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All across the world, more and more companies are finding themselves in situations where they need remote workers, working as a virtual team. A virtual team can be made up of anyone working online from varying locations. Often, these teams use tools such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack to communicate over what can be very large distances.
In order to make the transition from the office as seamless as possible, it’s important to know how to judge your virtual team’s success. Not being around your team each day can be a daunting prospect at first, but being able to recognise when things are going well will soon put you at ease.
Key skills like collaboration, communication and productivity have never been more important to achieve success. Whether you’re searching for indicators that your team is successful or you’re preparing to start a new team, the following tips will hopefully help you.
Not only is it important for you to be communicating well with your team, but it’s also important that they’re doing the same with each other. As mentioned in our How to Get Started with a Virtual Team guide, it’s up to you to provide that channel of communication. When you’re working in an office, you are given natural opportunities to ask a quick question or have an open discussion about a project. It’s important that your colleagues still feel just as comfortable approaching you and their colleagues whilst working from home.
Technological tools like the ones previously mentioned can help you to make this happen. To answer quick queries, a group chat can be set up on Skype or Slack. If your colleagues have this open during the day, they can get timely responses from each other to their questions. In order to tackle larger questions, it may be useful to set up a regular team meeting once a day to discuss how everyone is getting on.
This provides a space dedicated for your colleagues to share their work and ask any questions that they may need answers to.
Increasingly so with virtual teams, it’s important to keep these meetings regular as otherwise, people may feel that they moment has passed. This can then lead them to start feeling isolated. To tackle this as their manager, it may be helpful to check in on each of your staff during the day in addition to the group meeting. That way, if they missed an opportunity to ask something, you can either help or put them in contact with the right person.
It is vital that your team are happy to collaborate with each other in a coordinated manner. In order to do this, it’s important that everyone has a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities in each task. As their manager, it’s important that you communicate this to them and monitor their progress. If your team isn’t collaborating, it can lead to work being disjointed, messy and not to schedule.
As we’ve touched on, communication is vital in achieving this. By holding daily meetings with colleagues where they can ask questions, you are encouraging collaboration. In order to collaborate effectively, video calls and online chats will be vital. Emails are good but they can become confusing if you’re attempting to have a conversation over them.
In order to further promote collaboration, particularly if your team is quite unfamiliar with each other, you could get them working together. If you can afford to do so, set them tasks that need to be completed in collaboration with each other. That way, they will start to develop an understanding of how they like to work and feel more confident working across each other’s tasks in the future. Project management documents or software that share people’s work loads can also help your team understand everyone’s roles better.
When you’re in the office, you can see when your team is being productive with their time. This is increasingly difficult when working with a virtual team. It would be impossible to track what your team is doing every minute of the day and it would be quite unproductive to try doing so. No-one appreciates having someone breathing down their neck whilst they’re trying to work. That’s why we suggest that there should be an element of trust in every well operated virtual team.
However, we do understand that this trust must stem from seeing some results. Having your virtual team adopt an activity log can provide you with exactly that. From specialised software, to a simple Excel sheet, having a record of what your employees have been doing during the day will allow you to feel confident in their work. Not only that, but activity logs can be a great opportunity for you to understand where they are with a project and identify where they may be struggling.
If you do choose to introduce an activity log, reach out and encourage those that exceed expectations in a day. If someone has evidently struggled, reach out and offer support to see how you can work together to improve their productivity.
As we’ve already discussed, by moving to a virtual team, you’re missing out on those natural opportunities to talk to colleagues. It’s important to recognise that some of these opportunities would have been the traditional ‘water cooler’ moments where colleagues can socialise. In order to make your team stronger and more comfortable working together, it’s important to provide these opportunities.
In previous guides, we have suggested organising scheduled coffee breaks during the day over a video call, or starting a Slack chat dedicated to informal chatter. With these methods, you can provide opportunities to socialise that can be monitored to make sure that they’re not abused.
Another option could be to organise a virtual event to enhance team building. This could be perfect to either build upon an existing relationship or welcome a new member of staff to the team. Virtual team building events can be held online on the video platform of your choice. Providing a fun activity gives the team an opportunity to bond and relax around each other, making these events great for socialising.
Here at KDM Events, we understand the importance that successful virtual teams hold in the current climate. That’s why we’ve adapted to start offering a wide range of them. From virtual escape rooms and cooking classes to live entertainment, there truly is something for everyone.
KDM events have been developed to incorporate a fine balance of memorable activities and the promotion of important team building skills.
If you have any questions regarding any of our events, our Event Managers would love to hear from you. Our experienced and friendly team will work hard to tailor your event to meet your company’s specific requirements. Whether that be selecting your desired software, matching the personality of your team or making a certain song request, we can help. KDM’s full range of virtual events can be viewed online. Alternatively, our other guides on virtual events and teams may be able to assist you further.Contact Us