Ready to learn the benefits of virtual teams?
It’s no secret that managing virtual teams is quickly becoming the new norm.
With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting business activities all over, most teams have been forced to go remote.
Worried that going remote is going to be bad for your company? You have nothing to fear!
How do we know?
The entire ClickUp team works remotely now – and we’re still as productive as ever!
Plus, we’ve discovered that managing a global virtual team actually comes with its own set of benefits!
In this article, we’ll go over those benefits and even highlight some easy solutions to a few common remote team challenges!
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What is a virtual team?
- The 7 benefits of virtual teams
- The 3 disadvantages of virtual teams (with solutions)
Are you ready?
Let’s get started!
What is a virtual team?
A virtual team is a team that… (drumroll)… works remotely!
But seriously, what is it?
It’s a group of skilled people who work remotely and collaborate online from their chosen locations. And with COVID-19 disrupting businesses everywhere, those chosen locations are their homes!
How do they differ from regular teams?
Virtual teams and regular in-office teams don’t differ too much.
They’re still the same talented people who can handle most of the same activities that they did at the office. The only difference is that they’re not physically present in the same workplace anymore.
What can virtual teams do?
Virtual teams can do most of the things that in-office teams do with the same level of efficiency.
Remember, distributed teams are limited to tasks that can be done online.
And while that covers most things — it’s not everything.
For example, graphic design is something a virtual team can manage easily.
But working at manufacturing plants? There’s no way you can do that virtually!
At least not yet!
The 7 benefits of virtual teams
So why turn to virtual teams?
Just because of COVID-19?
Sure, that’s a pretty good reason; but it’s not the only reason.
After all, putting Dwight’s stapler in Jello wasn’t Jim’s only prank, right?
Similarly, there are tons of other benefits to using global virtual teams:
1. You can save tons of money
What’s the one thing most businesses are always looking to do?
Luckily, virtual teams are the perfect way to do that.
As remote teams work from their own locations, they’re responsible for their:
- And more!
This way, your company doesn’t have to spend on things like:
- Office rent
- Utilities like wifi and electricity
- Technology like telephones and computers
- Transport for your team members
- And tons of other things like extra glazed donuts or matcha tea (depending on your team’s health priorities!)
But wait, companies aren’t the only ones saving costs!
Remote workers also save a ton of money as they don’t have to spend on their daily commute and other work-related expenses like brand-new suits and cafeteria meals.
This way, it’s a win-win for everyone involved!
2. Your team members are going to have a better work life balance
Let’s face it.
No one likes the daily commute and being stuck in their office all day long.
Especially if this guy is your boss.
Why waste all that time and energy getting to work when you could just work the moment you get up?
Since they can save so much time, your remote workers will have more time for themselves.
They can play with their kids, watch an Office episode, nap an extra hour — it’s up to them!
This way, they can maintain a healthier work life balance which will lead them to be happier.
And when they’re happier, they’ll be more satisfied with their jobs!
3. Your team members will be more productive
Virtual employees can be more productive than in-office staff?
Not a chance, right?
After all, they could be busy binge-watching reruns of The Office at home instead of working!
Remember, remote employees get to choose when they can work.
Why be forced to work a regular 9-to-5 when you’re more productive at other hours of the day?
Working remotely lets your employees work when they can focus better to get the job done quicker!
And do you know what that means?
A healthier bottom line for your company.
4. You can access a global talent pool
You want to take your ideas to the world.
But do you have enough of the world on your team?
If your company is growing fast and aiming high, you’ll need all kinds of people on board.
But when you’re working out of a physical office, you have a problem.
You can only hire talent in the same city as you!
This means you could be forced to settle for whoever’s available instead of finding that perfect fit for your team.
However, you’re not going to face this problem with global virtual teams.
As your employees work remotely, you can hire them from anywhere in the world!
You can access a global talent pool and filter through tons of candidates to find the one that suits your needs best!
5. You can provide 24×7 support
Sure, building a virtual team lets you hire a more diverse workforce.
But that isn’t the only advantage.
As your remote employees are now globally distributed and working across time zones, you can cater to clients and customers across time zones too!
For example, your team in Australia can take over once your team in England calls it a day. This way, your business will be able to provide 24×7 support without overworking anyone!
Additionally, as you’ll have remote employees all over the world, cultural differences won’t be an issue as you’ll have people who truly understand your international clients and customers.
