It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. If that is true, then the Coronavirus may have accelerated the creation of virtual teams. Real Estate organization have been moving in the direction for some time as less and less agents come into the office for "floor time."
Virtual teams have been growing for a while now. In fact, a 2017 survey by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that 60% of companies embraced virtual work. In 2019, the number had jumped to 69%. Now that so many are being forced to work virtually what will the 2020 SHRM survey show?
Employees have shown that they prefer telecommuting but is it productive? It can be but only if the virtual team is well led. I believe that a well led virtual team will be more productive will be less susceptible to interruptions such as illness breaks in childcare service. Moreover, it is seen as a best practice for great workplaces. Also, we are growing as a gig economy using virtual work. Many if not most real estate agents have home as their primary office.
Here are some important points to remember when managing virtual teams. This, of course, includes the admins that many agents have.
1 Clear Vision, Values, and Goals. This is important in every organization. However, working virtually means that these are not reinforced because people are not in the office every day. Best way to remind people of these is to include them on virtual materials. For example, an email might have Core values or Vision included in the signature second of the email. Goals should be on virtual goal planning sheets which could be included in Google Sheets or Google Docs. Encourage shared goals and team goals. Encourage team members to build on each other’s ideas and play to their strengths. This builds a strong team relationship.
2 Step up Communication. Communicate often. Without communication people will feel isolated. This is where technology helps. Technology has made it possible to utilize all of our senses giving or receiving information. Video conferencing with tools such as Zoom or Cisco Webex create much more total collaboration than conferencing by phone. Encourage teams to have regular meetings using video conference sessions. These virtual face-to-face meetings can help build a sense of community and familiarity. They can communicate their successes and you can communicate your expectations.
3 Foster a Culture of Accountability. When working alone people struggle with accountability. As a sole practitioner I welcome having accountability partners. If you want people to achieve goals, then you need to set clear expectations and check on achievement of those goals. The best way to insure that is to have regular check ins. Don’t micromanage because achieve their goals at different paces. But make sure that you the extent of progress each person has an that they are motivated to be accountable for their goals.
Virtual teams create new challenges as well as new opportunities. I think, however, that we need to accept the fact that they are here to stay and they are an integral part of work in the 21st Century. For a similar post on our web site see VIRTUAL TEAMS ARE BECOMING A REALITY.
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