3 Ways For Virtual Teams To Create Human Connections
79% of professionals work on virtual teams, yet 84% do not feel prepared for today’s virtual work requirements.
Business runs on the power of authentic, human connections.
Business conducted through virtual teams should be no different than business conducted in person. Unfortunately, physical distance can often make establishing strong virtual bonds more difficult. Communication barriers all too often come in the way of building effective virtual teams.
So, in today’s global environment, how can your team get it right? Can organizations and virtual team leaders bridge this physical divide to create more effective virtual teams?
Here are three ideas you can implement today to make your virtual team connect in a human way.
1. Find a personal/professional balance
Establishing trust in any relationship starts with empathy and respect. Create this environment for your virtual team by going off script every once in awhile. Yes, virtual productivity is important, but there are times when the agenda can wait. Caring about the team you’re working with and having them care about you is an equally essential ingredient of team engagement.
Take time at the start of each virtual meeting to check in with your team to see how they’re doing. These small actions can help virtual employees overcome isolation and will set the strong foundation you’ll need to overcome future hurdles.
2. Create open dialogue
Make no mistake—creating an atmosphere for engaging virtual interactions is a learned skill, and one that needs to be developed thoroughly for virtual teams to thrive. Recent research has found that “virtual teammates are 2.5 times more likely to perceive mistrust, incompetence, broken commitments, and bad decision making with distant colleagues than those who are co-located.”
To combat this, make a habit of creating a high-touch environment for your virtual employees. Virtual team members can miss critical conversations and project details, creating an environment of confusion and unanswered questions. By consistently asking questions and soliciting opinions, you’ll gain valuable information and insight while simultaneously engaging your team. Encourage candor by letting your virtual team know that you’re available when they need to talk something through.
3. Come face-to-face
As much as we’d like to rely on webcams and phone calls, these mediums are no substitute for the occasional face-to-face, human interaction. While this may require additional budget from the organization and increased effort from leadership, it’s important for virtual teams to come together in person as often as possible. If this is simply not an option, make sure you are utilizing video conferencing for major milestones: kickoff, onboarding, etc. Those face-to-face interactions will do wonders in keeping your virtual employees engaged and connected.