May 12, 2015
Virtual team members engage with one another on a more personal level, than they would face-to-face. Why? Because crystal clear communication is what it is all about! It is essential for team members to speak their minds in order to progress more efficiently. But can virtual team settings work for most industries? ABSOLUTELY! And we’ll tell you how!
Make Yourself Available
The number of remote workers worldwide are increasing, and the location of each worker is becoming more dispersed for all companies. With that in mind, the most successful teams make themselves available (at least for quick questions) well outside of traditional business hours- keeping different time zones in mind. This includes weekly/monthly team meetings at different times, and even non-business conversations.
It’s easy to make collaboration happen. People love sharing their insights, so give them opportunities to shine by holding brainstorming sessions as needed. Our team usually has meetings to run through different prototypes, and we love it because it keeps things exciting and adds meaning to our efforts.
Unify the Team
Don’t let distance get in the way of a great working relationship! According to Unify Insights, 68% of teams have more than half of their team members in different locations. How do they still manage to work as one? Communication is key. It is also important to be considerate of different time zones, the location of each team members, and any national/cultural/religious practice they may be observing throughout the year.
Make it Personal
Don’t let things be robotic by only talking business. Schedule phone calls, or have quick chats about what’s going on in their lives that isn’t business-related. The human touch means a great deal, and plays a significant role in employee relations.
Be Considerate with Conference Calls
Okay look, we understand that no one really likes conference calls. Especially in virtual team settings where the timing of the call is of inconvenience to some team members. But face it- it has to be done time to time. The way to make it work is to make the calls quick and painless. If it is scheduled to be 30 minutes long, keep it no more than 30 mins long. Also, if you would like to have dialogue take place between each participant, keep the group small. It’ll get pretty noisy if too many team members are on a call, and many people with great ideas might hesitate speaking up.
Encourage Engagement between Groups
There are many virtual teams that stem from office-based teams. But the bottom line is that they are all a part of the same team. As such, it is recommended for office workers and remote workers to collaborate with one another and engage for a more positive work environment.
Don’t Put Off for Tomorrow What You Can Do Today
Its a good practice for team members to exchange ideas and information with one another as they come up. Oftentimes, people tend to wait till the next conference call. The downside to that is a drop in enthusiasm and the broken chain of thought from waiting. Don’t hold off on discussions!
Be Aware of Tone
If you notice something is off in the way a team member is communicating, call them. You will be amazed at what a difference it makes in their day, as well as how they may feel towards the rest of the team. Don’t let anyone feel isolated. Give them the little pick-me-up they need to happily move forward.
Avoid Information Overload
Don’t expect your team to take notes as you speak. Make an outline for them, so they can have something detailed to refer back to. You can also grant them access to PowerPoints, or record the presentation itself for them to access later on.
Make Time for Break Time
Encourage the team to take mini-breaks as they would in a typical office setting. We all need a little break to look away from the screen, and have a refreshment, or stretch, or run a quick errand. It’s okay! And it helps let out some steam or even eliminate other distractions.
Let us know if you have any other tips you’d recommend!