Communicating with your Virtual Team Members
Working remotely requires team members to make a special effort around communication and collaboration. In an office setting, your team members can drop by a colleague’s desk on their way to the printer or catch a moment to chat during a lunch break, so communication flows easily, and the types of communication they will have is likely to be more diverse – ranging from casual chats to formal meetings.
To recreate this level of communication in a virtual team is challenging and can be time-consuming for everybody. Each team will decide on the channels, styles and schedules of communication that are needed to support productivity and to maintain cohesion and morale.
As we all have different communications styles, you may need to adapt to effectively manage your virtual team. For example: maybe you prefer emails to face to face video calls – but in a situation where you don’t meet your co-workers in person, those moments of face-time can be crucial to team-bonding and mutual understanding, so you might have to get used to them.
Managing a geographically dispersed virtual team requires skills in remote collaboration. There are all sorts of apps and platforms that support collaboration across different geographical locations and time zones, but they only work if everyone is engaged and keeps the central workspace up to date. In the absence of white boards and project management matrices on an office wall, it is important to support and encourage your virtual team to collaborate effectively with the tools available.