Virtual teams are becoming increasingly common, so we can finally put to rest the old myths about face time and the value of remote meetings.
You can choose the people you want to work with within a virtual organization. You get to select who you want to be your team members, which makes the process more efficient. Your team is located in different parts of the world and can work to your advantage. You can have conversations anytime because you don't have to worry about time differences. As a result, your team can collaborate and share ideas anytime, anywhere.
What is a virtual team?
A virtual team is a group of people working together remotely. You could even call it a virtual business unit or a virtual department. For example, if you run a digital marketing agency, you could have a virtual team where each member is responsible for specific business areas.
Unlike a physical office, virtual teams typically do not have desks or chairs; all your team members can choose their workspace, whether that means working from home, co-working spaces, or a meeting room. This also means that the team will probably have a different set of rules than a traditional one.
Top 5 advantages of virtual teams
The concept of a virtual team isn't new. However, virtual teams became in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the world had to shut down, and companies and businesses were forced to adjust or risk business closure.
Here are five advantages of a virtual team that many organizations are currently embracing to achieve the best results in the time when lockdowns are possible.
1. Virtual teams are flexible and can accommodate various schedules.
People in virtual teams can choose to work when and how they want. That means they can work remotely, from home or at the office, depending on their situation. Virtual teams can start as early as 6 a.m. and end as late as midnight. It is also possible for them to work at any time within 24 hours. You can schedule weekly or monthly meetings depending on what works best for your team.
2. They're collaborative by design, which makes them ideal for project management and brainstorming.
Virtual teams are collaborative by design. Collaboration and communication are a big part of any successful team, virtual or otherwise. It is much easier to have the team members work together online. With a virtual team, you can easily share documents, collaborate on projects, and connect. Virtual meetings will be more effective if you have a team with no central location. This is especially true when working on a specific project or brainstorming ideas.
3. Virtual teams are cost-effective, which means they save your company money and can reduce hiring and training costs.
Companies that use online collaboration tools reduce their overall operating costs. In addition, they save on labour costs because employees do not have to travel or commute to an office.
4. Because virtual teams allow employees to work wherever they want, they're more productive.
People in remote locations have more flexibility than those stuck in cubicles all day. Working from home also saves time for commuting. Plus, there's less distraction so that employees can work more efficiently.
5. Finally, virtual teams can be scaled to meet your needs without investing in expensive office space.
Most virtual workers (e.g., freelancers) invest in technology, which is why scaling your business becomes inexpensive when managing a virtual team. It becomes cost-efficient when you pay for a seat in virtual collaboration tools instead of office space, cubicles, and many other expenses that come with setting up an office.
5 Tips To Help You Manage A Virtual Team
1. Hire The Right People
First and foremost, make sure that you hire the right people for your team. If you are unfamiliar with hiring or managing people on a virtual team, you'll want to take some time to learn (or hire someone to do it). Don't skimp here. You'll want to ensure that everyone is reliable, trustworthy, willing to collaborate, and an expert on the job you are hiring them for. Otherwise, they will be a distraction, which is the last thing you need in a virtual team.
2. Have the Right Tools/Technology
Subscribing to the right online collaboration tool is one of the secrets to success in managing a team. There are many virtual team tools out there, but the ones that have three significant functions put together in one easy-to-use interface are desirable:
- Team Communication tools include private messaging, chat, video calls, document sharing, etc.
- Project Management Tools include task management, time tracking, reporting, etc.
- Team Workflow Tools - which include task boards, calendars, etc.
In the old days of managing a virtual team, business owners and project managers had to subscribe to several services (e.g., Skype or Zoom for chat and video calls; Google Drive for file management; and ClickUp or Asana for team and task management). Nowadays, all-in-one remote work software, like Edworking, is available to anyone who wants to manage and scale a virtual team at an affordable rate and has limitless capabilities for chatting, video calls, tasks, and file sharing and downloading.
3. Create a Culture of Communication
Communication is the key to any successful collaborative team. You can never underestimate the power of conversations and should try your best to create a culture where communication is prioritized. For example, you can make every Friday afternoon meeting a scheduled or unscheduled catch-up. You can even consider having monthly stand-ups and daily check-ins to keep everyone updated on what is happening with each other. Also, take some time to build a culture where people feel comfortable speaking up, asking questions, sharing ideas and suggestions, and collaborating effectively.
4. Make Sure Everyone Is On The Same Page
Just as important as communication, ensuring that everyone on the team is on the same page is crucial to managing a virtual team. This means that everybody needs to be clear about their role in the group and what is expected from them. It also means that people need to have a shared understanding of the scope and purpose of the project so everyone knows how they fit into the bigger picture. If there is no consensus on the project's direction, it will be difficult for the team to function efficiently.
5. Take Care Of Your Team
Working remotely makes it easy to fall into a "digital nomad" lifestyle and forget about your team. It is important to remember that you are responsible for nurturing your team and ensuring they know they are valued. You can do this by holding regular meetings, providing feedback to one another, sharing knowledge and best practices, and encouraging healthy professional relationships among your team members.
Make sure your team feels appreciated and that their well-being is an essential priority for you. Even if you are not physically present, show your team how much you care through thoughtful messages, emails, and conversations.
Common Problems Faced by Virtual Teams
Now that you have read the top 5 tips for managing a successful virtual team, let's look at some of the most common issues with virtual teams.
1. Communication Difficulties
As mentioned above, communication is one of the most important aspects of having a successful virtual team. One of the biggest obstacles to communicating with remote teams is clearly understanding what is going on and what needs to be done to make progress. This is why, besides finding out the best ways to communicate with your team, your remote work software must have robust communication capabilities to ensure that communication within the group is never limited.
2. Power and Connectivity Outages
In today's technology age, it seems like we cannot go a single day without having an outage. This includes power outages, internet connectivity problems, and even simple things like the wrong cable plugged into the correct port. An unreliable internet connection can make communicating with your team challenging and time-consuming.
3. Conflict Resolution
Just like working in a virtual office, conflict resolution can be a significant hurdle when working remotely. It's easy for people to get bogged down with issues that seem petty when they are not as important to them as they are to others. An unsettled conflict could mean the difference between having a productive week and a week of stress and frustration.
4. Team Member Productivity
Productivity suffers for many reasons. The trigger could be as simple as one team member not understanding what is expected of him. Or, it could be something more complex, like a lack of motivation or feeling disconnected from the team. Either way, being productive is essential to a company's success.
5. Health, well-being, and morale
Your team's health and well-being are directly connected to their ability to be productive. When people are stressed, they can't concentrate on completing their work. They become less effective, miss deadlines, or fall behind.
All employees need good mental and physical health practices, including ensuring enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising, or taking time out of the day to relax.
We live in a world of remote work. They are more common than ever before, and the number of jobs done entirely by remote teams is growing rapidly. As such, it makes sense to think about how to manage a remote team.
You should use these guidelines as starting points, but you must adapt them to your needs and team. What works for you and your team is vital to consider, so don't be afraid to adjust them as you see fit.
The keys to managing a remote team effectively are having a shared vision, understanding how each person fits into the larger picture, and being sensitive to the needs of your team.
Thanks for reading, and have a productive week ahead.