At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces were forced to move their operations to virtual platforms in order to prevent the spread of the virus and keep their employees safe. While the use of online channels to communicate and delegate tasks has been a new and unfamiliar frontier for many companies, the “virtual team” doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. For business managers, the shift to remote work means implementing techniques to ensure productivity, effective communication, and coordination within a virtual team, which can seem like a daunting task. Here’s what business managers can do to ensure the success of their virtual teams.
What You Should Know About Virtual Teamwork
A number of businesses are discovering that working remotely doesn’t have to mean working less productively. In a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, it was discovered that in advanced economies, 20-25% of workforces could work from home for 3-5 days out of the week, representing 4-5 times more employees working remotely than prior to the pandemic. Additionally, many companies are considering a permanent transition to more flexible workplaces based on the success they’ve experienced with remote teams.
If you want to become a business manager, you can expect to manage a virtual team once you begin your career, since the modern workplace is moving online. Successful virtual teamwork can look different from in-person collaboration, requiring different management techniques. Business managers must be able to find a balance between regular communication and check-ins while trusting their team to be able to complete their tasks in a timely fashion. Here are some ways you can improve the success of your virtual team as a business manager.
Set Clear Expectations and Goals for Your Team
Teamwork is all about each individual doing their part to contribute to a common goal, but this common goal can be easy for employees to forget when they are working remotely. When a team doesn’t have a clear sense of what they’re working towards, this can harm productivity and dampen the quality of work produced, especially when team members aren’t working together in person. As a business manager, you can address this issue by setting clear goals and expectations for your virtual team.
Establish a set of standards and protocols for the quality of work your team is expected to produce, the timeline by which their tasks should be completed, and the schedules to which they should adhere to. Set measurable, visible goals that your team can reference in order to track their progress and contextualize the importance of their contribution to the company. You can make sure that each team member has a clear sense of their role by delegating tasks effectively and assigning each team member a realistic workload. When your team is familiar with what’s expected of them and the purpose of the work they’re doing, they’ll be more motivated to produce quality, timely work.
Take Advantage of Technology
After completing your business management training, you’ll discover that there are many different platforms to ensure effective communication within the virtual workplace. It’s important to take advantage of the different technologies available when managing a team remotely since technology is the mechanism replacing in-person communication and collaboration. As a business manager, you can designate what virtual platforms your team should use, and what they should use each platform for. Using these technologies effectively can allow for increased coordination and cohesion among your team when they are working from home.
Virtual teams should have access to project management tools in order to reference their tasks, submit their work and manage upcoming deadlines. Video conferencing software can be used to replace in-person meetings and presentations and are also great for quick check-ins throughout the day. Additionally, virtual communication channels like email or chat make it simple for teams to stay in touch with each other, as each team member is just a chat away.
Become a Business Manager Who Prioritizes Employee Engagement
One of the biggest problems that business managers may face when working with a virtual team is keeping team members engaged, despite the fact that they don’t enter a physical workplace or see their coworkers in person. When employees feel disconnected, their productivity can suffer as a result as it becomes more difficult to visualize the “why” behind the effort they’re putting into their work. Investing in engagement strategies can help your team to stay motivated and contribute high-quality work in a virtual environment.
As a business manager, you can increase employee engagement by setting aside time to check-in with your team on a regular basis using video conferencing tools. These “check-ins” don’t need to be work-related. They can be an opportunity to chat, celebrate special occasions like birthdays, promotions or anniversaries, or play a team-building game such as trivia or a virtual book club. By designating time for interaction in which the conversation isn’t exclusively work-oriented, you can build engagement among your virtual team and help employees to remember that they are valued members of their team.
With the right management, remote work doesn’t need to be more difficult. If you’re interested in helping companies undergo a successful transition to the virtual workplace, a business management program could be right for you.
Explore the Academy of Learning Career College’s Business Management program today.