Many businesses today have adopted an office-less system for their business, and for good reason. Virtual teams are some of today’s most agile, efficient and productive teams around. And in times such as the current Coronavirus crisis that we face today, online teams can still keep operating no matter what happens.
Several days ago, the Australian Prime Minister announced that the nation would be going into a strict lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. It placed a lot of businesses in hyper-panic mode. Needless to say, last week was a very stressful time for entrepreneurs everywhere.
Managing a Virtual Team: Blessing in Disguise?
But being entrepreneurs, we always find solutions in the midst of problems. The readily available solution for many businesses is to switch their staff to a remote working set up. But understandably, a nervousness fell upon bosses, executives and business owners. Virtual teams are growing in popularity, but they’re not the majority.
Fortunately, Outsourcing Angel has been for the longest time a virtual business. Hence, all our staff have the ability to work from home. Maybe you’re a business that’s saying that this option is feasible for you as well. We’d love to help you in this area.
If you don’t have a team, or if you need to inject a seasoned virtual professional into your operation, we’re more than willing to provide you with our services.
Here are the essential elements you need in order to build an effective and successful virtual team.
1. Constant communication
Constant communication is the first essential to any team- whether offline or online. When working with a virtual team, you want to make sure that you’re in constant communication with your team members to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to goals, deliverables and timelines.
A few things that you will need to ensure that communication is constant and effective in your remote team are the following.
- Weekly meeting. You’ll want to set a weekly meeting with your team so that you can tackle tactical concerns. A great tool for you to learn how to use for this is Zoom, a video conferencing app.
- Daily Chats. On top of weekly meetings, you’ll need a chatting app to have your team talking on a daily basis. In our team, we use Slack.
- Informal Conversations. We don’t want everything we talk about in a team to be strictly about work. It’s important for informal and fun conversations to happen too. You just want to make sure it doesn’t get mixed up with official business. That’s why we love Slack- because you can create channels for non-work conversations. In our company, we have chat rooms for random ramblings, general concerns, congratulating staff on job done well and so on.
2. Clear direction
A wise proverb once said “without a vision, the people perish.” A team has to have a direction, a target to constantly shoot for. And everyone on the team should know what those targets are. One helpful way to keep the team direction crystal clear is to be on top of administrating and managing projects.
Direction is achieved when we clearly set what commitments each member of the team should have and hold them accountable to it. At Outsourcing Angel, we do this by using Basecamp, a project and task management service that keeps us on top of projects and tasks. We have virtual staff that stay on top of tasks and properly disseminate and follow-up with deliverables on a regular basis.
There are many tools available online for project management, but what you really need is a virtual project manager or virtual admin to keep tasks in line. Are you looking to hire one? We’d be more than happy to help you find a virtual assistant to help you do that!
3. Simple systems and processes
Whether it’s office or virtual work, systems and processes are essential to operating smoothly. How do team members hold meetings? Where do we store all our files? What time of the day do we work? When we’re clear on policies and boundaries, we have a better framework and thus are able to deliver faster.
Some processes you should set in place include:
- Proper guidelines and house rules when holding video conference meetings to keep it orderly and efficient.
- Working hours and time logging (We use Jibble to track our working hours).
- Client relationship management (We use a tool called Hubspot).
- Marketing calendars.
Need more help creating these virtual systems? We’d love to walk you through them. Book a call with us to get guidance.
4. Seamless collaboration
Working from home can be new territory for many. And it makes people assume that productivity and collaboration will go on a natural decline. That doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, this could be a great opportunity for you to stretch and even grow your collaboration.
Collaboration is built on members’ ability to give unconditional trust. When we’re all not in one place, we can best practice that unconditional trust by holding all team members in positive regard. Trust that your team will get things done even when you can’t look over their shoulder to see what they’ve done so far. You’ll be surprised how much more productive and collaborative teams can get when working remotely. The key is to build a culture of trust.
Virtual Teams are the Future
With the lockdown on Australia and many other nations, it might feel like working from home is a dead end. But it’s actually not. For many companies, this can actually be a great blessing in disguise. Experts are saying that many companies will most likely remain in work from home set ups even after lockdowns.
Virtual teams are the future of work, Coronavirus aside. So take this opportunity to step into the future and set your team up for success.