TEAMS HAVE BECOME VERY EFFECTIVE THROUGH THE USE OF
TECHNOLOGY,DISCOVERS PALAK BHATIA
The concept of virtual teams,wherein the team members are not physically located at the same place and yet coordinate with each other,has become inevitable and commonplace.Tools like conference calls,emails,video conferences,etc,ensure that such schemes function smoothly.However,it is a challenge for the manager to create a comfortable rapport in a virtual team and promote collaboration among the members.
Dhruv Desai,sr VP HR & leadership academy,Angel Broking elaborates,In addition to the formal meetings,the virtual managermust find ways to mimic the informal and unplanned interactions that a same-location team naturally has.For example,catching someone in the hall and chatting! Same location teams inadvertently use these unplanned interactions as predecessors for solving problems and getting work done.While it may seem not possible,it is possible to create informal and unplanned ways for the virtual team to interact on a regular basis.The manager is like a host at a party;he/she has some relationship with each guest.
Nitin Pande,vice president - HR,HCL Technologies Ltd,explains,The prime imperative of managing such teams is to prevent the occurrence of any kind of misunderstandings within team members and have strong work ethics,a clarity on goals and a code of conduct on performance at an individual level.
Kunwer Sachdev,founder and MD,Su-Kam tells us how it is critical that virtual employees also be kept in the loop about the latest happenings in the company,new ventures,prospective clients,upcoming products,etc,to promote engagement,Timely communication of plans and upcoming activities related to the domain of work that the virtual employee caters to is imperative.This is important in order to give the virtual employee a feeling of being an important team member along with a feeling of inclusiveness,which affects the productivity of the employee in the long run positively.Keeping the virtual employee updated on the monthly/ quarterly/annual calendar also gives him/her ample time to plan and strategise ways to improve the quality of work being done.However,the amount of information being shared should be dependent on the level and nature of work of the virtual employee.
Sidharth Agarwal,director,Spectrum Talent Management explains,It is important that virtual teams feel at home,i.e.they gel not only with the team they sit with,but also with the team they work with in different time zones.This can be effectively achieved with the help of technology.For example,employee engagement activities can be undertaken across countries;team members can play online games;access various chat forums;interact over the companys social page;post photographs;discuss political happenings;etc.
Thus,technology has fostered new and flexible work cultures that allow employees across different geographies or time zones to work together.