People often fall prey to their limited perspectives.
When you think about virtual teams, do you only see their disadvantages? Or do you think about them only in a positive light and refuse to see the potential negatives of working in this way?
Virtual teams have both pros and cons. To help you decide if a virtual team is right for you, read more about them below.
The Pros of a Virtual Team
- Savings on expenses. If your team meets virtually, you will save a ton of money on real estate, office space, utilities, and more. Sadly, most companies dread growth because they know that getting bigger will require them to find a building that has enough room to house everyone they employ. However, with virtual teams, you can grow as a company without having to worry about acquiring more space (or bearing the costs that come with it).
- Location as a non-issue. You will no longer be limited to searching for talented employees only in your city and the surrounding area. You can recruit talented people across the whole nation—or from around the globe. You can bring together experts in every area, and your team will gain more knowledge and enhance their levels of creativity and innovation as a result. Your team will also become more diverse.
- Increased productivity. Employees who make their own schedules tend to work when they will not experience interruptions. By working in a home office where they aren’t bogged down by unnecessary red tape and rules, an employee will be able to get into the right mindset and accomplish his/her tasks more quickly.
- Scheduling Flexibility. Some virtual teams consist of employees who are scattered around the globe. Because of the time differences, people can be working on projects and serving customers around the clock. Just as someone is finishing up, someone else across the world could be starting their work day. This can be helpful for specific needs like customer service, or just improve time-to-market.
- Additional Bonuses: There is no commute, the hours are flexible, healthier food is more easily accessible, and there is a higher quality of life overall. Because of the benefits that come with working on a virtual team (like telecommuting and working flexible hours), people who may have been otherwise uninterested in an open position on your team may give your company a second look.
The Cons of a Virtual Team
- Cost of Technology. If you are running a virtual team, you will need advanced technologies to allow your team members to easily communicate with one another. There is no one platform that can cover all the methods you will need to communicate, and purchasing these various products can be costly.
- Difficulty Tracking Employees. When you are working together physically, it’s easy to stop by someone’s desk, check up on them, and see what they’re working on. You can observe their work ethic when you are in the same environment, so you can better gauge whether they’re truly making their best effort.
- Lack of collaboration. Collaborating can be difficult for any team, but trying to communicate effectively across time zones and cultures presents another challenge. To reduce this problem, you can video-conference, talk on the phone, and use project-management software that fosters collaboration.
- Isolation. Since the team is rarely, if ever, in the same physical place, it can be more difficult to create a company culture. Employees can also begin to feel socially isolated. Without face-to-face interaction, some people may begin to feel sad and lonely. There is also less team camaraderie because employees don’t know each other outside of their individual work tasks.
- Lack of Trust. Another difficulty for managers of virtual teams is trust. They often wonder whether they can trust someone to get a task done on time and that they are consistently working on the things that they’re supposed to be doing.
So, what’s your opinion?
Do you think the pros outweigh the cons? If you manage a virtual team, take a closer look at some of their potential disadvantages and find ways you can combat them. With creative thinking and strong leadership, you can create a collaborative and trusted virtual team.