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An Interview with Ph.D. Ella Glikson regarding Visualized Automatic Feedback in Virtual Teams

Transcription of interview with Ph.D. Ella Glikson, Lecturer at the Graduate School of Business Administration from Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

Research and Development Department

Victoria Gálvez, Senior Project Manager,

Flavia Cáceres, Project Coordinator,

Pablo López, Research Coordinator,

Andres Delgado, Research Coordinator,

Andrea Cañizares, Research and Development Coordinator

(August 26th, 2021)

00:00 Flavia Cáceres: Ms. Ella, are you okay with the interview being recorded and the later transcription of the recording for our use?

00:10 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Yes. Within company use, no problem.

00:12 Flavia Cáceres: Okay. Thank you. Now, Pablo is going to explain the purpose of this interview.

00:22 Pablo López: Thank you, Flavia. Hello, my name is Pablo, and on behalf of our team, we'd like to thank you for taking the time to join us today. We appreciate it. We would like to discuss some topics related to remote working and global virtual teams. In order to do that, we crafted some questions to guide our conversation. So, before we start, please be sure that your insights are of great value to us. All of the information obtained here will be studied, analyzed, and used to create further knowledge based on your experience and expertise. This will help organizations to work better remotely. So, having said that, let's start with the first question. As Flavia mentioned, we are a remote team too. And as such, we know from experience that remote teams face different problems than office teams. In fact, we have been remote since the very beginning. So, everyone has their own opinion, everyone has their own study, their own data related to this.

That's why we wanted to ask you, what have you identified to be the main challenges that teams experience while working remotely?

01:42 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: I'm going to add this additional complexity because when you work in different teams—and I don't know if you work on one project or you all have different projects and belong to different virtual teams—each team has different problems. Can you relate to that? Because sometimes they’re all virtual, they can all be global, they can have very similar compositions, and still one team can work perfectly and be fun and very productive, and another team can really struggle. So, one of the issues, one of the biggest challenges for me, after 8 years of studying virtual teams, is that there are huge differences between teams. Each team is dealing with a little bit of a different challenge and there is not one solution for all. The more we're going to try to have one solution for all teams, the more we're going to have problems because they don't react similarly. Each team has some different complexity. Some teams react nicely to instructions and to structure and to making sure that no one is being late. In other teams, it is enough that one team member is very annoyed by the rules and by the restrictions and by criticism, and everything is blown off. So, nothing is working. One of the issues with virtual teams—remote work in general—is that it is very important to treat teams as entities and to understand that teams are different, and this is why the challenges could be different as well as the problems and the solutions. So, I'm sorry if I disappointed you for not having [laughing] one big solution for all, but this is a very big question. And, frankly, a lot of managers don't understand this, and they think that if they manage successfully one virtual team, they know it all, but it’s completely not true. I can give you an example, a very simple example. Right now I see your faces and it is very nice. I really like to see you and know you are there, but in some teams, there are a lot of introverted people who feel really conscious when they see themselves on the screen. And because they see themselves, instead of being happier and more open, it closes them up, so they will not speak, they will be more shy, they will not intervene in the conversation or not contribute at all. In this cases, for them, it's so much better when we don't see them. This is not something that is obvious to a lot of people, but sometimes, turning off the camera is a good thing, something that can contribute to a better conversation for a specific person. This requires me as a team manager, for example, to know who my teammates are and what makes them tick, what bothers them, what is difficult for them, and what actually contributes to them.

04:47 Pablo López: Thank you. I'd like to follow up with two different questions. First, you mentioned that there are teams within teams that function differently, even though it's a remote setting, even though they are working virtually. So, I'd like to know if you have identified some specific characteristics of specific fields of those teams within teams that do not work as well as others remotely.

