Remember walking into the office on a Monday morning and calling for a quick team talk and then going on to delivering that one-minute speech that sets everyone on a cruise ride for the rest of the week?

At Rhizome Consulting, we run an open-door policy that allows anyone to walk into anyone’s office and just give a smile. This culture promotes effective collaboration and keeps the team motivated.

Now that you have your team scattered around and relying on technology to bridge the gap between team members, what strategies are there to ensure virtual teams are properly built and motivated to always remain productive?

This article shares tips on how to build and motivate virtual teams as more and more people work from home.

Set up virtual team

A common mistake is to not formally transition physical teams into virtual ones. The assumption is “they are aware we can no longer work from the office, and there is a need to now work from home”. This oversight can be detrimental to the success of a virtual team.

Set up a session to formally inform your team of the need to now work virtually. It is important to also discuss everyone’s enthusiasm about working virtually as it may differ from one person to another. Never assume everyone is fine moving from a physical office into a virtual one.  As you discuss these, you will understand what support will be needed by individual team member and also pitch what plans you have to support the team as they transition into a virtual team.

Assign roles and responsibilities

Once a team transitions into working virtually, new roles may immerge. Such roles or responsibilities may not necessarily be full-blown like the ones in a job description. A good example is the need to appoint someone with the responsibility of organising virtual happy hours.

Identify new responsibilities emerging as a result of working virtually and assign these to team members.

Set up effective communication

For virtual teams, effective communication is everything. To ensure a virtual team remain agile, an effective communication strategy needs to be developed and implemented. This encompasses how and when.

How will the team communication happen? Via zoom, Skype?

When will communication happen? Aside from quick calls or checkups, it is good practice to define a period for remote teams to keep a communication channel open.

Communication needs to happen regularly and consistently to ensure everyone is staying motivated and productive. Communication needs to be structured to happen two-way. Team leaders should be able to delegate, supervise and follow up with team members. On the other hand, team members should be able to seek support and communicate their needs or challenges to team leaders.

Appreciate efforts

Working virtually can sometimes be lonely and worse off, efforts can go unrecognised leading to demotivation. Team leaders have to ensure they show appreciation to their virtual teams. Personalising rather than generalising this sort of appreciation can be effective in motivating virtual teams.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Let us know what strategies you are deploying for building and motivating virtual teams

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