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How To Grow Your Business With Virtual Teams

Laura Goodrich Posted by Laura Goodrich.

Laura is cofounder of On Impact, an integrated content company that specializes in creating and producing videos, television, and multimedia content delivered over time to create sustained change and adoption of important leadership concepts.


How To Grow Your Business With Virtual Teams

The boundaries between work and play are blurring.

Most of these days I work from home. This was not the case always. I did my share of cubicle time and spent years working out of a corporate office.

This switch wasn’t intentional.  I realized that working from a home-office is more fun (it is not without challenges) than working from an office where you go to (only) work.

Over the years, I have learnt how to grow a business working with virtual team members. In the process, I have realized that you do not need to gather people in a room for effective collaboration. It can be done by using some good apps for collaboration. You just need people who know their work and are responsible enough to work without being monitored.

Today  I am happy to share some of these learnings with you – about how you can grow your own business by collaborating virtually with smart people.

Let us start with an example of a collaboration with big impact.

Have you heard of Mozilla? Founded in 2003, Mozilla Foundation manages one of the most commonly used browsers in the world. In spite of the company’s popularity, few people realize that Mozilla frequently utilizes virtual teams of experts in order to complete new projects.

According to a report by the company, the developers who partnered with Mozilla Foundation spent more time creating and modifying new software than the individuals who spent most of their time at one of the enterprise’s locations. The analysis also indicated that members of the virtual teams would usually spend five hours to six hours creating programs in the morning and subsequently use five hours to finish more projects in the evening. The company also found that letting team members stay at home, communicate virtually and take frequent breaks helped them to swiftly develop a myriad of new ideas.

Telecommute

If you are not totally sure about 100% remote work – start with telecommuting. A telecommuter often maintains a traditional office and usually works from home around 1 to 3 days a week. Once you become comfortable with this – ditch your office and start working from home or from wherever you are.

Eliminate Geographical Restrictions and Find Rockstar Collaborators

Usually, a business is only able to find experts who live within a 15-mile radius of its location. Establishing virtual teams will allow your company to recruit the most experienced, talented people from all of the countries of the world. Once you do that your hiring decision will not be restricted by the location of your team members instead it will be based on their talent and ability to get the job done.

Establish Rules and Handhold New Members

A business should guide new team members and help them understand how the work should be done in a virtual work environment. A good starting point is to create a process document with clearly laid out rule for completing a specific action.

If you work with a large group of employees then designate a single leader for each project and ask individual team members to create weekly reports that outline all of the tasks that they have accomplished.

Numerous studies have shown that providing each person with a specific amount of time to speak during discussions can increase cooperation, enhance the flow of new ideas and help all of the participants to feel that they have equal, important roles. Moreover, a business can encourage team members to write detailed notes containing anything that they want to mention during the meetings.

15Five is a superb tool. It lets your employees spend about 15 minutes each week answering a few simple questions that take managers 5 minutes to read, review, and provide feedback.

Offer Online Training and InterTeam Collaboration

When your company becomes 100% virtual – your team members may start to feel isolated. To take care to this create a inter-company forum or chat room where all team members can discuss life and work. It makes them feel bonded.

Also help them improve their skills – so that they can help you. You can offer subscription to sites like Lynda.com and TeamTreeHouse or other resources based on your industry.

Outline Tasks And Rewards For Each Person

One effective way to ensure that all of the members of the team utilize their time wisely is to create detailed schedules for each person. The business owner or project manager should specify the tasks that should be completed during each part of the day and supply a separate list of all of the projects that must be finished every month.

Studies have indicated that providing positive reinforcement for members of virtual teams can increase overall productivity by more than 35 percent. Some of these benefits can include small, monetary bonuses for completing extra tasks and gifts that can be delivered to the person.

You can collaborate with companies like Uncover to offer perks and rewards to your employees.

There is no doubt in my mind that a large number of companies will take the 100% virtual work route. If you start early you can use it as a competitive advantage.

Are you ready for this leap? Do you already work with virtual teams?

Let me know in comments or on Twitter.

The post How To Grow Your Business With Virtual Teams appeared first on GWTNext.com.