05:13 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: One of the issues that we looked at was the conscientiousness of team members. One of the things that actually play a great role is the proportion of different traits that you have in a team. I can give you an example about conscientiousness, this is only one way of looking at it. There is a theory called Big Five, I don’t know if you’ve studied Psychology and whether you know this theory, but Big Five theory says that everyone has five main characteristics, which include openness, extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. So, conscientiousness is a highly important quality. If the team has highly conscientious people, then they don't need anything external to the team help them work well, but if you have a high proportion of less conscientious people, then a lot of different problems, like free-riding, can occur. Additionally, from the same issue, from the composition point of view, if you have a lot of extroverted people in your team, what happens is that they all want to talk. They might interrupt each other, so sometimes the conversation is not going to be as smooth as it should be. On the other hand, if in this team two people are highly introverted, which means they don't like speaking up, you might never hear them in a team. Although they might have very smart ideas and a lot of things to contribute, you will never hear them because they are not pushed enough in this virtual situation. So, traits are one of the issues that can definitely explain how teams are working.

06:55 Pablo López: Got it, thank you so much for that. That's exactly what our next question will be about, so we can follow up on this. For every challenge or problem, there has to be a solution. Working remotely and working globally presents its own challenges. So, based on what you have just said, we would like to know, what have you identified to be a solution for that?

07:19 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: I can say from a research point of view, one of the things that we looked at is the richness of the communication, to what extent we need to have video and to what extent we need to communicate in writing. There is a misperception that the more we do video, it's better for a team, but it's not true. It depends on the team's characteristics and composition. One of the things that I looked at in the research is the diversity of English proficiency. If all team members have similar proficiency in English—they could be all bad or good or mediocre—then video is working well for them. But, if there are discrepancies and some people are very good, but others are very bad, then video puts a lot of pressure on the team. In this case, it is so much better if they use Slack or something which is more text-based. This means that video is not always better. It's nice, it's good to see each other once in a while, but to work effectively, they can do it much better using text or instant messaging, for example. Frankly, we don't have a lot of great solutions for remote teams. Although we studied them for a very long time, we don't have great solutions. What we deal with is mostly media, what kind of media channel we should or shouldn't use, and not just the ones that are being developed right now. If you have any cool tools that you want to test or whatever, let me know. It could be very nice to see if they work in practice, but basically, there is a lot still unknown. But again, the more you tailor the solution for the problem that you have identified—and for each team the problem can be more specific—then you're going to do better. And I will tell you one thing before I forget because I think it’s very important. One of the things that happen is that when we work remotely, we have no idea what other people are doing. We don't know whether they are working, whether they are contributing, and what they are dealing with right now. So, it's very important to communicate as much as possible with each other, tell others what I am doing right now and what I'm working on because we have this perception that when we do something, others do know what we are doing. Feedback is highly important, always. “Do I understand what you mean? Did I get it? What exactly is bothering me right now? I wasn't very happy about a meeting.” Something that could be built in after each meeting. Everyone can point something out, even anonymously. Like, “I couldn't speak, I didn't have my turn. Everybody was speaking, but I didn't have a chance to say anything.” This is something that can be a general idea for people to know what the problem is.

10:38 Pablo López: Yes. I don't know if you've noticed, but when you mention these things, we're all nodding at the same time because we've experienced that, we know how challenging it is. I liked that you mentioned not always having the cameras on and how this is not always important. When you don't have the camera on, when you don't have these connections, it seems that is causing challenges. But it is something new that we hadn't heard yet that meetings can still work without having the cameras on always. Also, what you mentioned about these perceptions, to know what everyone is working on, to try to acknowledge that in your workspace. I think that's important and I agree with that.

11:22 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Cool.

11:24 Pablo López: Thank you. Let's go with the next question, please. For this one, I will hand it off to Andrés.

11:30 Andrés Delgado: Thank you. The third question is, What have you identified to be the main aspects to enhance a team's culture in a remote environment? Because we know, even in a physical environment, it's really difficult for employees to adapt to the organization and culture and share goals, objectives, and characteristics. It's even harder in a virtual setting. What can you tell us about this?

12:01 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: There are two different aspects that I'm going to address in this question. The first one is physical, how do you communicate culture in the organization? You do it sometimes through artifacts. You have the company's logo, and you have it in each corridor, every paper, everything saying that you belong to this company. For example, I can see the company's logo behind Andrés and behind Flavia, and this does something. I can also see the backgrounds of Pablo and Andrea being very similar, and believe it or not, this has the effect of belonging. So, I can imagine you being in the same space or belonging to the same organization, the same group. It is very anecdotal if you all use the same backgrounds, this is something that can unify you and also bring you into one virtual space. Because even when each of you work from home and everyone has something different, like a window or whatever, if your virtual background is the same, this is something that communicates that you belong to the same group. These types of artifacts are important. I don't know any research that has already shown it, but it's kind of common sense based on the social psychology that I studied. An additional thing that is good in virtual communication or remote work, in general, is that you can get the same message through different channels, so it's easier to know what is important because the manager can say the same things again and again, using different media and it's actually working. People are getting the message, and they know that this is important because it gets to you through different channels. Sometimes, in a physical organization, it's difficult to do that because you cannot hear what he said again, but then you get an email, a message, a meeting, again and again, the same mantra, the same value, and the same issue, so it is actually getting to you. Now this is the second thing, which is not less important. As a team, one of the most important things is to have fun, have positive affect, and build social relationships among people. It's a very important and sudden difference between collaboration and socialization. Sometimes, we don't understand that we need a meeting just to have fun, just to laugh, to hear a very good joke or to just complain about the weather, COVID or something. And it's good. It's valuable, even if it takes some time that we didn't plan for, or we are stressed to do something else. It's very important to have time for those kinds of activities, which can bring teams together. One of the research that exists is that when a virtual team first talks about the similarities between them and social issues and only then they go and talk about tasks, they are much more successful because they know each other, even a little bit more. It's much better than just jumping to do the task like, “We have little time to do the task, let’s just do the task.” Being a team is also a task and something that team members should note.

15:12 Andrés Delgado: Thank you so much. So basically trying with these artifacts or little details to make a team's characteristics bond socially.

15:20 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Social bonds are very important. By the way, when I say mutual background, don't make it always mandatory because this can be boring, and it loses its meaning. At some points, you can use it as an effect like, “Tomorrow we are all going to go with this background,” and everyone is using the same background, like a beach or something. It doesn't have to be very serious or profound, but sometimes it’s a fantastic idea because you can see that everyone is the same, and everyone is different in very small ways, which is very good. And yes, especially virtual teams need a lot of time for socialization to get to know each other.

16:01 Andrés Delgado: Thank you.

16:04 Pablo López: Yes, I also agree on that. I don't know to what extent this is true or if this has been proven in the literature, but I always say that people underestimate the relationships that co-workers need to have, the social bonds they need to create. That's something that you miss a lot when working remotely because you don't see people. For example, with these guys, we haven't met in person ever. We have been remote for more than a year now. We try to have gatherings where we play and get to know each other, and also ask questions about our personal lives. But, as you mentioned, it's more challenging in a remote setting.

16:44 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Definitely, and you need to know what kind of games to play. There are a lot of games that people play, especially to get to know each other. There are a lot of things that you can do when it's built-in, but if it is not something mandatory it can work because otherwise it can be forced. You all look very young, but in some teams, there's a huge variety of ages and this is something that can be a very big problem because people feel uncomfortable, especially when any type of diversity is there. So, it's very important to find something that is similar, something that you can build upon. And then, there's a lot of research on self-disclosure, but when I was writing my paper about the communication climates in virtual teams, I couldn’t find all that relational communication, all those social contexts. They were not in the literature, as if it’s not important. Knowledge sharing is only professional and only task-related. Yeah, it’s not. Social ties are very important as well.

18:08 Pablo López: They are. All right, so we can move on with the next question, which is related to motivation and engagement. Well, even in an office environment, people struggle a lot with motivation. It's a daily battle. And there have been a lot of discussions. As I mentioned earlier, everyone has their own opinion about this, everyone has their own research, their own data about this, but we want to know, what have you identified to be the main aspects that keep teams motivated and engaged in a remote setting?

