How To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged?
Virtual teams are a reality of the modern workplace. While virtual teamwork has its advantages, it also poses unique challenges. One difficulty is keeping all team members engaged and productive at once.
This article will explore 101 ways to keep your remote team involved in the collaboration process, even if they aren’t physically present in the same room with you.
#1. Maintain Leverage
Find ways to give virtual team meetings more weight. For example, if two people are in the same virtual session but each is working on separate projects, ask them to report back later in the day on their respective projects and any action items generated from this meeting. Then compare notes. The advantage of a virtual meeting lies in having many people assembled to discuss the same issue or topic. However, this leverage can be diminished when everyone works on different tasks after the meeting concludes.
#2. Don’t Over-Do It
Cap off your virtual meetings with some call wrap-up activities such as lunch and learn articles or videos related to a topic you discussed during your session (e.g., quick how-to’s) so that people can quickly review the topic. This will help people retain what they talked about during your meeting and give them a quick follow-up to apply to their work.
#3. Give It A Time Limit
Virtual meetings can last forever, so give it a time limit (e.g., 15 minutes for a kickoff or 30 minutes for a planning session) before starting and make sure that everyone respects the boundary when approaching the end of the call. Remember, long-term relationships are built on short virtual interactions throughout the day.
#4. Get Them Involved
A great way to get remote workers engaged in an otherwise monotonous conference call is by having each person introduce themselves with a webcam at the start of every call or meeting and ask for input. This is a great way to get remote workers involved, and you can use an online video tool such as Skype or Zoom to make it happen.
#5. Use Video Tools
Use Telepresence or Google Hangout tools to create the feeling of being together even when apart. It’s easy and fun, adds a little friendly competition, and provides opportunities for transparency in your virtual team’s efforts. Again, you’ll find plenty of how-to’s on YouTube for making this work for yourself.
#6. A Little Competition Never Hurt
Start virtual meetings by asking if anyone has completed their “homework” before the call (e.g., notes from earlier review or draft project status report). Make sure that everyone understands this is what is expected to be prepared for the meeting. Use this as a little bit of friendly competition by awarding prizes or recognition after each call for individual or team accomplishments.
#7. How To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged: Give And Take
When it comes to virtual meetings, it’s important to give before you ask for help from your team members more than any other kind of meeting. The reason is people tend to feel resentful if they haven’t received anything from you yet but have given up some valuable time in exchange. So do what you can to show that you value their help, even if it is something simple like sending them a link ahead of time, so they don’t have to join a conference call just because someone asks them questions about a topic they know about.
#8. Hold Virtual Meetings Only When Necessary
Virtual meetings are an excellent way to get different stakeholders together for discussion purposes. Still, they should not be held just because everyone can’t make it into the same office simultaneously. Just like planning around a time zone is essential when scheduling specific work items, so too is considering your team’s schedule when deciding on a virtual or in-person meeting time.
#9. Technology Breaks Can Be Good
Technology breaks can be taken advantage of during virtual meetings to show you care about your participants and their needs and give them a chance to stretch or use the restroom without feeling self-conscious about it during a crucial virtual meeting. It also allows remote workers to jump in if they need to or take a quick bathroom break with the confidence that no one noticed.
#10. Don’t Forget to Plan
Planning virtual meetings is much more critical than traditional face-to-face meetings. Many technology factors (e.g., network, audio, bandwidth) can be limiting during these types of sessions. There is also an additional feeling of a formality given the lack of casual communication factors present in an in-person meeting.
Plan your virtual meetings carefully in advance and make sure everyone knows what to expect from you during calls, so you don’t have any surprises after your next virtual session. Also, be clear about participants’ level of involvement and ask for their help ahead of time, so people have time to collaborate and become prepared.
#11. How To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged: Work Out Loud
There is a tendency to rely on your computer, projector, or whiteboard as the focal point of discussion during virtual meetings. You mustn’t lose sight of people in these types of arrangements, and make sure you include everyone in critical talks even if they aren’t “yelling out” their answers as they would be in an in-person meeting.
#12. Technology Tools Matter
The tools at your disposal for communicating with remote workers will impact every virtual team’s success. Only once you’ve tried several different options can you understand how important it is to have a high-quality video tool for effective communication. Ensure all technology tools are tested ahead of time before using them for critical projects and have an alternate communication method (such as a phone bridge) in place just in case something goes wrong.
#13. Communicate Progress and Have Fun
It’s essential to keep everyone updated on the progress you are making during your meeting, especially if there is a lot of activity occurring around remote workers’ offices so they can focus on the things that need their direct attention instead of focusing on tasks that other team members have already completed. It also helps to add some fun back into the virtual meeting as it can be easy to get caught up in the daily routine and lose touch with coworkers who might be sitting right beside each other but not interacting or communicating at all due to their practice (e.g., different shifts).
#14. Know Your Team Members
Each team member will have specific needs you must consider when planning virtual meetings. For example, some people like to hear and see the speaker, some are more visual learners who need a lot of pictures or graphics for effective learning, and others only want key highlights presented to them in written form.
Some of these preferences can be accommodated by setting up your meeting tools (e.g., the camera on presenter instead of the video screen) while others may require that you do an additional summary email after the presentation with links to the resources shared during your presentation session.
#15. Keep It Short
There is a shorter attention span among remote workers compared to those coworkers sitting right next door due to many factors such as time differences, different environmental conditions, and even general fatigue from having to spend more time in front of a computer. This means that it is critical to keep your presentations short (even if you have tons of content), use high-quality visuals and limit breaks so people can stay focused on the overall message.
#16. Know When to Finish
You will quickly discover when planning virtual meetings that they will never be as productive as in-person sessions, especially since most telecommuters want their full pay for the day even if they sit at home all day with no work getting done. In some cases, you may find that video conferencing isn’t working for specific individuals or groups. It might make sense to send an audio conference call instead of a video one and provide prepared notes or a summary email after the meeting.
#17. How To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged: Get Social
Although this isn’t strictly about virtual meetings, it’s critical to take advantage of social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook during your virtual meetings to help them run more efficiently and cohesively. For example, let people know ahead of time that you will be live-tweeting your presentation so they can follow along using #hashtags related to the topic being discussed (and even tweet back their comments). You can also use Skype’s Public Chat function during video conferences so remote workers without access to audio can still participate in the conversation or ask questions without disrupting others who are listening on their computer speakers.
#18. Be Prepared
No More Late-night Virtual Meetings – It used to be common practice to schedule virtual meetings in the late evening because you never know what time zone your team members are using. Now that tools like Skype and Google Hangouts allow users to change their video feed. Hence, they look like they are sitting at their desk; people in different time zones can have a live video chat together during business hours instead of waiting until the end of the day or overnight.
#19. Use Instant Messaging
A lot of this advice about virtual meetings also applies to instant messaging (IM), which can be just as effective for some remote workers if you use it along with other communication methods such as conference calls and share documents. Choose a few of your most influential or co-located team members who can act as virtual assistants to help you manage your IM, making sure messages get routed around the right people and that all employees are notified of urgent matters.
#20. Don’t Forget About Google Hangouts
One perk of using Google Hangouts is that virtual meetings can be scheduled during hours other than business hours since anyone with an account can host or join a session at any time while others online will receive an invitation by email, so you’d never have to worry about when or where your next meeting is going to take place.
#21. Make Sure You Have A Plan
Whether you are working from home, traveling abroad, or attending an industry conference, you must prepare for virtual meetings ahead of time to avoid any time zone issues and ensure everyone can participate regardless of their location or access to technology. Even if you use tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts that allow people on different continents to attend a session together, be sure to get the details worked out before the meeting happens so people don’t start asking questions about the logistics during the call itself (which can distract everyone).
#22. Use Feedback-Loop Tools
As you learn more about virtual meetings (and other forms of communication), it’s essential to make a point of sharing that knowledge with others. For example, if someone on your team has tried out Zoom and had a positive experience using the tool to connect with colleagues at different locations or times, be sure to share that information with other employees and encourage them to try it as well.
#23. Don’t Undermine Your Efforts
Although there are many benefits to virtual meetings, they can also lead to new problems such as missed cues and general frustration among different teams who aren’t accustomed to working together remotely. To help prevent these issues from happening, be sure not to criticize past meeting efforts before everyone else, so it appears as though these are new issues and not a problem you’ve already addressed.
