Tag Archives: working virtually

It’s Time to Read Working Virtually if You Haven’t Already

It’s official – Working Virtually: Transforming the Mobile Workplace is a Best-Of Book!

One of Technical Communication‘s Best Books reviewed.

If you’ve already read Working Virtually, I’d sure love it if you’d post a review on Amazon! Thank you!!!

Book Review: Working Virtually: Transforming the Mobile Workforce. Volume 65, Number 2, May 2018 l Technical Communication 225

In Working Virtually, Hoefling laments that business and industry are failing to prepare employees for adapting to a new workplace evolution and that employee engagement (the finesse required to win hearts and minds) continues to erode. In her new edition, she stresses the radical changes inherent in our technologically driven workplace—including increasingly specialized project work that will demand contingent and contract workers who rotate on and off teams with regularity. Working Virtually: Transforming the Mobile Workplace is organized into 19 chapters and six parts, each averaging three chapters, and each introduced with relevant quotes by novelists, athletes, presidents, poets, and philosophers.

Hoefling writes with figurative language that make her message both relatable and inspiring, particularly when she refers to workers who grapple with “information anorexia or obesity” (p. 189). She borrows the central theme in her book from a Buddhist metaphor, an approach to virtual teaming she calls the “Threefold Path for high-performing teams” (p. 6). Embarking on this path begins after assembling a team with the requisite knowledge, skills, and aptitude.

The hard work begins with guiding the team toward negotiating shared values, norms, and structure that establish and maintain trust, which is essential for a virtual team to thrive. The second half of Hoefling’s book covers the richest information, including optimizing technology for communication and outlining recommendations for getting the best out of team members. Meeting project timelines and producing deliverables, particularly on a virtual team, requires relationships and bonds that afford a sense of camaraderie. High-performing teams celebrate and champion finding solutions to problems and overcoming obstacles. Hoefling points to the spiritual nature of collective effort at its best, and devotes several paragraphs to the notion of the “sacred (virtual) space” of a high-performing team (p. 207).

She gives attention to generational differences and their effects on virtual teams, crediting millennials with the aptitudes and proclivities for this new way of working. Hoefling also touches upon diversity in virtual teams, including the traits of introversion and extroversion, but she doesn’t address gender, racial, ethnic, cultural, political, or ideological differences common among global virtual teams. Themes that recur in each chapter, including communication protocols, trust, and structure, make some of the content seem redundant at times, but the redundancy keeps these nuances of team dynamics central to the book’s message and purpose.

Hoefling offers supplemental materials on her website, including a free bonus chapter on virtual meetings. Her book chapters include checklists, assessments, and criteria to help with the more practical aspects of virtual teaming. The book, however, could benefit from more examples from Hoefling’s experiences and case studies that would have made the material more concrete for readers.

Whether you are part of a co-located, distributed, or virtual team, Working Virtually will help you increase productivity, improve employee engagement, and reap both the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards of the working on high-performing virtual teams.

Allen Brown

Allen Brown is managing director of operations for the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities. He holds an M.S. in Technical Communication Management from Mercer University.

The Power of True Collaboration – SMART Workplace Reflections

When shared power of intention, high trust and 3 competent colleagues come together… this is what can happen. Charlie Grantham helps you peek behind our team curtain to see how a new, busy virtual team really works – our co-founder team at The Smart Workplace.
Read his observations in the full post.

Collaboration is a Team Sport
Collaboration is a Team Sport

Anything that can be Connected, will be Connected (Part 1 of 2)

blog 16

The Internet-of-things (IOT) is transforming how we work, play & live. A 2-part series addressing connected strategies for virtual teams. In Part 1, five principles on how to be more tech-effective.

Source: Anything that can be Connected, will be Connected (Part 1 of 2)

Ready to Monkey Around Making A SMART Workplace?

