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19 December 2022



8 Different Types of Virtual Teams

The research from Global Workplace Analytics indicates that 56% of employees are willing to conduct their job duties as a part of a virtual team. Another study points out that 62% of workers would consider quitting an in-office job in favor of a remote one. With different types of virtual teams are available, let’s explore 8 virtual team types to know which one to choose when needed.

8 Virtual Team Types

Virtual teams come in different shapes and sizes, as well as they have advantages and disadvantages. Choosing a particular one depends on your business needs, work environment, and workforce capabilities. Keeping these factors in mind, here are 8 types of virtual teams any company out there might use.

1. Parallel Virtual Teams

Parallel teams emerge from the team members working in the same company. While working on a particular project with their direct responsibilities, these virtual teams also take on some parallel roles and responsibilities. In most cases, parallel teams are needed to review certain parts of the project or double-check particular issues.

In parallel virtual teams, members stay as a part of this team until the issue is resolved or the project is reviewed. Generally, these types of virtual teams are formed in a short period. They are proven to have great effectiveness within large enterprises, where different perspectives on a certain problem are required.

2. Networked Virtual Teams

When it comes to indicating what are the different types of virtual teams, one must mention networked virtual teams. These teams are often dispersed across different geographic locations. Besides, they include team members from outside the organization or the company. In short, networked virtual teams are composed of people who have different expertise. When they are brought together, team members share their knowledge and take on a particular problem at hand.

With networked teams, new team members can be added on the go, which indicates flexibility. Large companies often use these virtual teams for the purpose of consulting. In contrast to parallel teams, a networked team does not have constant membership. As a result, networked virtual teams are best to meet changing market conditions.

3. Project Development Virtual Teams

Regarding classical virtual team types, project development is the one to mention. These emerged in the 1990s and can be considered trailblazers among virtual teams. Project development teams often include team members with subject matter expertise. These can emerge from different geographical locations and be brought together into one team. The key task of project development teams is to design a new product or an information system. These teams work with specific requirements and measurements.

4. Service-Based Virtual Teams

Service-based virtual teams are all about customer support. Among different virtual team types, these are solely focused on ensuring customers get 24/7 customer service all over the world. The members of service teams can be located in different geographical locations and time zones. They work in shifts, and their schedule covers all 24 hours of a day.

In essence, every member of a virtual service team can work independently to answer customer queries. However, when put together, these form a massive customer service platform capable of processing hundreds and thousands of customer inquiries each hour. Service virtual teams can be used for both technical and customer support.

5. Functional Virtual Teams

If you need to perform one particular day-to-day task, functional virtual teams are put together. These teams have members with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and objectives. They all work independently from one another. However, in the end, functional teams put forward a final solution each particular member’s input. Often, recruitment agencies use functional virtual teams to meet specific client needs. Besides, these teams are used when HR operations are outsourced.

6. Action-Based Virtual Teams

In terms of different types of virtual teams with a focus on an immediate solution, action-based teams are the ones to speak about. These teams are formed for the shortest period of time compared to other virtual team types. If a company faces unexpected issues and needs an immediate solution, action teams are called upon. In such a case, these virtual teams are dispersed as soon as the problem is resolved. Similarly, other types of virtual teams, action-based teams, can be formed from team members spread all over the world.

7. Management-Based Virtual Teams

Companies form management-based virtual teams to handle corporate strategies and high-tier management issues. The team members for these teams originate from the same organization or company, yet with offices located in different geographical locations. Basically, these are managers working for a single company with representatives scattered across a nation or several countries. In addition, management-based virtual teams are formed if some firm needs a new corporate strategy or needs to devise a new managerial approach.

8. Offshore (ISD) Virtual Teams

Last but not least, there are offshore ISD virtual teams. When it comes to types of virtual teams linked to outsourcing, these teams come to mind. In a nutshell, if a company wants to outsource portions of the software development cycle or the entire cycle, they will look for outsourcing locations offering the best price-to-quality ratio. These locations can often be found in India and Eastern Europe. In such a case, when the location is found, an offshore virtual team is formed to deliver the project.

Often, offshore virtual teams cooperate with onshore or in-office teams. This model is widely used in software development and outsourcing industries. When offshore virtual teams are coupled with your main team, you can deliver new software to the market as soon as possible and reasonably priced.

The Bottom Line

With 8 types of virtual teams above, there are enough options to choose from. Consider the key factors coming with every virtual team to understand which one you need. Don’t forget that there is no single virtual team offering all-in-one solutions. You need to clearly understand your needs and how they can be achieved to tap into the full potential of any given virtual team.

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