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How Virtual Teams Improve Team Performance

“Virtual teams” sounds like something out of the futuristic science fiction movies of the 1990s. However, the term is a much more modern and current term that describes the benefits of virtual teams. This innovative group of professionals helps companies improve their productivity and efficiency by allowing multiple employees to work remotely while they are not located physically in the same building.
Virtual teams can be defined as a set of individuals that work together from various geographic locations and rely heavily on virtual communication technologies like email, chat, and VOIP/skype so as to collaborate and share information with one another. Virtual teams allow for team members to be placed in different places at once, while still receiving updates on each other’s activities through their personal wireless devices. When an individual leaves the office, their fellow team members are notified and are able to track them down. They can also remain in touch via VOIP or email while their colleague is in the field, making it possible to exchange important information in real-time. When a team member takes a vacation, they are notified, allowing for continuity of operations during times when you may have a temporary reduction in staff.
In this new and exciting technological era, virtual teams are here to stay. Businesses are finding that they are able to benefit from this revolutionary approach to team building by significantly reducing costs, increasing company profits, and developing increased leadership skills for all involved. Corporations that embrace virtual teams experience: less employee turnover, less training costs, improved productivity, and enhanced morale and commitment to one another. On the flip side, these same companies are finding that it is necessary to maintain their virtual environments because the relationships that are cultivated are just as meaningful, if not more so, than those forged in a traditional workplace setting. The benefits of virtual teams extend beyond cost savings and convenience to increased productivity, increased sales, and a more progressive and successful company. Here are some of the key benefits of virtual teams:
o Virtual teams perform better than their counterparts in traditional office settings. Companies that embrace virtual teams say that they’re experiencing fewer office injuries, less staff turnover, greater productivity due to the fact that there is little down time, and increased camaraderie. When leaders within a virtual setting are not able to meet expectations, team members are usually encouraged to do better. When leaders are able to stay on task, delegate tasks, and are able to meet the needs of other team members, everyone wins. Leaders who invest their time in supporting others also receive the same reward – appreciation, trust, and credibility. When leaders know that their performance impacts their team and the success of the business, they experience a sense of responsibility and ownership which promotes higher performance.
o Virtual teams are able to achieve quicker results because they can be scheduled for different time zones. Traditional project management requires that teams be available at all times, even when the project leader is not physically present. This demands that project managers are available round the clock. With virtual teams, project managers can schedule meetings at a time that works for everyone. They are free to attend the meetings they choose whenever they wish, but are otherwise free to spend the majority of their time on the project. Time zones are often a major sticking point for project managers who wish to effectively collaborate with their team.
o Establishing trust with virtual teams is easier than with traditional teams. Since virtual teams are composed of diverse individuals with differing skills and perspectives, it’s difficult to establish trust initially. But once interpersonal skills are learned, it becomes much easier to foster trust. Project managers who understand project management and its many challenges can develop trust with their virtual teams much faster than those who don’t. this podcast on virtual teams.

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