In the past few years, working patterns in several office-based organizations have witnessed major changes and become more dynamic and flexible. Companies are now recruiting more remote or hybrid workers, often in highly distributed locations across the country. This is an excellent strategy used by executive recruiters to broaden their geographical recruitment net to prevent local skill shortages. Employees are also keen on exploring hybrid working opportunities, combining office attendance with work from home to create a productive work-life balance.
Nevertheless, there can be disadvantages to having physically separated team members, which can impact working efficiency and cohesion. For instance, it can sometimes be challenging for team members to collaborate virtually on shared projects, resulting in declined performance. The good news is there are plenty of ways to build high-performing virtual teams and boost the morale of remote teams.
In this blog post, we explore the top strategies for building high-performing virtual teams.
1. Clarify Your Organization’s Purpose
Even when geographical distances separate employees, they should remain unified in their shared purpose. This purpose encompasses not only the overarching mission of the company but also the specific objectives of the team and each individual employee.
Maintaining clarity in the shared purpose is crucial, as it ensures that regardless of physical separation or varying schedules, all team members remain connected and aligned with the common goal.
Moreover, it’s important to recognize that maintaining alignment is an ongoing process, as people naturally lose focus over time. Regular check-ins are essential to reinforce the collective purpose, key performance indicators (KPIs), and any necessary adjustments along the way.
2. Equip Your Team with the Right Tools
Effective online collaboration begins with having access to the right tools. Without these tools, remote teams may struggle to maintain the same levels of efficiency and productivity they would have in a traditional office setting. Over time, this lack of access can lead to frustration and demotivation among team members and contribute significantly to communication breakdowns.
Whether it’s communication applications, project management platforms, video conferencing systems, or efficient and versatile laptops and devices, it’s essential to provide your teams with technology that aligns with their roles and the demands of your industry. Online workers require top-notch and dependable tools and equipment to ensure a seamless workflow, uninterrupted work processes, and easy access to the resources necessary to excel in their tasks.
3. Schedule Team Building Activities
One of the potential drawbacks of virtual work is the reduced opportunity for team members to build strong relationships, which can impact their collaboration and overall performance on team projects. Nevertheless, there are measures you can implement to enhance team bonding and cohesion without sacrificing the flexibility that remote work offers.
Consider implementing online icebreakers and team-building exercises. Virtual lunches or chat platforms can also provide a space for informal interactions outside of formal work-related activities. If feasible, arrange occasional in-person meetings, group training sessions, and team-building workshops. Planning these events well in advance enables team members to make necessary arrangements to ensure their availability.
4. Organize One-on-One Sessions Regularly
In the absence of regular office interactions, team members may have limited awareness of the business’s ongoing activities and how their roles and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) relate to overall business objectives. This underscores the significance of managers scheduling routine one-on-one meetings with team members. These meetings serve as opportunities to discuss projects, address important issues, and maintain a general connection.
Additionally, it is crucial to establish and consistently monitor team goals. Having clear objectives or milestones that the team collectively commits to pursuing helps maintain focus and alignment in a decentralized work environment, fostering collaboration.
As essential as the content of these one-on-one meetings is how they are conducted. Utilizing video calls is a valuable practice. This approach establishes a foundation for open communication and adds a personal touch to the interactions. It also comes closest to replicating face-to-face meetings, making team members more engaged and accountable during these sessions.
5. Create a Structured Yet Flexible Schedule
While remote teams should adhere to a defined schedule, it’s equally important to be considerate of employees in various time zones.
Establishing a structured yet adaptable schedule ensures that everyone understands deadlines and expectations without imposing undue stress on team members located in different time zones who may have additional commitments outside of work.
Here are some suggestions for implementing a structured yet flexible schedule:
- Arrange mandatory team meetings on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Allocate specific windows when employees should be available.
- Encourage employees to share their schedules in advance.
- Grant employees the freedom to design their schedules as long as they meet deadlines.
Regarding the toolset, consider making a schedule using Google Sheets and transitioning to more advanced project management software as your remote team grows and evolves.
6. Invest in Your Employee’s Personal Development
Providing employees with continuous training and development opportunities is not a novel concept, but the presence of millennials in the workforce has underscored its significance. Establishing a remote team involves more than just the initial stages of planning, recruitment, distributing laptops, and instructing employees to commence their work.
To genuinely cultivate an efficient and productive remote team, investing in their ongoing development is imperative. You can do this by conducting workshops and offering refresher courses. If feasible, consider providing team members with an education or study stipend that they can utilize to pursue courses pertinent to their roles.
Virtual employees and teams have evolved into essential components of modern businesses. They empower organizations to access and promote the most exceptional talent, irrespective of their geographical location. Virtual team leaders must continually seek out and implement best practices for effective team management. Embracing these practices increases your odds of outperforming competitors and maintaining a sustainable competitive edge.
Cochran, Cochran & Yale is a nationally recognized New York City Executive Search Firm within the Professional, Technical, and Executive Search and Recruitment industry. At Cochran, Cochran & Yale, we bring four decades of experience in executive recruitment and management consulting to the table. Throughout this time, we have successfully positioned top talent in diverse industries, encompassing fields such as public relations, accounting, high-tech manufacturing, cannabis, healthcare, and many others. Contact us today to speak with Recruitment Consultants For Hire NY.