Part 1: 7 challenges and solutions of working with remote teams

Remote work brings together experts and specialists from across the globe on a single project.

Working remotely is a tool which enables companies to remain competitive in an intensely globalised environment.

Unfortunately, some companies choose to hold on to traditional schemes which prove less efficient instead of facing and overcoming the challenges that come with innovative and flexible work dynamics.

The advantages of remote working teams are that virtual teams enable employees to enjoy a healthier, free, and flexible balance between work and personal life.

The advantages of remote working are plentiful but first one is tackling the bumps and hiccups along the way.

Even though theoretical advantages of remote working teams are vast, in practical terms things do not run so smoothly on a day-to-day basis.

Here are seven main problems remote working models face nowadays. Presented are the first three.

Challenge 1: Lack of communication

When dealing with communication problems in teams working face-to-face, the underlying causes are analysed and solutions offered.

However, when lack of communication shows up in remote teams, the distance factor is all too easily blamed. There is a tendency to create resistance and mistrust towards this mode of work.

Poor communication and working practices among remote teams is widespread.

Solutions

Assess your partners’ communication skills: Before hiring a remote worker, make sure he has good communication skills, both written and orally.The person should be able to transmit complex ideas in an organised manner and, at the same time, absorb and sum up vast amounts of information.

Promote a communication-culture: create the habit of constant feedback within your team. Be explicit on how team members should communicate, and offer guidelines. Giving positive and negative feedback is essential to improvement.

Choose the best tools available: There is free software that enables you to cover some communication and project management needs. Refer to the Workana blog for articles regarding these tools.

Challenge 2. Lack of commitment and mistrust

Feelings of mistrust may emerge if you feel your colleagues are not as committed to the project as you. This may also happen when you don’t feel motivated enough or identified with the team.

Experts usually advice to encourage habits that lead to feelings of trust, connection, and shared purpose.

Mistrust and demotivation among team members is often one of the biggest challenges of managing virtual teams.

Solutions

Keep a clear vision/mission on your organisation: Conveying with the right words your company’s objectives will help you create identification channels with your colleagues. Keeping a clear vision in mind is particularly important.

At Workana, more than half of the employees work remotely but everyone pursues a common objective – to transform the workplace, providing and enhancing people’s autonomy, development, and equitable opportunities wherever they are.

Encourage collaboration and team-building: When each team member is conscious about how their work, the difficulties faced by each of them enables you to have a better comprehension of the process as a whole while creating a sense of responsibility that will optimise work.

Develop remote-leadership skills: Social scientists and researchers in the field of entrepreneurial performance Joseph Grenny and Daniel Maxfield, insist that mistrust issues with virtual teams can be solved by relying on leadership models.

Challenge 3. Obsolete or inadequate technology

Entirely all research and literature with regard to remote working teams agree that the proper utilisation of technological tools is one of the critical elements to success in this working model.

When technology responses are inadequate, or collaborators do not manage these tools, a whole series of communications and performance problems will arise.

Technology is what makes virtual teams possible.

Solutions

Train all staff in the use of technology: Ensure every single employee is familiar with and comfortable using technological tools considered necessary for their task dynamics.

Invest in adequate technology: Although there are thousands of free options to satisfy a variety of needs, most projects require specific technologies like APIs, CRMs or just plain software licenses.

Ensure the team has the right tools: Some projects may require more sophisticated tech tools rather than just a computer with internet access. Instead of complaining, find a way to obtain these tools so you can work more productively.

Keep updated on technology: The fact that your team works well with their present tools does not mean they cannot work even better if provided with the latest tools available. Remote working teams are continuously evolving, just like the technology they use should be.

Keep an eye out for Part Two of this article out soon.

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