Telework and virtual work teams are exposed to a series of problems that often at times slow down work and keep the team from progressing properly. It is important to identify these issues in order to prevent them from affecting the work team and projects.
Since it is a job that is not done on-site, relations are not as easy as communicating face to face. Telework takes on a distinct dynamic that entails certain risks that can affect work, like:
- The cooling of interpersonal relations in the virtual work team
- Communication problems: keeping the same meaning or information straight.
- Lack of clarity in the instructions and objectives of the project.
- No knowledge of the work of others
- Lack of responsibility and autonomy
- Disorder among multicultural teams
Consequences and what to avoid
These risks translate into effects that can be devastating to the virtual work team, and may even lead to affecting projects and the company if not handled properly. Consequences that can occur are:
- Not achieving expected outcomes.
- Falling short of objectives and goals
- Loss of time and money
- Tardiness in delivering completed work
- Demotivation of the work team
- Teams split up
Confusion about the instructions and duties
Megan West, Digital Communications Manager. Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)
Communication is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of business, especially with virtual employees and members spread across all of Indiana. Managing Virtual Teams (MVT) provided workable solutions that could be implemented right away for long term success. I went into the course hoping to grab a few tips and tricks but instead experienced a hands-on workshop that was tailored to my organization's needs. Not only was the course helpful, it was inspiring and gave me a new vision for my organization's communication future.
Do you want to take the same course as Megan? Click here and learn How to Promote Internal Communications in a Virtual Office
How to combat the risks and problems?
To combat the issues above, it is essential to create and implement an action and prevention plan to avoid these kinds of situations from arising within the virtual work place. Below is a series of recommendations to help overcome the challenges and move past them, with the confidence and certainty that our virtual work team will have the solid foundation it needs to weather any storm it comes across in teleworking. The most recommended tips are:
- Humanize the virtual office.
Open reliable channels of communication on the virtual medium and teach your team how to use these channels for their own benefit.
- Strengthen motivation and trust within the work team.
- Find synergies among the members of the work team.
- Strengthen autonomy and empowerment in the team.
- Train and instruct the team so that everyone knows their duties, and to improve the quality of work.
- Use reliable work reporting tools. If you are working with Millennials, make sure that those tools include a gamification aspect. Contact us and we will help you find the right tools for your team.
- Conduct a feedback process to build on and improve the work of everyone.
- Implement clear work conditions and arrangements tailored solely for your virtual team.
- Hold virtual meetings and events that help incentivize teamwork.