Working With Virtual Teams Series: Part I

working with virtual teamsCompanies have been using outside consultants for a long time but the concept of working with virtual teams is relatively new to the business world. I can remember working in the communications department for a large international corporation who hired an outside communications vendor to handle their reputation building strategy. I also remember thinking it was funny that they were not employed by the company, did not attend our company meetings and didn’t eat lunch with us in the company cafeteria. How did they know enough about our company to do this job? Well, that was a long, long time ago and that was only my first introduction to working with an outside team of consultants.

Companies are working with virtual teams all the time now.  There are a number of benefits to this model:

  1. Cost savings:  Employees cost money and departments cost that much more;
  2. Contract for the work they anticipate and reassess as time evolves;
  3. Shared common goals;
  4. Expertise in their respective fields;

Working With Virtual Teams Saves Money

A company will hire and contract out for the specific services they desire to fill their talent pool.  Let’s use social media as one example.  Your company knows they need to venture into social media for their marketing and public relations.  However, current marketing resources are tight and you just doesn’t have the additional talent p0ol inside the company in order to take the time to investigate needs and assess value.  In addition, the expertise of knowing about SEO, SEM, which social media channels are most effective for your particular business, which analytic programs to rely on, etc.

All these considerations have to be investigated, and then benchmarked by professionals who know what they are doing.  Chances are the company’s current marketing department doesn’t have the bandwidth to perform the analysis or business experience and savvy to make recommendations.  This is when outsourcing to consultants can sometimes be prohibitive but working with virtual teams is a bit more affordable.

Working with Virtual Teams who Specialize

If you determine you need marketing to take your business to the next level, then you would want to investigate virtual teams who have specialists in web design, social media marketing, strategy building, as well as a communications and public relations background.  Maybe you decide you need to grow your administrative side, but don’t want an employee full time yet.  Finding and working with a virtual team who has executive assistants with experience handling boards of directors, travel and calendar management, meeting planning and hotel logistics for C-Suite executives can really round out your business team comfortably without having to pay for full time employees, benefits, etc.

Sharing Goals and Working with Virtual Teams

When you determine it’s time to hire a team of virtual professionals to help you grow your business, look for a team who has many of the components you will need.  Then be open and share goals with them.  Let them know exactly what you are envisioning for your business.  From there, you will have several business minds working on the same objectives and figuring out the best way to move forward that is cost effective for your company.  Sharing goals and being completely open and honest with what is needed will build a strong bond with your virtual team and allow everyone to take responsibility for its success.

Consider working with virtual teams as your grow your business and share with us other ways you could see your company utilizing and working with virtual teams.

One of the biggest challenges we have found in working with clients is keeping everyone updated on new information, because the teams are fragmented.  This will be the topic for Part II



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