Virtual teams are saving businesses all around the globe. Because of the pandemic, many employees have been forced to replace their offices with home ones. The transition brought many challenges and difficulties both to employees and managers. They may be making it work somehow, but there is always room for improvement.
All the more so as employers are thinking about making remote work a more permanent work arrangement, at least until the pandemic is over. For this reason, managers are looking for ways to turn their virtual teams into high-level ones. If you are one of them, take a look at our suggestions.
Managers of virtual teams often assume that socialization and rapport will come naturally in the digital workplace. That is one of their greatest mistakes. Interaction is almost effortless in the office because employees can chat by the water cooler, during lunch or coffee breaks. In the virtual world, socialization opportunities are quite rare. That is why you have no other choice than to create some by yourself.
For example, you and your team can share their favorite TED Talks through internal communication software. Then you can gather around for a digital lunch break and discuss them. Similarly, invite experts from the field to hold a workshop on a refreshing topic, so your staff can engage and stay up to date with the growing trends in the industry. If you are looking for some simpler ways to boost interaction, then try opening your meetings with amusing icebreakers or organize virtual team building activities.
Take shortcuts whenever possible
Great managers never overburden their team members. They make sure not to add on workload and stress to employees. Why? Because overburdening and increasing stress lead nowhere. Employees will crack under pressure and heavy workload. For this reason, managers should resort to shortcuts and encourage employees to do the same whenever possible.
That is time savers, efficiency hacks, productivity tips, and tricks. If you or your employees know any shortcuts, do share them among yourselves. Shortcuts will increase your team efficiency and performance. They will need less time to complete a task or find a piece of information.
No one realizes how easy it is to become sluggish until they start working from home. All employees do all day every day is sit. No wonder they turn into chairs or couch potatoes over time.
What most of us don’t realize is how bad it is for our health. Researchers from Harvard University have discovered that exercising only 15 minutes every day prolongs our lifespan by at least three years!
Therefore, if you want to run a high performing remote team, you have to ensure their well being and encourage them to make workouts a part of their work-from-home routine.
For instance, instead of sitting during the meetings, they can stand. Every 15-20 minutes, they should leave their desk, take a short walk around the room to stretch their legs. They can even skip a rope during a phone call or in between the meetings. Apart from being great for blowing off some steam, physical activities also enhance focus and sharpen attention, which is good for employee productivity.
Turn into a videoholic
Every week, your staff should pop on Skype, Zoom, or any meeting tool and communicate not only virtually but also visually. Video conferences are great for natural and more direct interaction with employees, which remote work severely lacks. Thanks to body language and eye contact, internal communication is more effective than a written one.
This way, you can easily pick up on the emotional needs of your staff, which you would usually overlook during a phone call or a message.
Besides, keeping regular video conferences puts employees in the proper mindset. When working remotely, employees lack structure and routine, so they let themselves go a bit. They stop dressing up for work and wear sweatpants or pajamas all day instead. Video conferences force them to take care of themselves and look their best despite working from home.
The greatest advantage of remote work is flexibility. However, even flexibility has disadvantages of its own.
Those disadvantages are best known as distractions. Kids, pets, Netflix can all get in the way of meeting deadlines and completing tasks. Nonetheless, there are some steps you and your team can take to stay focused despite all distractions.
For example, make to-do lists, use time tracking and anti-distractions apps, or find the quietest area of the house for a home office. This way, you and your team will have no problems with getting things done in the workplace.
It doesn’t matter whether or not your team is working from home permanently or temporarily. You still have to have clear remote work policies framed. Such policies will keep both the management and remote workers on the same page regarding working conditions, hours, expectations, processes, and desired outcome.
You can even ask employees to help you with policy development. Since regulations and rules concern them, they should be able to have a say in their content, elements, and implementation. Besides, if they take part in such activities, they are more likely to conform to them in the digital workplace.
Thanks to the pandemic, virtual teams are gaining in importance. Despite all challenges, they are keeping businesses afloat. Such teams can become high-level ones in no time. All you have to do is act on some of our suggestions.