I’ve worked in a globally dispersed team with colleagues in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the US. The team worked really well.
Virtual Teams do require a little bit of extra effort, however, to get all the players to “gel” well together. The team I worked in had regular communication, and an awareness that things had to happen differently than in a usual everyone-in-the-same-building situation. There was no water cooler, or hall, conversations that resulted in any other (remote) team member wondering what the heck was going on. There was no surprises, and each member respected the culture of the other, as well as the fact that, for most, English was a second language.
When the team did get together in the same place, it was always “business as usual” – it never felt like we were meeting strangers.
Because of my experience with working in a virtual team, my interest was piqued when I stumbled across the web site of MVT. MVT stands for “Managing Virtual Teams“. It’s a relatively young company (4 years) that provides consulting and excellent resources focused on managing multicultural virtual teams.
As well as several courses, and other services, MVT has a list of free Team Activities that can be used to improve the communication, and work, in a virtual team. You need to register, but there are 32 pages of the activities and they fall under the following categories:
- Team Work
- Team Leading
- Work-life balance
- Cultural exchange
- Just for fun
- Work relations
Further to that MVT offers several free virtual team Guides on such things as Project Management, Training, Human Resources and Multicultural Teams.
MVT is run by Anna Danes. and Carolina Leon Maya. Anna has a degree in Communications and is based in Spain. Carolina has a degree in Psychology, and is based in Colombia. Theses facts make me believe that they understand the kind of work environment that I described in the opening paragraph of this post.
If you want to learn about getting your teams (virtual or not) working together better, I strongly recommend that you check out MVT’s site. Now that they are on my radar I am going to explore what they have to offer more.
- MVT site
- Free Team Activities (registration required)
- About MVT
- Four C’s to Managing Virtual Teams (coffeeshophr.com)
- Even Virtual Startup Teams Must Work Closely (alleywatch.com)
- 5 Uncommon Tips for Managing Your Virtual Team (wamda.com)
- Finding The Right Balance Between Working Virtually and Working With a Virtual Team (versatelsolutions.com)
- Managing Virtual Teams (networkadvisingu.wordpress.com)
Comment from Anna Danes:
I hope you are doing well and that the weather is still nice in beautiful and magical New Zealand!
I want to personally thank you for your post regarding Virtual Teams, it is a topic that affects so many people, and I am really happy to see that everyday it raises more awareness.
Mark, there is a little detail, in your post you swaped Carolina’s and my degree, she holds a degree in Psychology and I hold one in Communications, if you have the chance to change that, it would be great 🙂
Please let us know if we can help you with something and lets keep in touch!