Hiring a remote team benefits your company in multiple ways, from substantial cost savings and improved flexibility to accessing a wider talent pool. We are going to talk about how to have better virtual team collaboration.
However, there are also many challenges you will face when building a virtual team. For starters, the lack of transparency and clarity in the team’s communication may result in poorer performance. Another major problem virtual teams face is the lack of face-to-face communication that may harm employees’ collaboration and cause the feeling of detachment from other team members.
In this article, you will learn how to improve your virtual team’s collaboration.
Provide Employees With Multi-Channel Communication
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For remote teams, fast and uninterrupted communication is critical for their success. Your goal is to help your employees exchange ideas in real-time and share documents faster. To do so, you first need to invest in the right tools:
Video Conferencing Tools
Tools like Skype or Zoom will help you carry out video meetings more efficiently. They allow you to minimize travel costs, improve remote employees’ attendance, and encourage participation. For remote workers, video conferencing tools are an opportunity to talk to other team members face-to-face and build stronger relationships with their colleagues, irrespective of their location.
Phone calls remain one of the most convenient communication channels. However, when hiring international employees, you may find it difficult to connect with them. That is where VoIP can help. As you are already leveraging your existing Internet connection to use VoIP, the quality of calls will be improved.
Apart from high-quality phone calls, most VoIP providers also let you host voice or video conferences. Instead of investing in several communication tools to talk to your employees, you can now have everything you need to improve team collaboration within a single platform.
Most importantly, VoIP providers often offer a significant rate decrease for long-distance calls. This way, you can talk to your international employees without having to watch the clock. Sure, to choose the best home VoIP system that meets your needs, compare different providers, and pick the one with affordable long-distance rates.
Regardless of your employees’ time zones, you need to keep their communication going. For example, on Slack, employees’ communication happens in different channels. They can create multiple threads when working on different projects and tasks. Most importantly, they can communicate in real-time and choose what channels they will join or leave.
Invest In A Project Management Tool
When hiring remote teams, improving employees’ productivity and performance can be challenging. That is exactly where you should invest in a project management tool.
For example, when using Basecamp, Trello, or Asana, virtual team managers can create multiple projects and add countless tasks. They will be able to track each employee’s activities, measure project performance, and communicate thorough instructions to everyone in the team.
Project management software will also enhance employees’ performance. They will be added only to the projects assigned to them and stop wasting time reading irrelevant notifications. As their deadlines are transparent and listed logically, it will be easier for them to prioritize tasks and manage their activities.
Nurture A Solid Company Culture
A consistent company culture gives your team a purpose. By defining it and communicating it to your employees, you will ensure they feel your company’s mission and share your values.
So, how to build a virtual team culture?
Meet In-Person From Time To Time
If your team members all live in the same state or city, like ours here in St. Louis, you could organize a team retreat. Zapier and Buffer are just some of the numerous companies that regularly host team-building events.
No matter if it is a team lunch, a trivia night, or a paintball party, a get-together will bring your virtual team together, boost their morale, and help them get to know each other.
Build Strong Virtual Friendships
If you cannot meet face-to-face, enhancing employees’ collaboration online is critical. For example, you could create virtual water coolers and inspire employees to take coffee breaks and get together for some leisurely chit-chat.
Many companies hiring remote teams already do that. For example, Help Scout created Troop Talks. An employee chooses a conversation topic for the rest of the virtual team and schedules an online meetup. By giving every team member an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings, you will make them feel more appreciated.
Make Meetings Remote-Friendly
When scheduling video conferences, always keep in mind your employees’ different time zones. The idea is to find perfect time slots for meetings to help the entire team show up and work together.
You should also plan for video meetings. By creating a clear agenda and sending it to your employees, you will help them prepare, remove potential obstacles, and make sure everyone can be seen and heard.
Most importantly, remember that your remote employees may often feel left out. Your goal is to normalize work experiences for everyone and keep virtual team members connected and involved. Therefore, if you hire both virtual and non-virtual teams, you should consider holding all meetings online. Don’t forget about the technical part. Use advanced software to reduce background noise, and have a meeting without interruptions or technical issues during sessions.
Over To You
Managing a virtual team effectively is challenging, but it is possible. As a manager, you need to be flexible, innovative, and creative. Apart from assigning tasks to your remote workers and tracking their performance, you also need to create a consistent company culture. Your goal is to enhance employees’ collaboration and communication, even though they are miles away. By implementing these tips, you will keep your virtual team engaged and motivated.