Working in a virtual team can be difficult. You can’t just walk over to someone’s desk and ask them a question. And you can’t rely on body language to communicate with your teammates.
This is why it is important to use technology to help improve communication and collaboration among virtual team members. In this blog post, we will discuss 7 technologies that can help make virtual teams more effective.
But before we go ahead, consider reading about the difference between remote and virtual teams.
1. A VoIP service.
The first key technology to improve virtual teams is a VoIP service, or Voice over Internet Protocol. This type of service allows team members to make and receive phone calls over the internet, which can be a great way to stay connected and easily communicate with one another.
VoIP is ideal for online workflow because you don’t need any special equipment or software to use it — just a reliable internet connection and a phone or computer with a microphone. In addition, it is typically very affordable, and some services even offer free plans or trial periods.
Plus, you can also use a VoIP service for customer-facing interactions, such as customer support calls or sales pitches, making it a very comprehensive communication channel.
So if your team is looking to improve communication and collaboration without breaking the bank, consider using a VoIP service as one of your key technologies.
2. Project management software.
Another key technology for virtual teams is project management software. This type of software makes it easy to create and manage tasks, track progress, share files and information, and collaborate with your teammates on a variety of projects.
There are many different project management software tools out there, so you can easily find one that meets your team’s needs and budget. Some popular options include Asana, Trello, and Basecamp.
The typical workflow used in a project management tool is to create three columns of tasks — to-do, in-progress, and completed. This allows team members to easily see what tasks need to be done, which ones are currently being worked on, and which ones have been completed.
3. Word processing software that supports live collaboration.
Word processing software that supports live collaboration is another key technology for virtual teams. This type of software allows team members to work on the same document at the same time, in real-time, from anywhere in the world.
There are many different options for live collaboration software, including Google Docs and Microsoft Word Online. These tools are easy to use, and make it simple for team members to share feedback and suggestions in real-time as they work on a document together.
We recommend Google Docs because it’s a free option and integrates well with other Google products, such as Gmail and Sheets. However, if your team is already using Microsoft Office products and wants to stick with a familiar platform, then Microsoft Word Online might be a good choice for you.
4. Real-time messaging software.
Emails and phone calls are not always the best way to communicate with your teammates, especially if you need a quick response or have a lot of information to share. This is why real-time messaging software is such a key technology for virtual teams.
Real-time messaging software, like Slack or Microsoft Teams, allows team members to chat with each other in real-time, similar to a group text or instant messaging service. This makes it easy to share ideas and information, ask quick questions and get answers almost immediately, and even hold online meetings with your entire team.
But why would you invest in a dedicated messaging tool when you have free options like Facebook and WhatsApp? Well, real-time messaging tools for virtual teams offer a lot of benefits that these other tools simply can’t match.
For starters, they’re usually much more organized and easier to manage, since teams can create specific chat channels for each project or topic.
Secondly, these tools also usually come with powerful cloud based collaboration tools, like file sharing and task management. It’s particularly important to nail your technology fundamentals as a small business. Choosing the right cloud services and collaborative technology for your startup is essential to maintaining productive workflow and scalability.
Finally, these tools help keep personal and work conversations separate, so you can stay focused on your work without getting distracted by your friends or family.
5. A screen-recording service.
Sometimes, you have to demonstrate how to complete a task or show your teammates exactly what you’re talking about. This is where a screen-recording service, like Loom, can be a real asset for virtual teams.
With Loom, you can quickly and easily record your screen and share it with your teammates in just a few clicks. This allows you to easily show them how something is done, make a quick tutorial or presentation, and even share feedback on their work.
And, since Loom is a cloud-based service, you can easily access your screen recordings from anywhere and share them with your team members instantly. This makes it an incredibly powerful tool for virtual teams, and one that you should definitely consider adding to your tech stack!
Pro tip: Loom requires a paid subscription after you hit 30 videos. In addition, it restricts you to 5 minutes of recording on the free version, which can be limiting if you need to record longer videos.
So, if you want a more powerful (and free) Loom alternative for your virtual team, consider using UseBubbles.
6. Video conferencing software.
If you have a culture of morning stand-ups or team meetings, then video conferencing software is a must-have for your virtual team.
Video conferencing software makes it easy to get together with your teammates no matter where you are or what time it is. Whether you need to have a quick meeting, catch up on the morning stand-up, or brainstorm ideas for a new project, you can use video conferencing software to easily connect with your team and get things done.
Some popular options for video conferencing software include Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting. All of these offer a range of features, from screen sharing to file sharing and more, so you can find the right tool for your team’s needs.
7. Virtual team games.
All work and no play can make for a pretty dull work environment, especially if you’re stuck working remotely. So, to add a little fun and boost team morale, consider using virtual team games.
Virtual team games take the idea of gamification and apply it to your remote work environment. They can be anything from simple online challenges to complex team building exercises, and are a great way to get your team members working together and having fun.
Some popular options for virtual team games include Prelude, QuizBreaker, and Water Cooler Trivia. QuizBreaker is an especially good option if you’re looking for an ice-breaking exercise for your virtual team.