Virtual Teamwork and Belbin Team Roles: Survey Analysis

During the past decade, many organisations began to take advantage of the benefits of virtual teamworking, recognising the opportunity it presents to deploy the best human capital for the project at hand, regardless of geographical location.

During 2020, everything changed. A great many organisations moved rapidly to remote working, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, without necessarily having strategies in place to measure the effects. Since the change happened so quickly in many organisations, the ramifications are not yet fully understood.

"There are pros and cons to working remotely and for me and many people a balance of office and remote is ideal, which will be our new normal. Working from home requires more discipline and trust, and rather than relying on face time it means managing more by objectives and giving regular feedback which will be helpful even when we return to the office."

Top Belbin Team Roles: Co-ordinator and Implementer

Positives

Remote working reduces running costs, allows employees better to manage work-life balance and improves diversity, giving the team a broader perspective and boosting productivity.

"There is no going back - I am embracing the 'new normal' and looking forward to the changes in the workplace and the positive impact on the climate (air quality)."

Top Belbin Team Roles: Shaper and Co-ordinator

Drawbacks

However, virtual working has its drawbacks too—the risk of isolation, presenteeism, missed cues and technology failures, to name but a few. Given restrictions imposed by national lockdowns in many countries, most employees working remotely are working from home, in makeshift office spaces, amidst distractions from family and other responsibilities. This presents quite a different picture to virtual working in its previous incarnation, where teams might collaborate across geographical boundaries, but in offices or dedicated work spaces.

"Worked hours have increased. Meetings are taking place later in the evenings than they would have before he pandemic as we all struggle to find time to meet. Significant shift in the way we collaborate."

Top Belbin Team Roles: Specialist and Teamworker

Our research

At Belbin, we wanted to find out more how ‘going remote’ is affecting all areas of work, including engagement, productivity and management. We wanted to get a better understanding of the benefits and drawbacks according to teams themselves, and to understand what part Team Roles can play in how we adapt to virtual teamwork.

At the end of 2020, we surveyed 142 individuals, most of whom had been exclusively working remotely for the past six months, and some of whom had either remained in the workplace or had been doing some of each (the ‘combined group’).

Our findings

There were some interesting findings regarding productivity and engagement, and there are some definite links to Team Role behaviour.

Fill in the form to download the 12- page survey analysis. Do you the findings resonate with you? Let us know! #belbinteamroles #virtualteamwork

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