Virtual teams and remote work has increased rapidly in the last year, it was recorded back in September 2020 that in the height of 2020 lock-downs 60% of the UK population worked from home, and that 26% had planned on remaining in remote work after the pandemic. Studies have shown that working from home can lead to a happier and more productive virtual team.
Remote teams are not just limited to one country, they have enabled businesses to look further and create their very own global talent pool, encouraging a unique work culture to ensure a healthy and happy balance whilst maintaining the same initial goals.
Finding the right team members is one thing, but building and retaining your team in a virtual setting is a whole other ball game.
Here are some key points to focus on when building and retaining your team:
Invest in the right communication platforms.
Finding the best video conference tools, chat tools, scheduling, data sharing, and so on is the absolute key to efficiency in communication. Not only are they important for the business’s objectives but they are essential for team building and a sense of togetherness.
Work on building relationships.
In a virtual setting team rapport and social building does not come automatically, it has to be worked on and made time for. It may seem difficult to do while a busy week is planned however social time is critical for team loyalty, friendship building, reduced loneliness, and ensuring the well-being of all members.
- Make sure to use the first 10 minutes of a meeting to ‘catch up’ on how they are in their personal life, family, hobbies, etc, or time in which they can just share some concerns.
- Making time for coffee and lunch breaks together for the team to hang out and converse over non-work-related subjects.
- Take advantage of ‘breakout rooms’ which allow you to create sub-meetings within your team’s meeting. It gives chance for smaller meetings and space for your team to get to know one another better.
- Make time for team-building activities to release any shyness or tension within the team. Help them work together to find their coordination, team player attitude, and communicative skills in fun activities.
Clarify tasks, responsibilities, and processes
Don’t just focus on goals and roles. It’s important to narrow down each task, responsibility and process, keeping things simple and clear which makes the follow-up meetings much easier to understand by all parties involved and helps you pinpoint where some additional training or attention is needed.
Just because you don’t greet and meet your team on a daily basis does not mean that appreciation for the work carried out can be forgotten. A remote team often can struggle with knowing how well they are contributing to the business, so it’s extremely important to show appreciation often, even if it’s just a few words. It can completely change their day.
Work on Leadership qualities
Be the leader who is involved, open, and a team player. Build first and foremost TRUST, and you do that by respecting each member, listening to needs, and always making sure they know you are available when needed. Your role is to be present! Constantly encourage open communication, gratitude, and appreciation and work through any struggles they may have. Be supportive, understanding, and caring.
Virtual teams are here to somewhat stay, and it’s up to us to evolve with the changes and guide others along the journey with us, whilst maintaining as much connection and productivity as possible!