Virtual Team Building Tips
1. Regular one-on-one Online Laser Virtual Team Meetings
It’s important to keep communication lines open in-between scheduled team meetings. Schedule REGULAR, short, one-on-one laser meetings (15 min max) with key team members. Encourage team members to communicate with each other directly via laser meetings also. Laser meetings are especially important when online team project tasks need to be handed over from one team member to another.
2. Virtual Team Feedback Friday
With an online team you don’t have the luxury of seeing how your team interact and communicate with each other in-person, face-to-face. Although virtual workers often work from remote offices, “office politics” will still occur (you don’t always see it because of the online team environment). Introduce a way for your team to provide real honest feedback regarding key issues, challenges, suggested improvements, communication issues etc. within the team. Issue them with an anonymous survey to complete and you’ll find out the true problems developing in the team. www.myvaspace.com offer a survey service for small online businesses. They will send out a survey and provide a weekly/monthly report for you based on the questions and responses.
3. Online Team Building Games
To build trust and improve team morale within your virtual team, arrange a session for fun online team building games. For some great online team building game ideas click here: Team Building Games For Virtual Teams
It’s important virtual team members have time to interact with each other at a social level. Open up your online meeting platform 10 minutes early and encourage team members to show up for chit-chat. Host an online happy hour, or coffee break. Quick digital team building activities can also be a great way to encourage your team members to get to know each other better.
5. Promote Health & Wellness in the Virtual Team
Virtual workers can spend long periods of time working on their bottoms. Encourage your team to stay healthy by introducing a wellness program. Think about how much time your team are sitting at their desks and encourage them to get up a move around regularly. Register with a wellness program that will work with your specific online team needs. If you don’t have the budget for a wellness program – then there are plenty of free online videos available that your virtual team can use and follow together.
6. Virtual Team Reward and Recognition Program
Virtual team members can at times feel unsupported, isolated and unrecognised. Make sure you remember to recognise the efforts of individual team members, no matter how far away they are located from the main office. A thank you note will be appreciated, as would receiving a surprise gift either in the “snail mail” or electronically. It’s a great idea to reward TEAMS as well as INDIVIDUALS.
7. Host Special Online Team Celebrations
Just because your team isn’t located in the same office at the same time doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your online team successes. A celebration could be as simple as coming together online to acknowledge and celebrate team success or if you want to really party online try these suggestions Celebrate Your Success With Virtual Workers & Clients
8. Appoint a Virtual Team Champion
Your virtual team champion will be responsible for making sure these online team ideas are implemented in your day-to-day online team activities. It’s so easy to read a list of great ideas, only to go away and try them once or to forget about implementing them altogether. Appoint a virtual team champion for an assigned period of time and let them get creative in implementing your online team ideas.
10 Items to Include on your Virtual Team “Kick-Off” Meeting Agenda
When you bring your virtual team together for the first time, start off with a kick-off or project initiation meeting. If you don’t have the resources to bring your team together for an in-person, face-to-face meeting then host the kick-off meeting face-to-face via video conferencing.
Be enthusiastic, smile and make eye contact with your team. Let them see you in your online work environment. Host the online “kick-off “meeting with a video conferencing platform that allows all team members to interact and see each other face-to-face. Google Hangouts is an excellent platform for small to medium online businesses. Meeting, seeing each other and responding to the non-verbal communications via camera will help your online team to bond quicker.
Come prepared with an agenda and some virtual team ice-breakers to set the scene for your online kick-off meeting. Record the meeting so it can be saved and shared with new virtual team members as they come on board with the team at a later date.
Things to cover in your virtual team “kick-off “ meeting include …
- Team vision, goals and objectives.
- Virtual Team Introductions – Online Team Members and Stakeholders. Get creative and have fun with this one. If it is appropriate for your virtual team you could have each person prepare a 30-60sec video introduction of themselves to share with the rest of the team
- Clear outline of Virtual Team role expectations and lines of communications
- Discuss the virtual team diversity and the gains associated with the online team diversity
- Facilitate an open discussion about the unique challenges a virtual team faces working together and how to overcome the challenges. Encourage each virtual team member to contribute to the session. Ask them to share the challenges they have faced as a virtual team member and possible suggestions to overcome the challenges.
- Virtual Team Communication Standards. Communication needs special attention in a virtual team. Discuss solutions to time zone and language differences. Set response standards in place and be clear about expectations. When will the team meet? When will each team member be available online? What platforms will be used to communicate? Etc.
- Virtual Team Systems, Standards, Tools and Processes to be used in achieving the team goals. Document management, team collaboration tools and online systems need to be discussed here. You may want to give a brief overview at the meeting, then arrange a “virtual tour” of your systems and tools on a separate occasion based on the specific team needs. If you run the “virtual tour” live be sure to video the session and store in in your collaboration portal for others to access.
- Virtual Team Reward and Recognition Program. It’s easy for virtual workers to feel isolated and unsupported. Have a program place that rewards individuals and the virtual team as a whole for a job well done.
- Question & Answers
- Set the time for the next virtual team meeting. Regular, well planned and meaningful online meetings will work better than rare, long-winded marathon meetings.
