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“Mind the G -ap: Integrating digital communication tools within a team”

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Edited by Amanda Wilford, Friday, 10 Jan 2020, 14:06

H818 2020 Conference Website 

http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/OU-H818/

Digital Poster Link

https://biteable.com/watch/wilford-poster-ou-h818-2425086


Abstract

“Mind the G -ap: Integrating digital communication tools within a team”

Amanda Wilford, H818 Student

 

Introduction

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. 

 Methodology

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.

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References

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.


 


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Picture of Simon Ball

Conference Questions

Hi Mandy

Here are the questions and comments from your conference presentation - please respond in whatever way you wish!

Best wishes
Simon

  • perhaps it depends if all the other workers are remote from each other?
  • My work team all work in the office but our group WhatsApp is invaluable. You can guarantee than someone will be on leave when you urgently need a quick question answering.
  • the feedback suggested some pre-workshop activity would be useful? have you considered any post-workshop activity? to steer participants into that community of practice?
  • When people work remotely is is more often their choice or an economy of the company?
  • sorry if i missed this - were the remote workers participating in this workshop remotely? did the remote and home office workers interact with the workshop in the same way?
  • yes, they should all have sat at their desks to log in to the workshop