A new challenge faced the corporate world – the dreaded pandemic. A crisis that impacted startups and entrepreneurs.
Business roadmaps had to be altered. Funding and capital had to be tallied again. Resources and personnel had to be let go. But through all this, new lessons were also learned and possibly still being learned.
Everything has shifted to a virtual work culture. Working from home has led to Zoom meetings, Google Meet-ups, and virtually polite ways to ask someone to “Please mute yourself”.
Building a team, especially a new one can be difficult with team members spread physically apart. Despite that, the following virtual team building tips can help you, as an entrepreneur, to steer the company ship successfully.
Virtual team building tip #1 – See the passion
Starting the business is tough, but managing a team virtually can be tougher. Make sure you identify the team members who are still committed to your company’s altered business plan.
Some of them might be forced to work on a salary pay cut. Try to understand their predicament and make sure their original pay structure is reinstated first, before considering any other spending.
Prioritize the retention of hardworking employees rather than hiring new faces. Every startup is different in terms of business model, cost structure, and strategic functions.
Let your passion for running the company also reflect back from your team. Build a positive experience despite these tough times.
Virtual team building tip #2 – Keep innovating
Try not to rein in the innovation aspect. Don’t try to replicate your competition’s innovative strategies. Each startup or business is different.
Devote your passion towards innovation, and make it stand out. Create PowerPoint presentations, take part in weekly stand-ups, prioritize innovation above other daily tasks that can be delegated to able team members.
Seek out innovation tools that make it easier to plan, strategize, along with easy collaborative features. Add innovation to the ongoing work-from-home culture as well.
The physical displacement of employees means more meetings are held every day through WhatsApp, Zoom, or Hangouts. Notice any video-call fatigue? Is your team spending more time in meetings, instead of getting actual work done?
Find a balance to that. Make sure there is no non-verbal overload in virtual meetings. Scheduling meetings or follow-ups are now easier through tools, but there in case of cancellations, the entire schedule gets messed up.
Virtual team building tip #3 – Build a virtual work culture
For new employees joining, set a strong precedence through digital orientations and weekly virtual activities.
Although nothing can beat face-to-face orientations, there is nothing stopping you from making an online orientation purposeful and establishing the work culture from day one.
Set a positive work culture that contains a bit of fun and expression of ideas freely. Try to replicate an in-office atmosphere, maybe through ‘casual working’ sessions.
For the more experienced employees, there could be a ‘Bring your kid to work’ session at the end of Zoom call. Virtual coffee meetings can be held once every two weeks to learn about each employee’s current state of affairs.
Send out bi-weekly company surveys to check if Saturdays can be completely marked as off-Saturdays. Work-from-home no doubt increases productivity, but these employees need to spend time with their families as well.
A weekend-off sounds fair when most employees clock-in more than 10 hours of meaningful work five days a week.
The end goal is to make sure every employee understands the company goal and feels their personal/financial goals are also on the right track.
Virtual team building tip #4 – Enjoy the journey
This entrepreneurial dream of yours is courtesy of the hard work of your employees as well. Push them to aim higher just like you do with yourself.
Small improvements can lead to greater rewards. Share a chart of company goals with departmental managers and make them involved in the plan. Dream yourself and invite your team to this dream as well.
No journey is perfect. There will be ups and downs. The WFH scenario, although productive, cannot be a permanent solution for many companies.
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