Manage your virtual support team like a BOSS

October 15, 2013

You’ve asked the important questions, you’ve reviewed the must-haves, and you’ve assembled your virtual support team of all-stars.

Now, how do you manage them? Managing virtual teams requires a lot of savvy. So we wrote a savvy guide to help you: “How to successfully build and manage a virtual team.”

You can help yourself from the start by building the right team. For help with that, read our blog post “The vitals of virtual support teams,” which highlights the first part of the guide.

The second part of the guide covers the management piece of the puzzle, like the importance of onboarding, the nuts and bolts of managing virtually, and one of the more challenging management tasks: coaching from a distance.

The guide suggests several morale-boosting ideas, since these types of activities are harder to coordinate with a virtual team. Providing perks, rewards, and opportunities to meet as a team to have fun, both remotely and in person, is essential.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Is it possible to bring in the team for a customer care in-office retreat with opportunities for shadowing, team building, lunches or dinner, meet and greets, or happy hours?
  • Surprise individuals who are doing a good job with a gift card delivered to their email inbox
  • Promote and support attendance at conferences. It might be fun for a few team members, or even the whole team, to periodically meet in different locations, learn something new, and share their experiences afterward.
  • Award comp time. While remote employees may be great at managing their workload, they will still appreciate being recognized for times when they’ve gone above and beyond or have worked extra-long hours.
  • Can you afford a few extra perks? Think about the fun benefits that companies sometimes bring in house and then creatively distribute them to your virtual team. How about an in-home ergonomic consultation or a half-hour back massage? What about a cookie basket or lunch delivery?
  • Consider tools that will help your team work remotely—such as tablets, headphones, phone upgrades—as tangible rewards. Who doesn’t want the latest iPad? Can you afford an annual team raffle?

The best thing a manager can do, outside of making employees feel appreciated, is to foster great communication. Proactively communicate as frequently as the team is expected to. This doesn’’t mean micromanagement; it means listening, being available (or providing alternate contacts), and even taking time to say hello in the morning or at the beginning of a shift.

To learn more about building and managing a virtual team, read the full guide

Please share your insights! If you have tips, suggestions, and best practices to offer, please comment below or join our community discussion