Professionals who want to collaborate at a distance in virtual environments must recognize and develop specific communication and collaboration skills for effective computer-mediated relationships. Virtual is defined here to mean not in actual fact (e.g., like professional teams that meet in a specific place at prearranged times), but in essence. The essence of virtual teams is the quality of relationships among their members versus the time and location of their work.

Professional collaboration in teams can take place synchronously, as in face-to-face meetings, by using desktop and real-time data conferencing, electronic meeting systems, and video and audio conferencing. Virtual teams can also conduct their work asynchronously with e-mail, bulletin boards, interactive Web sites, and non–real-time database sharing and conferencing. The main advantages of asynchronous collaboration ...

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