Livia Jenvey | October 1, 2018
In our Global Economy many companies had taken the advantage of technology to create virtual or remote workforces. These virtual or remote workforces can span from individuals with working in various time zones around the country and world. The advantages of this work force model are two fold for both companies and employees.
For companies it allows them the ability to have a global workforce, lower overhead cost by not having office buildings, and the advantage to recruit diverse talent. For an employee is it allows them schedule flexibility, freedom and control to work their own work hours, and the ability to work anywhere/anytime.
The biggest disadvantage however, is teams that don’t meet in person, can easily loose connection. If an employee thinks they are the ‘lone wolf’, working alone at their job, their level of performance will be low. If not addressed, this low performance can lead to missed deadlines or worse customers and profit losses.
If you manage a virtual or remote team, one of the key things to constantly make sure of, is preventing team members thinking they are a “lone wolf”. One tip that I use with clients in helping them combat this before it causes harm is an exercise called the Sandbox Approach.
The Sandbox Approach works something like a good old-fashioned sandbox of our younger years. Where kids on the recess would go to the sandbox to play where they can connect with their fellow school friends. Like this old-fashioned sandbox you want to create a way for your team to have a Virtual Sandbox to play in.
How to do this is:
1. Select A Virtual Tool
Choose any one of the many different online team collaboration tools out there now such as Slack, Trello, Basecamp, etc.
2. Create You Sandbox Space
Create a ‘virtual sandbox’ space on the tool for your team to connect and share ideas.
3. Set Ground Rules
Set some ground rules first to make sure things don’t get out of hand in the sandbox. This should be rules such as contribution needs to be positive, no negative language or pictures, and that daily.
4. Create Theme
Choose themes or ideas to have the team contribute to, anything that will help you team feel engaged and excited to contribute the Virtual Sandbox.
5. Add Some Competitive Fun
Add Competition to make it lively. You can even make it competitive with awarding prizes to the person that has the best ideas, etc. This will help keep the team connected in a fun way and help each team member know that they are not the ‘lone wolf’ working out there alone.
Try this exercise today in creating a Virtual Sandbox to help your virtual or remote team(s) stay connected and productive!
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