No matter what the scenario, managing a team is always going to be filled with challenges.
Nevertheless, leading a virtual team has its own array of hurdles as you may be dealing with time zone differences, team members who don’t meet face-to-face, and the lack of “personal” communication time.
That being said, working with a virtual team can also offer a wide variety of benefits, as long as you have strong team leadership and high-quality conference room solutions.
To help you cultivate best practices, read on for the tips you need to know in order to manage a virtual team effectively.
1. Define Your Work Standards.
One of the most challenging parts of managing a virtual team is that everyone works differently, so you need to be clear when defining work standards. This is important not just for you but for all team members as it will help ascertain how things will get done.
In addition, by defining your work standards, you will find that your team is in a better position to achieve your goals in a shorter amount of time.
When you set standards and work systems, team members will feel more confident when doing their work as they know exactly what needs to be done, and by when. Then they can also figure out how they are supposed to finish their tasks.
Standardization and communication are required if your team is going to achieve maximum effectiveness. These also allow employees to tailor their work, so they have the freedom they need to complete their workload to the best of their ability.
Another essential aspect is agreeing on a shared language to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Virtual communication can only be as effective as you set it up to be, so make sure you are creating a standardized language for your organization.
2. Be Clear With Deliverable Expectations.
Similar to defining your work standards, you also want to ensure your team is precise when it comes to expectations regarding deliverables.
Micromanaging is not a good option when you are working virtually, and neither is simply telling somebody to do something. Instead, you want to be providing detailed descriptions of their deliverables while still giving team members the freedom to complete them in their own way.
When it comes to deliverables, you want to be clear about the details of the task and the processes, with specifics about who should be doing what and when. This is also where clarity about workflow is crucial. The more you can simplify the workflow, the better.
Once you have set up a workflow, make sure to check in periodically so you can evaluate how things are going while also identifying any needed adjustments.
3. Provide Your Team With The Right Technology.
Virtual teams can’t operate without technology, so it is critical that you are providing your team with the tools they need to get the job done. Whether it is platforms for communicating, collaborating, or creating (or something else entirely), it is vital that you invest in technologies that can make your workflow more effective and efficient.
Over the past couple of years, there have been significant developments in collaborative technologies which make virtual work a lot easier. Consequently, the biggest challenge is knowing which technologies to select. You don’t want to be using too many platforms, nor do you want to be continuously overhauling the systems. Therefore, the most important consideration needs to be that everyone can be on the same platform or system.
In addition to communication channels, you also want to look into possibilities for virtual shared workspaces and multi-point video conferencing.
For example, the best conference room solutions enable you to connect with your virtual team (and clients) no matter where you are located. These solutions have high-quality sound and visuals and are easy to use, ensuring that everyone can work together smoothly.
4. Set Up In-person Meetings For Success.
For many teams, the post-COVID world will involve a hybrid situation of virtual workdays and in-person meetings. If this is the case for your team, you want to make sure that any in-person meetings and events are as productive and valuable as possible.
This is where building an in-synch team is crucial because it means you have already been having regular meetings, establishing and sharing meeting agendas, and agreeing on communication protocols.
Then, when you are back in the office, make sure you are implementing digital meeting room sign boards that make it easy to book and schedule meeting rooms.
Your team (and broader organization) must have a functional and readily accessible meeting room booking platform to ensure that you avoid cancellations, overcrowding, and double-booking. After all, when you finally get the team back together in person, you want to make sure everything is smooth sailing!
5. Embrace Your Leadership Role.
While there are inevitably unique challenges that arise when you have to manage a virtual team, as long as you have strong leadership, there is no reason why you can’t ensure team success.
As the team leader, make sure you prioritize building solid relationships throughout your team and with key stakeholders. The more you can keep your team members motivated and engaged (both with the project and with each other), the better the results will be.
Additionally, to effectively lead your virtual project team, you also want to cultivate an atmosphere of collaboration and cooperation by being transparent and sharing relevant information openly and regularly.
This will help deepen the team’s connection as well aid them in feeling like a greater part of the effort – no matter where they are located. A feeling of belonging and purpose is crucial if you are going to inspire team members to do their best possible work.
Are you currently managing a virtual team? If so, what are some challenges you have encountered? What types of solutions have you found to be the most effective? What kinds of technologies would you like to introduce to the team?
Let us know your thoughts and any additional insights you have!
Nicholas Giorgetti is the Managing Partner at 2.0 Concepts, one of the leading audio-visual experts in the Middle East. The company specializes in digital signage and video conferencing solutions, with experts designing, building and managing effective visual communications projects of all sizes. The team understands the technical infrastructure, implementation process, and operational models needed to implement communication projects of all sizes.
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