3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Virtual Team on Track When Working Remotely

This is a guest post by Adrian Johansen

In a matter of months, COVID-19 has impacted pretty much every aspect of our normal daily lives. It’s changed the way we educate our children to the way we socialize and how we get our entertainment.

Even more, it’s changed the way we work.

Those of us fortunate enough to be employed in fields that accommodate telecommuting are at least spared from the worst of the economic ravages that this pandemic has incited.

Still, we’re not scot-free.

Transitioning to remote work has been exactly that: a transition.

And, as we’ve learned, this change in the way we work is lasting longer than we first expected. It appears many companies will be working remotely for a while.

And it’s important to help your team be as successful as possible in this new normal. Read on to learn how to keep your team happy and productive in this new era of remote work.

First, the Good News

Right now, we could all use a bit of good news.

And, happily, there is plenty of good news to go around for remote workers and the people who lead them.

Studies increasingly show that remote workers are more efficient, effective, and satisfied than traditional on-campus employees.

In fact, according to recent estimates, telecommuters work nearly 17 more days per year than regular on-ground employees. And people who work in IT-related fields significantly increase their productivity, both by eliminating commuting time and by reducing unproductive communication.

The result is nearly 60 more hours per year spent on each employee’s core duties.

How to Keep Your Team on Track When Working Remotely

What all this boils down to is that, as a leader of a remote team, you’re undertaking your work from a position of strength.

There is no reason that your team can’t be both happy and successful.

These approaches can help you stay connected and keep your team on track while working remotely.

1. Build Rapport

In order to successfully lead your team, you need a good relationship with the team members.

You need to be able to communicate successfully with all team members across various channels, such as email, phone, and video and have productive conversations that drive goals forward and provide the support they need.

And in order to do this most successfully, it’s important to build rapport and good relationships with your team members. This gives you a solid foundation for being able to communicate well even if you’re not face-to-face.

2. Team Building

Team building exercises are a fantastic way to build that essential esprit de corps, even when you’re not sharing the same physical space.

From initial icebreakers for new teams and teams that are just getting used to the remote work environment to more immersive getting-to-know-you games, these exercises can boost morale and remind your staff that, yes, there are real human beings on the other side of the computer screen. 

After all, your employees’ success and your company’s success are linked.

So take the time to build your team’s spirit. Remind them that you’re all in this together. And use team building activities to build relationships between your virtual team members for greater morale, motivation, and trust.

3. Stay Connected

While cutting out on a lot of the inessential communication that takes place on campus is a primary reason we see such an uptick in productivity with the switch to remote work, it’s easy to overcorrect. 

Too little communication can be just as damaging as too much – especially in a remote environment. Telecommuters can easily begin to feel isolated from their colleagues and their leadership. They may feel uncertain about their job responsibilities and, especially, their job performance.

Establishing regular virtual meetings with your remote team can help your staff maintain that essential sense of connection with their co-workers and the company.

These meetings provide your team with an opportunity and a forum to share project status updates, receive vital performance feedback, and collaborate on team goals and strategies moving forward.

These virtual team meetings provide both a timeline and accountability, helping workers to remain connected, focused, and moving steadily forward. 

Best of all, these meetings don’t just have to be about providing status updates only. This is also the perfect opportunity for collaboration. Thanks to today’s technologies, you can continue to effectively collaborate even when your team is working remotely.

The Takeaway

In recent decades, workers worldwide have increasingly sought telecommuting options.

But now, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, what was once a choice is now a necessity.

Fortunately, leaders of remote teams have a number of powerful tools at their disposal to make their teams’ transition into a virtual environment a successful one.

The first order of business, though, is to recognize that remote work is, statistically, far more efficient and productive than on-campus work. It’s up to leaders to help their teams make it as successful as possible.  

Managers have had to adapt to new methods of leading projects remotely. While this hasn’t been easy, teams who are agile and able to adapt in these times can overcome new challenges and stay focused on their goals.

To read more ways to successfully lead your remote team, check out these 7 Tips to Successfully Lead a Remote Team During Challenging Times

Adrian Johansen is a writer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves sharing information with others and learning along the way! You can find more of her writing on twitter and contently.


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