Remote Vibe for Virtual Teams

The Remote Vibe for Virtual Teams was born after an extensive research about what is needed to have a great team working in a remote way. This research was part of my Master in Technologies of Intelligence and Digital Design, developed at Pontifical Catholic University (PUC), in São Paulo, Brazil. My main research object was analysing the roles of digital tools in creative remote work. Besides the tools’ analysis, what I could find is that a real, genuine collaboration is only possible when the team feels safe and their members trust each other. Without these elements, building a real team is really hard, no matter how effective are the tools and resources. This, plus all the learnings about team work, leadership and facilitation that I had at Hyper Island Business Developer Program made this playbook possible.

It’s well-known that building trust and a safe environment, with psychological safety, is a hard task for any kind of team, even when they see each other every day at the office. Imagine when the task includes a virtual or remote team, where members barely see each other in real face-to-face, and their communication is all done though digital media.

But how can we build a trustful and safety environment where the team can develop and reach their full potential? Trust and psychological safety start with truly, human relations. In face-to-face interactions or digital-mediated ones, the more people know each other, the more they show themselves as humans, vulnerable, open and honest, and the more people can relate. But in virtual teams it’s easier to hide behind screens and sometimes, more comfortable.

There is an extensive literature about remote work and virtual teams that details what is important to provide the best structure for them to work. From digital tools to Internet connection, from different kinds of communication to timezones, the subject is continuously a topic for many researchers. We can find a huge amount of tools to organize and mediate this remote work, but always with a focus on tasks and productivity. But real collaboration is not just a matter of digital tools. It’s mainly the human relations that are going to determine the quality of interactions.

"Technology allows for the electronic connection of geographically spread out individuals, but it does not necessarily lead to effective personal connection, communication and creativity. Virtual corporations and teams cannot function without information and cultural boundaries. The ultimate answers to these problems lie in the realm of human and organizational relations and creating work environments that bring out the best in people involved in these virtual structures."

NEMIRO (2001, p. 92)

In this booklet, you will find suggestions and activities for building connections and closeness among team members, through fun and enjoyable moments. I hope this can help virtual teams to have better moments at work and, in result, collaborate and create better and better products and services.

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"Developing effective virtual teams goes well beyond the technical problem of linking them together. As workers increasingly interact in a virtual mode, it is imperative that they rebuild the interpersonal interaction necessary for organizational effectiveness. While the virtual team presents a number of challenges in this area, it also presents the potential to recreate the way work is done.

Recreating teams in virtual mode requires resolution of the challenges and opportunities inherent in virtual team technology, as well as the development of a new team sociology."