Just for the record I do not want to be all virtual but that is just me. But I do prefer virtual in some cases. In this new reality don't we want to attract the best teams? A forward thinking leader will think of what needs to get done rather than how it is done. If focus on that the answer to virtual or in person will present itself.
When crisis has happened in the past, we have come out of it stronger, but we did not go back to the way things were before. We won’t be going back to the way things were this time either. In adapting we have learned better ways to get work done. Virtual teams which have been around for a while will take a more prominent role. There will also be new hybrids of in person combined with virtual.
Technology has shown us the way. Today we a seeing more efficient ways to work that takes less time and does not involve travel. Online training is now very effective through webinars or interactive sessions. Although technology is the same human nature and human needs have not changed. Remember that engagement and accountability are at the forefront of high performing teams.
Here are some important points to remember when managing virtual teams.
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. Why not have weekly meetings with check in by everyone. Let each person explain what they have done in the last week regarding their accountability. Technology has made it possible to utilize all 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 website see IN PERSON VIRTUAL OR HYBRID.
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