Organisations are increasingly using innovative means to increase productivity and virtual teams provide a proven flexibility enabling them to migrate from the traditional collocated team structures to decentralised team structures that span the globe. This research is a detailed investigation of the essential characteristics required for effective virtual teams and in particular it focuses on the importance of communication, trust, collaboration technology and culture from a project management point of view. Virtual teamwork requires different knowledge skills and abilities than the traditional face-to-face teams and this is visible through the literature review and semi-structured interviews with project managers operating in a virtual environment, indicating that communication, trust, collaboration and technology are paramount to the success of virtual teamwork. In addition the advantages and disadvantages of utilising virtual teams are explored along with the critical success factors for employing virtual teams. The research also presents recommendations for employing virtual teams.