Challenges With Blending Virtual & Office Teams

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  • 0:04 Challenges
  • 0:47 Communication
  • 1:41 Clear Expectations
  • 2:31 Measuring Performance
  • 3:29 Collaborating as a Team
  • 4:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

This lesson provides specific suggestions to blend virtual and office teams. Topics covered include communication, collaboration, setting clear expectations, and creating fair performance measures.


Advances in technology, lower transportation and real estate costs, geographic expansion, and more flexibility for employees are just a few factors that have led to an increase in virtual teams, employees who work toward a common goal but from different physical locations. This can include employees who work from home or other remote places, as well as those who divide their time between an office and an outside locale.

As more companies utilize virtual teams, they're facing new challenges in blending virtual and office teams. For these teams to work together effectively, plans must be made to create a positive work environment. In this lesson, we'll address four areas where planning is crucial.


Working in the same office as co-workers allows for easy communication. You need to talk to Pam about a work problem? No problem. Just walk down a few doors and speak with Pam face to face. What do you do when you need to talk to Judy, who is four states away? Picking up the phone, sending an e-mail, or scheduling a virtual meeting all require more effort and time. One problem blended teams face is making sure that the extra effort is taken to share information and discuss issues with people both in the office and working virtually.

Encouraging and providing tools to foster communication between team members can help make work projects more successful. It's vital to create a process for sharing information, including the right people in discussions, and having appropriate systems to interact. Being mindful to disperse information to all relevant parties, regardless of location, is a critical part of blending virtual and office teams.

Clear Expectations

With the lack of face-to-face contact, managers must be aware of the value of setting clear expectations for virtual teams. Likewise, ensuring both in-house and external employees have the same understanding is important. Distributing memos, instruction manuals/videos, and how-to documents can help everyone to be on the same page.

Let's imagine you manage a team that writes user manuals for the company's new products. You have some writers who work in-house and others who work remotely. For everyone to have the same expectations, you write up a schedule of due dates, specific instructions, and a list of everyone involved with each step. You then have a meeting to review the project and ensure everyone understands the process. By setting clear expectations with the group, you increase the effectiveness of the blended team.

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