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One of the best parts of modern information technology is the ability to work anywhere at anytime. As a result, teams can be comprised of members who no longer work in the same place. It's common today to have virtual teams made up of members around the world. That's a huge benefit in terms of staffing teams with the talent you feel they really need. However, the rise of virtual teams has also created a new challenge. How to help people who are geographically dispersed feel as if they are meaningfully connected, similar to a traditional team.
It can be a challenge, but we know that you can foster a feeling of connectedness within your virtual team by following these four essential tips. First, be sure to choose the best technology to support your team's communication. That might include Skype, FaceTime, various types of online collaboration software, email, telephone, or most likely, a combination of all of these. Strive to use the most reliable and highest quality communication pipelines you can find. Next, take more care than you would with a traditional team to keep people updated on their progress, the team's progress, and with what's going on in the larger company.
It can be as simple as an email, a recorded video, or a live video chat that allows you to help them feel purpose by being connected to the work of others. Another vital tactic is to create opportunities to meet face to face. I know the team is virtual for a reason. But in person, human connection is essential to building strong relationships. If you're lucky, you will find team meeting opportunity. Or possibly a business conference. That allows you all to gather, discuss work, and enjoy some socializing. Even if the entire team can't make it, make it happen.
Skype is awesome, but nowhere near as powerful as meeting in person. Finally, embrace continuous learning by conducting an employee audit once or twice each year. The goal is to gather feedback from the team about how they feel they can function more effectively as a virtual team. Ask about the type of information being shared, the modes of communication being used, the frequency of communication, and anything else you can think of. Do your very best to act on the top two or three suggestions to show the team you're listening and trying to improve their ability to do their jobs effectively.
Virtual teams are here to stay, and they don't have to be associated with lower quality communication. Boost your team's productivity by following these tips to help your teams stay connected and committed.
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