Let’s just address the elephant in the room, the global pandemic is here to stay. This, in no form, has to mean that you and your team need to suffer through it more than you have.
With people trying to re-establish their working lifestyle back on track, it is evident that there are going to be specific unavoidable changes. Changes, for good, of course. Make a mental note of this and approach everything with a positive mindset.
7 Proven Practices:
How to Lead Virtual Teams
Why should you work from home?
With these unprecedented times, virtual work is more than a skill. It is a necessity. So as a manager, it is up to you to train your teams and conduct business accordingly. While some people like software developers may already have some experience working from home, it might be a completely new territory for others. As a manager, it is on you to make this transition as seamless as possible.
In fact, as per a Gartner report, 74% of CFOs expect their workforce to work from home until the pandemic ends, and some even after that. Safety is better than cure, always. And to be honest, working from home has more pros than cons.
69% of employees recorded their productivity as increased while working from home in a CISCO survey. Ideally speaking, half of the adult population is expected (as they should) to work from home across the globe. This is the only way to survive through this pandemic.
How to lead virtual teams
#1. Create a workplace culture for virtual teams
Your vision for your remote teams needs to be as transparent as possible. Simply because you all won’t be sharing the same room anymore, there should be no scope for confusion.
Set clear guidelines, workflows, and assert importance on being punctual. While it is essential to be flexible with the virtual teams, certain things like deadlines should not be compromised unless absolutely necessary.
#2. Try multiple mediums of virtual team communication
Simply because every workplace and work culture needs variety. So work towards establishing new channels of communication with multiple teams.
Chat is, of course, much more informal than emails. Start by creating clear guidelines on what platform needs to be used for more official purposes and others for simple brainstorming sessions. Video chats are also a great way to kickstart your interaction with the team on a daily scheduled stand-up meeting. Putting a face on teammates is essential.
#3. Build trust
Building a culture of trust and accountability is one of the critical factors that go into creating a successful remote team and managing it. Simply because you can create social bonding with your colleagues and teammates.
This lets the team have ownership of what they do, thereby making them much more responsible. Start by setting clear expectations. This is one of the best trust-building activities you can implement as a virtual team leader.
#4. Explain security protocols
Data sharing is one of the most important aspects to consider when working with multiple remote teams. In the world of internet and security breaches, your organization must understand the need for a secure connection.
Make sure that they are aware of clear data sharing guidelines. If they work from home and on a personal computer, they must know not to save files on their machine. This is when the use of cloud-based platforms and drives comes in handy.
#5. Establish flexible work environment
7 out of 10 employees love the flexibility that comes with working from home. Only because it allows one to build their day accordingly, and they can contribute time at work when they can.
As a team manager, you must prioritize work that needs to be done and flexibility for your teammates to choose their own pick. As long as they know the deliverable, leave it up to them to get it done on their own schedule.
The best way to make sure the work environment is flexible is to establish clear communication through virtual team tools. This will help in creating a structure for work, and you will not micromanage everything.
#6. Performance tracking and feedback
While the above will help you create a perfectly functioning and efficient workflow, you must track work and team members’ performance. The idea is to be flexible but not ignorant. If you work with teams that work on an hourly basis, make sure you evaluate the time they are putting in to get a particular task done. This will help you identify any gaps.
That being said, regularly collecting feedback should be one of the critical things that you do while working with virtual teams. This will help you gain transparency at work.
#7. Acknowledge hard work when you see it
This is needless to say, but it is always good to encourage and appreciate your team when you see them working hard. Remember, these are tough times, and everyone is dealing with a lot. Now is an excellent time to build relationships that help productivity grow ten times. Your ultimate goal is to take this global pandemic as an opportunity to thrive.
Lastly, take care of yourself, too, while you are managing multiple teams. At the end of the day, your wellness and your mindfulness are as crucial as anything else. Keep in mind that you are living through a pandemic and a historic revolution. Don’t blame yourself if your mental health is not the best right now.