To that we say poppycock!  Whether team members work from home, or in the office, a team can be productive and successful.  We understand this is controversial and open for debate, but we feel strongly “one size does NOT fit all”.

Trust is critical for creating high performing teams,  whether working side by side, or virtually. 

Should Your Team Work Remote or Be Onsite? 

Last month, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made a brave decision and instructed remote employees to return to company offices by July.  Some reasons included: working side by side fostered collaboration, improved communication, and inspired innovation, with the intent to grow the business.  Best Buy appears to be following suit.

Do you really need to work side by side to have a high performing team, or even be considered a team at all?

Merely bringing team members to the same location does not address what it takes to improve results and build camaraderie.

What you do need is the ability to identify what it is that’s preventing your team from providing the results you desire. Is not being in the same locale really having a negative impact? Maybe, maybe not.

We suggest reviewing the processes you have in place for your team. Teams commonly derail when there are unclear goals and purpose, when individual accountability and holding each other accountable are not priorities, when open lines of communication do not exist, when conflict is not managed in a healthy honoring and respectful manner, and the number one issue:  when there’s the inability to build TRUST.

Increasing integrity and creating trust may be developed from remote locations as well as in person. It’s what we say to each other and how we say it, it’s validating our interpretation,  it’s looking for positive intent.  It’s also speaking up and providing feedback to help individuals and teams grow.

Roughly 5 years ago we started running coaching programs for teams via telephone. Initially not everyone on the PeopleTek staff agreed with the concept, but we’re happy to share that it does work when team members and their leaders are committed to it.

Most innovation, creativity and growth can occur by any means if the elements of teams and leadership are aligned.

Even Agile (in person teams) have issues with creativity and implementation when they lack the basics of being a team and moving aggressively towards the same targets.

We’ve also discovered that some individuals are better team members and are stronger performers when they don’t see one another! (Body language and stimulation actually detract from the person’s productivity, their ability to “open up”, and gain trust).

Whether you work in person, over the telephone, or via teleconference, what really impacts performance are the elements of effective teamwork. These include:

  • Sharing and supporting vision, mission and goals
  • Aligned and agreed upon behaviors
  • Building and maintaining trust
  • Diversity and appreciation of participants (work styles, skills, talents, abilities)
  • Not fearing healthy conflict
  • Ability to handle constant change
  • Processes for innovation and reinvention
  • Rewards and recognition which are consistent across the team

Eliminating workplace flexibility may not be your solution for improving results; we do however guarantee that embracing the elements of effective teamwork will improve results!