Virtual teams, also known as remote teams, are becoming more and more common these days. Why? Because it obviously benefits both employers and employees. Employers get to eliminate office costs and increase employee productivity while employees themselves get to work whenever they want and from wherever they want.
However, the general public still doesn’t look favorably upon remote workers. Many a time when remote employees start discussing their working lifestyle, listeners usually just nod, smile, and wonder what these people are trying to say. This is because working at your own schedule, and without needing to visit the workplace still comes off as an alien concept to most people.
Business owners can see the advantages of letting some or most of their employees work remotely. But even if they do believe in the concept, employers still hesitate because they fear for overall employee work ethic.
In this article, we’re going to give you ten tips that’ll help you manage a high-performing virtual team.
1. Track basic measures of productivity
Most companies pay their employees based on hours worked. Thus, it makes sense to track how many hours each person works.
In an office, you can see who is physically present and who is not. But you can’t tell this with virtual teams. It’s hard to understand what is going on, how long each employee has worked, and what tasks they are working on.
Some individuals are extremely disciplined and can successfully avoid distractions. They are able to completely focus on work and finish daily tasks on time. But, not everyone has that kind of discipline. At home, it’s very easy to get distracted. Children, spouses, and chores can take a lot of our time. This means that we need some accountability.
Use employee monitoring software. It can keep an eye on the daily work of employees, but it will also offer employers some meaningful analytics regarding their workforce.
2. Keep consistency but also allow for some flexibility
Most people go for remote jobs because it provides them with flexible working hours. So it’s important to allow for some flexibility when managing virtual teams. But, if things are erratic and all members are not online at the same time, collaboration and teamwork will be non-existent.
3. Create opportunities for team members
Virtual team members live in their own worlds. There is no office environment where you can just go into your coworker’s room and have a meeting. This is why remote team managers need to create opportunities where members can have formal and informal chats with each other.
4. Use screen sharing tools
Virtual team managers need to use screen sharing tools to see what their members are doing. Some of these tools can even allow people to control other computers. Since members are not physically present and you can’t see their screens, these tools are a must.
5. Have video conference technologies on hand
To regularly chat with their team members, managers need video conference tools. Online text messages are not enough. Having face-to-face meetings and discussions is more productive. To connect as a team, video calls are essential.
6. Effectively collaborate on documents and spreadsheets
Use Google Drive if there are lots of members editing a single document. Otherwise, use file sharing sites, like Dropbox, if members only need to view documents and spreadsheets. Lots of project management tools also have file sharing and collaboration features so that’s another great option for virtual team managers.
7. Test new employees before permanently hiring them
Not everyone can efficiently work in a virtual team. Some people just constantly need to be supervised or else they’ll start procrastinating. Offer a short-term contract to new employees. See how they initially perform and only offer a full-time contract after observing their performance.
8. Use time tracking tools
Managers should some faith in their team members. They need to trust their members and expect them to maintain productivity levels at all times. But, employee time tracking tools make things easier as they allow managers to confidently differentiate productive and unproductive employees.
Time tracking software for employees can certainly help employers in this endeavor. These apps will let business owners, managers, and supervisors keep track of daily employee work activities. Many of these apps also provide employers with powerful insights regarding their workforce.
9. Offer competitive salary to virtual team members
Most people are willing to take a pay-cut just to work from their homes. So you can easily find lower-cost team members in the market. But, it’s better to offer them a good salary so that they work hard and stick with the team for a long time.
10. Avoid chat and email overload
Virtual team managers need to strike a balance. They have to create opportunities for communication while making sure members don’t get distracted.