A Quick Guide to Virtual Teams
Published Sept 26, 2021
Since 2020, virtual teams and remote teams had become the norm. The pandemic forced many of us to participate in the world’s largest work-from-home venture, completely dissolving the thought of traditional teams.
This past year has been a massive experiment in which communication technology and human resources have been tested. Additionally, our concept of a work-life balance was challenged.
Understanding the Concept of Virtual Teams
Virtual teams, also referred to as widely dispersed teams or remote teams, are a collection of individuals who communicate via online communication tools. Global virtual team members are typically spread across multiple geographic zones. Due to the fact that communication takes place virtually, effective communication and trust are critical to the success of virtual teams.
Different Types Of Virtual Teams
As was said, it is crucial to build trust, improve the team’s communication, and virtual teamwork in order to develop successful virtual teams. Additionally, knowledge sharing is important to the success of a virtual workforce. This is especially critical in light of the current decline in in-person engagement.
It is possible to create various types of virtual teams, depending on the virtual team members’ lifespan, goals, and duties. Six of the most common are listed below.
1. Networked Teams
These teams are composed of individuals with various skills who contribute their experience and knowledge to a particular subject or project. Membership is optional. There are times that remote workers come and go once their roles are fulfilled.
2. Parallel Teams
These are temporary teams formed to accomplish a specific task. Their members are typically coworkers from the same organization who provide process or system recommendations.
3. Product Development Teams
These are virtual teams formed with the objective of creating a new product, system, or process.
4. Service Teams
Each member of a service team works independently, as they are frequently located in various time zones.
5. Management Teams
A virtual management team’s members collaborate on organizational strategy and day-to-day management concerns. It’s comparable to having a co-located management team.
6. Action Team
Usually, action teams are made up of temporary members. They are formed to address an immediate issue and then disbanded after the issue is resolved.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Virtual Teams
Mastering virtual teams can be challenging for those accustomed to working in co-located teams.
Virtual teams preclude water-cooler interactions and unplanned coffee breaks. Additionally, they prohibit in-person or break-time brainstorming meetings. This requires us to change our methods of work and improve our team collaboration.
However, is the effort required to adapt our teams and systems to remote work worth it?
Consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of virtual teams.
Remote employees consider the elimination of commutes, cost savings, and the ability to spend more time with their families as the top benefits of virtual teams.
Additionally, virtual employees report decreased stress and anxiety, as well as enhanced mental and physical wellness. This is all critical to the effectiveness of virtual teams.
Likewise, people view the ability to travel, work, or relocate as a perk of working in a virtual team, along with the absence of office politics.
As per GitLab research, 52% of virtual employees claim they are more productive with the company culture of remote work, and 48% believe they are more efficient.
Finally, remote employment opportunities exist for individuals with impairments or chronic illnesses, who account for 14% of the virtual workforce.
As with anything, managing virtual teams provides some unique problems.
One of the most significant is the increased reliance on technology for virtual communication and work management. While technological faults are unavoidable, they can cause delays and inconveniences during the workday, which may push members to meet in person.
Members of virtual teams rarely get the opportunity to have a face-to-face interaction. This can result in miscommunication and an inability to collaborate effectively.
Virtual team managers also face difficulties with virtual leadership. This is especially true if your virtual staff does not possess strong communication skills, making it hard for the virtual team leader to understand different situations.
Building A Virtual Team In Three Steps
If you’re ready to begin establishing your virtual team, these three steps will get you started.
1. Begin with the ideal individuals
The most effective method of assembling the ideal people for your virtual team is to start from scratch. First, you can screen individuals for suitability using behavioral interviewing and personality tests.
Several characteristics to look for in virtual team members include the following:
- Emotional intelligence
- Superior communication skills
- Autonomy in their professional lives
- Sensitivity to cultures different than one’s own
If you are managing the team, examine the members’ strengths and weaknesses. After that, develop a training program to close any gaps.
2. Select the appropriate size
Small teams of approximately three to five persons are more efficient in general.
Additionally, they are more manageable ad easier to collate for a virtual meeting, so try separating them into smaller sub-teams if you have a large team.
3. Ensure that roles and duties are clearly defined.
Ascertain that your virtual team members understand their own duties and responsibilities, as well as the duties of their teammates.
Virtual teams can benefit both distant employees and companies. This is especially true if you understand how to avoid or lessen the primary difficulties associated with running them. You may also do a monthly check on your virtual team performance to ensure everyone in the group is functioning well.
Building a virtual team begins with selecting the appropriate team members. Then it’s simply a matter of promoting clear and open communication in a trusting setting in the virtual world.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn is an SEO Specialist and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She started her professional career as a writer for various digital magazines and renowned publications. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.