“ One day offices will be a thing of the past” Richard Branson
From sharing cubicles to virtual working stations the way we work has been on a steep trajectory of transformation. Following the breakthrough, the most sought after topic in the digitized world is “ How can organizations effectively create and manage engaged workforce across borders?”. The in-depth research and analysis of virtual teams unravel the secret ingredient to success: The Human Element. For the success of virtual teams, it matters less whether one person is sitting in Finland, two in China and Six in Sweden, the important element is the realization of the fact that they are real people. Just like you they are sitting in an office and require the same motivators and facets to perform their daily tasks. Despite being a hit in the digitized world, collaborating with physically dispersed and a multicultural team; a high coefficient of risk accompanies virtual teams.
An effective virtual team requires carefully devised strategies and the right ingredients that allow the transformation of threats into challenges. The key to effectively managing a virtual team is to internalize the fact that the team is virtual, but the people in that team are real. They have real hopes and fears, ambitions and interests, knowledge, skill and communications needs. For organizations to navigate collaboration challenges and to build cohesive virtual teams there are four must-haves: a cohesive team, dynamic leadership, productive touchpoints, and specialized technology. All these elements have to work in collaboration to create a lean, agile and human-centered environment.
Favro a Sweden based planning and collaboration app leverages virtual team model and its experience demonstrates the importance of striking the right balance between these four elements. Patric Palm – CEO of Favro shares his two cents on managing virtual teams in Sweden. Generally, the Swedish company culture can be characterized as less hierarchical and more collaborative. The employee prefers equality, qualitative assessment of performance, teamwork and soft management. Patric noticed that the communication gap and misunderstandings were becoming a huge challenge while managing virtual teams. Patric adopted an effective two-way communication method to overcome the problem, whenever he felt that the teams were not on the same page he would pick up the phone or tap into video conferencing to clear out things immediately.
The experience of virtual organizations emphasizes that by employing specialized tools and emotionally intelligent strategies organizations can leverage high-performing virtual teams to achieve business goals.