Data shows that when people get the chance to work remotely, 87% of them will take the opportunity. And it is not surprising because remote work comes with many benefits, from the ability to work from any location to better work-life balance. Essentially, any place with stable wi-fi is your office. Forbes reports that only 3% of surveyed employees would like to return to physical offices. In comparison, the remaining 97% prefer some degree of flexibility when choosing between working remotely and in an office. However, despite the various benefits of remote work, there are particular challenges that employees and employers must overcome to ensure smooth collaboration and efficient task completion. Keep reading to learn more about addressing these challenges and improving teamwork.
Lack of Adequate Communication
Text messages are the most typical way of communication for remote employees, but they sometimes do a terrible job of expressing feelings. There could be numerous interpretations for a single sentence. Just because one of the employees didn’t read the letter all the way through or misread it doesn’t mean there won’t be misunderstandings and setbacks. And when a manager, for instance, says, “Please take this task to work,” meaning that it is a priority right now, your colleague may interpret that as a direction, a sign that they are clueless about priorities, and anything else that the human imagination is capable of.
You would want to keep in touch with other team members as much as possible. Sometimes silence becomes deafening and potentially hazardous if we don’t schedule a time to speak or interact with one another. Remote workers could then find themselves unsure of what to do. Short daily meetings may be of great use in this case since employees will have a chance to discuss their daily tasks and priorities, have what used to be “water cooler talk,” and strengthen their team spirit. It enables prompt detection and resolution of any problems preventing team members from moving forward during the Sprint.
Differences in Working Day Organization
Since everyone has a different life rhythm, when the team begins to operate remotely, each member would likely want to set up the working day in the most convenient way. The project moves slower when coworkers cannot speak with one another at any time. The project’s pace slows when colleagues can’t communicate with one another. Furthermore, customers are frequently dissatisfied with the inability to receive prompt feedback.
Virtual team members will, understandably, want flexibility in their working hours. According to a 2019 study by Staples, 67% of workers would contemplate quitting if their work arrangements become less flexible, and 90% of employees feel that flexible work schedules and arrangements would boost their morale. On the other hand, if things become completely unstable, setting up a shared collaboration window where your entire team is online and can communicate simultaneously will be difficult. Allow for flexibility in working hours while adhering to certain agreements.
Lack of Team Spirit
Keeping the vibe when you collaborate with coworkers exclusively over messenger when working remotely is challenging. When working from different locations, casual conversation between coworkers is much more limited than when they sit next to each other in the office and can chat briefly. This lack of interpersonal connection leads to frustration and lower levels of motivation. Employees are not robots. They are primarily people who want to have friendly conversations and connect with others. Employee productivity and desire to contribute to your company’s growth are affected by how the manager organizes the remote work format.
Organizational leaders must endeavor to develop a sense of belonging within their teams and within their networks. The well-known Skype, Zoom for meetings, Messenger for speedy communication, and Telegram with its secure conversations are just a few of the apps available today that may assure high-quality communication among groups of people via the Internet. You don’t have to stick to messaging apps; you may also use video conferencing for meetings and training, plan online social gatherings, and occasionally talk about non-business-related things. Consider creating a channel for personal topics or sharing photos from your offline life if you use messaging platforms (chats, groups, etc.). You can also establish special rituals, such as weekly or monthly exchanges of important information from your personal life.
Lack of Trust
Companies are sometimes hesitant to work with remote workers because they are unsure whether the work will be completed at the same level as if they were in the office. That’s why managing expectations and staying focused on goals is critical when dealing with a distributed team.
Managers shouldn’t be too concerned about what the team is doing at any given time. Instead, they should focus on what needs to be done. Establishing guidelines for virtual teams also helps— tell the employees to respond to emails within n hours, use text messages for urgent matters, and only contact others within specific hours.
Most techniques that increase productivity and team spirit in the traditional office setting may not be effective in the context of virtual teams. They can, however, be slightly modified. If you have a clear objective, cutting-edge tools, and, most importantly, a remote team you can rely on in any circumstance, managing from a distance is not challenging. When remote workers have more freedom and flexibility with their schedules, remote work produces excellent results. Approving a specific schedule with the professional in charge of the project is perfectly acceptable. It is beneficial to set shared working hours for teams while considering the staff’s preferences. To avoid fostering a culture where work is done constantly, remember to take breaks for lunch and respect others’ privacy when they aren’t working.