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46 Virtual Team Statistics You Can’t Ignore: 2020 Data Analysis, Benefits & Challenges

Category: Research

The pandemic has thrown a curveball no one was prepared to catch, bringing the global economy to a near standstill. The goalposts have been moved, and now all we can do is to stretch our workplace policies further to keep our business going. However, even amid this calamity, you cannot afford to go about things blindly.

In this article, we’ve culled the key virtual team statistics and data to help you understand the state of affairs in this arena. By reading these statistics, you’ll gain helpful insights on telecommuting best practices and the use of remote work software. Moreover, it will help you get ideas on how to build highly effective virtual teams.

statistics on virtual teams

1. General Virtual Team Statistics

In this section, we’ve gathered the relevant statistics that highlight how organizations and employees are leveraging the opportunity to work remotely, especially on virtual teams.

The remote work situation for companies

  • The departments most likely to have virtual teams include HR (63%), sales (62%), IT (57%), operations (57%), and finance (56%). [1]
  • Besides, 53% of companies are embracing more flexible teams compared to three years ago. [2]
  • Globally, 63% of all departments in an organization have team members who work remotely. [2]
  • The prevalence of virtual workers increased by 39% between 2014 and 2016. [3]
  • According to the IWG workplace survey, 62% of businesses globally say they have a flexible working policy. [4]
  • Participation in virtual teams grew by 25% between 2010 and 2018. [5]

The companies mentioned below have been using remote teams to achieve their organizational goals.

  • As of 2018, 70% of Trello’s employees were working remotely from home or co-working spaces across the globe.
  • Also, 100% of Buffer’s employees work remotely in virtual teams spread across 50 cities in the world.
  • Buffer is one of the many companies that have figured out how to thrive as a fully remote workforce. Others include PartnerCentric, Toptal, UpWorthy, and Toggl, to name a few. [6]
  • By 2016, 25% of Dell employees were working from home either a few days of the week or fulltime. The company says it saves $12 million per year in real estate costs by allowing employees to work from home. [7]

growth of virtual teams

The remote work situation for employees

  • 30 million employees work from home at least once a week in the US. It’s predicted that by 2022, 60% of office-based employees in the US will work from home. [8]
  • Good virtual teammates have the following traits: share information (19%), collaborative (18%), proactively engaged (17%), and organized (14%). [9]
  • 43% of employees in the US work away from their coworkers for at least a fraction of their workweek. [10]
  • Besides, 85% of employees involved in global business activity work on virtual teams. Out of this number, 89% work in at least one team, whereas 27% are in more than four virtual teams. [9]
  • Moreover, only 22% of corporate employees have received formal training to boost productivity on virtual teams. [5]

Top Traits of Good Virtual Teammates in 2018

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Source: Culture Wizard

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Numbers don’t lie, so the statistics above paint the exact picture of the state of virtual teams. The workplace has clearly extended beyond the physical office environment, and more change is around the corner. While it’s not easy to accurately foretell what will become of virtual teamwork, the stats provide a sneak peek into the future.

2. Benefits of Virtual Teams Statistics

Companies are reaping a host of benefits by designing flexible workplace policies that formalize virtual teamwork. The benefits transcend better productivity, increased speed to market, reduced employee turnover, and overall operational success.

  • The biggest benefits to virtual teams include global perspectives (81%), diversity (72%), creativity (54%), access to talent anywhere (53%), cost-effectiveness (32%), and productivity (31%). [1]
  • 85% of businesses think they are more productive, thanks to flexible working policies. [4]
  • Benefits of flexible working include overall business success (79%), increased productivity (89%), improved risk management (54%), reduced CapEx/OpEx (65%), consolidated portfolio (53%), and better speed to market (64%). [4]
  • Top benefits of remote working, according to employers, are improved morale (57%), reduced employee turnover (52%), reduced absenteeism (50%), operational cost savings (50%), and reduced health insurance costs (31%). [7]
  • Besides, virtual teams are highly collaborative. In fact, 48% of HR practitioners said that they have global teams that work closely and collaboratively daily. On the other hand, 86% of virtual teams work together at least once a week. [1]
  • Even better, 53% of businesses with virtual teams struggle to manage their teams only sometimes. [1]
  •  82% of companies with virtual teams are growing, 15% have stagnated, and 3% are downsizing. [1]
  • In addition to maximizing talent and resources, virtual teams boost employee retention by up to 50% and productivity by up to 43%. [3]

Remote working benefits for employees

The pervasiveness of virtual teams is a sign that companies and employees alike are willing to walk down this road. Particularly, reality has dawned on employees that working in a virtual team offers several benefits compared to the office-based working.