#24. Use “Video Chill Pills”
Just like video chats allow remote users to make eye contact with one another, webcams can help add human interaction to audio calls for those times when people need to be more aware of their body language. For example, if you need to conduct a formal meeting with someone who is hundreds of miles away, make sure to turn on the camera, so people are more conscious about how they sit, stand, and react during the conversation (as opposed to just listening).
#25. Keep Everyone Informed
While remote workers need to stay informed about work-related news, organizations can also benefit from using various digital tools or social media accounts as methods for sending out announcements or communicating short messages without having people sign into the company’s intranet site each day. Not only is this a fast way of sharing information throughout an organization, but it also allows organizations to get in touch with employees even when they aren’t at their desks with.
#26. Create a Staff Directory
Whether your organization uses Google Business Photos, LinkedIn, or some other service to share employee contact information, you can use this resource as a quick way of sending out messages to different employees scattered across your network without getting anyone’s email address involved. As a bonus tip, be sure that everyone is listed in one central location and includes photos so people can recognize each other when using video chat (especially for organizations that work with clients regularly).
#27. Go Face-To-Face Once In A While
The best way to keep employees engaged when they are thousands of miles away from their office is by mixing things up once in a while. Hence, they can connect with colleagues at the office face-to-face (which can be especially helpful for remote employees who work from home every day). If your organization can bring everyone together in person just a few times each year, the meetings themselves can become an event that people look forward to.
#28. How To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged: Stay Assertive
Whether you’re running a conference call or video conference, it’s important to avoid allowing others to take over and dominate the conversation so they get a big head start on their schedule. When meeting with virtual cohorts, repeat back sections of what other people say out loud, so everyone has a chance to chime in and contribute ideas instead of relying solely on one individual member of the group.
#29. Use Social Media More Effectively
Even though social media accounts can be a great way to communicate with coworkers who are geographically distant (mainly when you use social media scheduling tools like HootSuite or Buffer so your messages can go out at the most optimal time), there are still some ways to improve on this strategy. For example, to make sure that people aren’t just skimming your updates, take breaks between posting new content and intersperse other material alongside these posts as well so people don’t get burned-out from reading the same thing all day long.
#30. Be Specific
Since remote teams typically rely heavily upon email for communication, it’s important to write emails that accurately convey what those in different departments want to hear instead of dumping everything onto one person (so they have to parse through a bunch of information to find what they’re looking for). Also, when communicating a single piece of information, try to keep your statement as short as possible so all can easily understand it.
#31. Invest In A Team Location App
An app like ToDoist or Asana is more effective than email for organizing team projects because everyone’s tasks are constantly visible on one screen (which makes it easier for people to see when their colleagues need something done without having to search through emails). It’s also helpful to use location-based apps like Foursquare if you’re planning on visiting an office in person, so everyone knows exactly who will be where between specific dates (this way, people don’t have unwanted interruptions during work hours because someone forgot about an upcoming meeting).
#32. Avoid Distractions
While virtual meetings can be effective for getting feedback from colleagues who are scattered across different locations, it’s essential to have a dedicated time slot for this activity because a lot of distractions can get in the way (mainly when working with people who are located overseas). For example, if you’re trying to conduct important meetings during work hours, make sure that individuals don’t check their email or browse the internet while they’re on video chat (no matter how tempting it is) because these activities will take away from the effectiveness of your message.
#33. Use A Virtual Meeting Room
Since there’s nothing worse than listening to echoing sounds from an audio feed whenever someone participates in a video conference, making use of a virtual conference room is much more effective. Virtual meeting space can be used to conduct meetings with up to 100 people at once. While some of these spaces are specifically dedicated to providing audio support during the videoconference, you can get a video-enabled version without any extra download fees (so you don’t have to waste money on installing multiple programs just because you want one that provides video options).
#34. Take Advantage Of New Technology
As long as new technology continues to emerge in telecommunications, virtual teams should take advantage of this innovation. Hence, members no longer need to feel like they’re working from a remote location. Instead, using cutting-edge tools such as Voice over Internet Protocol (which allows people across different countries or time zones to have a one-to-one conversation), employees can work from virtually anywhere in the world and still feel like they’re part of the team.
