The Ups (and Downs) of Virtual Teams

photo 1452830978618 d6feae7d0ffa 600x242 - The Ups (and Downs) of Virtual Teams

Organizations in the public and private sector are turning to virtual teams to work more efficiently, boost productivity, and cut costs – and it’s easy to see why. Shifting to virtual teams can result in impressive cost savings. A 10-month study conducted by Stanford University found that organizations can save as much as $2,000 per employee per year by working from home.  The primary financial benefits for employers come from increased productivity, reduced real estate costs and lower absenteeism and turnover.

Further, remote employees were often better rested and happier, and worked longer hours than their in-office counterparts.

Challenges of Managing Virtual Teams

Yet, directs costs are probably least compelling as an argument as they mainly relate to dead travel time and transport costs. Working effectively in the virtual environment is all about avoiding the failure costs, inefficiencies of over-collaboration, and impacts of unproductive conflict. These hidden costs can be exorbitant if not managed well.

As many as 82% of organizations transitioning to a virtual work model without properly training their managers and employees fail to meet their objectives. Specifically:

  • 42% of virtual team members feel frustrated and overwhelmed by virtual collaboration and communication technologies
  • 34% of virtual teams believe remote team members don’t do their share of the work, leading to conflict
  • 85% of employees report working in a virtual environment at least some of the time, yet only 22% have received training in how to do so effectively

This leads to several negative consequences that undermine team productivity and cohesion, including:

  • Feelings of isolation
  • Frequent miscommunication
  • Absenteeism
  • Inefficient, unproductive team meetings
  • Poor communication between employees and managers

Virtual teams experiencing these issues often underperform, with the cost of low productivity exceeding the savings of having moved to a virtual model. And yet, the potential benefits of working virtually are impossible to ignore. The challenge lies in learning a new set of skills that are tailored for the virtual environment, where conventional cues such as eye contact, body language and the simple ability to have a face-to-face conversation no longer apply.

So how do we build virtual teams that rise to these challenges, resulting in the productivity gains and cost savings we know they can achieve?

Building a Better Virtual Team

In this blog 4-part series, we’ll look at the ins and outs of building a virtual team, starting with the business case and moving onto the common challenges that virtual managers face. At the end, you will have a much richer understanding of how and why this operating model works, and how to take full advantage to deliver sustainable results for your organization.

Read on to learn:

By : Virtual Teambuilders /January 09, 2019 /Building a Virtual Team /0 Comment Read More

Leading Virtual Teams | 3 Ways to Build Empathy in Virtual Teams

rawpixel 666928 unsplash 1 600x242 - Leading Virtual Teams | 3 Ways to Build Empathy in Virtual Teams

Empathy inspires positivity and productivity in all who embody it.

There are many benefits attached to fostering empathy in the virtual workplace.  For one, you will become more aware of how people think, feel, and react to situations.  As a leader, you will become more adept at analyzing the performance of your team members, and you will be more mindful of their needs.

Empathy will promote open communication and build stronger bonds of trust within your virtual team.  Likewise, empathetic virtual team members will become better at resolving conflict, will deliver more effective feedback, and will make better decisions.

With a little practice your virtual team can master empathy and harness success.

Two strategies to develop empathy

1. Practice reflection: It is important to remember that what irritates you about a colleague is likely to be a characteristic that you possess. Before you react and judge a team member, ask yourself, “Is this something I do?” If the answer is ‘yes,’ then you are better prepared to address your colleague with empathy.

2. Be compassionate: We all have our flaws, and you do not have to agree with someone to empathize with them. Be open to what others have to say and how they work. In the process, chances are, you will discover a great deal about what you bring to your virtual team.

By consciously practicing and developing empathy, your virtual team members will be prepared to bridge the geographic gap between them and work productively to accomplish your business goals.

What to get a sense of how your virtual team is performing? Take our 1-minute Virtual Team Success Survey and receive a FREE 30-minute consultation with an expert from Virtual Team Builders!

By : Virtual Teambuilders /October 26, 2018 /Blog, Building Empathy in a Virtual Environment /0 Comment Read More
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    Virtual Team Builders is a training and consulting company that caters to corporations and teams who depend on effective virtual collaboration to succeed. Our training is targeted towards the unique challenges faced by teams operating in a virtual environment; challenges that are present whether members work 90 feet apart or 3000 miles apart.