Working as part of a virtual internal communication team is a unique experience for me. I wanted to share my perspectives on what individuals in teams collaborating across geographies can do to improve relationships and increase performance.
A research point out that ‘support’ is fundamental for teams to performance to their maximum. The limitations of distance, less frequent face-to-face meetings or lack of team building opportunities lead to a dip in productivity and performance over time.
More so, if the role entails closer involvement in strategic planning and execution across multiple locations like internal communicators are expected to deliver.
- Tone of voice: With e-mail as the main source of communication, it is important to know that the chances of misinterpretations are higher. Keep the tone of voice neutral and try to highlight any emotional cues in calls.
- The Big Picture: Since you have better insight into local happenings, it helps for your team to know how things work on the ground. Share regular snippets on best practices, learning and photographs of some of the programs or even news clips. These insights can help them plan better.
- Personalized communication: Virtual teams can increase impersonal behavior despite tools like IM and videoconference helping connect faster. Putting a face to the name helps which communicating among each other. Leverage internal tools which allow ‘Facebook’ type information sharing.
- Helping people balance work and life: It may be possible that your work and life blurs while working as a ‘globally distributed unit’. What it can do it burn the team and you while you chase deliverables. Flexibility and helping prioritize while allowing breaks for the team will do a world of good.
- Create a set of unwritten rules: Since time is the essence and working virtually is people centric, it makes sense to include an unwritten set of guidelines; timely meetings, ownership, back-ups among others.