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Virtual team technology: Build your complete tech stack for productivity
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Virtual team technology: Build your complete tech stack for productivity

Discover the 7 types of virtual team technology that can make your teams more productive.

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In 1889, designer Gustave Eiffel unveiled the Eiffel Tower to the French public, as the centerpiece for the 1889 World's Fair. With its intricate iron lattice work and iconic silhouette, the design wowed the world. It’s recognized to this day as a symbol of modernity and as a groundbreaking feat of engineering. 

To build the tower, it took 18,038 metallic parts, 50 engineers and designers, between 150-300 construction workers a little over two years.* Due to the scale of the project, teams needed specific tools to work together. Each tool served a specific purpose, and their combined use determined the efficiency and success of the project.

Collaborative teams like the ones that constructed the Eiffel Tower perform better because they bring together so many skill sets. But they need the right tools to build relationships and do their best work online. That's why leaders need to invest in a virtual tech stack that enables their people to be more productive, wherever–whenever–they are. 

In this article, you'll discover the types of virtual team technology you can use to move projects forward. Then, we'll get into the benefits and ways to implement them. You'll also learn how Switchboard acts as a home base that brings all your teams together.

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7 types of virtual team technology

Below, we explore popular communication practices and tools you can use for more effective virtual teamwork. Let's dive in. 

1. Async collaboration: Switchboard

Asynchronous collaboration means working with your team without being online at the same time. It emphasizes output over time spent doing tasks, busywork, or talking about work. 

Switchboard redefines what async collaboration is by letting you stay aligned and build faster with fewer meetings—giving you back more time for focus work. Think of it as a shared operating system that brings all your people, tools, and conversations together. This eliminates silos and time wasted juggling fragmented apps and notifications. Not to mention struggles to coordinate schedules across offices and different time zones to get everyone on video calls. 

For example, product developers use a persistent Switchboard room to review code and provide feedback async. Because it saves all your work, when other team members enter the room, they can pick up where you left off. With access to what everyone's working on ahead of time, you can also make your next meeting more productive by having people get up to speed beforehand.

Switchboard room with apps and documents open.
Switchboard lets you communicate async by keeping everything organized in one place. Source: Switchboard

2. Async communication: Switchboard & Gmail

Like async collaboration, async communication involves answering messages on your own schedule rather than in real-time. This gives people more control over their calendars and the ability to focus without losing time to endless meetings or Slack notifications.  

According to Wharton psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Adam Grant: "One of the biggest barriers to productivity is inefficient meetings. To stop wasting time, draining energy, and losing ideas, we should audit our meetings: Could this be an email? Does it need to be this long? What would make it a better use of our time?"

To follow this advice, you need tools that let you cancel bad meetings and get more communication done async. For example:

  • Gmail is a great async communication tool for companies using Google Workspace. It keeps a record of all conversations, is easily searchable, and can be integrated with other internal comms tools to increase your team’s productivity. 
  • Switchboard makes everything in your persistent project room multiplayer, so people can work side by side on anything in real time or make progress on their own schedule. For example, your cross-functional team can communicate async through video and audio notes, sticky notes, comments, and chat, or ask Switchboard AI to summarize room activity for you to save time.
Switchboard AI functionality
Ask Switchboard AI to summarize activity in your meeting room, so you can catch up quickly async. Source: Switchboard

3. Synchronous communication: Slack

Let’s be clear: We're not telling you to cancel all your meetings, just the unproductive ones. 

When you need an immediate response, have a complex or delicate subject to discuss, or want to engage in team-building, synchronous communication is the way to go. 

Slack is a great instant messaging tool for catching up synchronously and sharing informal information, team wins, or updates. The ability to jump into a quick team huddle or share emojis, reactions, and GIFs makes it easy to resolve things fast, as well as add a bit of fun to internal comms. This can contribute to team building and help maintain a positive team culture.

Your project manager might use Slack to create a dedicated Slack channel for your new feature, such as #feature-x-development—and open it up to developers, designers, and QA testers. When a developer encounters a bug during coding, they can post a message in the channel seeking help. Then a senior developer quickly responds with a solution, preventing delays in the development process.

Slack channel sidebar for project work
Slack channels let you organize and share information with a specific group of people Source: Slack

4. Visual collaboration: Figma

Sometimes, words just aren't enough to get an idea across. When that happens, you need creative collaboration instead. This is where team members come together to share ideas with the help of visuals. Graphics, diagrams, charts, mind maps, and illustrations help facilitate brainstorming, problem-solving, and decision-making—leading to more creative outcomes. 

Figma is a powerful and versatile design and prototyping tool that makes creative collaboration online possible. Figma and its whiteboard tool FigJam allow multiple team members to work on a design file in real time or async. Live previews also make it easy to interact with prototypes directly and experience functionality and the user experience. 

Since it has plenty of use cases, here are two: 

  • A team of product designers uses Figma for its inspect mode feature and code-generation tools, making it easier to hand off design specifications and assets to the development team.
  • The development team makes their meetings more productive by leaving and reviewing comments on specific design systems async, streamlining their review process.
Mobile app prototypes in Figma
Figma lets you make design decisions with your team by experiencing them first-hand.  Source: Figma

5. Project management: Asana & Trello

Project management involves planning, organizing, and overseeing the execution of a project from beginning to end. 

Project management software like Asana or Trello are great tools for organizing tasks, assigning responsibilities, and tracking progress. They provide a centralized platform for async-first teams that need visibility into project statuses and progress. Plus, they help you manage and share project-related documents, ensuring all team members have access to the latest files.

