How to Create a Roster for Your Virtual Team

Posted on Aug 16, 2017 by admin

We now live in a world dominated by the internet. Our connection with the rest of the world has allowed us to work and collaborate with those we may have never considered before. We get to experience different cultures, as well as coming to the realization that we have a lot in common with people from neighboring countries.

However, creating virtual teams to work on big projects takes perseverance and plenty of organization despite the differences.

Below are five ways you can create a roster for your virtual team for a seamless project experience.

Get to know your team

benefits of virtual teams

When you have hired all the staff you need to complete your project, it’s important to get to know each other. In some cases, face-to-face contact isn’t always possible. However, wherever possible, make every effort to get to know your team. This could include an initial Skype conversation where everyone is involved, or a chat group where everyone can introduce themselves and talk about their skill sets and backgrounds. The more everyone knows about each other, the better. This is important because later down the line, staff members may need to call upon other staff for advice or help. They need to feel comfortable to do so.

Also, your lead team member should know the core functions of your business. This means that if you are absent, this person can take over running the operation – knowing exactly what you expect. It also creates a more convenient situation where at least one person will have an understanding of every aspect of the project, not just their own part.

You should try to meet up with your lead team member at least twice a month.

Create clear job outlines

One of the big differences between the physical staff you see every day and the virtual staff is the often difficult process of creating clear job outlines. In a physical workspace, you are able to see members of your team every day and reinforce what is expected of them. You can then check up on them to make sure they are on track. It can be difficult to do this when your staff are based in different locations around the world.

However, if you know how to lead a virtual team properly, the process is far simpler than you would expect.

You can:

  • Provide each staff member with a document outlining their exact job requirements.
  • Provide them with a ‘contract’ as you would with a physical staff member.
  • Contact them on a weekly or fortnightly basis to find out if they are sticking to those job outlines, or whether they have any concerns needed to be addressed.

Ultimately, there are no true differences to the way a job is completed by a physical and virtual staff.
You, as the employer, just need a neat and organised roster system and a clear job outline.

Speak the same language

benefits of virtual teams

Your staff members will no doubt come from different countries around the world. Many may in fact only speak English as a second language. This can be difficult, but not necessarily if rules are set from the very beginning. When you make first contact with your staff members as a group, it’s best to be clear that all must speak the same language when communicating about the project. This means that every staff member can understand exactly what is happening all the time. But speaking the same language doesn’t just have to refer to the mother tongue. It can also refer to making sure all parts of the project are interpreted in the same way.

When you set outlines for your staff members, try to read them from the perspective of someone else.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Would I understand the task if this was me completing it?
  2. Are there clear deadlines and expectations in place that make sense?
  3. Am I using clear English without colloquialisms only known to my location?
  4. Are all references understandable by all?

It’s important that all staff members are on the same page. During the early days of the project, it will be vital to have discussions with each staff member to ensure nothing has been misinterpreted.

Set tasks, goals and expectations

Because you are not going to be physically seeing your staff members on a regular basis, it’s important you set tasks, goals and expectations.

There are several collaboration programs and software available online that are designed to enhance the benefits of virtual teams.  

Asana is a good example of such program. It allows you to create groups, set tasks, outlines and goals. Once those particular tasks are achieved, you can then tick them off. The employer will be notified of the task being achieved.

Such a platform is also beneficial for your team members. They can see not only the progress of the project at hand, but of their own project too. Everyone will know what tasks have to be achieved during that day, week, or month, and you can track it.

This also ensures everyone pulls their weight. There are several cases of virtual staff members not doing tasks they are required to do, but are still getting paid for it. This is a far more secure method of verifying that everyone is doing what they are supposed to.

Set weekly meetings

In order to take advantage of virtual teams and all they can do for you, it’s important to set a roster that includes weekly meetings. Initially, this may be difficult due to varying time zones. However, once you set the time and day for a meeting each week, it will be expected and abided by. If you have to sacrifice sleep one morning a week, just remember it’s all for the benefit of your business!

Weekly meetings are important for the moral and rostering of your staff members. It’s an opportunity for everyone to gather for a chat, discuss any problems, achievements and goals going forward. It’s also great to see who is working on what, as well as ensuring that everyone is happy and working well together.  Collaboration is important, and if your virtual team doesn’t get along, your project suffers.

It’s clear to see that virtual staffing and creating rosters for your virtual team is the way of the future.
Have you worked as part of a virtual team? What are your experiences? Let us know!

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