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Five Tips to Effectively Manage Your Virtual Team

Offshoring specific functions of your company has clear benefits, but it’s easy to get stuck between conflicting time zones, and language and cultural barriers. These challenges should force you to ask questions about your capabilities in delegating work, or if you’re causing more confusion than clarifications as the leader of your team. The following are suggestions for managing your virtual team as intelligently and efficiently as possible.

Email is Secondary

Communicating solely by email is a bygone activity, and as email inboxes are usually swamped with dozens of messages per day, it’s can be difficult for your message to gain traction. With apps like Skype, Google Hangout, Asana, Spiceworks, and Basecamp, it’s much easier to delegate work to and communicate with your team without the hassle and formality of an email. You have to realize that the effectivity of an email depends upon the receiver’s ability to comprehend and take action. Compared to engaging in Skype calls or voice calls, email messaging is a passive way of communicating as there is always a delay in responses. Flat Planet believes in taking an active role in communicating with stakeholders. Employees in contact with clients are encouraged to actively engage in verbal conversations with clients, and using email as a tool to summarize what has been discussed on the phone. It has been a tried and tested method that has helped us avoid misunderstandings, and build strong, transparent relationships between staff and stakeholders.

Same Culture Across Sites

Creating and maintaining the same office culture between all your offices is key in sustaining professionalism among all staff. It helps dictate the way they should behave in the office, how they should communicate with people, and how they approach their work. It is important that your onshore and offshore teams think and feel that they are just one team, and that there is a principle of equality evident in all aspects of the work, whether it be on the workload or benefits. Having disparate work cultures breeds an unbalanced workplace that focuses more on inter-office inequalities rather than productivity.

Clarify Work Instructions and Processes

Especially for companies with growing demands, it is essential that work instructions are given and understood very clearly by all to standardize the output being produced. To create top-notch work, try emulating big corporations by documenting all processes. If there is a need to create Gantt charts for all tasks that can be shared among your team, it would help them have a macro and micro view of the project and their tasks, and deliver in a timely manner.

Meet Regularly

Getting to know each member of your onshore team takes time, and it is more difficult to establish rapport when there are geographical barriers. One way of effectively connecting your onshore and offshore teams is by implementing a weekly catch-up meeting where everyone is encouraged to speak, and forge a good professional relationship among staff and leaders. It would be ideal to have video chats so everyone can put faces to the names they work with so they can have more meaningful workplace connections. These meetings would also allow everyone to be on the same page in terms of productivity and culture knowing that there is a supportive environment in the workplace.

Implement Performance and Peer Reviews

Performance reviews are critical in every team’s productivity because it gauges how well each member understands responsibilities, daily operations, strategies, and helps determine the need for further learning and career development. These reviews also provide a general direction on how each one should perform to achieve the team’s collective goals, and ensure that everyone is doing the best they can to contribute to the team’s success.

Following these suggestions, and tailoring the management of your offshore team based on their needs only leads to increased ROI. Apart from recruiting only high-value talent, and having middle management on the floor with your staff, we at Flat Planet do everything to help maintain strong engagement between employees and clients. Distance and different barriers can be quite a challenge, but Flat Planet’s guiding principle in bridging gaps together has become an expertise that clients value as a major contributing factor to their company’s growth.

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