No one could have predicted the massive impact that the COVID-19 pandemic would have on the United States workforce. Back in March, non-essential businesses across the country were forced to shut the doors of their physical workspaces indefinitely, which led to a rapid shift to a completely virtual workforce. For many businesses, this is the first time their employees are working entirely remotely, which can present unique challenges for both management and staff. If you’ve transitioned to being a virtual manager, here are a few common mistakes that you should avoid to keep communication lines open and work flowing.
One of the greatest challenges of managing a virtual team is ensuring your communication remains clear. To create an environment where communication is emphasized, you should start by selecting a platform for your business. Some great platforms are Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, or Slack. Once you’ve implemented one that fits your needs, be sure that each member of your team feels comfortable using the platform in their day-to-day tasks. This is crucial because selecting a platform that your team isn’t familiar or comfortable with can hinder their productivity.
Effective communication involves a lot more than simply selecting the perfect platform. When talking with your team, be sure to emphasize clarity throughout all of your discussions. This is important in any work setting, of course, but is especially crucial when your team is physically separated or primarily communicating via emails or messages. Basically, the vaguer your instructions are, the more likely your team is to misinterpret you. As such, be sure to always provide detailed instructions, clear expectations for each task, and keep a line open for all questions.
Remote working can lead to social isolation if a virtual manager doesn’t make conscious efforts to avoid it. A key part of developing an effective team is creating a space for them to bond. In an office, your team has several opportunities to connect through spontaneous conversation, however, when your team is virtual, you should make a deliberate effort to encourage socializing. To overcome isolation, many businesses have elected to hold post-work events such as virtual happy hour gatherings. As a manager, you should also routinely praise and follow up with your team to let them know their efforts are appreciated.
Nickel City Learning Solutions is your one-stop source for all of your training needs. Our philosophy is that learning should be fun, relevant, and measurable. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information or any questions regarding the seamless transition to managing a virtual workforce.