The number one struggle when managing virtual teams is keeping everyone productive. Whatever the social climate, the business world remains competitive, and demands do not care if you have staffers working remotely. As a team leader, your primary task is staying on top of everyone’s tasks and responsibilities to ensure the ship you’re running remains tight, and every cog is working smoothly and efficiently.
The good news is you don’t have to be everywhere at one time, and you don’t have to keep checking in on each team member as well. All it really takes to boost virtual team productivity is some careful planning, constant communication, and well-chosen tools to help with the task of rallying each and everyone in your team to work perfectly.
Managing a virtual team can be tricky, challenging, and downright difficult, but it’s not impossible. The first order of business is to be prepared for the job with all the tricks and tools you can use to boost virtual team productivity. There are also a lot of best practices for remote work you can apply and incorporate in how you manage your team.
Your company might choose to allow hybrid work for a number of reasons, and it can work out for some time. However, like anything else in the workplace, not everything can be perfect. Enhancing virtual team efficiency is never easy, but with the strategies for remote teams below, you’re well on your way to top-notch and winning virtual team leadership.
Consistent and effective communication is one of the pillars of efficiency and virtual team productivity. Like it or not, our teams need direction and constant guidance. They need to know if they’re doing things wrong and some encouragement on how to rectify the situation. They also need to hear you and the rest of the team cheer them on when they’ve done something well or right. Make sure you have a solid communication plan at the ready and stick to it all throughout.
Outline your communication plan to your team, the channels you will be using, and the tools. This clears up a lot of the confusion that can come from having multiple communication means, like instant messaging, calls, or even emails. Defining your communication channels, frequency, and agenda for every interaction with each team member makes the interchange more productive.
Communication in virtual teams should also be used in coaching and training agents, whether they work in sales, tech, or customer service. Continuous training through constructive mentoring and coaching makes for effective virtual collaboration and, in turn, uplifts remote team motivation. Regular check-ins, quick updates, and 5-minute training sessions can go a long way in increasing virtual team productivity.
There’s nothing worse than flying blind, metaphorically. In reality, it’s not knowing what your teammates are doing or where they are in terms of progress in relation to the tasks that are assigned to you. Give your team a kind of anchor even when they’re not in the same room or bullpen by using a robust and highly reliable online collaboration platform that will tether them to the project and the workgroup itself.
This allows every team member to see their roles along with their responsibilities and what’s expected of them. Get yourself software that will allow your agents to create task lists with checklists and sub-tasks. Your team will also get to share calendars with each other, and you can generate reports to help you steer the proverbial ship a little better.
Another way of boosting virtual team productivity and efficiency is not only making yourself available to your agents but also making all their work necessities readily available to them. This means important documents, calendars, task lists, knowledgebase, and more. Eliminate the roadblocks in their access and let them reference these materials whenever they need to without having to seek approval from you or anyone else in the chain of command. This shows that you trust them, their capabilities, and their sense of accountability for the company’s security and knowledgebase integrity. Get a file cloud server that will house all of your source materials that will marry well with your online collaboration platform for a seamless team function.
If you’re nervous about keeping your work documents, such as guides and references, secure from unnecessary and accidental editing or deletion, you can lock these and give your team read-only access. They’ll still be able to view what they need to while the information source remains unaltered. You can give them temporary access or editing rights if they need to edit anything.
Before beginning a game of chess, each player lines up their pieces and arranges them on their side of the board by strength or level of power. This is what a team leader or project manager needs to do before embarking on remote team management. It’s essential to know who your team members are and their capabilities. This way, you can effectively assign them tasks, roles, and responsibilities before any work is done. It also lessens the likelihood of needless back-and-forth or redundant efforts.
Gather your people together and let them know where they belong, what their daily task list looks like, and what you expect their contributions to be to the project on a day-to-day basis. Give them the lay of the land – the project overview, goals, timeline, deadlines, and everything else in between. Check for understanding before starting the work to make sure everything is clear. Doing this as a final audit lessens the need to inspect work quality and inquire about your agents constantly.
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One of the biggest virtual team challenges is maintaining a high level of remote team motivation, but how can you do that if everyone is scattered everywhere and you can only be in one place at one time? Learning when and how to give praise is the key to boosting virtual team efficiency. Even the smallest acts matter in the grand scheme of things. Being told you’re doing a great job or you’ve done something well is enough to galvanize anyone to double their efforts and improve the quality of their output.
Make a big deal out of it – no matter how insignificant it may seem. If someone in your team has done exceptional work that you believe warrants it, send out a broadcast of kudos that everyone in the business will be able to see. There are online HR management platforms that will allow you to make company-wide announcements and embed appreciation badges into certain team members’ profiles. These small tokens will be highly appreciated and do a lot in terms of motivation and encouragement.
After you’re all done going through the blueprint of your operations with your virtual team, you need to take a step back and let them do the work. Put yourself in their shoes - it can be annoying and irritating if you have your supervisor constantly messaging you and checking in. This is the part where you, as the team leader or manager, put your trust in your team, having faith that they will do what they’re supposed to and get the job done.
Let them know that they can come to you for help anytime they need it. In the meantime, you can supervise and oversee the daily grind by checking on their tasks, projects, and how they use their work hours. Make good use of reports available to you to audit their productivity and coach them on how they can maximize the work hours in the day as well as their most industrious times. You can also teach them how to prioritize their tasks and assignments for better virtual team productivity.
An online task management software allows you to not only create and communicate tasks for and to your team but also to use an online time clock to track work times. Using the software, you can build Gantt charts or Kanban boards to give your team a visual representation of their tasks in proportion to the whole project. Teach them how to use a task planner and manage their time better by keeping a close eye on task dependencies and task importance.
Let’s say one of your team members feels a little tired and burned out, and for this reason, they would like to go on paid leave. However, the company red tape and long approval process are tedious enough to turn off even the most overworked employee from wanting to file a request. You can eliminate all the hurdles and make workers happier by automating your leave request and approval process. Take it a step further by migrating the whole system online so remote workers from anywhere can access the software anytime.
Reduce your team’s turnaround time for deliverables and enhance your virtual team's productivity by automating your workflow. Acquire a workflow automation software that's easy to set up yet offers various helpful capabilities. These include task management, HR oversight, such as access to absence records and leave requests, CRM tools, and the use of telephony functions and collaboration tools.
Remote workers often end up feeling detached from their parent company because they miss out on the camaraderie and culture that on-site workers experience on a daily basis. Virtual team productivity can be the one area of the team’s performance that suffers when they lose sight of the company’s mission, vision, and values. Over time, they will feel like they’re just working for the sake of working without connecting with or relating to the company’s core.
You can promote the company culture by incentivizing your top players, building processes, and coaching on performance in association with the business’ philosophies. There’s also the possibility of sending the team back to work on-site, even if it’s just for one day a week or twice a month. The goal should be to remain inclusive even with virtual teams.
You can be successful at remote team management and increase virtual team productivity when you have the proper tools to help out. The best part of it all is when you find an all-in-one solution for all your virtual team challenges. Cost-effective, efficient, and reliable! It always feels like an incredible feat when you find everything you require in one package.Bitrix24 is the package for you. It’s packed full of every tool you may need, and with Bitrix24, managing virtual teams effectively is a lot easier and enjoyable. Visit the website to tour our suite of applications. Better yet, sign up today and go through all of our available programs today!
Some of the strategies that can boost productivity in virtual teams are:
Leaders can ensure high efficiency in virtual team setup by:
The common challenges faced by virtual teams and how to overcome them include: