8.2 Managing and facilitating virtual team processes: Guidelines for managers
Challenges for virtual groups include communicating effectively across distance, which may involve learning how to make full use of all of the communication technologies available to the group in question.
A typical mistake when moving to virtual working is to believe that only small adjustments to established working practices will be required. This may result in managers failing to think through and plan for working virtually; this can result in reduced performance and heightened stress among team members. Successful virtual working means analysing and agreeing on communication practices, using the communication technologies available and building trust in the virtual team. Although dependent on technology, virtual teams are more likely to fail through lack of the development of ‘soft skills’ (that is, the social processes).
Guidelines for managers in helping teams through virtual team-working processes are set out throughout the rest of this section.