Setting up a virtual team
There is lots of advice about managing a virtual team on the internet and YouTube.
You can find articles, journals and short courses.
Find out about how to stay in touch with your team.
Read below for more tips to set up and work in a virtual team.
Download the working from home presentation . Turn your volume on to listen.
In a virtual team trust is key and communication is important.
Make sure you structure virtual catch-ups.
This will help keep your team on track.
Establish rules and expectations to achieve business outcomes.
You should also:
- document and share working times
- prioritise tasks and outcomes.
Doing this will ensure success and helps to build and maintain trust across your team.
Start from a place of trust and assume good intent.
You should communicate clearly.
This avoids misperceptions and miscommunications.
How well team members work in a virtual environment is a measuring stick of their performance.
The quality of work, and the delivery of outputs/outcomes in the required timeframes is a direct reflection of how well individual team members are managing their work from home arrangements.
You should be open and clear about what is required to help to build trust.
Leaders must reconcile trust issues head on before they turn in to a problem.
Be open with your team. If trust is bruised or in question, it must be dealt with quickly.
Doing this reduces the likelihood of trust being broken. It will also avoid the time and energy needed for disciplinary action.
Schedule regular one-on-one meetings or discussions with team members working from home.
Focus on progress against set goals.
Schedule in face-to-face meetings for specific issues that arise.
You must ensure everyone is clear on:
- output – standards and deadlines
- milestones to achieve them
- have a “how’s it going?” call well before the deadline, so you can spot any potential delays
- establish any dependencies
- identify who is waiting for work
- and what do they need from them?
- potential obstacles
- book a group call to discuss them.
A useful guide to working remotely can be found on the Tamarack Institute website.
Work from home arrangements are available.
It will depend on:
- teams with vulnerable employees
- ensuring physical distancing in the workplace
- job and agency requirements
- delivery of services to the public
- accessing technology remotely.
Staff can’t work from home if:
- their job, or parts of their job cannot be performed outside of the workplace
- they are needed at the workplace to perform other essential work.
Your agency will decide which employees can work from home.
You should read:
There are a variety of ways staff can connect and access the resources that they need.
Go to NTG Tools & Services > ICT records management > How to work from home.
Discuss with your team about flexibility and what works.
Team members may need to change their hours around children or other family members.
Use a calendar to keep your team updated on when the team is working.
Employees who are working from home must complete an agreement and a checklist.
You can be more flexible with the hours worked at home.
The usual hours of work may not be needed.
Staff can work between 6am and 6pm.
You must discuss with your team the hours they will work.
You should consider a trial phase.
A trial phase will allow you to judge:
- how committed your team members are
- delivery of KPIs their work quality.
You need to discuss the type of work that team members will do when working from home.
Your discussion should also include:
- parts of the job that cannot be done from home
- changing priorities due to COVID-19
- identify any strategic projects or other work that can be brought forward.
You don’t need to see people working to know that they are being productive.
Don’t check up on what team members are doing. Instead, check on the progress of their work.
You should keep everyone focused on the end result.
Discuss as a team the potential impacts in advance and how to overcome them.
You should also set and agree on:
- clear goals and expectations
- KPIs - check in to see how work is progressing
- how you will communicate:
- phone catch ups
- team meetings
- email response times.
You should tell your team that employees who work flexibly still deliver outcomes and get the job done.
For more information
You can contact your agencies HR team.
Last updated: 06 April 2020
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