Managing Digital Team
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Smart Working

Objectives & Goals Click to read

At the end of this module you will be able to:

Communicate in a clear and effective way to your digital team


Recognize the most efficient digital tools for team management



Adopt an OKR methodology within your business and team



Guarantee the work-life balance of your employees



Compensate weaknesses by teaming up with others

Advanced level of the EntreComp competence


Inspire others and get them on board for value creating activities

Advanced level of the EntreComp competence


DefinitionClick to read

Smart working has been defined as:

  • A new way of working based on flexible work arrangements and an extensive use of information technologies that support employees to potentially work in any time and space
  • An agile and dynamic way of working that leads to high performance, increased productivity, and improved job satisfaction that result is a “triple-win” configuration for customers, employees, and organizations
Using digital technologies to improve organizational effectiveness requires a broader intervention in management and leadership capabilities. Keep in mind that the essential elements for and effective and efficient smart working are:


Golden rulesClick to read

✔ Have the necessary platforms, apps and resources. Assess the team necessities and hire or install the services needed for the correct execution of tasks;
✔ Keep a fair workload distribution and make sure that every team member knows which tasks correspond to her/him;
✔ Use video conference platforms periodically, to clarify tasks and information, also fostering a healthy and dynamic work atmosphere within the team;
✔ Keep communication open, assertive and effective. Some Tips:

  - Always answer emails and messages to confirm that you received them

  - Include the subject in every email to speed their classification and management

  - Keep workmates posted and clarify any misunderstanding if needed

✔ Plan meetings in advance in order to guarantee better effectiveness and organisation and avoid time incompatibilities


ICT tools for managementClick to read

There is a whole array of ICT tools that can improve business and team management in smart working. Here some of the most useful:

Even though a specific platform for each task would be optimal, platforms that encompass all functions are still a great option:


It is one of the most known cloud storages apps. It allows users to save and share files from the users’ own virtual hard drives, so files are safe and accessible from any compatible device.

It allows for easy planning and management for most of the tasks of a business within the same workspace. This includes project and task management, CRM, marketing, design, human resource etc.

Team Viewer ClickUp

It enables remote access to other devices. It allows users to share and control their desktops, make online meetings, videoconferences and transfer files.

An all-in-one that offers project and file management, task lists, email, messaging, tracking and follow-up etc. It is completely customisable, letting users import information from other projects and managers.


Team management

OKR MethodologyClick to read

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a modern method for goal and people management, which particularly suits for digital team and digital business, since:

  • It is based on the idea that motivation comes through ownership and self-organization
  • It allows teams to react to changes in the market on their own initiative, to be self-organized and autonomous

OKRs shall be clear to everybody within the team and are typically set every quarter to react quickly to changes.


Objectives are determined by managers and represent the overall qualitative goals of the company.


Key Results are determined by the employees in a bottom-up approach; they represent the quantitative objectives of the team.



Tasks distributionClick to read

A correct task distribution is fundamental to guarantee a proper business management and improve workers’ performance, in particular in smart working contexts. These are some of the ICT tools which can help project planning and team management:

Asana Trello

It offers details on tasks and projects and implements communication, organisation and planning in order to achieve team success.

It organises tools via Kanban tables, which allows for an enjoyable view of teamwork management.

Digital tools for communicationClick to read

In a digital team, it is essential to be in constant communication to perform all daily tasks in an effective and syncronised way. Here some tools which can help to create a central place for communication:


In the free version, Zoom gathers up to 100 participants but the duration of a session is limited to 40 minutes. The Pro version costs 13.99 euros per month and per moderator.

Cisco Webex provides capabilities including online meetings, team messaging and file sharing. Users can join video conferences from a desktop or mobile app. A web version of Webex, with less feature, is available as well.

MicrosoftTeams gathers up to 250 participants and online events with up to 10,000 participants. In addition to video conferencing, Teams offers extensive virtual collaboration features, including Office 365 integration.

GoToMeeting is an online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software package. It is available for the computer, but also as an app for smartphones and tablets.

Skype is an optimal choice for any company. Users can video call and chat via PC, tablets and smartphones. It gathers up to 50 people.

Jitsi is a free open source tool. Users can create a meeting without needing an account and invite participants sharing a URL.

Slack is a messaging app for companies, which enables conversation grouping, sorting them in threads or by topic for easier access to any team information available.  

Work Life balance in a digital teamClick to read

Major flexibility in working schedule and the use of technologies facilitate the blurring of the line between work and personal life. How can employees’ work-life balance be protected and improved in smart working?

✔ Offer a flexible working time model
✔ Clearly communicate time off for vacation time, community initiatives, health insurance and parental leave
✔ Let employees take all their vacation days and give them weekends off ( i.e., no answering emails, being able to switch the phone off at night)
✔ Encourage employees to commit to enjoying some downtime every day
✔ Organise health and wellbeing programmes (e.g., providing vouchers for a local gym and arranging meditation classes)
✔ Support social and team-building activities
✔ Show that mental health and wellbeing is taken seriously
✔ Encourage communication and make employees feel comfortable talking about personal issues or mental health


Monitor your employees’ workload regularly.

