10 Examples of Virtual Teams and Their Benefits

The word virtual means ‘not physically existing,’ and team means ‘a group of people with common goals.’ Therefore a virtual team is the one that works for a common objective without any physical contact.

The remote working trend might make one think of the virtual team as a contemporary concept. However, the origin and use of virtual teams can be dated back to the sale of PCs in the 1960s, when a team’s working didn’t require the physical presence of the members at one place. Later the popularity of cellular phones, voicemails, and eventually the internet and World Wide Web made way for a virtual working setup.

To understand better, let’s look into Virtual Teams: definition, characteristics, types, working, advantages, disadvantages, and examples.

Examples of virtual teams
  • TeamBuilding. TeamBuilding has always been a 100% remote company.. …
  • Yelp’s Community Team. The community team at Yelp has always been remote. …
  • Basecamp. …
  • Buffer. …
  • Gitlab. …
  • Twitter. …
  • IBM.

What is a Virtual Team?

Benefits of a virtual team

The benefits that virtual teams may provide include:

Low cost for the company

Employees working from the comfort of their own home can cost very little compared to the expenses of hiring locally. Office space, utility costs and paying for employees travel are just a few examples of the many expenses needed to maintain a company in a single location or region.

Applicants from around the world

When searching for new employees, looking beyond the area where a business is located can increase the chances of finding many qualified candidates. By using virtual teams, companies can search for intelligent and willing candidates worldwide.

Productivity increase

Allowing employees to work from home without having to factor in a commute before work is a great way to boost productivity and motivation. Employees who work from home can wake up, mentally prepare themselves for the day and start work on the hour without the stress or time management needed for travel.

24-hour company services

Using virtual teams to give a company 24-hour services, specifically for customers, is a great way to generate repetitive business. Customers and clients want to work with a company theyre able to reach easily and frequently.

What is a virtual team?

A virtual team, or “remote team,” is a group of people who work together from different locations through electronic communication. You can use different kinds of virtual teams for specific situations, and they can all be cost-effective and efficient modes of collaboration.

Examples of virtual teams

Here are 10 examples of successful virtual teams used by companies around the world:

1. Networked teams

A networked team is a group of individuals with expert knowledge on a certain topic who come together to achieve a common goal. The team is generally formed from employees both inside and outside a single company. Roles in a networked team are fluid, and people are added or removed depending on what tasks are required and which tasks have been completed.

These types of teams are often used by technology and consulting companies. This is because those companies often serve a range of international clients that sometimes require specific needs that cant be filled by their company alone.

If a client asks you for something that the company you work for doesnt specialize in, consider using a networked team. A networked team can allow you to further grow your list of professional contacts and show your client that you can fulfill any request.

2. Parallel teams

Parallel teams, unlike networked teams, are formed by individuals who are all a part of the same company. These members are tasked to address a problem or system and make recommendations towards its improvement.

The benefit of this team is to bring together a wide range of opinions and expertise. This type of team is especially effective in a multinational company where employees and their diverse individual experiences are spread out around the world.

Companies that are best served by parallel teams often market and sell their own products. When a problem or question arises in one branch of the company, whether that be marketing, sales or production, parallel teams can be formed by members of each branch, allowing them to bring in their area of expertise to help.

For example, if a company works in marketing and sales, implementing parallel teams to help find solutions to new problems not only introduces multiple unique perspectives to the issue but also encourages collaboration between different branches of the company.

3. Product development teams

Product development teams are very similar to networked teams because they are also made up of individuals with expert knowledge on a certain topic who come together to achieve a common goal.

However, unlike networked teams that use their combined knowledge to better serve clients, product development teams often work on a goal for the company itself. These teams often make up a companys research and development department.

For example, if a company is looking into designing and creating new and unique products, a product development team could help their business become more innovative and inventive.

4. Production teams

Production teams are made up of members who complete ongoing, day-to-day work. Each member of the team works independently on their clearly defined roles or tasks. When combined, their individual work contributes to a larger project or goal.

These teams often work together for an extended period of time and are given a new project or goal to work toward once the first has been completed.

Marketing firms, editing studios and software development companies are all examples of organizations that could make great use of production teams. These are jobs that are often task-oriented and can be done virtually with ease.

5. Freelance teams

Freelance teams are a combination of a production team and a networked team. These people work together for varied durations, completing individual tasks and jobs that contribute to a larger goal.

Often made up of creative individuals, such as writers, editors and graphic designers, this team or group is hired on an as-needed basis. If a company needs written or visual content created, using a freelance team to complete the task uses outside perspectives and talent to help create a more interesting and profitable product.

6. Service teams

Service teams are made up of people who live in different time zones. They are most commonly used for 24-hour customer service and support.

Having employees in different time zones helps because when one group in Asia finishes their day of work, the other group in North America can pick up where they left off. With this system, there is never a break in communication, and theres always someone on the other end of the line for the customers.

For example, if a company sells products or software, service teams could provide their clients with support outside of normal business hours, boosting the clients appreciation for the company and the likelihood of them recommending the business to others.

7. Action teams

Action teams are used for a very short duration and are made up of experts who can address a specific goal. Once the goal is complete, the group is immediately dissolved.

Action teams are often used by engineering companies or organizations that need to quickly find an immediate solution to a problem. These teams act a lot like parallel teams, but the main difference is that parallel teams make recommendations whereas action teams have the ability to take actions to implement solutions.

For example, if a company frequently works with engineers or scientific researchers, action teams might be appropriate if and when the need arises.

8. Management teams

Management teams are made up of administrative staff from a single company. These teams mainly discuss corporate strategies and goals that their staff will then implement.

For example, if a company has offices in a few different widespread locations, this kind of virtual team can help keep its managerial staff in communication with each other. This could also boost the companys efficiency and help in the completion of long-term goals.

9. Offshore ISD teams

Offshore information systems development (ISD) teams are primarily formed by two organizations: a parent company and a smaller company. The smaller company, often found in a location around the world that is considered low-cost, is hired to help the parent company complete sections of work.

For example, if a company works with software development, this virtual team might be a good idea for them. Offshore ISD teams can supply companies with expert skills while providing a lower cost to the creation of their products.

10. Hybrid teams

Hybrid teams are made from a combination of in-person companies and virtual employees. The virtual employees use their own regional location to produce their work for the company.

For example, if a company deals a lot with sales, a hybrid team can be a good fit for their business. The sales team, made up of employees who live all over the world, can work virtually so that they are closer to the clientele in their specific area. Because of this, virtual employees can provide better customer service and higher sales rates for the company.

FAQ

Which companies use virtual teams?

3 Companies With High-Performing Virtual Teams
  • SAP. SAP holds the title of the world’s largest inter-enterprise software company. …
  • IBM. IBM employs more than 200,000 people from different countries and backgrounds. …
  • General Electric. GE employs more than 90,000 employees throughout the world.

What is virtual teams in the workplace?

According to the authors Linack and Stamps, a virtual team is a group of people working across time and space and organizational boundaries using technology to communicate and collaborate. As such, virtual teams allow organizations to bring together people with the best expertise, regardless of where they live.

What is the virtual team?

A virtual team (also known as a geographically dispersed team, distributed team, or remote team) usually refers to a group of individuals who work together from different geographic locations and rely on communication technology such as email, instant messaging, and video or voice conferencing services in order to …

What is an example of virtual collaboration?

Virtual collaboration is a way people can share information and ideas online or when they’re not physically close to one another. Video conferencing, emailing and instant messaging are examples of tools businesses and individuals can use to connect with one another remotely.

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