5 Tips for Managing a Virtual Team

TSP • @myTSPnet


The work from home lifestyle feels like a new phenomenon that made its way into the lives of working professionals following the introduction of the pandemic. However, this new work style isn't so new. Remote work dates back to the Industrial Revolution when craftsmen in various trades worked from the comfort of their homes for many years. The modern-day concept of working somewhere from 9-5 wasn't set in motion until the birth of mass production between the 1700s to 1800s.

Prior to 2020, many employees said yes to the remote work options offered by their company. Remote work may not be the new normal with some companies planning to head back to the office eventually, but the hyper growth in working from home has made a dent in many workplaces and will likely have long-term effects. How are we to go about this new work style that does not seem to have an end date?

Here are five tips on how to build and lead your virtual work team to success.

Working from home sounds like a dream to some and a nightmare to others — it will never be a one-size-fits-all approach. While some thrive with the freedom that comes from working wherever you are, others find it best to construct their workday in an office, away from the distractions and comforts of their home.

Virtual work comes with some complications and the members of your team should be willing to collaborate toward success. When you're building that team, make sure you’re aware of who’s willing to work in the unique style.

With the complexity of technology, some people will inevitably struggle with this shift in day-to-day work. Devoting time to selecting remote work tools will play in your favor. Messaging platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams could be a great fit for your group.

There’s a plethora of tools designed to be used in the workplace, from document sharing and project management to scheduling meetings. These programs are meant to lead your team to successfully collaborate, so use your time to discover what will be the best fit for your team.

With the implementation of new technology, processes and operations, training remains one of the most important things for any team. It's important to remember that everyone learns differently. With different learning styles, there’s a high probability that most people on your team learn best through interaction and participation.

Introduce new tools and open the floor to questions to promote reflection. Set up an interactive activity to stimulate everyone’s brains. There are many options available to ensure your team can be trained as needed. When employees are informed and understand key objectives, your company will have a greater opportunity for success.

The downfall to remote work is the loss of physically being in the presence of others. This loss of physical connection doesn't dismiss the need for recognition for hard work, encouragement to push through tricky situations and reward for a job well done. Some might argue team culture is more important in a virtual situation because the absence of physical connection is a huge loss for some.

Not only is it important to collaborate during working hours, but after hours, too. Setting up a bi-weekly virtual happy hour including game night is a great way to bring down the walls of team members, allowing for socialization and the opportunity to build trust. If you can safely meet in person, that will absolutely contribute to relationship building, but these virtual alternatives will serve everyone well.

Maintaining a flexible work environment can be tricky with the remote work style and it's vital to outline expectations and guidelines. The outcome of work remains the same, but the flow of work may look a little different. Workflows and processes might be adjusted, but the intended result of maximum success does not waiver. Ensure you're communicating this with your team. Because the style of work has changed, certain processes might need to be adjusted as well.

In all reality, no one really knows how long this work from home style will be favored for the majority. For the time being, it’s imperative to implement tactics to ensure your team is on track for success.