“Teamwork is fundamentally social.”
Below are a few basics we suggest for any business seeking to organize a virtual team. As technology communications continue to advance, more and more professionals are performing their job duties outside of traditional office space.
1. Lock in a cloud file sharing program
This is a MUST for virtual teams! Using a cloud service through which to share documents is extremely helpful for any business. Services like Dropbox and Box.net allow for automatic updates on documents, so that when you make edits your co-workers can see them immediately. Cloud file-sharing allows you to edit and access the exact same documents as your co-workers, thereby eliminating the stress of constantly emailing updated documents and trying to keep track of flash drives.
2. Sign up for a virtual office
Virtual team members tend to be geographically scattered, which can present a problem when deciding where to establish an official business address. Your budding business may not have a physical headquarters, but a virtual office can help you acquire the professional business address, phone number, and meeting space you need to get started.
3. Explore corporate social networks (wait! this is good, we swear!)
The key component of any successful business is clear and concise communication. As social media continues to dominate information sharing, why not use a similar multi-directional approach to facilitate communication amongst your team?
Bantam Live* (one example of a 'Social CRM') is a great example of a program that serves to manage client relations as well as employee-to-employee interactions. It functions as a Facebook for your company: users must be employees, and apps are centralized towards your business goals (sorry gamers, no Farmville!)
A few of Bantam's standout features: navigational tabs such as 'Tasks', 'Contacts', 'Projects' etc. Employees can log client status updates, measure progress, and delegate tasks to other team members. The site even has a section for uploading shared files.
*Bantam Live has recently been acquired by Constant Contact. Read about Constant Contact's aquisition of the Social CRM platform here.
4. Utilize Video Conferencing
Seeing each other face-to-face is crucial component in business interactions: email can only accomplish so much. Organizing regular meetings helps to eliminate email overload. Skype has been the preferred platform for individuals to connect. However, for more professional meetings that demand unwavering technology (i.e. smooth, high-quality picture, clear audio, and dedicated bandwidth), utilizing a professional video conferencing facility is a must.
For more information, check out these helpful posts we found:
Collaboration Tools for Virtual Teams
Task Collaboration Software: Best Practices for Virtual Team Productivity
Have tips to share or comments on this list? We encourage you to share them here!