Virtual Team: Meaning, Elements, Types & Examples | Feedough

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Virtual Team: Meaning, Elements, Types & Examples | Feedough

The word virtual means ‘not physically existing,’ and team means ‘a group of people with common goals.’ Therefore a virtual team is the one that works for a common objective without any physical contact.

The remote working trend might make one think of the virtual team as a contemporary concept. However, the origin and use of virtual teams can be dated back to the sale of PCs in the 1960s, when a team’s working didn’t require the physical presence of the members at one place. Later the popularity of cellular phones, voicemails, and eventually the internet and World Wide Web made way for a virtual working setup.

To understand better, let’s look into Virtual Teams: definition, characteristics, types, working, advantages, disadvantages, and examples.

What Is A Virtual Team?

A virtual team is a group of people that collaborate operate digitally to achieve a common objective without being present in the same physical space.

In simple words, a virtual team:

What Are The Types Of A Virtual Team?

Let’s get a closer look into the different formats of a virtual team by understanding their respective objectives:

How Do Virtual Teams Work?

A virtual team undertakes the business remotely from different locations. To get insights into the dynamics of a virtual team, we first need to understand the components of a virtual team.

Advantages Of A Virtual Team

Let’s look into some merits of virtual teams in a business. It comes helpful in:

  • Saves Costs: A virtual team works remotely. Therefore the expenses relating to rent, utilities, travel, and other overheads of the office spaces are a direct saving for the business. A report by Cisco suggests that the company annually saves $277 million by adopting a virtual working model. Moreover, a virtual team also maximises profit due to lower production costs in employee-related expenses and fixed costs.
  • Attracts Wider Talent: Virtual teams work beyond physical boundaries, enabling businesses to hire people from across the globe. It ensures a wider pool of talented and competent people making valuable contributions to the company. Organisations can also benefit from the expertise and perspectives of the people beyond physical reach.
  • Creates New Opportunities: The virtual work setup creates umpteen work opportunities for people facing physical or social challenges. No work process or task in a virtual team requires physical presence; therefore, opening gates for many deserving candidates who otherwise won’t be able to work on-site.
  • Increases Productivity Levels: By adopting the virtual work setup, a business cuts down the time for commuting to the workplace. This elimination of travel time gives workers more time to focus on their job. Moreover, research by Standford Business shows that productivity increases by 13% as employees can work throughout their shift and concentrate better from their homes.
  • Improves Work-Life Balance: A research shows that virtual employees are 29% happier than their on-site colleagues. Working from home enables people to complete the given tasks on time or even before the scheduled time. The workers end up saving time for their personal lives, which is why they are happier and satisfied in their job.

Disadvantages Of A Virtual Team

Now let’s look into some demerits of a virtual team. Businesses might not prefer them as they:

  • Involve Technology Costs: Effective work operations in a virtual team require the support of multiple technology platforms. Multi-media platforms are necessary for videoconferencing, messaging, planning, designing, collaborating, etc. All these platforms involve high costs of installation, training, and maintenance. Moreover, the frequent updates and evolution in technology add to these costs of the business.
  • Lead To Conflicts: Cultural differences in a virtual team often lead to conflicting interests. The differences in social settings lead to different perceptions of the same thing, leading to miscommunication and conflicts. This misinterpretation leads to disputes and obstructs operations.
  • Involve Security Risks: Digitalisation brings with it a crucial security risk. Companies employing virtual teams exchange and store their work resources in the virtual ecosystem, prone to viral threats and other malpractices. These potential threats may prove costly as they can block the very lifeline of the business.
  • Socially Isolate The People: Humans are social beings, and the lack of physical interactions may reduce efficiency. Interactions in a virtual team are mostly job-oriented, without any informal communication. It leads to monotony and severely affects employees’ morale as they do not get an interpersonal connection with their peers. 

Case Examples Of Successful Virtual Teams

The speed of technological advancements at present is unmatchable. Digitalisation has seeped in to make its way into the business ecosystem at a rapid pace. Adopting online ecosystems and virtual teams enables firms to reach greater heights.

Let’s get insights into some companies evolving with virtual work setups.

Adobe

Adobe has combined creativity with technology for their employees in the digital workspace. Moreover, it has embraced the hybrid and remote work setup in many ways by adopting.

Spotify

Spotify has welcomed the modern working norms and given up the office work culture altogether. The following core beliefs drove them towards this transformation.

Bottom-Line?

The global pandemic crisis and adoption of digital technology in day-to-day lives have undoubtedly made way for online learning and work setup.

Needless to say, virtual teams have stood the test of time and delivered efficient outcomes, therefore making remote working a norm today.

Moreover, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics report suggests that 22% of US workers work remotely, with 505 of the total workforce working virtually in some capacity.

It would not be wrong to say that virtual teams are a new reality, but planning and building them remains a hurdle for many organisations. Therefore the inadequacies should be acknowledged to reap the umpteen benefits of a virtual setup.

Go to Publisher: Feedough
Author: Janvi Gupta