The whole world experienced a sudden rise in virtual teams in 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is when virtual teams became the norm and they got popularised with many workers required to collaborate remotely with each other while they worked from home. In this article, I will take you through everything you need to know about virtual teams.
What are virtual teams?
A virtual team is a group of people who interact using communication technology such as email, instant messaging, and video or audio conferencing services from different geographical locations.
It is also known as a geographically dispersed team, distributed team, or a remote team. Virtual teams rose in importance and quantity between 2000 and 2020, according to Gibson (2020), particularly in light of the 2020 Covid-19 epidemic, which required many workers to collaborate remotely with each other while working from home.
Virtual teams can be local or global. Local virtual teams have got members who usually belong to the same company (either big or small) with adequate resources (technology, internet) to establish and maintain the virtual team. Global virtual teams are located in different countries and cities around the world and they have common goals they want to achieve.
The future of virtual teams
The COVID-19 epidemic has accelerated the trend toward virtual teaming, which has been rising in the years running up to 2020.
By 2021, 66% of US workers will be working remotely at least once a week, and many people who previously worked in a co-located team will be working in a virtual setting. And the trend isn’t going away: according to 451 Research, 64% of businesses expect remote work to become more prevalent in the future.
Fears that virtual teams would be less effective than traditional teams were misplaced, as 69% of businesses claim that at least 75% of their personnel can work efficiently from home. Furthermore, 78 percent of employees approve of the modifications. They provide individuals with more freedom and help them save time and money by reducing commuting time.
According to GitLab, 62% of respondents stated they would consider quitting a co-located firm in favour of one with a remote work culture.
Types of virtual teams
There are several types of virtual teams depending on the goals, roles and lifespan of the virtual team members.
A networked team is made up of cross-functional team members who are brought together based on their expertise and experience with a particular topic. New members can join the team as needed, and those who have already joined are withdrawn once their roles have been finished.
Members of the same organization form parallel teams to offer recommendations for a process or system. Parallel teams are normally formed for a limited period of time, and their membership is stable since members of a parallel team stay together until the goal is achieved.
Product Development Teams
Product development teams are made up of professionals from all over the world who work together to complete a specific job, such as the creation of a new product, information system, or organizational procedure. Bringing in a team of experts from the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong to build a new engine for a year, for example.
Members of one position get together to undertake regular and continuous work in production teams. A production team’s members are assigned clearly defined duties and operate independently. The overall product is created by combining the distinct outputs of each member.
Members of service teams come from various time zones. Each person works alone, however the work they produce is a continuation of the work done by the prior member. Customer service teams in Canada, for example, conclude their shift, whereas customer service employees in Asia begin their shift and continue working.
Management teams are made up of managers from the same company who work in different parts of the country. The majority of the time, members of management teams discuss corporate-level strategies.