Many companies have employees who telecommute, work in the field, or work in branch offices. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently found that 46 percent of organizations surveyed use virtual teams of some sort.
The same survey found that virtual teams suffer from several common challenges.
- 49% reported issues with time differences
- 51% struggled to build team relations
- 32% had difficulty with the distribution of work
- 26% needed to improve with cultural norming
- 25% needed better virtual team leadership
In a more traditional in-person working environment, many of these issues could be resolved or avoided by simple proximity. Get everyone in a room, and figure it out.
Virtual teams, however, need to find other ways to improve communication, resolve issues, and build coworker rapport.
Building Rapport in Virtual Teams
In our personal lives, social media (Facebook) is now a common way to connect with friends and family. At work, SharePoint can also be used to build rapport between individuals who may rarely or never see one another.
Reserve space in your SharePoint site for personal content and encourage posting to it. Create a Kids photo gallery. Set up a birthday calendar. Have a contest for the best Thanksgiving story. Have a Halloween party online.
For more management techniques see our Management Tips.