Everything About Virtual Business Teams and Their Success

Virtual teams are the present and the future. Millions of people are working as a part of a virtual team right now as the world is slowly leaving the pandemic behind. However, such digital teams are here to stay in the future as well, all thanks to their efficiency and all kinds of advantages. Previously, businesses rarely operated virtually, and only certain employees or teams were able to work remotely. Today, such a working pattern is a norm. More and more companies are switching to virtual operation or incorporating some of the most convenient features at least. With technological advancements, digital operations will be here for a while, and they will only get better.

What Is a Virtual Team?

A virtual team is not a party in a fantasy video game. Virtual teams are business teams where employees communicate and collaborate using digital solutions and the Internet. A virtual team can include workers that operate from both home and office, located in the same country or on the other continent. The main idea is that no matter where people are, they can still join a video call over the Internet and work fruitfully on their projects.

This is not a new trend as such cooperation was developed even before the pandemic. However, many businesses started incorporating virtual teams massively in 2021. That year, more than 65% of employees in the US were benefiting from virtual collaboration at least once a week.

Numerous businesses realized just how beneficial virtual work is for their current operation and expansion. For this reason, it is safe to say that more virtual teams will be created in the future.

Various Kinds of Virtual Teams

When it comes to creating virtual teams, it is important to gather the right people together. Each team must perform a certain function or work on a specific project. Of course, employees can create separate virtual teams on their own for co-working, but companies should build specific teams based on certain requirements. This is crucial not only for the efficient operation of a company but for the workers themselves as many people lack proper communication today because of remote work. Here are a few of the most popular kinds of virtual teams:

  • Teams for networking – these are teams that feature people with a variety of skills and different knowledge. Such teams are multipurpose and can be beneficial for everyone. They are also very flexible and allow new members to come and go all the time.
  • Parallels – when a certain project is ongoing, it is beneficial to create at least two teams working alongside each other. This way, they will be able to brainstorm ideas and share their experience while working towards the same goal.
  • Developing products – when products and services need to be created from scratch, a special development team might be formed to work on this specific task.
  • Servicing team – all the team members can work on their own in this one as most of them are located in various time zones.
  • Managers – these teams include managers of one company that operate in different countries or time zones. Such employees form a team to discuss higher-level management conveniently.
  • Action groups – if there is an emergency, an action team can be formed. Such teams are created solely to respond to specific issues that arise. They exist for a short time and are suspended as soon as the issue is solved.

As you can see, there are many different types of virtual teams. Picking a fitting digital team for your specific case directly influences its efficiency and the success of a project.

Creating Digital Teams

If you are unsure about where to start with your virtual team, you can follow this easy guide. It takes a few simple steps to have a digital team nice and ready to work. Here is what you need to do.

  1. Choose the Right Employees for the Team

To select the most suitable workers for a virtual team, you will need to create a group from the beginning. It is possible to find fitting candidates for working in a remote team by evaluating employees via an interview or by looking at their experience. Some of the qualities that you will need to look for include:

  • Flexibility
  • Compassion
  • The ability to work independently
  • Willingness to embrace other cultures and learn about them
  • Great communication skills

When it comes to skills and abilities, you can form teams with people that complement each other. This is one of the key benefits of virtual teams as you can bring employees together and benefit from their strong sides while minimizing weaknesses.

  1. Select the Best Size for Your Team

It is usually advised to settle with smaller digital teams. A perfect team should consist of about 3 to 5 employees. Such groups are proven to be more efficient than large teams that are tricky to manage. If you end up with a bigger team, you can always divide it into a few smaller groups.

  1. Define Responsibilities Clearly

It is crucial that each team member has their specific responsibilities and knows them. It is also important to know the roles of other employees in your team and avoid carrying out tasks that are outside of your personal responsibilities. This way, everyone will have a clear role, and the workflow will remain efficient.

Taking the Leaning Role in Virtual Teams

Much like with any other business team, there are certain challenges that managers can face. In addition, working with virtual teams requires a special approach. To guarantee productivity and overall satisfaction among your team members, you can make use of the following simple tips.

  1. Always Communicate

Communication is the key to any kind of teamwork. Talk to your team members regularly to keep up with all the issues and questions. One of the best ways of ensuring smooth communication is having regular meetings. Being a part of a digital team, it becomes incredibly simple to meet with all the other employees online via specialized software. Facilitating communication is one of the key objectives of a good manager.

  1. Work with the Necessary Software and Tools

It is essential to incorporate the right software and digital tools to help your workflow. There are special programs and platforms for managers, which make it easier to keep track of all the tasks and team members. Using appropriate messaging and video conferencing programs is also important. It is best to choose multifunctional software to cover most of your needs instead of installing many different applications.