18:39 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: I think that it's very trivial, but it actually works when you try to motivate other people and you give them positive feedback about the process and the way they work. So, instead of saying “Hi”, say, “Wow Flavia, this is a great job. It was so good that you wrote to me to remind me about this meeting.” So, this is something that is working fantastically, especially in remote teams where we have so little feedback about what we do. When you send an email, do you know whether people got it or didn't get it? Did they read it? Did they address it? You don't know. Sometimes they reply, sometimes they don't reply. When they don't reply, you don't know why they didn't reply. Maybe they don't like you, maybe they didn't like the email, or maybe they didn't have time. We, as humans, do a lot of attributions and sometimes those attributions are completely wrong. We think that we did something wrong, or we were not right, or we phrased something in the wrong way, or our timing was not correct. So, we have a lot of blame and a lot of negative feelings about this void that is created by remote work. So, feedback! If you get an email—and I don’t always follow this myself, but if you get an email and you cannot get to it, say, “Hi, got your email. Sorry, running late, don't have time. I'm going to read it on Saturday or Friday.” Tell them when it's going to happen and give any kind of feedback that you are there and in a positive way. There is very interesting research. It's a theory saying that our emails are perceived more negatively than we intended them to. So, if we write a completely neutral email, sometimes it's being perceived as more negative. Pablo, you're smiling. Tell me why.

20:24 Pablo López: Well, I didn't know that. I'm scared about that now [laughing].

20:33 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: We need to be more positive because when we say something face to face and you see the smile or you see the emotional expression, it says what we were feeling, but if we don't do this, especially if you write very short emails, sometimes it can be perceived as angry. So, one of my strengths of the research is the interpretation of written communication, and believe me, we are very bad at this [laughing]. We are very bad at interpreting. So, this is why positive feedback and emotional feedback can be good things.

21:09 Pablo López: Yes. I think that's something that we can all relate to. When receiving emails, they usually seem very straightforward, very serious. When you use Slack, for example, people usually use a little emoji when they say, “Hello, how are you?” And you just smile when you see that because it’s different. It’s not like they say, “Hello, do this and do this other thing.” And I think that also helps us be more motivated.

21:32 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Yeah, but never do this in email in your first impression. We have a paper, which was highly cited, and it says that when you use an emoji in an email with people that you don't know, in a professional context, it communicates very bad things. When you do it in a team, with people that you know, I think you’re right. It actually—and this is something I’m working to try to show because research doesn’t say it yet, but emojis used in a team, this actually creates better climate and better social tights. But when you do it in email with people that don't necessarily know you, don’t.

22:18 Pablo López: Yes, absolutely. I was not thinking about doing that. No way. Thank you so much. Now we can move to the next question, which is related to skills. So, there are some skills that are needed to work remotely. For example, some people mention cultural intelligence when they work globally. So, we want to know about the set of skills, both hard and soft, that you have identified the ideal remote worker needs to have.

23:00 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: I don't know, I don't believe in “ideal” anything. I think that good humor is the most important thing for anything because with humor, you can resolve almost any problem. I think that in the past, people were talking about technical skills and how it is important to have technical skills. I don't think that's relevant today. I think that kids that are five years old could be very technically skilled to do most of the remote work that we have right now, like communicating remotely. This is not a problem. I think the soft skills are the most important ones, which means social intelligence, for example. But it's challenging, right? We don't know yet to what extent soft skills for remote work are different from soft skills for face-to-face work, and whether they should be different. At a conference, people were saying that technology is to blame for everything because the resolution of the pictures is not very good, so our brain is trying very hard to catch the emotions of people, and this is where the Zoom fatigue is coming from. The fatigue is due to our constant tension trying to understand what exactly people are expressing. So, making technology better. Other than that, I don't know exactly what soft skills can make you an ideal remote worker. Sorry about that.

24:57 Pablo López: No, don't worry. I liked that you said hard skills nowadays are not the most important. You're not going to hire the best programmer or the best manager. It comes down to hiring someone that is going to be working with the team and someone that is going to be a good fit for your team. And yes, soft skills are very important for us.

25:24 Victoria Gálvez: I would like to ask a question. May I?

25:30 Pablo López: Yes.

25:31 Victoria Gálvez: Maybe to put it differently. I was wondering if you have, perhaps, identified your top three skills that maybe don’t make you the ideal remote worker, but they help you be successful while working remotely.

