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Managing virtual teams

Tips for Managing Virtual Teams

During this period of social isolation, the ability to effectively manage virtual teams is vital if productivity and business performance are to be maintained.

An important contributor to the success of this will be managing face-to-face virtual meetings. Allowing time during our meetings for social interaction, as well as focusing on our overall purpose as a team will be vital.

To help, we’ve pulled together some tips to help you manage remote teams and your virtual meetings:

How to manage remote teams

  • Build in some social time to your communication that’s relevant and appropriate for the team. Be mindful of how they are feeling emotionally throughout this time, as we are all likely to experience a range of different emotions as we work our way through this challenging period.
  • Check in with each team member to see how they are and get them talking with their colleagues.
  • Hold a virtual coffee break mid or late-morning at a pre-agreed time to enable the team to catch up socially for 15 minutes.
  • Hold more regular team meetings to help maintain team focus and to give regular updates during these unprecedented times, e.g. twice a week.
  • Share an overall purpose to the team’s work during this period so everyone has a clear focus e.g.
    • developing a recovery plan after the Coronavirus
    • providing an operational responsive service during the Coronavirus
    • developing resources for the future of our work
  • Compile and share a weekly plan of team goals to maintain a clear focus whilst working remotely.

Managing virtual team meetings

  • Run a social icebreaker activity at your first part of your virtual team meeting, if appropriate to your current situation and the team ‘mood’ e.g.
    • best ways to have a productive day at home.
    • who or what is keeping you company? e.g. a pet, a family member, a favourite memory or photo.
    • a clothing theme for the day e.g. specific colour, favourite hat, intriguing disguise.
  • Allow team members to share concerns around the virus, and answer questions where you can or provide signposts to the official on-line resource.
  • Keep team members up to date with the internal and external factors affecting the change the organisation is facing. You don’t have to have all of the facts and answers; just share what you do know to be true at that time.
  • Convey balanced decisions where you have the most critical facts to enable the team to progress their work. However, be prepared to pause and reflect on your decision making whilst dealing with ambiguity and emerging information through these challenging and changing times.
  • Review your team plan towards the end of the week or appropriate regular milestones to ensure everyone has a sense of progress.
  • Retain one to one meetings and catch ups on-line during this period. Gauging a ‘temperature check’ of how team members are feeling will be vital. Addressing concerns where you can, will help. Just listening, reflecting back what you’re hearing from them and showing empathy for concerns may help their mental wellbeing.
  • Get the team’s views and suggestions on how we can help and support our clients, as well as ideas to move us forward and adapt as a business. It will give them the opportunity to be a part of the solution.

Review, reflect and improve

Finally, reflect on what is and isn’t working well during these virtual team meetings. Ask yourself:

  • What’s working well during our team meetings?
  • How engaged are the team members?
  • What’s stopping our team meetings from being productive and supportive?
  • What do we need to change in order to make our meetings more productive and supportive?
  • Where or whom can I get further insights or inspiration from?

We hope you’ve found these tips for managing virtual teams and meetings useful.

  • What other tips can you share with us to help support others during this challenging period?
  • How else can we support you?

Get in touch at: info@ksl-training.co.uk


About the Author

Kim Larkins, MCIPD is Company Founder of KSL Training. She has amassed over 30 years training and HR management experience.

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