Whether it’s due to lockdowns or managing multiple locations, being able to manage a virtual team is a necessary skill for any modern business. In 2020, a whopping 88% of organizations across the world mandated or encouraged work-from-home once the pandemic hit.
Even though you can’t personally supervise your workers as you’d usually be able to in an office or similar setting, you’ll need to find new solutions to manage them effectively.
With a combination of digital tools and administrative skill, this post will show you the best way to manage your remote teams in a simple and sustainable way!
Manage Virtual Teams with Virtual Tools
To start, we’ll cover the most effective virtual tools you can use to manage your virtual teams.
These tools will allow you to easily delegate tasks, see which of your employees are available, automate reception of incoming phone calls, and much more!
1. Video Conferencing
Likely something you’ve become more-than-familiar with in the past year due to the pandemic, video conferencing is a powerful tool for managing your team.
In addition to the basic use of holding a video meeting, extra features such as screen-sharing and remote screen control allow for elaborate presentations that wouldn’t otherwise be possible in a video call.
Breakout rooms allow you to split the meeting up into mini-calls to brainstorm ideas or complete icebreaker activities. Afterwards, you can reconvene by bringing all the breakout rooms into one big meeting again.
With such an unfortunate lack of face-to-face time for remote workers, video conferencing is a must for your business.
2. Cloud Phone
If you could only choose one tool out of these three, a cloud phone system is the clear choice. It’s jam-packed with priceless tools that will make your remote business even more efficient and successful than your physical business has ever been!
Perhaps the number one necessity for a remote worker is their office phone. How can you receive calls, leave voicemail, and talk to your clients without it?
Fortunately, having every employee bring their desk phone over from the office to their home isn’t the only option.
With cell phone integration, your employees can use their personal phone to gain all the functionality of their office phone. Their personal number is kept private. And the best part is, calls can now be received from anywhere! Even if your employee is out and about, they can receive a call and deal with a customer.
Also known as the virtual receptionist, auto-attendant is a tool to make receiving calls a smooth and simple process, even when your business is understaffed.
Auto-Attendant is a system that receives all incoming calls and directs them to their desired extension after playing a customizable greeting.
Rather than dooming your employees to the mind-numbing repetition of “Hello, welcome to (your business’s name)” over and over again, let Auto-Attendant handle it instead.
And since Auto-Attendant is a virtual system, it can handle an unlimited number of calls at once. Your clients will never get a busy message again!
In this post, we delved deep into the features of Auto-Attendant and how you can use it to its fullest potential.
Presence (see who’s available at a glance)
Now that your employees are working remotely, you can’t look out your office window to see who’s free as you normally would.
Fortunately presence is a tool that does the same thing! It shows you who’s available in real-time. It’s simple, but it’ll save you quite a few phone calls every day.
3. Online project management & collaboration tools
Second only to your cloud phone system, collaborative tools act as a hub for you and your team – to assign tasks, get involved in conversation, organize projects, and much more.
Rather than sending a ton of emails organizing your team, a collaboration tool allows you to create “groups” in which members can send messages, share files, and more with only the members of that group. Use groups for project teams or business departments.
Project management tools allow you to break tasks down into stages, which assignees will mark as complete once they finish, allowing you to see the progress of assignments in real-time. A good all-around tool for managing remote workers with ease.
Nurture team connection & collaboration
Now that we’ve covered the tools you can use, it’s time to implement strategies that will foster a sense of community among your team – even if you’re physically apart from one another.
Here at SelectCom, we use some of these strategies in our own remote work.
4. Weekly virtual management meetings
Once a week, we organize a meeting in which we give updates and decide on our goals for the week.
Re-centering the team on a regular basis ensures that everyone is working as one, towards the same goal. It’s easy to veer slightly off course, and if enough people do it, things get complicated. That’s why it’s so important to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
We talk about how the company’s doing and how we’re dealing with the current situation. Everyone takes a turn to run part of the meeting. This way, everyone gets familiar with presenting.
These meetings are not only informative, they boost team morale and grow a deeper sense of community over time.
5. Weekly staff meetings
At SelectCom, we also hold weekly staff meetings. Here, we start off by doing a few icebreakers;. To keep things fun,our manager switches out his virtual background every week to something fun or crazy (like a room on the Starship Enterprise).
6. Team-building Activities
Let’s face it: remote work is hard. It may be more flexible, allowing you to work at your desk in your cozy bedroom, or even on your living room couch, but the lack of social interaction and face-to-face time can have a heavy impact on motivation.
Team-building exercises are a solution that can make a difference to all those workers who are starting to feel the lockdown blues.
Whether it be a team game, an icebreaker questionnaire, or anything else, give your team a chance to work together and get to know one another as people in a more casual setting, and productivity will start rising again.
Managing a remote team from home
Work from home can be difficult, but with tools like a cloud phone system and collaborative software, as well as effective strategies such as management meetings and team-building activities, managing your virtual team will be a breeze.
Contact a SelectCom associate to get set up with the tools you need to manage your virtual team.