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Effective Digital Communication: Managing Virtual Teams

Effective Digital Communication: Managing Virtual Teams

Believe it or not, a staggering 1 out of 4 American employees work from home nowadays. So if you are a manager trying to figure out the best way to go about managing virtual teams, you are really not alone.

Curious about how to manage virtual teams the right way?

To tell you the truth, navigating the shift from managing in-house employees to working with remote staff can be challenging. Take a look at all you need to know about managing virtual teams below!

Virtual Team Management Challenges

Managing a team virtually requires a different set of skills than when you manage someone onsite. This includes being able to supervise technical skills as well as needing an innovative mindset to job flexibility.

Not only that, but there are also a handful of unique virtual team leadership challenges that you might encounter along the way. You will need to navigate decisions like preferred communication choices like Zoom and Skype along with deadlines, expectations and how to “show up” virtually. It is easy to make a mistake when managing a remote team for the first time.

In addition to this, it’s not uncommon to feel detached from the other employees on your team. This is especially true now that there are few if any “face-to-face” meetings in the modern workplace.

Here is a list of the best tips and tricks to get your virtual team back on its feet.

Virtual Team Management Solutions

One of the best things that you can do for your virtual team is to provide a flexible workday. Since you may have coworkers from all over the world, it might be hard to get everyone to hit the workplace at the same time. That’s why providing flexible workdays can be a rewarding and easy solution for everyone. In addition to accommodating more than one time zone, you’re also helping your employees to find the ultimate work-life balance that they deserve. That being said, you’ll most likely have a happier team as well. This translates well in terms of productivity levels. Now that we’ve got that covered, be sure to teach your team how to track their daily tasks and hours worked too. By doing so, you’ll automatically see:
  • The preferred working times of each coworker
  • Who is at the virtual workplace at all times
  • Who is free to help you out on a new task
By knowing when several schedules overlap, it’ll also be easier to book real-time virtual events together when needed. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to monitor your employee’s productiveness to track and remove potentially wasteful activities.
By knowing when several schedules overlap, it’ll also be easier to book real-time virtual events together when needed.

Virtual Team Management Tips

Another great virtual management tip is to offer new and engaging training courses to your team. This can include things like:
  • Technology equipment training
  • Group project training
  • Communicating on camera
First of all, covering the basics of using technology and equipment should be essential for your company. Plus, it’s practical to talk about how to deal with tech difficulties like lack of WiFi or other equipment issues. Next up is group project training. This tactical course should cover common areas like goal-setting as a team, solving problems together, and trusting one another even though everyone is based remotely. Now is a great time to focus on teamwork activities and exercises as well. Having a Team Charter is a plus when working virtually; it helps keep people together when the “face to face” interaction is missing. But that’s not all. Setting up a fun course on communicating on camera can be helpful to improve engagement. From teaching each other how to handle disagreements to dealing with technical issues without losing momentum and using written expectations (Team Charter), there are a variety of topics to cover in your training.
Having a Team Charter is a plus when working virtually; it helps keep people together when the “face to face” interaction is missing.

More Virtual Team Management Tricks

One of your challenges will be to find the time to set up team meetings when you have a flexible schedule. This is covered in a Team charter.

If you are working with people from different time zones and or working schedules, there may be times when someone has to work outside of their normal time. You can rotate the time, so no one is burdened consistently, working outside of their normal work. This challenge can be used a team project to see how well everyone solves problems and collaborates.

Another helpful suggestion is to be sure you set boundaries on email and texting so that people are not getting texts or emails when they are “off.” This is also spelled out in the team charter; the expectations for follow up and communication with the team.

Make the Most of Managing Virtual Teams

Managing virtual teams requires intention and deliberation. Set up your plan and stick to the plan!

Fortunately for you, virtual team management tips are at the top of our priority list. From providing a flexible workday to offering virtual team training, we can help you make this transition successful.

Pro tip: Use a Kanban board, online, to identify when people are working and when someone might be available to pick up an unexpected demand. This will save you from having to contact everyone in a panic and beg someone to help out!

Do you want to set up your plan to manage your virtual team? Schedule a consultation with us today to learn how to better lead your team and our leadership coaching option!

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