The first time that I was a department leader for a virtual team was in 2012. When I first accepted the position, I was encouraged by the prestige and increase in compensation. However, I quickly discovered that there are a number of challenges to running a virtual team.
You are going to have to work twice as hard to keep employees engaged and facilitate communication in a remote team. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do. Here are some of the most important tips.
Use more dependable technology for communication
Ensuring seamless communication is possibly the biggest hurdle to running a remote team. This is going to be a lot more difficult if you don’t use the right technology.
Too many project managers try to coordinate everything through email. There are a number of reasons this is not a good idea. Email messages are easy to fall through the cracks. Sometimes employees will pretend that they didn’t see an email, just so they can have an excuse to be late with their assignment.
You should try to communicate through a project management platform like Teamweek’s team collaboration tool instead. These platforms enable real-time communication. They also help make sure that messages don’t get lost. They will be stored in a centralized place, so employees have the responsibility of checking every day to make sure they understand what the expectations are.
Be more proactive about touching base with employees
Maintaining good rapport with your employees is essential in any organization. However, it is a bigger struggle for project managers of remote teams.
You will have an easier time improving employee morale if you are more proactive about reaching out to your employees. Don’t make a point to only talk to them during quarterly evaluations. You should try to touch base with each employee at least once a week, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You’ll get a better understanding of their concerns and you will have a chance to reassure them that you are satisfied with their progress.
Make sure that the right employees are paired with each other
Cohesiveness is another important element of any successful team. Finding the right employees is not enough by itself. You also need to make sure that good employees work well together.
Find out if there are any lingering problems between team members. Take all necessary steps to resolve them. If certain problems between employees can’t be fixed, then you will want to consider re-assigning people to different roles.
Rely on analytics tools to objectively measure performance
Measuring employee performance is a complicated task for any manager. It can be even more difficult when you are managing a remote team.
The good news is that there are a lot of different analytics tools that you can use. you can use tools like Grammarly to measure the quality of your writers. You can also use a variety of scheduling tools to make sure people are meeting their deadlines.
You should definitely be familiar with the different analytics tools available. They will help you properly measure the performance of your workers.
Be realistic about regional barriers
Theoretically, remote work places are free of geographic barriers. Employees in San Francisco, Dubai and Stockholm can all work with each other at the same time. Unfortunately, the reality is not so simple.
You’re always going to have to deal with multiple challenges associated with geographic barriers. Language is going to be one of the biggest difficulties to get over. Some workers are going to have a hard time communicating, since they are not as proficient in each other‘s languages. Time zones are another problem that you need to deal with. It is unrealistic to ask remote employees to follow the same work hours.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to work around these problems. You just need to acknowledge them first.