#35. Avoid Members Who Are Always Late
There’s nothing worse than an employee who doesn’t value other peoples’ time, so you should give as much warning as possible when conducting virtual meetings with people who are notorious for showing up late (so others can reschedule their appointments if necessary). If someone is always tardy for meetings, start bugging them about their punctuality at the beginning of each day (and remind them that it costs everyone else time and money when they’re not paying attention during conference calls).
#36. Make Use Of Audio Messages
Phone calls are more effective than text messages because the message usually comes across in a conversational tone (which can be lost in written form). While phone calls are still required for many business purposes, try to use audio messaging as much as possible so employees who work remotely don’t have to travel back to the office to receive an important message.
#37. Hold More In-Person Meetings
While virtual meetings can be highly effective if used appropriately (particularly when choosing members who are fully committed to being present for the entire duration of the session), there’s still no substitute for having an in-person discussion with employees personally. This may be less efficient from time and distance, but allowing team members to meet face-to-face will enable them to build stronger relationships and bonds as a group. It also allows other people within your organization (who happen to work at the exact location) to attend the meeting in person to learn about what’s happening regularly if they don’t have time (or internet connection) for video conferencing.
#38. Provide Quality Equipment
You may not be able to make everyone sit around a big conference table in your office building when you need full participation from your virtual team, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook your equipment needs. The right camera and sound system will allow participants to remain engaged during essential discussions, regardless of whether it’s taking place in a virtual office or a remote location such as a home computer or mobile device.
#39. Make It Easier To Stay Connected
Just because employees work remotely doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated as part of the team. You’ll lose many of them if they don’t feel like they’re contributing to your organization regularly (which doesn’t mean they necessarily have to work at their home computer or laptop). To help ensure all employees are staying connected, provide information about upcoming calls and meetings to review this material prior to each meeting quickly.
#40. Automate Your Video conference Setup
Using a virtual conferencing service can save you more time than if you were to set up every call manually. Still, the software may not always remember the best settings for audio quality when conducting video conferences with others. Auto-adjusting audio levels will allow each call to sound crystal clear with no background interference, and automated video conferences can be set up in advance, so you don’t have to worry about arranging these meetings on your own.
#41. Provide A Remote Access Workstation
There’s nothing worse than trying to work at the office (or somewhere else with a fast connection) if there’s frequent downtime or other factors that interfere with productivity. You may not want employees who work outside of the office to access all of your resources, but you should make it easier for them to connect to their programs and check email from home by providing a remote access computer.
#42. Encourage Remote Working Opportunities
If many people within your organization are already working remotely, then promote this as an opportunity instead of something people should be ashamed of or have to hide. By making it clear that your organization is working towards a culture in which people are accepted no matter where they happen to work, more employees will feel comfortable looking into this option on their own (mainly if you’ve already set up resources such as remote access computers so this can take place).
#43. Decrease Technophobia
If many employees aren’t entirely comfortable with the idea of virtual meetings, then take some time to show them how easy these videoconferences can be once you have everything properly installed and configured. Even if they don’t need to start conducting business from home or another remote location, it’s still essential for all members of your team to know how to join meetings and make the most out of this opportunity if needed.
#44. Promote A Culture Of Collaboration
To encourage your employees to work together more frequently, then you need to make sure they’re aware of what’s in it for them. One way you can do this is by promoting collaboration during calls and meetings, so people see that they have a chance to share their ideas with others regularly without having to worry about blocking productivity or taking too much time from the rest of the meeting.
#45. Take Full Advantage Of The Software
Even though your videoconferences may take place over an instant messaging platform (such as Google Hangouts), these services are powerful tools that can help you save time when working with remote teams who aren’t sharing a physical location. Please do what you can to make the most out of every platform by including team members in your calls, contacting them through IM during the day, and promoting collaboration among all employees who work remotely.
#46. Avoid Video Conferences From Your Computer
Although videoconferences are easy to set up if you’re using a virtual meeting service, this isn’t always an option if you’re trying to accomplish something on the flyover in an instant messaging software or share notes from a presentation. In this case, avoid conducting video conferences at your desk – choose somewhere that’s free of distractions, so people don’t feel like they have to be looking behind them while talking with others.
