Are you interested in joining a virtual team? Or do you have an intention to create one? How can you build professional engagement with people you never meet in-person? How can you make the most of technology to help your virtual team meet the business goals?
Nowadays, the option to work from home seems to attract people more than it did decades ago. Survey conducted by Gallup notes a significant upsurge in the percentage of U.S people who telecommute their jobs.
In 1995, only 9 percent respondents said that they telecommute their job, but the number rose four times to 37 percent in 2015. These statistics indicate a positive trend of shifting perspective towards working in a virtual team, as more people choose to do their jobs outside the office.
If you want to boost your collaboration in virtual teams, here are engagement activities that can help you achieve the purpose:
See: Top 7 Secrets to Building a Killer Remote Team
While it is true that you should draw clear lines of separation between working and private life, it never hurts to add your coworkers in your social media’s friend list. Through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Path, you will gain more information about the people you are working with.
Through their posts in social accounts, you will know their other sides that they might never showcase at work. Indirectly, this will help you to get better personal understanding and determine the right attitude to collaborate with them.
People cannot always be 100 percent at work. When you find your co-worker does not seem lively in responding your chat as usual, there might be something going on with them. In such situations, you need to take some time to put the business aside and ask what happens to them.
As long as they are willing to, you should encourage team members to share their issues, both work-related and personal ones.
A simple ‘good morning’ greeting continued with small talk about last weekend agenda can be a pleasant way to start the day. Tight schedules and approaching deadlines often makes everyone stressed and anxious. To avoid burnout, it is good to talk about things outside the business such that their mind can be relaxed for some time. Additionally, through small personal talks you can get personal updates from your co-workers to be able to relate to each other.
Believe it or not, playing games together can boost teamwork in virtual teams. To encourage healthy competition, you can invite your team to play in the same online games. Not only is this fun, but it will also help smoothen communication flow and improve overall bonding to build a camaraderie. You can use various games available on the internet, or even develop your own custom games such as trivia questions related to the business.
While team members cannot hang out together after work, you can still invite them for virtual coffee break. These days, most public areas offer good WiFi connection, including coffee shop.
Arrange the schedule to ask your co-workers to go to nearby coffee shop and connect with other team members for updates or scrums. To motivate coworkers, you might need to include this activity in the company budget.
Everyone has the potential to shine, as long as they are given chance to do so. To ensure this happens, your team members have equal opportunity to develop their leadership skills, you need to rotate the leadership baton.
Create a system that enables everyone to lead the team for a particular project. It does not have to be something big, small but well-arranged plans will do, such as heading up briefings and updates daily or weekly planning for video conferencing.
There are many applications and systems you can use to hold online surveys for the team members. By conducting a poll, you can learn and analyse their character, attitudes, patterns of behaviour, as well as personal preferences.
However, the survey should not only discuss about job-related issues, but also other just-for-fun discussions such as celebrity’s latest gossip or the Grammy Awards.
Smooth communication flow is they keyword behind every successful virtual team.
Thanks to the advancement of the Internet and technology, working remotely with partners dispersed across the world is no longer a remote idea. However, managing virtual teams is not easy. While it increasingly becomes a commonplace, business leaders are still trying to find out the right leadership skill and employee management techniques that will improve overall team efficiency and optimise engagement without compromising on the comfort of working from home.
Read also: Remotely Managing Remote Teams: The Flip Sides