VTT's 5 top tips for a healthy virtual team
Here at VTT, we are big advocates of working remotely. We know that being able to do work from anywhere allows for greater control over work and home and that as a rule, homeworkers are often more productive.
That being said, we also like to be together; we enjoy scheduling our team lunch, having think tank sessions or drafting ideas and talking about strategy. Not to mention some quality banter.
So, this imposed separation has been a challenge for us, yet we feel the physical distance has brought us closer together as a team.
We have found it is super important to have fluid and semi-constant contact with one another, whether as a team or on a 1-2-1 basis. This makes everyone feel supported and connected with each other and works wonders for team morale.
New to remote working? Feel like you might need some help getting to grips with time management now you're not in the office? We have a virtual workshop specifically on time management for remote workers.
So, here are 5 tips we have discovered in recent weeks to help you pull together as a team during these challenging times.
1. Check-in first thing
Having a team meeting first thing, before beginning our crazy days, can be really beneficial. Not only does it give us all a chance to catch up on a personal level; ask about evenings, weekends and life stuff, but also it allows us all to have great sight on colleagues’ workloads.
At VTT, we all get on camera (bad hair day or not), with big smiley faces and try to keep it as informal, but productive, as possible.
It’s the virtual equivalent of walking into your office and going to the kitchen together to make a coffee. It’s important for team bonding and provides update time, so it is even more important right now with us being separated.
2. Chat about everything
When in the office together, we talk about everything; from what we did on our weekends, to how our children/spouses are, world affairs (a hot topic of late) and even what we had for dinner/lunch.
Online, we try to keep this same habit. When catching up virtually, via our Team chat box or in our team meetings, it can be tempting to focus on work only. At VTT we keep the open nature of the chat, allowing all topics to flow through. It’s part of being together as a team, talking about the latest in our lives or opinions on the state of the world as well as our work.
3. Maintain humour!
A sense of humour is key during these times and here at VTT, we haven’t let being apart diminish our opportunity for laughter, (usually at the begrudgingly accepted expense of one another).
Humour and fun are important when working remotely. Laughing and sharing amusement can be instrumental in keeping team morale high and bringing people together.
So the VTT lesson here is to make time for fun and laughter, even if it is in the first or last five minutes of a meeting; to keep that office banter that comes so easily to us all when we are co-located going in a virtual workspace.
Besides, here at VTT we have a motto; if it isn’t fun, we’re not doing it!
4. Broadcast your signing on and off-hours (incl. lunch)
Communication is key when you are working remotely, especially when it comes to announcing your working hours and lunch break.
In the office, we can clearly see when people are away from their desks, and when they decide to take their breaks.
But virtually, that visibility can be diminished, so we have made it a habit to keep everyone up to speed with our movements. This way, we all know when people are working, or when they are away from their laptops.
This includes keeping our diaries up to date and being transparent in our Team’s chat as much as possible.
5. Be honest
Like with the other tips on this list, this one falls under the umbrella of communication.
When co-located, you can physically see how people are doing, whether they may be struggling workwise, or need a little extra support, but when working remotely, this can be more of a challenge.
We try to be 100% honest with one another, asking for help where we need it and offering support to each other where applicable.
So there you have it. 5 tips through our own experiences of team working when 100% remote.
How have you been supporting your team? Do you have any tips you can share?