Virtual teams are becoming more and more common in the workforce. They allow teams to collaborate without being co-located, which is very useful when hiring people who are not easy to find locally.
Virtual team setups can be done in two ways: employees will work from their homes or work at a central office with telecommuting workers. The first option is called a distributed team, and the second is called blended teaming.
Distributed teams tend to have higher rates of employee engagement than traditional offices. Still, there’s also some evidence that these groups suffer from lower productivity because it’s difficult for people who live far away from each other to meet up as often or as quickly by email or videoconference.
Blended teams combine the advantages of both – employees are allowed to work from home and meet up regularly.
What Is A Virtual Team?
A virtual team is a group of people who function in a cooperative, collaborative and coordinated way to achieve common goals.
Virtual teams are groups that operate together without needing to be co-located or placed within the same physical environment at all times.
Many businesses have started moving towards this model in recent years because it allows them to access resources outside their local area or country without paying for travel frequently.
The concept has become very popular because it lets people find talent outside their immediate vicinity and gives individuals more flexibility to structure their lives.
The defining feature of virtual teams is that the team members do not work in the exact location. This means that they don’t always meet face to face for regular meetings or daily communication but instead use more advanced technology like video conferencing, teleconferencing, instant messaging, and virtual whiteboards.
However, some physical interaction is still required from time to time if the team wants to come together and update on a project or discuss the next steps. People can also be co-located with others within their group, so there are no rules for being based in one spot or another.
The Four Types Of Virtual Teams
To help those thinking about adding a remote or virtual team member, we’ve outlined four different types of these teams. Keep in mind that some people fall into multiple categories at once.
1) The “Always On” Type: This type of worker has embraced the digital age and its benefits – 24/7 accessibility – creating an always-connected lifestyle and never needing to step outside their home office setting.
2) The “Occasional Team Meetings” Type: These individuals enjoy the freedom of working remotely but also find value in the occasional office meeting or social event. They would work at home and at the same time they feel that these types of gatherings help them connect with co-workers better.
3) The “I maintain a Face-To-Face Schedule” Type: These workers tend to enjoy their time away from the office as much as possible and typically try to stick to it because it helps them stay focused when they’re not having distractions like pop-up messages being shared within their company’s communication platform.
4) The “Constant Communication” Type: This is one of the biggest challenges for virtual teams because they are always on call, even when taking personal or vacation time. This can be frustrating for employees who are not always on their devices, which means that the workload only gets shared among a few people, and it is challenging to juggle the high demands of their job with outside commitments.
Now that you have an idea of what a team looks like when working remotely, there are some benefits to having these types of virtual teams in place. Still, before we get into them it is important to understand why companies choose this type of structure rather than keeping everyone working out of the same building.
Why Choose To Build A Virtual Team For Your Business?
There are many reasons why businesses choose to build a virtual team, and the first one is quite simple. It reduces overhead costs.
Here’s how it works: if you have an office of 50 people in San Francisco, but only ten employees go into that building on any given day, then your office space may be costing you money – even when those desks sit empty! If those other 40 workers could work from their homes instead or a co-working space, companies can save thousands of dollars per month for the same level of productivity.
But there’s another significant advantage to this model: most jobs will require certain software applications. By working with a distributed team or remote staff members, you can access experts who might otherwise be out of the question.
For example, let’s say you have an open position for a graphic designer, but your regular team members are located in San Francisco, CA, and the best candidate lives in New York City. In this scenario, your company would probably hire the candidate because she had better credentials and experience than any local applicant.
But with a virtual team, it’s not a problem even if that applicant lived on another continent!
Of course, not every job will have these exact requirements for finding specialists or candidates outside the organization. Still, it is essential to understand that there is potential to find more talent with this type of virtual team structure.
Keeping preferences like this in mind before hiring can make a big difference for your company, and it is why so many businesses have made the switch to remote employment.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Remote Team?
1) You can find people with the right skills to fit your needs, rather than being stuck with just what you can find locally or regionally. All of the time zones are open and always working, so it’s easy for someone to schedule a meeting any time of the day, no matter where they happen to be located. People living abroad are especially drawn to virtual teams because they have an opportunity to explore other cultures without leaving home. They are also able to spend more time with their families.
