Tons of companies have now been forced to start working remotely because of COVID-19.
And for good reason, right?
It allows employees to practice social isolation to keep themselves safe and avoid passing on the virus to anyone else.
But increased personal safety is not the only benefit of having a virtual team.
Virtual teams can help your company in tons of different ways!
In this article, we’ll go over all the benefits of virtual teams to help you understand why it’s a perfect solution for any company at any time!
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- They’re More Cost-Efficient
- Global Talent Pool
- Easily Scalable
- Round The Clock Availability
- Happier, More Productive Employees
- Healthy Work-Life Balance
- More Relevant Meetings
Let’s get started.
What Is A Virtual Team?
A virtual team is a group of individuals who work together via the internet.
What’s the difference between virtual teams and in-office teams?
The only difference between them is that virtual teams do not share a common office-space and usually work from their respective homes.
What are the kinds of work they can do?
Virtual teams can handle a lot of work that regular in-office teams do.
However, as they’re not physically present in the same space, they can’t perform some tasks such as working on physical prototypes together (R&D teams) or showing clients properties (real estate professionals)!
Apart from that though, virtual teams can be just as productive and handy as in-office teams!
What Are The Benefits Of Virtual Teams?
So why are virtual teams becoming so popular?
Here’s a breakdown of all the benefits of virtual teams:
1. They’re More Cost-Efficient
One of the key advantages of virtual teams is that they can be far more cost-effective than maintaining an in-office team.
You won’t have to spend on costs like:
- Office rent and maintenance
- Utilities like electricity and wifi
- Office equipment like computers, servers and desks
- Transport for employees
- The list goes on!
As most virtual or remote employees work from their home offices, they’re responsible for most of these costs — helping you take advantage of tons of cost savings!
The only things you’ll probably have to spend on are software that your employees need to perform the task efficiently. But as these cloud-based SaaS tools are very affordable, you’ll still be saving a lot!
2. Global Talent Pool
One of the best things about virtual teams is that you’re not location-limited when it comes to talent.
As your team doesn’t have to work in the same office, they don’t need to be based in the same location. You can hire anyone from anywhere in the world to form your virtual global team!
How does this help?
As you can hire people from all over the world, you don’t have to settle for employees living and operating in the same city as you.
3. Easily Scalable
When your company grows, you need to scale up your operations.
And in order to scale up, you need to hire new employees!
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Scaling up your business by hiring more employees comes with tons of other conditions:
- You would need more office space
- You would have to put in more desks and chairs or setup cubicles
- Need to provide more office supplies, refreshments and so on
However, if you hire virtual employees, you won’t face this issue!
As these are remote workers who take care of their own:
- Work environment
You won’t have to spend any additional money on providing these things to them. You can quickly hire as many employees as you need without worrying about disrupting your existing employee offerings!
4. Round The Clock Availability
As virtual employees are not location-limited, you can hire them across the world.
And that means you can hire virtual employees across different time zones.
And how does this help?
Hiring people from different geographical zones makes sure that your company operates 24×7!
For example, your virtual employees in Manila can start their workday once your employees in San Francisco call it a day.
This way, you can provide a 24×7 service without overworking anyone!
5. Happier, More Productive Employees
The benefits of virtual teams aren’t limited to the company.
Working in a virtual team benefits the employees as well!
How does it benefit the employees?
- Save time by not having to commute every day to and from work
- Use that extra time to stay healthier – by exercising, eating healthier meals – which also increase productivity
- Take advantage of flexible work hours and work during their most productive hours
Makes sense, right?
But that isn’t all.
As your employees will be happier, they’ll be more satisfied with their jobs. And when they’re more satisfied, they’ll have increased productivity!
And increased productivity means more profits!
6. Healthy Work-Life Balance
Why do you think employees are more satisfied when working remotely?
It’s because they can maintain a more healthy work-life balance by working in a virtual environment.
Flexible work hours allows your employees to have better control of their life.
- Spend more time around their family
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by working out at home or doing yoga
- Utilize their leisure hours for hobbies
And now with COVID-19 disrupting work activities everywhere, virtual employees can seamlessly balance their work and home activities!
7. More Relevant Meetings
Conducting meetings with in-office employees is very easy but it might not be the best thing for your business productivity.
As it’s quite easy to conduct these meetings, teams tend to have them very frequently!
And in most cases, you don’t actually need a meeting for what you wanted to discuss. A simple email or message would have been enough.
These unnecessary meetings take away valuable time from your human resources and can drain their productivity.
They’re wasting tons of time and effort on pointless meetings instead of actual work!
However, you won’t face this issue with a virtual team.
