Virtual Survival Guide

Top 10 Tips for Remote Work Teams

By Michael Leimbach, PhD, Carl Eidson, PhD

Organizations are taking actions to reduce the impact these unprecedented times have on their business. Restricting travel, canceling large gatherings, and asking employees to work from home offices are some common reactions. In talking with people who are being asked to work from home, one of the biggest concerns is the effectiveness of virtual teams.

Many people believe that face-to-face interactions among team members are essential for effective teamwork. As it becomes imperative for people to learn how to work together virtually, it is critical for individuals and teams to find new ways to sustain optimal levels of productivity and efficiency.

Teams working remotely face unique challenges in communicating and collaborating efficiently and productively. Research conducted by Wilson Learning a few years ago highlights this problem. Our research showed that the most productive teams are those with a high level of diversity and high levels of communication skills. However, if communication skills are lacking, the highly diverse teams are the lowest-performing teams. Thus, effective teamwork and communication skills for virtual teams are even more important than for other teams. You can’t walk down the hall or into the next cubicle to discuss a problem if people are working remotely. As a result, without critical skill sets, virtual teams will fail to fully engage team members, establish clear goals and standards, and establish the processes necessary to get things done.

. . . it is critical for individuals and teams to find new ways to sustain optimal levels of productivity and efficiency.
Even a team that is working remotely out of necessity rather than choice can become a powerful asset.

Michael Leimbach, PhD

Michael Leimbach, PhD, is a globally recognized expert in instructional design and leadership development. As Vice President of Global Research and Development for Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc., he has worked with numerous Global 1000 organizations in Australia, England, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and throughout the United States. Over more than 30 years, Dr. Leimbach had developed Wilson Learning’s diagnostic, learning, and performance improvement capabilities, published over 100 professional articles, coauthored four books, been Editor-in-Chief for the highly acclaimed ADHR research journal, and is a frequent speaker at national and global conferences. He also serves on the ISO Technical Committee (TC232) on Quality Standards for Learning Service Providers and on the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development Dean’s Advisory Board.

Carl Eidson, PhD

Carl Eidson, PhD, is Vice President of Business Development for Wilson Learning. Dr. Eidson leads and coaches a virtual team of over 100 independent distributors stretching from Toronto to Bogotá and works extensively with clients. Dr. Eidson has coauthored articles on selecting top talent published in scholarly journals, including Journal of Applied Psychology, Human Performance, International Journal of Selection and Assessment, and Journal of Business and Psychology. He has also authored and coauthored articles on leadership, sales, virtual teams, and employee engagement in industry publications including CIO, Training magazine, and Sales Pro Magazine. Dr. Eidson is a frequent speaker at professional conferences on the topic of learning transfer and human performance improvement research and practices.