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Reasons For Hope – Building Great Virtual Teams

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By now, the reality of managing employees at distance will be dawning on businesses around the world.

Adapting swiftly and effectively to the variety of challenges that are appearing could be the difference between success and failure.

At EBW Global, we know that leading teams in disruptive and changing times is not easy. 

With workforces split and having to be managed from afar, it is important to remember that groups of people working together have an Emotional Intelligence just like an individual does. How leadership figures and non-management individuals manage their behaviours, emotions and deploy their strengths is even more vital in these times.

Before this Covid-19 crisis occurred, there was already scepticism surrounding the benefits of virtual teams and working from home (WFH).

Trust between co-workers and between employees and management disappears quickly while working remotely and communication, collaboration, accountability and team mentality can all be negatively affected by a new dependency on virtual relationships. 

To make matters worse, individuals also tend to dislike the lack of separation between work and home life and express difficulty in overcoming these changes in lifestyle. Employees often feel isolated and lonely, leading to a dip in productivity levels and performance. 

When you then factor in the additional costs of transitioning to WFH setups and new software and training, issues around data protection and confidentiality, you can see why businesses tended to veer away from this option. 

You’ll be pleased to see that despite the fact that WFH is not so much an option as a necessity at the moment, we have some good news for you.

Business’ scepticism about WFH is not as prolific as you might think. Even before Covid-19 arrived on the scene, at least 70% of professionals worked remotely at least one day a week and 53% worked remotely for over half of the week. Given the worldwide pandemic, these statistics must now have spiked enormously. 

A growing body of scientific evidence supports the economic and performance-related benefits of WFH and this is highlighted by the fact that 31% of companies that employ remote staff are entirely virtual. 

In a much-discussed paper by Bloom, Liang, Roberts and Ling published in 2015, the impact of working from home in 249 employees was evaluated in a national travel agency. In a 9-month period there was a 13% increase in performance in those who worked from home and the company saved $2000 dollars a year per person. 

Employees working from home displayed increased work satisfaction, had better psychological attitude scores and were 50% less likely to leave their role. 

When the study ended, employees who chose to continue working from home had another performance increase, this time by 24% compared to the control group.

However, considering the isolation regulations that most of us find ourselves in at the moment, it is very important to note that despite these positive findings, a large portion of other employees who worked from home for a few months during the study immediately wanted to return to the office, stating loneliness as the key reason. 

It is clear from their answers that their desire for social interaction massively influenced this decision. This point in particular must be addressed by organisations with virtual workforces in this period of time. 

These findings give both reason for hope and reason for thought and mean that moving forward, investing time in virtual leadership and team programmes that focus on supporting your people whilst improving their performance should be a priority during this challenging time. 

EBW Global View 

Raising the profile of emotionally intelligent behaviours in your workforce is a proven method to increase productivity, efficiency and communication between your employees and maintain trust and team accountability.

Whether you are looking to improve your virtual teams’ cohesiveness and collaboration, temporarily restructure your teams, or simply (and it rarely seems simple!) improve the communication between your employees while they are WFH, an EBW Global Virtual Team Programme can help you achieve your goals. 

Combatting the ill-effects of isolation on your employees and encouraging productivity and performance that can occur while employees WFH requires careful and calculated action. Using business Emotional Intelligence you can boost team effectiveness by providing clarity around team vision and purpose, enabling trust between employees, better accountability and improve how the team work together.

With EBW team assessments you can compare team performance before and after training, enabling budget holders to have an accurate and empirical measurement of the improvement in the team's performance.

For more information on EBW Team Assessments or EBW Global Virtual Team Programme contact an EBW Global Certifiied Partner for a demonstration or book a Team Discovery Call.


The EBW is the EQ tool of choice for many world-leading companies, including: