Virtual teams are becoming more and more popular across the globe — from small teams within local businesses to teams within big companies such as Microsoft to digital startups with fully distributed teams.
As more and more companies use remote teams, it becomes common knowledge what positive things such employment brings.
But, it’s not all butterflies and flowers. Virtual teams face challenges of their own and in this article we’ll discuss what those challenges are and how to overcome them.
Most virtual teams cite communication as one of their greatest challenges. They lack informal, everyday face to face conversations, which often results in loss of information or miscommunication. The team members often go for days without personal contact with their coworkers which can lead to a feeling of isolation.
And there’s a reason why this issue is first on the list. When working remotely, almost every project depends on proper communication. Efficient, effective conversation is the cornerstone of any functioning group, and it’s especially crucial for remote teams.
So what can you do about it? Invest in a good platform for communicating such as Slack and encourage each member of your team to speak their mind and talk to others. That should be enough for a start.
Language and Cultural Barriers
Dealing with a globally diverse workforce can bring some big challenges, including cultural and language divides.
It’s very common that, since you opt for a remote team, many of your employees have a different cultural background. These differences between them can often result in how employees interact with one another. And that certainly isn’t good for social environment of your business.
One way you can influence this is to create virtual team buildings for your employees. Establishing and nurturing relationships between everyone in the team is a great way to retain employees, increase productivity and overall happiness levels. To minimize conflicts, the virtual teams should agree on some work ethics and team customs to foster cultural understanding. They key is to set some rules in the beginning and advise your workers to follow them.
Lack of Trust
Virtual working often creates mistrust among team members and that’s one of the main triggers for conflicts. It’s common that members don’t trust each other and that’s fine in the beginning.
As time goes by, that should change. At least in theory. If that doesn’t happen, you must act. As mentioned before, having more team buildings is a way to go. Letting your employees relax a bit and hang out together will enhance their friendship and luckily suppress mistrust among them. Also, you should nourish transparent way of working from the start. That way your workers will know there’s no need to hide anything and they can build trust right away..
Tracking Remote Employee Performance
One essential part of good productivity is the supervision of your workers. You might be wondering how to monitor computer activity remotely and this article will help you.
Nowadays, there are a number of different tools which can help you monitor your employees. Now, don’t get me wrong, you aren’t exactly spying on your workers. You’re just ensuring that they do the work they are assigned. Statistics show that over 60% of people who work remotely spend 32% of their work hours doing unproductive stuff. You as a business owner or manager, don’t want that and having a way to track computer activity remotely will help you a lot.
Modern monitoring and time tracking platforms are a great way to do that. There’s a wide range of such software available on the market but essentially they work in a similar way. With them, you can see how exactly are your employees spending their work time and what sites they visit. Also, you can distinguish whether they spend their time on something productive or not.
If you want to keep an eye on your employees, you should opt for some kind of remote employee control software. It’s a great way to keep your workers productive.
Lack of Structure
Although they do work remotely, your employees need to know that there’s a certain hierarchy within the company itself. This issue can later manifest itself in various problems of non-compliance and reluctance, so it’s necessary to immediately define the structure of the team.
Your employees should know what kind of work is expected and they need to know who’s supervising them and who they report to - if your organization is vertical. This way you ensure two things. Firstly, they’ll know the hierarchy within the team. Secondly, they can see that by working hard enough, they can move up the hierarchy ladder.
If you have a remote working team there’s a chance that you’ll face some struggles. If that happens, bookmark this article and return to it. It will surely help you out when the time comes.