Strategies for Effective Virtual Group Work
Strategy 1: Bonding
It is very important to bond with group members---to break the ice, post photos, details, etc.---so that team members can know each other personally. It is a good idea to start a forum and discussion group to discuss happenings, events, and interest items. Where there is a failure to bond, there would be a failure to flourish.
Strategy 2: Identify the Tasks
It is a good idea to discuss and identify the tasks at the beginning of the group work. The key is to divide the work and let individual team member’s work on their tasks. Finally, bring together all the work and make sure it blends in. The work should flow and sound as if it was done by one person only. Thus, the writing style and formatting may have to be altered. Get the work checked by all team members, and let them make changes.
Strategy 3: Identify the Tasks with the Bigger Picture Kept in Mind
The tasks need to be done in a way that the bigger picture is kept in mind. The final objective of the group work should not be forgotten about. Thus, delete all irrelevant tasks and perceive tasks that are relevant to the overall objective of the group project.
Strategy 4: Simplification and Breaking of Tasks into Steps
The complexity of the entire group project should be broken down into four to five smaller projects. This should be further divided into two to three steps. Delegate the tasks and set achievable and realistic goals in time frames. The work must be evenly distributed so that there is no resentment among group members. It is a good idea to listen to the requirements and ideas of all team members evenly.
Strategy 5: Coordination
Make sure there is enough time for each group member to complete his or her task. It is a good idea to set out dates on which the virtual group would meet and discuss their findings.
Strategy 6: Communication Plan
It is recommended to define a communication plan and communicate regularly with an instant manager or video chat.
Strategy 7: Talk it out
No matter what the matter is, it is important to be transparent. Transparency and clarity is the key to success in a group work. No matter what the deal or friction is, talk it out and solve the matter.
Strategy 8: Keep Reviewing
Tasks can be poorly defined and vague. Thus, it is a good idea to continuously review the tasks and discuss any misconceptions. After delegation, regular catching up and reviewing of tasks is important.
Strategy 9: Redefining Goals as the Group Work Progresses
Flexibility and adjustments need to be made on a timely basis. The overall goal or objective might need to be changed as the project progresses. The content, purpose, length, complexity, format, and structure all can be altered as the project grows. All goals should be defined in the SMART way, i.e., specific, measured, achievable, reasonable, and time-based. However, there is no need to be rigid.
Strategy 10: Rewards and Bonuses
All group members should have their own tasks for which they are responsible. If done accurately, they should be rewarded in terms of acknowledgement in the form of a group thank you message.