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The Pros and Cons of 5 Different Types of Virtual Teams

The way we work is changing. With advances in technology, it’s now possible to work from anywhere in the world. This has led to the rise of different types of virtual teams – groups of employees who work together online, often from different locations.

There are many different types of virtual teams, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will explore 5 of the most common types:

  1. Project-based virtual teams
  2. Task-based virtual teams
  3. Functional virtual teams
  4. Cross-functional virtual teams
  5. Global virtual teams

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the pros and cons of each type of virtual team so that you can decide which one is right for you.

1. Project-based

With project-based virtual teams, each team is responsible for a specific project. The team may be permanently assigned to the project or formed specifically for a one-time project.

Advantages:

  • Virtual teams can draw from a larger pool of workers than traditional teams, making it easier to find the right mix of skills and experience.
  • Virtual teams can be quickly assembled and dismantled as needed, which is ideal for businesses that need to respond quickly to changes in the market or sudden increases in workload.
  • Virtual team members are not limited by geographic location, so businesses can tap into global talent pools.
  • This can make it easier to manage work and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Having a clear project scope can also help to motivate team members and keep them focused.

Disadvantages:

  • The lack of face-to-face interaction can make it difficult for team members to build trust and rapport with one another.
  • Miscommunication is more likely to occur when team members are not in the same place and cannot read each other’s body language.
  • It can be challenging to manage virtual teams effectively if team members are located in different time zones.
  • Project-based virtual teams can be quite inflexible. Once a team has been assigned to a project, it can be difficult to make changes. This can be a problem if the project scope changes or if team members are not working well together.

Best activities to consider: MiniTreasure, MiniScavenge

2. Task-based

Task-based virtual teams are very flexible, as team members can be assigned to different tasks as needed.

Advantages:

  • This can be helpful if there are changes to the project scope or if some team members are not working out. It also allows team members to focus on their strengths and delegate tasks accordingly.

Disadvantages:

  • The main disadvantage of task-based virtual teams is that they can be less efficient than other types of teams. This is because team members may not have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. There can also be a lot of overlap between different tasks, which can lead to confusion.

Best activities to consider: MiniScavenge, Space Rescue

3. Functional

Functional virtual teams are where team members are assigned to specific functions, such as marketing or engineering. These functions are vital for the organization, but there is no overlap or direct interaction between members of the different functional areas. In a functional team, each member has a specific set of skills and knowledge to contribute to the team’s success.

A product development team is an example of a functional virtual team. The members of this type of team are assigned to different parts of the product development process, such as research and design, testing, and manufacturing. They work together to complete the product development cycle, but they do not interact with each other on a daily basis.

Advantages:

  • This can be helpful if you need to deploy specialist skills or knowledge. It can also make it easier to manage work, as team members will have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Disadvantages:

  • Functional virtual teams can be inflexible, as team members are limited to working on their assigned function. This can be a problem if the project scope changes or if team members are not working well together. It can also lead to a lack of collaboration, as team members may not have a clear understanding of the work being done by other team members.

Best activity to consider: MiniScavenge, VirtuWall

4. Cross-functional

Cross-functional virtual teams are where team members from different functional areas work together. For example, a team may have members from marketing, accounting, and human resources. The team members would work together to complete tasks or projects.

Virtual teams can be 100% remote or hybrid

Advantages:

  • This can be helpful if you need to deploy a range of skills and knowledge. It can also lead to greater collaboration, as team members will have a better understanding of the work being done by other team members.

Disadvantages:

  • The main disadvantage of cross-functional virtual teams is that they can be more difficult to manage. This is because team members may not have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. There can also be a lot of overlap between different functions, which can lead to confusion.

Best activities to consider: MiniScavenge, Space Rescue

5. Global virtual teams

Global virtual teams are where team members are located in different parts of the world.

Advantages:

  • Increased diversity of skills and perspectives
  • Access to a global pool of talent
  • Reduced costs associated with travel and office space
  • Flexibility in terms of work hours and location
  • This can be helpful if you need to deploy specialist skills or knowledge. It can also lead to greater collaboration, as team members will have a better understanding of the work being done by other team members.

Disadvantages:

  • The main disadvantage of global virtual teams is that they can be more difficult to manage. This is because team members may not have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. There can also be a lot of cultural differences, which can lead to misunderstanding and conflict.

Best activities to consider: MiniScavenge, VirtuWall

Types of virtual teams – conclusion:

There are many different types of virtual teams, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we have explored 5 of the most common types. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the pros and cons of each type of virtual team so that you can decide which one is right for you.

Contact

Whatever types of virtual teams you have, Global Team Building has an excellent selection of activities that can help you become more effective and give everyone a great time. Contact us today to learn more about our virtual team building services and activities.

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