Motivating virtual teams

7 Strategies To Keep Virtual Teams Engaged & Motivated

Virtual teams have become crucial to various industries as the world evolves and technology advances – including healthcare. The rise of remote work has given way to virtual medical assistants, who have become invaluable assets for healthcare providers who need additional support without the extra overhead.

Having and managing virtual team members can bring many benefits, but it also presents unique challenges that most practice leaders must be aware of. Often located on the other side of the world, these remote professionals work when people around them are asleep and in isolation. These factors can easily foster a sense of disconnection from the practice they work for.

The challenge is keeping them engaged and motivated despite the geographical differences, which can be resolved by implementing the following strategies:

1. Establish Channels & Processes For Effective Communication

Clear and efficient communication is the lifeline of a successful virtual team [1]. When team members are across different locations, it becomes critical to establish robust communication channels and processes to ensure everyone is on the same page. Regular conferences, team meetings, and individual check-ins greatly enhance personal connections and strengthen team morale.

In addition, incorporating collaboration tools and project management software can help achieve effective virtual team communication. These essential tools allow a seamless exchange of messages, optimized file sharing, and real-time updates.

By promoting active and inclusive dialogue, team members will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. This leads to a greater sense of belonging and teamwork, ultimately contributing to the practice’s overall success.

2. Communicate Clear Expectations & Goals

For virtual team members to thrive, it’s critical to clarify each member’s roles, responsibilities, and expectations. By doing so, virtual team members can avoid feeling lost, frustrated, and unmotivated. Practice leaders should also define measurable goals and communicate them effectively to the team.

Setting clear expectations can increase motivation because it gives virtual team members a concrete awareness of their ideal direction and purpose. Moreover, practice leaders must provide virtual staff with the resources and information they need to succeed in their roles.

By aligning the team’s progress with established goals, leaders can promote progress and accomplishment, and motivation levels will also soar. Collectively, these will lead to successful outcomes for the team and the practice.

3. Encourage Collaboration & Team Building

The isolation that virtual teams are prone to can negatively impact their engagement with the team and motivation for work. Promoting collaboration among team members is essential to alleviate the odds of these from happening. To do so, practice leaders can initiate virtual team-building activities like online workshops or brainstorming sessions because these cultivate relationships and camaraderie. These can also create a feeling of ownership and involvement in the team’s objectives.

Practice leaders can also motivate their teams by spearheading cross-department collaboration for specific tasks so everyone knows where they fit in the grand scheme. To support this, practice leaders can leverage virtual whiteboards and online workspaces.

In essence, leaders must foster a positive and inclusive work environment where team members can support and celebrate each other’s achievements. This will build strong working relationships and reinforce the value of teamwork and shared success.

4. Open Opportunities for Growth and Development

Developing the professional growth of virtual teams is integral to retaining their motivation and commitment over the long haul. To accomplish this, leaders should provide training programs, webinars, or online courses to enrich the skills and knowledge of their team members. These opportunities can hone their technical savvy, refine their soft skills, or deepen their industry-specific expertise.

In addition to training programs, creating a culture of knowledge sharing and peer learning is also something that practice leaders need to consider. One example of this strategy is having experienced team members provide mentoring and coaching to guide and support new ones within the team.

For virtual teams to progress, practice leaders must lay out a clear growth path that reinforces the significance of personal and professional growth. This path will also give virtual team members the direction they need to reach their full potential and maintain traction.

5. Uphold Work-Life Balance

From the perspective of virtual medical assistants, remote work offers the benefit of keeping bread on the table without the added stress and cost of daily commuting. However, managing a work-life balance can be challenging as the boundary between their personal and professional life can become as narrow as the distance between their bed and work desk.

Practice leaders can help alleviate this by setting realistic expectations and deadlines so virtual team members won’t need to work beyond office hours. Leaders can also empower them to set boundaries and prioritize self-care, emphasizing the value of taking breaks and utilizing their time off.

Trust and collaboration thrive when team members feel supported and cared for. By demonstrating a genuine concern for virtual team members’ overall well-being, practice leaders create a supportive work environment where everyone is motivated and productive.

6. Recognize and Appreciate Accomplishments

Letting virtual team members know their work and efforts don’t go unnoticed is vital in ensuring their enthusiasm and commitment. With this in mind, practice leaders need to celebrate milestones, give credit where it’s due for exceptional performance, and publicly recognize the contributions of virtual team members. Doing so is a morale booster and encourages the team to give their best.

Another effective approach to this strategy is establishing a peer-to-peer recognition system that allows team members to celebrate each other’s successes and offer positive feedback. In addition, practice leaders can organize virtual recognition events to reward team members for their tireless efforts.

Building a culture of appreciation can do more than increase motivation among virtual teams – it also has the power to strengthen relationships among team members. This ultimately creates a workplace where support, accountability, and inclusion are evident.

7. Create a Positive Workplace Culture

Yet another way of maintaining team motivation and engagement is by building a positive work culture. To do so, practice leaders must promote open communication, trust, and transparency among team members. Additionally, they should cultivate an environment that values diverse viewpoints from team members, all of whom play an integral role in pushing the practice forward.

Besides professional collaboration, practice leaders must also encourage team members to engage with one another socially. Promoting virtual social interactions like coffee breaks or casual chats through virtual offices [2] can mirror the standard in-office setup, bringing both remote and in-person teams closer despite their physical distance.

A culture will inevitably develop within an organization whether or not practice leaders actively try to build it. However, they have the power to shape it for the better. Even with the significant distance between virtual and in-person teams, a strong culture can help bridge the gap, foster a harmonious working relationship, and maintain a progressive outlook for everyone involved.

Despite being a relatively new staffing approach, virtual team members, like virtual medical assistants, bring significant advantages that boost the growth of healthcare practices and keep them ahead of the competition. However, it’s important to recognize the potential challenges associated with managing them, which is making sure they feel included and motivated despite their working conditions

We at My Mountain Mover understand culture’s significance in ensuring the optimal performance and well-being of virtual medical assistants. Our top-notch talents thrive in a culture of work-life balance, efficiency, integrity, and familial relationships so they can seamlessly adapt to practices with varying needs.

Book a 10-minute discovery call today to learn more.

[1] “Improving Communication in a Virtual Workplace”
[2] “4 Benefits of Virtual Offices for Remote Teams”