#47. Encourage Team Collaboration
There’s no point in having a remote team if everyone is forced to work alone and in isolation. To keep people motivated, you should encourage your employees to interact with each other more often during the day by sharing ideas, asking questions, and joining calls with others on their own. Showing them that they have support from the group can be very motivating because this will make it easier for them to get over any issues (such as feeling isolated) which might otherwise hold them back.
#48. How To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged: Grab A Whiteboard
For certain types of projects, there’s nothing better than a whiteboard – whether that means walking around your office or shooting video from your home office while moving across the room. If someone has an idea for something that needs to be added or changed, they can easily do this by drawing it on the board and presenting it to the rest of the team (while also ensuring that everyone is aware of what’s happening).
#49. Grab A Stylus And Flip Paper Over
In addition to a whiteboard, adding some ream paper to the mix is another great way for remote employees to share their ideas with others. For example, if you want your team members to come up with some new solutions or write down some notes, providing them with a few sheets of paper will give them an easy outlet for doing so.
#50. Keep It Short And Sweet
When you’re working from home, there’s always a chance that your phone will ring at any given moment – which means you need to be prepared for anything. So instead of letting meetings or conference calls last too long, try to keep these as short and sweet as you can.
#51. Remember That Everyone Feels Awkward
The first time you conduct a meeting with your remote team, there’s always a chance that they will feel just as awkward as you do (if not more). So don’t worry about this –keep the focus on getting work done while maintaining everyday things. Hence, everyone feels comfortable enough to speak up when they need to without feeling embarrassed or discouraged from conducting business in the future.
#52. Have An Agenda And Stick To It
Even if people can get some work done over video conferencing software, many won’t pay attention to their tasks unless someone gives them a specific set of instructions to follow. So please don’t waste your time by trying to go over everything at once, and instead provide a meeting agenda and specific instructions about what needs to be done for the group to accomplish its goals.
#53. Keep Meetings Brief And Informal
If you need an informal discussion with an employee who works remotely, consider scheduling this during one of your regular meetings rather than calling them up individually because this will lead to less awkwardness overall. It’s also an excellent way for everyone else in the office to become more comfortable working as part of a remote team, especially if they’re used to sharing similar meetings only until now.
#54. Remote Leadership Requires Transparency
As a leader, you should never “hide” from your remote team – even if this means giving them the chance to ask questions or get clarification about important issues as they happen. If you want them to feel involved and motivated, make sure that everyone understands precisely what’s going on at all times not to feel shut out or left behind.
#55. Use The Tools You’re Familiar With
If you’ve been working with your current software for a long time now, there’s no reason to switch it up just because some remote employees need access to it. Instead of tricking people into using something they’re unfamiliar with, consider adding additional functionality (including an API) that will allow others to continue working without wasting their time.
#56. Host Virtual Meetings
When you need to schedule a meeting with remote employees or partners, try not to set these appointments for the same time as in-office gatherings. By doing so, you’ll avoid conflicting with others while also making it easier for everyone to focus on what needs to be done – instead of wondering if they’re missing out on something else that’s going on in the office right now.
#57. Treat Remote Meetings Like Office Ones
In addition to setting up different times for your virtual meetings, consider conducting them using video chat instead of simply using audio conferencing software. This will give those who can see other participants feel more involved and confident about speaking up – without making them feel as if they’re missing out on the conversation.
#58. Conduct Check-Ins Quickly
Give your remote employees a chance to check in with you at the start of every single day while also answering all their questions so these individuals can get back to work quickly without wasting time. After this, consider giving everyone open communication channels to reach you when needed instead of taking extra steps (such as video calling) that will waste time and effort overall.
#59. Prepare Yourself With Extras
Whether you need some sort of recording device or an extension cord for your headset to conduct a virtual meeting, make sure that you already have extras on hand before scheduling one with anyone else. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to be prepared for any type of situation because otherwise, you’ll only make things harder on yourself.
#60. Ask The Tough Questions
If someone can’t seem to get their work done even after agreeing to participate in a virtual meeting with you, ask them some tough questions about what they’ve been working on. This way, you’ll learn more about the types of problems they’re dealing with and how often people like this would need to check in rather than just relying on assumptions (which could lead nowhere).
