Definition: ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.
Connective technologies make it easier than ever to work, share
ideas and be productive despite physical separation. But the virtual
work environment also demands a new set of competencies.
As a leader of a virtual team, individuals need to develop
strategies for engaging and motivating a dispersed group.
We are learning that techniques borrowed from gaming are
extremely effective in engaging large virtual communities.
Ensuring that collaborative platforms include typical gaming
features such as immediate feedback, clear objectives and a
staged series of challenges can significantly drive participation
Members of virtual teams also need to become adept at
finding environments that promote productivity and wellbeing.
A community that offers “ambient sociability” can
help overcome isolation that comes from lack of access to a
central, social workplace. This could be a physical coworking
space, but it could also be virtual. Researchers at
Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab exploring the
real-world social benefits of inhabiting virtual worlds such
as Second Life report that the collective experience of a
virtual environment, especially one with 3D avatars, provides
significant social-emotional benefits. Players experience
the others as co-present and available, but they are able to
concentrate on their own in-world work.
Online streams created by micro blogging and social
networking sites can serve as virtual water coolers, providing
a sense of camaraderie and enabling employees to demonstrate
presence. For example, Yammer is a Twitter-like micro
blogging service, focused on business—only individuals with
the same corporate domain in their email address can access
the company network.