For example, a product manager can use Asana to create a Gantt chart and visualize project timelines, identify dependencies, and make sure any milestones are achievable within the set timeframe. This improves scheduling and resource allocation and gives everyone a better understanding of what's expected of them—and how they depend on each other.

Sample Gantt chart in Asana
Gantt charts in Asana are one of many organizational features you can use to improve team productivity. Source: Asana

6. Video conferencing: Google Meet  

Tackling a problem or answering a question by hopping on a video call can be an effective way to save time going back and forth in a comment thread. Be mindful about defaulting to meetings for every single decision, though. Too many can distract you from focus work and cause you to lose control of your calendar. 

If you deem your face-to-face meeting necessary, use video conferencing to help your cross-functional or remote teams interact and share ideas in real time. This can foster a more personal and engaging connection among team members, irrespective of department or physical location.

Virtual meeting platforms like Google Meet give you high-quality video and audio conferencing, live chat, and ways to connect with your team. But if you're looking for the ability to collaborate in real time on project–not file–level, you'll need a more comprehensive platform with a built-in virtual meeting tool to connect all the dots. 

Switchboard is the only collaboration platform that allows you to bring together all relevant applications and documents into shared rooms, where teams can use the tools they know and love. Just hop into your dedicated Switchboard room to move work forward together during a video call. Or, because everything’s saved, you can cancel the meeting and work async instead, leaving comments for each other in threads or sticky notes.

People in a Google Meet meeting
Google Meet lets you connect in real time for straightforward conversations and team updates. Source: Google Meet

Check out this post for some virtual meeting best practices to get your team collaborating in real time. 

7. Knowledge sharing: Notion & Google Docs

Knowledge sharing involves making information, skills, and expertise available across teams in an organization. It breaks down silos, enhances collaboration, and makes sure valuable insights and knowledge are accessible to everyone.

For more effective communication, and to improve knowledge sharing in your company, try these tools: 

  • Google Docs is a great tool for quick and streamlined document sharing and editing. It has a Smart Compose feature and voice typing to help you craft and flesh out your documents. Plus, you can leave comments on documents and track changes, making it easier to collaborate async. 
  • Notion lets you create, collaborate, and connect documents ranging from brand guidelines and product roadmaps to meeting notes and goal planning. It also lets you use a variety of wikis, manage projects, and add tasks. This makes it easy for teams to work together async or at the same time. For example, your software development team might use Notion to track and assign sprint planning sessions and see the status of each project.
Product status organized by sprint in Notion
Notion lets you visualize, sort, and filter information any way you want—making knowledge sharing and collaborative work easy. Source: Notion 

Benefits of using virtual team technology

All of the tools mentioned above can help you communicate and work more effectively together with your team. When you use them in Switchboard, it also reduces unproductive context switching and lets you connect and move projects forward with everything in one place. This saves time and can make people more productive in and between meetings. 

Imagine your product manager creates a Switchboard room for roadmap planning. They populate the room with new product launch timelines on Notion, feature specs on Google Docs, task assignments on Asana, and design variations on Figma. This makes sure designers, engineers, and product managers all stay focused and aligned, and they always know where to go to find key resources or information.

A designer and product manager using a virtual whiteboard, Figma, and Google Docs in Switchboard
Switchboard lets you build products faster by giving everyone equal access to information. Source: Switchboard

Best practices for implementing virtual team technology

On top of choosing the right tools, you need to make sure your team adopts them. To do this, you get everyone comfortable using them and know how to match their message to the medium. 

Here's how: 

  • Offer training. This helps ensure that team members are proficient in using their collaborative tools. Use your knowledge sharing platforms to provide resources and documentation for ongoing reference. You might also need to train your team in communication skills, like crafting an email or scheduling a Slack message. 
  • Establish communication guidelines. This includes preferred channels, acceptable response times, and expectations for both synchronous and asynchronous communication. 
  • Set clear boundaries. Encourage people to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Promote breaks, scheduling of focus time, and downtime to prevent burnout. 
  • Regularly evaluate and adapt. Assess the effectiveness of your tech stack by asking for feedback from team members. Be willing to switch out your tools or processes based on their needs.

Virtual team technology: Make your teams more productive

You don't have to be Gustave Eiffel to know that a successful design project takes the right combination of people and tools. As a leader, it's up to you to find the right tools for your team so they can build relationships and do their best work online. 

Invest in virtual team technology that caters to different working and communication styles. For example, async collaboration and communication; synchronous communication; visual collaboration; project management; video conferencing; and knowledge sharing. Tools like Notion, Google Docs, Slack, Gmail, Asana, Trello, and Google Meet will enable your people to be more productive, wherever–whenever–they are. 

Use your virtual team tech stack inside a persistent Switchboard room to keep all your people, tools, and information organized by project. This lets you work side by side together on anything in real time or make progress async—so you can build faster with fewer meetings. 

Do more with less. 
Switchboard unifies all your people, tools, and projects in one place—saving you time. 
Learn more

Frequently asked questions about virtual team technology

What technology is used in virtual teams?

There is plenty of technology used in effective virtual teams, depending on their virtual or remote working needs. For example: 

  • Synchronous communication technology like Slack 
  • Video conferencing tools like Switchboard and Google Meet
  • Document collaboration tools like Google Docs
  • Knowledge sharing tools like Notion
  • Project management tools like Asana or Trello
  • Async collaboration tools like Switchboard
  • Async communication tools like Gmail 

Why technology is so important to a virtual team?

Technology is so important to virtual team performance because the right tools can improve productivity, team collaboration, and team communication. When you have tools and information systems that anyone can access anytime, then global virtual teams can move work forward without needing to be online at the same time.

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