Location: Company HQ – Reading Time: 4mins
Its seems as if there are more and more companies ‘going global’ and merging / reorganizing than ever before right now. A lot of this hustle includes getting virtual staff involved, sometimes for the first time ever in the history of the company. A lot of the staff that will work for companies that are now taking a more virtual approach to doing business may never actually meet face-to-face, or at least not on a regular schedule – unless its via the web.
One question that I’m starting to get asked more and more regularly at the moment is can these virtual staff / teams perform to the same standard of their more ‘local’ counterparts. You know, the more bog-standard office set-up – conference rooms, water cooler, etc..!
One thing that I’ve found in talking with several businesses and entrepreneurs that are already engaging a virtual business set-up in some way, is that they all have one common, and quite surprising point to throw into the mix. They believe that their virtual staff actually have a better collection of skills, both individually and collectively, as a ‘group’, so to speak.
The thing is, based on my experience, there is usually one pretty big hurdle for people to get used to when working with a virtual business set-up. And that’s the fact that several staff members (sometimes key players in the organization) are spaced out across several location and time zones – sometimes even countries! So, you would think that this could, potentially, cause issues when it comes to the gelling of virtual staff teams. Obviously this is not the case, otherwise more and more companies would not be looking towards a virtual set-up.
I believe that there are three key areas when it comes to building a cohesive virtual team.
Firstly, the virtual staff themselves must work together. When I say ‘together’ here’s what I mean… The fact is that your virtual staff are splattered out a little, and can sometimes feel a little lonely and isolated even. You have to make sure that there are projects for them to work on, to be able to ‘come together’ and help and support one another.
Secondly, communication is absolutely paramount. Everyone should know exactly what each of them has to do – this goes beyond what their ‘role’ within the team is. It’s about what they need to do to keep things moving, individually and as part of a team set-up.
And lastly, everyone in the virtual team should be able to take advantage, if that’s the right term to use, of each others strengths and individual natures in the way that they work, as well as their skill-sets.
Although you might think that the owners of these virtual companies should focus on technology and such like, I believe that the real focus should be on the growth of their virtual staff – all aiming towards the team aspect of making the business bigger, growing and working together. As someone who has several people working for me in various locations around the world, I honestly, whole-heartedly believe this is the true ‘feature in my cap’ in terms of getting done what I need done, utilizing the awesome skills of my own, personal virtual team.
For those of you out there working with several virtual staff, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic above, and hopefully you can post some of your great ideas and comments below. For those of you thinking of setting up a virtual team for the first time – here’s your chance to ask as many questions as possible!