How to Herd Cats: 10 Tips for Effectively Managing a Virtual Team

Managing a virtual team, especially when some members are more well-traveled than a flock of migrating geese, can certainly feel about as easy as herding cats. But the VA Gladiators have your back with the recipe for success: a dash of communication, a sprinkle of expectations, and a hefty dollop of trust. With this winning formula, you’ll have your nomadic superstar AND the whole team yelling ‘Shake ‘N’ Bake’ in no time. Here are ten tips to tackle remote work challenges with flair:

  1. Don’t Beat Around the Bush: To address the time zone mismatch, set clear expectations from the beginning. Have a detailed discussion with everyone, including the virtual nomads, about their availability and working hours. Define overlapping hours when they can be reached for real-time communication with the rest of the team.
  2. Breaker Breaker One Nine: Maintain regular check-ins, whether through video calls, chat platforms, or email. This ensures that everyone is aligned on tasks, progress, and timelines, even when team members are spread across different time zones.
  3. Boss Better Have My Money: Providing a data stipend is an excellent fringe benefit and way to ensure your virtual team has access to reliable internet connections. This can help mitigate issues related to Wi-Fi failures, which can be common in remote areas.
  4. Have a Backup for the Backups Backup: Encourage everyone to have backup power solutions like portable chargers or battery packs to handle power outages. Discuss and implement contingency plans for such situations to minimize disruptions. I have one team member who always knows they can drive to the nearby Wal-Mart parking lot for reliable wifi when the power goes out at home. I opt for a backup battery, but note the time limits and advise to have a plan c.
  5. Team Management isn’t Set it and Forget it, but: Trust is a crucial factor in managing remote workers. If you can’t trust that your team members will deliver the work as agreed upon, you have bigger problems than geography. Allow for flexibility in how and when they work, as long as they meet their deadlines and deliver quality results.
  6. Boosting Superpowers: Unleashing Your Virtual Team’s Inner Avengers: It’s a huge pet peeve when managers micromanage and infantilize team members. Treat them as adults responsible for their work. When performance issues arise, approach them with coaching and constructive feedback. Establish clear performance metrics and expectations so that everyone knows what’s required.
  7. Paperwork, Schmaperwork: Making Bureaucracy Bearable: Document your expectations, processes, and workflows comprehensively. This ensures that all team members, regardless of their location, can follow standardized procedures and understand their roles.
  8. Skill Swap: Turning Virtual Team Members into Swiss Army Knives: Encourage cross-training among team members to ensure that critical tasks can still be performed even if one member is temporarily unavailable due to travel or other reasons.
  9. Holy Tech Stack Batman!: Invest in the right technology stack to facilitate remote work, such as collaboration tools, project management software, and secure communication platforms.
  10. Global Harmony Hacks: Be aware of cultural differences and sensitivities, including holidays and observances that may be foreign to you, that will arise when working with team members from diverse backgrounds. Promote a culture of inclusivity and respect. 

By pulling off these strategies with the finesse of a master juggler and nurturing a culture where trust and accountability are our BFFs, you’ll become the captain of your remote workforce – whether they’re virtually grounded or jet-setters. Not only will this approach tackle the hurdles that pop up like unexpected plot twists, but it’ll also help turn your virtual assistant team into a symphony of productivity and harmony. Cue the applause!

Lastly, happy holidays from the team at VA Gladiators!!!

Not looking to add Captain to the front of your name? Reach out to VA Gladiators for a Chaos to Calm Consultation to discuss how an Online Business Manager can tackle that role.

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