What is a Virtual Team?
A virtual team often regarded as, remote team, geographically dispersed team, teleworking team
s, or distributed team s. In short, a team that includes members that are working from different geographical locations and are connected virtually through digital platforms and mediums are virtual teams. They are usually connected through emails, telephones, and other mediums. They collaborate through online video or voice calls and many other online tools that are recently introduced or came into limelight the current pandemic situation.
Why Establish a Virtual Team?
The answer is simple. Long before this pandemic, people were providing their services from remote areas. Organizations welcome them to work remotely because they want to avail of their expertise. Now that there is a virus outbreak across the globe, the need for virtual teams has increased. People still want to collaborate with their coworkers but want to do that in a safe environment.
A virtual team is the best solution for that. You get to work with your team in the safest environment possible through online mediums. You can connect with them and can still maintain the safety on both ends if you connect virtually.
All You Need to Know About Virtual Team Management
Not much time has passed since Virtual Team Management has attracted all the heat towards it and it has already begun to impress people across the world. However, there is a need for a proper system to manage your virtual teams. Before we get into that, it is important to know that there are several types of virtual teams that function differently from one another.
1- Management Teams
These are the virtual teams that look into managerial responsibilities. Assigning tasks and checking on other employees fall under this team. They are a fundamental team of any organization that makes sure that everything falls in line.
2- Service Teams
Service teams are composed of different members from different locations. Members could be from the same country or other as well. Each member of the team is assigned a shift according to the time zone of his country. When one member’s shift is over, others take over from a different region or a country.
3- Action Teams
These virtual teams are formed to take quick actions towards a problem that occurs from day-to-day. These teams are formed usually based on a short contract, which ends when the problem is resolved by the team.
4- Networked Teams
These teams are formed from different regions and different countries to bring in and combine the expertise of different members from different locations. Members then collectively work towards an agenda to generate results.
5- Product Development Teams
As the title suggests, these teams are formed for the production of commodities. Members are invited from different parts of the world to collaborate to form ideas and make suggestions about the production of any product.
10 Tips to Manage Virtual Teams in a Successful Way
As easy as it may sound, managing virtual teams can be a handful. If you are not doing it right, you may lose the situation with the team. However, there are different tips you can follow that may ensure better coordination and efficiency with the team.
1- Communication Tools
It is crucial that you establish different communication tools for different purposes. The benefit of this is that everything gets done in a timely and efficient manner. Specify what tool your team will use for conferences, what tool will be used for screen recordings, or what tools will be utilized for documentation.
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2- Have Regular Meetings
If you want to manage your virtual team effectively, its recommended to connect with them on a regular basis. Schedule online meetings with them on agreed day and time. Meetings can be scheduled daily, weekly, or as required as per the job nature. Allow them to present their work done, share any challenges faced, give any improvement suggestions or ideas, and guide them accordingly. Regular and timely followups get the things done.
Read more: 6 questions you need to ask your employer
3- Be Professional
Regardless of working from home and in different locations, it is important to create a professional working environment. Every workplace has a different culture according to which employees work. If you want your team to work efficiently, create your digital work culture and let the other team members learn about it.
4- Project Management Tools
It is possible that regardless of putting all your efforts to make things work, your virtual team might still fail to accomplish tasks. It is that time where you need to bring in project management tools to do the magic. The pros of the project management tool are that it keeps a record of everyone’s task and constantly reminds them about their pending task. It lets you view which tasks are delayed and which are still pending.
Learn more: Talent management solutions for small companies
5- Define Work Systems
Every organization has its own way of doing things. It is pivotal that you keep on reminding your team about the work system so they know how to and when to accomplish a task. This lets team members follow particular rules and regulations to achieve their tasks. By repeating your work system, you save yourself from many repeated questions. Remind your team about the workflow regularly. Once they get their head around it, they will start to fall in line.
6- Set One Shared Language
While working with virtual teams, you hire members from different cultures and different countries. Different people from different cultures mean different languages coming onboard. The use of several languages on a platform can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings. If you want to accomplish success, you cannot afford misunderstandings among your team. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that you set one language as a medium for communication.
7- Clarify Process and Workarounds, Not Just Goals and Targets
Your team is dependent on you. Even when they are proficient in what they do, they still need guidance. Some of them look up to you but you neglect that and you just set goals and targets for them. This leads to a poor job. When you leave your team members on their own, they start wandering around and do things without any guidelines. You have to set a path for them. Guide them about how to accomplish their tasks.
8- Be Aware of the Team’s Other Commitments
Even when your team is working virtually with you, they need time for their other commitments as well. They cannot be doing their work all day. You need to assign the task that can be covered in a particular period. If they are working all the time and they are not enjoying enough free time for their other commitments, they will end up performing low.
9- Provide Brief Recaps
Before you jump right onto the next tasks, appreciate their previous work in front of everyone. Let them know their work is important to the team and they are bringing value to the table. This will motivate your team members to perform even better in their next tasks. This activity also comes in handy to check up on previous tasks and in following team member’s progress. Do not point out his or her shortcomings and deficiency in front of everyone. You can always politely ask about the progress of the task.
10- Cross-cultural Sensitivity
When you work with a virtual team, you are not bound with boundaries, regions, and countries. You hire from across the globe. You see someone with good skills, you try to get them onboard and when talents from across the world come together on a digital platform, different cultures collide. It is important that every member of your team respect each other’s norms, culture, and way of speaking. They cannot go mocking anyone’s culture. Create a work environment where every culture is welcome. This promotes diversity and it leads to a better workforce.
Having a virtual team is a responsibility that falls on your shoulder. If you are not ready for this responsibility, do not try to take it on. You are their mentor, their guide, and their leader. In a way, you are responsible for every action that is related to work. If you want to manage your virtual team better, you become a part of the team. Do not deviate from them and let them know you are here for them whenever they need you.