December 24, 2014
The creation of virtual teams is one of the fastest growing trends in the mobile workforce. Despite the conveniences that come along with working off of Internet-connected smart devices, the management aspect comes with its fair share of hardships. The issues themselves stem from a lack of 3 things: communication, productivity, and culture.
With that in mind, we came up with a list of tips that will help you keep your teams motivated, productive, and coherent.
Create opportunities to chat both formally, and informally.
Due to the physical disconnect, team members tend to be absorbed into their own worlds, and forget about their other team members. That leads to them not communicating or collaborating as much as they would need to.
It’s recommended that you arrange it such that they can freely communicate their successes, frustrations, questions, and more with one another. This system will also help duplicate the “water cooler” effect, as team members talk about non-business related chats about anything they would like – so long as it isn’t too distracting.
Maintain a virtual personality.
In virtual team management, it’s important to develop and maintain a virtual personality. On one hand, you would want to demonstrate trust, confidence, and convey a sense of importance on project. But you wouldn’t want to appear as though you are micromanaging.
One of the first steps in creating a virtual personality is mastering the ability to articulate thoughts properly in written and spoken communication. You have to be strong in empowering your team, in addition to delegation and influencing them.
Make use of your project management system.
As tempting as it may initially appear, do not handle everything via email. Information becomes fragmented, disorganized, and lost in that manner. Use your project management system to organize documents and conversations into projects that you can easily refer back to as needed.
Find the balance between flexibility and consistency.
Allow a degree of flexibility for your mobile team, because they are all facing different situations in their work environments. At the same time, maintain consistency with major items.
Overlap times for different time zones.
If you have members in your team who work in different time zones, be sure to have a period each day in which everyone overlaps and can assist one another towards initiatives. This is typically the best time to hold conference calls.
Conduct periodic reviews.
There are many who are unable to cope with working remotely, for a variety of reasons. This is why it’s important to check in on them, to make sure they are in the right state-of-mind, and have everything they need to excel in their projects.
Meet your team members in person.
Meeting your team members in person helps nurture the virtual relationship. Strengthen the bond with your team by meeting with them in person as often as possible. Whether it’s quarterly, semi-annually, or even through an annual company retreat or event – make the extra effort to bond with your remote team.
Boost team spirit.
It’s important to get your team to feel a sense of commitment towards one another. They need to feel reassured that they are working towards a common goal. There are a few ways this can be achieved, such as sharing the future vision of the company, keeping them informed and involved in upcoming events, and even sending them gifts for their birthdays.
Create challenges and competitions.
Take your work a step further than the daily routine. Create challenges and competitions that are realistic and relevant to your projects. It’ll help gamify the process, and keep things interesting for everyone.