As work from home policies continue globally with no sign of stopping anytime soon, companies are quickly adjusting to the best strategies for a virtual team. Ricardo Jorge Pereira De Sousa runs an international e-commerce company with many virtual workers, spanning from engineers and technicians. His company was remote before the pandemic, and he is now offering his best tips for keeping a team incentivized and engaged for other managers and founders struggling with the transition.
Sousa believes that knowing these tips and implementing them will help companies not only to survive during the social distancing guidelines that have swept the globe but to thrive. “It is entirely possible to have a productive, happy, and accountable team that works remotely,” commented Sousa. “With the right strategies and practices in place, any company can accomplish this shift.”
Implementing Strategies for Accountability
Sousa recognizes that most managers are concerned with their team’s accountability practices outside the office when they are at home and left to their own devices. He offered technological tips for accountability including Hubstaff.com, where employees can check-in when they begin working and when they stop. This time tracker permits management teams to keep track of who is working when they logged in and logged off, and how long they worked.
Sousa also recommended project management tools that permit the visibility and transparency of progress. His team specifically uses Trello. His engineers and technicians use each Trello card to whiteboard their ideas, then make progress that can be tracked in real-time. “When the team can be kept in the loop on what each team member is working on and how progress is going, accountability is at an all-time high,” Sousa reflected. In fact, this type of diligent updating and progress tracking may provide for more productivity than in an in-person, at-home environment.
Sousa also says that comradery amongst the team and a commitment to the company contributes to additional accountability, too. His company encourages this comradery and a sense of teamwork through yearly get-togethers. “We fly all the team members to a location in the South of Europe every winter, provide accommodations, and host a team dinner so everyone gets to know each other in-person,” Sousa said. “They are also permitted to explore and vacation on their own. We’ve found this provides the sense that we are a family, and grants a greater commitment to the team, even if it’s a team member’s first time meeting with the company.”
He also encourages commitment with generous year-end bonuses. “We give an amount up to what they made in the month of November in year-end bonuses,” he shared. “And we give bonuses to brand new team members too — usually around 10 percent of their monthly salary, but it still shows our commitment to them. We believe that investing in our team members in this generous way also builds teamwork and a strong work dynamic.”