Managing Virtual Teams by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Managing people is difficult under any circumstances. But, one of the most difficult management situations of all may be managing remote or virtual teams. Virtual work teams can be very successful and productive. However, these do present unique management challenges. Here are some tips to make managing these teams easier and to help keep your whole group on track.
1. Develop reporting systems. Virtual teams make it nearly impossible to enjoy the “casual coaching” and regular check ins we’re accustomed to in a traditional office environment. This reality makes it necessary to have regular reports required from all your employees. You’ll find it far easier to keep track of everyone’s progress if you develop a reporting system to be used by every member of the team. This makes creating reports faster for them and reviewing them faster for you.
2. Have regular updates to the team. Being a member of a virtual team can make an employee feel isolated. Regular updates help virtual employees feel that they are contributing to an overall goal, rather than keeping them solely focused on their own tasks.
3. Meet and greet occasionally. Bringing the team together may be costly enough that you can only have meetings on occasion. But, meetings help create bonding within the team. This shared sense of accomplishment and vision is what helps keep virtual teams functioning well for the long haul.
4. Keep those team members on your radar. As a manager, it is very easy to neglect virtual team members, especially the ones who do a good job with minimal supervision. Don’t forget to devote time to all your team members: even the ones who don’t seem to need it.
Virtual teams have brought a new level of productivity to the workplace. With virtual workplaces, you have the advantage of being able to employ talent from all over the glob, and your employees can enjoy working anywhere in the world while remaining close to home. These teams have special needs. However, the rewards you can reap as a company, and as an employee, make them well worth any special attention they require.