Managing Virtual Teams Effectively
Soft SkillsTeam ManagementTalent Management

Managing Virtual Teams Effectively

PerformanSe|2 min read|20 April

Some managers might have never managed a team virtually before, and without their regular routines and procedures in place, it can be challenging to know how to support your team from afar.

Here are some of our top tips on how to manage your team effectively, virtually.

Establish multiple communication tools

This is so that your team can cross communicate with each other individually where they need to, but also interact as a team via conference calls etc.

You could create a ‘communication charter’ which clearly outlines things like

  • how the team will communicate
  • agreed behaviours for communication such as communicating only within working hours, limiting background noise on group calls and letting others speak etc
  • what methods of communication are acceptable and which tools should be used for what, for example when an email is ok and when someone should pick up the phone instead

A charter can help your team feel more ‘together’ and relaxed, knowing what is expected of them and when. It provides a clear set of expectations and guidance for everyone within your team to adhere to.

Schedule regular meetings and try and ensure you use video calls regularly.

This helps your team to connect with you, and each other on a more personal level. Soley communicating via email or messengers/chat platforms can easily lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Remember also to schedule 1-2-1 meetings with your team members so you can check in with them on their wellbeing as well as their progress and contributions. A 1-2-1 call will also allow you to identify any training needs of performance management your employee may need and allow your team member to share any concerns they may have with you.

Have clear deliverables

It is essential when working with your team, virtually that they have clearly defined tasks with a detailed description and an outline of the expected result. This helps them to know what is expected of them and minimises the risk of any miscommunication or confusion.

With these parameters in place, you can then allow your team a flexible approach to execute it in the way they feel suitable, and that plays to their strengths and working style.

Try and establish core working hours in the day

This can be difficult if you are managing a team across different time zones, but where possible, try and ensure there are a few hours each day where all team members are online and available.

It can be easy when everyone is working from home to a different schedule for your team to feel disconnected. Setting some core working hours allows you to keep some consistency, but also allow for a degree of flexibility, especially during times like these where employees may also be juggling care commitments.

You could try scheduling a regular meeting and share the agenda in advance to ensure everyone knows when these core times are. This will not only benefit your team but allow for workflow and progress on tasks to be more fluid and reduce delays if people are waiting for information or answers.

Use a project management tool.

Using project management tools can help you, and your team keep track of progress and deadlines on tasks and projects. They allow your team members to stay updated and all access one platform of information to ensure consistency.

Project management tools allow you to set tasks and deadlines and can help everyone on the team feel engaged and up to date with what is happening. Using a project management system can allow you to have something like a deliverables dashboard that is visible to everyone on the team to track the progress of the project. This can help to establish motivation and productivity.

If you are using a project management system, you musn’t micromanage- just like if you were managing your team in person. Overtracking and making your team feel like they are being ‘watched over’ may make them feel less trusted or demotivated to be involved.

We hope these tips give you some ideas on how to support your team effectively in a virtual capacity. The most important thing is that you and your team remain connected to each other and that the channels of communication are open.

It can be easy to ‘forget’ about team members when you aren’t visually seeing them each day, especially those who are perhaps quieter or less vocal than other members of your team. Ensure you create plenty of opportunities to communicate with your team both formally and informally and let your team know you are always available if they need you.

The most important thing is that you and your team remain connected to each other and that the channels of communication are open.

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