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OPINION


deputy Editor, training journal @LightbulbJo


Cook looks T


he world of teamwork is changing. A World Economic Forum report on the future


of jobs states that “the general trend towards flexible work… [is] one of the biggest drivers of transformation of business models in many industries”.1 Many of us are working flexible hours, from home, in job shares, matrixed managed rather than the more traditional hierarchy, and with teams connected virtually around the globe. We need to think about how our teams behave differently. I’ve mentioned before in this column about the challenges of working remotely as part of the TJ team. Te editorial team of three are in various locations in the south of England; I’m in Surrey, Debbie Carter in Cambridge, Jon Kennard in Bristol and the head office is in London, where the design, production, events and other support services are located. Add into that various flexible working processes and you can imagine some of the challenges we face. We aren’t unique. Lots of businesses,


large and small, take advantage of talent and their varying needs in


❝ 6 | July 2017 |


Jo Cook focuses on working as a virtual team in the 21st century


With us all working different hours and days it can get complicated to schedule Skype meetings or get attention paid to an issue which might have greater urgency for one of us while another team member isn’t around. Luckily we are all in the same time zone, whereas many people start early, late or both in order to cater for their colleagues or clients. Tere are also some huge positives,


though. We all know, and trust, that we’re each working hard – that trust builds over time. As seasoned professionals, we have developed communication methods that suit us. Jon and I use text chat on Skype a lot during the day, whereas Debbie and I use email more. We also have a Skype group for the three of us, for when we need those team chats and video meetings. Something else that helps


Lots of businesses take advantage of talent and their varying needs in order to get the most out of them


order to get the most out of them. But working as a remote, distance or virtual team can have its challenges. We rarely all get to see each other. We had lunch in London at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum in June. Prior to that, we hadn’t physically met since February when Jon started. However it could be worse – some teams are in different parts of the globe and might never get this joy!


is a clear delineation of our roles and responsibilities, but with the team spirit to support and help whenever we can. Lastly, as you’ll know by now if you’ve spent time with me, it’s also about lightness and having a laugh with each other. So next time you hear about a virtual team, don’t groan. Ask how it works for them, and one day it could work for you too!


Jo Cook is deputy


editor of TJ and responsible for www. trainingjournal.com/ webinars and the online community. She can be contacted at jo.cook@ trainingjournal.com


Reference 1 http://bit.ly/2sBH2px


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