Remote work has become the new normal. It has been over a year since the global pandemic started and changed the lifestyle of all the people on Earth. Because the virus spreads so quickly, working from home has been the natural solution companies came up with to protect the employees.
While some people were enthusiastic and looking forward to working remotely, some of them were not happy about it. Indeed, remote work comes with many benefits 9-to-5 employees were yearning for, but it also comes with challenges. And both workers and leaders are challenged by the new changes remote work comes with. Which are these challenges and how can you overcome them? Expert writers from college-paper.org review contributed to this top too, as they have so much experience working in virtual teams and remotely.
1. Effective Communication
One of the greatest challenges virtual teams need to face when working remotely is communicating effectively. Especially in the case of a newly formed team, team members need to understand how others are communicating. There are differences in the style of communication of most team members because everyone has their perspective. This is why people have different opinions on the same subject.
However, as remote working is the new normal, this has enabled many workers to become digital nomads. This poses a real challenge for communication as many of them are in different time zones. It is therefore essential to agree on a time slot when everyone is available so that you can communicate effectively.
2. The Right Tools
The global pandemic took many companies by surprise. They might not have been prepared for a full transition towards working remotely, and this is one of the challenges virtual teams are facing right now. If you do not have the tools necessary to do your job, how could you be efficient, productive, and accomplish your tasks? Not having the right means and devices for collaboration and communication is a problem distributed teams and companies are trying to solve.
Even though working remotely or from home is a dream come true for many people, it also comes with challenges. Indeed, working from the convenience of your own home might make you more comfortable and relaxed. But it is also an environment with many distractions. And if you do not know how to eliminate them, your productivity and efficiency will be affected.
When people do not spend time with each other as they once did, distrust and suspicion can easily appear. This is because people do not see how much their co-workers are working and a few signs can lead to feelings of distrust. It is a common thing that happens when some team members are not doing their tasks or never responding quickly. It becomes increasingly important to have the tools necessary to help the team organize their tasks and track the evolution of every team member.
5. Late Responses
Working from home comes with the adaptability of creating your daily schedule. However, some employees misinterpret this flexibility and become unavailable when the whole team is online. Slow response time is a challenge many virtual teams are facing right now.
What leaders need to communicate to their teams is that even though remote work comes with flexibility, it does come with structure too. As long as you do your tasks, you can organize your working time however you want. But if you are part of a team and other team members are depending on you to complete their own tasks, then an agreed time slot when everyone is online is the solution.
Every remote team has daily or weekly meetings to discuss the progress made on the project. But as remote working comes with the flexibility of choosing the location you work from, team members could be in different countries or continents. Scheduling meetings when they are all available is one of the challenges virtual teams are facing now.
7. Lack of Clarity
Because the challenge of communicating effectively is one of the greatest, it generates other challenges for virtual teams as well. Lack of clarity is another great challenge teams and leaders need to overcome. If team members don’t know how to communicate clearly and concisely, and more importantly, if leaders do not have good leadership skills, lack of clarity can easily appear.
8. Lack of Structure
Lack of structure is another challenge that virtual teams are facing now. Working remotely, however dreamy it may sound, comes with new responsibilities for leaders. Working with the whole team to set the goals and assign actions is what will help a leader set a structure.
9. Low Productivity
Even though studies show that people’s productivity improves considerably while working remotely, this is not valid for all of them. If you are used to working in an office, finding your flow and productivity can be a challenge at home. Low productivity negatively affects the whole team, especially if team members depend on others’ completion of the tasks.
10. Burnout and Exhaustion
Because some people have a difficult time eliminating distractions, setting up their working space, and being productive while working from home, they can easily experience exhaustion and burnout. This is because they will most of the time do overtime to make sure they finish their tasks in time. But because they have a hard time finding their productivity, they will spend more time working. Which can lead to burnout.
11. Lack of Social Support
Working in an office is nice because you have contact with all your colleagues. In open space offices, workers are communicating with each other and taking a coffee break together. These short conversations or breaks are a great source of social support many employees were benefiting from. Now, virtual teams are just communicating on topics work-related.
12. Lack of Empathy
And because teams are not getting the same level of social support, they can easily start to distrust and dislike their colleagues. All these negative emotions and feelings will contribute to a lack of empathy towards the team, which can make some employees highly critical of others, overreact, or immune to other people’s feelings.
Working in a virtual team comes both with benefits and challenges. Being aware of the problems that could arise in a remote working team is important because it helps people brainstorm and find solutions. These are 12 of the greatest challenges virtual teams are facing right now and that can affect the productivity, cohesion, efficiency, and communication of remote teams.
Author Bio: Tiffany Harper is a training guru who’s been working in the corporate sector for over a decade now. She is a management graduate and loves to share her experience through blogs and articles. For her love of writing, she also provides consultancy services for the Ninja Essay Service, while also collaborating with Visit Essaymama.com, the best essay writing service form the UK.