What is a Virtual Team?
A virtual team is a group of people that while working together on one or various projects, do so from various geographic locations throughout the world. Individuals working in a virtual team generally do not work face-to-face, but use technology to facilitate direction and communication – most often provided online via the web.
A virtual team may have a number of remotely located team members dotted across the globe. The virtual team can be made of people working from different locations, time zones and cultures. As an example a team may come to together to complete a marketing project. The team leader maybe located in the United States, while the research team could be located in Australia and the design team working from India. They all come together as a virtual team with one desired outcome.
Q. Just because you bring a bunch of people together in an online space, does it mean they are automatically going to operate as a united virtual team? A. May SURPRISE you.
How does a Virtual Team Communicate?
A virtual team will interact using a variety of communication channels. Available technologies close the boundaries that timezones and geographic locations bring.
Online Meeting Facilities – Online tools like ShowMyPC Meetings and Remote Support enable virtual teams to meet and collaborate together.
Video Conferencing – Platforms like Skype, ShowMyPC Meetings and Remote Support allow people to meet face-to-face without being in the same location.
Collaboration Tools – Online collaboration workrooms, enable virtual teams to organise tasks, track progress and communicate with each other. Social Media is another platform closing the gap for online virtual teams and remote workers.
Instant Messaging, Email and Phone Conferencing – are also tools, easily accessed by virtual teams.
Check out some other cool tools here: http://virtualteamintelligence.com/virtual-team-tools/15-x-handy-little-tools-for-remote-virtual-workers-virtual-teams/
Key Benefits to Working With A Virtual Team
While working virtually does bring its challenges (for another discussion) there are many benefits. Especially with a workforce that is now demanding greater flexibility. What does a Virtual Team provide for that a typical face-to-face team won’t? Here are just 3 key benefits …
- Ability to draw on the expertise of people from every location across the globe. Giving you a greater talent pool to draw from.
- Potential reduction in costs in relation to office space, commuting, travel expense etc. Using offshore labour where appropriate is another way to reduce expenses.
- Virtual team members are free to work from their location of choice (provided there is internet access). This offers greater freedom, flexibility and lifestyle choices (including work and travel)