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5 Ways to Manage Your Virtual Team While Social Distancing

-Ishani Singh

The Covid-19 virus has reshuffled the entire workplace concept worldwide, in a span of mere two to three months. Employees have been made to work remotely, perhaps working with or leading a virtual team for the first time. It’s tough enough to manage yourself with practically no human-contact, but to lead a team in such a condition can be daunting. Employees are left with a lot of unanswered questions. Uncertainty has become the new normal. 

The majority of people are under tremendous pressure with high insecurity about work, health, society, and life in general. If you are a manager, handling your team under such circumstances will a new experience. Let’s have a look at a few little steps that can help you ensure continued learning and emotional welfare of your team.


Change that outlook. Reset your expectations.

Most teams are used to working together, under one roof, and with the same work schedule. Managers need to break this cycle and try to get the employees familiar with the new style of working. This is here to stay for some time at least, and everyone will benefit if we accept it. We need to start focusing more on the end result than on the process. Allow the team to work their own terms by offering them more flexibility.   


Keep in touch during the absence

It is a proven fact that initiating regular short communications is an effective way to build morale and engagement. You can schedule video calls, even when there is no new information available. You could call up an employee and ask about his/her well-being. Knowing that nothing is new is much better than suspecting a bad update. You can communicate regularly and make sure nobody feels left out. Humans are social creatures who long to fit in. Make sure your team members feel included.


Assign partners or buddies to function as an additional layer of mutual support

Taking care of or listening to every team member’s needs can be exhausting for any manager. You can allocate the responsibility by assigning buddies to each employee. You could pair up two employees who would communicate with each other for mutual support and assess the well-being and engagement of the other.


Spread optimism and drain the fear out

Managers who are confident and optimistic about their approach are better at handling their team members under stressful conditions. Remember that constraints and limitations can be used as an enabling factor to be innovative. Encourage your team to use this time to come up with new ideas. Remember to lighten up the mood as humor can be really helpful at this time when everyone is under stress by default.  


Continue to focus on employees’ stress and engagement levels

Convey to the employees that their well-being is the company’s main concern at this point. You can randomly ask them questions and rate them on their level of stress and level of their overall engagement. In this situation, it can be a little difficult to keep your employees stress free, but by keeping them engaged and by allowing transparency, you can do your bit in ensuring their well-being. You could look for activities to increase their engagement level.

By following these 5 simple steps, you and your team can sustain these conditions, and more importantly, you can acknowledge their humanity.