Monkey

It’s the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey. This seems the perfect time to launch The Smart Workplace blog because, according to the ancient Chinese zodiac, 2016 is destined to be a year infused with exuberance, unconventional problem-solving, and increased communication. This blog is all about that! I’m exuberant about the 2nd edition of Working Virtually, in final edits before publication this fall, exuberant and delighted to share what I learned while writing it. I found some surprises and exciting, unconventional ways teams work today. I’m continuing many conversations and want to invite you into the conversation. So… I’m starting a blog on The SMART Workplace!

What is The SMART Workplace (TSW)?

  • TSW is an organization that is driven by its mission and vision
  • TSW builds flexible, mobile and dynamic teams – and supports them
  • TSW develops leaders, not task managers
  • TSW is agile and knows when to adopt new ways of working
  • TSW understands technology and builds systems for collaborative communication around a network of teams.

Being SMART saves companies money. The General Service Administration (GSA) has gotten really workplace smart in how they manage office space. They tackled a cost-saving challenge with smart, unconventional problem-solving that saved the Feds – and U.S. taxpayers – millions of dollars, just in real estate savings.

Not to mention how being SMART collaboratively transformed the way they work.

How easily could you go from 6 leases to 1 office space, saving almost 50% in real estate – without crowding anyone?

The U.S. Government’s GSA did, and they did it without forcing anyone to work where they didn’t want or couldn’t work productively. This gorgeous and functional office building is the result of a highly collaborative process involving everyone who would be impacted by the building’s transformation. The building is Smart, state of the art, spacious and beautiful. Watch the quick video to see for yourself! It is technically fully integrated. Collaborative technology is everywhere with team members participating digitally and around a conference table. Workspaces reflect the way people really work.

Does your organization ensure its people have access to work spaces that meet the needs of the task at hand, with collaborative tools and resources?

A Smart workplace facilitates effective communication. Work gets done through people communicating and cooperating, no matter how networked, distributed, and flexible we become. In all my years working with people from the shop floor to the executive board room, everyone usually agrees communication is a top organizational improvement area. Especially in a perennially changing work world, communication across levels and boundaries is a critical success factor, so in this Year of the Monkey, I’ll be communicating through this blog and, hopefully, in a good conversation with you about effective communication.

Returning to the big changes impacting staff of the GSA, effective communication began before the first real estate lease was released. To build a smart workspace that worked for everyone, the GSA championed a strategic and operational collaboration among IT, Facilities, HR and staff. These champions engaged managers and team members impacted by their workspace changes. “There is a lot of underlying technology,” said Torrance Houlihan of AgilQuest, overseer of the technology install for the GSA. “But it wasn’t implemented for technology’s sake. It was implemented to let people choose how and when they’re going to interact with the building, and then to give them feedback from the building when they do that.” [emphasis mine]

How did Houlihan and his team build a workplace they could be confident people would choose to interact with, using the technology, leveraging the building, and connecting with each other?

They asked…

They had iterative communication among all employees whose workspace was going to dramatically change. The way the GSA team led this hugely disruptive change process is the real story. The collaboratively built an unconventional building that works for everyone. Deep employee and stakeholder engagement ensured the good design behind the building itself. The feedback and continuous engagement enabled a powerful solution to a financially driven cost-savings need.

Is your organization Workplace Smart? How do you know?

There are many simple ways to monkey around and leverage mobile work, the digital network and office space to be a SMART workplace. We’ve been doing it for decades now. In this Year of the Monkey, I’m excited to bring together success stories, experts, current best practices, tips and resources, so please subscribe to The Smart Workplace blog.  Very important: Please watch for my next blog post that will come from www.TheSmartWorkplace.com and my new email, thoefling@TheSmartWorkplace.com!

Join me and the SMART Workplace team in an exciting, ongoing weekly conversation.

Sign up today to be sure not to miss next Wednesday’s post, which will include a free QuickCheck SMART Workplace Readiness assessment, too, so you can get a sense of how SMART your workplace is.