Head to the book page to explore the newest chapters, resources and more. From Virtual Learning to Virtual Working: Open Leadership in practice by Dr Maren Deepwell will be published in 2022 as an Open Access publication by the Association for Learning Technology.
What is it like to lead a virtual team? What are the high points? What are the challenges? This page is dedicated to posts, podcasts and other resources reflecting on how to successful lead a virtual team.
2022 – from virtual learning to virtual working
2021 – leading a virtual team
- Time without buildings: leadership reflections: Recently I have led a number of leadership development sessions, which was a lot of work as well as a lot of fun. I enjoy working with established and emerging leaders who work in education and the Edtech industry and help them find new approaches to digital transformation.
- Job satisfaction for virtual teams: One of the things I have been thinking about as I am writing, is what makes it rewarding to work in a virtual team and how those of us who are permanently home-based measure success.
- Virtual Teams: The Book Project: These blog posts are becoming a book and you can read along.
- Leading a Virtual Team: Our Team Day Experience: As a distributed team we have had a blended approach to individual catch up and team get togethers for a couple of years. Due to the impact of lockdown living and working from home with family, pets and under pressure, we didn’t have formal Team Days last year and instead shorter, more frequent social gatherings online. For example, we used birthdays as a prompt to have a virtual team get together, often with cake or similar treats sent by post to everyone in advance. Things have improved over the last few weeks and months and our team is now ready to come together for a full day. A full day is a lot of time, particularly in a small team with mostly part-time workers. We don’t have any external commitments on the day and Out of Office messages are firmly ON. So why do we have Team Days…?
- Mental Health Tips for Virtual Teams: It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and here in the UK restrictions are lifting and things are getting a lit bit easier and from next week, the slow return to offices and campuses is entering a new phase. Whilst the weather is still a bit mixed we are slowly moving into a brighter time of year. In this month’s post, we are checking in with mental wellbeing for virtual teams.
- Leading a Virtual Team: Blended is Best. Having led my team from being office based to working from home with in person elements to working entirely from home for 12+ months with no in person contact, I’ve had a lot of experience with the different options. This post explores how to decide between different options.
- Leading a Virtual Team: Life Work Balance: This month, the focus is on achieving the right life work balance at a time of change – not ‘just’ with established colleagues within the organisation, but also with new teams and on new tasks.
- Celebrating 3 years as a virtual team – an #altc perspective: a joint post by the whole ALT staff team written as we celebrate our three year anniversary as home-workers, running the leading professional body for Learning Technology as a virtual organisation and successfully charting a way through the ups and downs that the last three years have brought for us as a team.
- Special Podcast episode with Martin Hawksey
- Getting ready for work: in this post I write about preparing to get back to work, how to improve home working spaces and daily routines.
2020 – pandemic posts
- VIRTUAL TEAMS – THE FINAL EPISODE AND… KEEPING BLOGGING!
- HOW WE SURVIVED A PANDEMIC: PART 6 – WELLBEING AS A HOME-WORKER… WHERE ARE YOU ON THE UNICORNS ‘🦄’ AND PUMPKINS ‘🎃’ SCALE?
- HOW WE SURVIVED A PANDEMIC: PART 5 – VIRTUAL TEAM MEETING ICE BREAKERS FROM THE ALT STAFF TEAM
- How we survived a pandemic: Part 4 – Virtual pizza nights and other distributed team social activities
- How we survived a pandemic: Part 3 – Ups and Downs (and sideways) of life as a virtual team
- How we survived a pandemic: Part 2 – Music, spice and other things nice
- How we survived a pandemic: Part 1 – No kind of normal
2020 – regular posts
- Virtual Teams: moving parts – This month we start our third year as a virtual team and we talk about the ups and downs of moving house as home workers, how to give yourself a break during times of upheaval and supporting each other.
- Virtual Teams: The heartbeat of a virtual team – This month we are talking about Slack, scheduling team meetings, and how our use of technology and different tools affect the rhythm of our work as a virtual team.
- Podcast 1: our first podcast, looking back at the first six months as a virtual team.
- Podcast 2: recorded at the end of our first year of this project, we look back at some of the highs and lows, plan for what’s ahead and discuss how you do Secret Santa as a virtual team.
- Podcast 3: in which we discuss @femedtech and equality as well as International Women’s Day.
- Podcast 4: reflections on what it means to be professional as a home worker in a virtual team and how we approach professional development
- Podcast 5: we talk about how we as a digitally and geographically distributed team connect face to face and why we think a blended approach is important.
- Podcast 6: This time we are joined by our special guest, Olaf Hubel G Suite Developer Relations Team Leader at Google. Together we talk about what it takes to lead a virtual team, collaboration and team communication.
Previous posts… 2019
- Virtual Teams: Finding Oxygen with Olaf Hubel at Google – podcast special 2019 – This time we are joined by our special guest, Olaf Hubel G Suite Developer Relations Team Leader at Google. Together we talk about what it takes to lead a virtual team, collaboration and team communication.
- Virtual Teams: CPD and CO2 – This time we talk about staff benefits and CPD opportunities for virtual teams, the environmental impact of work travel and discuss the advantages of connecting both virtually and in person.
