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Something for the boss: how to keep a virtual team cohesive

Businesses can save thousands by video conferencing

Virtual teams are becoming the norm for many businesses. Technology has come a long way to promoting remote working, with some managers looking after people from all over the world. If you or your boss is in charge of a virtual team, here are some top tips for keeping it cohesive.

Cultural identity
With employees spread across the globe, the lack of context created by remote working means it’s hard to tell why some members of the team do what they do. Break cultural barriers by pairing up people, either physically in certain locations or virtually by having them socialise online. You should also promote cultural empathy and encourage employees to talk with their colleagues about their cultural preferences.

Remain accessible
Trust is difficult to maintain in a virtual team. Show your staff that you’re always there when they need you by scheduling regular video conferences or phone calls, as well as making an effort to meet them face to face once or twice a year. This is where your PA can also come in handy – delegate leadership tasks to your assistant so he or she can help you keep in touch with the team.

Remote employees don’t have the benefit of a communal space in which they can chat about social topics, so they miss out on a lot of the bonding opportunities of traditional teams. Encourage them to interact with each other by giving the chances to talk socially during video meetings, or provide a platform for them to have conversations, such as a blog or instant messaging service.

New members
When you recruit a new employee into the team, be sure to build trust from the beginning and start as you mean to go on. Meet them in person and have regular conversations with them until they settle in. Encourage other team members to be in regular contact so they don’t feel isolated.

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