The Nuts and Bolts of Managing your team Virtually is challenging yet easy. We at Prism during our team meets, training and coaching session identified tools for professionals and employees working in matrix structure.
So how will a virtual team work together day-to-day? We suggest to consider the following for managing team virtually that foster easy communication, promote efficiency and collaboration. We always suggest and share It’s important to train the team on the use and administration of relevant tools, as well as to set expectations. Working toward transparency is key as it forms a trust.Introspect yourself;
- How often do you expect to hear from each virtual employee? How often should each employee interact with other team members?
- What combination of email, phone, and/or video conferencing works best? What tools will you use? Consider Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, and Google Talk.
- Is your team required to log into a support tool or instant messenger during work hours?
- What other collaborative resources are available in you organisation. We suggest some ideas: Flowdock, HipChat, Campfire, Sqwiggle, Hojoki, Podio, and Yammer. You can also consider social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Falcon Social that enable your team to collaborate on tasks generated from social media posts.
- Who will be responsible for maintaining tools? What is the policy if something goes down while the person who “owns” the tool is offline?
- Do you have a self-service help center, with a knowledge base and community?
- What does the support schedule look like? With a virtual/ distributed team, do you need an on-call schedule?
- Can you provide in-person team gatherings? Does each team member understand that periodic travel may be required?
- How can you promote learning, ownership, and responsibility?
- How can you foster positivity and constructive feedback when your team is often communicating in writing?Monitoring metrics and KPIs, giving performance reviews, and having regular check-ins continue to be as important (if not more so) to a virtual team as to an onsite team.
One of the central challenges when managing a virtual team is keeping the team from feeling isolated specially managing female professionals and new joinees. They have to be managed by understanding work life balance, approach and involvement. Onsite teams generally participate in quarterly team-building events, and while these activities are harder to coordinate with a virtual team, they are still important. It’s equally essential to provide perks, rewards, and opportunities to socialize and have fun. You can get trained with Prism Team or anubhawalia and enhance to manage the team remotely.
Here are a few suggestions for bringing a virtual team together or to provide recognition for a job well done:
- Bring the team in for a care in-office retreat with opportunities for team building, lunches or dinner, greets, or happy hours.
- Surprise individuals with a gift card delivered to their email inbox for good job.
- Promote and support attendance at conferences. It might be fun for a few team members, or even the whole team, to periodically meet in different locations, learn something new, and to share their experiences afterward.
Visibility is a mutual challenge that both managers and virtual employees have to overcome. As with any team dynamic, must actively work on fostering open communication, including both praise and constructive feedback, and on building trust. If managers can place the emphasis on performance and delivery, and look for opportunities to coach and fill gaps in training, a virtual team has the potential to run like a well-oiled machine. All the best.