4 ways to stay connected in a virtual team

 

Does the office exist when you’re not there? Philosophical thought experiments aside, let’s say that it does (it definitely does). Interactions are going on, whether you’re there or not, on the road or working from home. But how do you continue to feel a part of the team, when they’re there and you’re, well, somewhere else?

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The trick is to build and maintain a social network. Now, we’re not talking about Facebook, Twitter or Google+ (though they all play a part). This social network is not built on code, but on four pillars, important to mobile workers, like you and me.

So, whether you’re managing a team of mobile workers or working out of the office yourself, bear these things in mind and a build a social network that works for you.

Four I’s

  1. Interdependence. Work is the glue that keeps us all together. So, set a task that you all need to work on. It builds trust, and makes every member of the team – wherever they’re working – feel important.
  2. Interpersonal feedback. Don’t just go away, do the work and come back. Give or invite feedback along the way. It’ll remind you and other members of your team that support is available when you need it.
  3. Interaction with the outside world. It’s not all about virtualising the office experience. Working independently has lots of advantages over the office. For one, you can shape your own workgroups. Look for interesting MeetUps in your area or industry, connect with other professionals and share your experiences with your team.
  4. Eye-to-eye. However many tools and methods there are for coping with teleworking, it’s still important – everyone once in a while – to get together, face-to-face. It’s not always possible, but if you can, arrange a meeting to get to know your colleagues a bit better.

Are you a mobile worker in an office-based team? How do keep in the loop? Do you manage a virtual team? How do you make it work? Let us know in the comments.

San Sharma (@WorkSnugSan) and Coral Brown (@ZaraBlack5)
Photo credit: Gary Simmons

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