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How to address 4 challenges faced by remote teams ?

By Rashim Sethi 17th April 2019

Just think about the ways in which office-based teams interact. Their regular meetings, quick catch-ups, brainstorming around the manager’s table, lunch & tea breaks, and many other small ways in which they bond. With quick analysis, you will realize the biggest challenge for remote teams is communication.

The question here is, how to create collaboration opportunities when your team is spread across different countries and regions. Communication is the biggest challenge when it comes to remote teams. Nowadays there is always someone working from home or from a different city or a different country.

The Rise of remote teams culture:

According to an article by Remote.co, two out of every three managers say that an employee who works remotely increase their overall productivity. Studies show that employees working remotely found it easier to concentrate.

80% of employees reported higher morale and 69% reported lower absenteeism when working from home. Remote employees may enjoy the freedom of time and place of work, but working in a team becomes challenging for them.

In this article, let us discuss different challenges faced by the remote teams:

Challenge 1- Communication

To perform the basic functions of management i.e planning, organizing, leading and controlling, effective communication among the team is a basic necessity. Communication helps employees to perform their jobs and responsibilities.

Communication is one of the major challenges when it comes to working in remote teams. There is a lot of confusion in the workflow when teams never meet face to face. As a result, whole collaboration at the workplace suffers.

A recent study by Harvard Business on 1153 employees found that remote workers feel shunned and left out. Some of them reported that they have a hard time resolving workplace conflicts. Trust and collaboration suffer while working with a remote team.

Challenge 2- Delay in responses

The managers face difficulty in prioritizing their works when they handle different teams working on different projects from different regions. Depending on the time difference, they face certain difficulties in following up from the team.

Slow responses from team members are obvious. The time difference can range from just a few hours to a complete swap of day and night hours. Projects get delayed and this heavily impacts the productivity of the team.

Challenge 3- Distrust among employees

Trust is the key in any relationship. As per Harvard’s survey of 1,153 employees, remote team members feel that their colleagues don’t treat them equally. Specifically, they worry that coworkers say bad things behind their backs, make changes to projects without informing them in advance, and lobby against them.

remote teams
Source: HBR

When employees feel distrusted among themselves, bad things happen. Productivity and the whole of the work-environment get affected. Without trust, one cannot create a workplace where employees can put their best efforts.

Challenge 4- Scheduling the meetings

Meetings are very important when it comes to building trust and collaborating among team members. When your team works on vastly different schedules, every member should compromise. This means some members may need to log in to work extra early or extra late.

While working from different regions, setting up a meeting can be difficult. It will be productive if meetings are scheduled at semi-regular business hours. This means that, at some point in the day, there must be a time slot when everyone is online and available to discuss.

How to address these challenges?

Co-located teams have an easier time in building culture when compared to remote teams. Technology is what makes virtual teams possible. Having company and department instant collaboration tools can help you build a strong bond with virtual teams

Fugu is one such collaboration tool. It’s an all-purpose team chat app that empowers communication, engagement, and empowerment all on one single platform. You can share files, swap memes and can follow on projects whenever required.

Sign up today to start your 30-day free trial!

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