Best Way to Engage A Global Virtual Team
Embracing and Leveraging the New Normal
Remote working has led to several companies having employees spread across the globe or at least a few employees being from another country. And it is extremely advantageous as one gets to find new talents with lower price as well enjoy the convenience of working wherever fits you best. There is also the added advantage of having a culturally diverse team. But this is a two-edged sword as it brings along challenges of itself. So, to make it easier for you, we have compiled 8 things that you need to do to have a great global virtual team.
1. Overlapping Work Hours
Different time zones make it difficult to have more communication and collaboration. Try to keep a minimum of 3 overlapping hours. It is essential that the whole team is updated and is on the same page about all the decisions and for this to happen, they need to work together. And sometimes the assigned tasks might be individual ones where the team members wouldn’t need input or suggestions from the other members but having similar work hours would increase communication and bring the colleagues closer together leading to a healthy work relationship – something that is vital in a team.
2. Virtual Team Building Games
Virtual team building games are a holistic and wholesome approach to build, heal and strengthen teams. They improve communication and team cohesiveness due to the members having to interact. It decreases the mental effects of the global crisis as it helps in forming great relationships, bridging the social gap otherwise formed along with being great stress busters. Moreover, these games help in removing the creative block. They also help in time management, empathy, productivity, efficiency, collaboration, listening skills, visualization, team bonding, planning and much more! If you are looking for some virtual games, head out to our Virtual Team Building Activities Page!
3. Video Calls Over Emails
What the pandemic and the distance prevent is face-to-face interaction. When you speak over calls, you can’t tell if the other person is understanding what you want to say. They might misinterpret your tone or the message itself, both of which can harm the team. Video calls enable to see facial expressions which will help one understand if they have fully grasped the concept. Emails and text tend to not always convey the exact tone. To avoid miscommunication, video calls are definitely a better option. Additionally, they simply have a more humane touch to it than the audio calls and emails don’t that help in empathizing the speaker as well as the listener. Moreover, the voice calls allow more fluent conversation and enable follow-up questions.
4. Ensure and Leverage Technology
One thing that virtual teams would be impossible without is the technology that enables communication in the first place. Google recently provided a $1000 to each member of staff for a home office. You don’t necessarily need to provide the funds but you need to ensure that all your team members have a strong network connection and all the technological tools that allow the team to function virtually. And you need to also ensure that all of that is in a good condition because nothing is more frustrating and off-putting as a bad network connection that keeps interrupting you while you are just trying to do your work.
5. Employ the Right People
Not everyone is cut out for working in global virtual teams because not everyone can handle the lack of social aspect as well as the different schedules that they would need to take on to accommodate working with members in different time zones. There are some personality tests out there that would enable you to check if they can adjust to the changes. There can also be a trial period to test out if the candidate is the one for the job.
6. Schedule Regular Meetings
Working with a virtual team that is global requires a lot of work, especially due to the varied time zones. Even if the time zones are not that different, virtual teams take a tad bit more effort than the teams that work in the same office and interact on a daily basis. For these teams to stay updates, brainstorm, communicate and collaborate, there need to be weekly meetings scheduled that involve everyone. More than once a week is even better but you need to keep in mind the convenience for all the members to attend due to their separate timings. Apart from that, there should be a meeting once every two weeks amongst several teams. This meeting would usually be short where all the members would be kept up to date with what their colleagues on the other teams are doing as well as some suggestions can be thrown.
7. An ‘Unofficial’ Chat-box
You can encourage the teams to have an ‘unofficial’ chat-box of which you are not a participant. Here, without the manager or the employer, the members of the team feel more relaxed and talk more openly about subjects even out of work. The team could bond over memes, hobbies, similar interests and entertainment choices (like TV shows, films, documentaries, operas). Communications will be enhanced and work relationships will be strengthened. This chat-box also enables a strong foundation for a personal, friendly relationship.
8. Have a Meritocratic System
A Meritocratic System is one where good work is recognized, acknowledged and rewarded. If you don’t recognize the good work of your employees, they will feel like they are not valued at the workplace which will increase stress and decrease quality in their work. Giving credit to work done will also encourage other members of the team to thrive and perform better. Have trivia awards every month about silly things to keep the humour up and the stress on the low. This meritocratic system allows for a happy workplace where the members of the team feel appreciated for their work done and feel like their contribution matters.
These are the things that will help you keep your global team up and kicking all the time. It is difficult to keep a virtual team engaged and motivated but through these steps, your employees will surely feel happier to work for you and hence will be more engaged with their work.
If you want to look into more of our virtual team activities, please head to our page on virtual team building activities. We assure you, they are completely worth your while.