There’s a nice article in Inc. magazine (March 2012) called:  “Out of Sight, Top of Mind:  How to keep a business on track when top performers are scattered across the map”   The author (Jason Fried) provides some great tips for creating and maintaining virtual teams.  To summarize:

1) Working virtually is not for everyone; make sure you hire people who have experience “working away from the mothership”.

2) Treat local and remote workers exactly the same — with the same culture.  “Everyone has to play by the same rules and communicate the same way” — no matter where their office is.

3) Determine a virtual workspace (chat room, WebEx, wiki, etc.) where everyone communicates.  That means everyone.  Even people who sit next to each other should communicate using the virtual collaboration tools.

The trick is to avoid having two different cultures (or silos).  There should only be one water cooler, and it should be virtual!

What do you think?