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Virtual Teams: Capitalize and Maximize

Virtual Teams: Capitalize and Maximize

Aside from the luxury of common benefits of working remotely, I became living proof that all the studies we read about the advantages of remote work teams is true. Granted, there is no doubt I am a big advocate of good, solid workplace relationshipsvirtual-teams-pic – so I’m a bit biased here. Just like any relationship – it takes work.

We motivate our staff because they are the ones working with our customers. We determine and isolate our customer’s needs. We work with vendors, suppliers, contractors to meet those needs. Yet, we all know that in today’s market, we take advantage of technology and capitalize on the luxuries available to us.

One of them is the ability to conduct some (or a lot) of our work remotely.

Studies support an average of 80% increased productivity …. for a reason. A recent MIT study posited that high functioning remote teams actually outperform their co-located counterparts. Higher productivity, increased attendance rates, reduced error rates, and improved efficiency and accuracy are no joke.

While some situations require occasional physical meetings, there is a lot that can be conducted entirely by virtual modalities. I am a big fan of working smarter not harder – and this is a prime example.

Working in a virtual team doesn’t come without some challenges though. But everything has its own set of challenges. However, planned and executed properly, a remote team can and will outperform its counterparts. For remote teams to operate most successfully, some preventative maintenance helps considerably:

  • Hire people you can trust. If you sense that you will be questioning what they are doing with their time, they might not be the ideal person to hire for a remote position.
  • Ensure effective communication. This seems like a no-brainer, but in the world of remote teamwork, it can be the difference between a highly functioning team and one that struggles. There are bigger challenges to face than trying to decipher someone’s communication efforts.
  • Candidates who are accustomed to traditional workplace roles may face some discomfort along the way. Flexibility, self-motivation, and an innate sense of responsibility should be evident. If any of these qualities aren’t a candidate’s strong points, he may not be ideal for remote work.
  • Prepare and provide optimal virtual modalities. Technology is great when it works, but it can run interference when we run into a snag. Some preventative maintenance is critical.
  • Take the time to build and nurture strong relationships between team members. Relationships take work regardless of the situation or modality, but virtual relationships require a bit of extra care. Start off on the right foot and enjoy the rewards of exceptional, robust, and resilient work team relationships.

What has your experience been like working with remote teams? How has it impacted your end results?