Maria is a qualified professional who works as part of a virtual team. Her teammates are all extremely competent, and she enjoys being part of a diverse and intelligent group. Nevertheless, she finds the virtual side of her work challenging. She collaborates closely with a few co-workers, but has found it hard to build relationships with some other teammates. Many of her co-workers are located in different countries, plus they rely heavily on e-mail, IM, and video chat to communicate. She’s frequently caught herself jumping to conclusions or misinterpreting e-mails, and sometimes the division of work and expectations are unclear. Team interactions can be strained and unsure, and conflicts can arise. If you are part of a virtual team, then Maria’s situation might sound familiar. Virtual teams are commonplace. But, although they offer flexibility, improved job satisfaction, and higher productivity, virtual teams also come with a number of challenges that may undermine goals, relationships, and team effectiveness. It is now more than ever imperative to look at how we can successfully work in a virtual team. After all, virtual teams allow organisations to bring together individuals with the best expertise, no matter where they live. The number of individuals engaged in virtual work is rising every year! In their 2018 survey, Flexjobs found that there was a 22 percent increase in telecommuting from 2017 to 2018. Owl Labs 2019 remote employees report found that 54 percent of U.S. Workers work remotely at least once a month, 48% work remotely at least once a week, and 30 percent work remotely full time. Global Workplace Analytics claims that distance work grew 173 percent between 2005 and 2018.

Virtual teams may consist of professionals who work from your home full time or part time, others who take part in mobile work, or individuals who work in a remote location. The COVID-19 pandemic had a major effect on remote working. Whole organisations across the world are now suddenly needed to work remotely from home for an indefinite amount of time. This unprecedented global event has made it more essential than ever before to face the challenges which come with being a part of a virtual team.