5 Blunders to Avoid When Managing a Virtual Team
Managing a virtual team is far different from managing a team in the office.
Indeed, working remotely presents a host of unique challenges that a manager must consider, along with typical management-type duties.
For instance, employees who work from home often set their own hours, and managers must work around this autonomy and flexibility.
Further, effective communication is critical in ensuring everyone is on the same page, no matter where they work.
Managing a remote team can be challenging, but if you keep reading, you’ll discover five of the most common blunders to avoid making yourself.
First Thing to Avoid When Managing a Virtual Team – Not Making Time to Connect as a Team
Working remotely can leave your employees feeling isolated and out of touch.
They may miss the social aspect of working with others in an office setting.
As their manager, you can help alleviate these feelings and promote team spirit by holding collaborative meetings in a virtual office space.
Connected via video and audio, your team can work together, chit-chat, and even enjoy breaks together via digital means.
These factors will help motivate them and increase productivity.
Another thing to Avoid When Managing a Virtual Team – Not Trusting Your Remote Team
One of the biggest challenges of managing a remote team is trusting they are doing their jobs correctly and effectively.
Because you can’t physically see that they are working, you might feel the need to micromanage, which ultimately causes undue stress and drags down productivity.
As the manager of a virtual team, you must learn to trust your team, especially if they work different hours than you do.
Again, good communication is key. Keeping the lines of communication open and setting clear expectations from the start will help a trusting relationship
A Third Thing to Avoid When Managing a Virtual Team – Not Including Your Virtual Team in Team-building Opportunities
Work isn’t the only thing that goes on in the office.
It is also a place for social connection among coworkers who often develop friendships they look forward to growing with each passing day.
If you plan team-building events such as workshops and retreats for your in-office staff, don’t forget to include your remote team.
If possible, fly your virtual staff in for retreats and other valuable events. If it’s not feasible to have them physically present, include them virtually.
Another thing to Avoid When Managing a Virtual Team – Focusing on the Hours Worked Rather than the Output
One of the reasons people choose to work from home is the flexibility it offers.
People can choose to work the hours that suit them best, allowing them to develop a work/life balance that
gives them the best of both worlds.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult for managers to embrace this flexibility. Instead, many complain about when and how long their remote team works.
Instead of focusing on when or how many hours your team works, look at their output.
Is the work getting done correctly and on time?
Are they producing the number of products necessary to meet expectations?
Unless it’s vital that everyone works during the same hours, allow your remote team to choose when and how long they work.
Of course, you can revisit this policy if productivity slips.
Finally, Avoid Using the Wrong Tools
Managing a remote team requires special software and equipment to communicate and collaborate effectively.
If you aren’t using the most advanced technology to manage your remote team, you (and they) could miss out on vital information.
Managing a virtual team can be challenging as it presents a host of unique circumstances.
As the manager of remote workers, you should try to avoid making the mistakes discussed above.
Focus on output rather than hours worked, and trust that your team cares about delivering high-quality work.
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