Managing a virtual team can have many challenges, from tracking performance and contractor hours to scheduling a company meeting across three different time zones.
But when thinking about really successful virtual teams, something they all have in common is a joint purpose and relationship that is deeper than task lists and projects.
A useful exercise, if you haven’t done this already, is to brainstorm and then list the values for your company. One company that memorably did this recently was Chip and Joanna Gaines’ magazine, Magnolia Journal. Their Winter 2019 Magnolia Manifesto shares their company values including “We believe that failure needn’t be a negative thing, rather, we learn from our mistakes and fail smarter next time.” Whether it’s comprehensive and long or short and sweet, your virtual team and your customers will benefit from knowing what core values your company holds dear.
A regular team meeting (and letting your team members in on the details)
You can’t build relationships or curate a company culture if you never see or talk to your team members. How often you meet as a team will vary depending on the nature of your work and how many team members you have. But at a minimum, it’s important to have facetime with the people you work with at least monthly. Although the more often you meet, the stronger the company culture will become.
When planning your meeting agenda, consider again your company values and how they can be reflected in the meeting. If you value continuing education, perhaps offering a brief training during each meeting would be beneficial. If a value of your company is whole-person health and wellness, the investment of a health coach to check in with the team members could be a worthwhile investment. If you value personal responsibility, set meeting check-ins to celebrate what’s been accomplished for the past week, talk about what wasn’t accomplished, and discuss what help or accountability will be needed to make a change moving forward.
Think outside of the box
Do you believe work should be light-hearted and fun? Perhaps quarterly virtual parties (like a seasonal virtual Christmas party with games and ugly sweaters) are something you can make into a company tradition.
Does your company love physical exercise and competition? Maybe you send each new team member a Fitbit to track their steps with the winner receiving a gift card or other prize.
Is gratitude a value you hold above all else? Set a recurring task to thank a team member or client for something specific they do or have done.
You are only limited by your imagination!