A New Take on Work: Are You Ready for a Virtual Team?

by Thomas on May 2, 2011 · 0 comments

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Could virtual teams be the new form of work cooperation in the era of globalisation and new communication technology? According to Udo Konradt, who is an expert for communication media, around 30% of all employees will be working virtually by the year 2012. Perhaps you should, therefore, ask yourself the following questions: “Could I cope working in a virtual team?” “Which skills and characteristics make up the perfect member of a virtual team?” Many employees are already acquainted with certain social and communicative skills involved in traditional team work; however a virtual team demands more from them. Read on to find out whether you have what it takes to be a virtual team player.

Technological Understanding

Do not shy away from new information and communication technology. Due to its geographic and temporal distance, virtual team work is only possible with modern technology. Therefore, you must have some basic knowledge in dealing with new technological means of communicating information. Computer skills (Skype, E-Mail, Chat, Intranet etc.) and Smartphones will hopefully become your best friends when working in virtual teams, but since there are many various ways of communicating information, you must be aware of which communication method best suits the given situation or problem.


As communication in virtual teams does not take place face to face, you must be in command of good verbal and social skills for electronic media communication. In addition, being able to convey emotion through written forms of communication, having a clear, unambiguous and precise manner of expression as well as being able to give short and concise feedback are all vital for avoiding misunderstandings in teams.


It is very important to keep in regular and active contact with your team colleagues by proactively communicating and searching for contact with other team members at your own accord. Only in this way will you be able to maintain a positive and structured working environment.


If colleagues are not sitting nearby you in the office, then you most probably need to be able to work independently. You should be able to independently incorporate your own working tasks, recognise occurring problems and conflicts and find ways to resolve these.

Intercultural Competence

Working together with people from different backgrounds and various cultures can easily lead to misunderstandings and disagreements. An open and tolerant approach when dealing with other cultures and moral values is to layout a few basic guidelines for promoting successful team work and cooperation. Better still is to know in advance about any culture specific customs of your team members so that any misunderstandings or unwanted faux pas can be avoided.


As virtual team members, in most cases, are not personally acquainted with each other, a level of trust must be founded. It is vital to have a positive attitude towards other colleagues as good team cooperation can not develop when there is mistrust.

Do you command any of these skills? If so, then you are well prepared for the future and successful cooperation within a virtual team.

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