If you realize that they constantly need to work extra-time, make adjustments.



✔ To prevent costly staff turnover happening on a regular basis
✔ To boost productivity
✔ To improve the quality of results



Smart and digital leadershipClick to read

A leader motivates, stimulates, strengthens, activates and guides people.

Within the team, a leader should construct shared meanings of change, a key factor for succeeding in the desired change.


✔Fosters collaborative and open relationships
✔Empowers employees through delegation mechanisms, education and training
✔Facilitates knowledge sharing
✔Meets employees expectations and pays attention to their emotions
✔Works ethically, overcoming obsolete command and control styles
✔Explores how information technology (IT) can make the organisation more competitive or customer-led
✔Leads the team through change to make digital a central part of the business’ operations and culture


ChallengesClick to read

For a smart leader, overall flexibility may lead to:

  • A need to adopt more coached-oriented behaviours, due to the increased autonomy and job demand that smart working may place on employees
  • Difficulties in supervising
  • Feelings of isolation and overload

To face these challenges, a smart leader should support employees in the development of strong intrinsic motivation and self-determined behaviours.


How to motivate a digital teamClick to read

To mobilise and inspire others, a leader shall keep high the motivation of the team. How?


✔ Providing tips and tricks to improve self-motivation
E.g., see possible difficult tasks, lack of indications and immediate feedbacks - which may be frequent in smart working - as something to master rather than something to be scared of.
✔ Providing external inputs to boost motivation.
Behind higher salary, promotion etc., motivation factors are:
  • Inform the team about the results
  • Provide feedbacks and congratulations
  • Listen to employees’ suggestions and demonstrate that their opinion counts
  • Involve the team in the making-decision process so to align individual and organizational values


Productivity-boosting strategies Click to read

Studies confirm that smart work boosts productivity. However, there are some factors that may put at risk the employees’ productivity:

  • Major exposure to distractions
  • Lack of external pressure and consequent tendency to procrastinate
  • Lack of self-efficacy and self-motivation

To mitigate these factors a good leader supports employees in:

  • Reminding that focus is a skill that can be improved with practice and perseverance
  • Providing tricks and tips to improve employees’ self-efficacy. For example, suggest them how to set smart goals:

✔ Consider the overall team goals
✔ Align working goals with your life goals
✔ Follow your natural working rhythm
✔ Consider the time when energy levels peak through the day
✔ Quiet time for goal setting and review


Do not forget the Pareto Principle:

80 % of results come out of 20% of our actions


Summing up

Summing upClick to read

To work in a digital team there are some golden rules, such as:

  • Fair workload distribution;
  • Open  communication;
  • Select and use the most appropriate platforms.

Being a leader in a digital team can lead to several challenges (e.g., difficulty in supervising); these can be overcome by supporting employees in the development of strong intrinsic motivation and self-determined behaviors.

The Objectives and Key Results (OKR) methodology for goals and people management is the most suitable within a digital team.

Each digital team should have a smart and digital leader, who explores how IT tools can make the organisation more competitive and makes digital a central part of the business’ operations and culture.

Work life-balance and well-being of the employees should never be underestimated, particularly in a digital team.



Test Yourself!

Related Glossary:
  • Digital leader:
    A leader who Explores how information technology (IT) can make the organisation more competitive or customer-led- She/he leads the team through change to make digital a central part of the business’ operations and culture.
  • Objectives and Key Results (OKR) methodology:
    It is a modern method for goal and people management, which particularly suits the digital team and digital business. It is based on the idea that motivation comes through ownership and self-organisation and allows teams to react to changes in the market on their own initiative, to be self-organised and autonomous
  • Smart leader:
    A leader is defined smart when fosters collaborative and open relationships, empowers employees through delegation mechanisms, facilitates knowledge sharing, pays attention to their emotions and works ethically.
  • See all terms


Digital team / Smart working / Digital tools for management / Smart and digital leadership / Mobilising others

  • Support women entrepreneurs in the managing of a digital team, through the acquisition of technical and practical skills
  • Support the target group in reaching an advanced level of the EntreComp framework competences:
    • Mobilising others
    • Self-Awareness and self-efficacy

Learning Outcomes:
  • Communicate clearly and effectively within a digital team
  • Recognize a set of digital tools for team management
  • Adopt the OKR methodology within a business/team
  • Guarantee the work-life balance of the employees
  • Compensate weaknesses by teaming up with others (EntreComp comp.: Self-awareness & self-efficacy, Advanced Level)
  • Inspire others and get them on board for creating value (EntreComp competence: Mobilising others, Advanced level)


3 Tips to Guide Your Team Through a Digital Transformation


Iannotta M., Meret C, Marchetti G. (2020), Defining Leadership in Smart Working Contexts: A Concept Synthesis, Frontiers in Psychology, p.11.

Hewitt P. (2013) How To Build a High-Performing Digital Team, Harvard Business Review (consulted on 23/11/2022)

Gastaldi L., Corso M., Raguseo E., Neirotti P. (2014) Smart working: Rethinking work practices to leverage employees’ innovation potential


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