The last 16 months have been a rocky road for many businesses, meaning they have had to pivot in order to survive in the face of such difficult times. Nowadays, it has never been more important to embrace new ways of working, including providing the ability for your employees to work virtually. There are so many companies that are choosing to stay with the work from home structure in their business, due to many reasons. Some of these examples being lowered transportation costs, lowering pollution and to aid employee work/life balance, leading to greater job satisfaction.
If you are leading a virtual team, we have detailed some important ways that you can successfully manage them in this article. It is no easy feat – but with the help of these suggestions, you will feel confident with your team and strategy moving forward.
Communication has never been more important
Ensure your intranet is kept up to date with clear notice boards and guides, highlight important information such as the companies key contacts which will help employees reach out to the relevant people in each sector. This will help answer any pressing questions within their roles and provide structure. Include any team news and updates that you have permission to share. You can also provide reading material such as sharing blog posts, articles, and industry news. Consider signing up for an online project management tool such as Monday.com to understand how everyone is getting on with projects.
Consider sending out a regular team newsletter that shares useful information and tips with your employees. Include guides and remind your team that although you are working virtually, it’s still important to reach out if they need to talk about projects and other aspects of their lives that they may be struggling with at the moment. We are all human and need interaction, no matter how introverted we can be!
Create Accountability, flexibility and Celebrate Wins
Building team morale is extremely important when it comes to managing virtual teams. Productivity may also be low as your employees work from home. This can be caused by many factors including the daily stresses that come with the merge of home and work life. So my advice is to be patient with your team and ensure they have flexibility while they are working from home. It’s worth thinking of each employee’s personal situation, as some may need to swap their times of work around to fit in with childcare. Introduce options for people to work in time blocks. As long as they get the job done well, they will appreciate the suggestion and will become more motivated.
Celebrate any wins, big or small with your team. This is exceptionally helpful to keep your team accountable for their actions. Praise goes a long way, so when someone has done a great job – let them know. Your team will be more motivated to be successful when they know their efforts are rewarded.
Arrange a mix of 1:1 and Team Meetings
To keep up the communication, arrange the occasional face-to-face meeting on zoom or any other webinar software you chose. Ensure team meetings have clear straight to the point agendas in order to not run over too much, and make sure everyone is prepared beforehand. We are all busy, and having days filled up with unproductive meetings just wastes everyone’s time.
Make time to listen to your employees by scheduling regular 1:1 meetings. These can be arranged with the aim to guarantee your team remains open and they aren’t facing any problems. Building trust individually with your team members shows that you respect them.
Team meetings are also important as this is where you can all get creative and collaborate on projects. Encourage your team to share new ideas and get everyone involved by asking questions to your team members.
Introduce Team building Exercises
Although it is important to keep the amount of zoom meetings down in order to have the highest productivity rates, you could organise team building exercises within your meetings. Consider arranging a short game at the beginning of each meeting to get everyone comfortable and to break the ice. By taking part in something that wakes your team up, gets them talking and thinking can have such a positive effect, not just on the success of the meeting but also their wellbeing.
As there are no opportunities for chats by the coffee machine in the office when you’re working from home, it’s important to make the social aspects of work life easier to access online. You can look into creating an intranet team room, where people can share photos and get to know each other more. This would be a brilliant team building tool, especially if you have a larger team who may not have the opportunity to get to know each other properly.
Try implementing these tips into your leadership strategy today and see the positive effects that you achieve! Keeping on top of a virtual team has its difficulties, but with these suggestions you can start to build a strong, reliable, and connected team – from the comfort of your own homes.
If you need any support with managing teams, both virtually or in person, feel free to get in touch and we would be happy to help you.