3 Common Challenges of Managing a Virtual Team

Learn about the unique challenges that come with managing a virtual team.

Zight | July 29, 2019 | 4 min read time

Article Last Updated: June 26, 2023

3 Common Challenges of Managing a Virtual Team

In this day and age, technology has become an integral part of our lives. From enhancing the quality of our lives to transforming modern-day communication, its impact is enormous. The rise of virtual communication has drastically increased the pace of globalization, with many more companies and organizations choosing to go international and open offices globally. This begs the question, how are they able to handle virtual teams, and what are some common challenges they face? Below you will find a list of some obstacles that virtual communication can create, and what can be done to overcome them.

Challenge #1: Communication

It is a common fact that poor communication can result in many problems in the workplace, such as stress, unmet expectations, dissatisfied clients, and unhappy employees. Since success is almost unattainable without effective internal communication, it is imperative that companies and organizations put in extra effort to ensure an accurate flow of information. Physical distance and time zone differences can make this process difficult for virtual teams. However, miscommunication can be prevented via helpful internal communication tools that will not only help your virtual team communicate faster and easier, but also contribute to the company’s overall success.

Challenge #2: Productivity

When employees work outside of a traditional office and especially in a different country, low productivity can sometimes be inevitable. This can result from your international employees not feeling like an integral part of the team. In fact, many studies have shown that it is more difficult for virtual team members to establish rapport and trust among each other.

So, how can you enhance the team spirit of all employees and keep them motivated, despite the physical distance?

First and foremost, it is important to recognize that conversations during telecommunication should not be limited to only professional topics. Take time to get to know your virtual team members. This will create an opportunity for you to find common interests that will help you bond with co-workers over time.

Moreover, when managing a virtual team, you need to acknowledge that there will always be members of the team who will not have the opportunity to speak up as much as others. Thus, showering them with extra attention and asking them questions like “How do you think that meeting went?” or “Do you have any thoughts on this topic?” will help them feel more valued and appreciated. In fact, studies show that when team members express genuine care and respect for each other, the overall performance of the team increases. Therefore, do not shy away from putting additional effort into getting to know your employees and listening to their opinions..

Challenge #3: Lack of Accountability

The work performance of your dispersed employees can be affected by the lack of accountability. Geographical boundaries might affect their motivation to do quality work, as they are not under any direct supervision.

What can be done to defeat the physical distance and improve employee accountability?

The first step to eliminating this problem is informing your dispersed employees about how their work impacts the overall success of the company. If you clarify what the company’s goals are and how their actions might affect them, you will not only be able to set expectations, but also establish collective objectives.

Secondly, do not forget to give insightful feedback, even when it is hard. In order to improve accountability, your employees need to know where they stand. Regular work performance reviews can be an effective tool for motivating them and helping them understand how they can improve. A performance appraisal is also a great way to start an open dialogue with your employees to understand why their productivity has gone down. They might be facing hardships in their personal lives that you might be unaware of because of the geographical distance.

Managing a virtual team might be challenging, but with many more people choosing to work remotely, it is something that companies should know how to handle effectively. Adhering to the steps listed above and investing in the right communication tools will help you create and enforce a collaborative environment, in spite of geographical separation.

How can Zight (formerly CloudApp) help you boost productivity in the workplace and foster a culture of collaboration?

It is common knowledge that visuals communicate better than words. As a matter of fact, 60% of people are visual learners. Zight (formerly CloudApp) allows collaboration using screen recordings, GIFs, and annotated screenshots to exchange information faster and improve efficiency. Instead of having to verbally explain how to do a certain task, you can simply record it via Zight (formerly CloudApp) and send it to your co-workers. Time is money – make sure to choose the right communication tools to make the most of your time.

3 Common Challenges of Managing a Virtual Team

1. Communication

2. Productivity

3. Lack of Accountability

Lidia Nalbandyan is a member of the Zight (formerly CloudApp) community and a content marketing Maven. She is curerntly a student at BYU and working in digital marketing.

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