Virtual/Remote Workers

/Virtual/Remote Workers

5 Ways to Enhance Virtual Project Stakeholder Communication

Project stakeholders are the people who fund, provide workers, provide resources, are affected by the project’s outcome, and/or oversee the project from a legal or compliance perspective.  As a Project Manager, not having an agreement with any or all of your project stakeholders can have disastrous results for your project and potentially for your career. Communicating with and getting agreement from these diverse types of people can be difficult enough when everyone is at the same physical location.  However, when these people are geographically located around the block, around the country, or around the world, getting everyone on the same page becomes even more complex.  Distance can bring a lack of communication, cultural differences, organizational divide, and dramatic time zone differentials.   All this said, no matter where they are, stakeholders are stakeholders and must be dealt with properly for the good of your project and the good of your career. As the Project Manager, there are a number of things that can, and should, be done to help assure your stakeholders are properly aligned. These activities include: Getting to know stakeholders personally Assuring they understand the project’s purpose and importance to the organization The costs and/or benefits of the project to each stakeholder Verifying that each stakeholder knows his/her role The specific resources to be provided The specific timing of them and where the resources are needed Assure that all stakeholders agree on the project’s priority relative to other projects This previous list certainly contains important business strategies and organizational politicking that [...]

By | 2020-09-22T02:06:45+00:00 August 5th, 2020|

Virtual and Co-Located Team Communication

As the leader of a virtual team, properly interacting with your staff is much more complex and problematic than communicating with a group all working from the same location.   There are, however, many techniques and processes that can be employed to minimize the effect of distance on your ability to effectively communicate with and manage your staff. “Out of sight, out of mind” is one of the most obvious and insidious issues. When people work outside of the office, unless your company’s culture is very accustomed to this, it’s very easy to forget that your remote employees exist.  I don’t mean that this is done in a mean or calculating way.  I simply suggest that if six people are physically planning on meeting in a local conference room, it’s easy to forget to call the seventh person, who will be connecting in via phone. While forgetting to call someone for inclusion in a meeting is somewhat embarrassing, it’s the tip of the iceberg in regard to the issues that can occur. Remote employees may feel isolated and forgotten and leave the company. You may forget to assign them tasks, thus reducing department productivity. Without proper work direction, remote employees, wanting to keep busy, may perform the wrong task or perform the right task the wrong way. One way to minimize the “Out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon is to schedule regular one-on-one meetings with remote team members to assure they are receiving enough of your attention.  Regarding meetings, a quick trick [...]

By | 2020-09-22T02:06:54+00:00 July 28th, 2020|

Virtual Teams and Your Management Style

Managing people, even when they are all at the same physical location, certainly has its challenges, but when you add distance to the mix, the process of managing a team becomes even more complex.  One of these complexities is the potential need to modify your management style to effectively engage, supervise, instruct, and evaluate team members who work at distant locations, whether it be down the street, across the country, and/or around the world. When managing a virtual team, there are a number of things you should consider related to your management style.  Various leadership techniques that work very well in person are much less effective when attempted with employees at a distance.  The list that follows outlines some of these virtual management challenges: Managing by walking around     This is the management technique of simply walking around the office with the goal of interacting with those on your team, providing guidance where needed, and observing them at work as a way of assessing their work ethic and job effectiveness.  As you may imagine, this technique can be very effective if your team is outside your office door or down the hall, but virtually impossible if your team is at multiple physical locations. Communicating with team only by phone and email This technique can be very effective for your virtual employees.  Phone-based communication is a form of human interaction that can help you build trust, develop a working relationship, and quickly communicate information without the need of crafting detailed emails.  Email is also [...]

By | 2020-09-22T02:07:09+00:00 July 21st, 2020|

Understanding Virtual Worker Needs

There has been an enormous amount written about how to manage virtual teams.  In fact, I have previously written on it a few times myself and teach a class for managers on the topic.  This blog post, however, is a little different.  Rather than discussing the management of virtual teams from the manager’s perspective, I’ll be discussing it from the remote worker’s point of view.  The reason for this change in headset is, that as managers, we can better lead those working for us if we understand their needs and issues. Three areas that you should consider, regarding the need of your remotely working employees, are socialization, physical surroundings, and management support. Socialization: By socialization, I’m referring to the ability for virtual employees to be part of a virtual (or occasionally physical) community with their fellow workers. There are number of reasons for this needed socialization.  Some of these reasons are personal and some are professional.  From a personal perspective, most humans are social creatures, as a result, working by yourself, all day every day, can get lonely, cause depression and/or a lack of motivation.  In a regular corporate environment there are coworkers to have lunch with, meetings to attend, and random meetings in the hallway on the way to the restroom and coffee machine.  Working alone at home, none of the human interaction exists.  At best, these virtual workers are connected to others via email, phone and/or video based. From a professional perspective, virtual workers can easily feel out of the loop [...]

By | 2020-09-22T02:07:50+00:00 July 14th, 2020|