Managing a virtual team (or teams) might seem easy to some, but in all honesty, it can be fairly challenging without a proper plan in place. So, what does a proper plan look like, and how can you implement it, while ensuring its working effectively?
We are going to list some tips below, to help you keep your virtual team (or teams) on track – don’t worry, you can thank us later!
- Organize regular meetings – this is important in maintaining relationships between all the team members. Schedule meetings based on what is going to work best for your company’s needs (weather it be, in person or online) but aim to have, at the very least, two every calendar year.
- Encourage informal conversations – this is important because working from home can be super isolating and us humans are social butterflies (well at least the majority of us) so talking all business, all the time, can be super hard on us. Encouraging your team to have informal conversations is key to helping them build trust in each other, in turn creating better relationships and needless to say, better relationships within the team will help things run much smoother.
- Establish a communication tool (or tools) – having a good communication tool (or tools) that works for everybody will make it easier to encourage conversations (formal or informal) and help keep everyone organized, especially if you use multiple tools, you can have on communication tool for sending docs, one for formal conversations, meetings, business planning, you name it, having it all in one place can make it easier to go back and review.
- Give clear, detailed deliverables – telling someone to do something without explaining what to do, isn’t a very popular way to go about managing a team, but it’s especially easy to do when running a virtual team. Make sure you are giving a detailed description of the task and an example or two of what the end results should be. This gives your team some freedom but also doesn’t lead to misunderstandings and wasted time.
- Use project management tools – I probably should have put this as tip number one because it is so important! I look project management tools, they are so convenient and they help keep everyone on track (yes, even the most unorganized individual) they send you reminders of upcoming deadlines and can even send you weekly or monthly reports.
- Set up some sort of a reward system – this will help in the motivation department! Working from home has so many distractions, from that cold beer in the fridge, to the beautiful weather outside, so helping your team stay motivated is essential. Recognize their skills and reward them on their achievements. (this will also help you figure out who you can trust with more responsibility)
- Be mindful of time zones – if you have people on your team that are overseas, you need to be respectful of their time zone, and vice versa, also try and ensure some of your hours everyday are overlapping because it will help with the relationship building that I’ve mentioned above. It also makes it easy for solving problems that may arise.
- Be available – think about it, in a traditional workplace, you have people all around you to answer questions as they come up, so you need to try and be available, most of the time, for any questions that your team members might have and not just questions, but any of their needs really (kind of think of it as being a parent)
Hopefully some of these tips will help you get started with managing your new team or even help to better manage an existing team (or teams) you have created.