#61. Record Your Meetings
Despite your best efforts at keeping meetings as short and straightforward as possible, there’s always a chance that something may go wrong due to technical difficulties or an employee who is unable to handle pressure well enough to get things done. When this happens, you should always have a recording of the meeting to review what went wrong and fix it for next time best.
#62. Encourage Questions
Make sure that your remote team has a chance to ask questions at the end of every virtual meeting instead of making them afraid or reluctant about speaking up. Instead, do everything possible to show them how much you value their input by providing an opportunity for everyone to share ideas – even if these happen right before you cut off.
#63. Celebrate Successes
Offer virtual high fives to each team member when they do something well, regardless of whether it’s a small thing or a big one. This way, you’ll encourage more people to participate instead of seeing them as extra work since their contributions are always appreciated.
#64. Give Everyone A Chance
There’s nothing worse than feeling as if no one even knows that you exist when you’re working in the background. So try not to bring up specific individuals during meetings or phone calls with managers unless you need to to get things done, and don’t forget about them when it comes time for promotions, bonuses, or other rewards.
#65. Monitor Remote Workplaces
Even though some people like telecommuting due to the freedom and flexibility it offers, you still have to make sure that your remote employees are actually working and not just wasting time watching television. To avoid this from happening, consider using software such as Toggl to track how much time everyone is spending online.
#66. Don’t Give Up
Even the most experienced managers who understand how telecommuting works can find themselves having trouble with virtual meetings on occasion, so it’s important to keep trying different things until you finally uncover what clicks best – even if that means spending a lot of money on new equipment.
#67. How To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged: Take Time Off
After working in a remote job for over eight months, try to take at least one whole week off from everything to enjoy some time away and recharge your battery. You’ll get more done if you’re not overwhelmed with stress 24/7 – especially if you have many virtual meetings that are constantly happening.
#68. Start A Blog
Being the boss can be hard enough, but then when you’re trying to operate as a telecommuter, on top of that, it can be even worse because there’s no one else around to handle issues when they occur. So if this is something that concerns you, start a blog where employees can contact you with questions or concerns instead of trying to solve problems on their own.
#69. Have Regular Conference Calls
If you have more than a few telecommuting staff members, regular schedule conference calls to allow everyone to speak up without feeling like they’re being ignored. Everyone will feel more valued if they know that there’s always something going on that includes them.
#70. Interrupt Less
Realize that just because you can contact your team anytime and day doesn’t mean that you should do this for everything. Instead, start using the Pomodoro method whenever possible so that you won’t interrupt anyone when these individuals are working and cannot get things done due to distractions.
#71. Send Regular Updates
Let your employees know that you care about them and their work by sending regular updates, even if no problems are going on. These can be short messages or inspirational quotes, but the point is to make sure that everyone feels like they’re still a part of things even when they aren’t in the office.
#72. Don’t Forget Birthdays And Anniversaries
Even though it’s not always easy to take time out of your busy schedule for celebrations, don’t forget about birthdays and anniversaries since these individuals are worth celebrating! Sending flowers, gifts, and cards is one idea, but another option could be offering a day off from work instead so that people will have time to spend with their friends and family.
#73. Don’t Be Afraid To Move Forward
Do you feel like you’re not having enough interaction with your team, or is there something else that’s making you anxious? Instead of trying to stay where things are at, it might be a good idea to consider looking into other telecommuting positions instead – even if this means leaving your current job.
#74. How To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged: Show Appreciation
Do the people in your company know how much you appreciate their hard work and efforts when they’re working remotely? If not, start showing them some appreciation today by sending out cards or giving rewards whenever possible so that they know how valuable they are! You’d be surprised how many employees don’t get enough outside encouragement.
#75. Offer Frequent Feedback
Depending on your company structure, there will probably be many different avenues for you to give feedback to telecommuters. This is a good thing as long as you’re constantly communicating to make sure that everyone is winning in the end.
#76. Find Other Ways To Interact
Instead of just relying on virtual meetings or conference calls, find other ways for people to interact with one another by introducing weekly social hours or planning team retreats every once in a while (although this may be difficult depending on where everyone lives). Whatever you do, make sure that team members understand that they aren’t being isolated.
