Virtual teams: pressure points and victories

“Too little communication, and there’s no learning and no synergy. Too much communication, and all the minds end up in the same place, focusing on the same types of solutions”. (Fall 2019 MIT SLOAN Management Review

“Our team has deteriorated: less travel, only virtual meetings, time pressure, little social interaction, and production lines have issues. More stress means our team really struggles and morale is not good”. (RW3’s virtual teams survey 2018 Executive review)

Of course, no “one size fits all”: GÉANT project teams (actual and virtual) have been delivering products and services year on year, and yet… does some of it sound familiar?

There is little doubt that virtual teams are here to stay; there is also little doubt that the amount of pressure or level of demands on virtual teams will decrease.  

So, the main challenge for virtual teams is not just to survive but to thrive and continue to be successful.

To address this challenge the GLAD team has been working with our learning partner “Global Integration” to put together a training programme to help us to create and maintain virtual teams as an effective, happy and productive environment.

About the training programme

The training programme will consist of 6 modules (90 minutes duration, either in the morning or afternoon) delivered live online and facilitated by Tony Poots – a true expert with many and many years of experience of helping people to work successfully in a virtual environment.

As well as 6 online modules participants will have access to relevant online learning resources (Global Integration learning platform) in between the live sessions with Tony on hand to support you every step of the way.

Although this is a modular programme it is essential to complete all 6 modules to get the full benefit of this programme (please ensure your are there from the beginning!)

The Six modules (live online sessions) will cover the following themes:

Module 1 Communication heartbeat (how to manage attention and disconnection, how to “tame” communication tools and how to inject emotions and nuance).

Module 2 No trust, no Team: how to keep in step and move forward (what does “trust” mean in the context of virtual team working and how to build it in the absence of informal opportunities)

Module 3 Creating result-oriented environment (when to collaborate and when not, how to simplify and achieve cooperation (“Star and spaghetti”), fewer and better meetings)

Module 4 Virtual team culture – how to create one? (We all bring our own cultural preferences into a team. Is there such a thing as virtual team culture?)

Module 5 It is a balancing act (how to balance control and autonomy, how to manage multiple bosses and own goals in the face of ambiguity)

Module 6 How to influence without authority (toolkit for getting things done through positive influence)

And here is something that we are not used to so much: live sessions will NOT be recorded, instead you will be invited to have a ‘buddy” and if you miss a session the buddy will be able to step in and brief you on the most useful and memorable/relevant moments of the session.

Why are we doing it this way? There are several reasons for this:

  • Sessions will be interactive (no lectures!) – they will be very practical and hands-on so that you will be able to make changes (if relevant) straightaway.
  • For all the useful tips and tools to work for us we need to bring in the context of real life, GEANT-based scenarios, and this is impossible without you!
  • Tony’s approach to these sessions is to work with the audience as a virtual team, so that all the participants will feel like a team, and experience the process of becoming and working as a virtual team.


How to register?

If so, please use this links to register.

Morning sessions

Afternoon sessions

The programme will run on the following dates with the choice of either morning (10:30 am CET) or afternoon (4:30 pm CET) session. Once registered it may be possible to alternate the time of the session to attend (maximum number of participants for either morning or afternoon session is 20).

18 March 2020 “Communication heartbeat”

25th March 2020 “No trust, no team”

3  April 2020 “Creating result-oriented environment”

7 May 2020 “Virtual team culture – how to create one?”

15 May 2020 “It is a balancing act”

29th May 2020 ” How to influence without authority?”

Please note that the maximum number of participants for either morning or afternoon session is 20.

If you have any further queries about the programme please contact

Additional resources

In the meantime, have a look at some of the resources listed below – to whet your appetite:

“5 Habits of resilient teams”

“Collaboration tools that will enhance Virtual Team productivity”

“7 Creative Virtual Team-Building Activities”

“Building and leading high-performance Remote Teams”

“The case for silence in meetings”

“Removing the roadblocks to autonomy”

“Rising stars – tools for remote teams to watch in 2020”

In the meantime, wishing you and your virtual team real and tangible success!