Managing a virtual team is different from managing your own in-house staff. As you grow your virtual team, you’ll face some unique challenges. Here are some tips and best practices to help you get started.
Make sure you’re available whenever your outsourcers need you. Give them plenty of ways to contact you and be as responsive as possible when they do. Virtual workers can easily feel isolated. They may have things to tell you but hesitate from doing so if they feel you’re unavailable. You should compensate for the fact that you’re not seeing each other face-to-face.
Regular and Effective Meetings
A good way to stay in touch and manage your virtual team is to hold regular meetings. These can be formal meetings where everyone on a certain team or project does a teleconferencing call, or they could be informal one-to-one check-ins. Either way, you should keep in constant contact with your team members to check progress and field questions. Make sure your meetings are effective and stay on track.
Make It Personal
When you have employees working together in an office, they get to know each other personally. When you’re dealing with virtual workers, you only know names and email addresses. If you’re lucky, you can see a person’s avatar. It’s important to have a personal connection with the people you hire, even if you hire them virtually. Get to know your people and talk with them sometimes about non-work things.
Be Sensitive to Cultural Differences
If you have workers from all over the world, you may have a clash of cultures. While diversity is a good thing, it can also present challenges. Make sure that you have some basic understanding of the cultural differences of your workers and respect these differences.
Hire Good Talent
Maintain a high level of professionalism and quality in the people you hire. When you have a solid team of highly skilled workers, this helps to engender mutual respect among them.
In some ways, it’s easier to work with virtual staff than people who are physically in your office. But there will be challenges, so approach these challenges as valuable learning experiences that will make you a better virtual boss.