#77. Make Team Members Comfortable
If new hires are joining your company and working remotely, make sure that you’re providing everything that’s needed to ensure their success in this environment. This includes having a location where they can work without distractions and an office space where they don’t feel alone.
#78. Stay Positive
Although telecommuting is a positive thing for many companies that can’t hire talent locally, many issues may arise because employees aren’t together all of the time. Ensure that you’re staying optimistic about the situation by focusing on what’s essential – more excellent perks, more flexibility, etc. – and giving team members tools to succeed (such as access to books, training, etc.).
#79. Communicate As Much As Possible
Don’t just rely on email to communicate with your employees when they’re telecommuting, as this can be a hassle for both parties involved. Instead, try using one of the many online tools that allow you to video chat with others during meetings so that you’ll be able to see each other and even talk face-to-face.
#80. Be Prepared For Emergencies
Although emergencies don’t happen often, they can occur virtually at any given time. As a business owner or manager, you’ll want to make sure that your team members know how they’re supposed to react if something unexpected occurs. This includes making sure that the office space is safe and secure when working from home and having backup equipment in case of emergencies so that everything will run smoothly.
#81. Connect People With Experts
Sometimes, people just need someone who has already gone through what’s going on with them at the moment to help them get through it successfully. So instead of trying to solve their problems all by yourself, try connecting one-on-one with experts who can make video calls or even travel to their location for meetings – whatever it takes!
#82. Encourage Team Building Events
As much as virtual teams can work, you’ll want to encourage team-building events such as BBQs, company retreats, and more so that your employees will feel a sense of togetherness when they’re working remotely. This will also help them to blow off steam in an effortless manner.
#83. Make Sure That The Product Is Outstanding
You’ll never be able to keep a telecommuting team happy if the product isn’t outstanding or if the people making it aren’t having fun doing what they do. So instead of worrying about the number of hours your employees spend working at home, focus on how the work is being done and whether or not it’s up to your standards.
#84. Take Advantage Of Benefits
While working from home has its perks, some benefits go along with having a physical office space. For example, you’ll be able to take advantage of things like free coffee, company parties, more fun activities, etc. Ensure that any new employees joining your virtual team know about these benefits so that they won’t feel left out (and because they may have never heard of them before!).
#85. Think About The Future
Although you want to make sure that your telecommuters are supported in the present moment, you’ll also want to think about the future when designing everything for this kind of business. For example, you’ll want to ensure that your employees have backups of everything, they’re on the latest and greatest technology (which means staying up-to-date with upgrades), and you can quickly get in touch with them even if their location changes.
#86. Understand The Value Of Team Members
When working online, it’s easy to think about employees as numbers rather than people – how much money they bring per month, what tasks they need to accomplish each week, etc. Instead of doing this, take some time out of your day to understand the value that each person brings. This way, you’ll be able to make sure that everyone is treated equally and fairly.
#87. Make Sure Your Team Members Are Happy
Although virtual employees may appreciate the fact that they can work from home and get things done in their pajamas, other factors contribute to their happiness. For example, you’ll want to make sure that they’re getting vacation time or some compensation or recognition for a job well done.
#88. Avoid Holidays During Peak Sales
While it can be tempting to think about new ways of growing your business during peak sales times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this is the worst time when working with a team of remote workers. These events happen around holidays such as Thanksgiving, which means that your team members will most likely have plans already set in place – either for the time after they’re done working, for Christmas or whatever. So instead of asking your employees to work extra hours these days, just focus on trying to market yourself and get as much traffic through your doors before everything slows down after Cyber Monday.
#89. Get In Touch With The Team
If you don’t have enough time during the day to check in with each of your team members, make sure that you get in touch with them at least once a week – even if it’s to talk about how things are going from a “business standpoint.” This will help your team members know that you care about how they’re doing personally and make them feel more connected to the business.
#90. Avoid Making Changes During Peak Times
Changing how you do things is an integral part of growing your business. However, you’ll want to make sure that any changes you’re making don’t affect how much (or little) time your team members are spending working – especially during peak times. For example, if one of your employees spends 10 hours a day on his computer Monday through Friday and 5 hours from home on Saturday and Sunday, it’s not going to be good for him when he has to spend 8 hours at work instead.
