We live in an interconnected world. So, interconnected that we don’t even need to leave our comfort zones and still get the work done with our fingertips. And, modern-day job seekers and businesses are leveraging the same in the form of virtual teams.
The internet being the game-changer here has allowed organisations to spread their reach everywhere. Thus, allowing them to explore new avenues of growth, recruit the best talents, curate a diversified workforce and mark their presence with a distributed work culture.
The concept of a virtual team revolves around the same opportunities that I spoke of above.
So, before beginning with managing virtual teams let’s first understand what it is?
What is a virtual team?
In layman terms, a virtual team is a group of individuals or employees who are geographically dispersed across different locations locally or globally and different time zones sharing information and collaborating in real-time using various online communication tools and other cloud applications.
The one thing that differentiates virtual team from a physical in-house team is the leadership style.
Managing a virtual team isn’t same as managing an in-house office team. It takes a very different leadership style to build trust with the team when it’s away from you. Likewise, you also need to ensure efficient virtual collaboration methods between dispersed teams.
Furthermore, the three benefits that can be associated with a virtual or remote team are:
Geographically dispersed teams facilitate organisations’ to explore new avenues of growth in the different regions.
Emphasizing more on virtual teamwork is vital for improving an organisation’s overall operational capability in today’s date.
It enables the organisations to get the best talents onboard for maximizing team performance irrespective of any geographical differences.
Let’s move towards how you can manage your virtual team members in the most effective way possible.
7 Effective Ways for Keeping Your Virtual Team Members in Sync
1. Constant communication is the key
The first point that I would always suggest whether be it for managing virtual teams or your physical in-house staff is to keep up the rapport.
This is the first and foremost thing that you should emphasize on while thinking of creating a team in the virtual world.
Why am I telling you this is because your remote team isn’t near you. Unlike, the usual in-house employees you can’t go up to their desk or call them to your cabin for discussions. As such, having measures that could ensure a robust real-time communication between you and your remote teams is really important.
Setting up an effective communication system will always ensure in an effective virtual team. Moreover, it’ll make them feel connected to their employers despite their geographical differences.
2. Encourage a Virtual Community
A remote team works staying outside your office miles away with just their machine in front of them. They are not that privileged where they could go up and grab a coffee with their immediate team members or just indulge in casual talks.
They miss the face to face interaction with their co-workers which a normal employee enjoys daily. And all this, often makes these remote workers feel left out which is really bad.
No one likes to be left alone especially when you’re actually a part of a team.
This is why you should encourage all your virtual employee to be a part of a virtual community. Such a virtual community would play a great role in bridging the gap between the virtual team members. Also, make sure that this community is up 24/7 so that employees working from different time zones don’t feel being left out or isolated.
Lastly, don’t just limit these virtual communities to only professional discussions encourage your employees to use it for having social interactions as well.
3. Provide them with the Resources and Unique Benefits
Your virtual workers help you cut the cost on your tangible resources like various physical office amenities. They might be working for you from anywhere helping your organisation grow. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to provide them with resources that are necessary for their work.
Here, I’m not asking you to parcel out the entire office setup to their addresses.
However, reimbursing their connectivity cost, business travel expenses, maintenance cost and other such will certainly do the job here. Also, frequently sending out some company swags and other employee perks & benefits is a great way to make them feel good at work.
It’ll not only make them feel good about working for you. But, it would also positively impact their motivation levels.
4. Be Choosy When It Comes to Hiring
Going ahead with building a team in the virtual world can be a really tricky affair. Even though it opens up the door to a huge pool of talents spread across the globe you shouldn’t just pick anyone.
A team becomes successful when all the members have the same goal in mind and adhere to the same policies at work. This is the same for virtual team members as well.
These members won’t be physically present at their workplaces. In such cases, they should strongly feel connected to their employers and understand the true motive of their work. At the same time, they must be able to exhibit their diligence and integrity towards their position as a remote employee.
Therefore, when recruiting team members for filling up for virtual vacancies you must always look for such qualities in a job seeker.
5. Have a Well Defined Structure for your Virtual Teams
The one thing that virtual teams lack compared to their office going mates is the work structure. Usual office goers adhere to a fixed 8-9 hour job-time where they dedicate themselves to their work. However, it may not be the same in the case of virtual employees.
When working remotely, these employees have no one to look over their shoulders into their progress at work. As such, they enjoy complete autonomy over their work.
Having autonomy at work is a good thing for employees as they can give their entire focus and are accountable for their work. However, keeping their progress in sync with their other co-workers is also very important.
This is why a structure should be implemented for your virtual teams on par with your physical teams. Having such a structure will let you assign deadlines, track progress, provide necessary guidance to your remote teams with much ease.
6. Don’t Forget Reward & Recognise your Virtual Employees
You do get out personally and praise your employees, probably you’ll also pat on their back when they do something good.
However, it’s a luxury that your virtual employees will never have. And if the same continues for a long time, then surely they’ll loose their remaining interest in their work as well. However, if you think that sending out a personalised mail praising them would do the job, then let me tell you that it won’t be effective.
Because when you physically praise your employees all their co-workers become aware of their good deed. This further pumps up the joy of the employee receiving the appreciation and boost his or her motivation. But, sending out a personalised “Good Job” over a mail won’t do any such magic.
However, the same cloud tech that has given birth to the prospect of virtual teams has the solution to this. With a cloud-based employee recognition and rewards platform, employers are now able to praise & reward their employees on the go.
And it’s just like a social media network where you can praise an employee and all the others in your organisation could see the same. You could be operating out of the United States with your remote employees spread across the globe and recognising them is as easy as the click of a button.
You won’t believe it until you try. So click here and sign up for a free demo right away.
7. Always Value their Views and Opinions
Never do the mistake of neglecting the views of your employees who operate virtually. They’re also an integral part for your organisation even if they don’t have much face to face meetings with you like the others.
Virtual employees are the voices of their organisation in the regions from where they might be working from. They are the ones who’ll attract the goodwill for your organisation from different parts of the world where there’s potential for business growth.
Moreover, their insights are really important for understanding what’s best for a particular region and how to get the things right there.
Your remote employees are your key to many brand new markets and possibilities. This is why you should never risk not listening to their views and opinions.
Do you also rely on virtual teams for getting your work done be it for product development, sales or marketing?
If yes, then we would love to hear about how you manage them in your organisation in the comments below.
Decoding and Driving Employee Engagement