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Common Challenges Virtual Teams Face and Tips to Address Them
Remote workers are frequently isolated, which can have a negative impact on team unity. A lack of face-to-face contact may result in a lack of team cohesion as well as rapport between team members.
Fremont, CA: The number of Americans working remotely has been steadily increasing for years, increasing by 91 percent in the last decade. According to a study, the COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the shift, with the number of remote employees increasing from 3.4 percent at the start of 2020 to 43 percent by the first week of April 2020.
The leaders of these now-remote teams face new challenges as a result of this dramatic shift. Business leaders must cultivate successful team cultures through team building, communication, organizational, and other skills to remain productive in virtual working environments.
Common Challenges of Virtual Teams:
Poor Communication in Virtual Workplace
Many digital tools assist remote teams in staying connected; however, these tools may lack the personalization that face-to-face interaction provides. Text-based communication, such as email and text messages, lacks the tone, body language, and other subtle nonverbal cues that employees receive during in-person conversations, increasing the possibility of misinterpretation. Team members may be more reserved on digital channels and less likely to participate in meetings or respond to emails when working remotely.
Issues Regarding Delegation in Virtual Workplace
Failures in communication also lead to a muddled understanding of staff responsibilities. Leaders must delegate tasks while being mindful of misinterpretation and inference—confusion over who is doing what and when threatens team unity. Leaders must also resist the temptation to micromanage their virtual teams, knowing when to step back and trust their employees. They must strike a balance between the need to set clear expectations and the confidence that they will be met.
Not Enough Personal Connection in Virtual Workplace
Remote workers are frequently isolated, which can have a negative impact on team unity. A lack of face-to-face contact may result in a lack of team cohesion as well as rapport between team members. Conversations over coffee or in the hallway, for example, have been shown to reduce conflict. It is, however, difficult to replicate in a virtual setting.