Technology has wonderfully eased our living. There was a time when people hardly imagine communicating with people globally. However, today, utilizing electronic devices, they can even think to replace physical office concept with remote work. One of the key reasons for it is the concept and advantages of a virtual team. Also, there are economical, organizational, and other administrative benefits work behind the motivation of working in a virtual team.
What is a virtual team?
A virtual team is a team of people who work independently either in the same office or spread across geographically disparate locations with different time zones. It is a combination of people of varied cultures, expertise, and backgrounds who come together to work on a common target.
Virtual teams in the workplace
To successfully run a virtual team in the workplace initial procedures that every team memberneeds to perform are –
- To Finish profiles
- Setting up an audio-visual system
- To establish virtual networking
- To set up of screen sharing apparatuses
- To set up of video conferencing tool
- To set up a project management framework to measure teamwork efficiency
- To ensure a payment process
Apart from the initial set up, required training and project management process must be confirmed. For example, if needed, the company should arrange for virtual training for the employees.
Management of virtual teams
Managing a virtual team is challenging as it is all about establishing a corporate culture remotely. There are multiple means for managing a virtual team described as below:
- Use of various Project Management tools
One of the primary criteria for managing a virtual team is monitoring due date. Various project management tools like Google Docs work exceptionally well to track delivery timelines along with allocated resources. Additionally, such tools send timely updates and reminders.
Communication is another vital factor in managing a virtual team. In this context, video conferencing is an innovative solution which can leverage the facility of group communication. Different cloud-based collaboration tools are also for this purpose. Such video conferencing is no less than a physical meeting where we can enable to join a hundred people at a time, can do desktop and whiteboard sharing, video and audio recording, and so on.
- Managing a virtual team with overlapped working hour
Since members of a virtual team may work from a different time zone, it is essential to schedule an overlapped time for the meeting. This is required to get a proper update on the assignment. Not only that, as they get united at a particular time of a day, it virtually ensures the fastest problem-solving.
- Use of multiple communication tools
To managing a virtual team, use of various tools for different parts of project activities have unique advantages. Neither it clashes with each other’s functionality, nor it hampers smooth communication.
- Video Calls are always better than Emails and Chatting
With Skype and other video conferencing tools in hand, managing a virtual team with email or chat is not a better choice. Video calls are more approachable since it resolves the clarification fast. Moreover, we can interact with the team on a more individual level.
Benefits of virtual teams
One of the main advantages of virtual team culture from an organization perspective is cost saving. However, that is not the only advantages to it. From individual and corporate culture points of view also it has many benefits.
Since the team works virtually, there is no need for office space. Consequently, it eliminates the cost of electricity, cost of office space, maintenance, etc.
2. Crowd skill
A virtual team may comprise of best talents across the world. So, it opens up too many avenues of excellent talents in a cost-effective approach.
3. Saves time
Another most significant advantages of virtual team culture are optimum utilization of time. Since the communication and coordination in a virtual team are very scheduled and precise, it eliminates unnecessary meetings. This is a great time saver.
4. Freedom of working
Employees enjoy the freedom of working as they can work from home. This comes as advantages of employee level that increases the retention rate. On the other term, it is beneficial for the company too.
5. No cost of traveling
As the employees in virtual team work from home, they are free from the trouble of daily commuting. This is a big reliever and keeps them energetic at work level.
6. Increased productivity
The advantages of virtual team culture are unique where every employee is free from office politics or unhealthy work pressure. Positive work culture increases productivity, which is beneficial for both the company and the employee. Even they can be available 24/7 if needed.
Drawbacks of virtual teams
Though there are many advantages of virtual team culture, it is not perfect. Following are the disadvantages of a virtual team.
1. Dependency on internet and technology
To get their work done, virtual teams depend on internet and computer system, which include software and hardware. So, in case of power failure, malware attacks, or internet issues, the work gets disrupted.
2. Communication gaps
It is an undeniable fact that face to face communication is always better than nonverbal communication. In remote communication, there is a chance of miscommunication. This can easily create a lot of confusions and delay in delivery in the project.
3. Lack of team bonding
Since it is remote and individual work culture, establishing a team culture is difficult. Though team members of a virtual team often communicate with each other during limited meetings. They hardly know each other or share work at the ongoing stage. This may sometimes result in a very weak team.
4. Uneven distribution of information
A virtual team means members are not physically present in one place. So, it is no surprise that if one shares a vital topic to another member, not all will get updates on it if not distributed across the group. Moreover, if such a protocol is already not established, there is a high chance to miss it. At a later point in time, it may create a significant problem.
5. The demographic difference among the team members
Though it is exciting to gather talents from all parts of the world, there are troubles as well. Since the members live in various time zones and belong to different cultures laying the same rules across the team become difficult.
To conclude, for the success of a virtual team, managing a virtual team is a critical criterion. So, proper guidelines and standards should be in place. Additionally, to overcome the drawback mentioned above, a strong communication protocol is an essential medium. However, it is all about dedication which helps one to ace this dynamic virtual team model.
Article Submitted By Community Writer