A successful manager in this day and age requires some additional skills that business schools have not included in their syllabus yet. One such skill is leveraging technology to manage a productive and successful virtual team who are not physically located under the same roof. There are challenges in managing a virtual team, but there are also some simple ways to overcome them. Read on to find out more.
As a manager of a virtual team, the first challenge comes in the form of difficulties in assigning tasks to team members, following up on them, and ensuring that the deadlines are met. Fortunately, there are specialized management tools for virtual teams and high-quality knowledge bases readily available online for you to learn from and improve yourself as a manager.
Communication is key when it comes to managing virtual teamwork. You must schedule a scrum-like daily morning standup meeting using your preferred video conferencing platform, even if you are not really managing a team of programmers. Make sure to give each of your team members a two-minute slot to share what they are working on with the rest of the team.
Monitoring virtual teamwork needs careful planning. As mentioned already, a dedicated task management tool will come in very useful with assigning tasks and monitoring your virtual team’s progress from a distance. Additionally, you should also schedule at least one weekly meeting with each of your teammates to discuss issues or bottlenecks they may be facing. This also helps with developing a personal bond.
Deliveries & Deadlines
The maker and checker concept is very effective in improving the output quality of your virtual team. You can put your teammates in pairs so that one can check the other’s work before the final delivery is made. It also encourages interactions and makes your teammates feel less alienated in a virtual work setting. You should also maintain a shared calendar for keeping a tab on deadlines.
Team Morale & Culture
Virtual teamwork can quickly become fatiguing for your teammates if some of the basic rules are not followed. One such important aspect is having scheduled office hours. Apart from streamlining tasks that have team dependency, a set work schedule helps your teammates maintain a proper work-life balance and keeps productivity levels at a maximum. Additionally, you should also plan occasional days out with your teammates to rejuvenate.
Managing virtual teamwork is not difficult. In fact, it is very similar to managing a physical team’s work in principle. You just need to leverage the information technology-enabled tools properly to make a successful transition. Virtual teamwork brings many additional benefits like reducing operational costs, improving efficiency, etc. Studies show that it even makes employees happier compared to those who travel to and from office.
Virtual teamwork is here to stay, and is set to grow even more in the coming days, especially after the world has faced a pandemic like COVID-19. To retain your competitive edge as a manager, you should train yourself to efficiently manage a virtual team. Business owners of the future will specifically look for this quality when they hire new managers for their businesses.