In a recent Unify survey of knowledge workers, 79% of respondents reported working always or frequently in virtual teams, but only 44% found virtual communication as productive as face-to-face communication. The vast majority connected via email, phone, or conference calls even though 72% said video would make teamwork easier. Only 34% of people use video to collaborate with coworkers. And 43% feel confused and overwhelmed by the mishmash of collaboration technology at their disposal.
I’m seeing a new generation of technology emerge that can make dispersed teams more productive than collocated teams. Forrester Research’s Henry Dewing says some enlightened users are beginning to prefer to meet in their video and web conferencing platforms instead of in a physical conference room.
However, to make virtual teamwork work this well, you’ll need to move your team to a new set of behaviors, not just to a new generation of technology, with human engagement as the first priority.
The behavior gaps that keep virtual teams from reaching their goals fall in three buckets:
1. Setting ground rules for managing virtual communications
2. Aligning personal and professional goals
3. Strengthening relationships to enable the candor required for true collaboration
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