Although virtual teams sound good at first because they let companies put together the best teams regardless of where people are and allow workers to balance work and life more easily, in reality, they often come with virtual team challenges that make things harder instead of better.

Resolving remote work challenges is essential because communication can be tricky when team members never meet face-to-face. Collaboration might get delayed when workers are isolated, and it’s hard to know if employees have the right workload.

Despite these difficulties, virtual teams are becoming more common as companies aim to compete globally. Adapting to this new way of working, especially with the challenges of virtual teams, is the real hurdle in today’s workplace.



What Are Virtual Teams?

Virtual teams are groups of individuals who work together on a shared goal or project but are geographically dispersed and collaborate primarily through electronic communication tools such as email, video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management software.

Unlike traditional teams where members are co-located- in a physical workspace, virtual teams operate across different locations, time zones, and sometimes even cultural backgrounds.

The Growth Of Virtual Teams

In recent years, there has been a notable increase in remote work. Many companies have started offering telecommuting options, and more people are working- as freelancers or contractors. Studies from 2017 and 2019 show this trend growing. Working remotely- has been found to boost productivity and reduce turnover, saving companies money.

However, some large companies like Yahoo and IBM have scaled back their work-from-home policies due to challenges with remote teams feeling disconnected. It can be tough to communicate effectively when team members are working from different places. Managing a remote team requires clear goals, effective meetings, and strong communication.

Addressing virtual team challenges directly is key to building a cohesive and successful team, regardless of where its members are located.

Need For Virtual Team

As organizations grow, they often face virtual team challenges such as expanding across multiple locations or countries, dealing with different time zones, and restructuring to optimize resources. While managing virtual teams can be daunting, it also presents opportunities for enhanced collaboration and cost savings.

Solutions like Microsoft 365, SharePoint, and Teams facilitate communication and collaboration regardless of geographical barriers. Despite virtual team challenges, many organizations are recognizing the benefits, including reduced infrastructure costs, improved work-life balance, access to global talent, and higher employee satisfaction. Companies need to identify and implement effective strategies to overcome the hurdles of managing virtual teams- leveraging available tools and technologies to ensure success in remote collaboration.

7 Common Challenges Of Managing Virtual Teams (And How To Solve Them)


In addition to the numerous advantages offered by virtual teams, there exists a distinct set of challenges inherent to remote work that must be effectively addressed to ensure their success. Resolving these remote work challenges is crucial for optimizing the performance and cohesion of virtual teams.

1. Communication Differences In Virtual Teams

A significant obstacle for virtual teams is the struggle to overcome communication barriers, with a concern that 53% of remote workers find it challenging to feel connected and foster friendships with their colleagues.
In the absence of face-to-face interactions typical in traditional office settings, team members often need help to interpret messages accurately and effectively convey their ideas.

Solution: Establish Communication Standards and Policies

Recognizing that every virtual team is unique, it’s important to tailor communication policies to suit the specific needs of your workforce. For instance, if certain team members require dedicated time for deep work, consider implementing a no-meetings policy for a day or two each week to safeguard this focus time. Similarly, for those who thrive on collaborative brainstorming sessions, designate specific times for such interactions.
The key lies in understanding what drives productivity within your virtual team before implementing policies that benefit the entire group.

2. Lack of structure

Another challenge of virtual teams is the absence of a defined structure. Regularly evaluating and refining processes and methodologies is crucial for enhancing efficiency. Engaging in workflow analyses can offer valuable insights into the functionality of your procedures.

Solution: Establishing a Defined Workflow for Virtual Teams

Creating transparent standards and implementing an online workflow system are crucial. There are numerous online tools available to facilitate global collaboration, and one such tool is EmpMonitor.

Integrating regular check-ins and status updates with the EmpMonitor tool can enhance accountability and alignment among team members. This systematic approach not only promotes transparency but also cultivates cohesion within virtual teams, ultimately resulting in heightened productivity and successful outcomes.

3. A lack of team culture

Maintaining a cohesive company culture is easier when employees are physically close, but
it becomes more challenging when they’re spread across different countries and time zones.

Solution: Establishing a Foundation in a Virtual Setting

Creating a strong team culture in a virtual setting requires deliberate actions. Organizations should promote participation in virtual team-building exercises, like virtual coffee breaks or educational events during lunch breaks. Furthermore, holding regular virtual meetings focused on team unity and transparent communication can strengthen bonds and foster trust among team members.

4. A lack of trust

Despite the familiarity of virtual teamwork, some managers are still grappling with adaptation. A recent survey by Microsoft revealed that 85% of managers lack trust in the productivity of remote employees. The severity of this issue is evidenced- by the development of a productivity paranoia score by one organization to assess distrust between employers and employees across states.

