Typically virtual teams have a large number of people working together on a single project, and these people will be dispersed in many geographical locations.
Virtual teams are very powerful components of the information age because they allow employees to work across the boundaries of time and space.
Being able to understand the relevance of these three variables will allow one to determine the proper virtual team to lead, and will help in deciding the proper actions to take.
For instance, the team which has members working within the same location at different times must make use of charts which they can use to communicate with the members of each shift.
While a chart would be useful in a situation like this, a different type of communications tool would need to be used for a virtual team.
When it comes to virtual teams, the most important factor to keep in mind is that the culture of the team is more important than the organization itself. Culture, time, and geographical location are three important variables that must be considered when one is deciding what type of team they will create.
The issue of numerous cultures working within the same organization has been a source of challenges in the past, and therefore this is an important factor to consider when it comes to setting up a virtual team. The issue of culture and distance is a factor which should be thought out carefully.
When you consider the variables which are associated with virtual teams, keep in mind that these variables are closely connected. For example, the wider the dispersion of the team in terms of geographical location, the larger the differences will be in terms of culture.
When you have a team that is working in different time zones, it is extremely important to make sure that important communication is maintained among the different groups.
It is intentional for the leader of the team to make sure standards are created and maintained, and it is also crucial to make sure that organizational problems are solved within a short period of time. Best practices must be initially implemented and coordinated at the same time.
Virtual Team Categories
Virtual teams can be categorized based on their role and function. A virtual team may works in the same location, but work at different times on distinct shifts. Typical teams that fall under this category are those which work in the customer service department. This type of team may do phone level customer service were they speak to customers 24 hours a day, and once their shift chances, another team will come in to replace them.
In another scenario, a virtual team may work internationally as a team developing a product, or a team working from a large organization from multiple locations. This type of team is the most challenging to manage, because it will require you to work across both space and time.
Virtual teams may also include a service group or consulting firm that works in a specific region.
Similarities Between Teams
In order for different teams to work properly, the members of the team must become adept at using the latest communication technologies in order to communicate effectively. With this type of team, communication is key.
If the team is not able to overcome its communication cultural boundaries, the project which the team is responsible for is destined to fall apart. Some of these communication tools include email, message boards, chat rooms, and other forms of digital communication.