Key factors for Managing Your Virtual Team in Telework
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Virtual team management heavily relies on online collaboration tools, but its success depends on strategies the person or people in the managing positions put in place. These strategies should focus on maintaining organizational culture within the virtual team, and aligning the members with the general company culture.
Why is organizational culture important?
The teamwork process in a virtual team requires special care, since the absence of in-person interactions increases the chances of misunderstandings and confusion, which in turn affects the virtual team members’ performance and the results of the overall project. Maintaining a structured organizational culture will eliminate this risk entirely.
Turning to other companies with experience in organizing virtual teams is a useful strategy in this case, since their knowledge can help your company advance in this area and improve in aspects such as:
- Achieving good results on your projects
- Multicultural management
- Humanizing the virtual medium
- Organizing your team's responsibilities and operations in a clear and efficient way
Organizational elements to foster within a virtual team
There are six crucial organizational elements of virtual work you should be mindful of as a team manager or leader:
- Communication - ensure clear, transparent and assertive communication both between yourself and the team, and between the virtual team members. Make sure to choose the means of communication that fit your company culture
- Motivation - strengthen positive motivation of the team, and foster individual positive motivation by making sure your team members are aware of how their efforts are contributing to the company’s goals
- Common objectives and goals - establish common objectives and goals, as well as actual strategies for reaching them as a team
- Autonomy - develop the virtual team members’ commitment and their ability to work responsibly and efficiently without the need for external pressure or constant supervision
- Change Management - develop the team’s ability to adapt to the changes and shifts that emerge frequently in the virtual world. Regularly update the tools you are using, as well as your team members’ training
- Time management - promote organization and optimal work time usage with strategies that prevent stress and maintain the team's health. This is crucial as it affects both your company’s work processes and your virtual team members’ work efficiency
Why is company culture important?
Company culture is a term that refers to both a company’s inner workings (meaning both the formal work processes and the interpersonal interactions that the company encourages) and its external mission (or the objectives of the company and the way it wants to be perceived). In virtual work, it is crucial to align team members to the company culture, since this will be one of the main reasons your employees and collaborators stick around.
Not only will finding virtual personnel that identifies with your existing environment ensure talent retention through implementing a sense of loyalty, it will also minimize the risks of your virtual team becoming demotivated and feeling disconnected from the work. Simply put, if the worker identifies with the company, the chances of them jumping ship are heavily reduced.
Strengthening company culture within the virtual team
One of the biggest challenges that come up in virtual work is keeping the teams cohesive and ensuring your members’ stay committed. In this aspect, it is essential to devise strategies that emphasize the human factor and show that the company values its workers, thus increasing their commitment to the company.
Strengthening company culture can be achieved by developing:
- Human Potencial - recognize and strengthen the talents and abilities of your virtual workers, and help improve the role and skill set of each team member
- Leadership - provide clear guidance to your team members, as well as resources they can refer to independently
- Empowerment - encourage your virtual workers to progress by helping them recognize their talents, as well as their potential for growth
- Competence - improve the quality of the virtual team members’ performance by maintaining critical thinking and self-reflection on the job
- Enterprise - encourage and reward innovative proposals and ideas on the virtual team and help the members translate them into real action.