Challenges to Managing Virtual Teams

The development of modern technologies leads to an increase in demand for remote employees who will work remotely, outside the office. Some companies can hire talented employees to work remotely in fields like programming or graphic design. Read more about virtual teams in our blog

However, the remote team management will require several specific to avoid many mistakes. I’m going to tell you about the top typical mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. No recruitment and introduction procedures

The process of registration and recruitment of new virtual employees is quite complicated but extremely important to build a positive business culture of the entire company. In this regard, it is advisable to conduct online presentations and training sessions for newly hired employees with interactive content and to organize a conference call via Skype so that your virtual team can see, hear and meet their new colleagues in real-time.

2. Lack of assistance in developing the business processes

Many entrepreneurs think and expect that remote employees will be able to plan their working hours perfectly. In reality, most of the virtual workers need help in developing their working hours. That’s why you need to prepare the structure of the business process and clearly define the goals and methods of checking the achievement of goals. Lack of frequent communication between the remote employee and the team leader in the absence of a developed business process causes disappointment on both sides.

3. Ignoring the time zones

If your remote employees work in different parts of the world or if you are far away from the team, you need to keep in mind the time differences. Being in different zones affects the timing of your tasks and the conduct of various office activities, such as conference calls. Plan to hold such events at a convenient time for all remote employees.

4. Lack of attention to tax legislation

When you form a team of remote workers in the U.S., you should consider the nuances of the tax laws of the different states. If your team members are considered to be employees, several states will require you to submit a report and pay additional corporate income tax in those states. If you sell a product, you will need to collect and pay sales tax in each state where your remote employee works.

5. Practicing micro-management

When you have a remote team, the desire to control the process of its members’ daily routine tasks is natural for the team leader. But constant checking and queries can be counterproductive. Create a system that will allow daily or weekly monitoring, but will not disrupt business processes.

Remote employees are a part of the company, as well as its staff members. Team leaders should make the necessary efforts to ensure that remote employees are aware of the company’s life and events.

6. Relying too heavily on email messages

With remote management, it is important to have control over your team’s work, and it is better to do so by phone or video chat. E-mail communication can be effective but will make it difficult to have an open discussion. Telephone communication will allow for open discussion of remote team events and problems.

7. No regular video calls

Making video calls will allow you to learn more about your virtual team, what the remote employees think about you and your ideas, and help you solve problems faced by remote workers. You can use free tools like Skype and Google Hangout to make video calls.

8. Few regular meetings

A weekly meeting with all the staff of the remote team, whose members can be scattered around the world, will help the whole team to adhere to a single established course. The meetings increase the sense of responsibility of remote employees. In doing so, each employee will know what they are responsible for and what they need to do to achieve their goals.

9. Bad understanding of the multicultural environment

The increasing speed of the Internet and inexpensive collaboration tools mean that you can hire remote workers from anywhere in the world. But technically, the ease of hiring is not so easy to translate into successful work in a multicultural environment. If you take the time to understand the right and specific ways to use talented people from all over the world in your virtual team, and you don’t expect the usual flow of your business, your company will only benefit.

10. Too informal relationships

Your virtual team is up and running, and members are waiting for your instructions. Your task as a team leader is to develop a formal agreement, define the rights and responsibilities of your employees and describe your expectations of their work. If all of these are done informally, then remote employees may be disappointed by the constant changes and the inability to know what they should do.

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