What makes for effective teams when much or all of their interaction is remote?
To help answer that, we reached out to Anita Williams Woolley, an associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. Woolley has studied best practices for distributed teams, with her research focused on collective intelligence — which she defines as “the ability of a group to work together to solve a wide range of problems” — and online collaboration.
One key finding from Woolley’s research on remote teams: The most effective ones tend to communicate in patterns of “burstiness,” short periods between focused work where team members can synchronously message one another, according to a pair of studies in the Journal of the Academy of Management that she co-authored.
Here is a transcript of recent conversation with Woolley about what that looks like and how to implement it, lightly edited for clarity:
Already a member? Sign in.
Make today’s workplace challenge tomorrow’s strategic advantage
Charter memberships deliver the research, education, events, and expert advisory that people leaders and teams need to transform themselves and their organizations.
The best way for anyone to keep up with what's new and next in the changing workplace.
Actionable insights, benchmarks and best practices designed to be used in the flow of work, plus unlimited access to Charter events for managers, rising decision makers, or your whole people team.
Charter Pro CxO
Join our community of groundbreaking CHROs and get unlimited, expert 1:1 advisory, plus custom research to help you navigate your thorniest challenges.
Trusted by change-ready and innovative companies
|Charter||Charter Pro||Charter Pro CxO|
News and Insights
Cutting-edge analysis of the latest workplace trends
Tools, templates, and benchmarks
Delivered twice-weekly in essential email briefings and written by journalists and researchers dedicated to the future of work
Original research insights and how to use them
Regular installments on AI, flexible work, and inclusion
Live events and on-demand workshops
Meet and learn directly from global experts building the future of work
On-demand analysis, answers, and action plans to save you time and make you smarter
Coaching and advisory
Unlimited on-demand expertise – for a fraction of the cost of analysts and consultants
Custom team briefings
Host live research briefings for your whole people team on topics you care about most