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What Is a Virtual Team? - Definition & Types

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  • 0:03 What Is a Virtual Team?
  • 0:34 Types of Virtual Teams
  • 2:25 Managing Your Own Virtual Team
  • 3:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

The corporate setting has changed drastically in the last twenty years as technology has advanced and more people are starting their own businesses. Virtual teams can be a great solution for many businesses, and this lesson explains why.

What Is a Virtual Team?

A virtual team is a group of people who work together with a common purpose but are not located in the same place. It may be a team of employees who work in different offices or people who work from their homes. As technological advances have made video conferencing, email, and other forms of communication possible, the virtual team has become more popular. Working virtually may also be referred to as working remotely, telecommuting, or in some situations, working from home.

Types of Virtual Teams

Virtual teams are effective for work that is highly independent. For instance, writers, editors, and graphic designers often work remotely. They can effectively work on their projects at home or separate from the rest of the team. When the assignment is completed, they can get feedback and notes on what changes need to be made without having to physically be present.

Many sales organizations operate as virtual teams, especially when the representatives meet with clients on an on-going basis and those clients are not located near headquarters. For instance, a sales person who sells books to schools may cover a region that is several states away from the company's headquarters. It is more cost-effective and provides greater customer service to have a sales person live in the region he or she covers. This allows the employee to meet with school administration on a regular basis, handle problems immediately, and find opportunities to provide more products to the schools in the area each year. Additionally, this person does not need to be in the company office to do their work. In fact, in such cases, work is more effectively completed outside of the office.

An increasingly popular form of virtual teams is emerging as more people are starting their own small businesses. Administrative assistants, bookkeepers, marketing professionals, and website management are more easily accommodated as virtual teams. Each person can work from the comfort of their own home and be connected with company networks, digital phone systems, and online conference meetings. Rather than walking down the hall to talk to someone in their office, a quick phone call or email becomes the method of communication. There are companies that have gone completely remote, allowing all of the employees to work from remote locations and be connected through technological tools.

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