Building Trust in Virtual Teams

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  • 0:03 What Is a Virtual Team?
  • 0:30 Benefits and Challenges
  • 1:31 How to Build Trust
  • 4:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tonya Brewer

Tonya has a Master of Science degree in Accounting

Trust is essential for teams of employees, and virtual teams can build a foundation of trust just as any non-virtual team can. In this lesson, we'll discuss the benefits and challenges of virtual teams as well as the methods for building trust.

What Is a Virtual Team?

A virtual team is a team whose members interact primarily through electronic communications. Rather than using traditional face-to-face communication, members of these teams rely on email, phone calls, teleconferences, virtual meetings, and so forth. The team members could be close in distance or far away. As technology continues to advance, electronic communications become increasingly prominent in business settings.

Benefits and Challenges

Companies can benefit greatly from using virtual teams. Perhaps the greatest benefit is the huge cost savings that can come with virtual teams. Employees working from different parts of the world no longer have to travel long distances to collaborate on projects and attend meetings, thereby cutting travel expenses. Businesses also don't have to pay for relocation costs, and they can avoid operational costs that come with supplying an office, utilities, and other necessities for a physical work setting.

There are also challenges that come with virtual teams. Members generally must be self-motivated, be able to work independently, and have very strong communication skills. Another major demand among virtual teams is a strong foundation of trust. After all, these employees must work closely with people they may not have even met in person before. Though important to the success of the team, building and maintaining trust can be a challenge. Let's explore ways of building trust in the following section.

How to Build Trust

Overcoming the challenges associated with virtual teams can be difficult, but one of the most effective ways to encourage collaboration and productivity is by enhancing a sense of trust. Consider these tools for building trust among virtual team members:

1. Create Team Member Profiles

A virtual team lacks the face-to-face conversations and nonverbal cues that come with traditional, in-person teams. One way to help put a face to the name is to have members fill out personal profiles for themselves. Each profile might include:

  • A picture
  • A bio including details about the person's life, such as pets, kids, hobbies, favorite foods, and so forth.
  • The best time and way to contact the person

These profiles allow team members to learn more about each other, recognize their shared interests, and be more open to trusting the people on their team.

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