Virtual Teams: Coming to a Business Near You!

Damien Golden

Here’s a post from Damien Golden, one of our “Virtual Team” panelists at this year’s Creative Freelancer Business Conference. Hope to see you this May in Boston.

You might be in the creative field and understand that virtual teams are being built all around you. You might even be part of one or manage one, but have you noticed any of the latest headlines, evening news stories or that new movie trailer ~ Virtual Teams: Coming to a Business Near You!

Ok, the latter is just something I made up, but only in the sense there hasn’t been a movie about it…yet. There are however, examples everywhere.

Virtual teams are all over the place, spanning multiple industries and changing the face of business as we know it.

I remember reading an article about a year ago about a group in the medical industry setting up mobile units so that patients in rural areas could virtually receive the same medical care as those living close to major cities. The medical RV, so to speak, would be run by a nurse and technician with all the latest technology to video conference with the patients’ doctor(s) while monitoring the actual patient right inside of the vehicle. How convenient is that! Instead of going to the doctor’s office, that office comes to you.

CBS Sunday Morning covered a virtual commuting segment in January of 2013 that included an interview of a Virtual Radiologist (V-Rad) that worked mostly from home. He liked the flexibility it allowed him, especially the extra time with family he would have otherwise spent on commuting to a company office outside of the home. The kids went off to school and he walked a few steps to his basement office to start work. With a few large monitors, the internet and email, he started reviewing large CAT scans, providing feedback, and still made a great living.

Other companies, such as NASA, IBM, BP, Google, and Apple all utilize virtual teams to collaborate, innovate and build their companies and brands. They’ve realized that geography doesn’t dictate viable employees, qualifications does.

I recently read an article based on a survey conducted by firm Chronos Consulting that found that more companies in the U.S. and worldwide are utilizing virtual teams to reduce costs, enhance productivity and attract wider talent pools in today’s volatile economic and political environment.

Which brings me to you and your business. If you are a solopreneur and like it that way, not looking to expand, like being the captain of your one man crew, then read no further.

But if you are looking to grow a team or expand your business, look at why some of the most successful companies in the world utilize virtual teams. They do so to improve productivity, lower labor costs, reduce expenses (especially travel), access wider talent pools, have happier employees, reduce employee turnover and have the flexibility to hire employees with unique circumstances or disabilities.

I encourage you to keep an eye out this month for industries and companies that utilize virtual teams. Take note of why they do so and what they gain from utilizing them. There is much to glean from successful virtual teams and those that could do better. (I’ll cover more of that in a follow up blog.)

Have virtual team questions? I’d love to hear them. And please join the Virtual Team discussion at HOW in Boston in June. I’ll be joining the panel discussion and would love to meet you.