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Remote Work Experts Eikenberry and Turmel Discuss How to Nurture Virtual Teams

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The number of US employees working remotely rose from 17 percent pre-COVID-19 to 44 percent after the pandemic hit. Working remotely has led to a number of challenges for individuals, leaders, and even middle-managers. Remote work experts Eikenberry and Turmel, discuss how to nurture virtual teams.

Anyone who works on a team knows team connectivity and communication has also taken a hit for many. […]

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NOTES: Remote Work Experts Eikenberry and Turmel Discuss How to Nurture Virtual Teams

Wayne Turmel and Kevin Eikenberry in their new book, The Long Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere, discuss what we can all do to help, to keep flourishing relationships, and maintain connections with our remote teammates.

There is a difference between somebody who’s just on the team and someone who’s a teammate. 

Team members, think of productivity, getting the right work done at the right time.

Real teammates build connections and support the team. Teammates also work and think proactively. They get things done without being asked, using discretionary effort. They reach out when it is not them that have a question; but when it is somebody else that needs help. Also, they also consider the impact of their communication and actions on the relationship they are having with other teammates over time. To them, my job is my work plus the team’s work.

To them, my job is my work plus the team’s work.

Prior to now, a lot of our challenges communicating clearly were overcome by the fact that we were in physical proximity. And we got by, using a lot of visual and nonverbal cues that helped even the most obtuse of us figure stuff out. But that is changing, especially with remote working or the new hybrid working model. We all however need to realize that, when team work suffers, we all share in the pain and loss – individually and collectively as an organization.


3 Myths About Disengaged Employees That Every Manager Needs to Know

Rather than see disengaged employees as a threat, employers should view them as an opportunity to identify what’s not working. The reality is, disengaged employees are obvious signs that there are unaddressed issues within the workplace.

A disengaged employee will most likely not be participating in company activities, events and conversations. There will be decrease in productivity since the employee will be doing the barest minimum. The quality of the little work that is done will keep dropping, while deadlines are missed. The employee by now is obviously apathetic, cynical, lacks enthusiasm and initiative. Soon, it becomes difficult to lay a hold on his or her whereabout because of frequent absenteeism, tardiness and check out. All or most of these would have been happening, before finally, the person checks out of the company.

The 3 Myths About Disengaged Employees

Below are the three common myths that will help managers better understand what leads to employee disengagement.

Disengaged Employees are Lazy and Bad Employees. Not every disengaged employee is a poor performing one and not all happy employees are engaged. Employees become disengaged when they don’t feel like they’re setup for success.

“Employee disengagement is something that builds up over time. It’s a culmination of lots of small events that leads to a change in attitude and mindset.”

– Suzie Finch (The Career Improvement Club)

It’s HR’s Job To Fix Employee Disengagement. Both management and leadership, through communication, can keep everyone in the loop of where the company is at the moment, and where it is going. While HR is responsible for employee engagement at a macro level, managers are responsible for it at a micro level – maximizing their one-on-one engagement opportunities.

It’s Easy to Re-Engage a Disengaged Employee. To re-engage disengaged employees, you have to address and solve the problem. So the question is, why create the problem in the first place? And again, when the base problem is solved, the employer still has to rebuild trust, and ‘manage’ the employee, who may possibly be on the look out that the problem won’t happen again.

Disengagement isn’t a one time incident. It’s a series of triggers that happen over time, especially when the path to success is no longer visible. And it is just one of those ways how the pandemic has impacted on us as individuals, our work, work-life and our work-life balance.

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