25:49 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: So basically, I'm sure you know that term of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence talks about my ability to know myself. I think this is even more important for remote workers than for others because if I know that I'm an introvert, and I don't like my camera on, I can communicate this to other people and say, “Guys, I love you, I want to be there with you, but in the next meeting, I'm not going to turn on my camera. I'm going to still be with you, but I just can't.” So, knowing myself is one of the things that is very important. Without me understanding that this is something that bothers me, that this is very difficult for me to deal with, I won't be able to communicate it to other people and to be more successful. One thing for me in remote work, even more important than in a face-to-face setting, is knowing myself. The second thing is understanding other people. It's even more important—knowing and seeing other people—for managers of a global team. Let's say, Andrea also wants to say something, but she doesn't feel very comfortable pushing her question in. If Flavia knows that Andrea might have some questions, but she wouldn't be so confident to say that, she might ask. She might say, “Andrea, do you want to ask something?” But a lot of people are not aware of these kinds of issues and some people might be more shy. (Sorry Andrea, I didn't mean to—I was just giving an example). So, some people might be more difficult to turn in. One of the things that changes significantly remote work versus face-to-face work is that we cannot speak altogether. We sometimes say things with our body, but no one sees it, people only see our faces. That’s why sometimes it is very difficult to sign, it is like, “Wait, I do want to say something, but I don't want to interrupt the conversation.” How people manage this can be very challenging, especially when you don’t have time and you need to move on. When you do meetings—scheduled meetings—someone must ask, “Does anyone want to say something and didn't have a chance to do this?” Because otherwise people are just not going to get there. So, knowing yourself, knowing others, understanding others, and caring about other people on the team, I’d say those three things are the most important.

31:49 Victoria Gálvez: Thank you. Going back to the difference between hard and soft skills. I think that soft skills are critical, just like the ones that you have mentioned; awareness of your own limitations, then empathy with other people's limitations, and finally being able to communicate them. So, taking this into account, my last question would be, how can the organization support its employees in developing these skills? Like, do you think training is enough?

32:27 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: One of the beauties of social intelligence is that it's not fixed. You can improve it. If you have motivation, if you want to improve it for yourself, you can. The best way of approaching employees in the improvement of emotional intelligence is to provide them with reflection of who they are and what they are because we are very complex creatures and we're not always aware of our own traits and our own abilities. So going through that, providing people more knowledge about themselves can be very effective, and it can also increase the motivation of people, then knowing about other people. This is something that definitely organizations can do. I know that some organizations have already started doing that. There are a lot of different training sessions that are aimed at improving one's emotional intelligence. But also, you need to know that I'm highly biased. This is what I teach, this is what I study, soft skills. This is my bread and butter, so I’m completely biased in this sense. I think this is the most important thing in the world.

33:58 Victoria Gálvez: Thank you very much for your answer.

30:40 Pablo López: Yes. Thank you so much for this information. Let's please move on with the next question. I’ll hand it off to Andrés.

30:50 Andrés Delgado: What strategies have you identified to enhance the team's productivity in a remote setting? Because it's really hard to measure someone's productivity when you don't have them physically, you don't know if they're working or not. So have you found out anything about enhancing productivity while working remotely?

31:12 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: It's tough because productivity is also something that can be very subjective. So, let's say I wrote today two pages, and for me, it was highly productive, but let's imagine that Flavia says, “What? Two pages? I did 15 yesterday.” In this way, what is productivity and to what extent is productivity interdependent. If my two pages are stopping other people from continuing to do their work, it's very different when it's something that I need to do and it's unrelated to others. There is research on awareness tools, which are trying to map virtually what people need to do, who's doing what, and to what extent. It's very challenging because each team is doing different projects, and how do you visualize this and not that? So it's more about project management tools and stuff like that, which is also a lot about visualization. When you know what you need to do and when you understand those dependencies—because in teams, dependencies are highly important—and you know that without those two pages, no one will be able to promote. I think this is something highly important. Then communication, right? If I work from home and no one is telling me what's going on with other people, I will not know. The more communication is flowing and people are pinging me and saying, “I need this, what's going on with that?” Like being straightforward saying that this is what needs to be done, then I’ll be more productive. Free riders—this is recognized as the biggest problems of virtual teams, when people just disappear and you don't know what they do and whether they're doing it or not. However, all the recent research on COVID and remote work shows that this is completely not true, and people that work from home are more productive than when they were in the office. They suddenly feel more autonomous and they can manage the time on their own. So, the only issue is that it's really difficult. People work really long hours. Sometimes, they don't even have a normal work-life balance because they're working and they want to prove themselves, but it can lead to burnout. This is one of the issues that we still don't know, but maybe, two years after working remotely, people will have a lot of burnout, much more than before. This is why it's very important to have fun and to have some release, some socializing, and some positive emotions as a team. I don't know to what extent I answered your question, but I tried.

34:57 Andrés Delgado: Thank you for that, you actually gave us a lot of information. And going back to that last idea, there's this theory that people work more in a physical setting than in a virtual setting. However, there's a pretty big difference between working more and being busier than being more productive. So, can we say that after COVID and all of this remote trend nowadays, people are more productive when they manage their own time, and when they don't have someone just breathing over their shoulders?

35:25 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: There's a wonderful theory about autonomy, and it says that when people have more responsibility, but they also feel they have more agency and more autonomy at work, then they give more. So, if you work remotely, but your manager asks you every five minutes, “What are you doing now?” or tells you exactly what you should be doing all the time and how you should be doing that, then you will be burned out. Managers should tell you what to do and not how to do it; otherwise, it's called micromanagement. So, when you're not being micromanaged, when you have the autonomy and you know what you're doing, and you like what you're doing, then you will find the line in which you are not going to burnout. We all need to know—energies that people have, we cannot stay this way forever as we need to balance more. Virtual working means that maybe having meetings every day is too much, maybe we need to meet once every two days or so. There’s not team which is exactly the same as another. Each team is different and needs to have different dynamics and maybe be more productive in other ways. Sometimes they need to meet each day to be motivated, to feel each other, to know what they need to be doing. For other teams, once a week it would be enough. But in general, it’s feeling autonomous, feeling that I have this responsibility for my job, and that I know how to do it, and I will be capable of doing this. One of the issues is the resources. If people want me to do something that I'm not capable of doing because I don't have the resources with me or there might be other reasons, this is something very important to note. If I do have the resources, if I have the ability to decide how my work day will look like, then I think it can keep being good.

38:05 Andrés Delgado: Thank you so much.

38:13 Victoria Gálvez: I have one question. Well, I was just wondering, who do you think has a bigger challenge, is it managers trying to make sure that employees are being productive or employees trying to make sure that their managers know that they're doing something? And that sometimes it leads to not being able to find the right balance between work and life because they feel they need to prove to their leaders that they are doing substantial work.

39:05 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: It's a very good question. I think that it really depends on leadership. And, I think that being a manager of a virtual team is much more difficult than being a manager of a regular team. Especially for hybrid teams, this is the worst, because if I have people in the office, and then I have people outside the office, it's very difficult for managers to understand that those people who he doesn't see might be working much harder than those who he does see. So, it requires managers to be more emotionally intelligent and more able to have perspective thinking. There is research about the visibility issue. If I'm not visible, if my work is not visible, people think that I haven't done anything. And this is especially true for people who code, because I can work an entire day and produce like two things that work and 155 things that didn't work. No one cares about the 155 things that I have done and they are useless, but if I wouldn't do them, then I wouldn't reach the right answer. So, we need wise managers. We definitely need managers who will not push the workers to the moment that they need to communicate everything that they do. Otherwise, it just creates noise that shows someone that them doing something is a lot of noise, and we have a lot of noise when we work remotely as it is. Let's say Google spreadsheets, they have a fantastic ability to see what I edited. If I have a manager who doesn't understand all the processes that I'm doing, then I should use a tool that can demonstrate to him that I worked on it. This is all I did, but the final product or solution can be very short, and sometimes there are people who can produce everything in five minutes, while other people are going to work for three days on the same thing. So, what is productivity? It's not an effort, it’s not the same thing. And we can communicate efforts, but it's more difficult remotely because people don't see how much effort we actually put in. The more management is going to know me and know that I'm a responsible person and believe in me and trust me, the better it's going to be. Building trust with a manager and among team members is the most important thing, and it’s challenging. Sometimes I'm late, I needed to submit something and I didn't communicate how stressed I am or what's going on in my family or why I cannot work today, and people think I'm just lazy, stupid, or not responsible. It can break trust, and then rebuilding trust in remote work is very difficult. If my manager loses his trust in me, for whatever reason that could be, I will have to work really hard to repair it. But it’s different if, from the beginning, I'm trying to communicate and saying, even if it's not very convenient to me, like “I'm sorry, but today I'm not going to be able to answer any emails because whatever.” Okay, this is something that if I'm not doing every day, then it can help the manager to understand what's going on with me and then improve our relationship. This requires me to know not only what's going on with me, but also me to be able to communicate this to managers and other people.