  1. Create Trustworthy Relationships

It is, of course, desirable to build reliable and trusty relationships with all your colleagues, but it is extremely important for managers. Being a team leader, it is necessary to gain the trust of all your employees and team members for productive work together. Usually, it does not take a lot to be in good relations with your colleagues. You just need to be open and sincere in everything you do or say. Make sure that your virtual team members know that they could trust you and rely on you in any circumstances. Provide your assistance when it is necessary. It is also important to make sure that all the workers are in good relations with each other. Only when team members are open to communication and trust each other, you can expect effective and fruitful collaboration. If you want to strengthen your bonds, you can benefit from some team-building games and other activities. They are also possible for virtual teams as it is simple to communicate online and play digital games.

  1. Pick Achievable Goals

Assist team members with selecting proper objectives for their work. Help with the goals when necessary as achieving certain objectives is essential for enhancing motivation and moving forward. Ensure that everyone knows about the main goals of the project and the objective set before each team member.

  1. Offer the Necessary Support

One of the drawbacks of working virtually is the loneliness that comes with it. While there are tons of benefits to working in the office, people might still feel lonely from time to time. In this scenario, it is important to provide support and make sure that your colleagues know that they are not alone. To support your team members, you can offer one-on-one chats when necessary.

  1. Provide Feedback

Providing feedback regularly is important for many reasons. Firstly, offering regular feedback ensures that everyone stays on track and that all the goals are met efficiently. Secondly, good feedback always makes people happy, proud, and encouraged. This is what increases everyone’s motivation to continue working and achieving new goals.

  1. Look Out for Your Colleagues

While virtual collaboration might be challenging mentally, it is also important to remember about physical health. Make sure that your employees are not overworking and have the time to rest. Distributing the workload evenly is also a crucial task for a manager. If any of your team members need assistance with some personal and health-related issues, try to offer help if possible.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Teams

Just like any other format of work, digital teams have their strengths and weaknesses. There are numerous advantages when it comes to choosing virtual teams over traditional business teams, which is why this solution is so popular today. Here are some of the key benefits of creating virtual teams for your company:

  • Fewer expenses – when working at the office, there are tons of expenditures. You need to pay for the space, electricity, etc. Virtual collaboration means that all employees in a digital team work remotely from their homes or any other place. This is a nice solution for startups and smaller businesses.
  • Flexible scheduling – remote work offers great flexibility for both managers and other team members. It becomes easier to balance your personal life and work as you are not spending hours on a commute to the office.
  • Enhanced productivity – it has been proven that employees working remotely demonstrate better productivity. This has to do with less time spent traveling and overall increased satisfaction.
  • Working round the clock – having day and night shifts at a company is not a good idea for the well-being of your workers. However, virtual collaboration allows having teams in different time zones. This way, all teams can operate during the day because the time zones allow making a 24-hour shift.
  • More potential employees – thanks to digital solutions, it is possible to find talented workers anywhere in the world and not only in your area. With virtual teams, you have a chance of discovering some of the best specialists in the field.

These are some of the main benefits of digital teams but not all of them. New possibilities continue to emerge every day. As for the disadvantages, here are some of the cons of working with a virtual team:

  • Technical problems – as virtual teams fully rely on hardware, software, and Internet connection to work, any malfunctions can disrupt the workflow. Whether there is an issue with the Internet or one of the programs is not working, it can affect the work of the entire team.
  • Problems with communication – of course, it is important to work on convenient communication, but with virtual teams, messaging services are often used. It is simple to convey your thoughts and ideas via video chat, but there might be some misunderstandings when using text messages.
  • Issues with bonding – when working in an office environment, team members tend to bond while working on a project. Building trusty relationships with colleagues is good for efficient collaboration. With digital cooperation, such bonding can be more challenging.
  • Difficulties with management – it is more difficult to manage digital teams than groups of people working in one room. Even with a great manager, the other team members might not be used to such a format of work at first.

When thinking of creating a virtual team for your company or a specific project, it is crucial to consider the pros and cons of such a decision. However, the advantages in this case truly outweigh the potential disadvantages.

Picking Software for Virtual Teams

Virtual teams require special technology to be able to work efficiently. Here is how you can choose the right options:

  • Consider your needs – with each project, various software might be needed. Discuss your requirements with the team.
  • Choose accessible software – it is important to pick user-friendly technical solutions so that they are accessible to everyone and easy to integrate.
  • Install special tools for communication – apart from the specific technical solutions needed for the project, you should find convenient communication software first. This can include a video conferencing program and a messenger.

Half of the success is providing the right tools for virtual collaboration. As soon as you have all the necessary programs and equipment, your team will be able to provide better results. Through efficient and convenient collaboration, you can achieve your business goals much easier. Invest in comfortable communication and focus on reaching all the necessary goals one by one.