In the last few years, many teams have moved to a remote work lifestyle. It was challenging for some, and for others, it was just another day in the home office. For those struggling to manage a virtual team, this blog is for you. We’ll go over five ways to effectively manage virtual teams.
1. Establish How to Communicate
Things can quickly become lost or overwhelming when teams have several ways to communicate. I suggest picking two (maybe three) lines of communication between team members. I recommend picking tools that serve a specific purpose, such as only using Zoom for meetings and using Slack for quick questions. Here are a few lines of communication that you can pick from:
- Google Hangouts
Make it clear what you expect from team members regarding communication. Set boundaries as to what forms of communication are and aren’t acceptable.
2. Set Expectations
Make it clear what you expect from team members. We already talked about communication, but this also applies to deliverables, meetings, working hours, and professionalism. The best thing to do with virtual teams is to over-communicate. You can create SOPs, templates, and training videos to make setting expectations easier on you.
3. Make Sure Work Hours Overlap
Having a virtual team means that employees could potentially be all over the world. I recommend ensuring that there are at least a few hours of overlap between time zones. This will make it easier to schedule meetings and communicate on tasks.
However, this can be a little tricky with contractors. They typically work based on deliverables rather than hours. In this case, ask what days and times you can expect them to be available for you. You’ll have to be more flexible with contractors, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the overall expectations of your team.
4. Maintain a Team Culture
I think one of the biggest challenges for virtual teams is maintaining company culture. It’s way easier to have a company culture in an office. But it can be lonely working remotely every day. You feel disconnected from the team. It’s important to create and/or maintain company culture as you would in an office.
Make an effort to get to know your team. It will make work more enjoyable for everyone! Here are a few ways you can create a great team culture:
- Host virtual team events (game nights, happy hour, trivia, etc.)
- Encourage team members to share personal wins or highlights
- Start or end meetings by having team members share something about themselves (wins, goals, something they are proud of, etc.)
Even in the online space, community and culture are really important to me. At Wildly Creative Studio, we do bi-weekly meetings with our internal team to share company news and always add a little personal aspect to it to help us get to know each other better.
I also use Slack as a community building tool as well. Every week, each client and team member gets asked a fun question to check in on how they are doing, and open a conversation and find something to connect over.
5. Have a Project Management Tool
I personally use ClickUp for communication on projects. It’s a great platform for keeping track of tasks and overall project management. It allows you to assign tasks to team members, track progress, add instructions or details, and have a deadline. It improves my productivity and shows me what my team is working on without me needing to ask.
Asana is another great project management tool. It also acts as a communication tool, as all comments are instantaneous. If you want an all-in-one tool, Asana is a great option.
Managing a virtual team is more challenging but not impossible. It’s important to set expectations and boundaries related to communication and maintain a team culture. As an online service provider, I have a lot of experience joining and managing virtual teams. If you want to know how you can add me to your team as a social media manager or website designer, let’s connect.
About Wildly Creative Studio
Get ready to stand out online and attract your ideal client with custom strategies that are built for you. With several years of experience in the advertising industry, I decided to put my skills and expertise into a business that helps online service providers and small business owners grow their online presence. From custom brand & website design to social media management + engagement & lead generation, you’ll have your clients knockin’ at your doors to work with you. Book a discovery call with me to get started.