Managing a virtual team is always not an easy job, especially when it comes to communication. As to everyone else, having effective communication is important to a virtual team because it helps to avoid misunderstanding, produce smooth collaboration and increase the effectiveness of a team. However, it is not always smooth sailing. Communication for virtual teams can be a problem, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we are going to talk about virtual team communication challenges that you and your team must overcome.
Top virtual team communication challenges
With bad communication, your team will never achieve success. So here we provide you with a list of the biggest virtual team communication challenges that need to be addressed immediately.
Time zone differences
Having different time zones is very common in a remote working setup — and this factor is one of the biggest virtual team communication challenges. But this doesn’t mean that this can prevent your team to collaborate smoothly. Setting one official time zone for your team can prevent your team to have confusion about your team’s working hours, meetings, and deadlines finishing certain projects. Regardless of where teams are located, using an official time zone can help your team to achieve effectiveness.
Malfunctions in technology
One of the virtual team communication challenges is the malfunctions of technology. As mentioned, it is not always smooth sailing. Sometimes, it could be the loss of internet connection or a problem with the communication software. These factors can create delays and misunderstandings. Having a backup available such as an audio conference can help keep virtual meetings running smoothly.
Lack of body language
According to an article, non-verbal expression has 65% to 93% more influence than actual text. In cases such as messaging communication platforms, it’s not easy to understand the exact tone of a message through text alone. Unlike video conferencing, you can actually see the body language and visual cues.
Difficulties in using communication tools
Virtual team communication feels harder when you don’t know how to use the tools well. We recommend going over that one tool and spend some time on how to use it to make the best out of it. In this way, you’ll be able to run a smooth virtual meeting among your team members and you will be able to deliver your agenda well.
Cultural and language differences
It is expected in remote teams to have members that live in different parts of the world. With the cultural and language differences, there may be times that there will be misunderstandings— differences in accents, jargon, and idioms are all possible contributing factors. You may introduce cultural training to your team members and have some budget for travel so team members can meet in person. In these ways, your team members can develop an awareness of each other’s cultures and can create a bridge for cultural gaps.
Improving virtual team communication
Improving virtual team communication needs honest and open conversations. If you are a project manager, you need to ask your team members about what’s working and what is not. Frequently ask your team for honest feedback and provide them with several platforms or channels to offer it. Provide time for everyone to prepare feedback beforehand and you, as a project manager can also share something of what’s not working so that your team can feel that it is okay to open up too.
Communication is the key to getting things more done effectively among team members, especially in a remote working setup. As everyone has different preferences when it comes to communication, it is important to effectively manage the communication style to support smooth collaboration. Make sure that your team members understand what the expected level of communication level is.
Virtual communication is hard, but addressing properly the top virtual team communication challenges mentioned above, your team can surely make communication not a problem.
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