With the increasing rate of globalization, a demand for a more efficient workforce and with the introduction of online collaboration platforms we have seen an increase in the development of virtual teams across the globe. Many questions are being raised about Virtual Team Building and how to get the best out of virtual teams. One question that arises is how virtual team leaders can overcome the unique challenges facing Virtual Teams.
Though the introduction of virtual teams presents many benefits and opportunities, as a virtual team leader you’ll need to be aware of and address the challenges you will face. Some of the challenges facing virtual or global team leaders include:
Lack of feeling of connectedness within the Virtual Team.
Without regular interaction, individual virtual team members can feel isolated and unsupported. This leads to high virtual team member turnover and ultimately high expense to the global company. Virtual team building activities need to be introduced into the team. Just as team building activities are important in traditional working environments, even more so they need to be a regular part of your virtual team building strategy.
Virtual Team Communication breakdown.
Without the opportunity for face-to-face meetings, it is difficult to develop personal, one-on-one relationships with individual team members. In addition to this, if the right tools and resources are not made available to the virtual team, then communication breakdowns can cause entire projects to perform poorly. It’s imperative the virtual team is provided with the necessary tools and resources (specifically designed to support virtual global teams).
Lack of customized Training to prepare people for working in a virtual team environment.
Just because you have a bunch of employees working together online across the globe, does not mean they are functioning as an effective virtual team. Just as there is a unique working environment and unique challenges facing a virtual team, specific training needs to be introduced to the virtual team to ensure they truly are effective and functioning as a high performance team.
For more Virtual Team Building Tips >>> VIRTUAL Team Success – A Practical Guide for Working and Leading at a Distance.
In a virtual team you don’t have the luxury of seeing someone working intently on a project outside your office door. Where are your virtual workers based? Are they working remotely in your local area or are they scattered across the globe, in a completely different time zone?
There is a large element of trust involved when working with someone on the other side of the world that you cannot see in action. You trust your virtual team members are loyal and that they put 100% into the projects they are assigned. But, have you ever had that sneaking feeling that someone on your virtual team isn’t “pulling their weight” or perhaps they are “slacking off” on the job?
As with the typical work environment the majority of virtual workers take pride in their professionalism and wouldn’t dream of “slacking off” on the job. They value their reputation and the benefits they get working virtually. In my experience, I have found virtual workers highly productive and committed to the projects assigned to them. However, from time to time you’ll see the little signs creeping in. Little signs that someone on your team isn’t performing their best. Signs they could actually be ripping you off! Taking it easy while you pay for the time they work. A costly mistake for your virtual business and one that can be avoided.
Here are a few signs to keep a look out for and what you can do about them: Continue reading
Are you embracing all the benefits your virtual work lifestyle is offering you?
Here’s part 2 of the presentation “7 Healthy Habits for Successful Virtual Workers”.
Is your virtual office lifestyle slowly killing you?
Are you embracing the true benefits of a virtual working lifestyle or are you perhaps finding yourself glued to your computer for hours at a time?
Are you enjoying the freedom of travel and a lifestyle that the true virtual remote work lifestyle offers you or are you feeling imprisoned by your clients, team and clashing time zones?
Here’s a reminder of 7 essential habits of the highly effective virtual worker!
Enjoy the slideshow (Part 1)…
Virtual Team Managers face an extra special set of challenges. Are you leading or growing a virtual team? Don’t YOU know it! Connecting at a personal level, developing loyalty and trust, maintaining virtual team morale are all aspects of a virtual team that can present challenges to you that perhaps you’ve never faced before.
One of the first things to determine with a new virtual team member is their suitability to work virtually, within your virtual team. So growing the right virtual team that will support you and your business starts with hiring the right people. There we are presented with one of your first special challenges as an online virtual team leader…and that is interviewing online applicants hoping to join your expanding virtual team.
If your potential team member lives close to your locality, then of course you can interview face-to-face in person. BUT what about Carol’s example below (perhaps you’ve found yourself in a similar situation) … Continue reading
Being an effective Leader or Manager has its fair share of challenges. This can be even greater in the Virtual environment. Leading a virtual team requires lots of minor adjustments, unless your team is in bad shape of course, then a major overhaul is in order.
As I was sitting here thinking about the areas I need to improve when it comes to leading our Virtual Team I thought I would share what came to mind.
Here are some things that you can think about, I would love to have a dialogue with you so feel free to share it and comment.
5 easy ideas to make your virtual meetings inspiring and productive
Virtual Teams, as wonderful as they are, present you with one very special challenge to overcome. Without a face-to-face social aspect of a typical work environment, you can lose the personal and visual connections that are so powerful in keeping a team motivated and performing at its best.
Like many online entrepreneurs you may be having weekly virtual meetings to keep connected with your team. Congratulations for committing to your virtual team productivity. Do you think your team is inspired and motivated by that virtual meeting? If yes, then great – but the sad truth is, it is quite likely that at least one person on your team likely DREADS having that meeting (that person could be you)!
So what can you do to make sure your virtual team meetings continue to inspire your virtual team to achieve great things? Here are 5 ideas you can start using right away… Continue reading