Your time is precious. Everything needs to be done on a schedule and your whole team needs to be on board with that schedule – including your virtual team.
A virtual team is a group of workers who work remotely, often from other countries. Thanks to advances in technology, virtual team members can perform anything from basic administrative tasks to more specialized tasks like programming and graphic design, without ever entering your office. There’s no reason virtual workers can’t be included in every step of your project.
Here are some tips for making sure your virtual team gets things done according to your schedule.
- Communicate: These days talking face-to-face with someone on the other side of the globe is no problem at all. With applications like Skype and Google Hangout, you can have virtual meetings with your entire team, no matter where they’re located. Using these tools to check in with your virtual team can help you make sure everything is running on schedule so you can be sure to hand in the completed project to your client on time or even early.
- Ask Questions: Communication is key, no matter what industry you’re working in. You should always do your best to make sure everyone on your team is comfortable coming to you with any questions they may have, including your virtual team. But sometimes you have to be the one to ask the questions. Many workers, especially those who work remotely, won’t want to bother you with questions until it has already become an issue. They know that, as an agency owner, your time is precious and they won’t want to take up any more if than they have to, but this can actually lead to issues later on.
To avoid this problem, you might want to schedule regular check-ins with your virtual team and ask them if they’re having any problems. Instead of asking vague questions like “How’s it going?” try more direct questions like, “What problems have you encountered?” If you assume your virtual team has encountered challenges and you phrase your question accordingly, they’re more likely to open up to you about the things they need help with.
- Provide Clear Instructions: It may seem obvious, but your virtual team can’t be expected to keep to a schedule if they don’t know what the schedule is. Any time you assign a project to your virtual team, be sure to give them clear instructions for what you want done, how you want it done, and when it needs to be done by. This will help things go smoothly when coordinating your virtual team with your on-site team.
Those last-minute emergencies are also when virtual team members shine. If your team is already flooded with work, you can quickly add a new virtual team member while minimizing costs. They can act as your backup when the workload increases or when someone falls behind on a task. Offshore virtual staffing agencies provide that flexibility so you can focus on doing the best work for your customers while reducing risk and keeping costs low.
- Have Them Check In: Rather than waiting for a project to be completed before your virtual team member hands it in, ask them to give you what they’ve completed after a certain number of hours or once they’ve reached a milestone in the project. This will allow you to determine if the virtual team member is on the right track and to gauge approximately how long the entire project will take. That way you can cut extra time and costs that might be spent redirecting your virtual team member after the project has already been mostly completed.
- Trust Your Team: No one likes a micromanager. They make workers feel stressed, which makes them less productive. Micromanaging also takes the management team away from their more pressing demands. Just like with your on-site workers, you should always use best management practices with your virtual team, including providing clear instructions, allowing them to ask questions, giving praise when it’s earned, and trusting them to do their job.
- Be Flexible: Remember that your virtual team is made up of individual workers and different things work for different people. Be sure to communicate with each member of your virtual team early on to determine the practices that work best for both your company and your virtual workers. If you encounter problems once the work is under way, some trial and error might be needed to determine if there’s something you can do differently to increase the effectiveness of each member of your virtual team. If problems persist with a team member, you may need to consider replacing that person. Offshore staffing agencies can help by making that a quick and painless process so you don’t fall behind on your clients’ projects when removing or adding new virtual team members.
- Collaborate: Your virtual team should check in with you, but they can also check in with each other as well as other members of your team. Fortunately, this is easier than ever with applications like Dropbox and Google Drive, to name just a couple. These allow your on-site employees and virtual team to share work and collaborate with each other. They also allow you to check in and see the status of your projects and who’s doing what.
- Maintain a Single Point of Contact: Despite the increased ease and benefits of team members that collaborate with each other, it’s important not to confuse your virtual team members. They can still share work with your other employees, but make sure all instructions and feedback come from one person. Whether that be you as the agency owner, the account manager, or someone else on the team, having one person handle the majority of the communications with the virtual team will help ensure consistency and avoid confusion.
For more information about the comprehensive benefits a virtual team can provide a digital agency, please contact a representative of AgentsofValue.com