Overview with tools, template, software, best practices and alternatives

Why do Remote & Virtual Teams do Reports?

Remote teams, also called virtual teams or dispersed teams, are teams with members in different locales and time zones. These teams do not work face to face and team members meet one another online.

Remote teams utilize the power of the internet to establish efficient communication among its team members. Members of remote teams use innovations such as electronic mails and messaging applications to send and receive information to and from other members of the group.

Similar to non-virtual teams, remote team generate reports to provide an update to the entire group. Team members send synthesized and updated information to the members of the team so all would know what is taking place in the team, such as the team’s overall status and progress. The team has to know its current position and development so as to develop appropriate measures in targeting its goal.

Virtual teams also produce reports so as to inform all team members about specific aspects on the team such as achievements, plans, and problems. The team’s achievements are included in the report so as to illustrate the kind of progress the team is doing. In addition, the accomplishments made by the team and its members motive and inspire other members to perform better. Such positive news also allows team leaders to identify top performers of the team, which can provide recognition to these team players.

Reports for the remote team may also include the plans of the team members, setting another target for the team. Plans are the foundations of the team’s success. Without a concrete plan, the team will just fire actions without knowing where the team is heading. Aside from the plans of the team, virtual reports also allow the team to reveal actual and potential conflicts in the team. Through early problem identification, the team will be able to set specific solutions to each problem.

How do Remote & Virtual Teams usually do Reports?

Remote or virtual teams use the internet in almost all its activities. The electronic mail and the messaging applications are the most commonly used tools in virtual reporting.

Long reports are usually sent to the team members via electronic mail. With a stable internet connection, team members can easily send these reports to other team members. This allows the whole team to become updated; giving them a grasp on what is new about the team or the project.

Since virtual teams just require a laptop or a smart device, online tools or applications, and a stable internet connection, these teams usually have lower overhead expenses as compared to non-virtual teams. Forms of social media are also utilized by remote teams so as to maximum the team’s potential. Usual tools that are utilized by virtual teams are communication tools, screen sharing tools, image cropping tools, file collaboration and sharing tools, customer demos and calls tools, and project management tools.

Team members of remote teams have highly flexible time, since they will be able to do their tasks during their free time. It does not put much pressure to team members, as compare to live or face to face meetings, which require their physical presence at work. Reporting for remote teams can also be done in web meeting applications, allowing the team members to meet online to discuss important matters.

Typical questions/metrics/topics that are usually covered in reports Remote & Virtual Teams are doing

Reporting for remote teams covers the following:

  • What are your accomplishments/ achievements for today?
  • What are your team’s short term and long term goals?
  • What actions or activities are you going to implement to achieve the goals?
  • Did you meet today’s target, based on the given plan and strategies?
  • What actual and potential issues pertinent to the project do you have?

Advantages & Best Practices of doing Reporting for Remote & Virtual Teams

Reporting for a remote or virtual team has a number of advantages.

First, reports for a remote or virtual team can be done outside the workplace, as remote teams usually rely on stable internet accessibility. Members of the remote team can generate reports wherever and whenever they like as long as they can finish it on or before the deadline. Remote team members do not have to report personally to a workplace as they can just write the report at home using their own laptop or smart device. As long as all members have a stable internet access, there will be no problem in constructing and sending reports to the virtual team.

Sending reports for a remote team is easier and faster than its live or face-to-face counterpart. Remote teams usually utilize the e-mail and/or messaging applications to send messages to the team members. With just one click, team members can send their reports to their team mates, allowing faster exchange of data. This allows members to be updated about the status and progress of the team and the project most of the time. This approach is more efficient that live submissions, which require the personal presence of the team members.

Aside from sending reports, remote teams have the capability of conducting online meetings and webinars. With the power of internet in their arsenal, virtual teams can handle meetings online. This allows them to communicate without the issue of time and place, allowing the team to discuss positive and negative news among its team members. In addition, significant matters such as the team’s achievements, problems, and goals can be presented online, enabling the team to discuss possible solution to each problem.

Problems & Pitfalls Reporting for Remote & Virtual Teams usually has

While reporting for remote or virtual teams presents a handful of advantages, it also has some disadvantages.

The success of submitting reports to remote or virtual teams relies on the power of the internet. Stable internet access is required to send messages or reports among teams with dispersed members. If the internet connection is poor or absent, the members of the virtual team will not be able to send and receive information to and from their teammates. As a result, some team members will not be informed about the current status and progress of the team and the project. In addition, they will not be able to send their perspective on the team’s achievements and conflicts. They will not be able to raise the problems that they encounter to the team. As an effect, they will not be able to effectively tackle a conflict along with a teammate.

Focus and motivation are essential elements to be productive in a virtual environment. Since team members are able to work on a task or a project with just minimal to no supervision, certain distractions can lure them from achieving their target. For instance, a team member might consume his time on surfing the internet, using the social media, or playing online games instead of accomplishing his work online. This can lead to low productivity in the part of the team member, which may adversely affect the overall performance of the team.

Why Teamreporter is great in doing Reporting for Remote & Virtual Teams?

Teamreporter is an application that is intended to generated reports via scheduled report mails instead of status meetings.

Teamreporter highly benefits remote teams since it is an application and it does not require the team members to meet live or face-to-face. It is completely useable with an e-mail or a web browser. The team members are notified by Teamreporter via e-mail and they will be asked to send information centering on the team’s accomplishments, plans, and problems. Based from the answers of the team members, Teamreporter will generate a synthesized data, which will be sent to the team members the following day.

Team members are capable of sending and receiving information to and from other team members with Teamreporter’s easy and automated system. This allows easy and fast exchange of information among team members, making the more productive in the course of the project. In addition, Teamreporter is also highly flexible, allowing its users to modify its report questions, as well as the schedule of the report mails. It also allows modification of who exactly will receive reports and who will receive reminders on providing team updates. This suggests that the application is capable of being adjusted to every kind of business or team workflow. In addition, the users can integrate Teamreporter to the existing applications they are using, not requiring them to delete other applications they are still using.

Team leaders of virtual teams benefit from Teamreporter, because they will be able to receive comprehensive information from their subordinates. Their members’ reports will enable them to determine the status and progress of each member, allowing them to sort those members who need high supervision to those who just need minimal to no supervision. Moreover, Teamrporter gives team leaders an access to their subordinates future plans, activities, accomplishments, and problems, allowing them to communicate with the team.

Overall, Teamreporter is a helpful tool, not only to virtual teams, but also to non-virtual teams.

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Teamreporter is free for small teams (up to 4 members)