5 Ways to Successfully Manage Virtual Teams

Do you know what is the only way to keep business up and running during the COVID-19 pandemic? The answer is transition to remote work. However, the transition caught most managers and employees off guard. They shifted to new work arrangement unprepared and have been facing many challenges ever since. The greatest challenge for managers was how to manage a virtual team. Leading a group of remote employees is no walk in the park. Still, there are ways to help you or any other manager in this situation to successfully manage their virtual team. Continue reading to find out. 

Take Shortcuts Whenever Possible 

Another mistake most managers make is overburdening their staff. They assign too many tasks, and they want employees to finish them as soon as possible. With so much pressure and strict deadlines, employees have no other choice than to feel anxious and frustrated. Whenever they feel this way, nothing productive nor good comes out of it. Besides, it disturbs the balance between their work and private life, which stresses them out additionally. 

Therefore, managers should allow and encourage their team members to use shortcuts whenever they can. Productivity tips, efficiency tricks, time savers — keep it coming! This is also a great method for employee engagement. Every team member gets to share their secret shortcuts with coworkers and learn some new in return. Thanks to these hacks, the virtual team will become more efficient in completing tasks, meeting deadlines, and customers’ requests.

Socialize Constantly 

Most employees have the wrong idea about building rapport and social interaction in the virtual workplace. They assume it is something that happens overnight or comes naturally, and they take it for granted. Quite the contrary, virtual teams lack socialization more than anything else. There are no water coolers or shared lunch breaks over which they can interact, bonds, and get to know each other. Opportunities for interaction are rare in the digital workplace. For this reason, managers and employees have to find ways to communicate and socialize.

For example, the staff can share their favorite TED Talks through intranet software. Then all members can gather around for a digital lunch break and discuss them directly. Some other simpler ways to boost interaction include opening meetings with amusing icebreakers or organizing virtual team building activities. Employees should use every chance they get to collaborate and make the most out of time spent together.

Keep Fit 

When employees start working remotely, they become sluggish and let themselves go. They spend most of their day sitting behind a laptop. What most of them fail to realize is that leading such a lifestyle damage their health. Not only do they lose focus but also think slower.

Meanwhile, researchers from Harvard University have discovered that exercising only 15 minutes every day prolongs our lifespan by at least three years! No matter what job the team does, every member can find 10 to 15 minutes in the schedule and do some light exercise.

For instance, instead of sitting during the meetings, they can stand. Every 15-20 minutes, they can leave their desk, take a short walk around the room and stretch their legs. They can even skip a rope during a phone call or in between the meetings. Apart from being great for blowing off some steam, physical activities also enhance focus and sharpen attention, which is good for employee productivity.

Avoid Traps 

Flexibility is the main reason why employees like remote work. Yet, most of them struggle to stay away from all of the distractions their homes contain, such as Amazon Prime, pets, family, etc. All of them stand in the way of finishing projects on time. What managers can do to help employees avoid remote work traps is to encourage them to set their home office nowhere near the common space, for starters. Then, they can also create to-do lists, make priorities, or even install anti-distraction apps across all their devices. Additionally, they can use some time or activity tracking apps and learn how to manage their time better. As a result, managers will have high performing individuals in their team.

Turn into a Videoholic

The importance of socialization has already been covered. Still, there is another closely related aspect equally important for virtual team management. That is face to face communication. Like socialization, there aren’t many opportunities for direct interaction. It is one of the greatest downsides of remote work. Employees lack eye contact and other gestures that are crucial for effective communication. For this reason, managers should rely on video conferencing for more natural and direct contact with employees.

When they communicate only by audio calls and text messages, managers and employees tend to overlook any emotional needs they might be having at that moment. Because of that, they fail to deliver or receive the message in the right way. This way, all communication becomes straight to the point.