2) People have more control over their schedules – popular among those who enjoy this remote environment because it gives them more freedom over when and how they work.
3) It’s easier for companies to avoid a costly office and surrounding infrastructure that many businesses aren’t necessarily ready or willing to invest in fully, which can save money in the long run.
4) As technology continues to get more affordable and accessible, it opens the door for many people who would otherwise stay in their local market because of family reasons or other responsibilities that don’t allow them to be constantly on call. This opens up the field and creates more diversity within your workforce than someone may expect from a traditional office setting.
5) It’s often easier to find more passionate people about their work and willing to embrace the changes needed to succeed in this type of virtual environment.
6) It’s an excellent opportunity to build and maintain relationships with those who can be valuable assets even if they aren’t full-time employees. This is especially true in sales roles, where someone might spend much more time prospecting for new business than they do closing deals.
What Are The Challenges Of Building A Virtual Team?
1) It’s not always easy for everyone on the team to adjust if they’ve worked at an office before, so this new way of doing things can take some adjusting for those who don’t enjoy working alone all day.
2) Technical issues can crop up quickly, which means that it’s essential to have someone on hand who is experienced with the software tools you are using.
3) Without a physical space to meet in, team members may feel isolated and lonely because they don’t see their teammates as frequently as they would like. This could lead to stifled communications and misunderstandings.
4) It can be difficult for people working at home who are accustomed to all of the distractions that come with working from home because these tools need to be “unplugged” when meetings do occur, or else everyone will be distracted by irrelevant conversations going on around them.
5) When everyone is remote, there needs to be constant communication so that assignments are completed, and deadlines are met, which can be challenging if the biggest complainers in your company happen to be those who dread this form of communication.
6) If you have a team member whose identity is solely tied to their job title, then they may find that when they work remotely, it’s harder to let others know what it is that they do since there isn’t an official position or cubicle where people can see them working each day.
7) It’s even more challenging to get everyone together in an emergency than it would be with traditional offices because everyone needs to take time off from work and might need transportation. After all, many employees live too far away from one another for daily commutes.
What Are Some Tips For Building An Effective Virtual Team?
1) Ensure that all team members have access to the same equipment or software, whether creating a budget for these tools or giving them their own if they own their businesses. This will make meetings much more effective and less frustrating in the long run.
2) To maintain constant communication, it’s essential to set up regular meetings at certain times of each week and always stick to these meeting times so that everyone can be on time and prepared for what is being discussed.
3) It is also vital that some rules in place give you alone time to keep distractions away but still provide some flexibility with scheduling so that everyone can feel comfortable attending the meetings promptly.
4) You need to ensure that everyone understands their responsibilities for specific projects, which means having team-wide conversations about each project before they begin working on them. This will help avoid conflicts as well as misunderstandings further down the road.
5) Team members located far from one another should have designated “meet up” times every so often, whether this is once per month or once per year is really up to you but having these scheduled get-togethers can be very beneficial for your team over time. These can serve as training sessions where new tools are learned, and issues are discussed openly among all of the employees and not just those who happen to work closely with one another.
6) Finally, it’s vital that each team member takes ownership over something so that everyone is involved in all parts of the process and not just a few people who get to do most of the work. If one person doesn’t seem to be pulling their weight, you have to let them know this but try not to publicly handle it because this only creates more problems than it resolves.
Enjoyed this article? Learn more about virtual teams management here: Managing Virtual Teams [The Ultimate Guide] and here: Managing Successful Virtual Teams – 6 Tactics For Success
These are some tips for building an effective virtual team that can help your business achieve great success and progress without having any physical space to share with your colleagues.
However, when you use these tips, you’ll see far more excellent results from your business than if you choose not to follow them at all. Since you already know that working from home can be very difficult at times, why not give yourself every chance possible for success and use these tips to help you build a team dedicated to improving your company over time.
When you do this, you’ll find that each virtual team member is invaluable and deserves the financial compensation they’re receiving for all of their hard work throughout development to move the business forward.