Transitioning to the New Normal : How has the transition to a virtual workplace been and how do employees handle working full-time in virtual teams?
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- Master Thesis 
This thesis seeks to explore how virtual teams experienced the transition to a virtual workplace and how they managed working full-time under extraordinary circumstances that caused them to work virtually involuntarily. The research was conducted qualitatively in the setting of a medium-sized established Norwegian company within the digital marketing sector. The use of data through observations and semi-structured interviews aim to shed light on the aforementioned research problem in relation to broader literature on virtual teamwork. In the first section, the study identified how the virtual transition was experienced in the early phase, and with already established digital tools and equipment, the study showed that team members characterize it as having less difficulties and being more comfortable. The study also noted that virtual teamwork results in a greater physical distance from other team members, resulting in challenges with maintaining communication and building new relationships. Moreover, the study uncovered the fact that early formation of face-to-face contact and familiarity remains important for building trust. However, it was also seen that frequent communication and audio-visual communication technologies can help deliver more personal meeting experiences and thus increase the presence of social cohesion and trust within virtual teams. In the study’s second section, the key challenges and benefits that the established firm obtained by working virtually were identified. In this regard, challenges related to the lack of informal communication and social interactions were found to be significant in terms of team member’s relations and wellbeing. Additionally, this research found that the virtual working environment poses new ways of working in regard to higher flexibility, but also blurs the lines between personal and work domains in which controlling the new era of work and staying motivated becomes more challenging to manage.