Virtual work is challenging to managers because it requires creating appropriate processes and policies for those employees who are remote, hybrid, or prefer to be on-site.
Researchers Florian Klonek and Sharon K Parker address the question of how organizations and leadership can leverage successful work design to boost performance for virtual teams.
Work design makes use of effective planning and context to improve work tasks, relationships, activities, and responsibilities.
By modifying, adapting, and structuring processes to accommodate the environment of virtual teamwork, managers can create more effective team functioning.
𝘼𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙗𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙛𝙞𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙖𝙙𝙙𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙥𝙨𝙮𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙡𝙤𝙜𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙡 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙩𝙚𝙖𝙢 𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙡𝙪𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙬𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙗𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜, 𝙚𝙛𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙘𝙮, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙪𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙩𝙚𝙖𝙢 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜.
Using SMART work design improves team communication, information sharing, trust, empowerment, performance, and wellbeing – at the team and individual level. The first four items are the job resources that can benefit team performance.
🧠 𝗦𝘁𝗶𝗺𝘂𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 – Teams benefit from collaborating on complex issues and high-level problem solving. Cognitive tasks are better suited to the virtual environment with the right communication tools.
✅ 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘆 – Feedback and role clarity allow teams to gain competence and knowledge. Feedback can come from different sources, – i.e. peers, clients, managers at different levels – which improves task performance and interpersonal interactions.
👍🏻 𝗔𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆 – When managers avoid micromanaging and give teams some decision-making power, members can determine tasks and flexibility in how and when they get done. Autonomy boosts motivation.
👥 𝗥𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 – This is the social component of teams which includes relationship building and interdependence. It can lead to better team identity, coordination, cooperation, exchange of ideas, and planning behaviors.
⏰ 𝗧𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗗𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀 – These are the physical and psychological job demands each employee faces in completing work. Techno-stress, non-work interruptions, competing deadlines for those working on multiple teams, and time pressure need to be realistic as part of a manageable workload.
SMART work design is a framework of individual elements to measure, monitor, and experiment with to provide better team functioning and performance. Links in comments.
❓ What work design changes have you found successful on your team?
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