Learn why virtual teams have become a popular way to organize the business processes. Disadvantages and advantages of virtual team, what are the alternatives, and why you should refer to Fayrix for help
With the development of new communication technologies, the way we cooperate on the project has changed drastically. The widespread access to electronic devices and the development of new software solutions have resulted in the emergence and rise in the popularity of virtual teams. The COVID-19 pandemic has only fueled this trend further and forced certain businesses to move to this cooperation model.
A virtual team can be defined as people working from various locations to achieve a common goal. More often than not, they consist of freelancers, part-time workers, or people that have another side project. While they can work in the same office, usually they never meet in person.
There are multiple benefits of having a virtual team for a business. However, there also are certain risks of virtual team solution implementation. Before you decide whether you want to use the model in your enterprise, you need to learn all about virtual team advantages and disadvantages, and here’s where we’re ready to help you. Read further to find out more about different aspects of virtual teams and the differences between traditional and virtual teams.
Benefits and Challenges of Virtual Teams for Your Business
Virtual teams are a flexible and agile solution that allows to quickly select the most suitable group of people for a custom solution of a particular problem. While firstly popularized in the IT sector, it is now widely used in multiple industries, from construction to finances.
The solution can work both for a large and a small business; the only requirement is to be prepared for certain specifics of the remote work process. So, let’s learn more about the disadvantages and advantages of a virtual team implementation so that you know what to look forward to.
Advantages of a Virtual Team Approach
One of the biggest points in discussing the benefits and challenges of virtual teams is the cost savings. Telecommuting allows saving a lot of money you would otherwise spend on an office, furniture, supplies, and even power and water bills.
This doesn’t mean you won’t have to spend money on your employees at all. You might have to spend more on software and other communication tools, and, in some cases, you would need to provide some allowance to the team members. However, overall, this is still one of the major advantages of a virtual team.
Remote work allows employees to have more control over the circumstances they work in. They have more time to spend with their loved ones, save the time they would otherwise spend on the commute, organize their working hours according to their biological clock, take better care of their health and wellness, etc. This might seem like one of the benefits of a virtual team for an employee rather than for a business, but there is a direct correlation between one and the other. Happier employees have been noticed to be more productive, thus being more beneficial to the employer.
Another point in the discussion between traditional teams vs. virtual teams for the latter is the worldwide reach you have in terms of talent to hire. You don’t have to rely on your local community or even your country — you can cooperate with the person on the other end of the globe. The talent search should not be too complicated as well — nowadays, multiple online platforms allow you to hire a freelance worker in a matter of minutes. Team diversity will also improve the quality of discussions and ideas your team will come up with.
This one of the virtual team benefits results directly from the previous point. If you need for your business to operate during unusual for your time zone hours, all you need to do is hire professionals from another country to be comfortable for them to work when it is nighttime for you.
This is also perfect if you need to establish your presence in a different country or culture. Hire team members from that country and have them represent your business on a local level. They will be able to adapt your product to their local audience better than you ever could.
One of the best practices you could ever employ with virtual teams is around-the-clock production. For example, you can have one of your developers take over once the developer from the other time zone finishes their work. This will greatly reduce your overall time to market and help you to stand out among your competitors.
However, here’s where one of the virtual team disadvantages comes into play; as for the effective 24-hour cycle, you need to have effective communication and leadership, which can often be challenging to achieve.
Virtual Team Disadvantages
If you find the software solution that suits your team and your development process the best, you need to make sure that everyone has the resources to use it. A technological mismatch can cause many problems, even if everything seems fine at first glance.
The ideal solution to this problem is to provide all the team members with the same hardware. However, not every company has the budget for such an expense. Another solution is to filter out the mismatch early on, like including the hardware requirements on the job listing.
The significant disadvantage that often gets mentioned in the discussions of the pros and cons of virtual teams is the lack of personal interactions between the team members. This can often negatively impact the person’s mood and motivation, thus negatively impacting productivity.
The lack of social interaction also results in the absence of a team spirit. When team members have no idea who they’re working with outside the work environment, they have nothing to bond over. A simple discussion of their day-to-day life can go a long way in establishing a more personal relationship. Its absence can result in a lack of cooperation between the team members, which is essential for certain tasks.
While there is a technology that can improve the communication between long-distance coworkers, it cannot make the process as simple and effective as an eye-to-eye conversation. Even during the video chat, there are certain context clues and non-verbal signals that get missed.
The lack of non-verbal clues to rely on can lead to some unfortunate misunderstandings. If these misunderstandings don’t get caught on fast enough, they might result in conflict or errors in the work process.
When talking about the advantages and challenges of managing a global virtual team, you should remember that it is a fundamentally different process and requires a fundamentally different skill set. You would need to set appropriate boundaries and find a tricky balance to accommodate every team member.
Among the pros and cons of managing virtual teams that are worth mentioning are that you can solve a lot of previously mentioned problems with the right management and activities planned. Still, you would also need to better plan your working hours (or hire some help) if your team works around the clock.
Virtual teams often consist of freelancers that are used to working alone. Sometimes they prefer to fall back to old habits and work on their separate task independently. While for some teams a separate effort of each team member is enough to complete the project, for most industries, it’s not the case, and collaboration is essential to succeed. It’s the job of the team’s leader to ensure an active collaborative effort and control the process. However, in some cases, the differences in opinions are not easily reconcilable, so the only way to improve the cooperation is to change the team. This decision is difficult to make, and you need to be sure that there is no other way before you make it.
Virtual Team Alternatives
One of the prominent alternatives to the virtual team approach is a dedicated offshore development center or ODC. ODC consists of a team of engineers in an offshoring country. In essence, it is a company branch situated in a certain country, consisting off of offshore specialists.
ODC has some benefits compared to virtual teams. Firstly, you’ll get a more dedicated and committed team by creating an ODC than hiring freelance workers. Secondly, you provide more independence to the development center, so you won’t have to control each team member that much. Lastly, you’ll essentially be able to expand to a new market while still having your brand label attached to the team.
You can create your own Offshore R&D center with Fayrix. We will help you build a dedicated and reliable team cost-effectively and concisely while ensuring full legal support and team scalability.
Fayrix Case Studies
Fayrix has a long history of helping clients create successful solutions with dedicated teams. Let’s review some of our cases.
Telesvyaz is an engineering company based in Russia with dozens of enterprises and companies relying on them for telecommunication. Fayrix helped them create a dedicated team of Swift and Java developers to create a unique application. This app would prove to be an irreplaceable tool for the manager and client communication and the further analysis of the employees’ work.
SCR Dairy is a worldwide leader in cow monitoring and herd management solutions. We’ve helped them to gather a team of Java, Spring, Angular, and Python specialists to create SenseHub — a new solution that would monitor the animal’s health and gather various statistics, including the reproduction and milking results.
SkyGuru is a unique startup meant to explain and educate plane passengers on what’s going on with their flight at any given moment. They needed help gathering a team that would implement this idea, which boiled down to using Android and iOS smartphone sensors to measure and calculate various helpful data with its visualization on the screen.
All in all, gathering and managing a virtual team is a beneficial yet challenging endeavor. You will save a lot of time and money if you do everything right, but small mistakes can lead to unacceptable consequences. Fortunately, we’re here to help you. Contact Fayrix right now, and you will gain access to our large experience and a long list of qualified professionals that can help you achieve your goals right now.