Over the past year, virtual project teams have become a fact of life. When managed effectively, remote teams can increase productivity, improve quality of work, and help organizations meet their goals, however, for project managers accustomed to co-located teams, a distributed workforce presents new challenges.
I recently hosted a webinar that covered best practices for managing virtual teams, something that we have all become familiar over the last year, as well as the many benefits for employees and management.
I am sure we all have an idea of what a virtual team is based on our experiences, but I found a definition that really encompasses how I see a virtual team: “Virtual teams are the group of individuals spread across different time zones, cultures, languages or, ethnicities which are united by a common goal.” The key to me being united by a common goal. Your virtual teams may be cross languages or cultures. Or they may be spread across multiple continents. But all teams should have a defined goal.
I asked the audience if they have transitioned to remote work over the last year and the overwhelming answer was yes, with 80% of responses in the affirmative. One of the impacts to working remote is the health and wellbeing of employees. Two-thirds of attendees answered that working remotely has increased their workload or hours worked. So how do those responsible for managing remote teams adapt? You must have a level of trust in team members to effectively deliver projects on time and within budget and building that trust is different in a remote workforce.
I have some recommendations and ideas for building trust, camaraderie and enabling effective communication in the webinar but communication is key. You no longer have a water cooler to gather around so how do you adapt? As leaders, we must adjust our management style to keep teams motivated. That can be done with virtual happy hours, one-on-one discussions, and other team-building activities.
In the studies and statistics I’ve read, remote employees are anywhere from 50 to 80% more productive and show a reduced level of stress as well as higher morale. There are many other employee benefits I discuss in the webinar as well as numerous benefits to management from lower employee attrition to higher job satisfaction.
Managing virtual teams is not easy but by taking steps to ensure that your team feels included, knows the project goals, and understands their roles and responsibilities you have set the stage to have a dynamic and productive virtual team!
You can watch the webinar, How to Lead Virtual Project Teams, here and follow our blog to hear the latest industry news, new PPM software releases and best practices. We hope to see you at our next webinar.
Jason joined Pinnacle in November 2020. His experience includes Earned Value Management, project controls, project management, business process improvement, software implementation, training, and project/engagement management. He has been instrumental in establishing a centralized Program Management Office to provide program training, certification, and mentoring. Jason has briefed executives on project status, risks, and customer status across the US, as well as the UK and Russia. Mr. Kinder is a frequent speaker at the IPM Workshop, EVM World, and numerous project management software vendor conferences. He is also an active participant with the NDIA Integrated Program Management Division (IPMD) and the Planning and Scheduling Working Group.
Founded in 1993, Pinnacle provides a wide range of professional services through 4 primary service lines: Management Consulting, Technology Systems Implementation, Training & Education, Functional Fulfillment. We have extensive experience implementing and optimizing enterprise-wide capabilities in all Project Management related practices.
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