You are familiar with this term for teams on an online basis, but you would like to find out what else is behind it? In this article, we therefore take a closer look at the advantages and opportunities of virtual teams.
Building a team, leading it and promoting its further development harmoniously already poses major problems for many managers in the real world. But if the team is also a virtual one, the implementation of these tasks is often even more difficult. Nevertheless, the number of this modern type of team is continuously increasing – and rightly so! A connection of employees in this way can be used for companies viz promising effects to have.

What are virtual teams anyway?

Virtual teams are primarily characterized by the fact that they usually only represent a temporary union of several participants in working groups. As a rule, they only come together for the period to develop and carry out certain projects and then separate again in order to reintegrate into new working groups for other projects. For this purpose, the collaboration of virtual teams is location-independent and thus allows experts from different areas to work with each other across countries and even time zones. Video telephony often functions as a communication channel for digital conference purposes.
Since many companies are now outsourcing their services, the importance of virtual teams has been increasing rapidly for years and will therefore play an ever greater role in the development of companies in the future.

Advantages and opportunities of virtual teams

But where exactly are the positive aspects and especially the possibilities of teams based on digitization? Clear advantages such as flexibility or the association of experts around the world can be seen quickly. But virtual teams have even more to offer.

Benefits of virtual teams

From the company’s point of view, this results in cost savings in particular through lower travel costs and renting office space. At the same time, there is a greater international presence with less effort. By offering a global link for projects, companies can also have a positive impact on their reputation. This enables them to gain a decisive competitive advantage in attracting new talent.
But the team members themselves can also benefit from the composition in virtual teams. Especially when it comes to participating in exciting projects that go beyond national borders, there are many more opportunities that, due to the flexible location, mean less travel. Flexibility also results from the possibility of working from home in form. From home offices. This not only results in a better work-life balance, it also enables you to work on projects at any time.

Virtual team opportunities

There are also opportunities for virtual teams on both sides. Both companies and the individual team members have the opportunity to further expand agility and flexibility. Team members can also often experience increased creativity through networking with other experts. After all, due to the increased level of self-management and the better compatibility of family and work, they are often more satisfied at work.
But companies also benefit from aspects such as diversity, a larger pool of resources or improved responsiveness through the use of virtual teams.
As a result of improved market proximity, there is finally the possibility of aligning services more specifically to customer requirements and increasing sales.

Leading virtual teams

But how should virtual teams be managed? After all, management structures for traditional, location-based teams cannot simply be adopted 1 to 1. Much more, team leaders and executives have to make it their task to build a good communication system despite the lack of personal contact. This primarily means that a relationship level must be established between the individual team members beyond the digitized exchange of information. In this way, not only can the required relationship of trust be achieved, but more structural transparency and interaction in the individual processes can also be achieved. But better coordination and self-management among the individual team members can also be achieved. The most important element here is therefore not to lose sight of the “human” aspect, even when processing online projects. This is the only way to make the best possible use of the advantages and opportunities of virtual teams. Also read my article on the Disadvantages of virtual teams!

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Dr. Dominic Lindner
Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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