Virtual Teams: overcoming time and space | Stephan Heinrich


The days where Teams were only able to pull a train, when they sat together in an office, are: A majority of all employees now collaborates regularly with people who are in a different location. Often, even different time zones to be bridged. This development of both the individual team members as well as their managers presents huge challenges. In this post you will learn how you manage to overcome time and space and form virtual Teams to work efficiently Hand in Hand.

What are virtual Teams?

Companies are striving for growth and open new offices in different locations. In sales, this approach is essential, because the closer sellers are to the customer, the better you can serve your target audience. The Home Office is in more and more industries, with the result that the number of personal contacts between colleagues decreases steadily. Instead of sitting together at a table and find there a Basis, to communicate virtual Teams electronically via mobile and Internet. For managers as employees this means that you need to rethink that, despite the lack of spatial proximity for effective cooperation.

Challenges for virtual Teams

Since Face-to-Face Meetings in virtual Teams are rare, so are the possibilities for a productive personal interaction is limited. So it’s no wonder that virtual Teams often bypass formal with each other as a staff, the day-to-day. The consequence: Instead of solely on content, focus, employs virtual colleagues, often in order to hit the right tone and statements of your contact person. Also, the feeling of cohesion, for a productive cooperation is so important, remains in virtual Teams is often a lack of goods.

You want to make your all the world-scattered staff, in spite of the unfavourable conditions, to a functioning Team, the following three steps:

Step 1: Virtual team members get to know

Trust is one of the most important factors for a successful cooperation. Therefore, it is important that employees know their colleagues only in name, but also get a chance to meet on a personal level. This is possible, for instance, in the context of a one-day or using a more detailed video conferences. Take advantage of this opportunity, so that each member of the team in detail you can think of, including heights and Depths of life, Hobbies or family. In this way, similarities can be found and colleagues are able to associate faces and names with emotional stories. This kind of personal sharing strengthens relationships within virtual Teams and colleagues in the same office can further intensify their Connections.

Step 2: natural talents and Strengths to promote

Within a virtual team’s talents and Strengths to uncover, you can work with a list of questions. “What was your biggest success? What makes your work fun? Where can you provide assistance? How would judge your friends?” If you animate the members of your virtual Teams to each other questions how to ask this, will lay the foundations for an environment that is characterized by familiarity and in which each Individual comes with his Strengths.

Afterwards, you should find out the strengths of the matrix, visually, what can you do particularly well. This Matrix forms the Basis for this is that you can make within the large virtual Teams and small groups. For example, if five employees have a Talent for the acquisition of new customers, it is useful to form from these colleagues is a strong power team. The Cohesion is strengthened in this way, more and your employees get the possibility to deal with tasks that are important to you.

Similarly important is also a is thought together and created a team agenda. In sales, there are objectives that must be achieved. If you associate these goals with the talents of your employees, you have better chances of success and your company can benefit from highly motivated sellers. Make sure that the individual goals are clearly linked to each other, because the more people have to deny in order to reach your project, the stronger their sense of belonging.

Step 3: Structured Communication

A structured communication forms the cornerstone for the success of your team. The following questions will help you in planning:

  • Which conferences are important for the entire Team?
  • Who participates in what Meetings? (Here, As many as necessary, as few as possible.)
  • What is the channel for urgent communication?
  • What Response Time is required for optimal cooperation?

A regular synchronous communication ensures that you keep the Overview of the work of their employees and the status of the projects.

Video calls are the method of choice, when meetings should take place on an equal with several team members. In this framework, problems can be solved are discussed and the Motivation on team success, part of it rises, as everyone sees what others have already achieved. Best if you have a spaces at the start of each virtual meeting a few minutes used for personal communication in order to strengthen the relationships within your team.

In addition to the synchronous communication, the asynchronous communication is important. It allows for a quick and efficient way of working and is, for example, supported by project management Tools that allow your team members from anywhere to essential information access. Gradients, dependencies, and deadlines are visible to all parties Involved, the context-related communication is stored and inserted documents to ensure optimal transfer of knowledge. You can use this opportunity to coordinate the cooperation of your virtual Teams in the best possible way.

Are you ready for a more successful future?

Virtual Teams are well established in the world of work in the meantime. Due to the barriers faced by team members and managers, it is difficult for cooperation but often. You want to increase the success of your virtual Teams, the key is in the way of your communication. You can use the synchronous communication, in order to maintain personal relationships, to strengthen the Team cohesion, as well as to discuss problems and goals. Using a sophisticated asynchronous communication, the cooperation can be coordinated optimally. Colleagues no longer need to be located in a place or in the same time zone, to be jointly successful as a Team!

You want to learn more about how you combine your far-flung employees to a virtual power team? Then listen to my current Sales-up-Call with Peter Ivanov. The expert for international Management reveals in an Interview, how to make your field service employees to virtual team players.

How are your experiences with this topic? Leave me a comment

  • … such as global conferences for all participants more enjoyable.
  • … why even less ambitious employees of virtual Teams benefit.
  • … how to create a Roadmap for your virtual Team, which ensures the cohesion and success.
  • … what additional roles the team members will be happy to accept.
  • … which is why different cultures are not an obstacle for successful cooperation.