How to Start Building a Virtual Team

The best way to build a virtual team is by maintaining a human approach to the online medium, and creating a productive environment that will enable the team to do its best work.

When is it the right time to build a virtual team?

Today, remote work is a daily reality and has become the route many companies are choosing as a way to develop their business. These companies are interested in taking on innovative projects and ideas on a much broader platform, which makes it easier for them to collaborate with the best people for the job, regardless of their geographic location.

Consider starting a virtual team if:

  • You are looking to get the most out of your expenditure.
  • Your team craves independence and flexibility.
  • You can manage your projects remotely, with the help of collaboration tools.
  • You need a multicultural team.
  • Your company is looking to go global and expand its services.
  • It is necessary due to unforeseen circumstances.
Practical Steps

1. Strategic Planning: Before actually building a virtual team, you should have a strategy for what you want to achieve through remote collaboration, as this will provide the proverbial backbone of your virtual work team. This means firmly establishing the company's compass:

  • Vision and mission - ask yourself, why are you going remote? How will that benefit your company? How will that benefit your team members?
  • Philosophy and company culture - think of ways to adapt the company culture to the remote environment.
  • Common objectives and goals - clearly define what it is you want to achieve by transforming your team into a virtual one, and how you will measure your success in creating a remote work environment.
  • Concrete actions - take into account hiring, onboarding, and creating a remote environment, including the work processes you want to put in place and the kind of work environment you want to establish.
  • Budget - you might save up on office space, but you will still need to invest in office equipment, such as desks, monitors and chairs. In order for your team to remain sustainable, you might also need to create new strategies. Take into account any possible costs this may have and adapt your budget accordingly.

2. Getting the team ready: Once the strategic planning is in place, you can start arranging the other aspects that are essential to the working of the virtual team, and the company. Here are some of them:

  • Setting up remote communication tools: email, video conferencing, chat, etc. If you want to know which tools suit your needs the best, contact us for a free consultation.
  • Defining and assigning responsibilities among the team members.
  • Defining payment rates, based on responsibilities.
  • Selecting platforms for your recruitment process.
  • Selecting a platform for hiring the members of your virtual team, and paying them.
  • Preparing remote resources: virtual reports, feedback forms, manuals, etc.

Some recommendations

Along with the requirements above, here are some suggestions for building, and improving, the remote collaboration of your team:

  • Disseminate the company policies and dynamics to the new virtual team.
  • Establish basic ground rules for good collaboration and behavior within the work environment.
  • Define your objectives per project and familiarize the team with them to create effective strategies and viable actions specific to the work at hand.
  • Train team members in the field and specific duties they will be carrying out.
  • Track and help out the new team members to make sure they are doing well and following your directions, as well as to improve the quality of their work.