43:09 Victoria Gálvez: Yes. It seems like there will be a very big impact in terms of the management paradigms like we might be stepping away from the traditional managerial ideas, and then maybe leaning towards a more humanistic approach.

43:19 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: It's possible. I think that in the research, most of the virtual teams that have been studied are shared leadership teams, with no one leader. And on the other hand, some research is saying that every problem of remote teams can be solved by a leader. So, these are different approaches to how things are supposed to happen. I don't believe that leaders can solve everything. He's one person. But again, the issues are humanistic approaches or social emotional aspects, definitely for remote work, managers have to be highly socially and emotionally capable, much more than technical. Remote work is something that requires someone who's sensitive enough to make the team be productive and not to fall apart.

44:17 Victoria Gálvez: Fascinating. Thank you.

44:21 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Sure.

44:23 Pablo López: Thank you so much for this. We just have one question left, which is related to your work. We would like to know, what suggestions do you have for people who wish to continue with your research?

44:36 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Go study virtual teams and ask questions. We were trying to do that in this specific paper, and we have some other paper that is now under review. So, I think trying to create nudges that should improve virtual work—I think it's very ambitious and very problematic because we didn't find the fact that you were looking for. Although we were not just very straightforward, it didn't work as we expected. So, one of the conclusions from this is that instead of going and looking for some automation for team facilitation, we should learn more about things that may work from a social perspective. I think it would be fantastic to ask people, even electronically, “How are you? How do you feel today? When did you drink water for the last time? Go have a five-minute break.” Those kinds of nudges can work when you are trying to be very productive, but I've never tested this. I would really want to see how it works, and to what extent just putting the backgrounds, which are going to be similar, makes the team feel like a unit for a specific task or how much impact there is in a yoga session or a feel-good session when someone starts laughing for no reason at all and it's being contagious. Whether it does something, whether it's helping, even when the team is stressed or in difficult situations. I would love to do more research on that, and hopefully, with some resources, it will happen. And, I understand that you work as a consulting firm of virtual teams, so I hope you have a lot of fair teams to work with and have fun knowing to what extent you are impacting and what's happening in real organizations.

47:01 Pablo López: All right. Yes, definitely. And something that we usually mention is that you can feel free to contact us if you need a remote team, we’ve been remote from scratch.

47:12 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Wait, but this is important. Wait a second. So, what do you mean by that?

47:18 Pablo López: Yes. I mean, if you want to do some research and if you want to study a remote team, we are here if you need anything, so please feel free to contact us.

47:29 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Thank you. I think it could be fascinating. My problem is that I usually need a lot of teams to compare. This is one of the problems we have in the research field. If you notice, every time we study something, we need to have at least several teams that we can do something about, which actually makes the research very challenging and also minimizes our ability to dive in and to understand what exactly is going on. But thank you so much. And, for how long have you been working together?

48:11 Pablo López: More than a year now, fully remote.

48:15 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: This is really cool.

48:17 Pablo López: Yes. So, thank you so much. Those would be all the questions we have for you.

48:23 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Thank you. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me. And I hope you make a lot of teams happier.

48:34 Pablo López: Yes. We're getting there. Thank you so much for your time. Hopefully, we can see you on another occasion.

48:44 Ph.D. Ella Glikson: Yes, I would love that. Thanks, guys.

48:52 Pablo López: Right, thank you.

48:53 Flavia Cáceres: Thank you.

—End of Interview—


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