First: the Company Culture
The company culture is the key to a successful virtual team. The company and their HR department needs to help their senior managers learn how to work with virtual teams, adapt their procedures and embrace new ways of communicating with employees. They should also be open to new procedures. For example, team activities that might not be needed on ordinary teams are a must on virtual teams and will successfully improve motivation and productivity.
Second: the HR Department
The Human Resources department needs to understand the characteristics that distributed team members need to have. Not everybody is made for working on a distributed team. The person that works virtually needs to:
- Be autonomous by nature
- Have a certain degree of self-motivation
- Be a good communicator, at least in writing
- Share or relate to the company’s mission and vision
Third: Managers, shift the mindset
More and better
The managers in virtual teams need to work more effectively, think more and have more energy. This doesn’t mean they will end up tired and burnt out. It is the opposite; the more they give, the more they will receive from the team and the more fulfillment they will get.
We recommend senior managers to:
- Improve their communication skills
- Have clear channels of communication with the team
- Listen more to the team members
- Work towards being more assertive, proactive and enthusiastic
- Share your passion and enthusiasm, it is contagious!
In order to boost productivity, the senior manager needs to take all the knowledge acquired over the course of her experience to think about what messages need to be communicated better with the team:
- Clear objectives
- Clear procedures
- Clear expectations
To make messages clear, not only you need to have them in writing, but you need to repeat them several times and using different channels. A good manager will know when the right time is to give each message. In Managing Virtual Teams we call this “super communication” and when it happens, workers tend to reproduce the patterns they see in the manager and the entire organization works better.
If you have a motivated team, and you work constantly on keeping that motivation up, you will have fewer problems and when challenges happen, you will have a better response.
On top of the technology and security needs that your project might have, we recommend all virtual and remote teams to use:
- Video conferences as much as they can.
- Online project management tools that show team objectives and achievements.
- Social media sites that is private for your company.
If you have special needs we will be happy to assist you. Just contact us!