Telework, Team and Resilience
Following our article about Decontainment management in companies, it is obvious that the share of teleworking and virtual work that we are currently experiencing is destined to continue beyond this period of crisis; by choice or by necessity.
But are we, despite the personal and organizational adaptation efforts already made, sufficiently prepared to work at the same time from a distance, as a team, and this in the long term?
According to scientific literature(1), several constraints can occur under these conditions; some acute (e.g. time pressure, understaffing, etc.) and others more chronic, but also just as damaging (e.g. lack of competence of a member, late submission of reports, non-attending or being passive at virtual meetings, etc.).
Thus, dwelling on these "banalities" of daily life becomes fundamental so that the teams in place do not see their cohesion, well-being and performance crumble over time. We are therefore talking here about team resilience capacity, i.e. how to resist stress factors and overcome them in order to continue to function, without exhausting all its resources.
« A group of resilient individuals does not make for a resilient team! »
Therefore, in order to strengthen this resilience in virtual teams, it could be helpful to implement a simple mode of reflection, i.e.:
- Practice self-reflection during difficult situations by not letting yourself be guided by automatic self-interpretations such as « he’s doing this out of laziness; she doesn’t belong here; he’s rude, etc. », but by actively identifying the real causes and planning concrete actions.
- Then, it is therefore a question of taking action in two basic ways:
- Regulating emotional expression: e.g. speaking openly at the first sign of potential problems, asking questions when in doubt, celebrating yourself when successful, varying your communication channels according to necessity, letting go, etc.
- Promote inclusion of members: e.g. give more space for passive members to speak, express that the lack of individual skills is a team challenge to be solved, openly encourage individual participation, etc.
Secondly, with regard to teams as a whole and acute stress factors, according to research(2) it is possible to intervene before, during and after a difficult situation.
1) Degbey, W.Y. & Einola, K. (2019). Resilience in Virtual Teams: Developing the Capacity to Bounce Back. Applied Psychology: An International Review.
2) Alliger, G.M., Cerasoli, C.P., Tannenbaum, S.I., & Vessey, W.B. (2015). Team resilience. Organizational Dynamics, 44, 176–184.