Last Updated on September 13, 2023
Most people have at least one experience with virtual teams and virtual assistants. Therefore managing virtual teams is becoming less uncommon as more businesses hire remote workers or freelancers to work on projects. But virtual teams can be more challenging than in-person teams, so you need to work harder to set yourself up for success. Here are some tips for making it work:
When managing virtual teams, establish clear expectations
Before you start your virtual assistant, consider the problem. What are you trying to accomplish? Be clear about what is expected of both parties.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important: don’t worry about other people’s goals! You need to focus on your own goals first. Your goal could be anything from losing weight and getting into shape to increasing sales or improving customer service for customers who call in with questions about products or services. Whatever your objective and the hundreds of options available, the most important thing is that it’s something tangible and achievable within 3-6 months (your time frame).
Once those expectations have been set up front by establishing clear goals for yourself and any potential virtual assistant), hire someone who fits those needs perfectly!
Choose the right virtual platform for your team
When choosing a virtual platform for your team, it’s essential to remember what each one offers. A good fit will be a platform that is easy to use and allows you to communicate effectively with your virtual assistants. It should also be flexible and scalable so that you can grow or shrink as needed without having to change platforms. Lastly, the best venues are secure and reliable – they won’t let anything fall through the cracks!
Set deadlines and goals that are realistic and attainable
Before you can set a deadline, you need to have a goal. Without a goal, there’s no point in having a deadline. The best way to ensure that your goals are attainable is by making them realistic and achievable.
Don’t set unrealistic deadlines
If you don’t think something can be done in the time frame you’ve given yourself (or someone else), it probably won’t happen. That’s why setting unrealistic deadlines will only result in more stress for everyone involved – and possibly even some resentment! Instead of creating unnecessary drama, try putting more reasonable expectations so everyone can relax and enjoy themselves while working toward common goals.
Don’t set too many goals at once
While it may seem like it would be easier on everyone if we just gave everything our full attention all at once rather than spreading ourselves too thin over many different projects at once – this isn’t always true! Research shows that multitasking makes us less productive because our brains cannot focus correctly when switching between tasks quickly.
Don’t make vague or overly specific requests
You want your employees, contractors, or assistants, who are being paid by someone else (aka YOU) to do what exactly?
Have virtual team members connect, too
While it’s important to have face time with your team members, you may not be able to meet with them as often as you would like. In these cases, it’s helpful for virtual teams to connect over video calls and Slack chats. This way, they can still feel connected while working remotely and ask questions if they need help from another team member.
If you don’t have time to meet in person but want your team members’ input on an important project or decision, consider asking them how they would approach things if given a chance. If no one has any suggestions after getting feedback from everyone else on the team (or if there are too many conflicting ideas), then consider taking on more responsibility yourself until things settle down again!
Build in extra time to handle unexpected issues
As you build your virtual team and manage virtual teams, and begin to work with your virtual assistant, you must be prepared for the unexpected. This can be anything from a sudden change in schedule or an urgent request from a client, but it’s best to have some extra time built into your program just in case something comes up.
The good news is that there are many ways that you can handle these types of situations:
- If your virtual assistant needs help with something beyond his or her scope of expertise or capability (for example, if he or she doesn’t know how to use Excel), ask them for advice on how best to proceed. This way, everyone wins because both parties end up learning something new!
- If there is no other option than for one person’s workload, such as yours – to increase temporarily due to an unforeseen circumstance (such as being sick), then do whatever it takes, so everyone stays happy and productive throughout this period until everything returns down again when things return “normal.”
Encourage face-to-face communication when managing virtual teams
Encourage face-to-face (or at least voice-to-voice) communication, even if it’s just occasionally.
When working with virtual teams, it can be easy to forget how important face-to-face communication is. It’s not just because people need to see each other; many benefits come from being able to use your voice.
For example, when someone asks you a question over email or text message, and you don’t know the answer immediately, you might feel pressured into responding quickly before giving yourself time to think about what the best response would be – a behavior known as “rapid fire” answering: thinking up an answer soon without giving much thought as to whether or not this response is helpful or accurate.
Invest in face time when possible
Face time is essential for team building and fostering trust. You can’t build relationships with your virtual assistant over email or chat, so if you want to make the most of your virtual assistant’s time and skills, then face time is essential.
If you don’t have access to a video conferencing solution at work, consider setting up a meeting via Skype or Zoom with them outside of business hours so that everyone has time to prepare for it appropriately.
Give people a chance to ask questions in person
When someone asks questions via email or text message (especially if those questions are lengthy), give them time before responding so that everyone has an opportunity for dialogue rather than simply providing answers back and forth across multiple mediums simultaneously without any accurate exchange taking place between parties involved.
Give people time away from screens so they can connect on deeper levels with one another through conversation.
This will help build stronger relationships among team members who otherwise might not know each other well enough.
Leverage time zones to your advantage
Time zones can be a challenge, but they can also be an advantage. If you’re in a different time zone than your team, it’s essential to communicate with them when they are most productive and ensure they have enough downtime so they don’t burn out.
If you are in the same time zone as your team, you can use this to your advantage by scheduling meetings or calls during peak hours for everyone involved.
Promote transparency and accountability and make them non-negotiable
Regarding virtual teams, it’s essential to promote transparency and accountability. These two concepts are often confused, but they are very different.
Transparency refers to how much information you share with others in the team; accountability refers to how well you follow through on your commitments.
For a virtual team to be successful, all members must agree on what constitutes transparency and accountability so that everyone knows what is expected of them at any given time. Clarity will vary depending on the nature of your business (for example: if you’re selling products directly from home versus working in an office setting). Still, there should always be some level of openness in communication between teammates regardless of where they work geographically or whether they’re full-time employees or contractors, freelancers, or vendors who come into contact with only one person within an organization at any given time rather than multiple people across different departments such as sales vs. marketing vs. customer service etcetera.
With a bit of work upfront, you can set your virtual team up for success
Virtual teams are the future of work. According to a study by McKinsey, the number of virtual workers will grow from 8% to 25% by 2025, and that’s just in the United States alone.
But some challenges come with working virtually – and they don’t end there! You have to find a way to make sure that your team members feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, or else they won’t be motivated enough to do their best work.
The bottom line about managing virtual teams and virtual assistants
When managing a virtual team, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and forget what’s important: keeping your team members motivated and productive.
But if you follow these best practices, you can ensure that your virtual assistants are working hard on behalf of your company and making sure that everyone feels like part of a cohesive unit – even when they’re not physically together.