Managers Fret as Virtual Teams Grow with Globalization

  • Virtual Co-WorkerThe Find: A huge majority of companies foresee an increasing use of virtual teams in the coming years, and more than a third of managers are worried about the development.
  • The Source: The recent Taking the Pulse: Teams study from the Institute for Corporate Productivity (I4CP).
The Takeaway: Most of the time when you picture a team it involves a group of people passing around donuts or sitting in a conference room, but if I4CP is right you're soon going to have to revise that mental image. Virtual teams are on the rise.

I4CP asked more than 250 companies about their vision for the future of teams. More than two-thirds (67 percent) said they saw the importance of virtual teams skyrocketing. In the largest companies with more than 10,000 employees, there's near consensus (80 percent agreed). Virtual teams are the way of the future.

Mary Key, i4cp's leadership pillar director doesn't see this development as surprising: "With highly distributed workforces and the rising cost of travel, it's not surprising that organizations would anticipate a greater reliance on virtual teams." She does, however see it as a challenge for leadership: "What it foreshadows, however, is the greater need for the development of virtual leadership skills." In fact 35 percent of managers said the problems of managing dispersed teams was high or very high on their list of worries.

The Question: So what tips do BNET readers have to help managers better wrangle their virtual teams into productivity, and does the prospect of a future filled with managing virtual teams fill you with joy or dread?

(Image of virtual co-worker by Jacob Bøtter, CC 2.0)