With the pandemic shifting the world we once knew on its axis, the popularity and rise of remote-working options have expanded exponentially. For some though, the virtual working model has existed successfully since way before the pandemic and those remote workers are already au fait with how to balance the expectations and requirements from working within a virtual team. That said, there are always new and improved ways of working.
Here are five of the best ways to get the most out of a virtual team;
Get yourself connected
Not only does a remote team require good solid internet connection, they also need to feel personal connection. Don’t make assumptions, really find out about other members of your team. What part of the country are they in, what is their working style, what is their time zone? Getting personal can have strong benefits in building connections and trust. Setting up an effective communication system is vital for rapport building and maintaining a steady flow of contact within your virtual team despite their geographical proximity. Keep in mind that not everyone likes the same method of connecting. Some individuals prefer visual connection, whilst others prefer a verbal call or voice note. No one method is better than the other, what is important however is to try to incorporate everyone’s preferences.
Once you have built your virtual community, don’t limit it to only professional discussions; encourage your employees to use it for having social interactions as well. Virtual coffee breaks or team challenges over a group chat is a good way of having light-hearted fun and humour within your team. Take note of what makes people laugh and look for ways to bring humour and lightness to team communications where possible.
With the autonomy of home working comes the absence of visibility. Make sure you check in to see how things are going with your team. An informal approach will demonstrate that you care and are available to your team member. Listen to your team, make sure you take the time to hear their concerns or questions. Be clear with your goals and how your team are contributing to the wider purpose and goals of the project they are working on. Regular 1-2-1 meetings on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis are a great way of checking in and listening to your team member and setting future goals and expectations. Let people know they can metaphorically pop their head around your door as they would have done when you were in an office.
Building the boundaries
It is important to keep some semblance of routine within a virtual team. No one needs or wants to be reading or sending an email at midnight. Meeting etiquette is crucial; keep your meetings to time, be punctual and don’t get into the habit of letting meetings overrun. Everyone’s home life is different whether your colleague has small children, is a carer or has a health condition they manage- we are all entitled to switch off and have designated time to in the day to unwind and reenergise.
Clarity and purpose
Make sure you establish what the teams purpose is and that they are clear about their objectives and how that contributes to the wider team’s goals. Managing remotely requires even greater focus on outcomes and not on activity, so be sure what you’re measuring as an outcome, or objective, for each member of your team and focus on how that outcome can be achieved most effectively. Worry less about how they’re getting there, as long as they’re doing that efficiently and in a way that’s supported and that plays to their strengths.
If you’re interested in bringing a virtual assistant on to your team, let us take some pressing tasks off your plate and allow you to enjoy more free time this year. Freeing up time to be kind to yourself leads to a more balanced and healthier lifestyle. Get in touch for a free consultation here.