Ways to Manage your Remote Workers and Virtual Team more effectively

Remote Working Picture

When it comes to communication in general, meeting face-to-face and in-person is better than meeting via video, audio, and text. Working remotely with a team makes it difficult to meet up so it is essential to recognize that with distributed collaboration, all communications will take a little bit more effort. Make sure everyone on the team realises this and is committed to making that effort. It is best practice to meet up with your team face-to-face before the project starts and then a couple of times per year after that. Remote work has its own perks and challenges but remember that some degree of flexibility will be expected. The 9-5 work paradigm no longer applies here.

Online meeting technology will be briefly mentioned here, but it’s very important to keep on assessing what is working and what isn’t.

Realtime communication is important so use a tool like Skype.  Use it for conference calls, video calls, chat, and screen sharing.  At this point in time, no other tool works consistently for people all over the world. There are lots of competing conferencing technologies like Mikogo and Webex but Skype is by far the most consistent technology available to everyone right now. This is for real-time communication when in-person communication is just not possible.

Tip: Insist that anyone who isn’t talking mute their mic. This applies to any conferencing technology and it makes a big improvement in audio quality.  They can still contribute by making running comments in chat.

For keeping track of projects, assignments and tasks, you need a web-based task manager.  There are lots to choose from including TrelloAsanaBasecampPivotalTracker.  Even a simple SkyDrive web app spreadsheet/document shared among your team can be enough for effective and seamless collaboration on documents.

Whatever tools you use, try to keep it as simple as possible and put your work-mates before the technology. It’s hard to manage a team that never gathers face-to-face so remember to make time to talk with your colleagues, have fun, and keep your team feeling closer than they are.  If they all contribute towards the social energy of  the group, and think like an invested team, they’ll act as one.  The main aim is to use tools that make your team feel less disconnected than they are and for them to get the most out of their remote team-mates.

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Indicia Training has been delivering successful project management courses for the past 6 years (we celebrated our 6th birthday recently) and if you’d like to learn more about working with us, drop us an e-mail at info@indiciatraining.com or call us on 0141 221 5676.