This helps you avoid awkward moments like this:
6. You can scale easily
Every business wants to grow, right?
And to grow you need more talent!
But it’s not just talent, is it? If you have an on-site team, you need to lease additional office space, furnish it, invest in computers and additional technology, and so on.
Not only is this costly, but it’s also painfully time-consuming!
This is what happens to many businesses that try to scale up too fast!
Luckily, effective virtual teams help you avoid those pitfalls while still growing your workforce.
Remember, remote workers are responsible for their own:
All you need is a streamlined onboarding process, the right remote work software and you’re set!
This way, you can quickly grow, leaving your competition feeling like Kevin here:
7. Your communication will be more transparent
Keeping everyone in the loop in a physical workplace seems easy.
You can just go up to anyone and tell them what they need to know.
However, many employees tend to use informal channels to transfer crucial information at work.
This could be lunch breaks, water cooler discussions or even unscheduled, informal meetings.
What’s the downside to this?
Anyone who’s not part of those discussions misses out on vital information.
However, successful virtual teams don’t face this issue.
Because establishing common communication channels is a core part of virtual teamwork. Remember, you can’t just walk up to someone asking them for updates anymore.
That’s why your team needs to set up a common communication channel where all the updates are always available to everyone – so everyone’s going to get all the information and nobody from your virtual team room is going to be left out!
The 3 Disadvantages of Virtual Teams and How to Solve Them (with solutions)
“Now that I got my team working remotely towards a common goal, it’s all profits and productivity from here on, right?”
Well, not quite yet.
Sure, there are tons of advantages of virtual teams, but they’re not perfect – there are pros and cons to it.
But don’t worry, Michael!
Today’s workplace can easily respond to all these challenges of virtual teams!
You just need the right tools.
Here’s a breakdown of the 3 key disadvantages of virtual teams and how to solve them:
(click on the links to jump to a specific challenge)
- Remote coordination can be difficult
- Progress tracking can be challenging
- Problems in monitoring productivity
Let’s get started.
Challenge #1: Remote coordination can be difficult
Virtual communication isn’t something new to the world.
I mean, you have communication technology like Slack, Zoom and Google Chat for a reason, right?
But there’s a problem with that.
Your virtual team is going to have to be wired-in all day, managing a sea of messages. And when dispersed teams have to coordinate over multiple communication apps, this is what’s going to happen:
Since all your messages are going to be scattered across multiple apps, comments are going to slip through the cracks.
Without face to face communication to fill in the gaps, you’re going to have a huge backlog of unanswered, unopened and unattended messages holding up your progress!
Unless you use ClickUp!
ClickUp is the world’s leading remote project management tool that’s used by teams in businesses ranging from startups to giants like Google, Netflix, and Airbnb. It’s got all the features you need to get your virtual team working on the same page!
ClickUp Solution: Have a unified communication platform for all your messages!
There’s nothing wrong with communicating virtually.
The problem is finding the right way to do it.
The biggest problem a remote team faces is keeping track of its conversations over specific projects.
As your discussions could be spread across email, Slack and video conferencing, making sense of it all will drive you crazy!
Maybe not crazy enough to grill your foot on a George Foreman grill — but it’ll definitely get you there:
But don’t worry.
ClickUp has a solution that’ll keep your head (and foot) safe.
Every ClickUp task comes with a dedicated comment section for effective communication.
You can use it to:
- Share messages and updates about the project
- Share relevant files and documents
- Tag a team member
- And more!
This way, you won’t have to scramble all over to find your relevant conversations! Just open your ClickUp task and everything’s there for you.
But wait, isn’t it still possible for your team to get overloaded with these comments and overlook them at times?
That’s why ClickUp has an assigned comments feature that lets you instantly assign a comment to a team member who needs to take action on it. They’ll be notified of this and it’ll even pop up in their task tray.
This way, you won’t have to worry about urgent comments going unanswered ever again!
And that’s not all!
ClickUp can even integrate with apps like Slack and Zoom to ensure that all your project-related communication remains unified. This way, you can quickly conduct a virtual Scrum meeting via Zoom without leaving ClickUp!
Challenge #2: Progress tracking can be challenging
Remember when managers could just walk up to a team member’s desk to ask them a question about their project’s progress?
Yeah, you can’t do that with a remote team.
Thank god for no more Bill Lumberghs!
But without face to face meetings and the right tools, there’s no easy way to track your project’s progress without tearing your hair out!
