Technology has opened exciting new doors for entrepreneurs. One such opportunity is to conduct business virtually. We can now build a company and lead it to success entirely on the internet. Whether you’re selling goods, offering services, or even blogging and streaming game videos, you can run your global business from anywhere in the world. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 46% of organizations work with virtual teams. As this study was conducted in 2012, it’s safe to assume that this number has increased.
Virtual technologies provide an amazing and unprecedented occasion for entrepreneurs to create the business and the lifestyle they want. Obviously, it comes with challenges that require particular skills to overcome. For instance, as your business grows, you must hire people. How do you then successfully manage a team that collaborates exclusively online? Here are 3 useful tips for leading a virtual team:
This may be an obvious one. But since it’s at the core of your team’s success, it’s a must. When working with a virtual team, communication doesn’t come as easily as in a brick and mortar office setting, where people can come and talk to each other. You will have to choose software for your group to communicate. You must consider that people may be spread across different time zones. Emails alone won’t do the job. How about investing in a chatroom that your teammates can easily access from their mobile devices? Efficiency is key!
It is crucial to introduce standard operating procedures (SOP). With every member of your team working from their own personal space, absence of supervision may incur occasional confusion. To optimize productivity and profitability, designing, documenting and implementing work systems is indispensable. This will help your team follow procedures, respect policies and achieve the best output. In the perfect scenario, your employees are well organized, but still, enjoy extensive individual responsibility and flexible hours. Also, don’t forget to monitor their performance to make sure everyone is on track and business is growing!
Your teammates may see one another once a year during a holiday event or a conference. Or, they may never see each other. However, it’s important to have a sense of belonging, a family atmosphere in your team. This will allow your partners and employees to enjoy satisfying experiences together and consequently, deliver the best results. To this end, you should find a way to enable informal chatter and help build quality relationships within your team. You may be surprised, but video conferencing (Skype, FaceTime or others) once a month can go a long way – allow for them to see each other, share smiles and good times together.