Virtual and hybrid teams became necessary during the global pandemic as many brick-and-mortar establishments transitioned to remote operations.
While initially believed to be a temporary solution for extenuating circumstances, digital workforces are here to stay. Despite the benefits of virtual teams, traditional management practices are less effective, resulting in slowed productivity, weakened performance, and poor workplace morale.
Biggest Management Challenges
When team members have the luxury of working from home, it gives way to distractions, procrastination, and limited hands-on interaction. Managers often report problems building trust, monitoring performance, communicating, and getting teams to collaborate effectively.
As these factors are essential to organizational success, administrators must revise management strategies to accommodate remote work environments. Continue reading for advice.
Provide Adequate Resources
You can’t expect team members to perform their jobs efficiently without the proper tools and resources. While team needs will vary by business type and position, each person should have a high-quality laptop, internet connection, headset, and microphone. When technology is uniform, it reduces the potential for compatibility, connectivity, and accessibility issues, allowing your team to collaborate with fewer interruptions.
Project Management Applications
While micromanaging isn’t ideal in any professional setting, managers must be aware of their team’s progress on essential tasks and projects. Unfortunately, everything from geographical and time zone differences to varying schedules and workflows makes managing remote teams more challenging.
Project management applications like Slack, Trello, and Asana enable managers to delegate tasks, track progress, share files and forms, host meetings and communicate with teams through instant messaging. These applications also generate analytic reports with data managers can use to improve communication, collaboration, performance, and productivity.
You may not work in the same space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t harness the power of staff meetings to keep your team on track. Managers of remote teams should schedule weekly or bi-monthly sessions to discuss crucial topics and get team member feedback.
Take advantage of technologies like video conferencing software and free audience engagement tools to ensure your virtual meetings are high quality, organized, entertaining, and productive.
Daily Check-Ins And Managerial Office Hours
Daily check-ins allow managers to follow up with their team to address overnight changes, problems, or concerns. Select a convenient time of day to meet for approximately 10-15 minutes. Give each team member a chance to share their opinions or ask questions and then end the session with your objectives for the day and a motivational message to lift your team’s spirit.
Keeping the lines of communication open is essential when managing a remote team. Beyond emails, virtual meetings, and daily check-ins, managers are encouraged to leave room in their schedules for one-on-one communication. Set aside a few hours a day for team members to make appointments to talk with you about more personal matters.
One-on-one communication provides an opportunity to strengthen the manager-team member relationship. Ultimately, when team members respect, trust, and value their supervisors (and vice versa), it makes managing remote workforces easier.
Host Social Activities
Isolation and social disconnect are some of the remote workers’ most challenging obstacles. When team members feel left out or uncomfortable, it lowers morale and makes collaboration difficult. One way to break down the communication barriers and bring the team closer together is to organize social events and activities.
Wellness challenges, happy hours, virtual lunches, group gaming, watch parties, holiday gatherings, and birthday bashes are fun and effective ways to help your team connect off the clock. They can have fun, find common interests, and cultivate stronger relationships that translate into better performance in the office.
Remote operations have become a popular option for businesses and modern-day workers and will likely be an option for years to come. However, the effectiveness of a virtual work environment is only as good as its structure, workflow, and team member performance. Ultimately, business leaders must tap into innovative solutions like those discussed above to effectively manage a successful virtual team.