Should You Use A Remote Team?

Virtual teams are swiftly replacing physical teams in many companies.

According to the Office for National Statistics, in the UK the number of people working from home doubled in 2020, for obvious reasons, and it is set to remain far above where it was pre-coronavirus.

But what sort of working environment can remote workers expect, and what potential pitfalls are there?

This article looks at the pros and cons of remote teams. 

Hopefully, looking at the issues that you and your team might face will make learning to manage a remote team simpler.

Looking for more guidance on managing a remote team? Come along to our line manager courses!

Advantages of Remote Teams 

Businesses and their employees have discovered that there are lots of advantages to working from home:

An Easier Hiring Process

Remote work means that you can hire the best person for the role worldwide. You aren’t restricted by people’s geographical locations.

Members of a virtual team can be located anywhere, something that wasn’t an option a few years back.

According to freelancer site Upwork, 73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028.

Remote team cartoon 1

Better Work-Life Balance

Remote working promotes a healthy work-life balance.

Being a member of a physical team means that you have to commute to work. Remote workers obviously save this time.

In addition, members of a virtual team have a greater opportunity to balance the demands of work and their personal life.

Work-life balance can be

According to Owl Labs, 91% of people stated that a better work-life balance was their top reason for working from home.

Work-life balance can be particularly difficult for remote workers as they feel the need to be ‘always on’ and available.

A great guide to help with this is – How to work remotely.

Greater Comfort

Remote work do not have to share their workspace. This means that team members do not have to compromise on their office set up, as they have to in a physical office.

At home, they choose their own working environment and can set it up exactly to their requirements.

Reduced Costs

Virtual teams do not require an office, and so save the costs that go with running a physical office.

Indeed, Global Workplace Analytics report that cost savings are one of the most significant benefits of having a virtual team working for a company.

Simpler Activity Monitoring

Virtual team interact predominantly through online tools and these tools have activity monitoring built-in which makes activity monitoring far simpler for managers.

This makes ongoing management far simpler as managers have a stream of metrics available to them, making it far easier to identify higher performers and team members who are struggling.

Greater Flexibility

Many home workers cite flexibility as its biggest advantage.  

Members of a virtual team have more control over their daily schedule than those who commute each day.

They can fit work (other than calls and meetings) around other home commitments and hobbies.

Greater flexibility also means you end up with less team conflict!

Simpler Collaboration

Working in a virtual team promotes real-time collaboration.

In a remote team, members can work on a project at the same time and be able to see what others are doing in a way that they couldn’t in an office.

Real-time collaboration can be carried out with the help of online tools like Zoom, Slack, Basecamp and many others.

Disadvantages of Remote Teams 

Remote teams are not all positive. Lets looks at the negatives.

The Cost of New Technology, If Needed

Remote work requires new software, and hardware, in order to make it work.

Obviously, for a business this is usually more than outweighed by savings on rent and other office costs, as this article shows.

Time Zone Differences

The flip side of being able to recruit the best talent from across the globe is that you now have to manage time zone differences.

Having your team members spread across the globe will make it more difficult to manage them effectively and to ensure that they all work together seamlessly.

This can be a blessing as well, though. If you offer client support on a 24/7 basis, then having members in various time zones can make this much easier to staff.

Remote team cartoon 2

Lack of Bonding Opportunities

Members of a virtual team will not feel as close to one another as members of a physical team.

The lack of time spent in each other’s physical company and social opportunities can lead to a more distant relationship.

A way of trying to lessen this impact is by encouraging things such as;

      • Virtual bonding sessions
      • Physical meetings where this is possible
      • Sending people on online training courses together

This lack of personal involvement can also make decision making more difficult in relation to hiring and firing.

Lower Morale and Motivation Levels

According to this survey of remote workers, the absence of physical interactions among the team members is one of the top challenges that people face in a virtual team.

Learning some icebreakers for remote meetings and virtual team building activities is a good place to start.

In addition, many businesses run periodic physical meets ups to help build team spirit and morale.

Potential Distractions

It can be easy for virtual team members to be distracted at home.

According to a Porch survey, more than three-quarters of people admit to watching TV during working hours. 

The only way to manage this issue is to trust your workers and work hard to ensure that they stay motivated and engaged.

Perhaps they will occasionally watch a bit of TV, but does it really matter if they’re working hard and delivering?


Remote teams are here to stay. 

They’re different to traditional teams, and managing them brings different challenges.

Understanding those challenges is the best way to prepare for them, so hopefully, this article has given you some food for thought.

Image Credit:  Yaroslav Shuraev

About Ben Richardson

Ben is a director of Acuity Training which he has been running for over 10 years.

He is a Natural Sciences graduate from the University of Cambridge and a qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

He previously worked as a venture capitalist and banker and so had extensive experience with Excel from building financial models before moving to learn SQL, Microsoft Power BI and other technologies more recently.