1/ Establish ground rules
Even if team members work remotely, they must still demonstrate a set of acceptable behaviours. This is even more valid for virtual teams:
– Time slot during which team members are reachable
– Attendance at mandatory virtual meetings
o Log in on time, if possible.
o Have the right to express yourself freely.
o Listen to and respect all points of view.
2/ Adjust time schedules
What suits you may not always suit other team members. It is important to determine the time slots during which you can be contacted at telework, as well as defining break, lunch and logout time rights.
3/ Create team cohesion with common objectives
Team members need to know and understand what they are doing together beyond their own role and work. If they know that they are part of a team, working on common goals and outcomes, they will tend to feel better about their work and be more active in working with other team members.
4/ Use the right tools
Technology is there to support virtual teams. This includes fast Internet access, audio/video conferencing, collaboration software and shared directories.
5/ Seek opportunities to socialize
It is more difficult for virtual teams to interact with each other, so it is important for a manager to look for ways to create and maintain links.
6/ Be attentive to cultural differences
It is possible for a virtual team to think and act in the same way. However, more and more virtual teams are made up of people from different countries and cultures. If you are the manager of such a team, make sure you understand the differences in the way people work and behave.
You need to be very proactive in your communications to ensure that everyone understands what is expected. People can begin to feel isolated if they do not receive regular communications. It is hard enough to keep everyone informed about a project when everyone is in the same place (open space or offices).
It is therefore mandatory to ensure that information flows within a 100% virtual team, allowing everyone to feel included, regardless of where they work.