Remote Working

The Checklist to Building a Successful Virtual Team

Derek Abram
CEO of Prio
6 min read

If you are looking to build a virtual team, you are in the right place. Virtual team building is one of the best ways to avoid overhead costs and other expenses like office space rent, supplies, and onboarding costs. However, while it all sounds easy, there are certain steps a company needs to take to build a successful virtual team. In this article, we will look at why you should build a virtual team, examples of successful virtual teams, and give you a full checklist for building your virtual team. 

Why you should consider virtual team building

As briefly mentioned above, having a virtual team is cost-effective. However, the reasons go beyond just costs. There are advantages to both you and your team when working virtually/remotely. Some of these key benefits include:

The ability to scale your business faster

A virtual team allows you to scale your business faster as you save overhead costs and onboarding costs. Additionally, the option to hire anyone from any geographic location gives you access to a much larger talent pool.

Cater to more clients

With your team members working from different locations and time zones, you can look at catering to more clients since you have access to service them from different time zones. 

Work flexibility

Working remotely or from home allows you and your team to attain a certain amount of work-life balance. The chaos of daily commutes, rush hour traffic, and other outside distractions/stress are reduced, allowing you to work at peace from the comfort of your home. 

Increased productivity

Work flexibility gives your team members the ability to be more productive since they are less stressed about work. In fact, “nearly 6 out of 10 workers reported being more productive working from home than they expected to be.” (Chicago Booth Review, 2021)

How to build a successful virtual team

Several key elements go into building and managing a successful virtual team. Here are some areas you need to consider when creating a remote virtual team:

Virtual team structure

Thinking about your team composition and structure is a good starting point. You want to think about the team size, the kind of people you would like to have on your virtual team, and what kind of work each person or group of people will be doing. This will be helpful when you are figuring out your budget as you’ll be able to refer to this team structure and assign costs accordingly. 

Hire the right people

Hiring and managing a remote team takes a lot of effort in communication. You want to hire people who are able to work independently, adapt to the digital and virtual workspace, and have good communication skills. 

Create a remote working policy

A remote working policy outlines all the necessary details of who is allowed to work virtually/remotely, how they must perform their tasks and duties while working remotely, and how they will be evaluated. It also can include their legal rights as virtual team members which provides them with the clarity they need as remote workers. 

Create a communication strategy

The key to a successful virtual team is good communication. Good communication comes from setting standard protocols and utilizing the right tools. In order to have a good communication strategy, you can create a communication strategy guideline that can be circulated to new team members and existing ones. In this guideline, you want to include:

  • Company goals, values, and mission to make sure all members are on the same page and working towards the same goals. 
  • Processes for communicating matters that are low, medium, high priority, and urgent. In this section, you also want to include relevant tools to use. For example, urgent matters to be communicated using instant messaging apps or chat. 
  • Outline communication timelines to ensure there are no missed deadlines. For example, urgent matters should be responded to within 12 hours. 
  • Establish virtual meetings on a regular basis such as once a week to ensure all project timelines, statuses, and progress are discussed with every team member. 
  • Have an onboarding process where these matters are discussed and outlined for new virtual team members. 

Build a remote working tool stack

A good communication strategy relies on a good set of tools and technology, especially in a virtual team network. Here are some key tools your virtual team should use:

Instant chat tools

With teams in different time zones and locations, instant chat tools are good to use for quick questions, meeting reminders, and general discussions. Some good examples of virtual chat tools include Slack, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams.

Project management

Keeping track of different projects, tasks, and deadlines with team members spread across the globe needs good project management. Using software that allows you to assign tasks to team members, have them upload necessary documents, and comment with any feedback can save a lot of back and forth (especially when coordinating meetings can be cumbersome). Some great project management tools for virtual teams include Asana, Prio, or

Video conferencing

A key communication tool for virtual teams is video conferencing. There are many options, some inbuilt with chat tools, that allow you to set up virtual meetings with your team members. Some popular tools include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and GTalk.

Invoicing and time tracking

Managing a virtual team can be chaotic if you are not organized. Integrating a tool that allows you to keep track of how much time your team is spending on specific tasks and track the productivity of your team. Additionally, this allows you to bill your clients accurately and help you calculate profits more efficiently. Tools like Prio give you helpful insights as well as auto generated invoicing, allowing you to forget about drafting multiple invoices at the end of the month.

Set and track outcomes

Setting goals and getting your team members on the same page is crucial to managing a virtual team. With set goals, you and your team will be working collaboratively towards one thing. 

It is equally important to track the progress of these goals and their outcomes. It helps you identify key milestones that you can share with the team to keep them motivated. Furthermore, it shows how far you have come as a team and what you need to do further to reach your goals. 

Maintain team morale

While working remotely or virtually has a lot of benefits, it can also be challenging for some people who enjoy in-person interactions. In-person meetings and office space allow for a social setting where colleagues can be friends and have some casual conversations about their weekend or a movie they watched. It serves as a sort of break from work. 

As a virtual team, it is important to create a similar comfort level virtually to maintain team morale. This can be done through social meetings once in a while where people can talk about anything but work. Additionally, if and when the opportunity presents itself, you can arrange for in-person social meetings such as a holiday party. 

Your quick virtual team-building checklist

Here’s a quick summarized checklist to get you started on building a virtual team:

  • Virtual team structure
  • Budget within which you can build this team structure
  • Talent pool - the right people
  • Remote/Virtual working policy
  • Internal communication strategy 
  • The right tools to work virtually
  • Ability to set and track outcomes
  • Strategy to maintain/build team morale virtually

Build and manage your virtual team with Prio

Virtual team building has a lot of elements and Prio is here to help you stay on track. The tool makes it easy to organize time entries by category, project, and client, giving you access to insights on productivity and income values. It allows you to assign projects to remote workers and accurately track time spent on tasks while improving productivity with insights into where team members spend their effort. Prio also automates invoicing by letting you predefine the process for each worker and client, so invoices are prepared on a schedule ready for your adjustments and approval. Get started today with Prio to make virtual team building and team management easy.

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