Having a virtual team is becoming increasingly relevant for companies operating in today’s digital world. While the concept of managing a team online seems pretty straight forward, there are a number of issues to think about to not only maximise efficiency, but also keep your team happy.
Establishing a company culture even when your team is virtual is an important first step. There are many ways to infuse company culture outside of an office, such as how you communicate, what rules are in place for remote operations, and how you form deeper relationships with your colleagues. Determine those parameters in the beginning, and bring onboard people who connect with these values.
Having a virtual team often means that you’re working with people who live in a different country with a life that vastly differs from your own. Being aware of cultural discrepancies with communication and working habits will go far in helping you avoid misunderstanding, allowing for a more amiable relationship between you and your colleague.
In a setting where you’re not able to communicate with your colleagues face-to-face, it’s important to establish regular timeslots for calls and video chats. If you’re working with different time zones, make sure that communication is scheduled in a way that’s fair for everyone, even if it means compromising and alternating between different meeting times.
When the primary form of your communication with colleagues is through Skype and emails, it becomes pretty difficult to develop relationships beyond that of a professional one. For this reason, it’s important to encourage social interaction among the team in order to facilitate a more positive professional ecosystem. Be the first to share fun tidbits about your life, and others will begin to do the same.
Just because your team isn’t based in one place doesn’t mean that teamwork shouldn’t take place. In fact, it’s crucial for members to be exposed to how one another works, their responsibilities, and personalities in order to encourage productive operations in the company. Select one group communication platform and make sure that it’s open and available 24/7. Accessibility is key.
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