Remote Work Best Practices: Managing Virtual Teams Successfully


If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that embracing change and openness to new ways of working can be transformational in today’s workplace. The way teams work today has shifted dramatically. The notion that teams can excel in performance without being physically co-located in the same office, or even the same time zone, is possible when managing a virtual workforce.

Business leaders, managers, and team leaders worldwide actively seek strategies to foster high-performance teams to deliver sustained efficiency and long-term growth. Here we’ll see how managing virtual teams can do just that, and offer some virtual teams best practices for your organisation to consider.


What is a Virtual Team?

You may have heard the term before, but what exactly is a Virtual Team? And before getting all excited, no, it’s not having a ‘bot’ as a boss, or a fantastical 10 ft tall blue avatar as your co-worker! A virtual team is one where a group of people work together from different locations using technology to communicate.

While outsourcing has been around for years and was the first wave of augmenting resourcing, managing a virtual workplace is becoming the new way for modern businesses to be agile and efficient. With all the benefits of having the best team members from within any global location on your team, working in a virtual team is a no-brainer.

Like with any change, you want to know how to manage virtual teams and apply industry best practices.  With many years of experience in HR as a Service (HaaS), Happy HR gives you useful tips and insights into managing virtual teams you can implement today.

Managing virtual teams successfully requires a combination of effective communication, strategic leadership, and a focus on building a positive team culture.

Here are 5 essential tips to help you manage virtual teams effectively:

1. Get the right mix of people, right from the start

Perhaps one of the most important elements in a high-performing team is getting the right mix of skill sets, attitudes and personalities in your team. Get this right from the onset, and you’re on your way to running an effective virtual team.

2. Invest in wise Technology choices

Managing a virtual workforce relies heavily on investing in reliable collaboration tools, project management software, and communication platforms.

Make sure your team is well-trained in the tools they need to use daily. If migrating from an old system to cutting-edge technology such as Happy HR’s cloud-based performance management system, a solid change management strategy is highly recommended to transition with ease. Happy HR consultants can help support businesses with best practices for virtual teams using our software platforms.

3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! 

Make communication a key priority using a mix of communication channels, including video conferencing, messaging apps, and email. Establish clear roles, responsibilities and expectations for people working in a virtual team. Acknowledge that there are different nuances when managing virtual project teams or when working within one. Have regular group and one-on-one check-ins to keep the communication lines open.

4. Build a Strong Team Culture

Some team members may feel isolated when working in a virtual team, so team building and virtual social events are recommended.

Create a team culture where people feel connected to one another.  This sense of connection enhances overall job satisfaction and promotes increased productivity and creativity.

5. Promote Flexibility

Acknowledge and accommodate different working styles and time zones.

Emphasise results over rigid working hours, and set clear boundaries regarding working hours and expectations to avoid burnout. It’s important that people have work/life balance, and that working in a virtual team doesn’t mean you should be working 24/7 just because you can.


Potential Challenges And How to Deal With Them

There can be challenges in managing virtual teams, but don’t worry, we have collated the 3 most important tips for managing a virtual workforce with ease:

1. Managing team member performance remotely: 

Tools such as Happy HR’s performance management software seamlessly remove the barriers to managing a virtual workforce. They ensure a fair and transparent performance development and review process for both your virtual team and your organisational HR obligations.

2.  Accountability and Time Zone Coordination:

Effective virtual team management can be achieved by setting clear expectations and measurable goals for enhanced accountability. Manage time zone differences in virtual teams by rotating meeting times and leveraging scheduling tools to reduce isolation amongst team members. Implement best practices for virtual teams such as clear communication channels, utilising video conferencing and collaboration tools.

3.  Ensuring productivity

While some people strive while working autonomously, others may find it hard to meet deadlines when working in a virtual team. To help everyone succeed, set a clear direction and benchmarks for the team to follow. Industry best practices for virtual teams include investing in software collaboration tools, setting clear expectations, defining measurable goals, and conducting regular check-ins to track progress within the team.

You’ll have a happy and productive virtual workforce by following these steps.

Final Thoughts: Managing Virtual Teams with Success Strategies

Managing virtual teams successfully is possible for any sized organisation. Demystifying virtual team management by applying industry best practices outlined above will give your organisation an enviable advantage over your competition in terms of performance and ROI.

A well-planned and executed change management strategy will help your organisation transition to managing virtual project teams. With the right software and technology tools, you can navigate the challenges of remote work with expertise.

Unlock Virtual Success Today!

Discover the keys to effective virtual team management. Embrace the shift in workplace dynamics, explore the nuances of virtual team collaboration, and learn valuable insights on navigating the challenges of remote work.

Navigate the Future of Work with Happy HR and start today!