Working with a team in a virtual environment has lots of challenges. To ensure things run smoothly and your team is supported to get sh*t done, keep this one concept mind: Centralization.
How can you centralize everything so that your team has one place to go to find information, get updates on tasks and to-dos, and communicate with each other?
Centralize Information – If your team is constantly coming to you with questions, try this!
You want your team to have one place to go to easily easily access information, written processes and systems, links, etc. If your team is constantly coming to you with questions or it seems like no one is on the same page, this could be a quick solution to try.
Having documented systems and processes in one central location (preferably your project management tool) will empower your team to answer their own questions and find the information they need.
If/when information needs to be updated or added, you only have to do this in one place. Everyone on the team has access to the latest and greatest information on any project you are working on.
You never want your team storing documents and information on their personal computers. Any documents or information should be stored in one place where everyone can access them. If anything were to happen to your team member (or if they were to take a vacation – YIKES!) you don’t ever want to be searching for a document that only they have access to.
Centralize Tasks – If balls are being dropped or there are constant open loops, try this!
If you have a virtual team, even if it’s just you and your Virtual Assistant you need a project management tool. I LOVE and recommend Teamwork (<- this is my affiliate link, if you prefer you can go to Teamwork.com). For those who love organization and checklists, prepare to dork out! If balls are being dropped or your mind is constantly flooded with open loops that your team hasn’t closed, this could be a solution for you.
Centralizing tasks allows you to see in real time what the status is for your projects. Teamwork also allows your team to make comments directly on a task so you can also see any communication or questions that are happening around tasks.
Centralize Communication – If communicating with your team is feeling overwhelming or exhausting, try this!
There are so many ways for us to communicate with each other – email, text, voice message, slack, voxer, etc. If you don’t pick a lane and create a communication plan with your team communication can quickly become overwhelming.
Set standards on your team about how you will communicate with each other on a daily basis. I recommend using Slack. It’s a great way to keep your communication all in one place and easily keep everyone in the loop. However, let me make a clear distinction between Slack and your Project Management tool (if you are using two different systems for these):
Slack is the place where you collaborate and brainstorm. As soon as something becomes a to-do or action item, it goes into your project management tool and the communication around the individual tasks lives there.
Now, you still need a plan for what happens in an emergency. What if something needs to happen right away, what if a fire needs to be put out? In this situation I recommend you have a standard that you will text each other in an emergency and pick up the phone if it’s really urgent.
There is an entirely different topic around communication and how everyone on the team best gives and receives communication, but first start with centralizing your communication and having a plan in place. I’ll talk about this other element in another article!
What else can you centralize to support you and your team?
Or, what pain point or struggle are you currently experiencing that can potentially be solved with centralization?