Starting a virtual team with new people can be daunting, especially if you've never managed remote workers before. However, it doesn't have to be challenging. Virtual teams aren’t as scary as they sound; if managed well, you’ll soon find that they are one of the best ways of working. Working virtually has many benefits, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. So how do you build a successful virtual team? Read on for some useful advice...
Set clear goals and expectations
Before you dive into building a virtual team, it’s important to set clear goals and expectations. To set goals, ask yourself these questions: What will your team be responsible for? What are your company goals? What are the short-term and long-term goals for your virtual team? What are your team members' roles and responsibilities? When setting expectations, make sure you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in each role. You should also be transparent and honest about the challenges associated with remote work. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what each person will be doing on a day-to-day basis.
Establish a culture of trust and accountability
Building your virtual team is all about creating a trusting culture in which team members feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. After all, no one is perfect, and mistakes happen. If members feel pressured to always get things right, they will be less likely to feel comfortable being themselves and fully committing to the team. You want team members to feel like they can be fully themselves, be genuine, and be open with each other and with you. And you want to make sure that when mistakes happen, there are clear expectations about how to handle them. Hold team members accountable for meeting goals, timelines, and expectations. But also hold each other accountable for creating an open, trusting culture.
Hold regular meetings
It’s important to lead regular team meetings, even if your team works remotely. This will help you keep everyone accountable and on track, while also creating an opportunity to strengthen relationships and create a sense of community between employees. Most remote teams meet weekly or biweekly (though some meet daily). You can also experiment with different meeting formats, like having a regular virtual meeting at the beginning of each week or holding an offsite meeting every few months. Whatever you decide, make sure that you have a consistent meeting schedule.
Organize Virtual Team Building Activities
You should also engage in regular virtual team-building activities. Doing so will help you strengthen relationships between team members, create a sense of community, and build trust. For example, you can create a shared folder on a cloud-based platform where team members can post photos, images, GIFs, or videos related to a particular theme. Or you can you can organize a virtual team building activity at an Escape Room company that offers them. Companies like Mystery Escape Room have a collection of virtual team building activities that focus on exercising different team skills, like collaboration. Click the link to see Mystery Escape Room's collection (Virtual Team Building).
Having a virtual team can be challenging, especially as a manager, but it doesn't have to be! With these tips, you'll be well on your way to building a successful virtual team that is incredibly productive and efficient.