Sure, you could endlessly communicate with your team by asking them for updates every second – but that’s going to make them feel like Andy here:
Don’t worry, you won’t have to keep messaging your team incessantly to track project progress.
ClickUp gives you multiple features to simplify project tracking and task management — and none of them involve pestering your team every five minutes!
A. Use detailed charts to instantly keep track of project progress
ClickUp comes with powerful Gantt charts for quick and detailed visual overviews of your project’s progress. All you need is a quick look at your Gantt chart to know how your project is going and identify any potential issues!
However, Gantt charts aren’t the only project tracking feature you get.
You also get these powerful charts which are especially useful for Agile teams:
- Burndown charts: to track how much work is remaining
- Burnup charts: to see what you’ve accomplished so far
- Cumulative flow diagrams: to track project completion
- Velocity charts: to estimate your average task completion rate
Those charts outnumber the pranks that Jim pulled on Dwight!
B. Use custom statuses to easily identify the status of a project
ClickUp also comes with custom statuses to help you instantly know what stage every project is in. As these statuses are customizable, they can be whatever you want!
“In progress,” “Issues Found” “That’s what she said” — it’s up to you!
This way, all you need to do is look at a project’s status to instantly know where it’s at.
Moreover, if you’re not a fan of the Kanban board interface and want to view your tasks in a list, just switch to the List view!
Challenge #3: Problems with monitoring employee productivity
Worried that your virtual team might be scrolling through social media on the job?
Or are you having nightmares about remote workers napping on company time?
You’re not alone.
That’s what most employers fear when it comes to managing virtual teams.
And can you blame them?
After all, the virtual environment is full of distractions. From unscheduled grocery runs to new Netflix specials every day — your virtual team can get distracted by anything!
Just because your team works virtually, doesn’t mean that you can’t ensure that they’re working productively.
Here’s how ClickUp helps with virtual team management:
A. Use the Box view for a high-level overview of everything going on
ClickUp’s Box view is the perfect view for team leaders as it sorts out tasks based on assignees. This way, you can quickly take stock of everyone’s tasks and re-assign them accordingly.
B. Take a deep dive into each team member’s assignments with Profiles and Pulse
With ClickUp’s Profiles, you can take a deep-dive into what every team member has on their plate. You can see what they’ve worked on, what they’re currently working on and what they’re scheduled to work on!
But that isn’t all!
ClickUp also has a new Pulse feature that’s perfect for managing your remote team.
Pulse uses machine learning to generate automatic activity reports to highlight what your team is most focused on right now.
You can use it to check:
- Who’s online and offline
- The recent tasks that each team member has been most active in
- Who’s actively working on something to collaborate in real-time
- Your team’s activity levels across the day
C. Monitor time usage with Chrome extensions and app integrations
Your team can use ClickUp’s Chrome extension to track virtual work time. This way, you’ll have a better idea of how long projects take and where your team is falling behind.
However, if you already use a time tracker like Time Doctor, ClickUp can integrate with it to remotely track how long your projects take!
D. Assess team performance with detailed reports
ClickUp can generate tons of detailed workplace reports to help you get a better idea of how your team is performing.
You can access reports covering things like:
- Who worked the most
- Who has the most incomplete tasks
- How much time did your team spend on tasks and more!
We bet Dwight would’ve loved to have these insights into his coworkers when he was working at Dunder-Mifflin!
While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to go remote now, it’s clear that businesses are going to continue with global virtual teams long after the pandemic is over.
And it’s no longer a question of ‘if’, but of ‘how’ you’ll adjust to this new reality.
Sure, there are advantages and disadvantages to running a virtual team, but the benefits you’ll enjoy far outweigh the drawbacks!
And it’s not like those drawbacks are impossible to tackle!
With the right tools and technology, overcoming those challenges becomes a piece of cake.
Just look at ClickUp:
It’s an all-in-one solution for all your remote team needs and activities!
Whether it’s helping you:
- Communicate effectively with comments
- Track project progress with detailed charts
- Manage team members with the box view and profiles
- Keep track of your remote team’s performance with reports
ClickUp can manage everything!
And since no virtual team can function without the right remote project tool, why not sign up for ClickUp today?
It’s guaranteed to leave your remote team looking like this:
Erica is ClickUp’s Senior Content Manager and professional beach bum. She spends her days creating emails, blogs, landing pages, and more to help people increase their productivity so they can save one day every week to do more of what they love.