Managing Virtual Team — Tools And Tips

by- Gauri Sathe

Originally published at RemotePanda Blogs

In today’s global economy there are skilled people all around the world that can help you build your company. It becomes enticing to hire these people to join your team due to competitiveness in tech epicenters. Adding remote teams comes with its own set of challenges.

So, how do you address these challenges?

1) Start With the Right Team Members

The first step is having the right people as team members in the first place. After all, any successful work team is made up of individuals who are best-suited for their particular work roles and responsibilities.

Some professionals perform better in a structured, physical workplace over a virtual work experience, which places a huge premium on independence and responsibility. For best results, it’s imperative to hire people who are up for this challenge and capable of working independently, but yet in a small team.

How do you know if you have the right team members?

Start with a trial. Instead of fully integrating your new team member, see how they flow with the rest of your team on a trial basis. You will know within the first couple of weeks if this new hire will work out or not.

2) Ensure Your Remote Team Workers’ Understanding of Goals and Objectives is Clear

In a virtual work setting, it is very important to have clear project goals and objectives. It is much easier for a remote team to achieve what is expected of it when everyone is on board with what is needed at a project’s end. From the project start, it is important to articulate these goals and objectives clearly.

Sharing these goals when all remote workers are present is also necessary. It is necessary to address any questions or concerns after the goals have been stated. During an online meeting, when you cannot always see the faces of your remote workers, it is vital to take time to address each worker and give him or her a chance to speak and raise questions. It is important that everyone is on the same page, and addressing any confusion or lack of clarity regarding project end-goals from the get-go will reduce opportunities for misunderstanding or even underperformance.

Afterward, share these questions and answers with all of your remote team members. Doing so will keep everyone informed of what is going on and cut back on complications arising from worker confusion.

3) Get to know your remote team members

There are multiple ways you can do that. Create chat rooms to interact with the remote teams.

4) Schedule Regular Calls and Meetings

Frequent communication in a remote setting is paramount. Regular meetings should be held which can keep everyone apprised of what is being accomplished, any setbacks and other important details. It is good to prepare a meeting agenda which can be shared ahead of time so everyone can prepare adequately. Keeping regular meeting minutes are also an asset, as the minutes can serve as a to-do list for the time between now and the next scheduled meeting.

Minutes can also help keep meetings efficient. They enable your remote workers to refer back to them at any time and check what was agreed on for different projects. In turn, that helps you avoid any unnecessary repeating of these points in future meetings and enables your team members to proceed with their work.

Meeting scheduling and timing is also of prime importance. Because time management is already a huge element of individual remote worker efforts, being on time for the meeting is critical. It is advisable not to postpone scheduled meetings.

5) Use right remote tools

An effective remote team will have vital tools. These tools can include email, a file sharing capacity, an instant messaging platform, screen sharing software and project management software.

Chatting frequently with the remote team also is effective in maintaining and keeping open the channels of communication. There are plenty of chat tools to accomplish this. One of the popular ones is Slack. A chat room for remote teams can be used to greet each other, idea generation, leave feedback, share stories, announce events, send reminders.

6) Maintain well-documented process documents

Having documentation of processes for completing common tasks and projects is of prime importance. Keeping these documents fresh, easy-to-understand, and up-to-date can be invaluable in saving man-hours and money in what would otherwise amount to hours of training. These materials will be of tremendous value to professionals who are new to your company or learning the ins-and-outs of a new task. They can also be helpful for a general refreshment of critical working skills or knowledge related to everyday company operations.

7) Give feedback and praise

It is good to have a performance review system in place which will help remote workers keep informed of their job performance record as well as areas in which they are strong or could improve. Monthly or quarterly one-to-one performance reviews are a recommended format for reviewing worker performance. If improvement is needed in some areas, be sure to convey that. Any criticism or noting of areas needing improvement is intended to be constructive feedback for the individual. Making remote workers aware of their professional strengths and weaknesses can help them in their professional development. It is advisable to articulate the company’s commitment to fostering the remote worker’s professional development. Doing so can reinforce a remote worker’s positive company impressions.

8) Have meetings with your remote team as and when milestones are reached

There’s a special connection you develop from being face to face with your team members. Although working remotely is great, you still need to make real-life connections with everyone on your team.

Make it a mission to get together once a year for team building or co-working in one central location.

9) Stay in Contact

You should always know what your team is doing !!.

Earlier, we talked about the importance of using a chat room every day. While that is a vital part of building your community, it’s not the only method of communication you should use. In addition to chat, implement the following:

  • Conduct a weekly call. The weekly meetings should give the team an attainable set of goals for the week. These meetings are useful in getting everyone on the same page.
  • Check in frequently with your team members for one-on-one feedback sessions. Sometimes a team member may be hesitant to approach you with an issue or speak about it in group form, but more likely to open up if you ask them one on one
  • End each week with a weekly feedback report for everyone on your team.

Conclusion:

Many of the above-noted points relate back to communication, which is the most important factor and the basic building block to create a well-functioning remote team. Take care of it and the rest will follow. To know more about remote teams and if you want to hire a an remote team feel free to contact RemotePanda.

About Gauri Sathe:

Gauri Sathe is a Product Manager At RemotePanda

About RemotePanda

RemotePanda is a personalized platform for companies to hire remote talent and get the quality work delivered from our city Pune. All talents associated with us are close network connections. When we connect them with you, we make sure to manage their quality, their growth, the legalities and also the delivery of work. The idea is to make remote work successful for you.

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