Managing a virtual team is one of the most challenging supervisory tasks a manager can take on. Not only do you have to worry about managing different personalities and work styles; you also have to worry about managing different locations, work hours and time zones. Following established virtual management best practices will make it easier to manage a virtual team effectively. Learn these virtual management tips from the post below. Then, make sure to incorporate them into your management style to get the most out of your remote employees.
Schedule Casual Conversations
Make sure to schedule opportunities for casual conversations among team members. The lack of interpersonal relationships is part of what makes managing remote employees so difficult. Scheduling time for the virtual team to get to know one another on a personal level will cost you some work time, yes. But, it can also result in increased productivity overall, because you will learn how to engage employees and get them back on task. That is what makes scheduling time for personal interactions one of the virtual team management best practices.
Use Multiple Forms of Communication
Identify several different tools for virtual team communication. Different communication and collaboration tools are appropriate for different types of interaction. If you need to reach someone immediately, some type of instant messaging software is going to be needed. Email, on the other hand, can be used for communications that are less urgent or have a more official purpose. Then, be sure to use these traditional communication methods in addition to your conference calling software. This will help improve team communication and make it easier to collaborate from anywhere in the world. That is why it is a key element to effective remote management.
Set Guidelines At The Start
Establish guidelines for team operations before you ever start working on a project together. When you set clear guidelines and expectations, employees are less likely to test their boundaries. Your virtual employees will be much more likely to conform to your requirements and work together as a team. Establish conflict management procedures, succession management plans, status reporting processes and standards for any other day-to-day activities. It will be much easier to manage a virtual team if you do.
Track Employee Progress & Performance
Tracking employee progress and performance requires software when you are a virtual team manager. You, unfortunately, cannot just pop by a team member’s cubicle to check for status updates. Make sure to have some type of project management software in place before your team gets to work. This way, you have a one-stop platform to work, track project progress and employee performance and even share resources and communicate with your team. PM software are a necessary element of all effective virtual management techniques.
Make Yourself Available
You, the manager, should make yourself available to your remote workers as much as possible. Working remotely is a bit isolating. That is why you need to make the extra effort to be visible to your team. Make sure to communicate with virtual team members multiple times throughout the day, every day. These interactions do not always have to be about work or the project at hand. Share some casual conversation too. This virtual management best practices tip will help you establish a good rapport with remote employees individually. That will make you better able to manage a virtual team effectively with consideration for the different personalities that make up your remote team.
Managing employees in general is difficult. But, managing a virtual team is even more difficult, regardless of what your own personal management style is. Remote workers come from all over, making communication and collaboration require far more effort than usual. Learn from the virtual management best practices chronicled above. These virtual management tips and tactics will help you lead your remote team to successful completion of any project that you are tasked with. Be sure to incorporate them into your management strategies as soon as you can.
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