Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Teams

Virtual teams are something pretty new to the business and corporate world. This is when employees and professionals work from remote locations. Many work in their homes, or while traveling, and some even work from different offices around the world. The frequency that these virtual workers are being utilized is increasing quickly as our technology to get the job done is constantly improving. Many employers oppose this idea however, for various different reasons. There are certainly huge benefits to be gained by both employee and employer by utilizing virtual teams, but what consequences could come along with the decision?

Advantages of Virtual Teams

1. Lower Operating Costs
Renting out office space, supplying equipment such as computers, and other types of supplies such as paper, printers, ink, and pens can add up very quickly over the course of a year. By using a virtual team, you can greatly reduce, or possibly even eliminate these costs.

2. More In Depth Meetings
Researching a topic that is being discussed, or quickly looking up the information that you need during an in person meeting is rude and highly frowned upon. However, when doing an online meeting all of these things can be done very simply, and without seeming disrespectful.

3. More Employee Flexibility
It can be very difficult to manage a house hold, take care of children, and work a full time job. By allowing your employees to work remotely, they are able to be much more flexible if anything where to come up.

4. Good For The Environment
Commuting to work is a big part of most peoples mornings and evenings. Just hop in the car and get on the freeway around 8 in the morning and you will see the insane amount of people making the trek to their office or job. By using virtual teams you are reducing the amount of time that your employees spend on the roads. In turn, this reduces the amount of gas that each person uses on a daily basis, which is great for our environment and their pockets.

Disadvantages of Virtual Teams

1. Human Contact Is Important
One big drawback of implementing virtual teams in a business is the lack of social interaction that occurs between employees. This day to day contact helps to build relationships and improve the morale of the entire office.

2. Less Control
Another large down side of virtual teams is the simple fact that you are not able to effectively manage them. There is no way for you to know how much work is being done on a daily basis, and you cannot just “pop by” to check up. This is one of the main reasons that employers decide against virtual teams.

3. Increased Travel Costs
If a member of your virtual team lives in a far away area, there will inevitably be events that they have to travel to your office to attend. These costs have to be incurred by the employer, which can become very costly if many of your team live remotely.

4. At Home Disturbances
The quality and quantity of your teams work can be greatly hindered by working remotely. There are many more distractions in the home then there are at the office. Whether it be the lure of the television, the laundry that just has to get done, or the kids that need to be fed, there are countless things to pull virtual team members away from their desk.

Important Facts About Virtual Teams

  • One third of all people who work from home are completely self employed.
  • The rate of women and men that work from home have been found to be equal.
  • A white employee is twice as likely to work from home than an African American employee according to surveys.
  • Dell, American Express, and Humana are the three companies that have the highest percentage of virtual team members.
  • 38 percent of all American employers allow their workers to work from home.
  • Leave a Comment