The most common challenge that stems from working in a virtual team is a lack of communication.
This develops roots from never meeting the other team members in person. When we work virtually, unless we frequently meet with our team in person, we do not develop a binding working relationship as quickly as we would when we walk/talk/breathe the same office air on a daily basis.
I believe several steps can prevent this sense of poor communication in a virtual setting:
- Hold regular meetings (online group settings)
- Ensure each team member is involved in the meetings
- Management should view this as beneficial to the team, and encourage honest and open communication
As well as recurrent meetings, invest in an online resource where members can learn about each other and build trust. This could be as simple as a place to check in and say hello each morning. “Hey, I had a great weekend!” “Good morning team! I know, I am working too many hours than what is healthy, but these client projects are on my radar!” This type of online resource creates a sense of team!
Personally, as a virtual assistant, the sense of being a part of a team is both inspiring and encouraging! It keeps in the forefront a sense of who and what we are working towards! (Of course, we’re always working towards helping a business succeed. But this adds the who and why to the equation…it is icing on the cake!)
Celebrate successes! Yes. Who wants to hear about the negatives and nothing else? Remember, we want to surround ourselves with positive people, and we want to work in a positive environment. Positive environments incubate business growth.
Find a system that helps team members develop a sense of collaboration. Team members do not work as a single entity. We work as a piece of a working unit. A single piece may break down if it has no sense of connection with the other working parts. Think of the role as gears. What makes gears turn? Other gears.
I hope these tips help you either develop your virtual team, or helps you as a team member who may be feeling a shortage of communication! I believe in making constructive recommendations. Perhaps something I’ve said will help you clarify and pass the word on.