The Virtual Team Room

By Kevin Cude

Photo courtesy of DVIDS and taken by Capt. Adan Cazarez.

The team room has drastically changed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This allowed the opportunity for company and team leadership to find new and innovative ways to train in preparation for deployment. Teleworking and virtual training can have a positive or negative impact on a team. Face-to-face time has been significantly less and finding ways to continue to build the team dynamics and gain a

better understanding of the team has been a task. This difficulty is especially pronounced for tactical and engagement training which hinders teams from gaining the

necessary skills to push forward for deployment. The best way to understand a

teammate is to work with them in person and figure out how they conduct themselves in a given situation. This awareness allows the trainer to adjust procedure and determine the necessary means to improve performance. Understanding the different platforms for communication and the different training opportunities for teams during the pandemic was key to maximizing available training time.

COVID-19 changed the ways teams communicate. There have been many

platforms that have been tried throughout the pandemic, some more successful than

others. For my organization it began with DCS and progressed through Slack, Signal,

WICKR, and finally Microsoft Teams. These platforms allowed for consistent

communication whether by video or cell phone. Allowing teams to have that constant

face-to-face contact ensured they were still conducting the necessary training in

preparation for deployment. Teams have found that Microsoft Sharepoint and Microsoft

Teams are amazing tools, especially when working remotely on the same products.

These platforms grant the ability to have multiple people editing the same document at

one time, which is invaluable when developing products for Mission Analysis or a

planning exercise. Both tools facilitate remote collaboration without continuously

updating master slides or trackers. The tools to work remotely and still maintain

consistent collaboration have become more important during the pandemic. This time

can truly make or break a team, illuminating the team members who are going to put in a full effort and those who are not. It also highlighted property deficiencies. When not all

members have a government issued computer it takes additional time and planning to

ensure that everyone is on the same page no matter where the location. Utilizing the

different tools and just going back to basic communication allows those teams to

continue on the right track as they prepare for future deployments.

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