Leader – Collaborative Virtual Working Environment
Collaborative Virtual Working Environment – Freelance Networking
Having a collaborative virtual working environment. Your team may not have the advantage of being at the same office space or virtually at a given point in time. Most of us work with a team working for them from different cities or even countries and may even be working at a different point in time due to different time zones.
And managing such a virtual team may be difficult. A team has multiple members working on various roles. For example considering a digital agency that has creative people like designers, writers, etc. working across the globe. As a leader keeping your team motivated is one of your important to-dos. But if you have a virtual team which is not working in a common space then motivated and monitoring them is a challenging task.
I have worked in a virtual working environment and will like to share some thoughts that would bring ease while managing a virtual team.
SAY-1 [Team Bonding in virtual age]
While co-working a feeling the emotions that’s going through our team members, but in a virtual environment gauging emotions of fellow team members may be difficult. As a leader in such case, you need to communicate more and let you team member/s know that you care about them and they are valued.
Effective communication is the key, periodic assessment of the set goals, the deadline is necessary. Communicating via email collecting feedbacks and reports from your entire team is necessary. This will bring a feeling of collectiveness and will keep alive the essence of working as a team.
Allow everyone to express their understanding and thoughts with the available mode of communication. Whenever possible, even though virtual come together over a video call and discuss your work and life, in general, this will help to build up the team bonding.
SAY-2 [Self-awareness and team discipline]
Team track is an important aspect of any project, and it gets even more important and critical while managing a virtual team. Tracking time and results generated is very important to keep any project on track. Collecting weekly or monthly updates and assessment is important, at times you may even need daily updates while working on some very critical work items of a project. Having an effective feedback mechanism is critical for the success of the project. Placing necessary rules becomes even more important while in a virtual working environment.
A leader should periodically audit teamwork, this will allow getting insights about how team members are performing. A good leader should know how to identify and appreciate the good performers of the team and on the other hand should work closely with those who need improvement.
Ask your team to log their daily task along with the time they spend on the task. Doing so will allow your team members to understand where they are spending their majority of the time. Being into a virtual team, your team members should be well aware of the task and timelines in hand as working remotely can be distractive at times.
Spending time at work and being productive are two different things unless each member is self-aware and follow strict discipline. Hence having an insight into the teams work log is very important so as a leader you can define the ground rules and streamline team discipline.
SAY-3 [Get Together]
As a leader, you need to use different strategies and techniques while managing a virtual team, as you may not interact with every member on a daily basis and at times there can be members who you don’t know personally.
Very important for a leader is to understand your team members properly only then you can assign them with relevant and related work items and even provide appropriate feedbacks when needed.
It goes without a say that while managing a remote team you as a leader should be taking advantage of modern tools for collaborating and to seamlessly work with everyone.
Conduct online meetups to discuss work or just life in general. You can even think of celebrating your project achievement. Get together online taking efforts to bring out the best of your virtual team. Host weekly virtual group meets (on call or video calls) may be every Tuesdays of the week.
Consider having an exclusive web portal for your team. It can be used for suggestions, feedbacks or interacting with each other on daily basis. When your team sees your efforts for the team, it motivates the team to work collectively. A system like Slack can help. Allow unfiltered suggestions and new ideas while conducting team meetings being in a virtual working environment. Even though that your team is placed remotely and distributed, your team should feel connected.
Some suggested platforms:
- Slack (For team chat and calls),
- Zoom (For video conference and calls),
- Trello (For content management and to do list)
- You can also consider skype and hangout.
One most important part is to set a target or goal for every month. This way, even if your virtual team have the liberty of time, they know, what they have to deliver by the end of the month.
A blog network can only succeed if there is a good synchronization between team members. If you have a virtual team or a work from home team, try to implement the above said to manage your virtual team effectively.
Further learnings suggested:
- How to Make Video Meetings Effective When Working From Home
- Ways to Reward Your Work From Home Team within a Budget