The Reality of Virtual Teams

Facilitated Online Experiences


Corporate Virtual Teams have become the norm. Yet the skills required to lead a remote / distributed team are not the same as those required for leading face to face. The leader must take on the additional role of managing unique virtual team challenges complexities. Developing mutual goals and implementing these independently is hard work, so early wins are paramount. “Recreating the Office Online” is not a sustainable solution for effective teams, and a full functioning virtual team needs to transition to a point where the new distributed team works better than any in-person team ever could.

Research on Antarctic teams in Isolated and Confined Environments (I.C.E.) provides a wealth of information about the challenges of achieving success in these contexts. In this program we draw on decades of research from I.C.E. teams and apply it to contemporary virtual teams using an authentic Antarctic theme. This provides a memorable and engaging experience with clear actionable outcomes. This session includes 2 interactive gamified simulations to recreate the dynamics of a virtual team and then use this experience to debrief ins a safe environment and facilitate action planning outcomes. see video.


This online interactive Zoom session recreates the issues of virtual teams in a safe space, and then provides for a facilitator to walk the team through the issues that emerge. The session provides a targeted discussion focused on designing more effective team strategies. It provides experiential learning online games, and covers key areas from issues as simple as improving on conference calls, through to deep dive mapping sociographs for more effective communication, and provides practical solutions such as creating a customised code of conduct and ensuring everyone is involved in the process.


This session will address and provide solutions for 3 main areas ALIGNMENT, COMMUNICATION, RELATIONSHIPS

  1. How to improve team dynamics in a virtual team environment
  2. How to redesign what was ‘the Office' to become an effective online version that takes advantage of the new medium
  3. How to effectively communicate, and with what media to use
  4. How to recognise and manage the tension of a virtual team, so as to learn how to prioritise what's important (and how to choose)
  5. How to build relationships in a virtual team, & a code of conduct
  6. Discover what new skills leaders will need to develop to lead these distributed Teams effectively


The Reality of Virtual teams. Deep Dive exploration
Workshop OR Virtual interactive Online (Zoom +)
Interactive Workshop with gamification experiential learning tasks that lead to facilitated group discussion, reflection and action planning.

1-3 X 2 hours
Session 1) Introduction to Virtual Teams (includes: ‘Winter Over Mystery Game’)
Session 2) Simulation and debrief of a VT (includes: ‘Virtual Navigation Game’)
Session 3) Deep Dive Implications & Applications

Pre learning reflection and post follow-up learning journeys (7 weeks / PDFs), Surveys, Polls, YouTube videos are all available.


The research conducted on virtual teams over the last 20+ years shows that :

  • 50% of virtual I.C.E. teams fail to meet their objectives
  • There is little or no loyalty to the team and is limited trust between team members
  • Well managed virtual teams can access precious skills and expertise and are more flexible (in terms of resourcing and support.)
  • Whilst leaders think digital methods will assist, digital communication too often helps to create & accentuate these above problems.

Video: Fireside Chat with Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant: The Reality of Virtual Teams

COVID-19 has led to a rapid shift of companies moving to working from home (WFH). More and more organisations are also planning to continue the arrangement even after the pandemic.

Watch on Youtube >

Video: The Reality Of Virtual Teams Promo

From the ON THIN ICE leadership and team suite comes a digital version (interactive gamified webinar) that specifically looks at how high performing teams can work remotely as effective distributed teams.

Watch on Youtube >

This is another original and unique program exclusively designed and presented by Tirian.

Interactive Zoom-based webinars & workshops, coaching, facilitating remote workshops, Biz facilitation with gamification / experiential learning

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Your knowledge, professionalism, and willingness to work with us were key to the success of these digital virtual seminars. I learned a lot from you, and really enjoyed working with you.

Doug Wieringa
Global Strategic Initiatives
Boeing USA