequality and inequity in remote work into each chapter as those questions came up again and again.

So now that I have a clearer sense of the shape of the book, I want to make a plan for revising and improving the drafts that I have completed so far, building up to a week long writing retreat in late January.

Remote working radio:

It’s time to start what will hopefully turn into a monthly radio meet up on DS106radio talking about the journey from learning online to working in distributed teams. The first one of these will happen today:

  • Date: Wednesday, 1st December 2021
  • Time: 19:30 GMT
  • Where: DS106 Radio
  • Hashtag: Chat with me or submit song requests #DS106radio

See you on the airwaves.

Chapter: Introduction

Below is an extract from the draft introduction chapter:

In 2017 I embarked on a journey of organisational transformation as the CEO of an independent charity, as we took our organisation from a traditional, office-based model of operations to a fully virtual, distributed team. In comparison to many businesses who were forced to adopt home-working in response to the global pandemic, we made the transition for strategic reasons over the period of a year. Instead of sending staff home with a laptop one day and starting home-working the next, we went through formal consultation periods and implemented the transition gradually, providing support and training at every stage. As a result we made a very successful transition and started to focus on how to evolve our approach to working as a virtual team beyond practical considerations from the outset. 

When I set out to create a new vision for what working for our virtual organisation would be like I came across a lot of practical advice about infrastructure and business processes and I also read a lot of management books that seemed intent on helping leaders and managers to translate traditional power structures from the office to the virtual workplace with a strong emphasis on productivity, cost-savings and employee surveillance. None of what I came across helped to answer my questions. 

What I was looking for was authentic insight into what it’s like to manage people remotely and to lead an organisation from home, and to do it well. And by doing it well I mean not only meeting budget targets and KPIs but to balance business needs with employee happiness and wellbeing. I was looking to find creative and fun ways to work with people you may never meet in person and to build meaningful working relationships.  I was looking for ethical ways to work online that respect employee privacy and build trust between the organisation and its staff. In short, I was looking for the opposite of the ‘office-deficit’ model. 

This is why I wrote this book. It’s the book I wish I had when I was setting out on my journey to lead a virtual team. I hope it will provide a source of inspiration and a prompt for reflection to my readers and will be of practical help with managing hybrid, blended and fully distributed teams and organisations.

If you’d like to keep in touch with book progress:

  • Subscribe to my newsletter;
  • Join today’s monthly radio meet up on DS106radio;
  • If you’d like to invite me to speak or write, get in touch with me directly.
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