Building virtual teams is not easy, especially when it is your first time to venture into this kind of business setup. However, remote work is becoming increasingly common these days, as it becomes a necessity for many businesses as part of the new normal. Employers have begun to see the benefits of a non-traditional workplace that gives them a win-win scenario from working remotely.
Although there are many benefits to working in remote teams, this kind of setup can also be complicated. There can be miscommunication if teams never meet face to face, employees can quickly feel burned out, and it is challenging to monitor tasks and deadlines.
By understanding how and why these challenges happen, it is easier to build a virtual team and avoid future issues to happen.
6 Common Challenges of Virtual Teams
Working from home heavily relies on technology to effectively communicate with one another. Managers need to outline a clear communication guideline to ensure that everyone is on the same page; otherwise, remote teams will face several communication challenges such as the following:
1. Communication Style Differences
People differ in preferences on how they want to communicate. For example, one prefers to be reached through emails while others find it more efficient to be reached through personal messaging.
Employees find it difficult to understand the expected level of communication from them when there are no clear rules set on how everyone should communicate. This affects productivity and team collaboration in solving issues and brainstorming for ideas.
2. Technical Issues
Not all employees have access to the best virtual team collaboration tools and the necessary technology when working from home. They can encounter technical issues from time to time, which is difficult to resolve without the help of a technician. When this happens, productivity is highly affected and outputs get delayed that can affect other departments and the entire workflow.
3. Environmental Distractions
Virtual workers often struggle with environmental distractions while working, which causes them to lose focus. Since they do not have control over their working environment (for example, having family members and pets at home), these distractions diminish their efficiency when working. This consequently results in low-quality output that affects team performance and overall productivity.
4. Slow Response
One of the most common problems when working with remote teams is slow response times. Since everyone is working remotely in different locations and time zones, it is difficult to get a real-time response to concerns and updates. It causes setbacks in deadlines and outputs that affect team performance and efficiency.
5. Trouble Assigning Tasks
There are a lot of factors that affect the productivity of each team member when working from home. In an environment where you do not have day-to-day interaction with your team, it is difficult to determine who has more work to do and who has less.
This causes trouble in assigning tasks because you do not know how many tasks to assign to each team member without the risk of burnout. That can affect the flow of tasks to be done on a daily and weekly basis, therefore missing to hit the team target.
6. Clarity of Instructions
Aside from the challenge in assigning tasks equally, the clarity of instructions is also one of the problems that work-from-home teams experience. Since planning is done through virtual team meetings, there is a possibility that the instructions are not clearly understood because of slow connection or background noise.
When instructions are not well understood, it can affect the quality of work and the overall team performance. This may lead team members to do the task over and over again until the instructions are followed correctly.
The issues we discussed above are the most common challenges that a virtual workforce may experience. It is important to be aware of these to avoid any setbacks and inconvenience in the future. However, there are certainly ways to deal effectively with these challenges.
6 Tips to Deal with Virtual Team Challenges
Determining how to deal with the challenges in working digitally is essential because it can help you adapt easily to this new work setup. Here are six tips on how you can deal with the challenges of working remotely:
1. Build a Communication Culture
Set a communication culture in your team to create a clear guideline on how they can effectively interact with one another. Team communication is essential when working digitally since there is less physical interaction than usual or none at all.
The guidelines should include how often to conduct meetings, what the decision-making process is, and how they can raise concerns and suggestions efficiently. It is also important to clarify which medium to use for your regular virtual meeting and how the discussion will run when setting the agenda.
2. Develop a Work Ethic
Work ethic is an essential aspect of keeping things under control while working in a virtual team. It sets the guidelines on how and why things should be done in a specific way to meet the set goals.
Create rules that emphasise the importance of following their schedules and deadlines even when working from home. Let everyone know about the work ethics so it can be established among the team members and will be followed by everyone.
3. Establish Team Collaboration
Just like a physical working setup, you should also establish collaboration within the team. You can do this by having a shared mission, encouraging a harmonious working spirit, and setting a strategic team structure so that there is effective collaboration between remote and onsite workers alike.
This creates a stronger bond and trust within team members as they get to know one another’s working styles and thought processes. When employees are aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, relationships flourish and the workflow becomes more seamless.
4. Do a Weekly Monitoring
Monitoring is an essential part of maintaining high-quality output and consistent productivity. Without checking the progress of your team weekly, it is difficult to keep track if you have met your goals or not.
Through weekly virtual team meetings and monitoring, you can identify and assess what improvements should be done, if there are any, and what concerns need to be addressed. It is also the best way to check if everyone is on the same page.
5. Have the Right Tools
Technology is the key to making remote teams work. Try not to get overwhelmed with all the tools and software available because it can make your job easier. Having the right tools is essential in managing a virtual team because it serves as your primary communication channel to interact with one another. Here are some of the best communication tools that you can consider using
However, not every tool is a good fit for your team since some of them have limitations that can hinder your team communication. Know what you need and go with trial versions first to see if it fits what you are looking for. You can also research these tools to help you determine which is the best for your team.
Developing communication strategies that resonate across your entire organisation is challenging, but with the right tools, you can deliver clear and concise messages to everyone in the team.
6. Use Reliable Software
There are a lot of companies that offer good deals for communication software for remote work. However, not all are reliable when it comes to functionality and efficiency. That is why it is essential to use software that can benefit your team rather than make it difficult for your team to collaborate.
Do a lot of research about different software providers. You can also ask for recommendations from co-workers and friends if they know any. One good example of reliable software is VoIPTech’s Communicator, which allows you to do multiple ways of communicating across different devices.
Once you have overcome the challenges in managing a virtual team, you will enjoy a harmonious collaboration within your team, while seeing your members grow and develop their skills.
The Reliable Software for Your Virtual Team
Here, we discussed the challenges that virtual teams commonly face and a few practical tips on how to solve them. The right communication software will further help you put into action all your plans in managing a virtual team more efficiently. VoIPTech’s Communicator is the perfect tool for that.
A communicator is a feature-rich software, designed to enable seamless remote working. It gives you control to harness the full power of the software’s suite of call and collaboration tools across different devices. The software is suited to both small and large businesses that are trying to shift into virtual teams.
To know more about how VoIPTech can help you navigate through working remotely, you can visit our website or call us on 0203 745 0201, and we will be sure to answer your questions and inquiries in no time!