We may continue to complain that virtual teams have no place in the Nigerian business terrain because of the numerous challenges of infrastructure. Or we can decide to work with what we have and make the best of it. Virtual teams can work and communicative effectively in the Nigerian business terrain.
It allows efficient work, flexibility, saves cost and enhances innovation. Virtual teams are also uninhibited by geography. A company in Lagos can hire an advertising executive based in Abuja and work smoothly. It is all about effective communication.
How then do you go about communicating effectively in your virtual team? Read on.
Hire the right people:
For you to adopt an effective communication strategy, you will need to be communicating with the right kind of persons. Not everyone can work in remote spaces. Especially when it comes to discipline. They can get distracted and ignore work or go on a personal frolic. This is why you need to establish that the person you are hiring is able to work in a small team and yet be independent.
Remote teams can spiral to a state where they lose focus when their goals are not articulated. The team should have clearly set out goals and timelines for achieving the goals. These goals should be further broken down to specific tasks for each member of the team. Clear goals make for a much better team.
Members of a remote team do not see each other everyday, nor can they gauge each other’s actions or easily infer intentions from their remote relations. It is better to make intentions clear by backing every action with crystal clear explanations. “I copied you in the email to xy because…”.
A positive tone when dealing with members of your virtual team go a long way to establish trust. A positive tone can be established by being responsive to requests promptly and offering help when needed. Creating a ‘less than formal relationship’ with remote teammates can improve communication.
Create Office hours:
Even if it is a virtual team, uninhibited by time and space, there should be regular work hours. This time should be set to allow each member to know when another will be available for communication. This time does not have to be uniform for all team members. Having regular work hours allow managing the team easier and helps with managing communication.
Avoid Lengthy Silences:
It is important to regularly communicate with members of your team. Long periods of silence can make team members lose track of their membership of the team. It is very easy to get lost in personal work and forget communication. A way of tackling this is to slate regular virtual meetings by conference calls or other similar channels.
Use the right tools:
Having the right tools that facilitate communication is important. These tools should enable instant messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, project and process management. Ideally, these elements should be in sync to ensure easy tracking of activities.
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