A team that is either segregated by geography ( located in different places) or dependent on technology that is used to communicate is defined as a virtual team. You can be in the exact office just like your colleagues by communicating via WebEx, Zoom, phone, or email.
Let’s define those criteria in detail.
If you spend more time working in the very location with your team, then you will not have to rely more on emails and other computer-mediated communication. Hence, your team will be less virtual.
At the onset of the project, geography plays a role in the bonding of the virtual team. Individuals tend to be better at being a virtual team as they gain more experience in it. This helps the team to build quickly.
Off-shore outsourcing organizations that work using this way only tend to be promising at striking the ground running as they have plenty of experience in handling the teams in which the members are from different locations.
They presume trust and find out the means of working that suit this virtual model. Also, team members with no experience in this model prior might need some time to find their way in.
Geographic distance may also mean that the conflicts of the team manifest themselves in many different ways. Project Managers should keep an eye on it as it is harder to spot.
It will be difficult to manage if any member of the team has a negative attitude within the virtual team. Before you could realize that, you will be managing your team conflict. The issue might have become bigger if you have discovered two colleagues in your team having an argument with each other in the team meeting.
Virtually depends on how the members of the team do their work rather than where they work. Communication is always regarded as a pointer to team virtuality. You must have worked in a company where most team members communicate by instant messaging and emailing each other though they could walk into another person’s desk.
This is the third criterion added to formulate a team virtually. It has been said that the young generation has a varied culture. But people of each age group follow different cultures. It has been explained well in the book “Generations, Inc” by Meagan Johnson and Larry.
Culture is assessed in the extent to which we learn about the members of our team like ourselves. This implies that if the members of the team are from different locations then they might have different cultures and building a relationship with them is a little harder. However, culture is excluded by few as a part of a virtual team.
Conflict in a virtual team arises as an effect of culture because individuals don’t recognize themselves as equal or they might find it difficult to notice equal behavior in the team.
Avoiding avoidance is recommended as a technique of conflict management. It helps to tackle problems instead of leaving them behind, whether the team is virtual or nonvirtual.
Hence, location, communication, and culture define whether your team is a virtual project team or not.