As businesses continue to expand globally, we will continue to see an increase in the number of people working in teams made up of geographically dispersed colleagues. Virtual teams with access to suitable collaboration tools and processes that are clear and concise will have the potential to outperform their collocated counterparts. Here are some suggestions on how to effectively manage your virtual team: #1. Be available Over time, virtual workers may begin to feel isolated. This feeling of loneliness can eventually begin to negatively affect their work. Don’t let this emotion overcome your virtual workers. Make sure that you are regularly available. If they have a question or concern, they should be able to get a hold of you, whether it’s through email, telephone, video chat or even an instant message. #2. Schedule regular team and individual meetings Team meetings make it possible for each team member to get a sense of what everyone is working on. This way, no one feels left out of the loop. Virtual team meetings can be easily scheduled through an online meeting tool that allows guests to meet face-to-face. Individual meetings are also important. Having a weekly meeting with each member of your team individually makes it possible for you to check the statuses of their various assignments and also gives you an opportunity to provide any feedback and have more of a personal conversation. #3. Use the best communication technologies There are countless innovative collaboration technologies available in the marketplace. Everything from co-working spaces to online meeting tools make collaborating and communicating with a dispersed team much easier. It’s important that when selecting technology, you make sure it has all of the features you need, is reliable and is compatible with everyone’s schedules and systems. #4. Encourage team bonding Many companies are trying to cut costs, which is one of the reasons virtual teams have become so popular. However, it’s important that your team is given the opportunity to get to know each other. Once or twice a year, try to schedule in-person meetings where the entire team is present in one location. These gatherings can help team members get to know each other better personally and professionally. Nurturing stronger and deeper connections among teammates will help create an effective and highly productive team. #5. Be aware of different time zones With teams members located all over the country, and sometimes the world, it’s important to keep in mind the different time zones each employee lives in. It can prove difficult to find a meeting time convenient for everyone. Change meeting times every week so the same employees are not always waking up early or staying up too late to attend. This will be very much appreciated by your team members. Communication is extremely vital to the success of any team—especially if it’s a dispersed one. Understanding when to communicate and which communication mode to use can help virtual teams effectively collaborate and increase productivity. Images: “International business team over modern urban background/ Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.