As we all know, that world has become a global village with the onset of internet and telecommunication advancement. Internet has brought the whole world together with the click of the mouse. The vistas of business world are expanding widely with the fast communicating world. Now you can build, expand and manage your business online as efficiently as you do it at your office. For every successful business, you need a team of highly skilled and motivated employees. Now hiring and retaining employees can be an expensive deal and most small business owners struggle with this important aspect of their business. Most of the internet savvy business owners are resorting to hiring employees online and getting their work done through this virtual team. It not only saves office space and other overheads, it also gives them access to a vast talent pool for affordable prices.

Managing a Virtual TeamBut managing a virtual team can be tricky sometimes. You can’t just walk over to their desk anytime and see the work progress or monitor their work. So how do you make sure you get the work done on time and as per your guideline? Below are a few tips that might be helpful in managing your virtual team:

  • Establish Flawless Communication:

The first rule of managing a successful virtual team is to establish a flawless communication system. Keep in touch with your team members via email, phone or Skype. It is a great practice to have a combined conversation or a virtual meeting once a week. This will develop an insightful team spirit when all the members know each other well. Make it a point to motivate and encourage your team members virtually through these meetings. And keep your communication systems flawless. Have a high speed internet connection and try to remove all communication hurdles

  • Set team objectives and goals:

Like a real team, set your virtual team’s objectives and goals clearly. Then plan every step to achieve those goals. When your team knows about their goals, it will strive for achieving them harder.

  • Manage workload on weekly basis:

It is a good practice to give your team member a weekly schedule ahead of time, this way it becomes easier to manage the workload. Daily workloads often get into technology mishaps, so try to manage your work on weekly basis. You can also manage your work 5-6 days a week and give a day or two off for rest.

  • Give regular feedback:

Always keep in mind to encourage and keep your team members on the road to success by giving regular feedback. This will make their work easy and after some time they will work better than your expectations. Be extremely polite and professional in giving feedback so as not to discourage your team members.

  • Keep Time differences in mind:

When you are managing a virtual team from different corners of the world, always keep in mind the time differences. Do not make anyone feel left out because of their time clash. Always keep rotating the meeting time to involve everyone in your meetings at different time.

  • Be sensitive about the cultural differences:

When you are managing a virtual team, the members will be from different cultures and might need work days off according to their culture and rituals. So be sensitive about these cultural differences. Never show prejudice to any of your team members because of his/her cultural background.

  • Be available to your team members:

If you are heading a team, you ought to be available to your team members all the time. Even if you are not in office you can use technology to be connected to your team members on the go. If you can’t do that, either keep a virtual assistant or hire a team leader for this purpose.

At the end of the day, managing a virtual team or an employee’s team in your real office is not that different. You have to keep the basics in check – communicate, prioritize work, motivate employees and have a good incentives scheme for your high performing employees. The only difference is how you manage to do so with a team which may be miles away physically and I hope the above mentioned points help bridge that gap.