Virtual Teams and Communication in the Global Economy

Today’s global economy demands a unique and more effective work environment. Virtual teams consist of employees who are the best at their jobs but who don’t necessarily live near their company’s headquarters. These teams use remote communication and technology for business success.

To learn more, check out the infographic below, created by USC’s  Master of Communication Management.


Global Teams and Transnationalism

Corporations are expanding their reach far beyond their home countries, becoming transnational corporations with global teams that cross borders, oceans and time zones. Smart corporations know that the market is out there because more than 70% of the world’s purchasing power is outside the U.S.

Meeting the Market on the Global Stage

As of December 2021, 68% of General Electric’s workers were based overseas. Nestlé, a Swiss brand, reports that 44.9% of its global sales come from America and 25.5% come from outside Europe. In 2021, sales of assets in digital industries increased by 69% — reaching a record high of $136 billion.

These transnational corporations are economic powerhouses. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the top digital multinational corporations saw a sales increase of 159% between 2016 and 2021. Internet platforms increased by 212%, digital solutions by 110%, e-commerce by 225% and digital content by 68%.

The Growth of Telecommuting

With so many employees scattered across the globe, the use of telecommuting — working from a remote location — helps employees check in and be productive no matter where they are. For example, Upwork reports that 40.7 million American professionals will be fully remote in the next five years — a 6% increase from 2020.

According to Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work survey, 67% of remote workers enjoy flexibility in how they spend their time, 62% enjoy having a flexible workplace and 59% say they have more time because they don’t physically commute.

The Software Boom

Worldwide, millions have downloaded office productivity apps and software. They’ve downloaded Microsoft Office 365 1.95 million times and Google Apps 1.83 million times. Remote work software has also become more popular: Time Doctor, Zoom, Slack,, and PandaDoc have all burst onto the scene in recent years.

The Utility of Virtual Teams

A byproduct of the global economy and telecommuting is the rise of the virtual team, a group with all members joining in electronically from across the world to work together. Now more than ever, the use of virtual teams is common among businesses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 60.2% of organizations have expanded telework and expect to continue using virtual teams. In the future, 72% of business executives plan to incorporate new programs and platforms to help their virtual teams collaborate more efficiently, and 65% of U.S. tech companies will maintain, or even increase, their international remote workforce.

The Benefits of Virtual Teams

Virtual teams can lead to several benefits for global businesses. Culturally diverse teams are 35% more likely to see an above-average financial performance, and virtual teams increase productivity by 79%. Remote options can also improve employee retention by 52%. Even hybrid workers can save a company money: A worker who telecommutes 50% of the time can save a company $11,000 annually. [VG]

Virtually Unstoppable

Virtual teams may pull expertise from any location, which is especially important for companies with many business hubs. Companies can practice “follow the sun” scheduling to maximize collective output by passing work between locations in different time zones. Overall, virtual teams provide a multiplicity of viewpoints. In today’s online world, that’s essential for overseas markets. 


Buffer, 2022 State of Remote Work

Finances Online, 70 Virtual Team Statistics You Can’t Ignore 2021/2022 Data Analysis, Benefits & Challenges

General Electric, 2021 Diversity Annual Report

PwC, U.S. Remote Work Survey

Statista, Global Sales Share of the Nestlé Group in 2021, By Region

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report 2022

Upwork, Future Workforce Report 2021: How Remote Work Is Changing Businesses Forever

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Business Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic — 2021

Velocity Global, The Age of Remote Work