- Virtual Teams #OEB19 preview: Leading Change through Open Conversational Digital Practice – preview post for a conference session, where we’ll be discussing why this kind of practice should happen in the open and why it is important; why and how you, as a learning professional/educator, can try to adopt this approach; and what the barriers you may encounter are.
- The ALT Virtual Teams Stack – a related post by Martin Hawksey, sharing the technology and services we use to support our distributed team, aka ‘The ALT Stack’.
- Virtual Teams outtakes: Home-worker / house-worker… – this post is me thinking out loud about how working from home can lead to doing a lot of housework. I reflect on how to avoid being landed with all the chores because you are based at home and how maybe you can make housework work for you for reclaiming some balance.
- Virtual Teams: Strategy unpacked… how being a virtual team is changing our organisation – this time we talk about how much strategic progress we have made in the last few years and how being a virtual team has contributed to that. We also discuss our values as an organisation, how we have tried to reduce our impact on the environment and the upsides of being geographically distributed.
- Virtual Teams: The perfect blend? Bringing the skills of distributed teams to face-to-face events (special podcast edition) – This time we talk about how we as a digitally and geographically distributed team connect face to face and why we think a blended approach is important.
- Virtual Teams: Creativity Hacks for Virtual Teams (and why we maybe do like emoji after all) – This time we get creative as we share our favourite ways to have some fun, create, collaborate and share. We also have another think about emoji.. which a year ago we gave a rather cold review.
- Virtual Teams outtakes: Heatwave home-working – in this post, which is an ‘outtake’ from my regular series of Virtual Teams posts with Martin Hawksey, I share some of our experiences and tips for home-working during a heatwave…
- Virtual Teams: It’s good to keep in touch …. most of the time 😉 – This time we touch base after both being on international duty for ALT and discuss how our use of social networks often gets blurred between personal and professional. We also think about the role of social media in virtual teams and how social media can be useful for bridging work and social lives, including the challenges this brings to striking the right balance.
- Virtual Teams: Stickers, “I love me” walls, CPD and travel (also, this is really about recruitment) – This time we’re talking about how we recruit new staff, what it’s like to carry out a virtual selection process and how that led to interesting reflections on what it means to be professional as a home worker in a virtual team and how we approach professional development.
- Virtual Teams: Applying order to chaos – This time we’re talking about team culture, upgrading workflows, the ISO9001 Standard, the MIT90s Framework, our dislike of management terminology and the impact of being busy on communication and collaboration as a virtual team.
- Virtual Teams: Things that don’t look broken still need fixing – we discuss equality, online collaboration and ‘The Open Organization Leaders Manual’.
- Virtual Teams: special #femedtech podcast edition – we share our reflections on how to promote equality in a distributed organisation and our joint keynote for the University of the Highlands and Islands on International Women’s Day 2019.
- Virtual Teams: When things get personal – we talk about professional development, meeting around a collaborative document, share tips for online meetings and examine the impact of your set up for home working.
- Virtual teams: a special podcast edition – With the transition to becoming a distributed organisation and one year of leading our virtual team under our belt, we reflect on the highs and lows, the good and the bad and most importantly on what’s ahead as we continue to develop this project in open practice.
- Virtual Teams: Checklists, kindness and Secret Santa – nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more -we discuss checklists, how each of our staff invented their own scale to rate their week and treating others with kindness.
- Virtual Teams: Remote crisis – we discuss ways in which we could develop our approach to virtual team leadership including dealing with critical incidents when you have a distributed workforce. Rather than sharing what we found works, we open up some of the questions we have and consider how we might find solutions that support sustainable development for a small virtual team.
- The serious upsides of working in pyjamas –we discuss some of the more serious upsides to home working.
- Pizza and virtual team dynamics –We are at the end of the busiest month of our organisation’s year in the run up to our Annual Conference. Getting here is a big milestone for our organisation and a real test for our approach to leading a virtual team.
- Special podcast edition: Reflecting on the first six months leading a virtual team –We’re six months into our journey and in this special edition we look back at the highs and lows, share practical things we’ve learnt along the way and take our conversation from post to podcast to help us reflect and look ahead.
- Virtual team, face to face team day: putting our blended approach to the test –Last time we discussed how we used GDPR as an opportunity to strengthen how we work as a virtual team. Since then we had our first face to face team day, an important milestone in creating a blended approach to running a virtual organisation.
- Opportunity knocks: Using GDPR to strengthen virtual teams –This month we discuss our approach to GDPR, evolving virtual working practices and the importance of explaining the reasons for new procedures as part of implementing them.
- 3 months in… hitting our first milestones as a virtual team –This month we reflect on the first 3 months operating as a virtual team, delivering our first few big milestones and look back at the OER18 conference.
- Developing collaboration as a virtual team –This is the second in a monthly series of blog posts in which we take an open approach to organisational transformation. In this series we share our experiences as senior staff leading our organisation to adopt virtual operations.
- An open perspective on organisational transformation? –In this post we look back at February, the first month of virtual operations, sharing our perspectives on making a start as a distributed team.
2018-2020 – in collaboration with Martin Hawksey
For 2018-2020 I wrote this series together with Martin Hawksey (@mhawksey) Martin is the Chief Officer for Innovation, Technology and Community and all the posts above are also cross-posted on Martin’s blog here.