Written by Clay Smith*
*Thanks to Shuhan He for pointing me to this article and for helping me summarize key points.
COVID-19 has suddenly forced entire organizations into remote e-work. A list of applications of remote e-work for academic physicians, including a consensus-based list of advantages and disadvantages are summarized to get the most of your new digital organization.
Why does this matter?
Well, this is timely! Academic Life in Emergency Medicine (ALiEM) has been using remote work since its inception. Remote e-work enables a number of new opportunities and applications for academic medicine. Moving away from traditional, hierarchical team structures benefits both individuals and the larger group. Here are the takeaways and best practices from ALiEM authors about using this technology to its fullest.
Let’s get digital, digital…
These are 5 areas in which remote digital work offers advantages.
Improving project collaboration – software now makes collaboration very efficient, as each new version is synchronized and saved in the cloud. This is much more efficient than shuffling paper or emailing documents back and forth.
Creating virtual meetings – These are easier to schedule. There is no travel time. And they may reduce side conversations and distractions.
Fostering digital mentorship – Geographical barriers to meeting with and learning from outstanding mentors are eliminated.
Forming virtual communities of practice – People with shared interests can collaborate despite geographical barriers. The world’s experts can meet, network, and collaborate easily.
Advancing online learning – real-time streaming and asynchronous learning are made easy with digital tools.
There is much more to this article and a list of ways to improve the process of working and teaching remotely that are helpful. One key is to set boundaries to ensure work-life balance. Definitely worth your time to read.
Shuhan He, Debbie Lai, Sarah Mott, Andrew Little, Andrew Grock, Mary R. C. Haas, and Teresa M. Chan (2020) Remote e-Work and Distance Learning for Academic Medicine: Best Practices and Opportunities for the Future. Journal of Graduate Medical Education In-Press. https://doi.org/10.4300/JGME-D-20-00242.1