Challenges faced in telework and virtual work teams
Telework and virtual work teams are exposed to an series of problems that often times hold back 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.
Because it is a job that is not done on-site, that is, relations are not as easy as talking 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
How to combat the risks and problems?
To head off the issues above, it is essential to create and implement an action and prevention plan to avoid these kinds of situations from turning up within the virtual work team. 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
- Strengthen motivation and trust within the work team
- See 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
- Conduct a feedback process to build on and improve the work of everyone
- Implement work conditions and arrangements
- Hold virtual meetings and events that help incentivize teamwork.