As your team could be scattered across the globe, there are only a select few hours when everyone is available. This forces your team to really think before scheduling a meeting – ensuring that it’s always relevant and essential.
Worried that this makes conducting meetings difficult?
There are tons of video calling apps that make conducting face-to-face interactions a piece-of-cake. It’s almost like being in an in-office meeting — without any of the unproductivity!
How To Manage Your Virtual Team Easily
Sure, virtual teams come with tons of benefits.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any drawbacks to telecommuting.
As you’re not in the same office as them, you could face issues with:
- Project management
- File sharing and storage
Does that mean virtual teams are doomed?
Luckily, you have tons of tools that can solve all these problems for you!
Here’s a closer look at what you need:
A. Communication Tools
Your virtual team could be thousands of miles away.
So how do you communicate with them effectively?
Simple: Use communication tools!
These communication technology tools help you easily exchange information with your virtual team via text or audio and video calls. This way, effective remote team collaboration is just a click away!
1. Messaging Tools
For quick queries and suggestions, use instant messaging tools like Slack or Microsoft teams.
Slack helps you:
- Message team members to clarify doubts and communicate updates
- Organize your conversations into channels for more ordered conversations
- Share files and documents to boost team collaboration
2. Video-calling Tools
While instant messaging tools help you clarify quick doubts, sometimes, you need more detailed discussions.
For those cases, use video conferencing tools instead!
These tools will help you conduct video meetings where you can interact with your virtual team and collaborate over projects and issues quickly. It’s also a great way to beat feelings of isolation that are usually associated with working virtually.
As you’re putting a face to the people you work with, you actually feel like you’re part of a team instead of a lone worker!
Tools like Google Hangouts and Zoom help you:
- Conduct virtual face interactions with individuals or groups
- Share your screen to communicate issues and updates more easily
- Record meetings/interviews for future reference
For more information on remote communication tools, check out our latest article on it.
B. Project Management Tools
When your project team isn’t in the same office as you, how do you get them on the same page?
With project management tools!
These tools will help you organize all your project activities into one, unified space. This way, everyone has access to all the project information and can easily collaborate to get things done together.
Tools like ClickUp and Wrike let you:
- Organize and track tasks or projects
- Assign due dates to keep up with deadlines
- Share file attachments, comments within a task
- Track each virtual team member’s project contributions
C. Performance Monitoring Tools
There’s one reason why many companies are still apprehensive about remote work.
As your team is working virtually, how do you ensure that they’re being productive?
How will you:
- Monitor the activities they perform during work hours?
- Keep track of the sites and apps they visit?
- Verify that they’re actively working and aren’t wasting time?
All you need is a performance monitoring tool like Time Doctor!
What is Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful performance monitoring software used by large companies like PwC and Verizon as well as SMBs like Firehouse Subs.
How does it help you?
- You can go through detailed tracking reports for insights on how much time your employees worked in a day, how much time certain projects took and so on
- It has built-in distraction management features that deter your virtual employees from accessing unproductive sites and apps
- The inactivity tracker prevents virtual employees from marking idle time as time worked
- Time Doctor also comes with encrypted data transfer (HTTPS), powerful password management and email verification to keep your tracking data safe
D. Scheduling Tools
With your team scattered around the globe and across various time zones, how do you coordinate?
With the help of scheduling tools!
These scheduling tools will get your entire team on the same page to help you work out times when all of you can get together for project work or a quick team meeting.
Tools like Doodle and Calendly help you:
- Schedule virtual team meetings or client appointments
- Set reminders to keep everything on track
Additionally, Doodle and Calendly can integrate with:
- Popular calendar apps like Google Calendar to instantly update your team’s calendars
- Zoom and Slack to quickly set up meetings
E. Document Management Tools
Here’s another problem that most virtual teams face:
As you’re not in the same office, how do you carefully store and access files and documents?
Cloud storage platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox help you address these issues. You can use them to store important projects and company docs online. Your virtual team can then access them and update them!
Worried that someone’s going to access an old version of a document?
Whenever one of these docs is updated, everyone gets access to the latest version of the file – ensuring that everyone’s up-to-date!
You can even customize who gets access to these stored files for even more security!
Whether you’re a co-founder of a large company or a small business owner, there are always upsides of hiring a virtual team.
Not only does it benefit your company, but it also keeps your employees happy!
Virtual teams help you hire the best talent from around the world and boost your company’s revenue immediately.
But remember, you can’t take advantage of the benefits without the right tools, so carefully go through the tools mentioned in this article. Once you do, you’ll have no trouble hiring and managing virtual teams!
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor—a time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams.