01 October, 2018
10 Tips for Successfully Managing Virtual Teams
Managing virtual teams doesn’t have to be a difficult process. We’ll show you how to build and inspire a strong virtual team for your business.
Do you manage a virtual team? If so, you may feel like a deer in the headlights when things aren’t going right. How do you manage a team spread across the country or globe? Luckily, that panic you feel doesn’t have to stick around.
No matter what your experience level is when it comes to a virtual workforce, there’s always the question of how to manage your team successfully. Luckily, managing virtual teams can be simple, successful, and even fun if you have the right tools.
How do you do it? Keep reading to find out. Here are ten tips for successfully managing your virtual team.
1. Focus on Relationships
If you want to manage a team well, you’ve got to know the people who make up that team. This may seem difficult if your workforce isn’t all in one place, but it’s far from impossible.
Get to know each person via phone or video, right from the get-go. Start this process as you hire and continue with it during and after projects.
You need a team that knows and work well with each other. Lead by example and get to know the people on your team. Once you know them, keep that good relationship going.
2. Set Clear Expectations
While some people are great at virtual work, others may get distracted. Help keep your team focused by setting clear expectations.
Let all team members know how you measure success. Have clear objectives and make sure everyone knows what they are.
Make sure you choose measurable goals. This allows you and your team members to keep track of how well things are going.
3. Stay Connected
Effective communication is essential for a successful virtual workplace. That means you need the right communication tools.
There are plenty of workplace communication tools out there that are perfect for a virtual workforce. Some of these include Slack, Trello, and Zoom.
Choose communication tools that make the most sense for your team. For example, if team members need to collaborate on projects, don’t choose a tool that only has a chat feature.
4. Use Screen Sharing
If you’ve ever worked in a regular office setting, you’ve probably taken a look at someone else’s screen or shown them your own. A virtual team has this same need, but they can’t fulfill it in person.
Because of this, you need to use screen sharing tools. If your team is small, you’ll be able to find tools that allow this for free.
If your team will need the ability to see and control another team member’s computer, make sure you choose a tool that offers that feature.
5. Hold Regular Team Meetings
Ongoing communication between team members is great, but you also need to have the entire team meet up from time to time. Get into a rhythm by holding regular meetings.
These meetings don’t need to be long. They can be as simple as a ten minute start-the-week-off-right kind of meeting. Let everyone say a quick “hi” and get others up to date, then allow everyone to get to work.
6. Implement One-on-One Meetings
Meeting with each team member individually helps you get to know them. It also helps you keep tabs on how each project is going.
Team members may have concerns they don’t feel comfortable bringing up in front of the whole team. One-on-one settings are perfect for this. They’re also great for constructive criticism, should a team member need it.
7. Be Respectful
Always treat your out-of-office team members the same as in-office team members (if you have any in-office workers). Though team members work from home or a remote office, they’re as important to the success of your company, and they work as hard.
Don’t fall into assumptions that people working from home are slacking or busy doing other things. Be professional and respectful in all your communications and encourage that same attitude across your team.
8. Reward Success
If you’ve noticed a team member performing well, don’t forget to reward them! Let the rest of the team know and do something to recognize them.
Working virtually can get lonely, so do your best to let everyone in on the team’s successes. Doing so will bring your team together as they celebrate one another’s accomplishments.
9. Encourage Collaboration
Because your team members aren’t all in the same building, that doesn’t mean they can’t work together. Teamwork is essential to the success of any business. Make sure your team members know and implement that into their everyday work.
Set an example by doing this yourself. Don’t keep yourself separate from the everyday work of your team. Get in there and be a part of the team, not just someone who oversees everyone else.
10. Provide Equipment or Reimbursement
Help your virtual team be successful from the get-go by making sure every team member has the equipment they need. Computers, printers, desks, and other office equipment are pricey. Expecting each team member to foot the bill for all this equipment on their own may be unrealistic.
Do all you can to get each employee set up with what they need to be successful. If it makes more sense for each person to buy their own equipment, offer reimbursement for required work-related items.
Managing Virtual Teams Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Managing virtual teams can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. In some ways, it may even be easier than managing an on-site team, since virtual workers often love their jobs.
Do all you can to help your team feel like a team. They’ll appreciate your efforts and leadership, and you’ll see the effects of your efforts in how your team interacts and performs.
Do you want to know more about the basics of a virtual office? Check out this article for more information.
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