As someone who has worked from home for over 12 years, I do not see being virtual as a hindrance to integration efforts. Technology is at a point where quality interactions are easy to come by. There is no reason why groups should have a problem contacting and communicating with each other. Some keys make virtual interaction much more positive. First, yes, video on conference calls does help during the early days of getting to know each other. Being able to associate a face with a voice helps to associate with communicating with an actual person rather than just a bodiless voice. Second, be sure to connect with people outside of meetings. Find something you have in common with someone on the other side of the phone and connect with them on that outside of meetings. Get to know the real person, not just the business person. And third, be flexible with meeting times. One of the best ways to show you are willing to work with someone from another time zone is to meet during a time that is not convenient for you. Don’t always expect the target company people to meet outside of their normal hours. With just a few simply practices like this, virtual integration can be just as effective as in-person.
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