We know that finding the right virtual team can be a challenge. And there can be quite a lot of resistance to embracing this new way of working in your business. Over the last year, virtual teams have grown by 80% with a multitude of benefits including lower costs, improved production and access to an entire global talent pool. Building an effective virtual team is more important than ever if you want to reap these rewards! And building the wrong team can lead to wasted time, money, resources, and increased stress levels.
So why have virtual teams grown so rapidly in popularity? Let’s look at the numbers.
- 75% of virtual teams worldwide say that remote collaboration allows them to be more effective in their jobs and 90% say remote working increases their morale.
- 85% of businesses think they are more productive because of flexible working hours.
- Businesses can save up to £7,000 per person per annum by letting employees work from home, depending on the industry.
So now that you’re convinced to take the leap, how do you build an effective virtual team when you may never get to meet them face to face?
Find the right people
A business is only as strong as its employees. So, finding the right people is the crucial first step.
You can consider different options when building your virtual team and you should make yourself familiar with them all before you decide which one works best for your organisation.
- Outsourcing: Hiring an established third-party company that has a team to handle all your necessary tasks.
- Freelancers: These are self-employed people and work on a contractual or project basis.
- Full time (local): An employee that is hired full time, within your time zone but can remain remote.
- Offshoring: Hiring a team located in a different country.
You should look for people who have previous experience with working in a virtual team as it’s not for everyone. Make sure you look for the right personality fit for your company culture and spend a bit of time doing your research by checking their references.
Now you’ve found the right people for the job, it’s time to onboard them to ensure they feel welcomed, comfortable and equipped in their role. Here are some tips on getting started.
- Be organised and create a checklist of what needs to be covered in the onboarding process.
- Supply adequate training for their role. Get them familiarised and educated with the tools of your trade.
- Introduce them to the team. Virtual connection is just as important as a physical one to guarantee efficiency and productivity.
- Buddy them up with someone on the team so that if questions or queries arise, they can be attended to without delay.
- Check-in with your new employee to make sure they are confident in their role and not feeling overwhelmed.
Find the right systems & tools
Finding the right system to use when building your virtual team is essential to maintain an elevated level of efficiency, productivity and business growth. But remember, everyone has their own way of working, and flexibility is one of the main benefits for an employee working in a virtual team. So be mindful not to take that away and find a system that works for everyone.
Let your virtual team choose the hours that best suit them to get their work done so they can complete tasks when it’s the most convenient and when they are the most productive.
We know one of the biggest benefits of working with a virtual team is having access to a global talent pool. But with that comes a difference in time zones. Make sure you standardise your system so everyone is aware of when the rest of the team will be online so they know when they can expect tasks to be completed and queries to be answered.
A system needs to be supported by the correct online tools to have a smooth sailing business ship!
Here are a few of our favourites:
- Task management tools
- Project management tools
- Calling, chat & video tools
- Microsoft Teams
- Document sharing
- Google Drive
- Password management
With so many online tools out there, there is no need to settle for just one! Giving your virtual team the choice of tools effectively equips them to create high-quality work and achieve your business goals.
Make communication a top priority
A virtual team needs to work harder at communication because they don’t get the face-to-face interaction they would in a physical space. That’s why effective communication is a top priority when building your virtual team. This should always remain at the forefront of your mind to make room for frequent, consistent and honest communication between the team and yourself as a business owner.
Not only does effective communication help identify potential problems and have them addressed quickly but it:
- Unifies your team.
- Builds trusting relationships.
- Creates transparency.
- Is good for general rapport.
Video conferencing is the most effective way to connect your team. It makes room for conversation as your employees can read body language instead of trying to decipher emotion through written text or over a voice conversation.
This study proves it too!
- 67% of employees said they would be more likely to contribute to a meeting over video conferencing.
- 87% of remote employees said they feel more connected to their team when using video communication.
- 55% of businesses say video communication increases employee engagement.
- And a whopping 87% of virtual team members say video conferencing helps speed up decision making.
Have regular meetings
Having regular, consistent meetings are important when building a virtual team for multiple reasons including:
- Provides a routine that assists with increased productivity.
- Creates connections.
- Reduces stress, anxiety and uncertainty.
- Provides a space for any red flags, problems, issues or queries to be addressed.
- Helps your virtual team build relationships.
Hosting regular meetings doesn’t always have to be work-related. You can schedule meetings that are a bit more personal and allow the team to connect without that looming deadline hanging over their heads. This helps your team members feel like they are part of the bigger picture and avoids the feeling of isolation and disconnection.
Keep watching our blog page for ideas on remote team building!
Set clear deadlines and goals
Setting clear, achievable deadlines and goals help with building a strong virtual team to keep everyone on track and supplies insight on exactly what it is they are working towards.
Make sure your deadlines and goals are measurable so that your virtual team can be held accountable for their tasks and projects. Online task and project management tools are a wonderful way to ensure your team is on track. These tools can send alerts, reminders and give an overview of the status of projects.
Praise and celebrate the wins
Give credit where credit is due! If your team has done an excellent job, let the company know. Acknowledgement is not confined to four office walls. Recognition in the workplace is one of the biggest motivational needs an employee strives for and encourages your team to work harder and more efficiently. Praise can also help identify who in your team can take on more responsibility and a bigger workload.
Trust & Leadership
All great teams need leadership and trust. And the fundamentals of this are the same whether your team is virtual or not.
Building trust within your team creates authentic, long-lasting relationships and a happier, healthier working environment. Showing your team that you trust them encourages clear communication, which directly influences your team’s success.
You can’t build trust without strong leadership either. Being a leader means you need to:
- Have respect for different opinions.
- Be empathetic towards your employees.
- Lead by example and remain approachable.
- Provide and welcome constructive feedback.
After reading this, you will be well equipped to build an effective virtual team! A virtual team can help reduce costs, increase productivity and accelerate business growth, just to name a few!
If you’re interested in outsourcing to reduce recruitment costs and have access to a high-quality team at your disposal, speak to us and we’ll match the perfect team to your business needs.