Image showing rocks in the water. Image to represent the client and how we developed a virtual team management workshop for them.

Bringing NHS Shetland closer together with virtual team management

As they transitioned their dispersed team to remote work, virtual team management was a skill that was essential to NHS Shetland to ensure their workers remained connected and supported in their new work environment.

  • Client:NHS Shetland
  • Situation:A uniquely dispersed health board needed support to develop their virtual management training, and to re-build a team who were suddenly working remotely.
  • Challenge:Helping the team to foster a sense of togetherness in a virtual environment. 
  • Solution:Our Train the trainer programme (TTT), plus a workshop in virtual team management.
  • Result:The team now delivers engaging training that anyone in the Health Board can access — anywhere — without needing to catch two ferries!

NHS Shetland is a Health Board spanning the picturesque Shetland Isles, providing health care for a population of roughly 23,000 people spread across the 16 inhabited islands. Before the shift to remote working, the distance between the islands meant that travel was required for many of their collaborations. Ferries are the predominant means of transport, yet each journey can take between 2 and 3 hours to the main town, Lerwick, from the outer Isles. It’s easy to see how this adds up to a huge amount of travel time for our NHS workers, who could otherwise be delivering much needed services. As a result, the team had long considered ways to deliver training so that people didn’t have to travel. 

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic, staff members began working in isolation, meaning their managers had to start to become skilled in virtual team management. Transitioning to remote working, as well as ensuring they had effective virtual team management skills, became a priority. They hoped to get the best out of their virtual communications, and ensure that their teams stayed connected, despite being physically apart. NHS Shetland also wanted to refresh the skills of their trainers, making sure that their training remained meaningful and rigorous in a digital environment.

The priority for the NHS Shetland project was to support them by developing tools for virtual training and team management that could be deeply embedded. They needed help in making this new, virtual environment viable and sustainable for the long-term, so that there was no need to go back to the time-consuming island hopping for face-to-face training again.  

The Metrics 

25 Participants        

9.49 Recommendation score


  • Developing a cohesive team of NHS staff, despite the move to remote working during the pandemic. 
  • A comprehensive approach to virtual team management was needed, to ensure managers had all the skills they needed to lead teams in their new working environment.
  • The logistics of co-ordinating a Train the trainer programme that suited staff working on different shift patterns and rotas.  
  • Working around the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine programme. 


  • A ‘Managing virtual teams’ workshop, offered at two different times to accommodate as many participants as possible, and providing a thorough upskilling in virtual team management.
  • Our Train the trainer programme, specifically upskilling in virtual training design and delivery. 


  • Enormous savings of time and money previously spent on long commutes between the islands. 
  • Bringing a culture of participation and engagement into their training, which positively impacted the culture and behaviours in other areas of their working environment. 
  • Equity and inclusion across teams; virtual training allows everyone to be part of the conversation, no matter what their role, responsibilities, or location. 
  • The project received a recommendation score of 9.49 overall, and an amazing 10 for the TTT programme. 

Working with the virtual training team reinvigorated us as a team, working together to rethink and explore how we deliver training across our organisation, improving the learner's experience and the quality of what we deliver and ensuring equity of access to more remote parts of our workforce. One of the best learning experiences I have ever had.

Sally HallNHS Shetland

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