Over the last decade the “geography of the workplace” has shifted dramatically. Today’s workforce has become more mobile than ever, and every day, more and more people are working from virtual offices, client sites, home offices, coffee shops, airports, hotels, and any number of remote workplaces.
In the US alone, 20% of the adult working population (26.2 million) in 2010 were teleworkers . It has also been reported that there has been an 80% increase in “telecommunicating” employees from 2005 to 2012.
Why this enormous rise, you ask?
It’s because not only do remote teams allow businesses to reduce costs and recruit talent more efficiently, but they also increase productivity and even worker engagement. In fact, a 2009 Aon Consulting report.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that transitioning to a fully “virtual team” is totally without risk or challenges. Virtual teams can also be very hard to get right. When team members lack the ability to interact face-to-face, it can be difficult to build trust and to manage conflict. Communication is also often more challenging, particularly among global virtual teams, making it more difficult to overcome cultural barriers, which, in turn, can greatly impact your virtual team’s effectiveness.
So what can you do to maximize the productivity of your virtual team?