D’you remember being in work after hearing some MASSIVE news? The tsunami in 2004, 9/11, Barack Obama winning the Presidency?
Or times when you were all up against a deadline and someone ordered pizza at 11pm?
Birthday drinks, leaving drinks, Christmas drinks (any kind of drinks!)?
These kinda moments are what can create bonds between colleagues in a workplace.
Over here in the virtual world, we don’t have those kind of moments, physically. And, it can be hard to really feel like you’re working as team rather than just a collection of digital nomads floating past in different time zones.
Getting it right with your virtual team
Why does it even matter? We don’t need to make friends with our colleagues, right? Totally – of course not. BUT, to work well as a virtual team you do need a connection, and you do need to communicate well.
One of the top reasons I hear from my clients for not outsourcing work is that you can’t trust someone else to do it as you would. But how can you build trust, without connection? You can’t is the honest answer but you can introduce systems to help you along. And then comes the magic of connection and who knows, even friendship.
I started my first online business in 2009, so I’ve worked with A LOT of other online peeps. And today I’m sharing what I’ve learnt, and how I successfully manage my team from my sunny, Ibizan HQ.
Regularly touching base with your team is beyond important, whether you sit beside them day after day, or you’re based on opposite sides of the globe. In my business, regular team meetings are a non-negotiable.
Tip: Schedule your meetings ahead of time, and treat them as sacred – just as you would a client session or call.
Your day-to-day communication should not happen via email. If you sit in your inbox, waiting for that note from your VA, you will without a doubt get distracted. A newsletter might come in, an invoice, a rant from a client, an update from your Nan… this is where you will lose those precious minutes.
Tip: Create a Slack channel for your in-team talk. Better still download the app so you aren’t tempted online to “have a check”
Keeping on top of things
Overseeing team progress can be another excuse to get back into that pit of procrastination, your emails. But I want you to repeat after me:
“My inbox is not my to do list.”
Speaking of to do lists… For a straight task based list, we use iDoneThis. You input your tasks and tick em off when they’re done – simple! You get a reminder to update what you’ve done and a round-up of what your teammates have been up to.
A huge benefit to the simplicity is you get an “at a glance” view of where everyone’s at.
Tip: Schedule some time each week to review your action lists, and make a note of anything that needs to be discussed at your next team meeting – I use a Google Doc for this.
When you make that leap from “solopreneur” to “outsourcing ninja” there will be one fear that plagues you above all others… what if they don’t do things right?
Well, guess what? You’re the boss! It’s up to you to be really clear on how things work in your business. More on that here.
Tip: Use Screencast-o-matic to record simple tutorials for each of your key processes. Share these with your team as it grows, and save yourself many, many hours of one-on-one training.
Draw a line in the sand
Draw a line in the sand
As soon as you hire someone, you want to make your boundaries clearer than an ice cold G&T… and make sure you understand theirs.
Tip: Draft a list of your “non-negotiables” in a Google doc, and share with the rest of your team – these could include things like your working hours, the apps you like to use, your payment process, your preferred methods of communications… be as descriptive as possible.
Over to you
What are your top tips for communicating virtually? I love hearing about any hacks, hints and apps you use. Share em up in the comments.
If you want to make the leap to outsourcing ninja, but don’t know where to start book a free Chemistry call with me. We’ll look at what systems you can put in place to make the process as painless as possible.