  • 90% of employees claim that flexible work schedules and arrangements would increase their morale. [11]
  • Top benefits of remote working according to employees are better work-life balance (75%), reduced stress (57%), reduced absences (56%), improved morale (54%), and fewer sick days (50%). [7]
  • 73% of teams agree that the benefits of working virtually outweigh the downsides. [12]
  • 88% of corporate employees say that virtual teams are critical to their productivity. [5]

Source: Indeed (2018)

From the statistics above, we can deduce that having a flexible workplace policy that supports virtual teamwork is a win-win scenario for the parties involved. The employees enjoy the liberty of working remotely, have better work-life balance, improved morale, and reduced stress.

Similarly, whether a company goes fully remote or adopts a hybrid virtual teamwork policy, there is a benefit to be achieved. Precisely, employers benefit from the quality of work, reduce workplace expenses, and minimal absences.

3. Challenges of Virtual Teams Statistics

There is no doubt, the benefits of having virtual teams are mesmerizing. However, the benefits are not served on a silver platter. There are plenty of challenges that companies face in their quest to cultivate high-performing virtual teams. Getting the right remote work software, for example, is critical to addressing these challenges.

  • Problems faced by companies with virtual teams include sourcing candidates (40%), training issues (32%), conflict management (31%), onboarding problems (27%), personnel and management issues (27%), and concerns with benefits (26%). [1]
  • Interestingly, only 22% of people engaged in global business activities have participated in virtual team training. [12]

In the world of virtual working, communication is one of the hurdles that virtual teams face. Beyond this, teams face a host of other problems that emanate from language difficulties and working in different time zones.

  • Top challenges faced by virtual teams are time zone differences (88%), difficulty in communication (86%), managing conflict (86%), building relationships (86%), timelessness and responsiveness (80%), understanding different accents (80%), and lack of engagement from all members (76%). [5]
  • Many teams encounter issues such as collaboration across time zones (49%), international laws (44%), scheduling work across time zones (38%), cultural differences (33%), managing teams in different locations (29%), and language barriers (27%). [1]
  • More than 45% of remote employees say they have worked from their beds for 11 hours per week. [13]
  • 26% of remote workers feel socially isolated. [13]
  • According to 84% of virtual workers, virtual communication is more difficult than facet-of-face communication. [9]

Source: SHRM

Cultural issues for virtual teams

Virtual teams grapple with cultural issues, which are typified by multiple behavioral barriers. The potential impact of these issues can be devastating to teams, small and large. The stats below show that teams are aware of this hard fact, but it seems a majority of them aren’t ready to embrace cultural diversity.

  • 23% of virtual teams don’t capitalize on their cultural diversity. Indeed, 18% of virtual teams claim that intercultural misunderstandings have cost their company an opportunity. [12]
  • Moreover, 62% of corporate employees work in virtual teams with three or more cultures. [5]
  • 76% of employees in virtual teams value cultural diversity and reckon that it improves their work output. [9]
  • Besides, 49% of employees in virtual teams have had an inclusiveness and diversity training. [9]
  • Surprisingly, only 15% of corporate leaders are very effective in leading teams across cultures and countries. [9]
  • 89% of virtual teams in the world include more than two cultures.  [9]
  • 43% of virtual teams use at least two languages to do business, and 22% use at least five languages. [1]

diverse virtual teams
Keep in mind that cultures across the globe have different expectations regarding leadership, communication, meetings, and collaborations. As a result, problems are bound to arise correspondingly when virtual teams fuse a large number of cultures. Factor in the differences in time zones and language, and you’ll have a complex puzzle to solve.

Technologies such as robust communication software systems will help you overcome some of the glaring challenges mentioned above. However, some like cultural issues can only be dealt with effectively through sound and thoughtful leadership.

4. Virtual Team Technology Statistics

The inability to meet physically takes away the benefit of visual cues and worsens communication between virtual teammates. As a result, many virtual teams continue to grapple with communications problems. Fortunately, communication and online collaboration software for virtual teams have made it possible for employees to connect and access company resources from any place. The statistics below show the technologies that companies are using to ensure better connectivity.

  • Technology requirements that businesses consider when transitioning to flexible working include site-to-site VPN (41%), data security solutions (41%), IP telephony solutions (39%), employee monitoring (33%), and remote cybersecurity systems (19%). [4]
  • The technologies used by virtual teams to improve connectivity are virtual private networks (39%), cloud-based file management tools (36%), instant messaging service (34%), and collaboration software (13%). [11]
  • In addition, the most beneficial communication between virtual teammates includes face-to-face meetings (93%), conference calls (93%), and video conferencing (84%). [9]
  • On the other hand, SHRM reports that virtual teams bridge communication gaps with emails (98%), in-person meetings (91%), video conferencing (89%), phone calls (88%), instant messaging (50%), text (49%), and team collaboration hub (41%). [1]
  • Also, 39% of virtual teams leverage video technology for more than half of their meetings. [9]
  • Besides, 15% of virtual teams leverage webcam or video technology in all virtual meetings. [9]

Source: SHRM

Initially, the technologies for remote teams were challenging in themselves because of interference, time-lags, and operational complexity. Fortunately, technological evolution has permitted the development of virtual team tools, including instant messaging, project management, collaboration, and video conferencing software.

