by Saratoga College Virtual Internship Program participant Annie Rosencrans
Back in the day, running a business team was simple. Employees worked in the same office, on the same 9 to 5 schedule, for the purpose of reaching a common goal. But as technology's role in the workplace continues to grow, an increasing number of businesses are making the switch to virtual teams. This move has brought a host of benefits, not the least of which is flexible work hours, lower costs, and the opportunity to recruit team members from anywhere in the world.
But despite its many benefits, leading a geographically dispersed team also has its share of challenges. Typically, effective communication is the most difficult thing to achieve in a virtual team. To avoid communication issues, ensure that you have dependable technologies. Video chat programs that cut out every couple minutes are not doing you or your business any favors - so make sure you invest in technologies that work. Next, set clear and realistic goals for your team. When everyone is on the same page, the team is more productive, efficient and cohesive. Finally, evaluate your team members. Are they dependable? Trustworthy? Ambitious? If not, it may be time to restructure. Never settle on the status quo and remember that the success of your business depends on your leadership.