Working in a team is always beneficial, be it in the same office space or virtually. Most bloggers have a virtual team working for them from different cities or even countries.
But for many of them, it becomes difficult to manage virtual team members because blogging teams have creative people like designers, writers, etc. Therefore, keeping them motivated and monitoring their skill development is a big task.
At the ShoutMeLoud blog network too, we have a virtual team, and here are a few practical tips that make it easy to handle the virtual team.
How to manage Work from home team effectively:
From team to a big family
When we work in the office, it’s easy to get a feeling that we are working as a team, but virtually it’s quite tough to get that feeling. Thus, if you have a virtual team, make sure that as a leader you properly convey that you can care about them and they are valuable.
Set realistic goals, and deadlines and keep emailing feedback or reports to the entire team. This will give a constant feeling that they are not independent and are working for a team. Moreover, make sure you do your best to set the stage for everyone on the team.
Discipline in team members
Even if you have a virtual team, you need to keep track of the time your team is putting in and the results it is generating. Your team should be delivering working reports to you on time. It can be weekly or monthly. Make sure you give proper feedback to them about their work and reports which make them understand their roles and work properly. Rules are important even if your team is working virtually.
You can do a work audit at the start of every month and then do a performance meeting with the member. This is a critical part as a leader or a manager. You need to learn how you should be critical and give feedback. If the performance is improving, you should appreciate it and also let other people in the team know about it. If the performance is decreasing, you should discuss and figure out what went wrong and how you can help your resource improve.
Recently, I have put a system in which everyone is working on my team has to put down their daily task along with the time they spend on the task. The idea was to help my people understand where they are spending the majority of the time and working from home could be overwhelming at times. Many of us don’t realize and even if we spent 12+ hours in front of the laptop, it doesn’t add much to the productivity. This kind of discipline could be brought in the team only when we have data to reflect upon.
This one little change has made a major improvement in overall growth of the team.
Understand Your Team
As you are not working with your team daily, there are chances that you don’t know them personally or how to keep them motivated while working. Sometimes you need to use different strategies for different people. Understand your team members properly and then assign them any task or provide any feedback.
Since you have a remote team, take advantage of modern collaboration tools to seamlessly work with everyone. Here are a few tools that we use for ShoutDreams blog network:
Arrange virtual meetings
Regular meetings are the best way to increase interaction between your team members. If it’s not possible with your team to meet with each other, then you can use online tools like Zoom or Skype and arrange online meetups to discuss work or just to celebrate for achieving any milestone. This will help the team to understand each other, and they will surely make efforts to make the team do better.
We host team meetings for 30 minutes every Tuesday. This has helped us a lot in past one year and something I highly recommend you to try.
Have a team portal
Apart from regular meetups, you can have a portal exclusively for your team. This kind of portal can be used for suggestions, feedbacks or interacting with team members on the daily basis. If you find any good suggestions from your team, try to apply it as soon as possible. This always motivates the team to work as a group.
We use Slack + Trello for this. Also, in our team meeting, we do have time for giving unfiltered suggestions and new ideas.
Use right tools to manage a remote team
This is important to ensure your work from home team feels connected. Also, this ensures that there is no delay in work due to the absence of anyone.
Here at ShoutMeLoud, we use Slack for team communication.
- Slack (For team chat and calls)
- Zoom (For video conference and calls)
- Trello (For content management and to do list)
One most important part is to set a target or goal for every month. This way, even if your virtual team have the liberty of time, they know, what they have to deliver by the end of the month.
A blog network can only succeed if there is a good synchronization between team members. If you have a virtual team or a work from home team, try to implement the above tips to manage your virtual team effectively and don’t forget to share your views and suggestions to handle the virtual team.