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Manage Virtual Employees and Teams for Better Output

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There have been many reports and studies about the feasibility and effectiveness of virtual teams when they’re managed well.  Small businesses, in particular, greatly benefit from outsourcing/offshoring some of their work processes: the cost effectiveness of outsourcing goes without saying.  For their part, many highly-skilled professionals enjoy working remotely because they have the freedom of working in their own homes or desired locations (if they’re freelance); or they get to experience working with companies overseas and learn how to further sharpen their skills (when they work in in-house, virtual talent companies like Flat Planet).

Still, there are issues that arise when working with virtual employees. Those who work as virtual talent sometimes say they often feel isolated from their offshore companies, and they don’t feel like part of a team. This is a valid issue that should be addressed because, as has been pointed out in many human resources stories, employees stay longer at jobs where they feel they belong; where they feel that they’re a member of a good team; and where they have friends from whom they can get support when things at work get a little tough.

Fortunately, there are many available work tools that can help businesses manage their virtual employees better and help build a productive and friendly relationship with them. The first rule, however, is for managers of virtual teams to rest assured that when their virtual staff do not immediately reply to their email or calls, it doesn’t immediately mean that they’re neglecting work or goofing off.  Virtual staff, after all, are also entitled to lunch breaks, need to go to the comfort room, and they also need to get occasionally to do some stretching exercises to counteract the bad effects of sitting and staying in one position for long periods.

Managers of virtual employees/teams should always keep in mind that they hired virtual staff to accomplish specific tasks within specific time frames. What’s important is to ensure that the virtual employees are given what they need so they can perform their jobs well. Of course it also helps to ensure that they’re happy at their work – and keeping virtual staff happy and productive requires regular contact and communication.

Here are some tips on how to effectively manage a virtual employees:

Communicate with them regularly via Skype or email. Providing regular and constructive feedback on their work goes a long towards helping virtual employees feel connected to the company. When giving instructions, try to put in a personal word or two about how they’re doing; this could go something like “the proposal you submitted was interesting and workable”, or “Thank you for being prompt on that las task, we appreciate it!”

With virtual employees, regular check-ins should be scheduled so that they can get feedback on their performance and so managers can inform them if they want adjustments on their work etc. This helps develop rapport and encourages the virtual staff to be more open about their tasks when reporting. This also builds confidence between both managers and the employees.

Use technology to build relationships. Working virtually is more than just sitting in front of a desktop computer or a laptop. When working with virtual teams, technology is very useful when it comes to developing team cohesion, solving issues, and pushing forward plans for improvement.  

To hold meetings and training sessions, use webinars and internet-based seminars to share developments.  Face time is always important, even if it’s virtual facetime, so video conference calls are a must. Group Skype is also a good way to share announcements, especially when it’s good news.

Always have IT back-up. When working with virtual teams, it’s important to have a reliable IT department that can swiftly assist virtual employees through any tech issues and crises.  This is a particular reason why it’s better to work with companies like Flat Planet: Flat Planet takes web security very seriously to protect the files, records, documents of its clients. All the virtual staff and their respective clients are assured that IT security is a top priority.

Flat Planet sees that small and medium-sized businesses have been left behind when it comes to tapping the global talent market. We help companies find the best virtual talent from the Philippines. We employ professional employees from the Philippines to work as virtual talent for various clients in Australia, Korea, and the United States. They have professionalism, intelligence, and high efficiency. They are also well-grounded on the work ethic and culture of the clients they serve.

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