How to manage a virtual team? - 10 Tips for a high-performing team!
Written By : Bakkah
30 Jan 2023
Remote working is a trend that isn’t going to slow down any time soon, especially in light of the modern ever-changing world. Since technology has been an enabler at workplaces, employers are now empowered to hire and manage a workforce that is no longer confined to brick-and-mortar offices. Besides, stay-at-home orders prompted by COVID-19 forced many employees to work from home even if their companies prefer the in-office style.
Although remote work has a host of advantages, it still creates a challenge for companies’ managers implementing telework policies for the first time. According to recent research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), nearly %71 of employees find it hard to adapt to telework as a way of doing business. A manager and interested in knowing the way out of these challenges? Follow this guide for the best telework experience!
1. Set Clear Expectations
Clarity is the key when providing guidelines, setting boundaries, and reviewing the basics when managing a remote team. Role definitions may start to fall apart during the disruption, leaving employees unsure of where to focus. Remember to provide clarity on priorities, work hours, and milestones, and outline each team member's availability to reach them when needed.
2. Maintain Sufficient Communication
With remote teams, continuous and smooth interaction is the lifeblood. Schedule meetings more frequently so you keep workers apprised of deadlines, available resources, work-related challenges, and managers' expectations. It is also recommended to foster the casual moments of connection that would normally have occurred in your offices, for example, team happy hours, and virtual coffee breaks with coworkers.
3. Brush Up on Your Online Communication Skills
Emphasizing the importance of communication doesn’t mean lengthy meetings or micromanagement. What works in the office may not remotely. When no one is working together in the office, time together becomes even more valuable, so remember to use it wisely.
As you start with the conversation, be quick and concise. Develop your writing skills, talk precisely, and use the right remote collaboration tools, which we are going to talk about in the next point.
4. Equip your Employees with the Right Technology
Depending on the purpose of communication and its urgency, you can choose the tools that will help you get closer to your teammates. Be mindful that virtual communications may be less comfortable and effective for some, but virtual workplace apps help keep all communication, formal and informal, in one place. Among the recently used apps are Slack, Microsoft Teams, Discord, in addition to Zoom meetings, Skype, and GoToMeeting.
5. Change from Behavior-based to Outcome-based Assessment
In the remote landscape, where many people are juggling work and family commitments in their own homes, enable employees to complete their work in ways that are easiest and most productive for them. Remember, just because you can't see them working at their cubicle doesn't mean work isn't getting done. Focus on the output and establish an environment of mutual trust.
6. Celebrate Success
Celebration breeds more success and adds to the satisfaction you experience when you take note of work accomplishments. Remember to take the advantage of every opportunity to celebrate the same work milestones that would be celebrated in the office. It’s also recommended to use webcams and video communication programs for richer, in-person interaction as employees just might have to switch out their high-five for a virtual elbow bump!
7. Feedback is the Guarantee of Perfection
The self-motivation of an employee is a must for remote jobs, but it won’t last forever without proper feedback and interaction. You can make your team members feel valued and appreciated for example by acknowledging a great accomplishment of an individual employee and let the whole team learn about it.
Not only this, the feedback has to be mutual i.e., ask your team for feedback and learn from it. A fresh perspective can improve remote employee management a lot.
8. Emphasize Employee Wellness
Use both direct conversations and indirect observations to keep your fingers on the pulse of your employees. Technology will never be sufficient enough to replace the human touch. It is always needed to determine how employees are feeling and how they are dealing with any adverse side effects of remote work.
9. Embrace Diversity and Innovation
It may well happen that the remote team you manage involves members from different cultures, and there’s no surprise this could lead to some obstacles and misunderstandings. It would be great for you as a manager to be open to promoting a mindset of celebrating differences and being respectful about national holidays for your global team.
Moreover, remote work may create hesitancy among managers and employees to try something new. During such times when innovation and risk-taking become even more important for employee engagement and organizational success, it’s crucial for you to highlight the value of employees’ continuing to scale their activities and provide opportunities to share successes and safety for potential failures.
10. Provide access to Learning and Development
Employee development is a long-term initiative, but it also leads to short-term benefits like increased loyalty and improved performance and engagement. Remote employees may not get the same opportunities to ask one-off questions at your desk, so creating a thorough training plan is especially important for getting them ramped up.
A great way to enhance your employees’ development is to encourage cross-departmental collaboration. It can help bridge the gap between cultures, give employees the opportunity to learn more about other parts of the business, and encourage more empathy across the board.
Telework has become an integral part of the work environment as a whole. It has brought about new challenges; however, it has also generated a new vision for how employees will adapt and how managers will overcome the accompanying hardships. Talent management from a distance will be the new norm in a globally dispersed and remote work environment, so it’s time to think about the potential for this new world of work.
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