It’s rare to find a team that sits together in the same office, regardless of how big or small your company is. A recent survey of knowledge workers indicates that 79% always or frequently work in dispersed teams. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 46% of global companies use virtual teams.
But today’s geographically dispersed teams are still struggling to stay connected. Many feel isolated and a lack of trust, which is the foundation for successful teamwork. 75% of team members say they’re distracted during virtual meetings and 82% of people admit to working on unrelated items during team calls. Couple this with cultural diversity and time zone differences, and you can see how poor communication can impede team output and success.
When teams aren’t collaborating at their best, it has a significant impact on business performance. In fact, 86% of executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures, and yet 60% of organizations rate collaboration as a key enabler of various business objectives.
So what does it take to get virtual teams to reach their highest potential? How do we make sure they’re mentally present and engaged when they’re not all in the same room? Here are the three key ingredients that we believe will help:
- Video has been proven to increase trust, interaction and understanding amongst distant colleagues. Viewing facial expressions and body language helps teams experience non-verbal cues which often make up 93% of our communications.
- Sharing content during meetings makes them more interactive, and helps to promote brainstorming and accelerate project completion.
- Messaging during meetings provides quick and immediate ways of communicating without interrupting the flow of the call or the person speaking. Even while muted, everyone can actively participate, asking questions and voicing their opinions.
When meetings are more interactive, and people are more attentive, the issues with multi-tasking and lack of engagement can be eliminated or significantly reduced – which all lead to higher productivity and more successful meeting outcomes.