There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the way we work. Many workplaces have discovered that they can have a high-performing team in a virtual environment, and their overall productivity is thriving.

According to a study by Fuze, 54 percent of workers surveyed said they would move to another company for more flexibility. Seventy-seven percent said they would prefer to work outside of normal hours because they are more productive.

When teams are disengaged, the U.S. economy pays the price at a whopping $500 billion each year. However, high-performing teams with engaged employees can double the annual net income for a company.

Productivity and employee retention should be a top priority in order to keep a healthy work environment. But if your virtual team is still finding its feet in this new frontier, here are the three steps you can start implementing today!

Step 1: Clarify Your Company’s Purpose

Even when distance separates employees, they should all be unified in the purpose. This is not only the company’s purpose, but also the purposes of the team and the individual employees.

Clarity in the purpose ensures that no matter how far apart employees may be, or what schedules they keep throughout the week, they are all cohesive and aligned in that purpose.

This is not necessarily a one-and-done approach, either. Over time, people tend to drift away from alignment. It is important to touch base on a regular basis to reiterate the purpose, KPIs, and any adjustments that need to be made along the way.

Strong communication is an absolute must for successful workplaces, especially in those whose employees don’t see each other face-to-face on a daily basis. More on that below.

Step 2: Develop Technology and Communication Standards

It’s every leader’s worst nightmare: balls getting dropped, disengaged employees, and lost clients. If this feels familiar, chances are you don’t have set systems in place for communication or standards for employees to follow.

Make sure that your company has the technology in place to communicate effectively, including phone systems, video cameras, and the right apps to manage their workflows.

Establish minimum standards for communication, such as replying to interoffice chats or calls within an hour or emails to clients within 24 hours. When employees know what is expected of them and have the right tools available to them, they are more likely to thrive in a virtual environment.

Step 3: Close the Gaps with Effective Remote Team Activities

Don’t forget to bring some fun into the fundamentals with remote team activities. After all, human beings thrive when there is rapport and strong relationship between team members, including leaders. According to a study by Kenexa Research, one of the fundamental needs employees have for better productivity is socialization. In fact, they reported that social interactions outside of the workplace could directly influence performance within the workplace by as much as 50 percent.

Distance can make these social interactions a challenge, especially if employees are sprinkled throughout the U.S. or even the world. Setting up a chat channel at work such a Zoom, Slack, or Yammer can incorporate more authentic experiences for meetings, “water cooler chats,” and virtual happy hours.

Culture Innovations can help you transform your workforce to create a high-performing team in a virtual environment. Our consultants have the experience and know-how to take your team from one that’s functioning to one that’s absolutely spectacular.

Contact us today!