The Pros and Cons of a Virtual Team: Here’s What You Need to Know
A company’s diversity and openness are key factors in determining its strength. The concept of the “virtual team” has gained popularity as firms grow more accepting of developing technologies. Because of the cost savings, efficiency, and performance benefits of putting the finest people together, regardless of where they live, businesses have started to adapt to virtual teams. There are significant benefits to reducing corporate travel, having access to great talent globally, and using technology to link employees across time zones. However, firms should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the virtual workplace before going entirely remote.
The Pros: Virtual Team Advantages
When you shift to a remote working model, you can experience the following five benefits of virtual teams:
Significant Cost Savings
With a conventional setup, your business would have to spend thousands of dollars every year on office space and upkeep.
However, you can significantly lower these by switching to a virtual team solution.
For instance, you no longer need to invest as much in:
- Rent for large office spaces and utilities
- Food and/or cafeteria expenses during working hours
- Regular office cleaning services
- Any property-related taxes (if applicable)
Global Workplace Analytics estimates that each half-time virtual team member can help firms save close to $11,000 annually.
With this extra money, you can concentrate on growing your firm because you won’t have to worry about maintaining a physical office.
Although there are some clear advantages for you as the employer, your team members can also save a lot of money. According to the aforementioned poll, remote workers might save anywhere from $600 to $6000 per year by reducing their own daily costs, like transportation.
Better Employee Retention Rates
Employers don’t have to worry about moving expenses in a virtual workplace.
An existing employee won’t have to stop working for your organization if they have to relocate. As a result, businesses may keep valuable personnel instead of worrying about replacing them each time an individual relocates.
The research backs this up because organizations that permit remote working see a 25% decrease in employee turnover.
Additionally, the flexibility of virtual work can be a great selling factor for new hires.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
29% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US are attributed to transportation, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
By converting to remote work, employers may immediately cut down on employee commuting time and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.
Your overhead costs are decreased by working from home. You use less electricity, water, and heating and cooling systems because employees aren’t in the workplace.
Each of these things helps the organization (and each of us) reduce our carbon footprint.
Why should you care about this?
The large majority of the present and incoming workforces are made up of Millennials and Gen-Z. The ESG (environmental, social, and governance) concerns of a firm are highly valued by this age.
Companies with strong employee satisfaction ratings also had noticeably higher ESG scores, according to Mercer.
Therefore, it’s critical to adopt a clear and practical approach in order to draw in the best talent.
The Cons: Virtual Team Disadvantages
While there are many advantages to working with virtual teams, there are also some disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at the possible downsides of virtual teams and how to deal with them:
Lower Levels of Team Collaboration
Because everyone completes their own tasks at their own pace within a virtual team, it might feel highly impersonal.
Getting everyone to work on a project together is difficult. Similarly, a temporal difference may impede members’ advancement if they are in dissimilar geographical areas.
Furthermore, electronic communication, particularly text, is susceptible to misunderstanding. Effective collaboration may be difficult as a result of the potential for misconceptions.
To promote virtual team communication, there are several video conferencing applications available. To make your online cooperation more transparent, you can also employ collaborative workspaces like Google Workspace tools.
A Higher Tech Budget
All team members must have the most recent software, be comfortable using a variety of communication methods, and quickly learn new technologies in order for you to be able to manage your virtual team effectively.
It’s not realistic to anticipate that every employee—both current and new—will have access to all relevant software and resources. Therefore, you’ll probably need to give them.
Even while there is just one tool, the price might add up when you consider the numerous apps, tools, and linkages cross-functional teams require.
If your business is in its startup phase, you can choose to use the free versions of these services while waiting for your crew to expand.
You can also include a list of software and hardware requirements in your job description. By doing this, candidates who don’t fit these criteria will be immediately eliminated.
Your trade secrets are more exposed when more people who can access them.
Despite the fact that the majority of businesses include data protection in their employment contracts, virus attacks are still a possibility.
Additionally, some workers might download business papers without taking the proper security measures. Here, all of your information is at risk even if one member of the virtual project team’s device is compromised.
The simplest solution is to put in place a strong BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. It can include instructions on what your IT team and staff members ought to do in the event of a data breach.
This will protect all of your information and those of your employees, and it will also teach them how to behave safely online.
Although it can be incredibly helpful for work-life balance, a flexible virtual environment can also be very isolating.
Virtual employees may frequently feel alone in their struggles with a certain task and may not know who or how to ask for assistance.
The elimination of the “water cooler effect,” where employees gather around the water cooler and talk about things other than work, can make team formation more challenging.
Social isolation can be lessened in a variety of ways.
For instance, you may designate a certain meeting space where staff members can discuss anything that’s on their minds. A separate “water cooler” Slack channel can be made to promote informal chat.
You can start a weekly virtual happy hour or invite everyone to participate in an online escape room as a team-building exercise.
Will a Remote Team Work For You?
Virtual teams have a lot of potential for both the business and the employees. They can assist you with cost-cutting, market expansion, and globalization.
These remote teams do have certain difficulties, though.
By fostering a culture of trust, maintaining open lines of communication, and giving staff members the freedom to manage their time, your business can get over these obstacles. Employees will respond by working harder, using their time more effectively, and being loyal.
To find out how Noon Dalton keeps virtual teams feeling happy, motivated and productive, read more here.