7 Steps to Building a Virtual Team

When we talk about virtual team building, we don’t mean things like Zoom drinks, online pizza parties, or video Pictionary (although these things do have their place). Instead, we mean the act of building and managing remote teams, and how to create a strong team dynamic. 

In this article, we’ll look at how you can build a productive, collaborative team, that works cohesively and effectively regardless of distance

1. Establish clear communication protocols

One of the biggest challenges of building a virtual team is communication, so make sure you set clear communication protocols at the outset. These act as the guidelines for how, and how often, your team communicates. This includes things like how to manage daily check-ins, utilising team chat, managing emails, collaborative work, and even etiquette during video calls.

By setting communication protocols early on, this works to manage expectations and understanding, and bring the team together closer, faster.

2. With a completely new team, take the time to break the ice

We understand it’s not always possible for a team to meet in person, but hosting a full team kick-off meeting is important in establish the relationship and morale. This full team meeting gives each member a visual of all the people they’re working with. It allows everyone to introduce themselves and their role, and start building a rapport between staff.

It’s going to a bit stilted and awkward at first, but isn’t every remote call? The team kick-off meeting is a first step, but a critical one in virtual team building. And it’s your meeting, too—so have fun with it.

3. Leverage modern tools to ensure optimal collaboration

To provide the best working conditions for your team, fully explore the Microsoft 365 experience and make the most of Microsoft Teams. This platform is built to empower your team to utilise more effective collaboration.

Confining your work to Teams reduces the distractions of multiple workplaces, communication tools, and office apps, and delivers a more streamlined workflow. It also works to reduce the risk of shadow IT, which can be a big issue in remote teamwork. Shadow IT are those systems and tools used by your teams that aren’t part of the approved IT systems. 

4. Automate processes and permissions to break down data and team siloes

When it comes to managing remote teams, it’s important to automate your workflows wherever possible—particularly multi-step administrative tasks. Things like approvals, leave and software requests, and onboarding and offboarding can be streamlined and improved through an automation approach. This helps to reduce the steps required to achieve the same result, eliminating human error and timing, and ensuring no work goes astray.

And it’s not a complicated process. You can build your own digital request forms quickly and easily by utilising No-code apps like Microsoft Forms, or Low-Code apps like Power Apps. These enable your team, and business as a whole, to modernise how it operates and reduces the time and distance when performing daily administrative tasks

5. Create collaborative portals with robust intranet 

Much like in a physical office, your intranet is a valuable tool to store, share, and organise business documents and news. When utilised correctly, it creates a repository for broader business communications, while enabling you to maintain overall control and governance of the message. So ensure your business has a comprehensive intranet solution that’s built for your specific business needs, to foster communication and collaboration outside of your remote team.

6. Managing remote teams means sharing accountability, and sharing the load

When working as a team, you’re not working in a vacuum. The rest of the business relies on you. And to achieve the best results when managing remote teams, it’s important to build accountability for the whole team to drive performance and reach goals.

So demonstrate to your team that you trust them to achieve their goals. Give them the space to perform their roles, and focus on the outputs, rather than the outcomes. This engenders trust in you as a leader, and improves engagement and buy-in to the team outcomes. And the more buy-in your team has, the better engaged and more motivated they’ll be.

Encourage them to keep you on track, too. Two-way communication goes a long way to fostering productive, respectful working relationships.

7. Recognition

Distance can be difficult to navigate, but by building a high-functioning remote team you’ll be able to thrive. So be sure to give your team the recognition they deserve on a job well done.

Recognising the effort of individual team members, small groups, or the team as a whole goes a long way to demonstrating the value you see in them, and the respect you have for them. This can be achieved in team meetings, broader business circulars, and intranet shoutouts.

Building a virtual team is about removing the barriers to workplace collaboration

By building a strong, connected, and communicative virtual team, you’ll optimise the collaboration and efficiency of your individual team members. This collaboration leads to increased engagement, improved performance, and better outcomes. It also means better staff morale, which boosts operational efficiency, and demonstrates that your team is thriving in its virtual environment.

At Nexon, we understand that virtual team building is crucial in driving a modern workplace. We partner with you to deploy the necessary software and apps, ensure security protocols are set up correctly, and that your teams’ remote workspaces are optimised.

Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you lay the groundwork for managing remote teams, along with broader, long-term strategies, to ensure your remote employees can work as effectively as possible.