Most Popular Remote Work Software

  1. Time Doctor. An intuitive time tracking software equipped with GPS tracking, user activity tracking, screenshot capture, and performance evaluations that aims to improve overall employee productivity. Learn more about it in this TimeDoctor review.
  2. Zoom. A powerful video conferencing platform ideal for virtual meetings to webinars. It comes with screen sharing tools, recording options, integrated scheduling, as well as HD call support. Check out its complete feature set in our Zoom review.
  3. Slack. A popular messaging application that accommodates chat, audio calls, and video calls as well as file sharing and screen sharing to improve online collaboration efforts. Find out this platform’s other tools in this Slack Review.
  4. An online collaboration solution created for task and project management. It uses customizable board views and built-in communication tools to streamline remote work processes. See how else this software can help you in our review.
  5. PandaDoc. A cloud-hosted document management platform that lets users create, edit, and annotate documents. It also includes contract lifecycle management, content locking, file forwarding, and other features. Look at its other functionalities in this PandaDoc review.

5.  Virtual Teams Forecast

In 2013, Richard Branson said, “one day, offices will be a thing of the past[14].” While organizations still have some work to do before completely removing the physical offices, a new dawn is on the horizon. The workplace is rapidly changing, instigated by the convergence of three key forces: prodigious technologies, economic upheavals, and flexible work natives.

First, the entrance of Generation Z to the workforce has ignited one of the most transformative shifts in modern business history. Unlike the Millennials, the new entrants now more than ever prioritize greater workplace flexibility and exhibit unique traits.

Second, technological evolution has made the world a global village. As a result, it’s easy for companies to source, hire, and retain talents from any corner of the world. Lastly, economic upheavals keep serving the business fraternity, an endless thread of surprises.

The convergence of these forces is real, and companies should brace themselves for more radical workplace changes. The solution to all the emerging changes is the adoption of flexible work culture and techniques that support virtual teamwork.

Currently, approximately 49% of organizations are leveraging an optimal combination[15] of virtual and office-based working. This points to the fact that businesses are ready to make the transition but are very cautious about doing so. However, with the benefits to both the employee and the management evident, it won’t be long before virtual teams become the norm in the modern workplace.

hybrid work setups

Use these Virtual Team Statistics to Your Advantage

Overall, virtual team statistics have shown that virtual teams are in high-growth mode. Organizations have heeded the awakening calls of the changing times, and they are gearing up for the time when virtual teams will become a mainstay. Don’t be left behind. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on the stunning rewards. Roll your sleeves up and prepare to take the above-mentioned challenges head-on.

To address the cultural issues, install knowledgeable leaders at the helm of your virtual teams. Primarily, the leaders should know how to galvanize multiple cultures to form a cohesive unit that can make the most of the cultural diversity. Additionally, craft communication strategies to rotate timezones to get the best contribution from each employee, regardless of the location. Essentially, you’ll need a powerful collaboration software for virtual teams to schedule, assign, and monitor tasks.

Lastly, remember the inability to meet can take a disproportionate toll on your virtual team members. This can cripple personal connection and intensify generational differences. Luckily, all these problems can be mitigated by powerful communication software tools. As such, you need to invest in proper technologies to enable team communication and streamline operations in general.

Hopefully, with this guide, you were able to get a better grasp as to how virtual teams operate and why many companies are shifting from in-office to home-based setups. In case you want to learn more about this topic, be sure to read our article on how to work remotely. This covers the telecommuting essentials as well as industry tips to ensure a smoother transition for your team.



  1. ^SHRM Globalization Partners Global Teams Report
  2. ^2018 Future Workforce Report
  3. ^The Reality of Virtual Work: Is Your Organization Ready?
  5. ^Virtual Teams Survey 2018 Executive Brief
  6. ^100% Remote! 13 Cool Companies to Apply to Today
  7. ^Remote Work Can Bring Benefits, but Attitudes Are Divided
  8. ^Demystifying Technology in the Workplace
  9. ^2018 Trends in High-Performing Global Virtual Teams
  10. ^State of the American Workplace
  11. ^Staples Workplace Survey 2019
  12. ^Trends in Global Virtual Teams
  13. ^Remote Workers and Rest
  14. ^One day offices will be a thing of the past
  15. ^Condeco workplace report 2019


Louie Andre

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. From pitch deck to exit strategy, he is no stranger to project business hiccups and essentials. He has been involved in a few internet startups including a digital route planner for a triple A affiliate. His advice to vendors and users alike? "Think of benefits, not features."

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