Sneha used to work at the Delhi office of a US-based organization. She had to attend virtual team meetings at 4 am with her international coworkers to share work updates. The time difference soon started taking a toll on her physical and mental health. Eventually, she put in a request to be excused from these daily calls. 

Virtual teams are fast becoming the norm in today’s digital-first world. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this new way of working. But managing teams virtually isn’t without its challenges. From coordinating with people living in different parts of the world to making sure everyone’s on the same page, it can get exhausting and quite complicated to organize productive virtual team meetings.

Let’s explore the key ways to overcome barriers and efficiently manage teams online.


How To Manage Virtual Teams

Managing virtual teams may be challenging but it’s not impossible. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the world shifted to working from home. Now that most of us have phased into virtual teams, we’re getting used to the idea of online meetings. Email and online communication channels have now replaced in-person communication.

Even though face-to-face communication is still one of the most effective ways to get things done at the workplace, virtual teams can be efficient too.

Leading virtual teams requires patience, an affinity for technology and a willingness to bond with your team members, even if it’s through your laptop screen.

Here are some tips to make managing virtual teams easier:

  1. Align Calendars At The Start Of The week

The first item on the agenda at the beginning of every week should be to align calendars across the team. If there are any meetings, catch-ups or sessions, adding them to the organization’s calendar will keep everyone updated. This way, no one will feel left out or miss anything important. If you can do this every Monday morning, you’ll sail through the week without overlaps and confusion. 

  1. Define Roles And Responsibilities

Once the calendar has been organized, it’s time to assign tasks and define the roles and responsibilities for the team members. If you can make this a weekly event, your team members will start looking forward to it. It’s the same as Monday morning meetings where everyone is assigned work. You can discuss your weekly targets, share important updates on projects and allocate the work that needs to be done. 

  1. Keep Everyone In The Loop

One of the biggest challenges of leading virtual teams is keeping everyone connected. Communicating on digital platforms may be efficient and may have a wide reach, but it’s still impersonal and hard to navigate. If you can loop everyone in and inform them of any significant changes or news about the organization, they’ll feel valued and included. In the interest of team solidarity, each member should be on the same page. 


  1. Schedule One-On-One Meetings

Checking up on your employees is very important. It helps ensure that everyone is in high spirits. We can’t meet in person and assess someone’s mood anymore. So, one-on-one meetings can help you understand if someone’s going through a difficult time. Communication is as much about the spoken word as it is about body language and facial expressions. These mini catch-ups will help assess the mood and strengthen the bond between team members. 

  1. Hold Virtual Team-Building Activities

It can’t just be about work! You should incorporate a number of fun team-building activities for your virtual teams. Managing virtual teams includes finding ways to sustain the office culture. Set aside some time to catch up with your colleagues in an informal setting and talk about things other than work. Icebreaker sessions or virtual water cooler talks are ways to let off steam. These activities can boost morale and improve your Friday evenings at the end of a hectic week.

Working in virtual teams has its challenges, but it’s also one of the most productive aspects of your work life. You can get along with your team members and work together to reach collective goals, remotely.

Harappa Education’s Managing Teamwork course is designed for professionals who want to overcome team management barriers. It will teach you important concepts like the GRIN–Goals, Roles, Interdependence, Norms–Framework to rely on your team members and achieve the desired goals. Managing teams virtually will be a breeze with tips from our expert faculty who have years of experience and practical tips to share.

Explore topics such as TeamworkTeam Management SkillsLeading a Team and Team Dynamics on Harappa Diaries and learn how to manage teams effectively.

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