The 2 Tools You Need To Run
An Amazing Virtual Team
Running a virtual team is sometimes stressful.
Running a virtual team is sometimes stressful. Making sure everything’s running smoothly and people are completing assignments is critical. It’s also tough to keep a pulse check on your team when you’re not in an office, and to throw a little more complexity to the mix, most of you are in different time zones.
It’s important for us to make this work because our goals for the business is to NOT have an office setting. We don’t want to pool people from a small geographic location.
Cathryn and I also live in different states, which means one of us would have to compromise our current lifestyle and uproot.
Therefore, I’m determined to make this work and put together a system that helps us operate rather efficiently.
So how do we run a team of people who are all over the world?
- Allen – NJ
- Cathryn – NY
- Monica – NJ
- Jess – Canada
- Joshua – TX
- Joey – TX
- Nicole – FL
- Alla – Philippines
- Michee – Philippines
- Stefan – Romania
- Raman – India
- Michael & Marisella – NY
There’s two main pieces of Software we use. I’ll break each one down individually and then show how they work together.
I don’t know how anyone runs a virtual team without it. Cathryn and I would use FB Messenger, then we switched to Skype, but this is by far my favorite app we use. It’s incredibly simple to set up, get your entire team into, and create sub-channels for each topic.
Pros of Slack:
- Channel, Sub-Channel, and Group communication (as well as direct messages)
- Very Easy to set up
- Links to phone so you’re never out of the loop
- AMAZING Search
- App & Web Browser versions (I use app)
Cons of Slack:
- It’s ugly, I had to give mine a facelift using this Slack customizer
- HOLY notifications – if you have a small team it’s fine, but a big team you get notifications left and right. I turned all of mine off so I can focus and use the icon to check if someone needs me.
We also use Trello for project and task management. Where slack is a great detail and communication tool, Trello comes in and lets you manage each step of the project or task.
Trello is comprised of channels, boards, and cards.
Boards are for placing specific people in.
Lists are used to track progress.
Cards are used to track tasks.
Pros of Trello:
- Easy to use
- Easy to communicate with team
- Can manipulate the boards/cards to give you the results you want
Cons of Trello:
- It’s lacking features
- Pretty barebones
How To Use Them Together:
Let’s start with Trello. You’ll want to create several boards to keep track of everything.
For us, it’s a board for long-term vision of the company. With all our projects, products, and operations goals inside the board.
Each segment has a dedicated list.
Inside each of the list is a Card.
Each card is specific to a project or product. ie. Inner Circle as a product.
If we open up the card you can see there is a checklist. The checklist is comprised of the big items that need to be worked on before the product is considered 100% completed. This allows a visual representation of what has been done, what needs to be done, and a percentage of how close we are to being completed.
It’s really wonderful when you can login and see everything that is completed without having to constantly ask or follow up.
Once the card is completed and 100% progress has been made, we then move that card to the “Done” list. This helps clean up our Product list and allows us to add other cards as they come up.
The key fundamental part here is that everything is transparent in the company. Everyone on the team know’s what’s being done, when it need to be completed, and where there are any loose ends.
This is important when you’re running a virtual staff because it keeps the business moving forward quickly without having to stop for meeting or calls.
How we use SLACK:
Slack is pretty straight forward, but here are some of the ways I use it to run the team.
Slack is comprised of different Teams so you can do this multiple times, but we’ll just focus on one team right now, BestSelf Co.
The teams have channels and direct messages.
The channels can be open to anyone in the team or closed to a group.
The direct messages can be 1-on-1 or with a group as well.
We break our channels down into topics. A list of our topics can be found here.
I’ll cover some of the key important channels we have that keep our team strong and moving forward.
These 3 are critical for anyone who wants to have a solid growing team that is virtual.
Even though we hardly see one another in person, these channels allow us to build a “culture” virtually. It’s incredibly important because we want our team to feel as if they are a vital piece to the company (which they are)
That means we need to respect their outside lives. Most of the team is part time, and they choose to work for us because of the flexibility they have. They want to experience more time with their children, family, friends. So rather than make it a point to only focus on work, let’s celebrate their time outside of work.
This channel is populated mostly with Gifs- we celebrate the days of the week, how we are feeling, and random things that happen in our lives.
This is where we show pictures of what we are doing on the weekend, with our family, and random in-person meet-ups that we have (yes we do make time to see each other in real life).
This is where you can see people’s personalities shine through. What they think is funny, what they enjoy, and who they really are as a person.
This is an extension of team chat, except we show our animals.
Most of us have pets, and we love them. We take pictures of them sleeping, laying funny, doing funny things, walking on our keyboards while we’re trying to work, laying across our feet.
It’s just a great way to break up the monotony of “work”
When good things happen in the business we need to celebrate right?
That is what everyone is there for. Most of the time we are problem solvers, figuring out ways to improve the system, get things done, or execute more efficiently.
But when good things happen (large or small) they need to be celebrated. We make an effort to celebrate 2 things, team wins, and personal wins.
When the business does something great, we announce it. Like the time Daymond John promoted our product.
When people do great things, maybe they owned a projects, or an task and it went really well. Make sure you tell them. Give them a pat on the back, they deserve it and it goes a long way.
These two tools are great, and will really help anyone building a virtual team run more effectively and smooth.
For a list of all the tools we use to run our company, get that list here: