Challenges faced by virtual work teams
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Virtual work teams can face a variety of problems that often slow down the work process and prevent the team from progressing properly. In order to prevent these issues from affecting the work team and its projects, it is important to devise strategies for overcoming them.
Virtual work issues
Since the amount of in-person interaction is little to none in virtual teams, maintaining relations is not as easy as communicating face to face. Virtual work takes on a distinct dynamic that entails certain risks for the team, such as:
- The cooling of interpersonal relations within the virtual work team.
- Communication issues with maintaining the same meaning or keeping the information straightforward.
- Lack of clarity in the instructions for and objectives of the project.
- No knowledge of the work of others.
- Lack of responsibility and autonomy.
- Misunderstandings within multicultural teams.
Consequences and what to avoid
These risks translate into effects that can be devastating for the virtual work team, and might even have a negative impact on the projects themselves, and the whole company. Here are some consequences that are likely to occur if these challenges are not handled properly:
- Not achieving expected outcomes
- Falling short of objectives and goals
- Loss of time and money
- Tardiness in delivering completed work
- Confusion about the instructions and duties
- Demotivation among the team members
- Eventually, a splitting up of the virtual work team
How to combat the risks and challenges
To combat the issues listed above, or prevent these kinds of situations from arising in the first place, it is essential to create and implement an action strategy and prevention plan. Below you will find a series of recommendations to help you overcome the challenges and move past them with the confidence and certainty that your virtual work team will have the solid foundation it needs to weather any storm it comes across:
- Humanize the virtual office
- Open reliable channels of communication on the virtual mediumand teach your team how to use these channels for their own benefit
- Strengthen motivation and trust within the virtual work team
- Work on synergy among the team members
- Strengthen autonomy and empowerment within the team
- Train and instruct the virtual team so that everyone knows their duties, and how to improve the quality of work
- Use reliable work reporting tools. If your team includes Millennials, use tools that include a gamification aspect. Contact us to find out which tools fit the specific needs of your team.
- Conduct a feedback process to build upon and improve the work of everyone involved
- Implement clear working conditions and arrangements, tailored specifically for your virtual team
- Incentivize teamwork by holding virtual meetings and events
“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.”
Megan West, Digital Communications Manager. Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)