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  • Writer's pictureFlorian Klonek

Designing SMART teamwork: How work design can boost performance in virtual teams

Are you still stuck in lockdown, working from home or coordinating most of your work "virtually" with other team members and wondered "What could my organisation or my manager do to make my life easier"?

Maybe our latest piece (with Sharon K Parker) may be of interest to you... (free copies) We take a SMART work design perspective which involves thinking about making changes in the organization of work tasks, in activities, and in managing relationships with others.

First, we give a brief summary of the scientific literature which has shown that work design can make a key contribution in helping teams reaching optimal performance.

Using the SMART model, we outline how managers should pay attention to design work for virtual teams that is Stimulating, gives opportunities to master tasks (Mastery), provides sufficient autonomy in making decisions (Agency), gives opportunities to build relationships (Relational), and that has manageable workload (Tolerable demands). Virtual work is now likely to grow even more, with many businesses globally shifting towards virtual and remote work arrangements as a result of the rapid upskilling that has ensued during the pandemic.

We give extensive advice and provide strategies for managers and organisations to support their virtual teams. We really hope this article is of use. While we acknowledge that some strategies are "generic solution" and that this may not apply to each context and case. However, we are really curious whether our advice is perceived as useful. Have you (as a manager) and/or your organisations worked out (work design) solutions to support you/staff in remote/working-from-home arrangements?

Please comment below (or contact us) and share your insights!”


Klonek, F.E., & Parker, S. (2021). Designing SMART teamwork: How work design can boost performance in virtual teams. Organizational Dynamics.

Free publisher-copies available until April 11th 2021.

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