Monday, March 17, 2008

Virtual Teams = So Many Benefits!!!!

"Virtual teams are the workhorses—and the unexpected blessings—of today’s organizations. Whether crossing organizational, geographic, time-zone, cultural, language, or discipline boundaries, far-flung teams are the beautiful inventions that simplify work for smart enterprises." - Jessica Lipnack and Jeff Stamps

Virtual Teams are yet another addition to our ongoing technological advancement. They provide endless benefits for worldwide corporations and their workforce. Remember when you had to travel countless hours to different cities, states, or even countries? We’ll there is no need to continue spending so much corporate funds to buy plane, train and bus tickets. Studies have found that virtual teams work for some companies and don’t for others. But, that’s the way technology works.

Virtual Teams eliminate the stress of traveling and at the same time save money and prove to be as effective as meeting in-person. They make it easier for members to communicate without even having to be in the same place. Employees don’t even have to leave their workspace and that way they can get so much more done. The prospect of all businesses are Virtual Teams and they will be successful if companies take the necessary steps forward to make them work. There are many arguments against the used of Virtual Teams because they eliminate the face to face interaction, but they prove to be effective in the workforce.

Below is a list of 10 rules provided by Lynda Gratton, a professor of management at London Business School. These rules are very valuable and help virtual teams work. They are as follows:
  1. Invest in an online resource where members can learn quickly about one another.
  2. Choose a few team members who already know each other.
  3. Identify "boundary spanners" and ensure that they make up at least 15% of the team.
  4. Cultivate boundary spanners as a regular part of companywide practices and processes.
  5. Break the team's work up into modules so that progress in one location is not overly dependent on progress in another.
  6. Create an online site where a team can collaborate, exchange ideas and inspire one another.
  7. Encourage frequent communication. But don't try to force social gatherings.
  8. Assign only tasks that are challenging and interesting.
  9. Ensure the task is meaningful to the team and the company.
  10. When building a virtual team, solicit volunteers as much as possible.

A more detailed description of these rules can be found here. Also below is an interesting video that highlights the benefits of Virtual Teams. Please take a look and enjoy the points brought up by this man.

1 comment:

Deepak Shahani said...

I think you highlighted very well the benefits of using virtual teams, primarily cost and time saving. I also am a believer in virtual teams and teleconferencing. However there are some downsides, if you have to have a face to face meeting you have to inspect the premises or goods for example. Through technology, it is making it easier and more effective to use virtual teams, where applicable.