These days, remote work is the norm rather than the exception. This is because COVID-19 led to numerous lockdowns all over the world, leading to workplaces shifting from physical to virtual practices. This has been a complex situation, as companies had to get used to a completely new way of life, and had to figure out how to get things done efficiently. However, it also brought ample opportunities to light for workers and businesses.
All people need to work now is some sort of device and a good internet connection. Once you explore Spectrum packages and such, you’re all set for your virtual work journey. However, if you’re managing a virtual team, there are a lot of factors involved. Even though they offer you the benefit of being able to hire the best person for the job without geographical limitations, effective communication can be a major challenge. You need to make sure everyone is on the same page, and that there are clear goals and strategies in place. You can only do this if you take proper measures to manage your virtual team.
Introduce Common Timings
You should introduce common timings for yourself and your employees, so that it is easier to collaborate on ongoing tasks. Make sure that these common timings are shared, so that everyone knows about them.
A great way to implement these is by having a stand-up meeting at a set time where everyone shares their tasks, and lets the others know what resources or help they’ll need. Please note that for different time zones, you can’t have everyone be online at the same time. Instead, have an agreed-upon window of a few hours or so. This time window should make sense for everyone involved in a project on which they have to work together.
Use Effective Collaboration Tools
You should really invest in some good collaborative tools so that your virtual team can work in an organized manner. These tools should have messaging, voice and video calling, media sharing, and scheduling options, so that all sorts of collaboration can be covered.
Commonly, companies use a mixture of Slack and Asana. They assign tasks with deadlines and details on Asana, and communicate on Slack. This way, you can make sure your employees are all on one page about their work, and are within reach easily.
Encourage Informal Communication
It can be hard to establish a cordial working relationship with people you’ve never met in person. The social element of the workplace is something which is required for effective collaboration and creative work. Therefore, you must encourage informal communication in your company.
A great way to do this is by having informal meetings once a week, and having regular game days. You can play easy online party games such as Skribblo or online trivia games. This will promote workplace friendliness and let people work together more comfortably.
Set Clear Goals
The best way to make sure your virtual team members are on the same page is to set clear, quantitative goals. You should formulate a clear strategy with numerical goals for fixed time periods so that your team members know what they’re striving towards.
Therefore, you should have thorough meetings with the relevant employees, and create proper strategies according to your resources and potential. Then, communicate these strategies to everyone else, so that they’re aware of what they should do to achieve those goals. Ideally, you should have these strategy meetings on a quarterly basis, so that you can keep track of and alter goals as is necessary.
Keep Track Of Work
Any sort of workplace cannot function if everyone is basically shooting into the dark. You need to have some sort of mechanism which keeps track of the tasks you and your employees are doing. This can include timesheets, Asana task lists, and other such tools. Make sure every task has definite deadlines, and goes through a proper pipeline of drafting to approval.
In addition, you should also make sure you ask people in stand-up meetings where they are on their tasks and projects. They should also let you know about any hurdles they are facing, so that you can figure out how to overcome and avoid them. Avoid using invasive software, otherwise you may lose employee trust. If you have issued employees separate work devices or connections, you can filter the content they can access or have VPNs installed to protect your data. Otherwise, avoid using spyware, as it’s legality is murky in many states.
Therefore, while virtual teams have their own set of challenges, you can really get some great work out of them if you manage things properly.