In today’s modern world, technological advancements have allowed companies to hire staff from different parts of England, and even the world. This leads many supervisors to manage a team of employees that do not work in one physical office. Whether the individuals work from home and come into the office once in a while, or live in other countries and never get together, their bosses have to run their departments virtually.
To manage this kind of team, supervisors must communicate with staff by phone, email and video calls. While this way of management is mostly new, it is not impossible. This guide will help manage a team virtually.
Social Media – When working with colleagues in one physical office, you get to know their personalities, and learn their family life, interests, likes and dislikes. When working virtually, this knowledge is very difficult to obtain. Therefore, it is recommended for managers to connect with their subordinates via social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Even though not all individuals feel comfortable with sharing personal information with their supervisors, others will not mind. Having the chance to improve communication with your subordinates by learning more about them will help you with working with them professionally.
Communication – It often gets easy to forget to check in with your staff members who work at home or overseas. Unless a problem arises, or you have a new goal to share, you can let communication stand at a standstill. This is never a good tactic to employ. An issue can be occurring that you are not aware of, and only by checking in with your staff can you be alerted to this fact. Also, even if you have the most competent employees, following up with them on projects and assignments, and simply expressing your gratitude for a job well done will show them that you care.
Collaboration – If you are supervising a virtual team, it is important to work collaboratively whenever possible. Setting up group meetings on Skype, or other forms of communication where all employees can have a voice, will provide an opportunity for colleagues to get to know each other, and bring up any possible issues to each other. Also, utilize collaborative tools, such as Google Docs, that allow co-workers to work on projects together, tracking changes and adding comments. These tools can greatly improve communication and efficiency at the workplace.
Managing a virtual team is new to many employers, but is becoming more and more prominent in the U.K. Use the tips above to run your team, whether you see them in the office part-time, or never at all.
Head of Training and Development