Although we’re moving to a more permanent location we’ve been in love with being a virtualized and distributed team for quite a while and we’ll continue to do that with our out-of-state staff.
It’s tough though, that’s for sure, to stay on task at times and to make sure that everyone is in-sync with the what we’re doing so we use things like SocialCast for our community management and as well as tasks on occasion. It’s like a digital watercooler back there at times!
And of course we have to deal with such oddities as figuring out where you put the required “unemployment insurance notice” for a virtual team!
Well, Matt shared a bit recently over in FastCo about how the Automattic team gets their stuff done and provides some thoughts on how to be “on best behavior” in virtual meetings. A nugget that I particularly like is this:
Text-based chatting platforms like Gchat can be convenient, but words alone can distort messages. “Yeah, thanks” often becomes “That’s fine, now buzz off.” Since you don’t have an audible tone of voice when chatting online, it’s important to be extra sensitive and complimentary when giving feedback. Says Mullenweg: “If you’re too short or curt, people generally assume the worst.”
I have found this to be 100% true when living in our digital world as “short and sweet” text messages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, iMessage, SMS, and more can be dramatically taken out of context and pave the wave for negative assumption.
I have learned personally to follow-up with something as simple as a smiley face after something just so people know that whatever was said was done from a positive place. Something this simple is incredibly effective.
Virtual meetings and building a business on virtual employees can be tough – but it can be done and obviously the result can be magical. Read Matt’s other tips here via FastCo.