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Best practices for running a virtual company

03/20/2020

Best practices for running a virtual company

The Work from Home (WFH) movement is upon us. Going virtual can definitely take some getting used to, but having a few best practices handy can make the transition to cyberspace a little easier. 

We checked in with our Leadership team here at Traction® Tools to get their advice on running a company without the whole ‘in-person’ thing—here’s what we learned.

Stay connected through instant messaging systems

Sometimes instant messaging (IM) systems are the best way to communicate promptly with your coworkers while also beating feelings of isolation through a shared sense of unity. Apps like Slack and Ryver allow for instant messaging and organization all in one system, so that you can get the answers you need quickly while also bonding with your teammates through more casual communication. 

In the Traction Tools family, we value feeling connected to our workmates so we carved out virtual spaces to have some fun. By creating non-work-related channels within these IM systems such as the watercooler, pets, book recs and team kudos, we’re able to build camaraderie while working virtually. You better believe we’re getting our healthy dose of laughs throughout the day. ????

Maintain regular daily routines 

During a time that feels anything but regular, it’s important to maintain regular routines as much as possible. For example, wearing what you would normally wear to work and designating an in-home workspace can help make your days feel more legit.

Pro tip: Don’t designate your bed as your office—it never works.

Check that every team member has what they need

In order for virtual teams to be productive and sustainable, each team member needs this one major essential: sufficient, speedy internet service—and don’t forget a backup—to keep your company up and running. 

You also can expect that not everyone will be the same level of “tech-savvy”. To level-set, write how-to guides or provide links to “how-to” videos for all of the new digital systems your team will be expected to use. This way, your tech bases are covered and your team can go about their business comfortably.

Bottom line: make sure everyone is outfitted with the bare necessities, and going virtual will be way more manageable!

Conduct efficient video meetings

You have to run a video meeting; now, how do you prepare for it? Here are some guidelines we like to follow at Traction Tools:

  1. Make sure everyone’s video camera is actually turned on. When you can see a person and read their body language, you’ll know whether or not that person is fully engaged in the meeting. 
  2. Speaking of being engaged, shut off all other distractions and be present in the meeting. Being at home doesn’t give you permission to scroll Instagram during a video conference! Show your focus by positioning your webcam to keep good eye contact with other contributors. 
  3. Also, efficiency is key here, so assign participant roles—like leader and note-taker—to keep things on track. 

Extra tip: Try not to mute your microphone whenever possible, because it can send the message that you’re not completely involved (unless you have some unavoidable, unpleasant background noise—then please, for the sake of the team, mute that mic!)

P.S. Virtual doesn’t mean impossible. We’re all in this together.

Hayley Parr

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