How to Manage In-House & Virtual Teams at Work

The days of everyone working in the same place at the same time are gone. With the advancement of technology, our desire to bridge the gap between work and life, and the need to do more with less, many managers are finding themselves taking care of different types of workforces. These vary from the traditional teams and groups of yesterday; the modern team is inherently different, which means the way that they need to be managed should differ as well.

Here are some examples:

Managing Your In-House Teams and Staff 

In-house teams are the closest things we have to the workforce of the past. Typically, these teams work from the same office or location and they have the similar priorities in terms of organizational goals. The downside? Office politics may hinder performance and a monotonous work environment can reduce levels of engagement. Because of these roadblocks, managers may run into some difficulties, particularly when it comes to empowering your employees to keep up the pace.  When work is disproportionate or the performance of your staff, conflicts arise and managing your team can be extremely difficult.

How to work with them: Implementing real-time coaching and feedback based on real results can help employees understand where they are successful and where they have challenges. For managers, it helps in understanding where your team succeeds and where your team has gaps. Furthermore, it helps them get a look at workloads of employees.

Managing a Virtual Work Team of Mobile and Telecommuters

According to Reuters, one in five employees worldwide work from home or telecommute.  Many companies have already adopted these changes. It started at the team level, but now it is stretching across entire enterprises.

How to work with them: Don’t wait for a townhall, and employees can’t wait for email — your mobile work team comprised of virtual workers and telecommuters need to make decisions in real-time based on new and changing priorities.Ensure all members of your team are on the same level. Improve communication by constantly keeping them in the loop through activity feeds, team and company updates, as well as goal priorities and goals in progress. Additionally, don’t forget the importance of recognizing team members who do good work, even if they aren’t all in the same location. Just because you’re talking through a computer screen or phone doesn’t mean mobile and telecommuting employees are worth less.

Motivating and Managing the Freelance and Contract Employees

By 2020, freelancers and independent workers will encompass the workforce, with 16 million professionals already working in the space already. Though they may come in and out of your team, freelancers can be a huge asset to your group, particularly if they come to the table with a defined skill.  Contract employees are short term skilled workers who work for the organization temporarily.  This number is also growing in numbers as companies can adjust their payroll expenses without a reduction in force or layoff.

How to work with them: Since freelancers may not be in the know at all times, not only do you need to keep them up-to-date with team and organizational information, you also need to ensure that they’ll be able to work well with your established team. It is important to give freelancer and contract employees clarity of what is going on currently and what is upcoming — share social goals them and add them to your teams as they are just as important as some full-time staff. Make sure you include them in your strategy. This makes management of contractors easier and more efficient.

What do you think? What are some other ways to work with in-house and remote teams?

Morgan Norman is the Co-Founder and CEO of WorkSimple, the social performance application that works the way you do — focused on Social Goals, feedback and recognition for you, your team, and company. Connect with him and WorkSimple on Facebook and @worksimple on Twitter.

Photo Credit. 

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Comments

  1. Managing a workforce in a cyber work environment is easier than ever with Google products. Setting up Google calendar will allow your team to post calendar updates that automatically update to smart phone calendars. Setting up a simple alert can mean the difference between shorthanded and overstaffed.

    Reply
  2. Another way to efficiently handle a virtual team is to use a monitoring software for you to know how your team is doing despite the distance and difference in time zones.

    This video on virtual team management might also help in giving you an idea of how this kind of software works. It’s what most virtual office setups use nowadays.

    Bill Jay |
    Reply
    • Bill,

      So let’s go all 1984 on their ass? I am against monitoring as I think it is a bad option. Most virtual employees are salaried so it doesn’t really matter how many hours they do or don’t work as long as they get their work done. Managing a virtual team is a serious challenge for managers forcing them to be very good at their job. Having worked in HR most of my life my boss has always been in another facility and not in my office. We scheduled weekly calls, I completed reports to show my progress and I copied him on important emails so he knew what was going on.

      If a manager was going to monitor my activities from my virtual office, I would just set up a work around and that would be my ipad or other computer to do the “fun” and personal things I needed to do like check my Facebook or pay my bills online. I don’t need big brother breathing down my neck.

      JMM

      Reply

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