The Australian government's National Digital Economy Strategy aims to double telework levels by 2020, with employees relying on the National Broadband Network (NBN) and cloud computing to stay connected.
But how can employers ensure virtual or dispersed teams stay on track to achieve their objectives?
Trust is the key, according to OD Consulting’s Director and Principal Consultant, Korrine Jones.
Ms Jones will join a panel of experts discussing the perceptions and realities of ‘Teleworking and virtual teams’ at QUT Graduate School of Business’s one day conference on Thursday 21 November 2013, during National Telework Week (18-22 November).
“Virtual teams can achieve high levels of productivity and performance, but we need to lead and manage them differently,” said Ms Jones.
“Changes to internet speeds with the NBN roll-out won’t improve productivity if the team isn’t functioning well to start with, and when team members are spread across the city, state, country or globe, it’s not possible to see how they are managing their time and tasks throughout the working day.
“Managing by outcomes alone can make some team leaders nervous and uncomfortable, so they have to look beyond traditional leadership habits and learn new strategies for engaging with their teams and building that essential trust,” Ms Jones said.
Teleworking teams usually ‘meet’ via teleconferencing, videoconferencing and webinars, which pose particular challenges, such as communication technology breakdown, time zone adjustments, and cross-cultural differences exacerbated by the absence of clear non-verbal signals.
“There are ways of managing these challenges and smart employers will be supporting their team leaders to learn and utilise them,” said Ms Jones.
“Technology and employee-driven demand for more flexible arrangements for work-life balance have accelerated the growth of virtual teams.
“Employers looking to keep overheads down and good employees on the payroll should consider the strong economic argument for virtual teams - attending the QUT teleworking conference is a worthwhile step in that direction.”
The Hon. Ian Walker MP, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts will join the line-up of professional and academic presenters at the conference to explore virtual teamwork issues from both employers’ and employees’ perspectives.
To register for the QUT Graduate School of Business ‘Teleworking and virtual teams: the future of work’ conference, visit https://qutpay.qut.edu.au/Cart/Products/Teleworking-and-Virtual-Teams__18-2013-18.aspxTo learn more about training for virtual team leaders, visit http://www.odconsulting.com.au
Brisbane-based OD Consulting specialises in optimising the productivity and performance of virtual, dispersed and remote teams. Since no two virtual teams operate in the same way, training and consultancy services are customised to meet the unique needs of each team. Drawing on more than 20 years’ experience in delivering high quality leadership development, management development, team development and coaching services, OD Consulting continues to help a wide range of private and public sector clients achieve their goals.
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