#91. Have A Weekly / Monthly Check-In
If possible, try to check in with each employee every week or even once a month to discuss how they feel things are going from their perspective. This will help them know that you’re there for them, and it also gives you a chance to make sure that they’re happy.
#92. Focus On The Team
Ensure that the team is always top of mind when making decisions about your business. After all, what good does it do if you have a bunch of remote employees, but you can’t find any customers? So instead of thinking about what’s best for just yourself or even the company as a whole, think about what’s going to be best for each member of your team!
#93. Clear Up Miscommunications Quickly
When working with virtual workers, miscommunication can happen very quickly. For example, if two employees are talking in Slack and one says “yes” while the other says “no,” this can lead to arguments that you’ll want to avoid at all costs. Whenever something like this happens, make sure that you clear it up as quickly as possible so that nothing else develops.
#94. Be Consistent
Although every member of your team will have a different personality and work style, consistency is important if they’re not going to feel overwhelmed by how things are done on your end. For example, although some people might prefer using Skype for their calls while others might prefer Zoom, be consistent in how you do things – otherwise, communication won’t flow smoothly from one member of your team to the next.
#95. Reward Good Work
If someone is doing an excellent job for you, it doesn’t mean that you have to toss a bunch of money their way. If you’re talking about a team member who works virtually for you from their home country, throwing more money at them probably will not be the best solution. Instead of giving out bonuses or raises every time someone does something well, try to focus on small rewards like gift cards. This will make your workers happy and encourage them to keep doing such good work!
#96. Get Involved
If you hire independent contractors, don’t just throw them into the mix and hope for the best – get involved with them yourself. Ask questions about what they’re working on so that you can learn as much as possible while also getting to know them as people. Even if you’re not able to talk with your team members every day, try to make time for a weekly check-in so that you can get involved.
#97. How To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged: Set Goals
When it comes to virtual workers, it’s essential that they feel like they have goals and objectives just like any other employee would. For example, if someone is working on SEO for your site, don’t just tell them “fix my SEO” – instead, give them an in-depth idea of what they need to do and how long the project should take. You’ll be surprised by how much better things will go when your workers feel more intelligently managed!
#98. Stay Consistent And Positive
Maintaining solid, consistent communication is one of the most important things you’ll have to focus on when working with a remote team. If they feel like they’re being ignored or, even worse, talked down to, their morale will suffer, and it will be much harder for them to work efficiently! Don’t let yourself get frustrated by this – instead, try to stay upbeat so that your team members know that you care about what’s going on. It might not always be easy, but if you can remember this advice throughout, you should find that managing a virtual workforce isn’t as daunting as some would think!
#99. Speak Honestly
Let’s face it – as much as we all try to hide our emotions and feelings, they often do a pretty good job of showing up anyway. This is especially true when you’re communicating via Slack or another chat program since you don’t have to deal with the facial expressions that would give away your genuine thoughts and feelings otherwise. If a team member asks for feedback about something they did wrong, be honest in your reply to hopefully learn from the misstep together.
#100. Keep Your Focus
Working with virtual workers may mean that each person on your team has their schedule, but if everyone is doing work for you simultaneously, things can quickly get out of hand! To avoid this problem, set daily tasks and goals for each member of your team. This will keep them working together towards one goal, which should also help you feel more in control of the overall situation!
#101. Be Flexible
Last but not least, you must be flexible when it comes to your virtual workforce if you want things to run smoothly. For example, if someone needs an extra hour or two on a project – something that they might not have been able to ask for from other employers – don’t be afraid to let them have these hours so long as they get the job done by their deadline. Remote workers are often faced with much more challenging schedules than their office-based counterparts, so try to accommodate this whenever possible!
Enjoyed this article? Learn more about virtual teams here: 6 Steps To Ensure 100% Commitment From Your Virtual Team and here: 6 Tactics On Creating A Highly Effective Virtual Team
Thanks for taking the time to go through this list!
We hope you found it helpful and that you’ll be able to use what’s written here in your own business. There are certainly a lot of challenges that come with hiring virtual workers, but if you can remember some of the tips laid out in this article, things will go much more smoothly – I promise!
What else do you think is essential regarding how to keep virtual teams engaged?
Let us know in the comments below!