Virtual teams are increasingly becoming a fact of business life. Since they are relatively new, they can be a challenge to manage because one needs to transfer the corporate culture of the physical workplace to a remote structure.
Here’s a list of strategies to successfully handle your virtual team that you may want to implement instantly.
1. Positive Work Relationship
Building and fostering the true spirit of a team for people working towards a common goal irrespective of gender, ethnicity, etc. Nurturing the team spirit through setting professional standards that drive efficiency and put the team in the right work mindset, through embracing progressive work attitudes to explore individual skills and abilities to create a results-oriented environment.
Online teams generally have little or no tensions outside deadlines and communication, so it is easier to reinforce positive work relations. Here, the focus is on the individual profession and intellectual contribution rather than anything else. Freedom to express ideas and perspectives.
2. Good Communication System
Maintaining smooth communication depends on what the organisation decides works best. Depending on the structure of the team, communication is possible in many ways; email, text chat program, video chat etc. Open and reliable lines of communication to cater to individual remoteness, foster a culture of communication throughout the organisation. Lead by example by giving regular updates and holding check-ins with your team. A network of communication is very important in sharing information, documents, reports and other necessary documentation.
Graphical.io is a platform created by Techmeetups that offers a centralised online location for companies to facilitate the smooth operation of a remote team. The remote workers can directly communicate as would in the traditional workplace through tags, comments, links, and store and share documents, spreadsheets, and slide presentations on the platform alongside Google docs. It is perfect for reporting on weekly metrics, holding discussions and announcements.
3. Delegation of Work
Allocate tasks and projects to the right people – those with the skills, knowledge or experience to get desired results. Ensuring work is delegated to people based on their knowledge, skills and potential to produce good results saves a lot of time, builds trust, sharpens efficiency and skills and ensures reliability.
Keep remote teams on the same page with a personalised team charter. A team charter is a document that defines the direction, goals, and boundaries of the team. It helps focus the team and onboard new employees. The document indicates how employees will execute tasks, reach desired results, and measure progress and success. A customised Kanban system on Graphical.IO narrows done systems and processes for work priorities and the systematic flow of the task load from one member to another by roles and teams, that is simple to track.
Making sure everyone on board feels included in decision making, a celebration of achievements and providing an atmosphere with a sense of purpose. Members of an online team benefit a lot more from a strong support network. Providing extensive onboarding and ongoing training opportunities guarantees a formidable team so that each member of the team is equipped with the resources, tools, and confidence they’ll need once they are on their own. Participating in training and development ensures a team likely to stay motivated.
Make training courses available online in diverse formats (instructor-led online learning, simulations, self-directed e-learning courses) make it easy and flexible for employees to participate.
5. Set SMART Goals
A Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reliable and Timely work plan for given projects and tasks. Micromanaging virtual teams can be frustrating if not impossible, so once the guidelines are in place, the focus must be on results and not activity. Create a hierarchy of goals on projects. Broader business goals will most likely dictate these goals, or it may be up to individuals and the team to establish goals. This is an opportunity to meet in person if possible, while working through a strategic planning process.
Each member should be well versed with the overruling company objectives, but through smaller goals, individuals have to understand how their efforts fit into the bigger picture. Work with each individual to set personalised goals that align with company goals.
For each company goal, each member must understand their contribution.
6. Defined Work Systems
Create and maintain a standard-setting of how the team can easily navigate tasks to achieve specific and desired results. Cut out how each member can access the help or tools they need to get their tasks done, by automating any procedure that needs to be automatic.
Diversity in roles means diversity in ways of going about tasks. Structuring standards positively impacts time management for the team to achieve the desired result in the shortest period. By these standards and automation of repeatable work systems, the team has fewer questions and quickly gets the idea of what certain tasks require. The work systems have to be standardised to incorporate maximum effectiveness, and tailored to make room for flexibility to complete tasks at the best of individual ability.
Project management tools come in handy for tracking deadlines. Their major value for the team and company are sending out alerts and reminders for deadlines so that no task is forgotten and they help prevent late deliveries. They provide a quick daily, a weekly or monthly overview of what needs to be done, by who, and when. Tools like Google Docs are a great addition, and the same is valid for time tracking applications.
7. Acknowledge Good Work
Recognise good work and promote it. Team members and teams that go the extra mile for the organisation should be recognised and rewarded. A celebratory spirit for achievements and milestones, setting work trends and bringing in more business.
Pay attention to the best performers as much as the rest of the team. Without the clear boundaries that office life provides, the go-getters may have workdays that never end, setting up for exhaustion and error.
Conducting regular one-on-ones with each team member to hold them accountable for performance and to check in on workload and support needed.
Acknowledgement can be done in formal ways, such as formal weekly “shout outs” via email or social media, and in moments when members are going above and beyond. Recognition should always be specific and culture; a handwritten thank-you note, a shout-out in a newsletter or social media post, etc.
8. Periodic Company Reviews
These help to bring a sense of innovation, development and freshness by recognising progress, setting new goals and standards and structures, create new systems and to check on how the team is coping and how the company is performing. An overview of results, setbacks and the new business ground gives individuals a sense of direction for improvement and change. It is a virtual New Year.
9. Promote the Company Vision
Keep the vision of the company at the forefront of all work and tasks. Creating content to promote, display and celebrate the company for the members keeps the team inspired and rejuvenated. In a few words, document why the business does what it does. A message which speaks to the good of humanity, but related to the industry. Metaphors for the traditional office go a long way to fan off isolation and alienation. Virtual team-building exercises that promote solidarity with the vision are excellent additions.
Nontraditional workers value mission-driven organisations because they want to feel their time is being used for something worthwhile and also consolidate for the structure of traditional workplaces (travelling to work, visuals of company works and items). State your mission clearly and infuse it in everything you do.
10. Human Resource Planning
Get acquainted with individuals and identify strengths and build on them toward more reliable connections and results. Effective collaboration strengthens team bonds and builds trust as thought processes and working styles sync between people. When staff can build on each other’s ideas and play to their strengths, work relations flourish.
This helps to have clearly defined teams, creates the expectation that people should be working collaboratively, even from a distance. Particularly with remote workers, people need to know where they belong and to whom they report.
Encourage regular meetings via video conference, as these promote a sense of community and familiarity.
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