In today’s business world, more and more companies are using virtual teams to get work done. A virtual team is a group of individuals who work together to achieve a common goal, but who are not in the same physical location. There are many benefits to using virtual teams, including increased flexibility, lower costs, and expanded geographical reach. However, one of the challenges of virtual teaming is building a positive team culture.
Without the benefit of face-to-face interaction, it can be difficult to build the trust and rapport that are necessary for a positive team culture. But it is not impossible. In this article, we will give you 5 tips for building a positive virtual team culture. In summary, they are:
- Define your team’s purpose and values
- Encourage transparency and communication
- Promote collaboration
- Show your team some love
- Celebrate successes
Taking each of those in turn:
1. Define your team’s purpose and values
The first step to building a positive virtual team culture is to define your team’s purpose and values. This will help to ensure that everyone on the team is working towards the same goal and that everyone is aware of the team’s expectations. When defining your team’s purpose, it is important to be clear and concise. The purpose should be something that everyone on the team can rally behind and should be easy to remember.
Values are the guiding principles that will dictate how your team interacts with each other and with internal or external clients or customers. They should be values that everyone on the team can agree with and should be values that you are willing to enforce. If “purpose” is about what the team is trying to achieve, “values” define how the team will go about acheiving that purpose.
Some examples of values that you might want to consider for your team are:
2. Encourage transparency and communication
Transparency and communication are essential for any team, but they are especially important for virtual teams. Without the benefit of face-to-face interactions, it can be easy for team members to feel disconnected from each other. Encouraging transparency means being open and honest with your team about what is going on, both good and bad. It also means being available to answer questions and address concerns. Communication is also important. In order to foster a positive virtual team culture, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page. This means regular and clear communication, both within the team and with the people the team interacts with.
Some ways to encourage transparency and communication include:
- Having regular team meetings, both virtual and in person
- Encouraging team members to use video conferencing
- Using a team chat tool, such as Slack or Teams
- Encouraging professional development
That last bullet point, professional development, is important for any team. But it’s especially important for virtual teams. Because they are often working remotely, virtual team members can feel isolated and disconnected from the rest of the company. By encouraging professional development, you can help team members stay connected and engaged. Professional development can take many forms, but some ideas include online courses, webinars, and conferences.
3. Promote collaboration
In order to build a positive team culture, it is important to promote collaboration. This means creating opportunities for team members to work together on projects and to share ideas. When team members collaborate, they have the opportunity to learn from each other and to build the trust and rapport that are necessary for a positive team culture.
Some ways to promote collaboration include:
- Assigning team members to project groups
- Encouraging team members to share ideas
- Having team members work on projects together
- Organizing a virtual team building activity that requires collaboration within it
Another way to promote collaboration is to encourage healthy debate. This doesn’t mean that team members should try to one-up each other or argue for the sake of arguing. Instead, team members should feel comfortable sharing their honest opinions and perspectives. Healthy debate can help team members to think more critically about important issues and to come up with creative solutions.
4. Show your team some love
One of the best ways to build a positive team culture is to show your team some love. This means letting your team know that you appreciate them and that you are grateful for their hard work. There are many ways to show your team some love, but some of the most effective ways include:
- Saying “thank you” often
- Giving team members compliments
- Recognizing team members for their achievements
- Running a pure fun virtual social event – with no ulterior motive other than to let everyone enjoy the time!
A simple way to recognize team members is to write a handwritten thank you note to each one. You can also give them a small token of your appreciation, such as a gift card or a day off.
Another way to build a positive team culture is to give your team members opportunities to grow and development. This means providing them with training and development opportunities so they can learn new skills and improve their performance. It also means giving them opportunities to take on new challenges so they can stretch themselves and develop their abilities further.
5. Celebrate successes
Last but not least, it is important to celebrate successes. This will help to keep your team motivated and will show them that you are invested in their success. Some ways to celebrate success include:
- Having a team celebration for milestones
- Congratulating team members publicly
- Rewarding team members for their achievements
Celebrating success is a great way to keep your team motivated. And nothing breeds success like success!
Virtual team culture – conclusion
The five suggestions above to achieve a positive virtual team culture are not exhaustive by any means. But they do represent five great elements for creating a team culture that will help the team become high performing.
Global Team Building offers a variety of activities that can help promote communication and collaboration with remote teams. We can help you choose an activity that is relevant to your team’s goals and objectives. And we will provide clear guidelines and expectations to ensure that everyone gets the most out of the experience. Contact us today to learn more about our virtual team building services.