The Difference Between Virtual Team And Remote Team: What Is Better

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Virtual and remote teams are often mistaken for one another. This is usually happening since both these options imply distant performance. Both these options are great if you, for example, need to hire remote developers. However, it is important to understand that not every remote team can be considered as virtual, and not every virtual team can be managed remotely. To make the right decision it is crucial to know the differences between these two so in this article, we will try to dive into the specifics for you. 

Virtual Teams and Their Specifics

The virtual team has become quite a solution not only during the pandemic but also long before. Why is it so popular and what makes this particular way of dealing with business tasks so in demand? Let’s find out by firstly figuring out what the term ‘virtual team’ stands for. 

A virtual team is a group of specialists who have been brought together to specifically work on some project. There are some aspects to consider when differentiating it from a remote team:

  • Members of the virtual team can be located within one timezone; 
  • Virtual team members come out of different areas of expertise;
  • Different members of the team can respond to different team leads or managers;
  • When the task is complete, members of the team get dispersed. 

A virtual team is a great option for giant corporations where the number of people long exceeds a few thousand employees. Naturally, it would be hard to gather all these people in one place. With virtual teams options, you would be able to do that with minimum effort and great financial savings. 

Pros and Cons Of Having a Virtual Team

Having a virtual team can be beneficial because of many factors. Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent ones:

  • It is cost-effective. With having an in-house team you would have to go the extra mile with paying rent, buying all the necessary supplies. In this case, turning your business activities into a ‘virtual’ mode can save you a lot of money. 
  • It gives your employees freedom. Every member of the virtual team can choose for themselves where they want to work from. 
  • It gives you flexibility. By putting together a virtual team you can choose employees from any part of the world. For instance, you have the opportunity to hire a virtual assistant from any part of the world, eliminating the need to worry about the costs linked to relocation. This expands the realm of possibilities and enables you to access a vast global talent pool.
  • It grants you the possibility to get A-players. With hiring people for your virtual team you can get the best dedicated developers out there, without being limited by the borders of your city or country. 

As you see, there are quite a few benefits to consider before you hire a virtual team. Keep in mind that there are also some flaws to this strategy as well:

  • Communication challenges. It might be challenging at times to communicate given some of the team members speak different languages or have strong accents. 
  • Management issues. Considering that some team members might report to different managers it might be hard to keep track of everything. 
  • Lack of authority. Managers rarely have the power to fire people to impose penalties so all the motivation of the team is being done through positive reinforcement. 

Having considered all the pros and cons of having a virtual team, hopefully, now it is easier for you to understand whether this option is right for you. 

Remote Teams and All You Need to Know About Them

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Remote teams have a lot in common with virtual ones, however, there are also quite a few differences. A remote team is also a group of people who are working on the same project, who also:

  • Report to the same boss/manager;
  • May be located in different cities or countries;
  • May have the same area of expertise or have completely different skills that are relevant to the project.

To get a deeper understanding of the remote teams and how they are different from virtual ones, let’s take a look at the list of their most prominent benefits and flaws. 

Remote Team: Pros and Cons of Having One

A remote development team can offer you almost the identical number of benefits as the virtual one including some additional ones:

  • Lower costs. You can try and find a specialist with a remote developer salary that will be suitable for your budget. 
  • Higher productivity. Having to commute every day can significantly influence your workers’ level of productivity. Without the need to get stuck in traffic for a few hours each day they will more likely dedicate this time to your project. 
  • Higher retention. Remote developers will more likely be satisfied with the flexibility of their jobs and, therefore, consider to stay with you. 

However, there are also some flaws to keep in mind before you hire remote dedicated developers:

  • It is harder to find the right person. It won’t be enough for you to just find a skilled remote software development specialist, it is also crucial that this person has strong self-management and organizational skills. 
  • It is hard to create a bond among employees. 

Virtual vs. Remote Team: What’s the Difference

Basically, the biggest difference between virtual and remote teams is the way of management – whether the team members report to the same manager or not. It also affects the system of incentives and penalties. For you to get a clearer understanding of the main differences between these two types of teams, please take a look at the comparison table below:

Remote TeamVirtual Team
Hierarchical management+
Cost reduction++
Gets dispersed after the job is done_+
Virtual team members come out of different areas of expertise_+
Increases employee retention+_

This way, it would be fair to say that having a remote team is reasonable when you are a big company owner and are planning on keeping your team for a long time while having a virtual one is best for one-time projects.

Final Thoughts

In the current time of the pandemic, the virtual and remote teams’ options became even more relevant than ever. Hopefully, these tips will help you choose the right one for your business and will allow you to maximize your profits. 

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