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5 Tips for Keeping Virtual Teams Connected

Matt Grofsky, Ytel |  

During this tech takeover we're living in, more teams are becoming remotely distributed across a worldwide swath of physical locations, cultures and time zones. Virtual is the new black, and it's time to embrace it! The advantages of this far outweigh the challenges: Companies now have the freedom to hire specialists without the limitation of geography, and individuals feel more empowered to use their unique skill sets to benefit the whole company, rather than just their specific department.

More teams than ever are becoming remotely distributed across a worldwide swath of physical locations, cultures and time zones. The advantages of this reach far outweigh the challenges: Companies now have the freedom to hire specialists without the limitation of geography, and individuals feel more empowered to use their unique skill sets to the benefit of the whole.

The challenges, however, should be addressed in order to maximize the potential of the virtual structure. Here are 5 tips that will take your connected virtual team to the next level.

Conform to a Standard

Although the lifestyles of your team members will likely be more disparate across geographies and cultures, each individual should commit himself to a common set of rules. Most of these rules attend to basic organizational decorum (show up on time; don't bring personal conversations into working conversations) and analytical standards (using dollars or Euros; metric or English system). Establishing attendance around time zones should definitely a priority for your team.

Agree to Proper Communications

There may or may not be an "authority figure" directly overseeing the administration of a virtual team. In the case of roughly equal associates combining talents, agreeing to proper expectations concerning communications is essential. No one should have to worry about getting 10 texts from a team member during late evening hours, nor should anyone feel as though they have the authority to take a tone that is too authoritative.

Upgrading Team Tech

When the team is virtual, technology is the lifeblood. A team needs to quickly decide the platforms it will use to tackle basic sharing and productivity functions. One of the most important technologies to prioritize is the group calendar: Standardizing this function first will work wonders for people in different time zones. At Ytel, we love Google calendar as it integrates directly with Gmail and many other applications we use each day. After that, decisions should be made on how to share documents, secure confidential information and communicate between team members. Our suggestions include Google Hangouts, Slack, and Hubspot... just to name a few!

Trust Building

Trust can be more difficult to build if the team is not looking itself in the eye everyday, but it is not impossible. Virtual teams should take the same water cooler time that traditional teams take. For example, perhaps American team members will have to learn to appreciate soccer to communicate with team members across the world! However, learning the way that your team members communicate on a personal level is vital to building the trust that will carry you forward during those long days and tough projects.

Prioritizing

A virtual team must realize that each member depends on the others. Team members may have concerns that seem more pressing, because they are physically present. However, the entire team must remember that everyone else is feeling this way, and everyone's ability to fund personal solutions is at least partially dependent on team prioritization. When a team member calls, make it a point to see what's going on and how you can help. Here's a few tips on how to onboard remote employees successfully in the tech age. 

Although each virtual team will have its own idiosyncracies, the tips above will certainly start any virtual team on the right foot. All team members should keep their ears to the street for new technology that can bring them closer, and always look out for the best interests of each other as if they were physically present friends and colleagues.

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About The Author

Matt Grofsky, Ytel

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Matt provides Ytel with avenues to do things different. As a software developer with close to 20 years experience, Matt is aggressive on deliverables and is able to get projects done. Matt is a successful inventor and has been founding companies with Nick for the past 15 years.


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