Business owners are always trying to figure out the most effective ways to manage their teams. Coming up with the perfect system can be challenging because people change and the way business is conducted changes as well. The world is constantly evolving and we have to learn how to adapt.
Now that so many people are working remotely, business owners are faced with new challenges. The old methods of communicating, training, rewarding and even disciplining have to be modified because employees may be located hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
Here are 7 Tips that will help you manage your virtual team.
1. Hire Carefully
Of course you want to hire the best person for any job whether you have a physical location or a virtual business, but if you have a virtual business you have to take into consideration that most people can’t handle the freedom of not having a supervisor in close proximity. As much as they want to do the right thing, getting sidetracked can become a normality leading to low productivity.
Hiring individuals with a previous and successful history of working virtually would be ideal but it’s not always practical. The issue is that the pool of people that would check these boxes for the perfect virtual employee isn’t that large. So that means you’re going to have to spend a little extra time and energy figuring out if your candidates are a good fit.
2. Delegate Appropriately
It would be nice to be able to hire someone and give them a full workload without having to worry about anything. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. It takes time for employers to fully understand their employee’s strengths and weaknesses. In the beginning you’ll need to monitor tasks closely to ensure that they’re being done correctly. Over time you’ll be able to delegate more and monitor less.
3. Virtual Water Cooler
Working virtually has its perks but one drawback is that there is very little interaction with teammates/co-workers. It’s always a good idea to have periodic team meetings so that everyone can see who they’re working with and discuss things in person versus phone or email. However, for some virtual teams; meeting face to face may not be feasible because they have employees all over the world. In this case it’s a good idea to use programs like GoTo Meeting, Skype or Google Hangout for team meetings. It still allows everyone to see each other, have discussions and build cohesiveness.
Whenever you’re working remotely it’s important to have strong communication because it’s easy for things to get lost in translation. Rules and guidelines should be strongly enforced for every team member. There is no one set rule as to how this should be done. It’s going to be different from one company to the next, but whatever system you decide to use, make sure that everyone understands that all projects, tasks, deadlines, communication, etc., should be done according to what you have set in place.
5. Keep Time Zones in Mind
As I stated earlier, finding the right candidates to work virtually is tough and you may have to hire people that live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from you. It’s important to make sure that you’re keeping everyone’s time zone in mind. Even though you’re the boss, try at all cost to not have employees in different time zones working outlandish hours just because it fits your schedule. This not only affects your employee in a negative way but can also have negative effects on the quality of work they provide.
6. Reward System
Rewarding virtual employees takes a little more thought. There is no special parking spot or plaque to hang on the wall, but every virtual company I know about does have a website. Your website is a great place to highlight employees and showcase how much you appreciate them. Along with acknowledgement on your website, you can still send out gift cards, movie passes, sports tickets, etc. Since they aren’t physically around you it may take a little more effort to show your gratitude but it’ll definitely be worth it.
Just because your business is virtual doesn’t mean your training has to suffer. Many virtual business owners make training tutorials that walk their employees and clients through their processes and procedures seamlessly. For the ones that need additional attention, there’s always the programs that were discussed earlier like GoTo Meeting, Skype and Google Hangouts where you can give live training and answer any questions they may have.
Managing a virtual team comes with unique challenges but there are many ways to combat them. There are programs and apps that make working from remote locations better for employers as well as employees. Today working virtually is becoming more acceptable and it will soon become the norm.
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