Workplace Trends: Virtual Teamwork

By Carla Joinson Jun 1, 2002

HR Magazine, June 2002 Managing Virtual Teams

Establishing trust and commitment, encouraging communication and assessing team members pose tremendous challenges for virtual team managers. Here are a few tips to make the process easier:

  • Establish regular times for group interaction.

  • Set up firm rules for communication.

  • Use visual forms of communication where possible.

  • Emulate the attributes of co-located teams. For example, allow time for informal chitchat and socializing, and celebrate achievements.

  • Give and receive feedback and offer assistance on a regular basis. Be persistent with people who aren’t communicating with you or each other.

  • Agree on standard technology so all team members can work together easily.

  • Consider using 360-degree feedback to better understand and evaluate team members.

  • Provide a virtual meeting room via intranet, web site or bulletin board.

  • Note which employees effectively use e-mail to build team rapport.

  • Smooth the way for an employee’s next assignment if membership on the team, or the team itself, is not permanent.

  • Be available to employees, but don’t wait for them to seek you out.

  • Encourage informal, off-line conversation between team members.

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