A lot of people now enjoy being able to work from home. Others work remotely because they have no other choice.
Digital workplace software makes it easier for team members to chat with each other, host online meetings, share important data, and work more productively.
For managers, however, remote work can understandably bring a lot of challenges. If your team members have difficulty staying engaged and productive, these seven tips for managing a virtual team should help you resolve or prevent some important issues.
Use the Right Tools
To efficiently manage a virtual team, you must choose and implement the right tools.
The right digital workplace platform will help your team stay connected and collaborate on different projects. Still, it will help you define and assign tasks, keep track of your team’s progress, and be available to the employees you manage.
Choosing communication tools that work well for your team is also important. Whether your team prefers text messages, chat, email, or video calls, technology will make it easier to stay in touch with each virtual team member.
Communicate your Expectations Clearly
Technology helps, but it’s up to you as a manager to improve your communication skills.
Keep in mind that since everyone is working remotely, it can be easier for them to get distracted. Your employees could have a hard time understanding what is expected from them.
Be sure to communicate your expectations clearly and consistently. Everyone must know the team’s goals, roles, projects, and tasks they should be working on.
Stay in touch with your team, and don’t hesitate to send regular reminders of the tasks that need to be completed.
Be Flexible When it Comes to Work Hours
If your employees all live in the same city or region, you can reasonably expect them all to be working simultaneously.
However, if your virtual team assembles employees scattered across the country or the globe, they will not be available to work or attend a virtual meeting simultaneously. Keep time zones in mind, and allow your team members to have flexible work hours.
You also have to remember that since your team members are working from home, their personal lives might affect their productivity from time to time. Be realistic about your expectations.
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Organize Virtual Meetings at the Right Time
If the members of your virtual team are not all living in the same time zone, it might be difficult for you to find the right moment to plan your virtual meetings.
Make a list of all your employees, and write down the time zone they are living in. Next, write down their usual clock-in and clock-out times, which your digital workplace software should track.
Then, take a moment to compare this data so you can choose a time slot that will work for all your team members.
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Encourage a Healthy Competitive Environment
When your employees work from home, they might not feel as motivated and competitive as if they were working in an office space.
To make your virtual team more productive, encouraging healthy competition among them could be a good idea. You could do this, for example, by offering some small reward or incentive for each week’s most productive worker.
Simply congratulating an employee for their hard work on your shared communication platform could also do the trick. It’s all about making them know their efforts are valued and appreciated.
Have 1-on-1 Meetings to Connect With your Employees
Managing a virtual team shouldn’t be that different from managing a team working in the same building. You might not be able to chat face-to-face with each team member, but you should have regular 1-on-1 online meetings with them.
During these short 1-on-1 meetings, you can discuss the progress made by each employee. See if they have questions or if their current task is challenging. If there is no issue to report, you can simply have a friendly chat to get to know each other.
Consider Taking a Few Training Courses
If you find it difficult to manage your virtual team despite the previous tips, you should consider taking some training courses.
Some courses can help you learn how to make the most of the online tools you use to communicate with your team and keep track of your progress. Others are designed to help managers set the right goals and build good relationships with their virtual team.
Training courses can help make you a more efficient manager, resulting in a more efficient team.