Communicating effectively with a virtual team

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Author: Tonya Schreiber

FEMA leadership is encouraging all employees, supervisors and executive staff to participate in “Telework Week” scheduled for the week of March 4-8 and sponsored by the Mobile Work Exchange organization.  We want to encourage all of you to use this as an opportunity to test your organization’s telework capabilities.

Some things to consider is developing a telework routine which includes creating a daily “to do” list, sticking to deadlines, maintaining communication with colleagues in the office,  as well as those also teleworking  – will help considerably while working virtually.

In addition to having the self-discipline and the right organizational and communication skills, we as an organization need to ensure that all of you have the right tools and comprehensive training  to successfully fulfill your job responsibilities and transition into a fully mobile workforce.

There’s no pretending that there can be communication challenges when working and managing in a virtual environment, where there is no hallway and no central meeting place to have conversations. To maintain this level of communication and alleviate problems everyone will need to:

  • Ensure you have a current telework agreement in place and have completed the required online training specific to employees and managers.
  • Establish a telework plan with your supervisor to include close coordination and regular check-ins and a clear understanding of deliverables and timeframes.
  • Guarantee accessibility via phone/mobile device for calls and/or teleconferences.  This includes potentially forwarding your office phone number to your mobile device.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Tools and Resources for the Mobile Workforce documents provided on the FEMA intranet.
  • Coordinate with the Enterprise Service Desk prior to March 5 to:
    • Have your laptop, IPass and associated RSA token all set up for working virtually.
    • Have access to share drives used during your regular work routine.
    • Set up Office Communicator.
    • Set up webcam capabilities to connect visually; if you currently have web cam capabilities
  • Create a mechanism that will allow you to gather data on the success and shortfalls of your team during the telework week exercise. We will be collecting this information to better assist us in updating our policies, technology and business practices.  

The goal of this telework exercise is to test our capabilities as an organization to successfully do our jobs any place, any time —achieving our goal to be a mobile-centric workforce.

Thank you for your participation.

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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