Team Building For Virtual Teams by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
Virtual teams are not new for many businesses, but they have become more common in recent years. Developing connections and a sense of unity in the team is more challenging when individuals are remote. However, with a structured approach to team building, the team leader and team members can create opportunities to establish the group dynamics.
There are several steps to team building that help to create a sense of trust and rapport between members. These steps go beyond the team building ice-breakers and activities that are fun and quick to do to help develop already established team rapport.
Create a Team Policy
Rather than writing out a policy for how to interact and engage with each other as a team, making it an initial team activity is a great step. This allows the team members, with leadership support and assistance, to create the rules or guides they want to use for interactions.
This is also a simple way to establish your leadership style. The team collaboration in this activity helps to ensure team members adhere to the policy for meetings, communication, and individual responsibilities.
Develop Clear Communication
The nature of remote interaction is very different from being together in person in a physical workspace. Within the virtual team, information must be clearly communicated and not assumed to be understood. This means identifying all aspects of a project, including processes, specific tasks, roles, KPIs, goals, and other relevant details.
Often sharing information in written form through emails or other systems provides a written and permanent record of the information communicated in team meetings.
Use the Right Technology
A significant challenge for many teams is the use of technology. Individuals working from home may lack the technical support offered to those working in an office, and various platforms may offer a variety of features and options that are useful to the overall team functioning.
Choosing the right software solution has an impact on the ability of the team to engage. Software that is intuitive, easy to use, and includes features that add to the collaboration efforts helps the team to work more efficiently. It also decreases the frustration of getting online and being connected, reducing team effectiveness and efficiency.
Finally, finding ways to build social activities for the team is essential in creating stronger personal relationships between the team members. Taking time to talk about various topics not related to work, encouraging virtual lunches or coffee breaks once a week, or even starting meetings with a check-in of what they accomplished since the last meeting is a way to highlight the skills and abilities of each person.