Challenges and opportunities – flexible work patterns present real challenges for teams

Challenges and opportunities

Today’s flexible work patterns present real challenges for teams. Shifts, part-time working, flexitime, home working and teleworking can make it really difficult for team members to get to know each other and have regular meetings.  Teams with members working at different locations find it time-consuming and expensive to get together. Some jobs make communicating difficult, for example, call centre operatives sit side by side, but the pressure of being almost continually on the phone may mean team meetings can only be held during the lunch break.

I mainly communicate with my team by e-mail. But it’s hard for a new person to get to know the rest of the team when they join.

Call centre supervisor

On the plus side, technology provides opportunities for new ways of working.

eleconferencing shrinks distances, allowing team members at different sites to hold a team meeting. E-mail and newsgroups allow members working at different times to communicate on a daily basis. One benefit of virtual teams is that you get to know people according to their opinions rather than making an initial judgement from their appearance.

…fundamental changes have taken place in the work environment which force people and organisations to operate in two places simultaneously: the physical space and the electronic space.

While these new methods have their own advantages, like the speed of e-mail communications, there is still a need for team members to get to know each other and interact socially.

Now do this
What challenges does the team that you lead face?
[space to write about 2 lines]
How have you overcome these challenges?
[space to write about 2 lines]

Some companies recruit a part-time leader for each part-time shift. That way, the leader is in touch with the team.

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