Tips for effectively managing virtual teams
As a team leader you no longer only have to worry about managing teams at your workplace, you also have to worry about managing virtual teams. The reason for this is that with the introduction of the internet businesses are now able to hire people from all around the world. With how far apart people can live not only do you have the complications involved in managing a workplace team, but you also have the complications of managing a team that is spread apart.
Here are some tips you can use to help effectively manage virtual teams in the workplace.
Make sure that you are taking advantage of the appropriate technologies, including making use of collaborative software. Some of the more popular software that you can use is PlaceWare, WebEx, Lotus Notes, and NetMeeting. You can also use video conferencing, but it can be on the more expensive side so you only want to use it if it is offered at a reasonable cost in your area. Using video conferencing and collaborative software is the most common forms of communication that you can use to keep in touch with your team members and to hold meetings with all of the team members. Having face-to-face meetings is important for virtual teams because it makes people feel like they are part of the group; it gives them a sense of belonging and allows them to feel connected to other workers.
You will also need to have one on one meeting with the members of your team. This is important because it will allow you to focus on one person at a time so that you can listen to what they have to say. This can also help you to solve any problems that might have come up with your team members; you can also cater to their individual needs when having one on one meeting. You want to schedule these on a regular basis, so that you don't lose sight of what is going on, which is easy to do when managing a team across the country. You can handle these meetings over the phone or face-to-face, whichever method is more convenient for your organization.
Using email on a regular basis is important when managing a virtual team because it allows you to instantly communicate with members of your team. This is important because you want to confer with your team members at least once a day so that you can discuss any upcoming issues, projects or any new developments that might be coming up. Talking to each other at least once a day is important because it means that people will not be surprised by things coming out in the future, they will be able to handle things as planned. If an urgent issue comes up suddenly or there is a major concern you can contact each other by phone, which cuts down on the wait time because you won't have to wait for the other person to check their email and respond. When using the phone it is important to know what time zones people are in, so that you only place phone calls when it is considered an appropriate time.
You will want to create a database repository for your team. This is important because it will allow your team to have a central location to share information and knowledge about what they are working on. In the shared database, you also want to make sure that all communication is kept in a folder, so that there is a record of what has transpired. This can allow new team members to study what has been done before so they can learn from past mistakes.
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Posted by DK