This distrust can exacerbate miscommunication, misunderstandings, and tendencies toward micromanagement. If left unaddressed, it can cultivate distrust among team members. For example, delayed responses from a colleague may create doubt and lead to perceptions of uneven workload distribution.

Solution: Regular Workload Assessment and Capacity Planning

To mitigate distrust, it’s crucial to maintain transparent visibility- not for employers to surveil employees, but to ensure fair and equitable distribution of workloads consistently.

It might involve implementing task management tools to showcase individual contributions or utilizing remote team management software accessible to managers and employers to uphold transparency. Regardless of the chosen method, the focus should be on fostering insight rather than oversight.

5. Increased risk of burnout

An increasing risk of burnout is evident among virtual employees, with 22% citing difficulty in disconnecting from work as their primary challenge in a recent survey. Without a physical commute to delineate work hours, virtual team members often find themselves tempted to continue working long after the official day has ended.

It’s widely acknowledged that these habits can quickly lead to burnout, as studies have consistently shown that continued working hours result in decreased productivity. For instance, one study found that productivity diminishes by up to 19% with each additional hour worked. However, given the virtual nature of the work environment, managers may not easily recognize when an employee is at risk of burnout since they cannot physically observe long periods of work.

Solution: Vigilant Monitoring for Burnout Signs

Preventing burnout requires early detection and intervention before overwork and overwhelm lead to voluntary turnover. It could involve redistributing workloads among team members or advocating for the addition of new hires. In any case, identifying the earliest indications of burnout is crucial, especially within virtual teams.

6. Distractions

The appeal of remote workspaces, whether the comfort of home or the beauty of a scenic beach, is undeniable. Yet, this flexibility often brings virtual team challenges, with distractions that can slow even the most dedicated employees’ productivity.

Solution: Setting Standards and Guidelines

To address the challenges of teamwork in virtual settings, it’s crucial to establish precise guidelines. Having one-on-one discussions can ensure that the quality of work and dedication during working hours are consistent with expectations in conventional office environments.

7. Increased security risks

With the rise in the adoption of tools to facilitate virtual team collaboration comes an increase in security risks. According to a recent survey, IT and security experts identified SaaS apps as the primary target for cyberattacks. However, virtual teams rely heavily on these technologies for their operations, making it impractical to revoke licenses outright.

Solution: Enhance Application Visibility

Regularly conducting audits of app usage within your team is crucial for proactively detecting possible vulnerabilities. Furthermore, enhancing transparency in SaaS app utilization aids in mitigating the risks linked with unauthorized shadow applications that virtual employees might employ without IT oversight or approval. Employing remote employee monitoring software like EmpMonitor can streamline these processes, ensuring comprehensive monitoring and management of app usage across the organization.


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Solve Your Virtual Team Challenges With EmpMonitor

employee-monitoring-softwareEmpMonitor is a comprehensive employee monitoring solution- designed to enhance workplace productivity and security. It offers advanced monitoring capabilities tailored to meet organizational needs effectively.

Key Features of EmpMonitor:

  • Activity Monitoring: EmpMonitor tracks and records employees’ activities in real time, providing insights into their productivity levels and task completion rates. Managers can monitor active applications, websites visited, and idle time to ensure optimal performance.
  • Time Tracking: EmpMonitor offers detailed remote work time tracking capabilities, allowing managers to monitor the time spent on different tasks and projects. This feature enables project management and resource allocation within virtual teams.
  • Screenshots: EmpMonitor captures screenshots of activity- at regular intervals, providing visual evidence of employee work and ensuring accountability. This feature helps managers identify potential issues, coach employees, and maintain transparency within the team.
  • Remote Employee Monitoring: EmpMonitor enables managers to monitor remote employees effectively, regardless of their location. With its cloud-based platform- managers can access real-time data and reports from anywhere, facilitating seamless communication and collaboration within virtual teams.

EmpMonitor offers a comprehensive solution for overcoming virtual team challenges. With its advanced features and intuitive interface, EmpMonitor empowers managers to enhance productivity, streamline communication, and mitigate security risks, ultimately driving success in virtual team environments.

Wrapping Up

Working remotely comes with its own set of difficulties. Whether it’s trouble communicating effectively or feeling disconnected from the team, these virtual team challenges can slow down the work.

But there’s good news! Using workforce management software like EmpMonitor emerges as a valuable asset, offering insights into productivity and helping teams stay on track.
Just remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You need to be flexible, patient, and always ready to improve. By doing this, you can help a virtual team not just survive but thrive, bringing out the best in everyone and achieving great things together.