It’s no secret that advances in technology are changing the workforce. Improvements to the internet and the connectivity of devices are allowing for more freedom and flexibility of how businesses operates. In fact, the University of Alabama Birmingham cites that, “online connectivity has led to a virtual work ‘revolution.’ Indeed, 50% of U.S. workers do some type of virtual work. Up to 25% are teleworking at some frequency.”
Remote work brings opportunity for you and your employers to work in a more comfortable setting; however, it does not come without its own set of challenges. If you are planning to shift your business team toward remote work, you’ll need some valuable skills to lead your business team in a remote setting successfully.
So, how do you a lead team virtually to maintain a high level of efficiency? Read below to understand what skills you need to sharpen as a leader to successfully manage your remote business team.
Any leader or manager should know the value of effective communication skills. However, when working in a virtual setting, communication becomes one of the most important skills you must master. Maintaining clear and constant communication between you and your employees is vital, and you won’t be able to speak physically to each other.
Real-time messaging and webcam communication enable you and your team to keep in direct contact with each other. However, miscommunication is more likely with these forms of correspondence. So, to minimize any misconstrued information, it is vital for a leader to encourage as much communication as possible. Communication will be key in handling any issues that will present themselves in your business operations.
Flexibility & Adaptability
Functioning properly as a virtual team means that you may have to fluidly accommodate for time zones, understand and recognize cultural differences, and deal with internet connectivity issues. These issues, among many others, require strong problem solving and quick thinking skills as the leader of your remote team. As the leader, you’ll have to be able to oversee all of these moving parts competently.
For example, imagine if you were working with a partner who lived overseas. Issues could arise that might require you to prepare your team for a possible language barrier, acknowledge and welcome cultural differences, all the while conducting business at a time that is best for your whole team. This requires a leader to possess exceptional organization and planning skills. Your ability to demonstrate flexibility and adaptability will elevate the success of your remote team and business operations.
Provide Your Employees With the Right Tools
Various employees working remotely means that there will be no standard meeting room. However, with employees working in different locations, how are you going to lead a cohesive unit? As the leader, you’ll need to give your remote team everything they need to be able to run proficiently. The digital age we live in today has created the possibility of a virtual work environment, so make sure you provide your employees with computers and software, webcams, and whatever else they need to communicate, manage projects, and handle clients.
Luckily, there are hundreds of software and apps to provide your team with to assist in business operations. Quickbooks understands the value of software in the current work environment when they say, “tools are at the center of a good workflow and most software are free or very inexpensive to get started with.” Providing your team with the tools they need to work properly may seem like a no-brainer. However, it is the oil to keep the machine that is your virtual team running efficiently.
Leading a remote team can seem like a daunting task. But with the information above and being conscious of the skills required of you, it is possible to run a productive group while giving your employees the ability to work from virtually anywhere. Remote work is becoming increasingly preferred, and in some instances required, and to be able to lead a remote team will increase the success of your business operations.
She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek