Workplace Trends: Virtual Teamwork

By Carla Joinson Jun 1, 2002
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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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