Working online with your team can be equally effective if you take the time to build your team as you would in person.
The Task - Relationship balance:
Face to face teams naturally have a higher relationship focus, whereas virtual teams have a higher task focus. On virtual teams, it is important to put the effort into relationship building:
- include activities that create opportunities to build trust and relationships (build check in's into agendas)
- have regularly scheduled meetings
- take time at the beginning to learn about each other in the check-ins (dedicate 30-40 minutes to this)
- create check-ins about team health throughout the semester. How are we working as a team?
Create a culture of preparedness on your virtual team
Identify what communication platforms will work for your team needs for each task. What tool will your team use for meetings? (Zoom, Collaborate, Hangouts, etc.) Determine what channels will be used for instant chat/text between meetings. Use platforms that you can record if a team member can't make an online meeting.
Different Modes of Communication for different tasks:
- Brainstorming: Linoit, Padlet, Mindmup
- Document Sharing: Google Drive, Dropbox
- Project/Time Management: Google Calendar, Asana, Trello
- Communication, team agreements, team meetings, checkins, addressing issues: Moodle Forums, Google hangout, Blackboard Collaborate, Skype, Slack, WhatsApp, WeChat.
Clarity is extremely important on virtual teams in meetings:
- Separate items that are informational, items that require discussion
- Spend more time writing/sending information ahead of time so that you can discuss and decide in meetings
- If someone arrives unprepared identify immediately, hold your team members accountable
- Agendas for meetings create a culture of accountability
For more tips, check out this article on a successful online team.