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“Mind the G -ap: Integrating digital communication tools within a team”
Amanda Wilford, H818 Student
In 10 years, it is expected that more than one third of all employees will work remotely and today 63% of all employers have such workers (Bayern 2018) . Eurostat suggests that 25 million across the European Union now work from home (European Business Magazine 2019) . Change has expanded the team from 2 to 10 remote workers. This has occurred for multiple reasons including the merging of two education teams and new hires . Simultaneously the team is changing focus away from face to face activities to integrating technologies to offer training and consulting in simulation-based education .
Change on many levels brings about stress and anxiety. Clear and effective communication can address this and prevent isolation and exclusion (Orhan et al 2016) . Staff have access to multiple platforms including Microsoft Teams alongside e-mail. Concerns have arisen with the same the messages on all platforms or more commonly minimal communication . Staff report being excluded and are feeling lonely and isolated.
The education team need to transform their communication strategies inwardly and outward customer facing and achieve a degree of digital fluency ( Educause 2010) . The first step as a team or community is to decide which tools and for what type of communication processes internally as this will assist with the external portion . Team members are divided by countries , time zones , language and solutions are required address the communication gaps.
Creating an interactive workshop using Wenger’s Community of Practice Model ( enger 1998) is one approach to explore the digital tools currently used and to harness the knowledge , skills and attitudes of the whole team to address this gap. Working together will allow the movement from tacit to explicit knowledge to find potential or actual solutions and so foster inclusion.
Polling the wider community via twitter and internally conducting a small survey has provided a foundation to build an interactive workshop that will be delivered via an online audio- visual conferencing tool . This workshop can be recorded with permission and repeated to allow the whole team participation and access irrespective of where they are located globally . A secondary benefit is by working together relationships will be formed . fostering inclusion thus minimising loneliness .
Results and Summary
At the end of the workshop(s) a framework or rubric and a plan will be devised and integrated to address and close the communication gap. Potential training requirements may also be identified as a secondary benefit with a plan put into place ( Educause 2019). A further result is that new tools may be considered and suggested . The results will be shared with other departments in the organisation who may want to repeat the process as the education team is not the only team with remote workers .
This short presentation will discuss this process and the results to date to ‘Mind the g-ap’. This work is of interest to any with remote workers or whom work across difference teams.
Bayern, M. ( 2018) The 10 rules found in every good remote work policy. https://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-10-rules-found-in-every-good-remote-work-policy/ (Accessed 12 December 2019)
EDUCAUSE ( 2019) EDUCAUSE Horizon Report 2019 Higher Education Edition . Available at https://library.educause.edu/-/media/files/library/2019/4/2019horizonreport.pdf?la=en&hash=C8E8D444AF372E705FA1BF9D4FF0DD4CC6F0FDD (Accessed 12November 2019 )
European Business Magazine( 2019) Remote Workers in the EU: The Current State of Play https://europeanbusinessmagazine.com/business/remote-workers-eu-current-state-play/ (Accessed 12December 2019 )
Orhan, M., Rijsman, J., and van Dijk, G. (2016) ‘Invisible, therefore isolated: Comparative effects of team virtuality with task virtuality on workplace isolation and work outcomes’ Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 32, pp. 109 – 122.
Wenger , E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning , Meaning and Identity, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.