We live in a global world, there is no denying it or slowing it down. More and more we are led to work with people because of their specific skill-set and not just their geographic vicinity. So what does the future of work look like? Well, although we can't see into the future, we can predict a work sphere made up of global virtual teams that collaborate on projects from the four corners of the globe. So with that in mind, it's important for us to prepare for productive virtual teams.
Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
Tip #1: Host meetings with a clear purpose
We have all attended numerous meetings without any clear purpose, agenda or goal. So I'm sure you're with me when I say—these meetings only succeed in wasting time and draining participants of energy. This is even more true of virtual meetings. So by setting a clear meeting agenda, you can ensure that every participant can prepare for the meeting and proactively participate in it. In virtual work settings, organisation and structure need to compensate for less frequent verbal communication.
Tip #2: Establish accountability
Accountability ensures that everyone does what they need to do for the team and company to achieve their goals. Often accountability is very much linked to strict processes and policies that are put in place as self regulating checks for employees to track what they're getting up to. So, in virtual work settings, virtual teams need to rethink their policies and processes to ensure they are well suited to their style of work and needs. They also need to hold each other more accountable on a personal level to make sure that as a virtual team they deliver on their goals and objectives.
Tip #3: Keep it personal
Working in a virtual team means less interaction. There are no two ways around it, there is less face to face time and the face to face time is often focused on business discussions. This is why it is even more important to maintain personal connections and conversations that solidify the working relationship and create a sense of unity within the team.
Tip #4: Choose the right devices
I can bet that each one of you reading this blog has already received a horrible email from a client, colleague or boss that offended you and created tension. I know that i have had my fair share of abrupt emails with more exclamation marks than necessary. Often the first reaction to receiving that kind of email is to react by sending an equally passive aggressive email with even more exclamation marks, but that sort of reaction only hinders the de-escalation process. It's important to really understand the root of the issue.
Regrettably, emails are not always a good channel of communication to clear the air and de-tangle possible tensions and issues. When tensions arise, we recommend switching from emails to a more personal means of communication like video conferencing or a phone call.
Tip #5: Set daily standups
Setting daily meetings not only helps drive accountability, but it also enforces a rhythm for the team and ensure that everyone's work habits are synchronised around a daily stand up meeting. Its also a good opportunity to share general concerns and focuses as well as more specific project updates. The daily stand up can sometimes be challenging with people working widely different timescales but generally it can be managed with a bit of coordination and compromise.
Hope you enjoyed the read and that these simple tips can help you create a happy and productive virtual team!
In the meantime, why not check out our top Virtual Instructor-Led Training solutions that your virtual teams can access anywhere at anytime.