How Virtual is Your Team?


Let’s start by defining what a virtual team is. A virtual team is an inter-dependent group working across time and distance, communicating primarily using telecommunications.

Research shows, however, that not all virtual teams are equally “virtual,” as some have greater virtual distances than others. Virtual distance is comprised of many variables, including:

  • Physical distances – geographical distance, time zones and organizational boundaries
  • Operational distances – inadequate information and communication technology, a lack of common context for working, and distractions
  • Affinity distances – differences in culture, lack of shared vision and low trust.
  • (Lojeski & Reilly, 2008 “Uniting the Virtual Workforce”)

All of these must be taken into account when positioning a virtual team for success.

Jan Goedvolk, Global Leadership Director for the Emerging Markets Region, Berlitz